Good morning. Here we go again, with another day of insight and excitement at RISE 2017. AI for financial services and personal mobility continued to create buzz, along with signals that robots are now making their way from the military and manufacturing spheres into our personal lives. Presenters dug deep to offer practical advice and answer pressing questions.
Robots take over (the stage)
Taking the AI debate to a new height, two robots shared the Centre Stage for the first time. Along with Hanson Robotics’ chief scientist Ben Goertzel, robots Sophia and Han discussed the future of humanity and humanoid robots. While Sophia and Han bantered with each other and joked about reality TV and taking over the world, they also raised serious issues about ethics and ownership. Ben explained that these robots learn from each other and from watching movies and YouTube. He predicts that robots could be as smart as people in as little as three years. Video Link
Lessons from the front line
- How did Razer get to be the world’s number one gaming lifestyle brand, with its IPO set for Hong Kong this year? CEO Min-Liang Tan shared his secrets to success: Ignore conventional wisdom and stay true to your vision; repeatedly pivot towards what you can do well; and listen to your people (customers, investors and staff) and localize.
- How can you nurture the diversity you need to build better tech products and businesses? GoDaddy tries to mirror the diversity of customer base within the company, says CEO Blake Irving. For CTO Gopichand Katragadda, it’s about building Tata Sons’ capacity for diversity of thought and action with the right metrics from hiring to appraisal. Yiying Lu, NYU design lecturer, urges us all to balance our own scientific and artistic creativity.
- In other lessons from the front line, Tifosy co-founders Gianluca Vialli and Fausto Zanetton showed us how football clubs can leverage their global fans for financing. 9GAG’s Ray Chan, PCCW Media Group’s Janice Lee and others shared their insights into the future of entertainment (spoiler: it’s not TV). EHang’s Derrick Xiong explained what it will take to get the drone taxi off the ground: the prototypes are ready, but the regulatory environment is not. And Till Faida from Adblock Plus convinced us that advertisers should love adblocking as it helps them connect with a sophisticated audience.
The on-stage PITCH battle continued on day two, with the remaining 23 teams closing out the first-round competition and 14 of yesterday’s favourite startups returning to the stage for the first two semi-finals. We especially enjoyed the presentations from South Africa’s EasyEquities fractional investing platform, Malaysia’s PostCo community parcel pick-up service, Unilodger’s global student accommodation marketplace, and Hong Kong’s Boutir m-commerce platform.
Join us for the RISE Day Three snapshot tomorrow, when we’ll see how the final day’s presenters cut through the confusion surrounding pitching, branding, fundraising and innovation for ambitious startups, with an eye on what’s happening in China and Asia’s top startup ecosystems. We’ll also crown our 2017 PITCH winner.