As we embark on the 9th year of this podcast journey, it's impossible not to reflect on the transformative shifts that have unfolded since 2022. Notably, our decision to embrace video content—something I had hesitated about for quite some time. For the first time, Analyse Asia is no longer a side project to a corporate job. Since September 2023, I've enthusiastically rekindled my entrepreneurial spirit, focusing my energies on an enterprise AI startup (currently in stealth mode). As we assess the past year, taking stock of our triumphs and the opportunities we may have missed, I'll also chart a forward-looking course for 2024, with the momentous 10th anniversary of the podcast looming large.
Nonetheless, I approach each day with the vigour of a fresh start, a mindset that has been particularly instrumental since we ventured into video content just one year ago. Throughout this year, I've been engrossed in unravelling the intricacies of content distribution, conducting a multitude of experiments across a spectrum of video platforms. Amidst this exploration, I'm profoundly thankful to G. Thomas Craig, our steadfast editor, whose unwavering patience and dedication have allowed us to continuously refine our approach, even in the face of experiments that didn't quite unfold as anticipated.
Our growth and key takeaways in 2023
Based on last year's prediction, we reached our 3rd million downloads and plays in April 2023. We produced 34 episodes this year as video production took a longer time, achieved 20.4% growth YoY on traffic and video has now reached an average of 57% of the entire traffic flow and has exceeded audio in the last three months. The video traffic has grown 1000% from 8k to 89k views on YouTube but I expect this growth rate will drop when we maintain a steady footing. We are on track to hit 4 million middle of next year based on the current forecast. I was hoping that the traffic would double again this year but we did not achieve the goal set.
For the year 2023, we maintained the quality now in the video and shared a few highlights in no order of priority:
- We hosted a live show at SXSW Sydney 2023 with Tom Verrilli, former Chief Product Officer of Twitch. Being a product manager myself, it was the most fascinating conversation I have had in years we discussed how to handle communities' backlash against taking away features, and what being a manager of product managers is like.
- We have attracted regional and global executives to the show this year with Brigid Archibald from Qualtrics, Jason Jameson from HERE technologies (and now he's the Chief Customer Officer - congratulations), Emmanuel Pillai from AWS, Colin Daniels from SXSW Sydney, Guy Kawasaki from Canva, Lee Wong from Lombard Odier, Arthur Hu - Global CIO of Lenovo, Jon Robertson from Snowflake, Mike Clayville from Stripe, Joel Lange from Dow Jones.
- Of course, on the venture capital front, we have Kelly Choo from True Global Ventures twice on the show, Ong Peng Tsin from Monk's Hill Ventures, Helen Wong from AC Ventures. Of course, this is a challenging year for start-ups raising money from investors due to the rise of interest rates in the United States. We also have Jeremy Au, host of Brave SEA podcast and Monk's Hill Ventures to discuss the Southeast Asia landscape.
- We have Parag Khanna returning to talk about his startup, Climate Alpha (and congratulations on the recent USD$5m fund raise), George Kesselman on Insurtech in the Asia Pacific and his new book "The Power of Play".
- On the crypto front, we are still bullish. Remember when we had Askhay BD from the Solana Foundation (before their price went to the moon at the end of the year), Federico Ast - founder of Kleros blockchain, the Global Coin Research team reporting Asia fuels the rise of crypto in 2023, with the US media talking about this after they attended Token 2049 in Singapore with Cosmo Jiang, Junney Kang and Jin Kang and Chris Lee from TKX Capital and Serkan Toto - an old friend now on web3 gaming. For the first time, we have Kim Grauer from Chainalysis coming to us to discuss their crypto adoption index report 2023 highlighting Asia's importance in the rising activity in crypto.
- We love annual traditions with global and regional thought leaders in Analyse Asia. For Southeast Asia, we have Sapna Chadha and Florian Hoppe to discuss the e-Conomy SEA report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. for the third time. On China, we have Shai Oster, former Asia Bureau Chief, first to talk about the impact of SVB's collapse on Asian companies and his annual State of China review for the 6th time and Rui Ma to explain why China missed Chat-GPT. On how digital evolves across the Asia Pacific, we are thankful to Simon Kemp for sharing his insights from the Digital Report 2023 for the 6th time. Last but not least, Benedict Evans has come on the show to talk about the new gatekeepers and where AI is heading.
To be vocally self-critical, the growth rate has stagnated mainly on the audio front although Spotify is now dominating the podcast traffic with a +241% in streams and 22% in followers against Apple Podcasts, but doing both long and short-form videos for Analyse Asia brought in a different type of audience. I expected the growth of video to augment audio but the results have shown otherwise. Looking back, I wish that I had started working on the video earlier. I credited the pivot to my wife, who has nudged me towards that direction and I finally started last year.
In essence, community building and monetization took a back seat because I focused on the content creation to ensure that I was serving my audience and being methodical in how I wanted to approach this. While limiting myself to the YouTube channel, Tik Tok channel and our LinkedIn page, it has sharpened my focus and provided clarity on what is coming ahead.
On community building, we did a poll on Discord and Slack and could not decide which platform to go on. As WhatsApp communities are on the rise, we decided to take a back seat and see which fits better for Analyse Asia to manage our community. For the time being, we limited our growth to our LinkedIn page, which has grown well in recent months.
On the monetization model, even though we have not embarked on advertising, we have started a consulting practice that is profitable on day 1 which helped companies build out their content marketing strategy and provide advisory services and executive training in digital transformation, AI and web3 given Bernard's corporate background. We will share more as it is part of our roadmap in 2024.
How Generative AI Transformed Analyse Asia in 2023
I like to explain how the emergence of Generative AI such as Chat-GPT has transformed content creation significantly. It has introduced significant changes to what Analyse Asia can do now. Let me explain this with this diagram when I was working on my podcast from 2014 to 2019 before Descript:
After I worked with Geoff, my current editor with Descript and moving to video, I expected the 5 hours per episode will escalate to 15 hours per episode because of the nature of the video content creation. Luckily, the AI revolution from OpenAI's Chat-GPT4 and other tools in the market led to the following:
With AI automation, I have brought it down from 5 hours to 2 hours with me outsourcing the arduous part of my work. Of course, I have reached 60% productivity gains. As a result of re-designing the workflow (and some parts of the process have been modified), allowed me to take some time to re-think what I want to do with Analyse Asia.
While working on the Generative AI tools to speed up my productivity, I realized that we can do much more as compared to the past specifically in information retrieval and organization, and even solving the problem of transcription. For those who have been following us, we will release small experiments in the next couple of months.
We are going to be 10 Years Old in 2024
In 2014, I embarked on the journey of creating the Analyse Asia podcast, driven by a deep passion for exploring the intricacies of our rapidly evolving world. Today, as I stand at the threshold of a significant juncture, I find myself contemplating the future direction of this podcast. In various conversations, I've alluded to a critical decision looming ahead - whether to conclude this remarkable voyage at episode 500, episode 1000 or let it flow indefinitely into the unknown.
As we inch closer to that milestone 500th episode, which is expected to grace our airwaves in 2024 or early 2025, I'll pause to reflect and decide on the path forward. This show has seen its share of hiatuses, moments when I stepped away only to find myself drawn back, driven by an unwavering commitment to exploring diverse topics without a predefined business agenda.
Yet, as I glance at other podcasts I've long admired, I acknowledge that our growth trajectory hasn't quite matched the lofty aspirations I hold for it. While the future remains uncertain, I'm keen to hear your thoughts and perspectives on the podcast. Your feedback, and your insights, matter immensely to me, for a conversation is richer when shared. So, let's engage in this dialogue, for hearing your thoughts is infinitely more rewarding than the silence of uncertainty. You can email your comments to me here at hello at analyse dot asia.
Here are the three asks for which I would like your support:
- Join Our YouTube Community by Subscribing to our YouTube channel and Help Us Reach Our Goals: We have not one, but two exciting milestones to achieve on our YouTube channel: first, we aim to hit 500 subscribers, and then our ultimate goal is to reach 1K subscribers. When we achieve these milestones, we unlock the potential for advertising revenue, which will significantly contribute to our ability to expand and enhance our content. Your subscription and consistent viewing play a crucial role in helping us get there. Get ready for a year filled with daily short-form videos in 2024! Your support makes a real impact.
- Subscribe to the Analyse Asia main site as a free member and we will be doing more this year.
- If you discover anything valuable in any podcast episodes and short-form videos in the past year, please help us spread the word, and please share our videos and audio podcasts with your friends out there across Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast FM and Soundcloud. You can follow us through these channels: LinkedIn, X (formerly known as Twitter), Tik Tok, Threads, BlueSky, Mastodon, Facebook and Instagram.
In the past year, I've mustered the courage to step away from my corporate day job and return to my roots as a founder CEO, working quietly on a startup venture in the enterprise AI distinct from Analyse Asia. I've come to understand that the privilege of a lifetime is to be yourself and accept that I do not need to be in the inner rings of others to be validated and embrace the struggle ahead. In light of this, I've chosen to prioritize three core aspects: Firstly, I'm dedicated to building my life's work and contributing to what truly matters. Second, I cherish spending quality time with my loved ones, valuing their presence deeply. Finally, I remain committed to lending a helping hand wherever possible. However, with time being an ever-precious commodity, I recognize the importance of focusing on what truly matters. Regardless of the path ahead, we'll take steadfast steps forward on our podcast journey. For me and the editorial team, it remains Day 1.
Take care & stay safe,
Bernard Leong, Founder of Analyse Asia