That’s Handy! Adventures on the User Journey

[中文版在下面]

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During our most recent trip to Hong Kong as part of our 2017 #TaiwanRocks tour to RISE Conference, we dropped by the Tink Labs office to learn more about how they're disrupting the hotel industry.

On the road to success, many startups struggle to find their worth or value in the world. For Tink Labs, it was a shift in thinking and a creative business model that allowed their product, Handy, a cell phone for tourists, to become successful and reach all corners of the world. We’ve distilled some learnings from Tink Labs’ business evolution below:

Keep your Eye on the Target!

It’s common knowledge that most startups will eventually need to pivot at one point or another. However, pivoting does not necessarily mean starting from scratch. Instead, you might have to reach your target demographic more creatively, or as in the case of Tink Labs, switching to a completely different business model.

Tink Labs originally positioned its flagship product, Handy, as a rentable cell phone that allows tourists to make calls and access the internet in a foreign country. After several months of renting Handy at airport kiosks with lackluster results, Tink Labs was forced to reassess their business model.

Instead of paying pricey airport fees to target tired tourists who couldn’t wait to leave the airport, they hypothesized it might make more sense to reach tourists through hotels. After all, there are millions of tourists but much fewer hotels.

If you haven’t caught your target audience’s attention, don’t give up on your mission as you could be reaching them in the wrong way. Keep your eye on the target to find out when and where is the best time to catch them!

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That sure sounds “Handy”!

Even as Tink Labs evolved from a b2c to b2b business model, it never lost sight of its original goal, helping travelers. However, the change meant they needed to create value not only for tourists, but also for the hotels.

Initially, it was a huge challenge to convince hotels to carry Handy in their rooms, given the extremely traditional nature of the industry. In the end, Tink Labs successfully demonstrated that using Handy would help to increase usage and overall sales of amenities such as pools and spas. Handy also allowed the hotels to gather data and increase customer satisfaction.

Likewise, similar startups switching from b2c to b2b should think hard about how to provide the most value for both your paying clients and also your clients’ customers/clients. Then, you’ll have a solid product or service that’s just asking to be sold!

Milk that Value Cow

To Tink Labs, there were the obvious players that would benefit from Handy: hotels and their guests. However, a little creativity helped them share even more value to additional players who could benefit from Handy’s unique positioning.

For one, their platform allows advertisers to better target tourists over more traditional offline methods (e.g. print materials). Also, tourist data from Handy could benefit local governments and other hospitality businesses in the future.

Even now, Tink Labs is constantly thinking about where and how it can maximize value. For example, they’ve recently made it even easier for hotels and guests by collaborating with their manufacturer, Foxconn, to make Handy double as a room key card.

Likewise, your startup should always think about how to benefit current or possible future stakeholders. The more players that benefit, the more valuable and powerful your company becomes!

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Now, Go Find Your Way

If you’re a struggling startup still confident of the value you provide, you might just need to reassess the mode in which you deliver this value. Additionally, startups can constantly examine how to increase value for their client, their clients’ clients, or even outside third parties.

The key is to be creative, flexible, and open to all possibilities in order to fully maximize the potential of your product or service!

We’d like to thank the Tink Labs team for recently hosting the #TaiwanRocks delegation while making our rounds throughout Hong Kong!


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TSS 2017 年度 #TaiwanRocks 新創商務團在七月來到香港參加亞洲科技盛會 RISE,我們在緊湊的行程中拜訪了當地的新創公司 Tink Labs,跟他們聊聊旗下正夯的產品 Handy如何改變整個飯店產業。

在通往成功的道路上,許多新創團隊面臨找不到自身價值的困境,常常在想,團隊的產品/服務究竟能帶給這世界什麼樣正面影響或改變?對 Tink Labs 而言,「思考方式的改變」與「具創意的商業模式」是讓 Handy這支專為旅人設計的手機得以成功並觸及到世界各個角落的兩大關鍵。以下是我們從 Tink Labs 的商業演進中擷取的一些重點心得:

專注在你的目標上!

大多數新創團隊在接觸市場後,遲早會來到策略轉向的十字路口。這點在新創圈已經是個常識了。然而,策略轉向並不全然代表要砍掉重練、從零開始,反倒可以著墨如何更有創意地觸及到你的目標群眾,或是像 Tink Labs,直接轉換到一個完全不同的商業模式。

Tink Labs 最初將他們的旗艦產品 Handy 定位為一支讓旅人在國外能輕鬆打電話及漫遊上網的出租型手機,並在機場開店提供此租用服務。不出幾個月,Tink Labs 就因慘澹的經營結果,被迫重新評估他們的商業模式。

與其支付昂貴的機場店租來鎖定一群疲憊不堪、只想趕快逃離機場的國際旅客成為他們的目標客群,Tink Labs 認為,或許透過飯店來觸及旅客才是一個更明智的作法。畢竟,旅客人數有幾百多萬,而飯店的數目明顯少了許多。

如果你還沒抓到目標客群的目光,千萬不要就此灰心而放棄手上的事業!你有可能只是使用了錯誤的方法在接近他們。專注於你的目標,並找出何時何地是吸引他們的最佳時機!

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聽起來真的很 “Handy”(方便)!

儘管 Tink Labs 的商業模式從 b2c 進化到 b2b,他們從未忘記初衷—幫助旅人。然而,商業模式的改變也代表他們不只要為旅人創造價值,更要為飯店創造價值。

由於飯店產業較為傳統保守的本質,Tink Labs 一開始在說服飯店業者引進 Handy 服務時,就面臨巨大挑戰。最後,他們成功向飯店展示使用 Handy 的成效—提升游泳池、溫泉等設施的顧客使用率及整體消費量。此外,Handy 也能幫助飯店收集數據資料,用以提升消費者滿意度。

同理,跟 Tink Labs 一樣將商業模式從 b2c 轉換到 b2b 的新創,必須絞盡腦汁思考如何同時為「付錢的客戶」以及「客戶的顧客/客戶」創造價值。如此,你將擁有一個強而有力的產品服務等著上市。

將你的價值極大化

對 Tink Labs 來說,飯店業者及其入住房客是兩個明顯因為 Handy 而受益的群體。然而,運用一點巧思,能幫助他們將更多價值傳遞給更多可因Handy 特殊市場定位而受惠的利害關係人。

例如,與傳統的線下行銷法(像是紙本廣告文宣)相比,他們的平台能讓廣告主更精準地鎖定遊客。而Handy 所收集到的旅客資訊在未來也能讓當地政府及其他旅館行業獲益。

即使是現在,Tink Labs 依然持續思考將價值最大化的可能性。像是最近他們與硬體製造商富士康合作,將 Handy 提升一個檔次,讓它不只是手機,也能當房卡使用。產品升級讓飯店業者及房客都便利許多。

同理,你的新創團隊也該不斷地思考,如何讓現有以及未來可能的利害關係人獲益。愈多人受惠於你的產品或服務,也就代表你的新創變得愈有價值,也愈強大!

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就是現在,走出你的路

如果你的新創仍處於掙扎階段,但仍對自己能貢獻的價值有信心,或許你只需要重新評估傳遞價值的模式,就可能帶來很大的改善。除此之外,新創團隊也應持續檢視如何為客戶、客戶的客戶,甚至是第三方團體加值。

這一切的關鍵在於創意、彈性以及對所有機會抱持開放的態度,就能將產品或服務的潛能發揮到極致!

特別感謝 Tink Labs 團隊在我們馬不停蹄的 #TaiwanRocksHK 2017 新創商務團行程中給予熱情的款待 !

What’s the Secret Sauce to 9GAG?

[中文版在下面]

During our most recent trip to Hong Kong as part of our 2017 #TaiwanRocks tour to RISE Conference, we made a quick stop to the popular internet company, 9GAG, where we received pointers about running a startup in Asia.

LOLcats. Rage Comics. NSFW memes. This is the essence of online platform and social media website 9GAG. Starting 2008 in Hong Kong, 9GAG quickly became synonymous with hilarious and user-generated content (like the image above). Fast forward 9 years and 9GAG still has millions scrolling and giggling mindlessly for hours on its platform each day.

Be like H2O, My Friend

What kind of company culture does it take to run the unique and zany company that is 9GAG? Luckily, 9GAG cofounder and CEO Ray Chan spilled his secret sauce with the TSS team in a recent visit. Avoiding the typical lot of dull and hard to remember company policies, 9GAG sticks by a simple H2O formula: Hustle, Humble, and Open.

  • Hustle - ‘Hustle’ is not only about Working Smart but also means Working Hard. “If two competitors are working smart, the one working harder will make it!”
  • Humble - “It’s not about that Asian humility BS in the traditional sense.” Instead, 9GAG humility means accepting your weaknesses, and setting aside your pride when it comes to making decisions and working with others.
  • Open is about team communication. The 9GAG team is encouraged to communicate openly and share issues or problems as they arise.

It hasn’t always been Smiley Cats & Rainbow Unicorns

9GAG’s ultimate mission is to “make people happy.” However, the road to starting 9GAG wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns for Chan and his cofounders. In fact, there were many hairy challenges along the way.

In the beginning, Chan and his 5+ member team crammed into his parent’s tiny apartment for work. Another time, Chan and two other cofounders had to share a tiny couples’ bed for a one-month business trip. “You can imagine how horrifying it is to wake up to that kind of thing in the middle of the night!” Chan laughs.

Chan dismisses the so-called myth that being in a startup is like riding a roller coaster; To him, it’s more like a prolonged low with a constant barrage of problems you need to overcome.

Follow the Fun in your Heart

Surprisingly, 9GAG was almost a no-go. During their time at a top accelerator, Chan’s team worked on other projects, such as a photo-sharing app, as their flagship product. However, after a late-night discussion with one of their mentors, Chan knew that 9GAG was the project that his team should focus on since they were more passionate about it, and 9GAG also showed good traction. Chan taught us not to quickly dismiss our “passion projects” as those could be the ones to bring you success.

TSS General Manager Holly Harrington Presents giant todd the rock cat to 9GAG CEO Ray Chan

TSS General Manager Holly Harrington Presents giant todd the rock cat to 9GAG CEO Ray Chan

Despite all the fun and jokes, 9GAG was born out of hard work and perseverance, as any successful startup should expect. Next time you’re scrolling through those humorous pictures and videos on 9GAG, just remember how much Ray and his team suffered just for your happiness!

Special thanks goes out to Ray Chan and the 9GAG team for hosting TSS and our Taiwan startups during our #TaiwanRocksHK 2017 tour.


9GAG 成功的獨家秘訣是什麼?

近期我們因為 2017 年度 #TaiwanRocks 巡迴到香港參加亞洲科技盛會 RISE,我們在緊湊的行程中路過全球非常火紅的搞笑內容網站公司 - 9GAG,同時在亞洲做新創公司的我們指點迷津。

貓咪梗圖,梗圖漫畫,黃色笑話等等,這些就是 9GAG 這個網路社群平台的精髓。2008年創立於香港,9GAG 就因為原創搞笑內容在網路上快速崛起成為家喻戶曉的網站。快轉9年,9GAG 至今仍有上百萬個用戶天天邊笑邊刷他們的網站。

貫徹 H2O(水)的精神指標

什麼樣的公司文化可以造就出像 9GAG 一樣獨特奇葩的公司呢? 9GAG 創辦人兼執行長 Ray Chan 娓娓道來他經營的秘訣。9GAG 避免古板又無聊的公司規定,取而代之的是非常簡單的 H2O

配方:快速奔忙(Hustle) 、 謙卑(Humble)、 開放溝通(Open)

  • 快速奔忙:不只是要找到聰明的方法工作,更指要很努力的工作。如果兩位競爭者都很聰明的工作,那就是更努力的那一位會成功!
  • 保持謙卑:「這不是指那種傳統亞洲社會講求謙遜美德的屁話。」9GAG 的所謂的謙卑是接受自己的弱點,跟其他人共事和做決策時能把個人自尊放一邊。
  • 開放溝通:開放講的就是團隊溝通。 9GAG 鼓勵團隊中的每一個人遇到問題或發現值得討論的議題時,要透明溝通、公開分享。

千辛萬苦的創業過程

9GAG的創業宗旨就是「讓大家開心」,然而 Ray 還有他的夥伴在這過程中並不是走得很順遂。 其實,他們在創業的過程中遇到許多困難。

一開始, 沒錢沒資源的Ray還有他的團隊只能在他雙親的小小公寓裡設立辦公室,還有一次Ray跟另外兩位創辦人出差一個月,沒錢只好三人共享一張小小的雙人床一個月。「你可以想像半夜驚醒看到那樣的景象是多嚇人吧。」Ray 笑笑的說。

他不認為創業的過程像一般人以為的雲霄飛車一樣,對他來說,創業的過程除了有很長一段時間的低潮,還要面對不斷出現的困難與挑戰。

跟著那顆愛玩的心走

出乎意料的,9GAG 有一次差點失敗。當他們還在國際知名加速器的階段時,他們有發想過其他的計畫,像是照片分享 app,然而跟一位他們的創業導師徹夜長談之後,Ray了解到 9GAG才是他們真正有熱誠 、真正應該專心發展的計畫,9GAG 也有很好的流量表現。Ray 教會我們不要太快放棄「夢想」,因為那些真的讓你感到熱忱的事物,說不定就是帶領你通往成功大門的鑰匙。

TSS 總經理 Holly 向 9GAG 執行長 Ray 展示 TSS 吉祥物 - 巨大型搖滾貓 TODD

TSS 總經理 Holly 向 9GAG 執行長 Ray 展示 TSS 吉祥物 - 巨大型搖滾貓 TODD

除了歡樂還有搞笑內容之外,9GAG 跟其他成功的創業公司一樣,是在努力還有堅持當中孕育出來的產物。下次你在看他們的幽默梗圖還有搞笑影片時,記得 Ray 還有他的團隊努力了多久,才能帶給你這些歡樂的內容!

特別感謝 Ray Chan 還有 9GAG 團隊在我們馬不停蹄的 #TaiwanRocksHK 2017 新創商務團行程招待 TSS 還有台灣新創團隊們。

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