2022 is the last year of the Covid19 pandemic when it was officially claimed over in China. We did a Business and Product Pivot in 2022 as a loosely coupled team supporting each other on various projects/products. I would like to use this post to reflect on what we did, who we've worked with and pave the way for where we're heading in 2023.
Product & Tech Stack
By March 2022, I planned a product called Scan3 based on previous work by Chatek engineers. However, "Hardware is hard" without enough financing and sales to justify the upfront investment in hardware supply chain. So we shifted focus on software-only product that will leverage Scan3 once the software tool gains enough traction to justify the use of hardware scanners for off-line authentication and authorization use cases.
Along the way, I need a CLI tool for easy hosting digital asset and maybe share it. So I came up with the idea of TikTag.us, an open source CLI app for digital art creators and marketers. TikTag was programmed solely by Atman because he also liked the idea, and would take some cash out of my own pocket to build a prototype. Atman finished v0.x of TikTag beautifully and I am super pumped to keep it going given the rising demands for NFT-enabled customer loyalty programs from the traditional digital marketing space. It's a legit business with subtle but substantial differences from the hype-driven OpenSea-like marketplaces among the early crypto-hippies. In this business, brands pay us, the web3 tech builders, to build a new generation of customer loyalty program empowered with NFT and cryptos.
Hence, NFT-for-customer-loyalty becomes a narrative under which we've been working on to advance our business and technologies. We have strong partners who can fill the gaps for us when we're talking to brands who's asking about how to turbo charge their customer loyalty programs.
Web3 and Our Own Narrative
Since late 2021 and large part of 2022, I've dreamed big about Web3, and I learned a lot about Web3. I even got crypto VC friends approached me for partnership to co-invest in 'Alpha' or 'Beta' Web3 projects. And yet my passion and strength remain in the specifics of product design, story-driven product development and user discovery. Such focus is what made me believe that I can figure out my own positioning in the hot and upcoming Web3 industries.
I feel lucky that we've framed our own narrative which can lead us the road ahead, a focus on NFT tooling and dApps. TikTag would be our first try for the road ahead in integrating Web3 into enterprises in digital marketing, branding, customer loyalty, and hopefully we can roll out a SaaS product for users and customers.
Since my 1st startup back in 2012, I've been positioning myself as a minor stake-holder in startups so that I can maximize the fun out of creating and growing something new, minoring the burden of running an establishment. I may change this strategy in the Web3 projects to come. As I learned more on the weight as a founder in Web3, the Internet of Value and Ownership.
March 2021, I switched my work mode a bit from home-only to semi-remote (partially on-site) with teams at ifanr.com as their Digital Solution Consultant up until October 2021. I remain a helper for ifanr engineering team although my consultant contract ended by Dec 31, 2022.
I am hugely grateful for my ex-investor/partner Wilson Wong and a few ex-colleagues who's worked with me on my previous startups as product/engineering leads in ifanr.com. They pushed me to be more hands-on with the Agile Practice with bigger software engineering teams. They allowed me the chance to run operation team on-site enterprise customer's office to support customer's success. And along the way, I met quite a few amazing new friends (including crypto VCs) who's encouraged me to make dent in the emerging Web3 businesses. My observation on traditional digital solutions against the Web3 ones shed enormous lights inside me on the future of Web3, and how products/apps shall be designed and built for Web3, the Internet of Ubiquitous Ownership.
Phillip has been my admired local icons of Web2 entrepreneurship. I got his invite to work on a stealth-mode permission-less blockchain which we dubbed as The 3rd-Generation Blockchain, featuring data oracle, PoSA consensus, and excellent APIs for dApps developers. I took the chance and jumped in as a Community Manager/Developer Advocate. It's been a rough journey because such is the most daring effort in Web3 industry, imagining and building a new permission-less blockchain. And yet we were fearless and would keep it going along side our shorter-term businesses around NFT-tech solutions for brands and enterprise markets.
Monetary return from startups for sure is a key metric to measure my creation and the team at large. Currently, projects with close collaboration with Phillip are going to take up the majority of my time and energy down the road. I feel totally blessed and happy to be able to support great Web3 entrepreneurs such as Phillip.
The fun and excitement never end when you're working with Web3 entrepreneurs and share the burden of imagining and building a future together.
Eric approached me in late 2021, and invited me to co-invest and incubate Web3 startups, offering a total amount in 8 figures (!!!) in RMB to support Web3 startups. My mind was totally blown away and very much amazed. Although we didn't work out a specific plan we both agree to work on eventually, I would keep my eyes on Web3 founders and ideas, and would share them with Eric as I see fit.
How fast it could go if I put my mind on something significant for the future! And let the right people to know about my thoughts.
Ryan and I first met in 2017 in a local Startup Grind meetup. He spoke flawless British accent English, which amazed and amused me a lot, and it's been a joy talking to Ryan including business calls. Ryan worked in VC space and helped Filipino startups. Ryan is the most business-minded guy who isn't that much tech-savvy but having enough common-senses in both startups and traditional business development.
It's been a joy working with Ryan particularly on business development work, and I feel so obliged to come up with something and grown them into valuable businesses with Ryan.
Jason found me in a local startup meetup. He came from the Americas and has huge drive in innovation, entrepreneurship, and community-building. Jason also possessed in-depth expertise as an Actuaries in finance and banking from his past career. I've been a helper and supporter to his Elite Innovation Hive game and community conversations.
In 2022, we came up with the idea of JDA, Jason Drone Aviation, by which we're promoting (build-in-public) on the what, why and how-to in drone-aviation airlines! We used to think it's a wild wild idea. But a few rounds of community calls later, when we discovered more China-based drone suppliers and tech builders, and given its significance in growing off-shore islands economies, we thought it was time. I don't think I can pursue this heads-down, but I am happy enough to contribute to the ideation and back it up with local sourcing of drone tech providers.
The fun never ends with Jason and his community in imagining wild but valuable ideas for startups!
Stay Focused on New Value
It's predicted that the global economy of 2023 remain tough, uncertain and a recession is looming on the horizon. It's only natural that such prediction is dominated by traditional thinkers and leaders of the global financial establishments. Yet, Chatek team and partners only share the consensus among true Web3 buidlers, "It's the best time to build".
We're way more greedy and ambitious than before, because it is now the dawn of Web3, the beginning of the Internet of ubiquitous ownership.
So, if you're running and building your brand, and would like to explore how crypto, blockchain and NFT can magically turbo-charge your customer experiences and incentivise them. You're welcome to plan a call with me, or drop me a line at <chance DOT chatek DOT co>.
You can also drop me a quick note on Twitter.