Talk to MOE educators@Singapore Science Centre for Animate@South Zone
ICT & its Impact on Education:
Union or Bifurcation?
by James Chan
Founder & CEO
28 Mar 2014
“Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” by Bill Joy for Wired
“The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”, Ray Kurzweil
192 years85 million years
Digitization & Networking are contributing to economic
growth at a pace outstripping that of Industrial Revolution.
99% of things in physical world not linked to the Internet (yet)..
A.D. 1760 A.D. 1945 A.D. 1982
Atomic, Jet & Space Age
Source: “The Global Information Technology Report 2013 - growth & jobs in a Hyperconnected World” - INSEAD-WEF collaboration
30%.. ..of global Internet revenue 40%.. ..of global Internet net income
Source: “Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity” - McKinsey & Company
2.0b connected to Internet.. ..out of global population of 7b
>50% of world’s population live in cities.. ..out of global population of 7b
The Internet matters :: almost every vertical or industry is
either cannibalised by it, or scales with it.
At peak in 1996, 100,000+
staﬀ, US$31B market value
wiped out, bankruptcy
13 staﬀ & US$1B
exit to Facebook in
from printed to
in-person to on-
At peak in 2004,
60,000+ staﬀ, 9,000
physical to card-not-
inventory cost to always-
from large pallet
logistics to loose-item
Typewriter to Word Processor to Cloud
and many more, moving us from...
Fixed-line to Mobile Telephony to Mobile Data Mass production to mass customisation
The Internet is accelerating the obsolescence of Higher
Education as we know it.
in-person learning from
Formal Education vs. Informal Learning: a Tale of 2 Persons
Born in Kyoto, Japan
A childhood across continents & cultures.
Moved to Canada after birth, and then again to
USA at 3 yrs, visiting Japan in summers.
Moved back to Japan at 14 yrs.
2-time college dropout.
Dropped out of CS program at Tufts University
Dropped out of Physics program at University of Chicago
Diverse experience outside of the classroom.
DJ at nightclubs in Chicago, ran nightclub in Tokyo; brought
industrial & rave music to Japan.
Co-founded Digital Garage, TYO-listed at US$800M market cap
Investor in Flickr, last.fm, Twitter, Kickstarter, etc.
Board member of Mozilla Foundation, Sony Corporation, NYT,
Knight Foundation, etc
Photographer, PADI IDC Staﬀ Instructor, etc
Director, MIT Media Lab
Joichi Ito James Chan
Born in Singapore
A standard, almost placid childhood in multi-cultural Singapore.
Stayed and studied in Singapore until 21; 1st computer @ 12 yrs
Henry Park Primary School; amazing form teacher at P5/P6
Raﬄes Institution; skipped out of ECAs for PC gaming at friends’ houses
Raﬄes Junior College
In 2002, cracked CableVision cable modem, uncapped broadband speeds
48 years old 33 years old
B.Sc (Dbl Mj) in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Engineering & Public Policy
from Carnegie Mellon
M.Sc in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford
Bonded scholar == planned career.
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Walden International (Singapore)
Through serendipity, met Joichi Ito in Dec 2008, broke bond.
“I’m thinking of starting something in Singapore.
Want to work with me?”
US$5M raised in 1 month from Apr 2010, 35 investors from US, Japan, HK, Singapore, Middle
East and Europe, with LPs investing between US$50K and US$1M.
James Chan Joichi Ito
2% fees while active, 1% after 3-yr investment period, 30% carried interest, no hurdle
2009 - 2012: Thrown into the Deep End of the Pool
1st Fund appointed
as incubator partner
for NRF TIS
fund initial close.
7/10 9/10 10/10 2/11 3/11 4/11 5/11 6/11 7/11 8/111/11 10/11 11/11 12/11
Joi Ito for 1st
Silicon Straits is building a better platform for designers,
engineers & entrepreneurs to get together, be inspired,
make things and start/grow companies.
Incubation & Advisory
Product Foundry Hybrid Workspaces &
Design + UI/UX
RoR, iOS, Android CO.LAB
2,000 sq ft
We invest and incubate teams
and see them through seed and
early growth phases.
We build web and mobile products
for ourselves and others.
We build communities to
enrich the ecosystem that we
US$5M seed fund;
24 investments from 2010 to
2012 in US & Asia Paciﬁc
NRF TIS incubator; S$100K
investment matched with S
$500K for S$600K in total
Program partner & operator
to IdeaBox with Indosat and
Acquired by Eventbrite in Sep ‘2013
for 1.5X return.
Acquired by Apple in Aug ‘2013,
1st Fund returned 1.264x of capital raised from investors after
3.5 years, with unrealized AUM at 3.84X of investment cost.
Realized Exits Remaining Portfolio from 1st fund
Acquired by Yelp in Jul ‘2013
for ~2.5X return.
Acquired by Rakuten in Sep ‘2013
for 13.3X return.
24 investments from 1st fund spread across US (11), HK (1), Singapore (11), UK (1) from 2010 - 2012
4 exits, 7 write-oﬀs (13.7% of deployed capital),
13 remaining (59.5% of deployed capital) with unrealized AUM at 3.84X of investment cost.
Silicon Straits CO.LAB
A hybrid work space that blends co-working & rapid hardware prototyping in Singapore.
71 Ayer Rajah Crescent, #06-11/12, Singapore 139951 Inspired design
Open concept, reconﬁgurable for multi-use
Silicon Straits CO.LAB is a 2,000 sq ft hybrid work space that
blends co-working & rapid hardware prototyping in Singapore.
CO.LAB = CO-working, fab LAB, COLABoration
strives to bring together design, hardware & software community in Singapore
Silicon Straits SAIGON + Air Lounge
A hybrid cafe + office that blends F&B & tech events with the usual office & meeting
rooms in Saigon, Vietnam.
2nd ﬂoor - oﬃce, lounge areas, meeting rooms
147 Ton Dat Tien Street, Phu My Hung, Ho Chi Minh City Agile web & mobile product dev Open concept
1st ﬂoor - Events, F&B, Co-working
We can pick winners / Viki
Acquired by for US$200M on 1 Sep 2013
• Hulu-for-videos meets Wikipedia-for-subtitles
• >1.5+B videos served monthly
• 22+M monthly uniques
• 1st fund led investment alongside Greylock
Partners, Charles River Ventures and angels
Viki is a video-streaming website that oﬀers on-demand streaming video of TV shows,
movies and music videos with crowdsourced fan-subbed subtitles.
We can pick winners / littleBits
Raised US$850K Seed, US$3.65M Series A & US$11M Series B
littleBits is the LEGO of electronics that puts the power of the Internet-of-Things in
We can pick winners / Formlabs
• 25-micron feature resolution, laser-
resin SLA 3DP
• Based in Boston, graduates of MIT
• “Printer + ink” business model,
diﬀerent resin types
Raised US$1.8M Seed, US$2.95M Kickstarter, US$19M Series A
Formlabs brings professional SL Printing Tech to the mainstream at aﬀordable prices.
We can build & deliver / Product Dev. Track Record #1
• Completely new architecture, re-write and database
migration of vPost web app in 3 months.
• Custom CMS, banner management, messaging system
with multiple user access & management, CRM/eDM/
payment integration, e.t.c.
• 1 CTO, 1 PM, 1 UI/UX, 5 Web Dev, 1 Sys Admin on time-
materials basis, unclear project scope.
• Project was delivered to client on-time in agile manner
via RoR and on time-materials billing basis, at 1/6 price
of nearest ﬁxed-price quotation.
• Client has retained team for ongoing maintenance and
new feature development.
• Proof of ability to develop & deliver enterprise-grade
multiply-redundant mission-critical web app from
SVP eCommerce, SingPost
We can build & deliver / Product Dev. Track Record #2
• Research commercialization collaboration with MIT-SMART, deployable architecture for big data analytics &
predictive patrol route recommendation engine for taxis in Singapore.
• 1 PM, 1 UI/UX, 3 Web Dev on time-materials basis, evolving project scope.
• MVP was delivered to client on-time in agile manner via RoR in under 2 months.
• Proof of team’s ability to handle R&D commercialization and big data system architecture in a startup-friendly
Evolution of Education: competing forces at play in S’pore
Individualized online learning/Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) +
in-person ‘classroom’ for reinforcement as hybrid mainstream?
Collision of Education Models & Approaches
Government-protected Higher Education
Internet-led literacy, always-connected,
always-on, mobile computing, internet-of-
Evolution of individual/societal dynamics
Employer-employee ‘traditional’ organizational behavior
Bottoms-up (Burning Man, Anonymous, Arab Spring), cause-
driven, me-ﬁrst Maslow’s self actualization on the back of
rapidly growing middle-class demographics, generation-Z life
Policy experimentation v.s. Parental intervention
Fragmentation of education models/approaches, rise of
home schooling, Singapore’s never-ending retooling of
Technology and its impact on Education: Software
“Singapore plans to introduce programming lessons
in public schools to boost the economy”
T/F: Singapore has no resources, only people.
T/F: Cost of software/server infrastructure has fallen
T/F: SGX does not have any software companies.
T/F: Of Forbes’ most innovative companies list, 5 out of top 10
(Salesforce #1, VMware #3, Baidu #6, Amazon #7, Rakuten #9)
are software companies with high net margins
T/F: Singapore’s productivity is poor
T/F: Singapore does not really grok software.
Programming v.s. Computer Science v.s.
Scratch, Java, Python/Ruby, JS, iOS/Android, C/
Technology and its impact on Education: Maker Movement
Arduino littleBits Raspberry Pi
Technology and its impact on Education: 3D Printing
Technology and its impact on Education: A few more things...
Technology and its impact on Education: 9 Principles
Self-healing networks, self-
governance vs regulation,
Search, p2p sharing, self-
paced learning vs lock-step
learning vs instutition-
Self-healing networks, self-
governance vs regulation,
Guidance, self-direction vs
Question authority, what-
how-why vs yes sir, yes sir, 3
bags full sir.
Positive deviance vs top-
Toolkits, maxims, process vs
71 Ayer Rajah Crescent, #06-11/12, Singapore 139951
147 Ton Dat Tien Street, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City
Thank You! Questions?
ACRA UEN No. 201005970E