Tell us more about Can Buy Or Not and what was the inspiration behind the launch?
Vincent: "Can Buy or Not" is catchy and instantly relatable to our local audience. And regardless of where you're from, we all want to know if something is worth it.
Aloysius: I think I sold Vincent the idea behind the name, and he agreed. While it's not grammatically correct, it's easy to remember for our audiences.
You must be inundated with requests to trial products and review the latest trends. How do you deem a product worth reviewing, and what kinds of products excite you?
V: Every product is worth reviewing - the terrible ones can be frustrating to test, but fun to write. Unfortunately, we only have so many hours a day, so the product should, like a good story, have a good hook to get us excited.
A: I like stuff that makes me say, yes, I want that. I'm a bit more selective that way, because I do want our readers to look at our content and say yes, I want to buy that, too. And our numbers do show that if you have a product that appeals, they will click through and make a purchase.
Any challenges or tips you would like to share on starting off a new online portal during a pandemic?
V: I'm fortunate to have a supportive family. They let me focus on the website without distractions.
A: It's not easy being new. Thankfully, both Vincent and I have been in the industry for a while now, and vendors both appreciate and trust in our skills and judgement. Our business partners also believe in us and are comfortable to trust us to run the site.
Both of you have been writing about tech for more than a decade, what are the biggest tech trends you’ve witnessed over the years and how have tech readers evolved?
V: Trends come and go, but the Internet remains the biggest game-changer in our lives. We're still grappling with how it has transformed everything from how we consume news to how we interact with each other.
A: Laptops used to be big traffic drivers before the rise of smartphones. But as with all products that become commoditised, it's really difficult to separate the good from the bad. IOT is one thing I don't see phasing out just yet. Tech readers have also likely gotten bored of reading long reviews, which are mainly due to how much more ad units you can squeeze in. I believe Can Buy or Not's shorter but full reviews make more sense in this day and age.
Any advice for aspiring and young tech journalists?
V: Keep an open mind. There's no such thing as a dumb question.
A: Adding to that, there are stupid answers all the time, so keep asking questions until you get an answer that makes sense.
Last but not least, if both of you could interview any gadget inventor, who would you choose and why?
V: As a big SF reader, my pick would be American writer Neal Stephenson. His geeky, futuristic books have arguably influenced Silicon Valley as much as your usual tech luminaries.
A: My pick would be Cai Lun, the inventor of modern paper. Without paper, I doubt we'd be anywhere near the tech we have today, though I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone else invented it? Hah.