Monday, August 08, 2016

Conformity, Pokemon Go, and Skepticism.

For the past 2 days, I've joined the ranks of the Pokemon Go zombies.

It started out as a way to bond with my daughter who is not very attached to me. With Pokemon Go, she was more willing to go on a walk with me to catch random virtual pets. I found myself levelling up and catching Pokemon with the intention of at least, showing my daughter what fighting a Gym is like.

While I was not hooked ( I am obsessed with other things right now like IoT and Blockchains. ), here are some insights on this new craze.

a) It amazing how people get polarised into people who like Pokemon Go and haters with room in-between.

I consider myself someone in-between. I am a casual gamer who use the app to bond with my kid. It's interesting that Facebook has become polarised so easily. At one end of the spectrum are the crazy fanboys who share every achievement and screenshot. At the other end are nay-sayers.

Its interesting that one faction can call the other zombies when they themselves have their own anti-Pokemon interest group.

b) Pokemon craze will die out very quickly but Augmented Reality is here to stay. 

Pokemon Go will be forgotten in about half a years time. There is no reason for it to be sustained given that other games like Farmville and Draw Anything petered out within months but Augmented reality is here to stay.

Expect more games with more adult teams with similar mechanics to emerge. Also expect businesses to get into this app as a form of location based advertising. A missed opportunity was an app which employs a real cryptocurrency which can really be a platform for disruption in the future. Imagine landlords giving out tiny vouchers for shoppers to move to various checkpoints in their shopping centres.

c) Investors can learn a thing or two from this phenomenon

Investors should always maintain a level of skepticism when facing new technologies. Skepticism being a middle ground between enthusiasm and cynicism. Augmented reality moving mainstream is something brewing for a long time but not all technologies have been able to get their killer apps so easily. Semantic web technology has been around longer but it is so arcane that we've yet to see a similar breakthrough. Almost all my personal time after law school is now invested in Dapps and blockchains because I see it as something as big as the emergence of the Internet itself.

d) Keep your risk positions small is still key.

When it comes to time and money, its always good to keep the risk of each position small.

When I got into crowdfunding I kept my full investment below $5,000. Now I face two possible defaulting campaigns. Now I am getting into cryptocurrencies, I am only playing with hundreds of dollars but will scale it to no more than 1% of my entire portfolio size.

e) What is a Smart City all about ?

At the end of the day, Pokemon Go and various new initiatives should not always be a positive thing about choosing to become a Smart City.

I am generally very bullish about Singapore's future, but I can imagine driverless cars killing off the livelihoods of taxi drivers, ticketing kiosks killing off cinema workers. On the whole, Singapore needs to make this mercy killing as quickly as possible so that we can move on and adapt to a new and better way of life.

This does not only mean lower-end jobs, I expect many high end knowledge work to be disrupted as well. Blockchains will destroy traditional banks and clearing houses will be a thing of the past. Even the LRIS CPF plan will have a severe impact on the fund management industry, which is why such a great idea for common folk will not see a deadline for implementation.

At the end of the day, the only means of survival is a person's ability to pick up a new skill as all industries face its forces of creative destruction.


  1. Hi Chris, I heard the very first AR game called Ingress (developed by the same co) is more adult-theme and darker, you might like it even better ;-)

  2. I was hoping for something fantasy themed. Creating an adventurer, going to dungeons, killing monsters and taking treasure.