A Prequel to Jun Wakabayashi

Hi everyone, I’m an Analyst that recently joined AppWorks. I’m currently working with AppWorks Accelerator and covering Greater Southeast Asia.

Jun Wakabayashi, Analyst (若林純 / 分析師)

Jun is an Analyst covering both AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Born and bred in America, Jun brings a wealth of international experience to AppWorks. He spent the last several years before joining AppWorks working for Focus Reports, where he conducted sector-based market research and interviewed high-level government leaders and industry executives across the globe. He’s now lived in 7 countries outside US and Taiwan, while traveling to upwards of 50 for leisure, collectively highlighting his unique propensity for cross-cultural immersion and international business. Jun received his Bachelors in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“KK 6040 AMS to IST Nonstop, tomorrow 5:45pm.” Believe it or not a 24 hour flight notification was actually considered a courtesy by many in my previous job. You could be in a country for 8 weeks or 8 months, but once that ticket showed up in your email it was time to schedule your goodbyes, blitzkrieg the last of your “MUST EAT, SEE, DO IN [COUNTRY]” list, or finally get around to trying that panini shop you noticed after dropping by the Prime Ministers’ office for the 5th time in a moonshot attempt to schedule an interview with the head honcho himself (or herself).

My most recent profession was, to say the least, a whirlwind of personal and professional life experiences. In the last several years prior to AppWorks, I had worked as a business journalist covering the healthcare and energy sectors. My primary role was to enter various emerging and developed markets around the world, interview the movers and shakers across government, associations, and industries, and ultimately publish on-the-ground business intelligence reports for a global executive audience.

I would eventually go on to live and work in 7 countries across 4 continents, while meeting over 300 of the brightest and most successful minds the world has to offer. Admittedly, though, the most enjoyable conversations that really resonated with me were actually the ones outside the corporate and government sphere. Those gritty, bootstrapping entrepreneurs that were hellbent on driving a change they see in the world often produced the most compelling and riveting stories.

I still remember this one pair of co-founders from Singapore who had spent the better part of the last 2 decades finding market validation for their plasma fractionation technology — a novel way to extract plasma from donated blood to produce albumin, immune globulins, clotting factors and other proteins for therapeutic use at lower costs and in the end save more lives. Truly disruptive technology, but was way too ahead of its time when they first developed it. Nevertheless, they kept at it, even taking out mortgages of their own houses and risking personal insolvency to carry the company through to its milestones. They’ve since received regulatory approval and the contracts have only been rolling in from there.

So, as I began to contemplate the next step in my career, it should come as no surprise that I naturally gravitated towards the startup scene. Lukewarm at the thought of going back to my home in the US, I opted instead for Asia where I saw a vibrant, yet relatively nascent startup community full of aspiring entrepreneurs increasingly tempted by the allures and intrinsic rewards of starting their own business. And what better place to start, I thought, than my ethnic motherland of Taiwan. It was there that I stumbled across AppWorks and signed on board with our mission to empower founders and startup ecosystems not only in Taiwan, but all across Greater Southeast Asia (TW+ SEA).

Today, I find myself interacting every day with passionate founders, while working with businesses and technologies that could very well impact the way roughly 600 million people go about living their daily lives–certainly a tantalizing proposition for any millennial worth their salt.

Above all else, I am incredibly excited to begin writing this new chapter of my life with AppWorks. Some of you might have read my posts. Some of you hopefully will do so in the near future. At any rate, don’t be shy. Leave me a comment. Give me a shout. Look forward to meeting all of you at some point!

My contact details below:
jun@appworks.tw
facebook.com/jwakabayashi
linkedin.com/in/jwakabayashi

Hi! 我是熱愛數字與邏輯的 Sandi

Hi everyone, I’m an Analyst that recently joined AppWorks and am currently working on AppWorks Accelerator.

Sandi Wu, Analyst (吳岱蓉/分析師)

負責 Accelerator 與投資。加入 AppWorks 前,任職於富邦產險電子商務部,負責線上投保平台的專案管理及 Email 行銷,喜愛探究數字背後的意義。曾前往芬蘭交換學生半年,期間走遍半個歐洲,喜歡寂靜的自然風景勝過繁華的現代都市。畢業於台大財金系,擔任系女排隊長,熱愛美食、排球、旅遊及挑戰新事物。

我從小就喜歡數字,也喜歡透過邏輯來解決各式各樣的問題,小時候和媽媽去買東西時,我總愛當個小算盤,搶著在買單時幫媽媽算錢。

高中時,因為不確定自己將來想做什麼,暫且先選擇讀三類組 (自然組)。意外考上台大財金系後,我心想一切可能是命中注定,所以決定給自己一個機會嘗試看看。

開始接觸會計學、統計學和投資學後,我發現這些看似艱澀的學問,其實與我們的工作和生活息息相關,因為幾乎每一種行業都需要透過數字與邏輯來記錄並解決問題,比方說,可以運用會計來記錄過去並預測未來,運用統計來分析並優化商業模式,運用投資來讓資產做更有效的分配,而這些都是我感興趣的。我很慶幸自己沒有錯過這個原本就很適合我的世界,一個由數字與邏輯組成的世界。

然而,在就讀財金系的四年中,我也了解到數字固然重要,但更重要的是人,人與人之間的交流和聯繫才是我熱愛的,若不能將這些數字應用在與人有關的事物上,一切都不再有意義。因此,當我踏出校園、開始找工作時,我沒有追隨大多數同儕的腳步,去投資銀行或傳統金融業當研究員,我想找一份可以運用我的財金背景,但是有實際產品,也有人情味的工作。

幾番尋覓下,我進入了富邦產險電子商務部。保險是一種金融商品,它是以人與人之間的互信和互助為基礎而誕生的產品,平常每個人貢獻一些,當有人需要幫助的時候,這筆累積起來的錢便能成為受困者的支柱。而在這個互助的機制中,保險公司會居中幫大家找尋適合的產品,並在保戶遇到困難的時候協助理賠、減輕他們的負擔。不僅實際販售產品,又可讓消費者在生活發生意外時有所依靠,完全符合了我自己對工作的期待和想像。

在富邦產險,我負責規劃線上投保網站及 EDM 行銷,透過一封封 EDM 與客戶溝通,試圖打動他們的心,也透過統計分析,為下一次的 EDM 進行優化。為了突破在網路上販賣保險的種種限制,增加網路上可販售的險種及宣傳管道,我們必須時常與政府機關協商,以期讓保險業有更快速的發展。

然而,礙於法規一時難有大幅修正,保險業在電子商務的發展空間並不大,舉例來說,不像電商可以刷他人的信用卡來進行購買,礙於道德風險,網路投保規定只能幫自己投保並且要刷本人的信用卡,也就是說,如果想在全家出遊時投保旅平險,因為上述規定,家長不能透過網路幫孩子投保,這對許多人來說是十分不方便的,也大幅降低了保險的功能和意義。於是,我開始思考是否要轉換跑道來尋求更寬廣、自由的舞台。最後,我決定告別金融業,投身網路圈,且在因緣際會之下,來到了 AppWorks。

在 AppWorks,每天都有新鮮的事物、想法在誕生,我認識了各式各樣的創業者,有的大膽、有的保守,有的不拘小節、有的小心翼翼,有的樂觀、有的悲觀。和他們相處的過程中,我很自然的感染了創業者的精神,學習從每一個成功與失敗中,不斷調整自己的步伐。

除了工作之外,排球和旅行也對我的人生產生了莫大影響。我從國中開始打排球,大學時加入系隊並擔任隊長,即使是離開校園的現在,我依舊自己組隊打社會組比賽,至今已足足打了 12 年,同時也擁有一群彼此信任的隊友。在排球場上,身為一個舉球員,我學會觀察、找出攻擊手最會打的球,並幫助攻擊手得分;身為一個隊長,我學會鼓勵隊友,並在困境中尋找方向、反敗為勝。

大學期間,我曾前往芬蘭當交換學生。異地求學的半年中,我利用課餘時間,走遍歐洲 16 個城市。我喜歡獨自旅行的清閒,也愛在旅途中與陌生人聊天;我享受大自然帶給我的震懾與寧靜,也熱愛與陌生人短暫卻充滿驚喜的交流片刻。

往後,在 AppWorks 的每一天,我會用對數字與邏輯的熱情,幫助創業者解決讓他們頭痛的數字問題,也為自己的人生開創另一個嶄新的舞台。

An Open World with Natalie Feng Lin

Natalie is an Analyst that joined AppWorks recently. She is working on AppWorks Accelerator and covering Greater Southeast Asia.

Natalie Lin, Analyst (林楓 / 分析師)

Natalie is an Analyst covering AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Before joining the team, she worked in the search engine marketing and email marketing teams at Zappos, America’s leading shoes and fashion online retailer, where she primarily focused on KPI management, campaign optimization, and project management. Born in Canada and raised in the Middle East, Natalie returned to Taiwan for high school before moving to the US for college and work. She received her Bachelors of Marketing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Outside of work she likes to read, travel, and play video games.

 

“You can’t regret the life you didn’t lead.” —- Junot Diaz

As a video game enthusiast, I love to imagine life as a series of challenges and accomplishments that my character has to go through to level up. The cities I’ve lived in define the stages of my life: born in Vancouver, Canada, grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, experienced middle school in Cairo, Egypt, survived high school in Taipei, Taiwan, evolved in college in Cleveland, Ohio, and adventured in Las Vegas, Nevada before returning to my roots in Taipei. While I can’t quite remember my experiences in Vancouver and Jeddah, some of my favorite childhood memories were from Cairo and some of my closest friends were made in high school and college.

I’m a firm believer that there are millions of paths you can take but ultimately your decisions define you and your life. Like many others, I had a hard time deciding which major to choose in college and eventually I chose marketing because I liked and respected the marketing professors at Case Western Reserve University. After graduating, I was lucky enough to land a marketing internship at Zappos.com, an Amazon subsidiary that also happens to be one of the largest shoe and clothing retailers in the US.

I had a really immersive experience at Zappos and it was a defining moment in my life. I had my fair share of challenges but it was worthwhile and I definitely felt myself “leveling up” during this period. When I started, I was working on product listing ads marketing with my manager, understanding how product feeds worked and how to optimize product ads on search engines. I also participated in a hackathon with a fellow intern and won first place— our idea was centered around personalized search and fashion machine learning.

In April of 2015, our CEO sent out a memo that contained his ideas around a flatter organization, and a severance package for those that weren’t quite ready for the change. My manager, her manager, and the VP of the marketing department decided to move on from the company. In a matter of weeks, I was reporting directly to the COO and in charge of one of the largest marketing channels in the company! This turned out to be one of the most stressful periods of my professional career, but an amazing learning opportunity nonetheless. Once things stabilized, I decided to try my hand at email marketing because I wanted a more holistic understanding of marketing. Aside from the testing and scientific approaches we took, email marketing was vastly different from search engine marketing. I learned to run multiple campaigns a week, coordinate with multiple teams and stakeholders, and learn the ins-and-outs of customer retention efforts.

After 3 stimulating years at Zappos, I realized I wanted to pursue something different, maybe a more technical side of marketing or something entirely new. When I moved back, I heard about AppWorks and thought it aligned perfectly with my personal and professional goals. I managed to land a job as an analyst…level up! Now at AppWorks, I will be focusing on AppWorks Accelerator and learning about VC funding as well as continuing my education in e-commerce. All in all, I’ve been proud of my choices and I’m excited to see what this next adventure will bring.

Brandon 初登場

Brandon Chiang

Brandon (江旻峻) 是近期加入 AppWorks 的 Associate,負責投資相關業務

網路、創業、投資這三個關鍵字,看起來就是我的事業上女神的代表,而 AppWorks 正好就符合女神的條件。但女神總是要因緣際會才有機會碰上,而碰上前總是有很多故事的累積,且聽我娓娓道來。

大學畢業後,告別了數學理 (地) 論 (獄) 之路,唸商學研究所時發現我終於離開火星回到地球了。這時期也是我對於網路、高新技術投資的啟蒙期,我的恩師江炯聰教授從產業標準的建立、電腦網路業各平台間的競爭到私募股權基金一個又一個的 Case Studies,讓我知道一份 Business Plan 中可以從創業家與投資家的角度去看 Business。寫論文時竟然可以朝思暮想,好像身處在幾個網路巨人的旁邊看著他們怎麼下這盤棋,自己也試著想預測這盤棋的走向,暮然回首我才發現,我愛上網路業了 (只差沒一夜白髮而已 XD)。

出社會後從醫療生技業的財務投資出發,到台哥大的通路策略管理,在工作的生涯中還是會注意網路的新趨勢,這時發現 Jamie 的網誌。從 Jamie 的網誌中我又回到那種看局解盤的感覺,而且常會有「Good Point」或是「我也是這麼覺得」的感覺。不管工作崗位怎樣的轉化, Jamie 的網誌也陪伴我許多年,這是一種正面能量,而且幾年下來似乎也慢慢對社會產生了變化。有時我也會試著在我工作的崗位上,也試著傳遞這種正面的力量。有天跟前同事閒聊時發現 AppWorks 正在徵才,這時我就覺得「我的女神單身了,可以追求看看!」。與其單打獨鬥,不如加入系統作戰。

整個面試過程讓我印象最深刻的是 AppWorks 的使命感與熱情,雖然使命感跟熱情不能當飯吃,但我一直記得江炯聰教授跟我說過的一句話「如果一件事情你認為他是對的、有價值的,你就盡全力去做,不用去擔心什麼錢、名聲、地位等,因為如果你做的是適合你而且是對的事情,那些你現在所在意的事情都會自然出現在你身邊」。

我認為為台灣建立一個世界一流的網路產業,這是一件對的事情,就應該好好去做。在變化很快的網路世界中,能跟一群有理念的人往前拓展,我覺得這是很難得的經驗。這也是為何想加入 AppWorks 的緣由。

不知道為什麼, AppWorks 總會讓我想到 ’04 年的活塞隊以及 Coach Brown 的話:

Play hard, play together, play smart and have fun.

想都是問題,做就是答案,那就好好的做吧,好好地打出自己的球風,也透過這個過程好好的了解自己,做一點不一樣的事情吧!

TP Reporting for Duty

TP Lin

TP 是近期加入 AppWorks 的 Associate,負責物聯網相關投資

「林子樸,你怎跑去做這個,也換太大了吧!」

大多數朋友聽到我跑來 AppWorks 上班的第一個反應都是如此。

「是啊,我不但換了跑道,我甚至連操場都換了!」

高中時深受理察·費曼的詐騙啟發,大學念了物理,然後深深覺得自己只是一般人後,轉去了光電所,但我實際的主修應該是登山系、輔修搖滾樂吧。

如同那時所有理工科阿宅一樣,畢業後的下一站自然而然的跑去了竹科,正打算開始過著朝八晚?的工程師日子時,我被叫去大老闆的辦公室:

「林子樸,明天起,你去新事業處報到!」

開啟了我一段人生的新旅程,見證ㄧ家公司的誕生與成長。

在新公司 (隆達電子) 當中,我完成了許多的第一次:公司第一個樣品、第一個量產產品、成立第一個研發團隊進入新市場。期間,我歷練老闆說要有光,然後我想辦法把光生出來的研發工程師、研發主管,也當過 PM。短短幾年內看到公司興櫃、上市,也從幾十人到了上千人。

但是待了六年後,總是有個念頭纏繞著我。為什麼每天的工作就是不斷降低成本,而不是增加價值,難不成 LED 只有這樣一條路嗎?於是我決定離開要出去看一看了,跑去中國繞了一圈,在中國最大 LED 廠三安待了一年多。可是每天打開網路,看的都還是台灣的消息。2014 年 3 月的一場運動,讓我下定決心,該回台灣了。

回來,因緣際會的跑來 AppWorks 面試,碰上了Jamie 與 IC,他們說:

「我們希望改變台灣的產業環境!」

我內心激動不已,也回想起我當初問自己的問題。回到家中,想起 Albert Pike 這句名言:

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.

於是我的人生大轉彎,心中充滿興奮與疑惑,跳上了這班不知會飛往何處的特快火箭,背景音樂是 The Clash by White Riot

Are you taking over
Or are you taking orders?
Are you going backwards
Or are you going forwards?

與其每天抱怨,不如捲起袖子幹吧!