Telum Talks To… Jamilah Lim, Editor at Tech Wire Asia

Telum Talks To… Jamilah Lim, Editor at Tech Wire Asia

Jamilah Lim is currently the Editor at Tech Wire Asia (TWA). They bring with them almost a decade of experience in communications, PR, editorial, digital marketing, and copywriting. Prior to their stint with Tech Wire Asia, they were with the Selangor Information Technology & E-Commerce Council as a Curator, focusing on startups, e-Commerce, and Smart City. 

Briefly tell us about Tech Wire Asia and in terms of your audience, who do you have in mind when you're putting together a story?
Tech Wire Asia is an independent online news portal covering the intersection between tech and business specifically within the APAC region. I would say our primary focus would be on how enterprises leverage or incorporate tech, particularly to innovate in the digital economy, so our main audience are enterprises -- i.e. your SMEs. They come from APAC, though surprisingly, we have a lot of interest from readers in the US. 

Can you tell us more about your career? How does that influence your reporting today?
Well, I think I’ve had a pretty... interesting career so far. To be very honest, I never intended to go into media and comms -- I actually studied biotechnology and psychology. I somehow stumbled my way into this field, firstly through an internship where I proofread and edited manuscripts with Silverfish Books.

After that, I naturally gravitated towards a writing career with stints in business development. Eventually, I landed in a position that truly gave me a unique challenge where I had to juggle responsibilities in commercial and editorial spaces -- as a Curator with SITEC. 

That generalist role really pushed the boundaries of my capabilities, exposing me to a plethora of opportunities regionally and globally. It opened my eyes to the vastness and diversity of the world and how things function within the tech and business sectors.

Now, at Tech Wire Asia, I’m in my element, overseeing things from a macro perspective, whilst leveraging my competencies in writing, editing, and digital technology. 

FinTech, climate change, cybersecurity, blockchain, and smart cities are some of the topics I’m passionate about.

While tech and business are TWA’s core areas, I’ve learnt from experience that it’s important to be cognizant about political and economic movements not just in APAC, but also around the world -- everything is related -- and what happens across the world will impact how we live our lives here. Case in point - the US-China trade war that affects us in SEA.

Any upcoming strategies of Tech Wire Asia on the news agenda? Any trends or topics that you are looking into this year and in the upcoming year?
We strategise our editorial calendar based on several factors, one of which is trending topics. While we try to predict trends, these aren’t set in stone -- we have to be flexible.

Sometimes, I would plan months ahead for a certain theme, but because of external goings-on, we’d have to put those on the backburner. Also, our writers would sometimes want to specifically write about a certain topic, so there’s a lot of freedom for them to choose what to work on.

I can’t precisely share what we’re actively looking into this and next year because I don’t wish to set expectations on parties, but what I can say is that the team is personally very excited about quantum computing and sustainability.

How do you think technology will transform the financial sector, in general, and in response to the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic?
We write about this a lot. It’s important to note that FinTech is a massive sector, and different countries have different and unique needs.

In my opinion, the use of tech in finance would primarily be to capture and serve the underbanked and unbanked markets (which are plentiful in SEA, particularly), and to offer absolute convenience to users whilst keeping interactions highly personalised. 

Convenience here means anything that helps customers get more done by putting in as little effort as possible. 

The pandemic has completely overturned the very way we think and work. People are starting to realise that you don’t actually NEED to be physically present to get a lot of things done.

Prior to remote working, we wasted precious hours daily just on commuting, which is highly inefficient and tiring. So, people are quickly realising that digitalisation is going to render frequent on-site presence useless. I must add though, it is still important to have physical interaction, especially where collaboration and discussions are necessary (and a peer-reviewed study on Microsoft staff confirms this). 

There’s also a practical reason for digitalising financial services -- Covid has catalysed our evolution into a low-touch economy, where we eschew physical interaction in favour of contactless interactions. 

The future is in anticipating customer and market needs -- and pivoting your services to attend to these needs in a contactless, efficient, intuitive manner that retains the human touch. And this is not just for the financial and banking sector, mind you.

Essentially, AI and automation are supposed to make our jobs easier. Yes, jobs will be lost, but it will be replaced with new ones. By removing the nitty-gritty that most of us inefficiently labour on, it allows us to spend our precious efforts and time focusing on what truly matters, such as strategising or providing a more rewarding, personalised experience for customers.

Any issues that you think businesses / leaders should pay more attention to or are underreported?
Climate change, inclusivity, inequality, and potentially exploitative practices in commerce (e.g. BNPL). 

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
I think that BNPL is a contentious area that requires stronger governmental regulation. It’s not so much the technology, but rather, in limiting predatory behaviour that glorifies commercialism and which takes advantage of those who traditionally would not be able to afford credit services from traditional banks due to “credit unworthiness”. 

Climate change
Climate change should be of paramount importance for businesses and especially large corporations to address. Why? Because a lot of energy is used by businesses, and non-renewable energy use exacerbates climate change. 

Inclusivity and inequality
The pandemic has exacerbated and made even more prominent the massive inequalities that communities and regions around the world have faced. It has particularly negatively affected women and minorities, as well as the economically underprivileged. 

To help heal economies ravaged by the pandemic, we need to focus on improving the lives of people. Economy rebuilding requires enabling job creation so that people actually have the ability to not just survive, but thrive.

How can PRs work with you to create a win-win situation for everyone?
Cut the fluff. Give me the facts. Know what TWA focuses on and augment the angle for that. We are a strongly tech-focused publication, so it would be better if we could interview the actual experts for the crucial tech insights. 

Read up best practices for headlining pressers. I receive hundreds of emails every week, so I only have time to read the headline - if I’m not convinced in 5 seconds that it’s important, it will be ignored.

Oh, and please stop sending me PDFs (lol). 

If you could interview anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I don’t have a particular name in mind, but I’m always interested in the naysayers -- people who go against the grain, especially those who fight against or are critical of Big Tech.

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