200+ people showed up for the 2009 Unconference, about 25% were repeat.

Things they messed up:

  1. 2 sign-in lines: one for pre-registered, one for unregistered
  2. lines lacked guideposts
  3. staff had all pre-registered badges mixed together
  4. no printer for IDs
  5. keynote presentation broke between when they tested (10 mins) and presentation
  6. caffeine not on tap throughout the day
  7. building has well-provisioned wireless, we're not using it
  8. conference rooms have per-seat power, some rooms have the breaker off

Met a bunch of cool people at this, and created a google groups going forward: Singapore-Tech

Mobile rocks in Asia because the alternative payment systems suck. It seems that the carriers have the lock, even the SG MDA rep was unwilling to comment on startups difficulty working with Sing Tel's (incumbent). Pity that Skype is trying to kill off phones without replacing the payment system... skype hazards breaking an ecology and not fixing it.

Meng Wong noted that Singaporean startups face an uphill battle because parents shell out a lot of cash to put kids through school and want them to have safe high-paying jobs. Sounds plausible and it means that startups have to end-run around that, i.e. have your 9-6 job to make your parents happy and then hack in the evenings and on the weekend. Which means you need some super interesting stuff going on.

They ran a startup idol, where some startups demo'd their product and a panel made commentary-like jabbering sounds with their mouths. Fielding questions from the audience would have been great. Worst case, they could have at least had the audience vote.

FYI, the primary wireless network in the building has the ESSID "NCS OneSurf - Conf User Only" and is susceptible to DNS Traffic Tunneling. So, set that up on your slicehost before you visit the Matrix building at the Biopolis biological sciences complex near Buona Vista MRT.