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✨STIMY 32: BeReal & Be Honest?

Published over 1 year ago • 5 min read

So This Is My Why | Issue 32

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Hey STIMYers,

It's been a hot minute.

While I don't tend to go political here, it'd be remiss of me to not touch on an earth-shattering event in Malaysia:

What happened?

Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment & a fine of RM 210 million (USD 47 million).

According to the Chief Justice:

Putting aside the personality of the appellant, this is a simple and straightforward case of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Why?

Najib was involved in the $4.5 billion graft scandal at the 1MD state fund (over $1 billion went to accounts linked to Najib).

The US Department of Justice even ended up opening its biggest kleptocracy investigation. 🤦🏻‍♀️

It's Surreal

Most Malaysians didn't think this day would ever come. There were plenty of shenanigans involved in the court proceedings, where the defence tried to:

But could the sentencing be overturned?

Yup.

  1. Via royal pardon (he must apply within the next 14 days)
  2. An application to the Federal Court to review the verdict - it'll be heard by a different of judges in the Federal Court, but this rarely succeeds unless e.g. there's been a breach of natural justice

TL;DR

Stay tuned. A "Get Out of Jail Free" card might still be around the corner.

Alright enough politics. Let's move on to the next part!

STIMY Episode 87: Startup Success if Worse than Startup Failure?!

STIMY Ep 87 featured a guest I never thought I'd get: Phil Libin - co-founder of Evernote.

Yes, that green-coloured note taking app.

What I loved was how contrarian Phil's views were and how, frankly, he didn't care that he went against the grain. Things like how being a co-founder is frankly the worst thing a person can do - it's brutal & traumatising (and honestly, why put yourself through that when you can just read Wikipedia?).

Oh, and he also thinks blockchain is bullsh** & that he hates the metaverse. 🙊

Lots to unpack, but here are some highlights:

  • 4:52 Being fired from his job selling ice-cream
  • 6:11 Taking 30 years to complete his degree?!
  • 8:15 Working with essentially the same core group of friends to build 5 startups
  • 11:13 Selling Engine5 for $26 million, Hollywood-style
  • 15:52 Building something for himself (Evernote)
  • 18:19 Startup failure is brutal; startup success is much worse & much harder
  • 20:57 Three types of regret
  • 22:48 Maintaining his principles & ethics
  • 26:30 3-year game plan for mmhmm
  • 31:07 Why Phil hates the metaverse
  • 32:27 Crypto blockchain is bullsh*t
  • 33:45 The promise of blockchain is just communist propaganda?
  • 37:14 Training himself to like what he hates, including durians!
  • 39:57 How listeners can help Phil Libin

Places to listen to: Website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes

Looking for past STIMY guests to listen to? Check out:

  • Eric Toda: Global Head of Social Marketing & Head of Meta Prosper, Meta
  • Nicole Quinn: General Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners; investor and/or board member at Calm, Cameo, Lunchclub, Haus Laboratories (Lady Gaga), The Honest Company (Jessica Alba), Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow), Girlboss (Sophia Amoruso) etc.
  • Tibor Merey: Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group - on how companies can enter the metaverse

Favourite Finds of the Week

1. The "Honest" LinkedIn

Let's flip the topic of corruption on its head & talk about one of the hottest "honest" apps around: Blind

What's Blind?

A South Korean app where - after registering with your work email - you can anonymously scroll, read and submit questions relating to your work/life/career.

Kyum Kim, co-founder & Head of Blind's US operations, said:

On LinkedIn, you are promoting yourself to the public, whereas Blind is a safe space for people to have peer-to-peer discussions, without the fear of being judged or retaliation.

Personal Verdict

The majority of users seem to be FAANG software engineers.

Everyone is very open with their YOE (years of experience) and TC (total compensation).

Some topics that have surfaced:

  • Not happy with appraisal hike - next steps?
  • When will LinkedIn lift hiring freeze?
  • Which offer should I choose?
  • Highest paying companies based in Austin
  • Just joined a new startup, and matched with one of the co-founders on Bumble
  • Climbing the corporate ladder with young kids
  • Do you regret joining Robinhood?

As you can see, a pretty fascinating range of topics, albeit rather US-centric!

Links: Blind

2. BeReal

BeReal is the anti-Instagram or the ultimate anti-social media.

What is BeReal?

Every day, you get a random alert from BeReal telling you to take a photo of your current surroundings in 2 minutes. When you do so, the front-facing camera also takes a photo of you.

Why this matters?

People are spending far too much time on social media. Way too much effort on filters, curation & "trying" to be authentic.

But if you get a random alert in the middle of cooking, frazzled hair and all, and less than 2 minutes to get that shot - that's arguably far more "authentic".

Personal thoughts:

  • Interesting concept; but it didn't have any stickiness factor for me. I wasn't bothered whether I missed a day or not but that might be because my "community" isn't on the app and I wasn't interested in scrolling through my feed
  • While the alert does tell you to post in 2 minutes, you aren't barred from posting a photo hours later (until the following day's alert comes). So... curation can/does still happen

Link: BeReal

3. This Person Does Not Exist

We had Honest LinkedIn, then BeReal.

Now, let's BeFake.

What is "This Person Does Not Exist"?

This is a one-click, AI face generator.

How To Use:

  1. Go here
  2. You'll get an image of a random person. It looks realistic BUT the person does not exist!!
  3. Click refresh to get another real-fake image served up (it updates every 2-3 seconds)

Fun Fact

The creation of photographs of non-existent people was never the intent.

Instead, the main goal was to train the AI to recognise fake faces & faces in general. But since the code was publicly available, a Uber engineer took it & created a random face generator that blew everyone's collective minds.

Link: This Person Does Not Exist

4. BRAVE Podcast: Ling Yah

The irony of having released 89 episodes... I'm still shy when it comes to listening to myself speak!

Jeremy Au, a VC at Monk's Hill, recently interviewed me on my podcast journey (Episode 190 on the BRAVE podcast).

If you'd like to know the genesis behind STIMY, my main learnings & why one of the questions I always ask all my guests - what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? - means so much to me...

You'll find it all in the BRAVE episode.

If it's not too much, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it too!

Just smash the reply button below.

Link: BRAVE episode

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Ian Lee, Syndicate DAO
  • Alejandro Navia, founder of nft now
  • Chrissy Hill, General Counsel at Parity Technologies

See you next week! 😊

Ling Yah

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