‘Gotong Royong’ is the Only Way for Indonesia Fintech

Ask ten thousand people when they think the Indonesian fintech industry was born, and you’re going to get as many birth date guesses as there are islands in Indonesia. Some would say it began with the release of OJK Regulation №.77/POJK.01/2016 by Otoritas Jasa Keuangan in January 2017, where Indonesia’s regulator unveiled its initial framework to regulate and facilitate the development of the fintech industry. Others would claim it began earlier, with the founding of the earliest fintech startups in the various fintech verticals of payment, remittances, crowdfunding, lending, asset management and marketplaces. And then there are others — banking and finance veterans — who try to remind us that fintech is merely the latest buzzword coming off the backs of earlier waves of digitization in banking and finance that gave us online banking over WAP before the age of smartphones.

Over the past few decades, the definition of fintech has expanded rapidly to match the relentless pace of technological progress; from the initial application of technology to the back-end of banking and finance, to its present-day portmanteau that applies innovation to the frontiers of information and communication technology, transforming financial activities for individuals and companies. With the likes of networking, computer science, computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning and even distributed ledger technology, we’re seeing the complete overhaul of the finance experience for individuals and companies across the realms of trade, banking, financial advisory, and in the origination, underwriting, pricing, promotion and operations of financial products.

History Repeats Itself, I-Win-You-Lose, but There Is Hope.

As the Luddites of the early 18th century (1811–1816) have shown us, technology-induced disruptions in any industry tend to incite significant feelings of helplessness and despair among the disenfranchised, while exacerbating gaps in efficiency and competitiveness between those who become adept in harnessing its innovation and those who can’t. I started my career in 2006 as a policy maker specializing in the ICT industry in Singapore, became an early-stage technology venture capitalist in 2010 investing in tech startups in Southeast Asia and North America and have been a tech entrepreneur in Southeast Asia since 2013. Across all three sides of the table — initially as policy maker, industry developer and regulator, later on as investor and fund manager and most recently as entrepreneur and business leader — I have developed keen appreciation for the levels of close cooperation and ‘constructive agility’ needed between regulators, innovators and consumers to ensure that there is a sufficiently robust regulatory sandbox to give innovation room to thrive, while minimizing those that are left behind by the growing digital divide.

It is with the above in mind that I laud OJK’s invoking of Indonesia’s gotong royong kampung spirit as encouragement for greater collaboration between alternative fintech and mainstream banking and consumer finance. It is a breath of fresh air amidst antagonistic media portrayal that positions fintech companies as upstarts competing with financial institutions for customers and eroding the income of those who are slow to embrace new technologies. Ironically, some banks have even been quoted to expect regulators to level the playing field by ensuring that there is equal regulation between traditional banks and the fintech industry to ensure that banks will have no difficulty in competing with new-kid-on-the-block fintech. Among fintech players, Aidil of UangTeman has not helped matters by suggesting that the Indonesian online lending is a tragedy waiting to unfold for regulators and investors alike, thanks to the easy availability of cheap and dumb foreign capital flooding into Indonesia seeking fast and aggressive growth.

As banking, finance and fintech industries experience rising entropy, we see those among us who have chosen the easier “I-win-you-lose” narrative and focus on negatives and how our differences divide us and potentially hurt one another. I stand opposed to this regressive view and adopt the other side of the same coin, arguing instead that it is much more sensible for upstart fintech and mainstream banking and finance to seek out common ground and mutually beneficial opportunities. I am heartened to note that I am not alone in holding this view, and am at least joined by banking veterans such as Jerry Ng, President Director of Bank BTPN, who discussed the differences in operating cadence between traditional banks and fintech companies, urging both parties to leverage on their core strengths in credit scoring using unconventional data by relying on the balance sheet of banks and the data science capabilities of fintech players.

TunaiKita as Part of Indonesia’s Fintech “Gotong Royong”

My talk at Money 20/20 Asia titled “Enabling Smarter Credit Decisions with New Datasets and Models”.

As one of Indonesian regulator OJK’s forty-odd registered peer-to-peer lending platforms, TunaiKita has actively promoted our unique institution-to-peer (i2p) lending platform — the first of its kind in Indonesia — to our banking and multifinance lending partners in Indonesia. Unlike traditional crowdsourcing peer-to-peer players in Indonesia, we do not accept consumer lenders on our platform and instead work exclusively with institutional lenders such as local banks and multi-finance companies.

Our mobile app is accessible across the 27 largest cities in Indonesia, across the islands of Java; Jabodetabek as 5 cities, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Kudus, Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Magelang, Malang, Kediri, Jember, Gresik, Banyuwangi), Bali (Denpasar), Sumatra (Medan, Palembang, Padang, Pekanbaru, Batam), Kalimantan (Banjarmasin) and Sulawesi (Makassar, Manado, Pontianak).

Our fraud-resistant platform acquires new and repeat individual borrowers entirely via online channels through their smartphones and our mobile app, performs e-KYC to ensure their identity and provides borrowers with an accurate credit score powered by our proprietary ‘lending robot’. Individuals can then apply for loans that match their needs, backed by institutional lenders.

As a peer-to-peer loan arranger, we recommend and facilitate a loan between our institutional lenders and consumer borrowers, giving Indonesians anywhere-anytime access to unsecured consumer loans from the convenience of their smartphones, with loan amounts ranging from as low as Rp.500rb up to Rp.20mio with flexible tenures of between 10 days to 12 months. We approve and disburse loans to borrowers’ bank accounts 7 days a week within 24 to 36 hours via multiple redundant integrations with local Indonesian payment providers. We remind borrowers to repay on time and conduct respectful loan collection from overdue borrowers on behalf of our institutional lenders.

Despite being a startup in Indonesia with barely a year of operations under our belt, TunaiKita is actually a subsidiary of Wecash, a big data tech company founded in Beijing in 2013 that has since raised more than US$260 million over 4 rounds and more than 800 people across our offices in China, North America, Brazil, Singapore, India and Vietnam. TunaiKita also counts publicly-listed multi-finance company Danasupra Erapacific (IDX:DEFI) as its local minority shareholder. We have successfully commenced a lending collaboration with our first BUKU III bank earlier this year; all this while growing our Asia Pacific team to over 100 people across Singapore, Indonesia, Beijing, India and Vietnam, and climbing up the ladder to become the top free lending app in the Finance category of Indonesia’s Google Play Store since 22 May 2017.

It takes the Wecash village — comprising of our team, lending partners and tech partners — to raise the TunaiKita child. It would take everyone to embrace the gotong royong spirit (and each other) if we are to move the fintech-finance industry forward in the coming years.

Indonesia Fintech’s Four Horsemen: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt and Greed

Yet, all our talk about collaboration in Indonesia fintech will go nowhere if we allow ourselves to be blinded by fintech-finance industry’s Four Horsemen.

Conquest, War, Famine and Death, reborn as Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt & Greed

Let me start with Fear.

There is a common misconception that fintech companies should have higher non-performing loan (NPL) ratios compared to traditional banks and consumer finance companies. Purporters of this fallacy fail to recognize the technological prowess of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to collect vastly more data and to dynamically train and tune credit models and cut-offs to achieve far better and responsive results than traditional underwriting typically conducted in mainstream financial institutions. By conflating NPL of consumer loans to that of corporate loans, or by relying on snapshot portfolio NPL instead of more indicative NPL figures via vintage analysis, we allow ourselves to be distracted by the shadows of fintech’s “high NPL” and fail to appreciate its benefits in providing greater financial access to the missing middle in the Indonesian society.

Next comes Uncertainty.

Another common misconception is that higher NPL by fintech companies relative to banks and multifinance companies’ NPL ratios equals higher risk and implies poorer credit quality and portfolio performance. Propagators of these falsehoods fail to recognize that thin-file, new-to-credit customers are inherently higher-risk and harder to acquire compared to more digitally aware, bankable consumers. Interest rates for shorter-term loans will always be higher for riskier borrowers than installment loans for borrowers with better credit scores, to account for higher loan delinquencies in those borrower segments. The NPL of any new loan portfolio with new borrower segments will always take time to stabilize as credit models get trained and underwriting improves.

And then there’s Doubt.

How could fintech companies ever identify and approve borrowers without requiring a wet (ink) signature? Indonesian banks need to comply with face-to-face Customer Due Diligence (CDD) KYC processes or fallback to biometric (face, fingerprint and/or iris scanning) protocols. How can Indonesian regulators so cavalierly permit fintech companies without greater levels of equity capitalization to perform seemingly weaker versions of e-KYC act as peer-to-peer arrangers of loans? Can Indonesian banks act as institutional lenders via fintech P2P regulatory frameworks? How would banks’ CDD KYC requirements work under P.OJK77/2016? Should peer-to-peer fintech companies be subjected to greater equity capitalization requirements than just the minimum IDR 2.5 billion OJK mandated?

There are so many questions lingering on our minds, yet so few ready answers to blow away the clouds of Doubt. Yet, if there is a will, there will be a way. You can be a doubter by the sidelines, or you can be a do-er and build this industry up, felling one doubt at a time alongside the rest of us in the fintech-finance industry.

Last but not least, we are left with Greed.

As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Yet, even amongst fintech players, there are some who view other peers as competitors out to starve each other of oxygen in the room. I think the fintech industry is currently far too nascent in development to focus on competing with our peers. The market is large and early enough such that we aren’t yet bumping into each others’ elbows (yet!). The finance industry is also unique in the sense that no one winner can ever take all. It behaves more like a network of centralized trust nodes. Banks lend to each other and also to multi-finance companies, while consumers borrow from different banks and multi-finance at different times for different purposes. We have also seen how a bank’s popular loan product often quickly inspires countless other me-toos by other banks.

And in other news, money is green.

This same network effect between capital, corporations and consumers is set to repeat itself in the fintech-finance industry where sharing, collaboration and frenemies should always trump outright disdain, antagonistic relationships and petty squabbles between competitors.

I’m pretty sure fintech naysayers are gleefully clapping when we fight among ourselves and jostle for favour with regulators. I have come to learn about interest groups that lobby regulators for an interest rate cap to create greater distinction between lintah darat-like payday loans and peer-to-peer platform loans. This goes against the spirit of “gotong royong”. First up, payday loans are short-term loans alongside installment loans for consumers and corporate loans for businesses, with each serving entirely different borrower segments and risk profiles. Peer-to-peer is a mechanism of loan arrangement and co-underwriting, and can be used to facilitate loans to consumers or companies. It does not make sense to compare the two. Secondly, I do not believe it is pareto-efficient to prematurely introduce lending interest rate controls in the name of “consumer protection” from “predatory interest rates” this early in our growth curve when Indonesia will be better served in letting the market undergo several years of price discovery (just like China did) and permitting fintechs to bring thin-file, new-to-credit customers onto the SLIK system and our newly formed credit bureau databases.

Profit (or Loss) = Principal x (1 — NPL) x (1+loan interest) less Operating Expenses less User Acquisition Cost less Cost of Funds

No matter whether you are a fintech peer-to-peer arranger, a bank or multi-finance, we all operate upon the same universal formula (above). With or without enforced interest rate caps, the inherent NPL of subprime new-to-credit customers will stay the same; capping loan interest can only result in an increase in the Cost of Funds to maintain overall profitability. A clearer distinction needs to be made on consumer protection as applied to consumers as lenders and consumers as borrowers. In deliberating on consumer protection where consumers are borrowers, regulators should avoid the heavy hand of interest rate caps and focus more on consumers’ financial literacy, standardized interest calculation and fee representation by peer-to-peer platforms.

Gotong royong is the only way for Indonesia fintech. What do you think?


It’s been an exciting past year and a half in the Indonesian fintech industry, and I thank my team and institutional lending partners for their support. I’ve learnt a ton from my friends and partners in the industry and look forward to speaking to more like-minded folks on how we can harness the kampung “gotong royong” spirit to transform the consumer finance experience for individuals across Indonesia. You can write to me at james@wecash.asia or james@tunaikita.com.

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

My year in review, and some thoughts for the year ahead.

This is the last week of 2017, and as the year draws to a close, I stay in Singapore and try to slow down a little, breath and think. It’s my annual ritual to reflect upon the past year and plan for the next, a habit I started since last year’s transition from 2016 to 2017. I subscribe to the belief that privacy is a modern invention that has since become obsolete; our hyper-connected world has changed the playing field from physical rivers and coastal areas into digital rivers and waterways in which our physical constraints no longer hold sway. The better we get at managing a cohesive self in our networked world, the better we develop our abilities to surf the disruptive waves of data and technology that lies ahead of us.

Sunset in Australia
The most beautiful sunset during our 2+ week November getaway in Mount Tamborine, Australia

Last month, I took a long trip with the family to Queensland, starting with Gold Coast and Mount Tamborine and ending at Brisbane. The trip helped me break from my usual daily mad-rush routine and reflect upon the past year. If 2016 was a year of consolidation, 2017 was a year of endings and beginnings for me on all fronts. I’d like to share my thoughts here in adherence to my adoption of radical transparency in my life.

The Silicon Straits Group, in Transition

THE PIRATES’ 3-year journey

Silicon Straits is turning three — it’s only been three short years but so many things have happened. Let's take a short moment to watch our short video summarizing our story so far.

Posted by Silicon Straits on Monday, May 23, 2016
A commemorative video made by the Vietnam team during our third anniversary; happier moments forever cherished amongst our alumni.

This year, I was sad to preside over the end of my Silicon Straits Foundry partnership with Kent Nguyen and Andy Bui after a solid run of 3+ years. We started our Vietnam office in 2013 as a subsidiary of Silicon Straits, growing to a team of 30 in Saigon in 6 months and reaching a peak of more than 90-strong in end-2016. Earlier this year, we spun out one-third of the team to become the IT arm of 7-Eleven Vietnam, sold another one-third of the team to a regional tech unicorn for cash and stock and spun out the remaining team into an independent design studio playfully named Naughty Vision. It was a good financial outcome for all of us, but I couldn’t ignore the bittersweetness of it all.

I had started experiencing increasing friction on management matters with Kent Nguyen and Andy Bui throughout the second half of 2016 till its end — ironic given how 2016 was Silicon Straits Foundry’s biggest year ever in terms of revenue, profits or team size in our brief 3-odd years of existence —with the straw that broke the camel back being the manner in which the 7-Eleven Vietnam tech spin-out was structured without Silicon Straits Foundry’s involvement or my opinion. That led me to put an end to our partnership, starting with the sale of our 20-odd strong Bluebird project team in February, our ex-CEO Jonas Eichhorst’s departure also at or about February, the paring-down of surplus headcount in Vietnam throughout the year by Andy and finally ending with the spinning out of Naughty Vision in November. With the massive changes in direction and partner dynamics, Jonas and I both felt there wasn’t much point for him to stick around so he left shortly after the acquisition. We’re now in the final throes of a clean cut between Vietnam and Singapore, and I’m glad to be in a position to put everything behind us going into 2018.

A spanking new 7-Eleven Vietnam store opens in November in place of our quasi-public cafe in Phu My Hung.

I guess things could have ended on a better note given how our trio had gone out with a (good) bang — clocking our successful first and profitable entrepreneurial exit — but you make lemonade when life serves you lemons. I’m glad we’re all now in a position to put things behind us and move on. I’d also prefer we counted our blessings and shared memories rather than focus on any of the lows along the way. I’ve had a profitable venture fund with Neoteny Labs and can now add the next feather to my cap in the profitable exit with Silicon Straits Foundry. I’ve learnt a ton from my Vietnam experiment and wish Kent and Andy all the best in their future endeavours.

From the ashes of Silicon Straits Foundry rose a new subsidiary Silicon Jungles that I cofounded with old buddy Sam Hon in March, where we built a boutique Singapore-based agile product foundry team building interesting stuff that will launch in early 2018. It’s always refreshing to start anew and rebuild while applying the learnings from my Vietnam experiment. One of our first collaboration is with AsiaBoxOffice to build the “Stubhub of Asia Pacific” through a joint venture named ABO Labs. I’m really honoured to be working with Sam who I greatly respect as a serial tech entrepreneur and CTO virtuoso, and we’ve been cooking up a storm thus far with some interesting loafs of opportunities in our proverbial oven. Hit us up if you’re looking for a new challenge and want to know more[1].

Our tribe at Silicon Straits is all about the perfect balance between venture capital and venture building; investing in the convergence of design, hardware and software and operating at the intersection of ideas, capital and talent. After investing in Carro in 2016, I then co-invested with Aaron Tan into PolicyPal. I also invested into Udu (a Neoteny 3 fund portfolio), Razmig’s new startup Pixel Labs and SurePark. I also made a significant investment into TunaiKita, the Indonesian subsidiary of Wecash, as part of our group’s venture builder strategy.

Thanks to Sam, Ken and Celine at Silicon Jungles and also Sandra, Helena and the rest of the amazing team at SmoothOps[2], I’ve been able to spend ~10%-15% of my energy on team building, strategy and business development without any detrimental impact to our growth, while throwing myself into the next challenge of my life, Wecash Southeast Asia.

[1]I wish I could share more, but we hate to count our chickens before they hatch.
[2]I invested and started with Sandra and Helena in 2014 as a subsidiary of Silicon Straits but have since sold part of our stake back to them, turning the company into just an affiliate of our Group.

Project Wecash in Southeast Asia

Wecash cofounder & CEO George Zhi (支正春) with me in Cambodia in Jan 2017

The bulk of my time this year was spent on jumpstarting Wecash in Southeast Asia as CEO for the region. I tied up the joint venture agreement between all parties for our go-to-market in Indonesia just before Chinese New Year. Frontend product design and development started right after, led by my able lieutenant Zeng Feng Ping and her then-small team in Beijing as we made good progress. On 22 May, we launched our online lending platform on Indonesia’s Google Play Store and submitted our registration application to OJK after a mere 14 weeks. We made our app public and held our press conference on 26 July. We then completed our registration with OJK on 24 August and started the 1-year countdown to full compliance with OJK’s P.OJK77/2016 regulatory framework for peer-to-peer fintech players. We had initially launched with only cash instalment loans with tenures of 3 to 6 months but added short-term loans with tenures of 10 to 30 days towards the end of September. I would spend most if not all of my weekdays in Jakarta, with the occasional trip to Beijing. From a humble beginning of just 5-strong in Beijing and myself in mid-December 2016, the Wecash Southeast Asia team grew to today’s team of 7 in Singapore, 50-odd in Jakarta and 29 in Beijing. In 2018, I expect our family to grow across the region and look forward to welcoming new team members and entering new markets in the coming weeks and months.

On 22 May, we launched our online lending platform on Indonesia’s Google Play Store and submitted our registration application to OJK after a mere 14 weeks. We made our app public and held our press conference on 26 July. We then completed our registration with OJK on 24 August and started the 1-year countdown to full compliance with OJK’s P.OJK77/2016 regulatory framework for peer-to-peer fintech players. We had initially launched with only cash instalment loans with tenures of 3 to 6 months but added short-term loans with tenures of 10 to 30 days towards the end of September. I would spend most if not all of my weekdays in Jakarta, with the occasional trip to Beijing. From a humble beginning of just 5-strong in Beijing and myself in mid-December 2016, the Wecash Southeast Asia team grew to today’s team of 7 in Singapore, 50-odd in Jakarta and 29 in Beijing. In 2018, I expect our family to grow across the region and look forward to welcoming new team members and entering new markets in the coming weeks and months.

My fellow director and TunaiKita cofounder Andry Huzain hard at work.

Peer-to-peer lending in Indonesia is truly at an inflection point as we head into 2018. I’m excited that we’re getting a chance to apply first principles of mobile, technology and finance to build the best institution-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia and provide sustainable, responsible credit to improve the lives of our customers. I’m a lot less bearish than fellow fintech entrepreneur Aidil Zulkifli who recently published an op-ed on TechinAsia titled “Indonesian online lending is a tragedy waiting to unfold”. I acknowledge there is a fair amount of hype especially from the seemingly never-ending pipeline of Chinese lenders looking to enter Indonesia. I also concur that some form of reality check will kick in at some point across the sector. Having said that, I do not agree with many of Aidil’s other points and believe his strawman and logical fallacies deserve a post of its own; stay tuned!

Team TunaiKita at work in Setiabudi Atrium.

I’m particularly pleased with what the team has accomplished in 2017; we set out to avoid reusing any design or code from China to avoid inheriting any technical debt or China-specific design that won’t work in Indonesia. George and I swapped plenty of notes and I studied our China apps as well as our competitors’ in both China and Indonesia to ensure we had a product that could delight our users. It was the first time I played product owner, product manager and programme manager all at once while building out our Indonesian team and its operations with my TunaiKita cofounder Andry Huzain. It was a lot more intensive and at-scale than building up Silicon Straits Foundry in Ho Chi Minh, and I felt truly challenged for the first time in a long while.

Our Customer Excellence team at one of their internal coordination meetings, led by Astrid who had just joined us from UangTeman.

I’m really proud of our team in Jakarta and Beijing that accompanied us through our 22 May launch; we burnt long hours and consecutive weekends with nary a complain to ensure that we could launch on time. I remember the personal sacrifices made by folks such as Andry, Feng Ping (and many others in our Southeast Asia team in Beijing), Mega, Gerry, Ben, Ardi, Bambang, Nadia and Princess, when we operated out of Setiabudi Rework and later when we partially moved into our partially renovated office in Setiabudi Atrium; those days will always serve to remind us of what’s possible when we’re fully aligned and motivated.

TunaiKita's main entrance, afterhours

As our product organisation grew over this past year, I started stepping back from the product management role and handed more of the product’s ropes over to Joe Lee who joined us as Head of Product. We added to our team across all departments and deployed our first real-time loan underwriting engine in November after having collected enough training data and backtesting our initial model against our historic portfolio. Our Android app is now live in 18 cities across Indonesia, with the count slated to rise to 26 cities by the end of next month. We’re set to welcome our first institutional peer lender next month alongside our own affiliated peer lender, with many more institutional lenders in our pipeline. Our product and technology roadmap is looking strong. I expect rapid growth in the coming year, with a good shot at profitability if we achieve or exceed my forecast for 2018.

Me at work in the office I share with Andry; can you spot the Forbidden Research scarf I kept from MIT Media Lab’s conference in July 2016?

I’ve been an extremely demanding leader in 2017, and my expectations are only set to go higher as the peaks ahead of us that we need to scale grow taller. I expect a lot from myself and expect the same high standards from those around me. I apologise in advance to my team and partners if I come across as being too blunt and direct, unrelentless and unforgiving, but I do not suffer fools gladly, yearn to meet people who can point out my mistakes, and hope you’ll understand where I’m coming from if you ever cross my line of fire. Only then can we have a solid chance at building a world-class product and company that serves tens of millions across Southeast Asia well.

On Friends and Family

They grow like weeds and are cute-as-hell; I miss them dearly whenever I‘m not by their sides.

I’ve been a terrible friend, husband and father in 2017. I don’t make enough time for myself, and by extension, to my friends and my wife and children. Over the past few years, my friends and work contacts have overlapped to the point that I’ve got a small circle of work-related friends who I resonate with and at different points in time, spend more time with. I can count on one hand the number of non-work friends I’m still weakly in touch with. I had to turn down a year-end party invite by Wei Qing yesterday evening as our helper had gone home for the holiday period and I was neck deep in housework and caring for the kids. I flew almost every week and am only home on weekends. Even when I’m home, my mind is racing so fast as I subconsciously juggle the various moving parts on my work and personal fronts that my wonderful wife has had to tolerate me being “physically present but mentally absent” at times.

My younger dorky self at a group photo from our joint December camp hosted by Raffles Computer Science Club during my teenage years. This must have been taken in 1996 or 1997. It was refreshing to actually have female geeks to interact with for a change as Raffles Institution had been an all-boys affair during my 4 years there, from 1994 through 1997.

A work friend of mine asked me 2 weeks ago over breakfast whether being this much “on the edge” was worthwhile. I paused for a bit, commenting that she had asked a darn good question, before replying that I no longer know how to stand going any slower, but am striving for lagom in everything that I set out to be or do. After all, we only live once and time travel is not possible (yet).

Family portrait at Gold Coast Movieworld
Our recent family portrait with a subset of the Justice League; Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash!

2017 also marked the year where I got back into cryptocurrencies. I bought a secondhand Butterfly Labs 5Gh/s Bitcoin Miner that ran at 9+Gh/s (probably overclocked) back in 2014 and mined a grand total of 0.18 BTC before it went kaput (suspected quality control problem on the PCB, likely due to the overclocking). I lost my USD bank accounts from my college days due to inactivity and gave up too easily trying to figure out ways to buy in (big mistake). I ended up buying some BTC, ETH and XRP and trading some and believe I’ll be getting back into cryptocurrencies in 2018 in a much bigger way than I was in 2017 or 2014.

The Birthday Book 2017: What Should We Never Forget?

Last but not least, there’s The Birthday Collective that I helped jumpstart in 2016 with a S$25,000 donation. This year saw the release of our second edition, with 52 essays responding to the prompt, “What Should We Never Forget?” I also oversaw a website refresh, and worked with Cherie Lim and Malminderjit Singh to incorporate The Birthday Collective Limited as a Public Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) and (finally) open our bank account. Wei Leong was so kind as to whip our accounting books into shape via Google Sheets. Malminderjit got us some publicity via a series of 5-minute phone interviews during 938FM’s Monday lunch slots. Still, I felt that we had lost a bit of momentum after the launch of the book as everyone got busy with their own work and lives. I hope we’ll rally and execute better in 2018 as we head into our third edition with 53 new contributors sharing with us their thoughts on “The Roads We Take”. Volunteers are always welcomed!

This post was originally posted on my Medium account and mirrored here on 12 Jan 2020.