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Look over the fence – StartUp Weekend Phnom Penh

Februar 6th, 2016 von buergermeister

Linux and Free Software plays in South East Asia not that role as in Europe or North America. To change that at least a bit, I came here. The asian culture plays definitely a role and this was often discussed. But it plays lesser the vital role as we think and as the linked article shows, we will not find an easy an solution for the cultural differences. From my perspective it is lesser necessary that we adopt, the most asians I met are willing to accept the differences and can live with them.
The people in South East Asia have other interests and that is the problem, Google has here more success with his Google Developer Community. There are only a few successful FOSS events and most of them are one timer opposite the BarCamp scene is huge. BarCamp Yangon 14.000, Bangkok 7.000, Phnom Penh and HCMC 5.000 visitors. If you go to them you will meet a lot of tech interested people but you will realize that the interest in start up topics is much higher. I am not the only one who realized that, Pravin made the expirience on his visit to BarCamp Yangon also.

So it was time for me, to digg deeper into the StartUp scene and look if we have common areas and if we could inter-connect so that we have an profit from. So I participated in StartUp Weekend Phnom Penh 2016 as an mentor. What is StartUp Weekend? We would call it Hackfest, people come together to work on a specific problem. On start some people pitch (we would call it lightning talk)  about a problem they want to solve and then people can vote for it and join that team. Then they work on the problem with the target to build out a business with it and on the end they have an final pitch again, before a jury.

On this StartUp Weekend 2 of the idea was directly open source related, but both of them do not understand some principles of the open source and free software world and for that will be lesser successful. But there was other interesting ideas of technical nature. One was the idea to uniting different smart cards into one, but later on became, because of the limited storage on a magnet card, an smart phone app and solved the problem just partly. The other one started as an app from the begin on. All in all there was 11 teams, with ideas like student card, and idea about used books, an medical consultation app for the people living in the provinces and some others more.

So there are overlaps with the free software community, especially there are special editions for developer. In this ones we should engage, to win new users and contributors. We have to go some other ways in Asia, that is for sure. All in all it was an interesting experience to look over the fence.

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