Myanmar Plus - Building tech products in Southeast Asia
In 2013, I was in Myanmar on holiday with my wife (who was born in Yangon). By chance, it was the beginning of an internet revolution the country. Two new telco licenses had been granted, and 50 million people were about to experience connectivity for the first time. So I thought this could be interesting. I ended up hanging out with people in the local open source community, giving talks on Ubuntu in a couple of cities in Myanmar to diverse audiences of students, monks and young techies.
I got hold of pretty much the only 5 node.js and Android developers in the country at the time, and started to work on projects. We took part in the first hackathon ever organised in Myanmar, won app competitions by local telcos, went through a Telco tech incubator, taught a lot of young people design skills and modern software stacks, and released several apps - from preserving heritage buildings, to online real estate and tour guide apps.
I put the project on hold after nearly 2 years when my second son was born. It was a great experience, I learned so much about the country, its' culture, building and running a team in Southeast Asia, and startups in general.
I'm most happy about having been able to mentor several members of the new generation of tech entrepreneurs in Myanmar, who have since gone to do great things on their own. I warmly recommend visiting the country, it's beautiful and rich with history, and I'm happy to do introductions people doing interesting things in the tech community there - just drop me a line.