Telum Talks To... Rui Ma, Co-Host, Tech Buzz China
How do you go about days when you record your podcast?
My Co-Host Ying Lu and I record these days separately. We used to meet up in person and record together, but that has become impossible since the pandemic began. For the past year, we have recorded our show separately. Since it is all scripted, it works out fine for us. It also potentially saves time since we can practice beforehand and think about how we’re going to say something.
How do you manage your news agenda? How do you pick topics?
First, I scan headlines multiple times a day to get a sense of what’s buzzing within the community. Then I curate based on what I think are the most important, globally impactful topics. I usually prioritise things that I think will be interesting and relevant to investors and entrepreneurs outside of China, or occasionally, when things are misreported.
What kind of interviewees or guests does Tech Buzz China look to talk to mostly?
We don’t always bring in guests, but we tend to get those who work as consultants or advisors in the industry when we do. We never ask a company representatives because we worry about objectivity. We also look for folks who speak excellent English -- we pack so much research into our episodes already that we don’t really need people to provide even more detail; we need people who can clearly articulate their point of view.
Can you share with us your story with Pandaily?
I’ve known Kevin (the founder) for many years now, and I told him about the podcasting craze that was sweeping through the US back in 2017 and suggested that he start a podcast. He thought it was a good idea and wanted to give it a try. Many months later, he hadn’t been able to find anyone and asked me if I was willing to give it a shot. And here we are, two and a half years later, still writing and broadcasting.
You’ve got no experience in journalism before managing the podcast. To what degree have you seen your experience in financing and investment benefit your work in media?
Even though Tech Buzz China is a podcast and a media product, I don’t consider myself a typical journalist. I’m not breaking news, and while I have many sources that I talk to, they are generally off the record. Instead, I see it as a more independent analysis packaged as an in-depth explainer. In this respect, my previous and ongoing experience in investing is hugely helpful. It is basically a variation of the same type of work that I’d do to understand an industry or company as an investor -- but wrapped in a much more entertaining format that also allows me to talk about tangential topics that interest me rather than just the business case alone, such as cultural or social impacts.
Any trends or topics that you are looking into in the coming year?
How Chinese internet companies organise themselves and think about innovating are two of my research interests at present. While product-level innovations are certainly interesting, they don’t always translate to other parts of the world. However, management philosophies and organisational design can. I’m super interested in uncovering more of the nuggets of wisdom in management science that Chinese companies have accumulated over the years and sharing them with the world so that we can all benefit from their learnings.
Podcast Profile – Tech Buzz China
Tech Buzz China by Pandaily is a biweekly podcast focused on giving you a peek into what’s buzzing within the tech community in China. We uncover and contextualise unique insights, perspectives and takeaways on headline tech news that don’t always make it into English language coverage.
Host: Rui Ma, Ying Lu
Global listenership with the majority of listeners based in the US and Southeast Asia.
iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify and anywhere you can get podcasts.
Every other Friday.