Tying the knots of Location, Communication & Video in Asia with Michael Smith Jr

Tying the knots of Location, Communication & Video in Asia with Michael Smith Jr
In this episode, Michael Smith Jr from Spuul shares his story from behind the scenes on Yahoo! acquisition of Koprol & thoughts on product management and mobile development.

In this episode, Michael Smith (otherwise known as “Smithy” or @dreampipe) from Spuul joins us here for an interesting conversation on Southeast Asia from the past to present. Starting from his current gig at Spuul, Smithy offered insights on the global video streaming market with respect to Indian content and how Spuul has to apply different business models from subscription to direct purchase to the vast Asian market. We also traced his roots back to Yahoo! on how Yahoo!’s acquisition of Koprol jump-started the chain reaction of US technology companies acquiring Southeast Asia startups. Smithy share the story behind the scenes of Koprol to why Yahoo! worked on the intersection of communication and location with payments far before the days of LINE and WeChat. While having Smithy on the podcast, he shared his thoughts on product management, the location problem for startups in Southeast Asia and challenged the dogma of iOS or Android first in the native app development space.

Here are the articles which form the basis for our discussion:

  • The story of Spuul, a video streaming service for media content in India to distributed worldwide, and how they experimented and worked out the different business models (Netflix, Hulu) and markets across the world from US, Europe to Asia. Check out their app on iOS and Android.
  • The story of Koprol parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Smithy’s time in Yahoo!: the project to build a product that combines location, payments and communication with Yahoo! messenger way before LINE and WeChat, and how they missed the boat.
  • Native app development in Asia: iOS first or Android first? and also referencing to Bernard’s guide on mobile platforms and native app development. Smithy also shared the story on why Android first worked for StylHunt, a JFDI company he mentored.
  • Product Management: Why being dogmatic about the lean startup is not going to help your startup and an interesting discussion on how to scale a company from 10 to 500 employees.
  • Location, Location and Location: Why it matters for startups, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Podcast Information:


The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and is sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter & Facebook).