Telum Talks To... Amin Ashaari, Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief, and SoyaCincau Bahasa Melayu

Telum Talks To... Amin Ashaari, Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief, and SoyaCincau Bahasa Melayu

Tell us more about What's the inspiration behind in the first place?
We started as a hobby in 2007. My Co-Founder, Alex and I have been working in telco industry, and we noticed that most of the content that were available then were very brief, pandering to brands and not well-researched. To some extent, we felt that there were a lot of things that needed to be talked about more. Blogging was a huge deal, so we turned our passion into a relatable outlet to share our knowledge. Our website grew from there until we started our company five years ago. We have and SoyaCincau Bahasa Melayu as for now, and we are going to launch SoyaCincau Chinese soon. To this date, we still have the same flavour of content, and we are fearless when it comes to tell brands the truth.

How does stand out compared to other tech portals in the market?
Coming up with a website was a very challenging competition back then; the differentiator was technical capabilities. Today, social media becomes great equaliser as anyone can tell compelling stories, yet we do things differently as in we go behind the story. We do not take press releases and company’s claims as they are; we verify, fact-check and test out the gadgets ourselves. We are brutally honest, bold and unafraid. In a sense, we get more freedom in creating content and make our role to be more important than ever. We however, also believe that we do not know everything, and we rely on our readers to provide constructive feedback and validate our facts, even to proofread our work. This two-way interaction helps us to create a meaningful community.

How can we enhance the media to be more trusted?
Mutual respect matters. A lot of people complained that journalism offers no future, but we need to project an image that we are responsible journalists who know our stuff, have desire and intend to share knowledge with people. Smart questions matter so that people will perceive us more seriously. Media practitioners carry the responsibilities to be perceived as trustworthy, reliable and accountable, but on the flip side of that, brands need to see that the media has the power. Goodies are not enough to please us anymore, they need to respect the fact that our words carry weight.

In what ways that the PR fraternity may tap into collaboration opportunities with
Again, it’s all about mutual respect. You need to tell us the whole situation, honesty enables empathy. You need to trust the media, delaying info will not make our job any easier. We really want to talk to brands who invest in being honest.

In your opinion, what are the most important milestones in the consumer tech sector, in the last decade and what should we be excited for in the next 10 years?
The biggest milestone of the decade is the birth of mobile as we know today. No other device has been so influential in changing lives as the ones in our hands. The characteristic measurement lies in ubiquity and ability to be invisible. It is the extension of your hand and yourself. This upcoming new decade is more important because the key that unlock your lifestyle is your mobile phone. Today, you can barely go anywhere or even earn a living without your smartphone. It is now a portal to you and as personal as your apparel it can be, it is becoming the representation of you. It is you by essence.

I foresee the new decade where things are being more integrated. 10 years ago, things were just about started; birth of cloud, iOS and Android, to name a few, and they were clunky, was not fast and good. Today, everything needs to be smooth and impressive. 5Gs is a very huge deal, and it is the matter of convenience rather than speed. More speed does not equate to more things can be done quicker, but convenience in this context is in the sense of personifying yourself in tech. An example to this is personalised phone that knows your daily life pattern and communicate with everything around it to broadcast your presence.

Do you feel the need to be extra cautious as tech advancement continues to leap on?
To some extent, yes. You do not know what you put out there and who has access to your details. We sacrifice our privacy so easily because we do not understand what tech is actually capable of. For people who have lived with analog and digital, they are not as needy as people who are born after 2000s. They are competent and accustomed to being dependent to tech, so they tend to be freer than others.

The discourse about the downside of tech is pretty much absent in this country. I am an advocate of responsible content creation and consumption, but without discussion and support structure to discuss this matter, or even a community who cares about privacy, people are not aware that it is a problem.

With the mushrooming content platforms and social media channels, what does it take to be a responsible content creator?
It takes maturity to be responsible. The biggest thing for us to change the industry is self-regulation. We need to ask difficult questions and stay true to our principles. We need more young people to read and understand before speak, and funnel energy and passion to produce something productive. It takes hard work, and this applies to both creator and consumer.

As an expert, what would be your top recommendations for consumer gadgets?
I am being truthful, so if you want to but a mobile phone that places security and privacy as their priority, with all my heart I would recommend either iPhone or Samsung. Security is always at the heart of iPhones, and Samsung has knox, its unique three-layers comprehensive set of security features for personal and enterprise use pre-installed in most of Samsung's smartphones, tablets, and wearables. 

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