Reflecting on a Year of Traveling, Learning and Achieving New Things

Last year started with a running medal. I know completing a 10k is probably not a big deal for many experienced runners, but I’m really proud to have done it, and want to put it here as an achievement.

Running has been a big part of my life. It makes me happy. But sometimes It’s not easy to run every day while also running a company. Participating in this marathon event gave me a mental alarm to keep discipline myself and achieve my goals. I finished the 10k, and I feel great about it.

A Year of Traveling

Although I spend majority of my time in Myanmar taking care of businesses, I was lucky to have the opportunities to travel internationally and attend events that challenged my thinking.

In April 2016, I went to Facebook Developer Conference F8 in San Francisco. The experience was wonderful, but I didn’t plan on attending again for another year. So I wasn’t expecting it when I received an email from Facebook last year, saying I was awarded a scholarship to go to F8 2017 in San Jose. That was an opportunity I could not say no to.

San Jose McEnery Convention Center where Facebook Developer Conference took place

At F8, I got to meet with developers, technologists, designers, publishers from all around the world and learn about all the latest technology of Facebook related products and services from the industry giant itself.

Listening to Mark Zuckerberg delivering his keynote speech and Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer talking about technology gave me great motivations. I was able to enjoy all the benefits of attending the Facebook F8 Conference — gaining early access to the Facebook product roadmap and the cutting edge technology. I got to try out Facebook Spaces (Facebook’s VR product) as it was launched. All of it was an eye-opening experience to say the least.

Another great thing that happened at this conference was I finally had a chance to visit Facebook HQ in Menlo Park. It’s always been a dream of mine to have an insider peek at Facebook. The campus tour I received went beyond my expectation.

After F8, I had a few days to experience the “real Silicon Valley,” meeting with startup founders, experienced venture capitalists and many like-minded entrepreneurs.

Picture on the left was Adam Draper, founder of Boost VC, a startup accelerator that focuses on bitcoin related companies. Picture on the right was selfie with venture capitalist Duncan Davidson.

After coming back from Facebook Headquarter, I went to Facebook Singapore with my team. It was the second year for our team to receive direct training from Facebook. This year the training was focused on creative content like PockeTVC, which is traditional TVC optimized for online. Things we learned there have been immensely valuable for the work that we do every day in Myanmar.

Our team discussing assigned tasks during Facebook training session

The one in the middle is Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. She was talking about the future of workplace.

I didn’t expect to be returning to the U.S. so soon, but in September, I went to the East Coast and attended the Advertising Week 2017 in New York.

AdWeek has always been a good place for me to learn from global agency leaders, and this year was no exception. I met Martin Sorrell in real life! He is the CEO of WPP, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. He is also a hero of mine for many years. Meeting him was truly a dream come true.

Selfie with Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath Inc.

I also learned a lot from Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath Inc., about how to grow some of the best digital media companies like AOL, Yahoo and TechCrunch. Many of the things I learned were really good advice for Akhayar.

Talking about Akhayar…

I started Akhayar just before 2017 as a pet project of mine. It’s hard to believe Akhayar is now one year old and reaching 1.5 million monthly active users. Inspired by media organizations like Vox Media and Oath, my vision for Akhayar is to become the No.1 digital media company in Myanmar.

To achieve that, Akhayar will expand to include more channels, including the Akhayar Sports channel we recently started. It will also become a media company driven by process, so I will involve less and less in the day-to-day operations and shift my focus to generating revenues and building partnerships.

Facebook Day in Myanmar

Many of you have already heard about the first Facebook Day in Myanmar, organized by Revo last year. It was something I wanted to do for more than two years, so I couldn’t be more proud when we finally brought Facebook here and later became the Facebook partner in Myanmar.

“If Today Were The Last Day Of My Life…”

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today”

This Steve Jobs quote has profoundly affected how I view life, which propelled many personal changes during the past year.

I decided to stop drinking last October. I haven’t touched alcohol since. I used to let work consume me, and not actually finding the balance between work and personal fulfillment. But last year, I started finding things to do in my free time that I truly enjoy doing, like working out, spending time with people I love, instead of going out when I didn’t want to.

Remembering we are all going to die some day is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. We are all going to lose what we have in the future. In another word, we are all naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Data is the New Oil — My Next Challenge — Xavey

Running two successful companies — Revo and Akhayar — is hard. It was made more challenging when I took over another company: Xavey.

Xavey is a tech driven market research company, and I’ve always had the hope to turn Revo into a result-driven agency backed by data. Having a market research component to Revo will push us closer to that goal.

Data and research are the strongest strengths of any technology organization today, even more valuable in a newer market like Myanmar. I will lead Revo towards that direction, and better serve our clients with our data-backed research findings.

That said, I’m looking for a leader who can assist me in running the company operation. This General Manager will focus on execution and financial activities, while I spend more time on creating strategies and figuring out what’s next for Revo.If you are interested, send me an email at mk@revotech.co. I’d love to hear from you!