Singapore was a trip, only a week long, but a fun city. And Steve is right, it is Adult Disneyland thanks to its countless fun attractions – from the giant sling shots launching crowds of people into the air, to the man-made lake with a moving cable around the top pulling kneeboarders around and over jumps. This is a place to spend it if you’ve got it.
All of this will set you back a handful of Andrew Jacksons though, as the fun is built and priced for all the foreign born execs and their families.
We learned that a full 20% of the population are foregners living in Singapore for work – that number includes western execs to daylabors and migrant workers who come from as close as neighboring Malaysia or as far as India.
But Singapore shouldn’t put all its eggs in the multi-national corporate market when it has such an interesting domestic tech startup scene hatching…
I heard Singapore had a bit of a tech startup scene so Kristine and I went to check out a local co-working space, HackerSpace. There is an active and bright startup community in Singapore, more so then in other cities I’ve seen so far in Asia. At just about a year old, HackerSpace has definitely been a major contributor to the local startup community. I met up with one founder for dinner, Vin Nair of Smartloans.sg, a successful LendingTree for Singapore. After dinner, we met up with some other startup folks for drinks – showing that the community is not all just work, but play as well. I met half a dozen fellow geeks for coffee, and though introduced separately, each knew of the other people I was meeting with and what they were working on.
However, while attending a talk for a university entrepreneurs group – the question was thrown out by Danny Tan of foound.com: “How many of you have an idea for a business to start?” and nobody raised their hand! On the follow-up question “You’re part of an entrepreneur club and you don’t have any business ideas?” one student raised their hand to say “but we need more experience first” – a complete 180′ from what you would overhear at Stanford. Following up on that mentality, two people mentioned to me that many young startups fear sharing their ideas, going as far as to require NDA’s from potential investors during a pitch – young startups like to stay in ‘stealth mode.’
Over coffee with Jason Ong (who runs the local Ruby meetup) we discussed the startup mentality in Silicon Valley vs. Singapore. Toying on the notion of how to kickstart the ‘free flowing’ of ideas, I mentioned Super Happy Dev House (SHDH) = A party in which geeks get together to build fun software/services in one day and show them off at night. A SHDH encourages people to work together, then share and present their ideas to a crowd of fellow geek enthusiasts. From this conversation, we decided to wortk together on hosting the first ever Super Happy Dev House in Singapore – in fact, the first ever in the whole continent of Asia!