Discover My Refocus Areas, Creative Inspiration, Cross-Lingual AI Insights, Singaporean SaaS - Issue 17
Introducing myself, my focus areas, and how this list can help you win.
Howdy hey! It's Kenny, and I'm excited to welcome you to my new and improved newsletter. I've switched from MailChimp and am soft-launching a new design and format. Let me know what you think!
Before we dive into today's issue, let me give you a quick rundown of who I am, my goals, and how this newsletter can help you on your journey.
What I do: I help founders build and scale digital ventures that make a positive impact on the world.
Mission: transform the world through innovative and soulful products, inspiring 10m dreamers to play, live consciously, and grow.
Experience: Builder, Product, Marketing, Research & Development.
Focus (What I'm Thinking, Writing or Building):
In today's world, everyone has multiple interests that don't necessarily fit into traditional moulds. Our unique lenses and experiences shape what we find interesting. Exploring different areas can broaden our understanding of the world and reveal unexpected connections.
👀 on 2023
Though they may seem scattered, these topics define my personal vision of "the good work-life" and spark my curiosity… at least for now.
🔸 Top Share
For whatever reason, I absolutely love love this resourceful bootstrapped experiment. Just watch the video.
poetry camera v0.3 by @Flomerboy + yours truly:
🔋 fully battery-powered + portable
⚙️ switch btwn "camera modes" with a knob — auto, portrait, landscape mode, etc.
✍️ better poems via new AI models: BLIP-2 for image recognition and gpt-3.5-turbo for poem writing https://t.co/KqcBOXvCLs
— kelin carolyn zhang (@carolynz)
Mar 9, 2023
Learn By Doing
Raising a round, or trying to size potential product opportunities? It’s all about the TAM! And this is what you need:
The Messy 0 to 1
When discussing team building with founders, it's often quite a challenge, particularly in the early stages of a company's development. This can be especially true for non-technical or first-time founders themselves.
The 0 to 1 term gets thrown around quite loosely and the skillsets and dynamics vary significantly between indie builders, pre-seed startups, series b, and later-stage companies.
As someone that loves the 0 to 0.5, or 0 to 1 phase I’m hoping to connect with other builders or PMs for an upcoming blog post. Is that you, hit reply! I want to include your perspective!
Stay tuned for more on that, but here's a sneak peek: I recently heard a former PM from Spotify praising the often-discussed failed squad models in one of my Slack groups:
former Spotify PM
After a heavy dose of marketing in the last issue, I've only got a few links for you this week.
SaaStr Apac 2023
Check out the live stream recording from the SaaStr APAC 2023 conference in Singapore. There are some fantastic sessions available that provide a better understanding of marketing and sales challenges specific to SaaS in this region. It's worth mentioning that the first SaaStr event in the region is a clear indication of the changing times and the growing maturity of SaaS in Asia
Stage A and Workshop stage videos are below
If you're interested in the videos above, be sure to refer to the show notes and bookmarks for relevant sessions. Worth skimming for sure!
ChartMogul has built a CRM designed specifically for B2B SaaS companies and it looks really impressive.
How a great founding team should operate. As well as, islands, connecting the dots, humility, and how your limitations become your strengths. Chris Martin advises you to embrace your uniqueness and create things that are "weirdly" you. [1 of 2]
Shamelessly sharing a second clip with: “Find your tribe to refine and share your gifts with the world”. And “Learn by doing and by loving”. [2 of 2]
Other creative shares:
Publishing your work increases your luck. For every snarky comment, there are 10x as many people admiring your work.
What do you do with your ideas? Award-winning artist Adam Rubin has some advice.
Tony Hawk interview with the Diary of a CEO. He's just so chill and humble dude. It’s a longer session, but worth skimming. Highlights - purchased a home in high school, discussed fame and burnout, peak skate technical performance in late 30s early 40s, there are “certainly some basic moves every skater knows so it comes down to personal style or flare”, spent 12 years to master 1 trick, produced a skate video game that amassed 1.4b and collected some fat royalty cheques.
Lastly, AI imagination. It’s not how you source ideas, or how you use models or LLMs, it’s how you use them and what you create! Check the Diplo:
I still think of this Diplo vid talkin about Loops often 😂 https://t.co/RVKOnMrxri
— Dakota (@KotaSeitz)
Mar 25, 2023
AI is beyond noisy. I aim to uncover lesser-known AI articles that other sources may have overlooked due to the topic's saturation. It’s unclear if anything is lesser known these days, but I’m trying my best!
Looking backwards to look forward
What’s happening with AI in China? Kai-Fu Lee is a good place to start. As the former President of Google China, Author of AI 2041 and NYT Bestseller AI Superpowers, he is the OG and speaks openly comparing NA and China.
The Era of AI in China | Upfront summit 2019. Full YouTube presentation. So who’s ahead, China vs the world future predictions @ 19:20. Kai-Fu believes China lags behind in AI, but has a tough new generation of developers, and data is the new oil, leading to a large share of the global market by 2023.
China Can Quickly Catch Up to US AI via Bloomberg Blog post + Video Interview recorded on March 15, 2023. “US is clearly ahead and will continue to be the world's breakthrough innovator, but China will always catch up quickly.
The Chinese Chat-GPT clones aren't as good, simply because it was trained on so much more high-quality data set (in English). To fix this problem, China will need a huge data set and that could take up to a year for that.
Biggest takeaway: Chat-GPT is powerful in native English, but less effective for advanced functions in other languages. How do you address this in non-English speaking countries or regions? Do those countries have enough data? Perhaps several years for this technology to exist or have wide adoption in emerging markets such as SE Asia. It’s moving fast, but English-speaking countries have a huge leg up on other countries.
More innovation threads:
Do you remember Flash and .swf files? With all of the AI craze, it could be beneficial to read The Death of a Technical Skill from 2010 and consider its ripple effects.
Will GPT automate all the jobs? Read the research paper. In a rush, peep Slide 2 Exam Results and Slide 16 to see if you still have a job.
This changes everything. AI discussion notes by John Borthwick @ Betaworks.
So that's why your non-iOS friend won't shut up about those fake high-quality photos! Maybe it's time for them to hop on the Apple train if they want to get the real deal.
Playboy is relaunching its flagship publication in digital form with the help of its creator platform.
Disney Just Debuted a brand new Robot Technology at SXSW. This tiny robot can climb out of a box, fall down, get back up, and move around on roller skates. Check out the video
Her big trick! https://t.co/SUBCWDJF64
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog)
Mar 10, 2023
🔸 Research & Development
Closing off this section with a quote from iMessage
Now is not the ideal time to initiate a new R&D team as we are currently in a competitive AI land grab. This is a build phase.
Builders Gotta Build
Level up by doing! Here are a few apps or test builds that caught my eye.
(Next week’s issue is going to be jam-packed. Can’t wait!)
Take better control of browser tabs. We spend countless hours each day using web browsers, but is there a more efficient or effective way? You may not have known you needed it, but Arc is a revolutionary new browser experience that is a must-try. They have started to send out invitations for the highly anticipated Arc release. What is it? A new type of browser experience that’s been completely reimagined, and it's both beautiful and thoughtful, offering a mindblowing divine user experience. If you require an invitation, please reply.
A few other betas:
🔸 Interesting Links
Enjoy skiing or snowboarding? Brace yourself for this unbelievable rescue footage. On a lighter note, Max Hitzig delivers a casual 80-foot backflip ftw.
Check out DJ Jazzy Jeff 🐐 party rocking back in the days of limited smartphones. Shooks One, Part II @ 4:56!
Since we're on the topic of music battles, I guarantee that what I'm about to show you is unlike anything you've seen before. (Volume warning - clip 1, clip 2, and clip 3).
Ha. Really enjoyed this one…
🔸 In The Slow Lane
Ah, yes. Some of us are approaching or looking forward to living "over the hill."
Qs or Quotes Bouncing in My Brain
Don't think like a computer; be human. Ask questions, take risks. Lead a wholesome life of curiosity, creativity, and compassion.
An estimated 33 per cent of the world's population – or 2.7 billion people – have still never used the Internet.
🔸 Life Log
I'm currently in Vancouver daydreaming about wearing shorts everyday and surfing in warmer waters. My sister is getting married in Europe this summer, so I plan on staying in town until then. After that, who knows where I'll end up?
Finally migrated to Beehiiv and shipped this newsletter after months of juggle-struggling with positioning, content plans, privacy, platforms, integrations, and information overload. There’s a huge backlog of content in the works.
I caught up with Boris last week for tacos and we've been discussing The Future of Work and he's been urging me to reconsider crypto and DAOs. Boris is always working on futuristic tech and you should check it out.
Serious builder vibes atm. Despite mass layoffs and mass AI anxiety, I've been talking to lots of founders and it's an exciting time to be a builder in this market!
Recently joined a social cooperative. And after taking a few months to ease up on my fitness training (deep in research + hiding from rain), I'm now gearing up to crush some new Strava CRs. If you know any hardcore in-line skaters, roll them my way.
🔸 AirPod Status
Yes! Aminé and Kaytranada are doing an album together called the 'Kaytraminé' Project that should drop in June. Now is a good time to revisit the boiler room set and have some good ol' people-watching fun. Comments are on point.
These sounds feel good to me right now:
How'd I do? Slam dunk or airball? Lmk your thoughts on this issue so I can level up future content.
What'd you think of this issue?
Keep an eye out for my next email, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.
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Hi there, my name is Kenny Grant and I specialize in the 0 to 1 builder stage (read full bio). Every two weeks, I cover various topics focused on product development, marketing, creativity, social impact, innovation, r&d, and the future of work. Although my perspective is universal, I mainly cover the frontier of North America and Southeast Asia.
Need Help? Grab time with me for a 1:1 session on Product, Marketing, GTM and growth, hiring, finding PMF, or anything else.
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