My guest today is John Huo (@stjohnhuo). John is the founder of VUCA Insights and currently creates investment-related content, for both corporate and retail clients. John also trains clients on industry metrics so they can evaluate businesses better.
John has previously worked in engineering and management in the Oil & Gas industry, before eventually pursuing one of his earliest passions, investing in equities.
In this super fun conversation, we go deep on the struggles of content creation, especially within the context of ASEAN.
I hope you enjoy my conversation with John Huo.
[00:00:31] – [First question] – John’s Background
[00:02:16] – Is starting over easier?
[00:05:57] – What is VUCA insights?
[00:09:30] – How did John decide on monetisation?
[00:13:41] – How hard was raising money?
[00:19:41] – How do you attract the clients you want or the clients you deserve?
[00:21:26] – How does content complement John’s work?
[00:30:50] – Developing community
[00:36:37] – YouTube strategy
[00:45:43] – Commonalities in creators
[00:53:05] – Creating content for Asia
[00:58:27] – Wrapping up
Connect with John:
- John’s YouTube
- Follow John on Twitter
- Connect with John on LinkedIn
- Connect with John on Facebook
- Follow John on Instagram
Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favourite podcast platform.
Kalani Scarrott (00:00:31): How are we doing? My guest today is my good mate, John Huo. John is the founder of VUCA Insights and currently creates investment related content for both corporate and retail clients. John also trains clients on industry metrics so they can evaluate businesses better. John has previously worked in engineering and management in the oil and gas industry before eventually pursuing one of his earliest passions, investing in equities. So in today’s super fun conversation, we go deep on the struggles of content creation and everything that entails. So obviously I had a great one today chatting with my mate, but I hope you do too. So please enjoy my conversation with John Huo. Yeah, John, cheers for coming on. Good to see you again. Yeah. Maybe just for guests, do you just wanna explain a little bit about yourself and your background and Yeah.
John Huo (00:01:15): Yeah. Happy to be on board. Thank you for inviting me, Kalani. And you know, um, thanks for teaching me the word Sparky, which I’m pretty sure we will find somewhere in the conversation to talk about it. Right. Um, yeah, so I’m actually, I was an engineer in a previous life. I worked in oil and gas Royal Dutch shell for about 10 years building, um, offshore platforms for a living. And, um, I pivoted into the financial services through, uh, first being an insurance planner. Uh, I did that for about half a year full time. And then I went to work for a data and analytics company that sells financial data, uh, to Malaysian companies. And, um, I helped listed, uh, the company and I start to FIRL guys, uh, in 2020 with a former partner, MJ . And I’ve now started, uh, something on my own called VUCA Insights in August, 2022. So it’s still kind of like a virgin in in the will of finance, right?
Kalani Scarrott (00:02:16): Yeah, cause that’s a good point because you’ve done it with FIRL, but then how did you go the second time? Is it, is it easier at all or is it back to square one?
John Huo (00:02:25): I think it’s some parts of it. It’s easier, uh, uh, especially, you know, in terms of production, uh, setup and all that. And you know, just before the podcast we had this interesting conversation about equipment and all, I think you now know, uh, what to be, um, how do you call it? Stingy on. And you now know what are the things that you should spend on, Like, for example, instead of going all out and getting a very expensive camera, it actually can be alleviated by actually buying lights, better lights, you know, things like that. Uh, but in terms of gaining traction, gaining audience and all that, you start right at the bottom, my friends. So it’s like, you know, this, this, it, it actually, that, that question actually triggered me, uh, into a very interesting statistics. And this is something I learned from, uh, this company called Think Media.
(00:03:12): I dunno if you’ve heard of them before. It’s actually on YouTube. Uh, you can go Google, Google, uh, YouTube, them, it’s called Think Media. And he actually made, uh, a statistics that say that only 25 of your audience, 25% of your audience, uh, actually watch your content at any one time. So that means if you have a new video out or new content out, um, the reason why he brought out the statistics was that a lot of times content creators worry that they recycle content. And to be honest, um, I can’t remember who did he quote from? He said that if you are New York Times or a Wall Street Journal economist or whatever, it’s about saying the same thing, 365 different ways .
(00:03:53): So, He, but it’s the, the concept, the foundation of it is literally the same. And back to like, to grow a channel, uh, uh, fresh, you may have some advantage that, hey, okay, I know this guy who was x FIRL right? But out of like the 18,000 subscribers that FIRL has today, um, you know, um, it took viral, uh, a lot of hard work at the back end, uh, to grow it to 18,000 subscribers. Um, it’s starting from zero over again now. So I, I hope that answers your question,
Kalani Scarrott (00:04:24): No, and there’s always new people finding your content, so like they haven’t heard of your previous backlog and they need to know it for the first time. So it’s, it’s, it’s something I’ve thought about, but it’s hard as well because yeah, obviously I feel bad rehashing it, but at the same time there is people that need it rehashed. It’s like
John Huo (00:04:38): You are spot on. And, and that is similar to like reading a book, Kalani. It’s like if you read a book, like, uh, I was just telling a friend, if you read Peter Lynch like 10 years ago when you first started your investing journey, and if you read his book 10 years after you gotten more experience on all that, the nuggets that you get is completely different. And I, I never believed in rereading books before, you know, prior to this, you know, in my mm-hmm. But now, like, I’m finding myself going back, so I have this stack of books next to me, right? And I’m like, uh, like Pat Dorsey’s book, fantastic book. I use it like a Bible, you know? So it’s like, yeah, you go back and you reference like, chapter what? Or he said something about telcos. I remember him saying something, you know, and it’s like, I think that’s the beauty about content creation is that your foundation or your, uh, foundational concepts are usually the same. It’s just that how do you apply them and how do you look at it from a different angle? And I think that’s the beauty about investing because there’s so many ways looking at the same thing, so many different angles looking at one. Same thing haha.
Kalani Scarrott (00:05:37): Man, this is so loosely related, but it’s big thing for me breaking bad. Yeah. First time I watched it I was like, man, Walter White looking after his family, he’s so good. And I watched it recently again with my mrs and I was like, Man, this dude’s bat shit crazy. Like , he’s not a role model.
John Huo (00:05:50): Yeah. Yeah. I, I didn’t wanna start Kalani because I was afraid of getting, getting addicted to breaking Bad, man..
Kalani Scarrott (00:05:57): It’s Good. I love it. Like it, and it’s, it’s not easy watch, but like, I dunno, I just, it’s good. Like it’s not high pace all the time. I highly recommend it. It’s easily one of my favorite TV series. Okay. Thank God I didn’t spoil anything. Yeah. Okay. So with VUCA Insights now, how different is that to FIRAL and do you wanna explain sort of the process you’ve mentioned before the call?
John Huo (00:06:17): Yeah. Um, I started VUCA Insights to focus a little bit more on what I call it deeper insights. That’s why I call it VUCA Insights. FIRAL was more focused or predominantly focused on the retail market. And, um, what I wanted to pivot more towards too was actually the corporate side of things. And also I wanted to spend a little bit more time rather than just creating content, was actually to focus my time doing more research. But there’s, there’s this always this dilemma of the content creator. You can, you can pump out a lot of content, but quantity because quantity trump’s quality over content, right? And that’s where I find that, uh, I was struggling to build deeper insights and I was struggling to kind of monetize on that hours being spent. And that’s why VUCA Insights came about, because two ways of kind of monetizing it.
One right now is actually, um, I do training, I do corporate training and all that through, uh, partnership, a JV with other people in a space, in a training space. The other is actually managing a discretionary fund, which we probably could talk about later, but it’s more like partnering with, uh, I’m partnering actually with a portfolio manager, a license portfolio manager. And we have started a process of building like a stock universe where when we help, uh, people manage their funds, discretionary, it’s a much better than what we call wholesale funds. And I know some of the audience may not understand this term wholesale, you know, in a finance space, Kalani, you and I know like there’s a lot of jargons and sometimes it’s just used to like scare people off. And to make it sound complicated, so wholesale funds are things like unit trust, ETS, right?
(00:08:01): And, uh, discretionary fund is that you’ve got individual accounts, uh, that you’re managing, uh, directly, but at the same time, the decision is made collectively. So like for example, a guy who’s got like 5 million and a guy who’s got 500,000, the discretionary management method would be like if we decide to buy company A uh, across the board, so the 5 million guy would get less than 10%, 5 million guy would get 500,000 worth of this stock, and the 500,000 guy will get 50,000 worth of this stock. But the beauty is that in a down markets, usually wholesale funds will have to sell off a big portion because of withdrawals and redemptions. But ironically, that’s the best time for you to buy, right? It is the worst time for a fund manager to raise money when, when there’s a bull market. But the best time to raise is actually in the bear market, right?
(00:08:51): Like right now, right? But nobody wants to give you money in the bear market, right? And that’s the beauty of discretionary funds because if other people, the, uh, especially if the wholesale funds, right, the big guys are, uh, withdrawing, let’s say your institutional guys are withdrawing, you are not to, you are not forced to sell down the position of the smaller guys. That’s where I think it’s the advantage of a discretionary fund because the small guy says, you know, I trust you if your investment process, you know, I I can I let you buy at the downturn at the bear market. And it’s not impacted like what a wholesale fund would have because they have to sell off huge portions of their portfolio just to re make that withdrawal happen.
Kalani Scarrott (00:09:30): And just for you personally, how did the monetization route go? Because you are a further along the path than me. So I’m always curious like, how did you decide this is the route I wanna go, and then how hard was it that route, do you think?
John Huo (00:09:43): Ah, oh, that fantastic question. Actually, even when I was, um, in FIRAL and when I was with uh, I was at a previous company I was working with, fund management has always been on the radar. And why is that? Is because, how do I explain this? To put it nicely to the guys? You see, when you wanna do due diligence of a certain public listed company, if just to say Kalani Scarrott went up to, let’s just say Apple, and he says, Hey Tim, Can I have 15 minutes of your time? He’s like, Kalani who? Yeah, right. You know, or John who, right? But then if you do have a fund behind you because you’re managing other people’s money, it does give you a certain leverage to say that, Ah, okay, this guy’s investing money on other people’s behalf. You know, uh, there’s, there’s actually some traction if I give him time to help him understand my business.
(00:10:32): And I think that’s always been at the back of my mind. And even when I was, uh, uh, running FIRAL uh, you know, I was the majority shoulder and was running viral back then, right in the back, there was always times when I actually spoke to a lot of people who set up their own funds and trying to figure out a path towards that because it’s never easy to sell something educational. And the reason for that is because people don’t like to work. Let’s, let’s all be honest. Like if you’re, if you’re already busy with your business or your day job, how much, how likely are you gonna spend time to do something that’s one, beyond your comfort zone? And two, it’s something that you’re not familiar with, right? And I mean, it’s great that we can create content, people listen to it, but how many people take action Yeah.
(00:11:20): After that content. Yeah. Right? It’s like doing more work, doing more research, right. And then, and then making, uh, decisions that impact your emotion as well. You know, like clicking a buy and it is like, like hundred thousand, right? Yeah. You have to go through not just the logical aspect, you know, the emotional aspect of making that decision, right? And I knew that if you take this burden off of people, entrepreneurs get rewarded when they, they solve problems for other people. And I mean, when you ask, ask that question, you know, I, I just recall a lot of the conversations I had with my ex-colleagues or my friends. And whenever you, when I, when I tell them, Hey, you come join my class, I teach you how to do the investments. They say, No, no, no, I want the result, but I don’t wanna go through the process. So because of that, I hear this so often that I realized that people are only willing to pay for their pain points to be alleviated. And if you’re only going to pay for them to get more pain, that means I’m teaching you how to do research for stocks, which means going through more hours of research, more pain for them. Yeah. Uh, people are less likely to give you money. That, that’s how I look at it . So I hope, I hope that clarifies and hopefully help you on that path as well.
Kalani Scarrott (00:12:35): No, that’s perfect, and I’ve got a couple points to follow up there. At the start of it, you mentioned even just getting meetings with companies by having that fund behind you. Same thing I found as well, when I worked at the fund, I was way less interesting person knew way less than, but I said I was at a fund, people are like, Oh yeah, let’s have a chat. Let’s, you know what I mean? Yeah.
John Huo (00:12:52): Precisely.
Kalani Scarrott (00:12:53): So many interesting people are willing to talk to you cause you have that behind you. Whereas now it’s a bit hard. That’s why I have the podcast, it’s like a good introduction. Whereas if I didn’t, it’s like, who are you? But, but it’s like, man, I’m actually, I’m still a person, you know?
John Huo (00:13:03): Yeah, exactly. But it’s so, but that’s how the way the world works. Exactly. Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s sad.
Kalani Scarrott (00:13:08): Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
John Huo (00:13:08): Yeah, yeah. It’s like if you didn’t build that traction and that track record, like if you had approach like, um, people like Rachel Lau you know, we were having this chat, right? Yeah. Like Kalani who, Right. What, what, what do you represent? Like, like, thank God I know people, we’ve built our network in industry, that’s why we can invite guests to our podcasts. Yeah. But prior to that, who, who gives, sorry, who gives the damn about you. Right. Exactly. It’s, it’s, it’s true. That’s the game.
Kalani Scarrott (00:13:34): And least I can, I can give people value back now it’s like I’m not just, I am still picking your brain, but I’m giving you value. So,
John Huo (00:13:39): Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Kalani Scarrott (00:13:41): And then the follow up question to that as well, with raising money, how hard is it? How’d you find it? Because my old manager, he’d say I’d be guaranteed 5 million from friends, family, and I’d probably pull in 10% of what they mentioned. So has that something similar you found? How’d you find it?
John Huo (00:13:55): Yeah. And you know, that’s a very, very interesting and perennial question that you get anywhere around the world. A lot of people think that the moment you’ve got a license to manage other people’s money, that’s your job is just stock picking. How so untrue that is actually being a fund manager? Uh, I’m not, you know, my, my partner is, is just sitting behind me at, by the way we’re recording this forecast, right? But the joke that we have in industry is that you are one third a salesman, one third, a stock picker, one third a shoulder to cry on. So the shoulder to cry on right is when your clients go through a bad, when your fund goes through a bad patch, right? Then they’ll be asking, Hey, so and so, uh, why, why is the fund doing badly? And then you know, that it’s like, it’s beyond your control.
(00:14:45): And then you start giving terms like, oh, it’s a mean regression, you know, uh, reversion to the mean , right? , Yeah. And I’m borrowing words from the industry, right. Mean reversion and that, that that is the part where the relationship and trust you bring to your clients and get them to understand that your, the feedback mechanism for investing is not measured in weeks or months, it’s measured in years. And that’s the struggle for any fund manager, because as your, your previous boss said, right, raising the money 10%, you know, they, they’re worth this much is because you don’t build that trust overnight. You have to build a track record. And the advantage, or the, the small benefit I had was that I’ve been managing my family’s money for a very long time. I mean, ever since 2014. So that’s about eight years right now.
(00:15:38): Right. And year to date, it’s, even though it’s like, it’s not doing great, but it’s not in negative territory. And why I I attribute all that is because I didn’t do anything. So in 2014, right? I, I did my research, found great companies bought into them and just, just left it, let it be, you know, Covid came. I didn’t do much adjustment to it. Mm. And and I think the cruxs of it is how do you build that track record and how do you build that trust is where you win over clients. And second very important thing I think that you need to do is most people go in and try to sell a service straight away. Yeah. But as I’m learning and still learning is really like, do you take time to understand what your client wants out this money? It’s like being an ear to them.
(00:16:26): So being a great salesman is like, do you have a problem first? Yeah. So the problem likely will be things like, okay, I I I want a perfect retirement. I want money for my children’s education and all that. And I think the role for you when you wanna sell a service like this is like, how do you connect the dots? How do you tell them that rather than go for some other vehicle or some other alternatives? Why do you, are you standing in their side? Yeah. And I think that’s where sometimes the industry forget who they’re serving in the sense that, okay, I come in and I’ll tell you, our track record has been like so and so, right? That’s prior to the pandemic and we are there today, Right. That like, I think, um, what’s this guy, his name? Oh, Chase Coleman Tiger Global, right?
(00:17:11): Yeah. I mean he’s got, he’s seen like huge withdrawals or stuff. They used to be the star of the industry, right? and they grow so big. But more importantly is that how do clients feel you’re with them. It’s not the fees, you know, you can cut your fees and clients still don’t come to you. Uh, you can do great performance over multiple years, but then the moment the situation goes south, how do you know the clients are still with them? You know? I, I think that’s something that, it’s so simple, but very, very difficult to execute. And I hope that that long winded answer gave you some perspective, you know, because it’s like how I secured as I, I was mentioning to you how I secured my first client was really like the trust I built with him over the years as a colleague, as a friend, as someone, he always gets, um, investment advice from, Okay, I shouldn’t use the word investment, Investment opinions on . Yeah. Right? Yeah. Investment opinions on, Yeah. And it’s like, it’s all true, because like the feedback time was five years. I set, I said certain things like, um, what I think, uh, investment scenario would be and all that. And it has manifested itself, you know, I don’t, I don’t win his trust like over two minutes, right? Or two hours. It’s like over years.
Kalani Scarrott (00:18:17): I think that’s why I respect it so much cause it’s so much hard work and so much pressure as well. Like if I invest myself, there’s the pressure of returns, whatever. Correct. If I invest for others, it’s the pressure of them. Even your peers will look at your fund will make comments. It’s just a whole new ball game when you Yeah. Take that step. So good on you. I respect it.
John Huo (00:18:35): Yeah. Thank, thank thanks for that. I mean, it’s still a very long journey. Um, what gets me excited is that the opportunities that I get to see more people, I get to explain, and ironically, rejection is bad. It is good rejection sometimes by your clients or, uh, and, you know, um, my partner Kevin and I, we, we, we talk about this because when you do meet certain clients and they start giving you kind of like, uh, signals about, Hey, uh, I won my return in like a year. So you, you kind of like have to learn to be courageous to set boundaries on the clients you wanna take because, um, more importantly, do you want them over the short haul and win that business over the short haul? Or do you want them for the long haul? And I think that’s very, very important. And yes, it’s money or potential revenue not being generated, but more importantly, I think it’s something that, um, if you want to be in this business over a long period of time, I think that’s where you gotta set your boundaries right now.
Kalani Scarrott (00:19:36): Yeah. So the next follow up, how do you attract the clients you want or the clients you deserve? Do you think?
John Huo (00:19:41): I I think be consistent about the message you’re sending. Be consistent about, um, your investment philosophy. I mean, a lot of, and I’m, I’m speaking about, uh, all of us collectivity as content creators, right? It’s quite sad that, um, for your content to get traction, you sometimes have to follow themes, right? So what’s the next big thing or the hot thing, right? Like when Squid games came out, Even investment. Yeah. Investment guys like jumping on board and trying to ride on this Squid games game, right? But all this underlying you, you can hop on trends, but is the underlying message consistent. That means it’s, is your investmen, your investment philosophy waiver, did it change just because of this? There’s no harm in admitting mistakes. Like, like for example, you had a certain concept or, or, or thesis on this company, and then you realize that oh, as it manifests itself, you realize that you made a mistake in your error, uh, judgment and all that, that there’s no harm in, in, in admitting that.
(00:20:46): But don’t change or don’t waiver in your philosophy. Every time a different team changes. Like Cathie Wood, I mean, like her, her fund is being battered like to tatters right now, right? But I don’t see, uh, like 180 degree shift from her investing philosophy of growth taking, uh, risks on like more startups and things like that. That’s why she’s going through this more private space. And I think people do appreciate that consistency. And I think that’s something I try to practice as much as possible. Uh, and that’s how I attract clients who like, understand and are willing to go through with me in this philosophy.
Kalani Scarrott (00:21:26): And if you can, do you wanna talk a little bit about the content side and the money side? Like, and how they compliment each other and how that all works and yeah?
John Huo (00:21:35): Yeah sure. Um, I, I don’t see, uh, my videos on YouTube as like a money generation thing. More of it’s like, how do I, how do I get my message across to more people rather than just being an organic kind of rich? And I’m borrowing this from a lot of content creator friends that I have. It’s like, think of it like, uh, you know, the lighthouse where, you know, the Lord of the Rings. I think it was episode two.
Kalani Scarrott (00:21:58): Okay. Two days ago we just started watching Lord of the Rings for the first time , it’s like three hours 50. I was like, Oh my God, this is gonna, So we’re halfway through the first movie .
John Huo (00:22:07): Okay. So, Oh gosh. So I may have, I may have just made a spoiler a little.
Kalani Scarrott (00:22:11): I can picture the light, the analogy there, Yeah.
John Huo (00:22:14): Yeah. So there’s, there’s this analogy where there’s a lighthouse, um, and they wanted to signal for, uh, for the calvary, for the backup. And one way, there’s, there’s no cell phone, there’s no walkie-talkie right? Back in the day. Right? So the only way they could do it was actually light a lighthouse on, uh, on a, on a, like a wall structure defense structure. And that lighthouse just signaled the other lighthouse to light out all the lights. Yeah. So, so I would use that analogy to, to describe, uh, content creation as it own, because like Ray Dalio, you know, he’s like one of the world’s biggest hedge fund. I can’t, I, I lost count of how big his AUM is, right? But why does he do YouTube videos is actually to, to share his investment philosophy, his mindset, his thinking process. And I think I see that as not so much of a revenue generation directly, but more is just to like channel that message across of what my investing philosophy is. What do I believe in and how, how do I do my methodology? And content creation, monetizing monetization of content creation. It’s somewhat in a dilemma sometimes because I do know, like, uh, I’m pretty sure you heard of this, uh, Singaporian company called the Woke Salaryman. Why I brought them up was because they survive, uh, very much on sponsored content because they don’t have a subscription model. They don’t have, as far as I, I remember, right? They don’t have, maybe they’ve changed.
Kalani Scarrott (00:23:40): No, I think it’s the same. Yep.
John Huo (00:23:41): Yeah. It’s still the same in sponsorship and in a sponsorship kind of like, uh, role, you will sometimes have a dilemma of the creative direction you wanna take mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because it’s like, if you’re talking about a particular broker, that means even if you don’t like certain features about the broker, right? You can’t like openly talk about it because they, they’re paying you at the end of the day. Right? Yeah. And that’s, that’s something that I’ve always as much as possible tried to avoid unless my rule of thumb is actually very simple kalani. It’s like if I use the product like ticker, like I, I don’t get a single cent of ticker now, right? I’m on their affiliate program, but I only get paid like if they get, if I get to a hundred subscribers or something. But I love the product to death. I use it every day, Right?
(00:24:28): And, you know, I’m a a big promoter of it, and that that’s where I don’t mind, Right. Just like promoting the product. But when you get sponsored, uh, content, uh, uh, um, environment, it’s like you may not even know about the product and you only know about the product when they approach you and say, Hey, can you, can you like talk about my product? And then you gotta study it. You may not like it, but because the money’s there, you know, that that’s a dilemma. And, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong, I’m just saying that that’s the dilemma you may face. Right? And the second thing about, uh, monetization of content creation is I find that in the West, people value research work much more than what I find in Asia. And it’s just so ironic. I was having a chat with a director of a public lister company.
(00:25:18): They’re, they’re really big, so I can’t name names, right? , right. Um, he was sharing me that an American guy was sharing his business model in which he does very deep research work for certain industries and he’s making a decent living out of it. Like, you know, we talked about Asianometry and Jon, right? Yeah. And he makes quite a good, uh, uh, patreon. Patreon, right? I think he was using Patreon, right? And people are willing to pay for that, right? Uh, in more developed, uh, economies because they value the manner I was spent and all that I feel. And ob obviously I’m generalizing that Malaysia, Malaysians in general, or Asians in general have not come to a point of willing to pay up for good research. And I think that’s where that maturity, uh, discrepancy, uh, will, it’s actually detrimental to the content creator here. Yeah. Yeah. I dunno whether you see that. I mean, I mean, Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:26:14): Yeah. Like, and same thing, it’s a cultural thing. Like there’s so many different factors at play, but even like disposable income, or it could just be a cultural thing like, Hey, why are you, why are you giving money to this random dude on the internet? Like, it seems it’s a hurdle to get over, whereas like in America it’s just, it’s been around a bit longer and more acceptable.
John Huo (00:26:30): That’s right. That’s right. I mean, like, if you tell, uh, uh, a 40 year or 50 year old, probably like closer to the boomer age, the Gen X and like, Huh, you paying this. Like if you try to explain twitching to them, I, I think they’ll like, they’ll just like me. What? Right. It’s like you, you pay some random dude to watch him play games and you pay him money?
Kalani Scarrott (00:26:51): You’re already watching him play games. Why not play the games yourself? It’s like, Yeah, it’s not like that. Yeah. So you watch soccer every night, why can’t I watch my favorite gamer?
John Huo (00:27:00): Exactly. Exactly. So I think that that’s what, that’s the second point I like to highlight as a content creator. It’s, it’s not easy because you spend hours and hours creating like a, like, like Jon Asianometry, like as you know, I I really love this Channel. I mean like, I know the amount of work that it goes into to produce a 17 minute video, Right? And even though I could do the, the kind of research, but I don’t think that monetization it’s is, is as good here in this is this spot that’s, that’s me. Yeah. Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:27:34): And even then, it takes so long to get to that point. It’s like, can I weather that period before I turn monetization on and get to an acceptable level?
John Huo (00:27:41): Precisely. Precisely. Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:27:43): Yeah. It’s a tough one. I don’t know. Something I’m still freaking out myself. Same thing with sponsors. I feel, at least for the podcast, maybe, I don’t know, the Woke Salaryman might be a bit different cause they have to, it’s more tailored content, I’m guessing.
John Huo (00:27:53): That’s right. Yes. It’s more tailored content. Yeah. Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:27:56): Whereas like for a podcast, it might be a 30 second ad read as long as I still believe in the product, but I need to get…
John Huo (00:28:01): I’ve seen people who are very good at that, like for example but okay, here’s the new ones and the, the contacts again. Right? What’s the name? Colossus? Yes. Yes. I mean, you work, yes, you work, you, you work for, for them for a bit. Right? And, uh, once you come on my podcast, I’m gonna ask you questions about that. But for now, for now, he had a fund that could fund this endeavor. Yeah. Whereas if you go on the creative root space, look at how the traditional media actually monetizes actually through adverts and all that. Right? And even for, for Colossus or Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Right. His advantage is that he had this hedge fund guy, he had big companies that would like die to get a slot Yeah. On his podcast, right? Like, well, who does he advertise for? Catalyst, Tegus like, Right. Whereas, you know, no pun intended to the smaller guys here who, who, who gets knocking up their door, um, Moomoo, Futu, you know, Tiger Brokers, right?
(00:28:58): If people who wants to like get you, get their clients to actually churn as much money as possible on a, on a brokerage account, right? Yeah. Whereas like Tegas or Catalyst, right? People actually pay because they need more work and they know the value of the software they’re providing, which is completely different. I mean, like, I would die to get like Tegus to like come and sponsor, right? It’s like Tigus should shut up, you know, I’ll just do whatever you want. Right. Kinda thing . So again, nuance contacts, um, and I, I, I understand your struggle as well Kalani because you, you spend so much time, but is the right target audience understanding, um, uh, the manner which it takes to actually create that content. Um, and more importantly is how do you stand on the side of the client to say, Hey, this, um, what I’m advertising here is actually valuable for you. And that’s where, that’s where that niche is so important because within the financial services or investment investing services, there’s certain niches that your targeted audience has to feel a pinpoint. And that’s where, that’s where monetization, uh, will mean more sense. Like, you know, I’m just being very honest here, right? Like No, no, that’s fine. For you and me, I’m, I’m struggling too to like think of ways of how to monetize that content, right? Yeah,
Kalani Scarrott (00:30:17): Yeah, exactly. And it’s tough because same thing, he’s got all that capital behind him and there’s people working behind the scenes. Like for me, like I literally do everything on this podcast. Like Yeah. Editing, researching, reaching out, it’s everything. Like, whereas I know for other podcasters, they, they might just do the interview, they get a sheet beforehand on a PDF that explains everything about the guest. Yeah. Someone else does the editing, someone else does. So it’s like, if you’re gonna try and compete with them, you’re running up uphill.
John Huo (00:30:40): Yeah. You’re running uphill, man. You’re like, Yeah, you’re, you’re like the last of the mohicans against like the, the , the entire US military or something .
Kalani Scarrott (00:30:50): So yeah, that’s something I think about often. But yeah, I hope that maybe if I can carve out my little niche and my little, I guess community. It’s such a cliche word, but you know what I mean? Like, if you get passionate people, I think that really reflects, So
John Huo (00:31:04): Yeah. And, and once you get to your true 1000 fans, Kalani, and I think the beauty about being like, uh, a, a fresh sheet and you start out on your own and you get to dictate your, your niche. And if you start like wavering, uh, what your creative direction is gonna be, right? Sometimes you find yourself, you find yourself questioning. It’s like, who am I really am What’s my identity? What, what am I trying to achieve out of this show? Right? And I think, you know, I kudos to you. I know it’s not easy. I mean, I mean the same shoes as you, I did my own videos and all that. And I think that’s where once you get to build a community and audience, that feedback mechanism that you’re getting from them, it’s where, uh, hopefully gives you better clarity. I I, I’m pretty sure like you, you know, in the past I, I keep on mentioning this to, to to people willing to listen, right?
(00:32:00): In the past, people will tell you plan five, 10 years in advance, Right? And now being an entrepreneur is like, heck, I don’t even know what’s gonna happen two months from now. You know, who knows? Some, some, uh, sponsorship offer or some business opportunity is gonna land on my feet. Right? I, I, I never know. And in my naive young self, you know, you used to think that if you don’t have a five year plan, you know you’re doomed. Right? And you, you failed to plan. You, you fail to plan you plan to fail, Right? But I don’t think that’s true. I think some planning is necessary, but at the same time, how flexible are you in, like, you put out content, suddenly it gets traction. Suddenly you realize, hey, this is actually what people want. You get feedback from them and that’s where you start burying deeper into that. And you, you may find that you may like it and it was undiscovered for you at that point of time earlier. Right, Right.
Kalani Scarrott (00:32:47): And a follow up to that as well, like, it’s starting to happen a little for me, but it’s still very early days. But I know for Jon,from Asianometry is, um, the bigger you get and the more feedback people give you ideas or can put you onto people or put you on, people are very helpful. They’re amazing. But it’s, um, obviously Jon the double edge sword, he might get a lot of spam comments now he has to wait for, for me, for me it’s like I get good suggestions and it’s like, ah, yes, so grateful. And I’m like, man, imagine how, what Patrick O’shaughnessy gets with all these recommendations. Yeah,
John Huo (00:33:13): Exactly. I I’m pretty sure everybody’s like knocking on his door every, Hey Patrick, do you like this business deal? Hey, do you like the software? You know, that kind of thing. Yeah. Stay in the game. Um, be open. I think, uh, you know, I mean I, I’m giving advice for myself too, right? Like that’s the beauty of the creative space, the content creation space, because you have a certain philosophy and belief about how you do things. Um, by social, the power of social media, you can aggregate that message across to more people. Then you get more people alike to come on you. I get a lot of stock research requests nowadays cause like, like they see my, Yeah. So if you go to my YouTube channel, right, I’ll cover like a stock that interests me, right? I not, may not necessarily own it or something, but then in the comments it’s like, John, what do you think of the stock?
(00:33:57): And in the past I used to like just dive deep and like spend hours and just to give them a to reply. And then I realized like most of them has already bought the stock. They’re actually asking for confirmation. Yes. Right. And, and that worries me because uh, whatever I say, whether it’s good or bad, right? I’m like second guessing them when instead they should be doing the work themselves. But rather I spend time to focus on my methodology and I say, Hey guys, follow this methodology. It doesn’t matter what I think about the stock. It’s more important is what you think about the stock. Yeah, yeah. Know, it’s, it’s tough. Yeah, it’s tough .
Kalani Scarrott (00:34:34): Yeah. cause like Michael Fritzell as well, same thing with Asian century stocks. He loves covering like small microcap value plays, which is like kind of off the beaten path, but people kind of want Tencent, Alibaba, like deep dives and just for the confirmation. It’s like, man, do I give in for the money or do I stick true to my sort of my beliefs? So
John Huo (00:34:53): I dunno. Great. You brought him up. I, I read his newsletters, man. I mean it’s fantastic. You know, the more undiscovered gems or the more, uh, secure the newsletters talk about, I love it. But like I said, I’m not everyone, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m like wired like you and him, right? But like the majority of you are not wired like that Right?
Kalani Scarrott (00:35:12): because that’s what I mean, and Michael has mentioned this, he’s like, anytime a reader asks about Tencent, he’s like, I’ve got five reports that are from much better people. He’s like, I just send him that. Cause I’m like, Yeah, same thing. Why would I wanna read a report that there’s already 10,000 reports?
John Huo (00:35:24): Correct. And they’re probably like 200 analysts, Sell side analysts covering it from JP Morgan all the way down to Credit Suisse. So go read the reports, right, . Oh
Kalani Scarrott (00:35:33): Yeah. So it is what it is. But yeah, it’s, it’s something I’m still working on. And maybe you can find your niche then people are willing to pay extra for that, you know what I mean?
John Huo (00:35:42): Exactly, exactly. Yeah. And I think it’s courageous of you to like start off on the content side and I know from getting to know you before this, that you’ve started from a fun, which is quite a ironic. And then you jump into content and then write right now. Yeah. Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:35:56): It is. Life takes funny routes, so yeah. Yeah. I think it’s, it’s much more fun. It’s a lot scarier and, uh, uncertain, but at the same time, I have much more power in what I choose to do and what I cover. And it’s interesting.
John Huo (00:36:08): Yeah. And I, I hope your travelers have opened, ended up, hey, you’ll be interesting, right? If you could cover a surfing company since you travel and you surf/
Kalani Scarrott (00:36:17): I should. I should.
John Huo (00:36:18): Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:36:19): The perfect plan would be honestly travel around like every couple of months, meet up with people, do interviews on site alongside, still doing these interviews like this on Zoom. But yeah, it’s, um, there’s always opportunities there.
John Huo (00:36:30): So Yeah. And uh, you know, who knows? You can pick up a language or two like Vietnamese or something. Right,
Kalani Scarrott (00:36:34): Exactly. Yeah.
John Huo (00:36:35): Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:36:37): A lot of time. But yeah, it’s definitely on the cards. Um, I have a a very specific question that’s a bit different on YouTube with your content, what’s the reasoning behind doing premieres versus just a normal video? How do you find that difference? I was just curious for myself.
John Huo (00:36:51): Yeah, yeah. Uh, to be honest, I don’t know the answer. Yeah, I, I was just experimenting, right? Because it’s like I looked at all the features that YouTube studio actually gives you. And like, one thing I found right, Peculiar though, I dunno whether it’s more for views or whatever, but you know, chapters on YouTube, when you upload a video, you can actually put chapters, right? But if you premier video, you can’t actually, the chapter insertion, it’s actually very difficult.
Kalani Scarrott (00:37:18): Ah, okay. Interesting.
John Huo (00:37:19): But if you don’t, if you don’t, if you like private the video and it’s like shadowed, it’s just shadowed but it’s not premiered. Yeah. There’s actually, uh, a very easier path for chapter or timestamps insertion. So that, that’s something peculiar. But for me, I, I don’t have a particular reason. I just like, uh, sometimes because I batch caught then I can like premiere because like something that I know it’s like more time sensitive than I premiere. But if it’s like, it’s just like a regular, regular stock that’s been around a while, then I just, yeah. But there’s no, I don’t really like go through the data, but I don’t see much based on what I see, I don’t see much difference in between if I premiere a video or I just like, yeah, I just like on a schedule. Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:38:01): Chapters is interesting cause I mean, I love them. I do them on my videos and stuff, but a good friend who’s a much better at YouTube than I am said, ah, I probably don’t do chapters cause then people skip to specific parts, the retention goes down, so its like..
John Huo (00:38:12): Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and, and I just watched, just fantastic that you brought this, this point, I just watched a very famous content creator, her name is Vanessa Lau. And, uh, she gave eight tips on what not to do for a content creator. And one of it was actually not putting chapters because in the past YouTube would rank you based on your click through rates, right? But what YouTube prioritizes today is actually watch time. The longer you are, then the longer you are, then the more YouTube will push up your video. So there’s, there’s this dilemma, uh, that I have as well. Kalani, I I I’m gonna start a YouTube, uh, channel uh, podcast channel, sorry. And there’s always this dilemma of combining long form video or long form podcasts onto a channel that is regularly pumping out like 15 to 20 minute content, right? Will, will the algorithm mess up. Do you set up a new channel yourself? And like for me, because my priority is not really like monetization for YouTube, it’s more like to get my message across, then maybe I, I don’t really mind about the algorithm is doing, but at the same time it’s a chicken and egg. Because if your, if your YouTube channel doesn’t grow to a certain subscriber size, then how are you gonna get a message out to, to more how are you gonna scale? Right? So, and
Kalani Scarrott (00:39:30): Even getting guests on if they see, Oh, you only have, so it’s like, oh,
John Huo (00:39:33): Exactly. Right. So, so that, that, that’s, that’s something that, uh, it’s quite interesting you brought it up because I’ve always heard two sides of the coin. Never built your content on one channel that you know, the moment YouTube goes down and you’re gone. But at the same time, I realize that if you try to build your own website, optimize that and all that, right? Your struggle is how are you gonna drive traffic there? So again, I would say to hedge your bets, you know, you, you’ve gotta be almost like everywhere. Um, and um, it’s a lot of production work. A lot of people don’t see the post-production, pre-production work that goes on behind the scene. But I think play the game where, you can be as much omnichannel as possible, that would be great lah. Because if, if, if you, if you are like stuck with just one and the, the moment that one goes down, then you know, you’re, it’s done for right.
Kalani Scarrott (00:40:32): Um, I don’t know, is there anything else you wanna cover in regards to VUCA Insights and what you’re doing there?
John Huo (00:40:36): Yeah, I, I do wanna like, uh, probably bring a question up for discussion about how people actually view content creators. So like the feedback that you get from your audience, um, they probably, correct me if I’m wrong, two school camp’s of thought. Oh, thank you so much for sharing all of your content whatsoever. Right. But what’s, what’s next? Yeah. So, so have people, have you actually sat down with like some of your fans and talked about this? That’s my question. And then, you know, I’ll share my thoughts after I listen to yours. The second thing I like to know is that writing books, so if you’ve gotten like a plethora of, um, guests, right? And you’ve created almost like a plethora of different topics like, you know, your Singapore HDB thing and all that, right? So what are the common threats that you see threats and does it warrant another form of content creation, like a book or, or whatsoever? And if, if there, if there isn’t, why, why is that so? And if there is, why, why, why do you think it’s worth pursuing? You know? So two, two in one questions.
Kalani Scarrott (00:41:54): Oh, banger. So the first one, in terms of fans wanting what’s next, is that just like the constant hunger or what do you think?
John Huo (00:42:00): You mean the constant hunger or what, what do they look forward to and how do they kind of reward you? What’s the reward mechanism to encourage you to create more content?
Kalani Scarrott (00:42:08): Yeah, So this is what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and I spoke to Michael about it. One, there’s the expectation. It’s funny, like I give everything for free, but they kind of do expect a lot and expect consistency, but they reward that. So it’s tough. Um, like I think Michael now lists that he actually takes four weeks holiday a year. cause yeah, people have lives and, and that, but for me it’s, um, yeah, I don’t know. It’s still work in progress. I think I have to look at it long term, especially because I took a bit of a pause for the podcast and if I, if I zoom out on the stats of each episode release, it does trend up over the time, but it still feels so flat. So it’s like, yeah, you, you don’t, the worst analogy is probably throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks, but you kind of do. You gotta put it out there and you really don’t know what will take off. Sometimes you have an idea and like, yes, this is actually quality and it will take off. But there’s so many times where it’s the opposite and yeah. So that’s a toughie. How are you finding it?
John Huo (00:43:05): Yeah, it’s the, it’s almost the same. Um, again, like I said, the feedback is always like they want consistency, they want more, but at the same time they, um, how is that, remuneration or it’s not that we are, put it this way when I’m asking this question, it’s not that we are hungry for money, but time is actually a very valuable essence.
Kalani Scarrott (00:43:25): Yes. I was talking about this yesterday, like I don’t want much, All I want is enough money to be able to like pay someone to do all the transcripts. At least on that side. Editing would be nice, but I might still do it a little bit myself. Just tweaking. But like little things, it’s like..
John Huo (00:43:38): Yeah, yeah. The, the other, the, I mean using this and pivoting towards that second question about books, right? You know, books don’t, actually don’t, unless you’re like Harry Potter or whatever, actually you don’t earn much money from writing a book.
Kalani Scarrott (00:43:52): Yeah. There’s not much money but the status.
John Huo (00:43:54): Yeah, that that, that’s exactly my point. You, you somehow rather, by creating a podcast, maybe it’s because of the perception of the barriers to entry is lower, Uh, and writing a book more difficult, that’s why you get a little bit more credibility. Not a little bit, quite a lot of credibility when you write a book, right? Yeah. Comparatively to a podcast. But I would argue that the, the hours that you spend pre-post getting concise messaging, getting guests on board, getting interesting topics to be talked about, it’s e equal, almost equal to that of writing a book.
Kalani Scarrott (00:44:26): Um, I remember David Senra, literally mentioned this the other day, I think if he turned all his podcast interviews on, um, founders and like all entrepreneurs, I think it would be like four and a half thousand hours. And he’s like, I’ve already condensed it into a two and a half hour podcast. I can’t condense it further into a book.
John Huo (00:44:41): Yeah, exactly. You know, I’m, I’m a big fan of David Senra. Yeah. I followed his Linkedin like, like, like insane. And I think the kind of content he’s producing is like, you literally had to have multi-volume kind of books to be able to like to condense all of that as well, you know?
Kalani Scarrott (00:44:57): Right. Yeah. And I go through stages cause obviously working with Patrick, O’Shaughnessy, he is so bullish on audio and like everything cause the same thing. You can listen to it while driving. You don’t have to be actively listening.
John Huo (00:45:07): Um, Correct.
Kalani Scarrott (00:45:08): You can really condense information. Like, uh, like I know some episodes, like not every interview that he does gets published, you know what I mean? It’s only the best of the best that you see. And even then it might be a two hour interview condensed to an hour. So Correct. You really can streamline that. And I don’t know, you can always get the expert’s view and I, I love that aspect because they can condense things down and talk about it in a much easier way than a Yeah. 15 hour book, audio book might do so.
John Huo (00:45:34): Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:45:35): Bullish on audio and it’s like, but yeah, the book, I don’t know, I don’t know where I’d go with that. It’s hard. Same thing, the status and , it’s a time sink.
John Huo (00:45:43): Okay, cool. Probably one, one question to also, um, like get your views on, especially, you know, um, when we, we had this chat when you were in, in Malaysia, right? What were the commonalities that you see in between, um, the content creators, uh, that you interview someone like me in Asia, in Malaysia versus the content creators, um, elsewhere, like, you know, Jon of Asianometry or like Michael Fritzell in Singapore, he’s in, he’s based in Singapore, right? Michael Fritzell. Yeah. Yeah. So what are the commonalities and what are the differences that you see? Um, whether it’s a struggle, uh, whether it’s something easier for them in between, between this, this disguise actually, yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:46:32): Good. That’s a good question. Um, I would’ve loved to think about that for a bit longer as well, but that’s good. Um, I think, like off the top of my head, curiosity is a big thing. They, like, they wanna understand either how a business works or how the technology works and being able to produce content is almost a way of explaining their thoughts and helping them think. So it’s, it’s a double whammy. It’s good. Like for that. Um, yeah, that is a very good question. I’m not sure what else positives wise. I think the difference is probably in how people approach their content. I spoke about it sometimes it is just, um, putting things out there and seeing what works, whereas other people will hyper edit and you know what I mean? It has to be the very best thing. Or you might get one video a month or, you know what I mean? So that’s probably a big difference is how people approach that and how, is it like an art form or is it not a service to people? But I don’t know how you’d explain it. Yeah,
John Huo (00:47:22): ahhahaha..
Kalani Scarrott (00:47:23): We’ll have to come back to this when you interview me.
John Huo (00:47:25): Yeah. When I’m gonna interview you the other week. cause it, it, it’s, it’s something that’s always, uh, been on my mind that, uh, when I see content creators, uh, in the US they probably have a bigger audience, right? Uh, people are more appreciative of content there. I mean they appreciate the creative space compared what I would say Asian obviously I’m still generalizing again. Right? Uh, the other thing that, you know, I I think, and I may be wrong, may be a bias is that the access to information is slightly better, uh, for, for uh, Western or uh, content creators versus that of here. But some would argue, like it all boils down to how smart or how experienced you become in research, right? Because data, data is like, it’s all over the place. You know, today is not whether you have data, it’s about how you condense them, how you gather them as fast as you can and all that.
Kalani Scarrott (00:48:22): That’s a good point because same thing, it’s, I’ve thought about this before. If you live in San Francisco and you, you’re a creator about tech startups, it’s all in English. It’s, it’s all one culture is very easy. Whereas the, the beauty of it and also the challenge of what I love to do is there’s so many different cultures, languages, ah, it’s like, yeah, it’s so, so hectic, but it’s so, so interesting for me cause I can bounce around, I can fly three hours and go to a totally different culture. Totally different language.
John Huo (00:48:49): Correct? Correct. Uh, consumer behaviors are different. Exactly. How businesses are run is different. Um, you know, like how you do business, uh, how, how do you build connections? Like, as you remember, I used, uh, I used to work for Shell and, um, every time I travel to a European country where I have to test equipment or to, to kick off a meeting, you’d be lucky to get a dinner from the host one if you go there for a week. Right? But in Asia, and I’m pretty sure you’re well aware of this, right? Yes. The host will like, bring you out almost every night. I love it and entertain you.
Kalani Scarrott (00:49:23): Right? And I’m keen to reciprocate yeah.
John Huo (00:49:25): Yeah. And, and that’s, that, that’s the beauty of travel. And then when you open your eyes and you, you see all this, but again, boils back to like investments and understanding business because how you do business in Europe and how you do business in China and how you do business in Asia, it’s like very, very different. Right? Very, very different. How do you build trust? How do you build, uh, how, how is information given to you, right? Like how do you get someone to open up in, in a culture where like, let’s say for the Germans, uh, versus uh, the Chinese, right? It’s like how do you, for the lack of a better word, how do you push their buttons? You know? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
(00:50:07): And, and, and it’s, it’s, it interesting is because a gesture that may seem rude in Europe is actually a, a gesture that is actually friendly in, in certain parts of the world, right? And why, uh, I feel is very inter interrelated to investing is because if you try to do this the, the European way of doing business in Asia or the Asian way of doing business in Europe, I think, uh, you kind of missing the point altogether. And as content creators, I mean as business owners, they exploit that for the lack of a better weather, exploit that to their benefit, which is exploit doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, right? They, they really utilize it to their advantage. But as content creators, we get a watch on the sidelines and watch how they adapt. Like for example, if you have like General Electric coming to Asia, right? How they sell a turbine here and how they sell turbine in the states, it’s gonna be very, very different. Right? And, and I think the role of content creators in, in, let’s say in initial of investing is actually to highlight all this. Because these are stories that are not only not told because the executives won’t come out and publish all this content, right? Yeah. And how much can you get it off an annual report? You’re not gonna see that in an annual report. Right, ?
Kalani Scarrott (00:51:26): No, that’s such a good point. And yeah, you beat me too. Cause yeah, if you’re stubborn and try and just do the way you’ve always done it, it’s like you gotta be fluid and Yeah. Play the game.
John Huo (00:51:35): Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Um, probably some last thoughts that, uh, I, I would wanna like probably get your opinion on as well is like, what would be, uh, you know, content creators, you, you’re given this, uh, advice that stay the game, throw whatever spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks, right? But what would be your point of where you kind of like, okay, this is something that’s not getting enough traction, then I’m gonna pull the plug on it and where are you gonna pivot? You know, I, it’s some, I’m pretty sure it’s gone through your mind before, before you, like you..
Kalani Scarrott (00:52:09): A hundred percent. Yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t know, it sounds a bit simple and cliche, but it’s like, am I still enjoying it? Mm-hmm. I, so I paused the podcast for a bit and like, yeah, I’ve come back to it now and loving it more than ever. Cause I think I just had a bad run. It was a bit hectic, I had my wedding and stuff and we were prepping to travel around. To be honest, it’s funny, I thought before, so I sort of picked up videos around end of March and that’s when the podcast paused, started traveling Southeast Asia. Cause I was like, yep, doing videos. We much easier than trying to do a podcast on the road. It’s the opposite. Like , I need my second monitor to make videos cause I’m like editing and pulling files and got the script. Whereas for the podcast, you really only need a microphone, a laptop in half decent internet. It’s,
John Huo (00:52:48): That’s right.
Kalani Scarrott (00:52:49): So that was a big switch and yeah. And now I’m coming back refreshed. But in terms of dropping it, when am I, am I running in circles? I don’t know. Obviously I’d love to get paid for the podcast, but I can imagine I would still do it even if I’m not getting paid in a year. You know what I mean? So
John Huo (00:53:04): Yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:53:05): Videos is a different one cause I’m like, do I follow certain threads of topics on, I don’t know, geopolitics or geography or, you know what I mean? So that’s a bit more nuanced and uh, if I don’t enjoy it again, I’ll cut it and if it’s not not performing, I’ll cut it. But yeah, in terms of big projects, there’s a big, it’s a big thing. I don’t know. I’m working towards it. How about you?
John Huo (00:53:25): I somehow enjoy content creation as much as you do. Um, why? It gives, it gives me a chance to not just tell my story, but to tell other people’s story. And I think other people’s story fused with my think on it, it’s what makes it more beautiful. Um, however, they will come a point a time where I think prioritization and focus will, will, will, will definitely kick in. You know, and you know, I’ve, I’ve got two kids, uh, they’re in an age where I should enjoy time with them, but at the same time, um, I realize there’s such dire need for good content because I, I look around and no pun intended to, you know, I’m not naming names, but no pun intended to those that are trying to create content. But I feel that content in Asia has not, it’s not even come close to what the content in the West has, has done.
(00:54:23): Like, I mean like you look at, again, we’re gonna use Colossus as as an example, right? I’ve not heard a boring Colossus podcast so far and you know, like you were saying, like probably one third of whatever they record is culled. Right? So can you imagine? Right? But I don’t see that kind of quality of production being produced and for me it gnaws at me because it’s like, rather than just be, uh, a back bencher and complain about it, what am I doing about it? Yeah. That, that, that’s how I look at it. Looking at it, I’m pretty sure you look at it that way too. And, but at the same time it’s disheartening to a certain point is because you’re taking away time from things that you can do more like, you know, either go look for more money, look for more business and things like that. So I think that’s a balancing game that I play and I think you’re going through that same dilemma as well. Um, at least you’re enjoying traveling , which is a good thing, right? Enjoy. Why you before you have kids, bro. Exactly. So yeah, so I think that that’s where I’m at and I’m just taking things along as, as long as I enjoy it, as long as been given, given the opportunity to talk to interesting people, I think that’s where I’ll just keep going at it.
Kalani Scarrott (00:55:35): Oh mate, dead on. cause that’s the whole reason I started the podcast when I was at colossus. I was like, man, why is there not like this for companies and people that I know in Asia Pacific? Yeah. So I was like, yeah, oh, maybe I should stop complaining and actually do it myself. So
John Huo (00:55:46): Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Kalani Scarrott (00:55:48): But um, it’s tough cause I don’t know, the interest is still developing, I think, I think there’s an interest there.
John Huo (00:55:53): But that’s right.
Kalani Scarrott (00:55:54): There’s not the established networks like there is in the US.
John Huo (00:55:56): And Yeah, exactly. And you know, I was like, um, I’m putting up my content on, on another channel, uh, they just like, I just sign off the rights. Like they can like take off my video and put it on their channel. And just to give you an indication, I wouldn’t name names. They’re actually a very big company, very, very big. Uh, and they’ve started their channel probably like last year or something and they are like one third of my subscribers and I’ve only started my content like two months ago. So I’m not saying I’m good, but what I’m saying is that are you approaching content creation with a very genuine intent of helping bring value to your audience rather than, I know it sounds very cliche and very simple, but are you genuinely pumping out good value content to your client rather than just pumping content for content?
(00:56:54): I would say, right? It’s like, yeah, I, I know it’s a very fine line, but I think the feedback mechanism is where people actually sit down trust you and listen to you, that that’s very clear feedback, right? And I see a lot of organization struggles because that this one idea I pioneer even when I was in FIRAL was this thing like FIRAL on the ground, which is like you do an unscripted authentic interview with the guy, the business owner trying to explain the business and all that. Uh, versus like a scripted corporate video. The CEO has a prepared script and he just reads off to the camera and then like, I, I’m sorry, I don’t watch those kind of videos. Like I I I switch off like after 10 seconds, right? And I think, I think why I’m bringing this point up is because again, to the point about this, this gap in which people are just pumping content out for the sake of pumping content out versus like really trying to bring genuine value into the content you’re producing.
Kalani Scarrott (00:57:52): Yeah, yeah. And it’s hard cause same thing you improve the more content you put out. So it’s like, how much do I spend on like editing and stuff or is like, is it a learning experience that we move on? I dunno.
John Huo (00:58:03): Yeah, exactly. Exactly man.
Kalani Scarrott (00:58:05): Yeah, it’s a big tough game. I love it. There’s so many different aspects. And same thing, like you said, putting out the best content is obviously the goal always. And that’s where I come back to YouTube chapters. I’m like, surely that is the most helpful thing ever. detrimental to your work.
John Huo (00:58:20): ahahah, So watch time, my friend. That’s the YouTube golden rule.
Kalani Scarrott (00:58:24): Sorry, I forgot about the watch time.
John Huo (00:58:26): Yeah, yeah.
Kalani Scarrott (00:58:27): Sorry, I won’t keep you any longer. I’m very conscious of your time. Thank you. So anything else you wanna cover or speak about?
John Huo (00:58:33): No, I, I think, I think, uh, you know, this is, this is, um, a good starter, uh, for probably giving a very authentic or nuance view about, you know, content creators in general. Plus, you know, like for me, um, helping, uh, grow a fund as well as training, um, and, you know, jumbling it up with content creation I, I think it’s good because if you look at journalism, I used to like in my naive self, like only engineers, lawyers, and doctors do real jobs, right? What does the journalist do? Right? Journal, right? Then as, as I got older and hopefully wiser, right? Then you realize, ah, the power of journalism, the power of content creation. And I think I’d like to leave this podcast with this thought that, you know, spare a thought for those people who actually take the time to produce good content, whether it’s a piece of, uh, article, uh, podcast or whatsoever.
(00:59:32): Because I think the future development of mindset and mankind relies on creative producers. It may not necessarily be a blockbuster documentary or whatsoever. It could be something like little, little nuggets that you get by interviewing interesting people that may not be covered by mainstream press. Like the story of let’s say a businessman that actually okay, businessmen is once they get to riches, definitely all their attention will come to him. But maybe a social worker, maybe, uh, like a person, um, who believes in a certain course but not rewarded monetarily. And these are the kind of people that we need to highlight. And that’s the role of content creators and journalism. And I think that that’s where, um, hopefully people more and more will appreciate this. I think that’s how I would like to, you know,end this though lah.
Kalani Scarrott (01:00:25): That’s a great way to wrap up. So John, thank you so much and um, yeah can’t wait to have another conversation as well again.
John Huo (01:00:29): Yeah, and I’m on the other side, so I’ll be asking questions.
Kalani Scarrott (01:00:33): You already asked a few questions today. I was like, Oh damn, . But no cheers. I really appreciate it. So..
John Huo (01:00:39): Most welcome. Most welcome, right.