Earning My Fintech Stripe//s

I am excited to start my new role leading Asia Pacific Communications at Stripe; to help accelerate the region’s online economy and the commercial agility of APAC businesses with one of the world’s most ambitious and fastest growing technology companies. 

Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. You might have heard how the company helps businesses from all over the world access the global online commerce market with sophisticated software tools. In fact, many exciting Asian and global organizations are powered by Stripe – such as Amazon, Booking.com, Facebook, FashionValet, Grab, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Klook, Shopify, Slack, Spotify, UNICEF, Zoom Video Communications and many more. Stripe’s products are helping them quickly expand globally and build new kinds of revenue models. 

So, why Stripe? 

Well, throughout my career, I have been privileged to enjoy front-row seats at some of the most revolutionary companies during truly transformative times. It’s where I honed my love for the sense of adventure that comes from working towards an inspiring, yet challenging, future vision. At Stripe, I look forward to building what we’re calling a “global payments and treasury network” – creating the infrastructure that will make it possible for hundreds of millions of businesses to participate in global commerce via the internet, regardless of where they come from. 

You’d think that much of this has been solved but only a tiny fraction of global commerce is happening online (~6-7%) and the financial services space is changing faster than it ever has. There are so many gaps to close to make it really easy for a company to do business wherever they want: accepting payments and understanding how consumer behaviours differ around the world is one of them. Being compliant is another. And keeping up with the fast pace of innovation in technology simply makes it incredibly costly and time-consuming for businesses to be competitive. If you’re a small business, a century old institution or a startup, how are you supposed to keep up? All this has become even more vital in a post-COVID-19 era, now that the whole world has come to rely on the internet to buy and sell goods and services. 

Besides Stripe’s mission, I was also drawn to the company by the people I’ve encountered at the company. Speaking with them, I often walked away from each conversation feeling like I wanted to continue the conversation further with whom I felt were very gracious, bright, engaging people; clearly a great reflection of the company culture as well as the talent Stripe brings on board. 

I also love how Stripe is committed to the APAC region. We are building out local engineering capabilities, with our hub in Singapore and our new engineering office in Japan, to ensure locally relevant solutions that help businesses grow further. Tens of thousands of businesses in Australia and New Zealand rely on Stripe since we launched in 2014 and 2017, respectively. We’re also available in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and are eyeing to expand into many more countries (stay tuned!). 

All this is certainly a lot, but we’re only getting started! Some consider Stripe “the internet’s most undervalued company,” so there is still much more to do. 

Wish me luck as I take on this new challenge! 

(Or join me – we’re still growing the team!)

Four Oh.

As I approached the big four-oh, I spent some time reflecting how to mark this milestone birthday. I decided, on a whim, to write down forty things that came to mind in a stream-of-consciousness exercise when I looked back on four decades of life. These are, in no particular order, personal truths as well as collected wisdom, cliches, quotes, and corny sayings that have helped shape the way I see the world, to date. I write them here for posterity; maybe for a time in the future to look back and see how or if things have changed for me. 

  1. Loved ones, always.
  2. Make time. Give the people who matter what’s right, not what’s left.
  3. Some stuff matters; not as many do; and what you thought did, sometimes doesn’t.
  4. Admitting fault and saying sorry is difficult, but necessary.
  5. You can’t go wrong doing the right thing. The trick is knowing what the right thing is.
  6. Do not abandon in the dark what you have learned in the light – C.S. Lewis.
  7. Failure isn’t final, but it sure stings – even if it’s only for a little while.
  8. Be grace-full – life’s hard, people are broken and, sometimes, we’re all just trying to make it through the day.
  9. “Always give yourself options.” – Mom
  10. Pursue excellence, but don’t be held captive by it. Sometimes, good enough needs to be good enough.
  11. You have limits. Pretending you don’t or ignoring them only limits you further.
  12. Get enough sleep.
  13. Live life in ways that help you sleep well.
  14. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 
  15. Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
  16. “We are all given the same amount of time to live – a lifetime.” – Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “Death, The High Cost Of Living.”
  17. Recognise “The Moment”; take hold of it! But this can only come from being fully present.
  18. Bad shit happens. Sometimes there’s no meaning and purpose… but it can be redeemed.
  19. Sometimes, it’s just plain, dumb luck. So, remember to check your privilege.
  20. “You form your habits, then your habits form you.” – Sarah
  21. “Schedule your priorities, not prioritise your schedule.” – Danny
  22. “Malaysia isn’t Bangsar.” – Dr. Vincent Lim
  23. More showing, less telling.
  24. You are not entitled to your opinion, but what you can argue for.
  25. Pursue wisdom.
  26. Wisdom worth pursuing: how to live life well, how to interact with others, and how to manage money.
  27. There’s a difference between Wisdom and knowledge.
  28. There is wisdom that can only come from experience, when you can finally say, “Ah, I get it now.”
  29. This, too, shall pass. Maybe like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
  30. Getting up after falling down is a feat unto itself.
  31. It’s okay to ask for help; it gets you there faster.
  32. Grit and determination are required.
  33. There’s a lot of good, valid, but contradictory advice.
  34. Life is often lived in the gray.
  35. Your principles are anchor points in the raging, ever-changing sea called Life.
  36. Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly something.
  37. Smile more, laugh a lot.
  38. The days are long, but the years are short.
  39. It’s not the number of years in your life, but the amount of life in your years.
  40. Never underestimate the power of carefully-worded nonsense.

My birthday wish, as I start this new season of life, is to be better: a better husband, father, son, Follower, and friend. Here’s to Four Oh, and beyond.

Rumah Netflix – Now Streaming in Jakarta

Our Netflix spokespersons together with Iko Wais. Source: IDN Times

I was really proud of the team for successfully carrying out our Rumah Netflix (or, Netflix House, in Bahasa Indonesia) in Jakarta yesterday! The experiential event was designed to build brand and product awareness among local media, policy stakeholders, telco and content partners, as well as social media influencers. It was a showcase of our product and service innovations told through the lens of our content offering in an emerging country like Indonesia.

We were also graced with the presence of Iko Wais, one of Indonesia’s top actors, who stars and stunt-coordinates our latest show, Wu Assassins.

Read more about our Rumah Netflix here.

The Hollywood Reporter: Netflix’s Strategy for Southeast Asian Originals Begins to Take Shape

I’m really pleased how this story landed.

Working cross-functionally, I set out to amplify how Netflix is a platform where the treasure trove of stories from Southeast Asia transcend boundaries and are shared with the world in diverse languages and genres. I was keen to highlight Netflix’s ambition in the region and how it is charting new territories by putting the spotlight on talented regional filmmakers and bringing them beyond their home countries.

The story landed very well, and I’m particularly thrilled at the ringing endorsements that came from our creator partners:

“Southeast Asia not only offers new frontiers for streamers in terms of creators and content but providers such as Netflix, which was launched across the region in 2015, are still only really taking root across the region. The idea of giving Thai content expansive global distribution through Netflix really excites me. It opens up many new possibilities in terms of the stories that we want to tell the world and also the kind of genres which we may have not had the opportunities to do either because of budget constraints or local market demands.”

Ekachai Uekrongtham, executive producer at Grammy, Thailand, as well as head of Bravo! Studios, GMM Studios International

The impact of this story went further as well, especially when it was syndicated to other key markets across Asia.