PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 6

Today is the final round of global student challenge 2010 for both university division and secondary school division. They were required to present on the stage. I had a great time listen to the presentation of the top 6 teams for university division. I can see all presenters are quite nervous on the stage and begin to panic. As usual, the judges throw a lot of tough questions to them as well.

We all had the chances to watch the elevator pitch  video before each presentation start, but it was kind of weird to me. I though elevator pitch is something like you bump into a VC / CEO of some company and then you want to pitch / sell your idea to him/her in the elevator. The key idea is to let the VC interested on your idea or product and hope they give you a second chance to present more to him later on, but it is totally something different in this competition. Their elevator pitch was just like a super short presentation in 60 seconds to the video camera, that all. Wound anyone shout their product name out loud at elevator when you bump into a VC in the elevator? Aren’t it is scary if 4 persons pitch their idea to the VC in a small size of elevator?

Next is the Gala dinner and prize giving ceremony, a grand event at The Mira Hotel. The environment in the grand ballroom is nice. I heard it cost 1000 HKD per person. Wow! We had a very interesting talk as well, but I can’t remember his name. The talk was about social responsible as an entrepreneur. One of the responsible is don’t give too many money to your children. A good one!

Finally the prize giving ceremony, As we had already expected, SurgyPack from US won the gold award in university division because they product and presentation was so convincing. Team from UK and Australia bring home with Silver award together, I guess both team share the same score. I don’t really remember all the winning team list. I think I will just skip it here.

Today is suppose to be the last day for PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 because the coming up 2 days will be free activity for competitors and all prize already given away. That mean 2 more days to play before we left Hong Kong! Let’s enjoy it to max!

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 5

Day 5 at Hong Kong. It was a rainy day. Today start with group photo taking with all competitors from both university division and secondary division. I wish I can have a copy of the photo later on. After that, the Tai-chi experience. We had 2 tai-chi master here to teach us tai-chi. This was the first time I learn tai-chi through English language. Feeling kind of weird. Ops, I totally forgot all the tai-chi steps while following the master. If my master who teach me tai-chi last time know it, I’m definitely die for sure. Although this activity was short but it was very meaningful to me, like everyone from different countries and different races was there play tai-chi at the same time. Cool!

Next, we all went for a presentation given by Paul Pei, the executive director of sales and marketing from Ocean Park. We all though that this will be another boring presentation promoting Ocean Park, but we were wrong. The presentation was very interesting and funny. It share the story of Ocean Park, how Paul and his team re-brand their service to fight the mouse (Disneyland)! He show us the important of branding and how he did it. I really learn a lot from his talk. He is indeed a great speaker that make us laugh non-stop. I guess this is the reason make him the executive director of sales and marketing. One of the competitors actually commented that this was the first presentation in Hong Kong that he can stay awake until the end.

Following up next was the Ocean Park! There were lot of peoples there and most of them were tourist. The thing I want to see the most there is the panda! But we arrive on a bad timing because the panda was just finished it’s meal and went to sleep. All I can saw was it’s butt facing me while it sleeping facing the wall. Due to rainy day, some of the roller coaster stop servicing. Too bad for my team members who want to try that out. But it had nothing to do with me because I’m not a roller coaster lover and in fact I hate it. Impression of Ocean Park to me was small zoo + small theme park at a large park. A lot of construction is performing on the park, I guess they are still upgrading.

After the Ocean Park, we personally went for dinner ourselves. We went and try out steamboat. We saw a lot of shop promoting steamboat so we decided to try it out. Not bad actually, but I miss tom yam soup for steamboat at Malaysia.

That was all for today. Tomorrow will be the final round presentation for all top 6 teams for both university division and secondary division. I’m definitely going to watch their presentation. All the best for all teams that are going to present tomorrow.

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 4

Whole day of full of activities were waiting for us. Our first stop was the Hong Kong Science Park where innovation and creative idea turn into real business here. We were presented how the Sciences Park can help the new startup technology related companies especially those require research and development. We were given the chance to tour around the Science Park and got to know more about research and development carry out by the companies at Science Park. I didn’t found anything particular interest me expect the big egg sharp conference hall where we listen for the presentation.

Next was Dim Sum lunch at Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant. I was really hungry and excited to try out Hong Kong dim sum because many people told me that Hong Kong dim sum is the best. The restaurant is build on top of a giant big ship. In order to get to the restaurant, we need to board on a small boat first before we got on board onto the big Jumbo ship. That was something really special. The jumbo ship was really big and it was not shaky at all. The restaurant environment was great. It is full of Chinese kingdom style of design, the dragon symbol were everywhere. Everyone was queuing up to wait for the chances to sit on the dragon chair and took photo. Most important thing was… the food there was really great! Some of the competitors cannot make it for today activities (Not sure what happened) thus this left a lot of food for us to finish it off and we were really happy to do so because the food were just too delicious (I guess those who miss it must be regard by now). It is something that everyone should go and try out if visiting Hong Kong.

After the delicious lunch, our next activity was visiting Cyberport. It is something similar like Science Park but Cyberport is specially for multimedia, mobile and ICT related company only. The technology showcase here had caught my attention because of my interest in ICT technology. Most of the building here is inter-connected and the environment is so nice. There is a small park just outside of the building where I saw some of the employees were having their coffee and relaxing there with a nice sea view. Cinema and many food choices also available at there. Cool! I guess ICT people really know how to relax, that why I’m in this field.

We were sent back to student hall resident after that, while the top 6 teams for each division will have to do a 60 seconds of elevator pitch after this. Elevator pitch is not going to be easy. The key idea behind elevator pitch is to attract the attention of venture capitalist on your product before they left the elevator and the final goal is to get the second chance to present to them if they interested. I wish all 12 teams all the best for them.

Since we had nothing to do after that, we went to Mong Kok for dinner and side seeing. First impression of Mong Kok was… many many many peoples there. I never saw that many peoples on the street. There are a lot of things to shop there as well. Variety of food, cloth, accessory, gadget and etc ranging from cheap to expansive. We were there until 11 something before we caught the last few train back to the student hall.

Tai Chi tomorrow! I didn’t play tai chi since I graduated from secondary school and I had forgotten all the steps. Next will be Ocean Park, which is the most famous park in Hong Kong. I’m so looking forward for tomorrow activities.

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 3

Finally the day had come, the judgment day. All 28 teams from university division and 29 teams from secondary school division will compete for the top 6 finalist places in each division. Everyone look so confident when heading to PolyU campus from student hall resident for presentation. This is not going to be easy!

Very unlucky that we got the very last slot for the presentation, thus we had to wait nervously until our turn came. But it was also lucky for us to got the chances to watch other competitors to present and got to know how tough the question throw by the judges. Man, the judges really gave all competitors a hard time. All the questions were very straight forward and strike on each business plan weakness. One of the judges in our room (all teams were divided into 6 group and compete in the same room) was an ex-economic ministry (something like that, I forget the full title), this make us even more nervous.

I can said all competitors were really good! They have great idea, great business plan and great presentation. We got the chances to watch one team from US to present in our room who actually got into the top 6. They got their product protected by applying IP, getting approver from some institution and many promising facts. They were fully prepared for everything. They done everything single thing that one who running the company will really do. I’m really impress with their passion toward their solution. I guess I still need a lot more passion if I really want to step into becoming an entrepreneur. I heard this team had gone into many competitions using this same product before and win too.

Finally our turn to present. We did our best to present our solution. Yes, finally we can use our tablet PC to present our solution although we present it without the projector. Well, at least we got the chances to demo it. Like other teams presented, the judges also gave us a hard time during question and answer section. One of the judges was confuse between software and hardware, like he had no idea what was the different between software application that consumer can purchase and install on their tablet. We had a hard time explaining that. Gosh, but he know about iPad and Windows.

After the presentation was the result announcement. As we had expected, we did not make it into the top 6. Our group’s competitors were very strong and competitive. We lose, but this does not stop us from continue having fun in Hong Kong. We are still looking forward for all the fun activities on the following days. I can’t remember the list of top 6 teams name in both division, I guess I will just skip it here.

We went for our dinner after that and have fun chatting non-stop among our team members because we finally reunion here in Hong Kong and have the time for chatting (no need to prepare for presentation any more). Time to sleep, adventure is waiting for me tomorrow.

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 2

The second day at Hong Kong. Me and my team wake up with the sleepy face as we did not get much sleep last night because of busy preparing the presentation. Whole day long of training is waiting for us, we took a short walk from student hall resident to PolyU campus. Not really far actually, but it was very convenience as we didn’t require to cross a single road. The path to the campus are on the sky bride. Cool man and the campus is huge!

We had short briefing about the competition before we went for the campus tour. On the briefing, we only figure out that we were only provided with one and only one projector which is connected with the PC with the power point presentation only. Gosh, how are we suppose to show our software solution which is in our tablet PC? Then we try to request for switching between the PC and our tablet PC, but we got rejected and told that it is not fair if we bringing another PC for the competition. I was kind of wordless that time and think, how suppose that an additional PC will bring in unfair advantages for other competitors? Well, I guess previously no other teams bring in any software product for competition, but only hardware products. I guess we need to come out with plan B without any demo because we might not be able to bring in the tablet PC at all. This is definitely a disadvantage for our team and part of our preparation last night gone for nothing!

We tour around the campus lead by Jackie. She show us a lot of interesting places in the campus. Computer room, innovation center, sport area, canteen, and the list continue. All building name is name with a person’s name. Hmm, it must be hard to remember all the building name, that why all building is given an alphabet. After the tour, I can said PolyU is a really nice place and environment for study. We even had our lunch at the canteen in the campus. I love their canteen food, clean and delicious! Yammy!

Today training was about presentation. A last minute presentation skill polishing for all competitors. John Miers was our speaker today. He gave a good talk about presentation but I was too tired and start fishing at the end of the talk. John said that business presentation is similar like general public speaking, which I can’t really agree with it. We will given only 20 minutes time to present our solution and we can’t really take a slow pace word by word with pause because we will definitely run out of time that way. Pause in between the word may sound ok for general public speaking but I guess is not so ok for business presentation as the audience might think that you came on stage without a full preparation. Well, I did agree with some of the point he mention, such as relaxing, present like you talk with your friend, and 25 second rule for answering question.

After the whole day talk, we were going to have our dinner at Star Ferry Cruise! It sound so exited for us. This was the first time I broad on a cruise (on sea, last time I did on a river), and it was very shaky! Lucky I was able to hold on with the seasick. The view of the cruise was really nice. I can see the Hong Kong city lighting up at night. No wonder people keep on saying that Hong Kong night view is the best, now I know why.

Finally the dinner is over, time to go back to student hall resident and do our final preparation for presentation because tomorrow will be our judgment day. Gosh, we need to overcome our sleepiness and come out with a new plan without the live demo of our solution. It is going to be a sleepless night again.

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010 – Day 1

PolyU Global Student Challenge 2010, the day had finally come. Me and my team members were so excited to visit Hong Kong for this competition since last year because the competition had delay 1 year due to AH1N1 blast off last year. Today, we finally step on the land of Hong Kong. Yes, this is the first time we visit Hong Kong and today is my birthday as well!

Once we step into the departure hall at the airport, student ambassadors and the video capturing team are long awaited for us. Before we ever get the time to shake of our sleepiness, video interview was waiting for us already. After some quick video interviewing, we are ready to go. We meet our student ambassador, Jackie and she is going to take care of us for the following whole week. Nice to have her there.

After reaching at PolyU student hall, we do a quick registration and went to our room. First impression of PolyU student hall or hostel to me is the security is very strict!  Security guard and check point are everywhere. Going in and out require us to scan our badge. Gosh, I guess we are really safe in the building. While waiting for the Welcome Drink, Jackie bring us around the student hall and introduce us the facility in the student hall. Wawee, they have karaoke room, swimming pool,  gym room, snooker room, gaming room and etc. Gosh, that is so much different with our Malaysia university hostel facility.

During Welcome Drink event we meet some competitors around the world. Cool man, but there are 28 teams competing, this is going to be tough. After that we went out for dinner ourselves. Exploring around and went into one of the local restaurant to try some local food. Yeah, they are great! Our ever first meal at Hong Kong. Yummy… maybe we are just too hungry…

Time to go back and start preparing our presentation…

by Ooi Keng Siang via Ooiks’s Blog

3 Months Experience at Bangalore

Friendly People

I personally feel that Indian people are very friendly. I can easily get help for direction every where as long as they know what I’m talking about and I know what they talking about. We meet some Indian friends at my training there as well. I can said all of them are very friendly and helpful, I really enjoy the time with them. India celebrate a festival call Holi where people throw colored powder or colored water on each others and have fun together without the barrier of different races among each others. This prove that India is a friendly place.

Veg Every Corner

Can you imagine KFC offer veg burger? Yes, this exist in India! Vegetarian food is everywhere. One of my friend who is vegetarian was so excited because vegetarian food is kind of rare at Malaysia. I become a 80% vegetarian at India because my company don’t always offer non-veg food and even they does on that day, it only have one single choice while all other are veg food. I think I eat very healthy at there.

Coffee Time

There are no StarBuck or Coffee Bean at India, but there have Coffee Day. The coffee at Coffee Day are consider good enough for me and it is cheap! One coffee at StarBuck in Malaysia, I can bought 2+ coffee at Coffee Day. A cold coffee at there is really a good fresh up after a hot day or stressful day. We do visit Barista coffee shop too, but that one is way too expansive for us (More expansive than StarBuck if you count the quantity). I don’t think I can visit coffee shop that often back into Malaysia any more.

Real Fast Food Drive Through

I guess most peoples have an experience of buying fast food through drive through like Mcd, but have you ever see a service that you order your food and they serve your meal all at your lovely car without need to move a step? I found this in Bangalore where they serve your food while you are still in your car. Not just food, they provide you the “table” as well, a long wooden wood that go through both side windows. Amazing huh? I don’t have a car there, so I can’t really experience that myself.

Traffic Universal Language – Honk

At Malaysia, honk is a way to scold others on the road. At India, honk is apply in every situations. Honk replace left right signal light. Driver honk whenever they reach a junction or they want to turn left or right, they are trying to remind other cars around to becareful. Even when I walk on the roadside, if I’m too near the road, the car will start reminding me not to cross the road with honk. No one will get boring on the road with all the honk. Surprisingly with all the crazy traffic and super driving technique of driver, I did not see accident there. Driver at India really train well.

Earth Hour Everyday

Blackout is something so common in my daily life at India. At least 2 times per day and it last for an hour. Lucky our guest house have a powerful power generator that can power up most of the electrical devices except those high power consumption devices, thus the one hour blackout is not much a problem for me. Handphone LED light always come into handy when blackout at night time while waiting for the power generator to boot up.

Foreigner Registration Office (FRO) Terrible Experience

Every foreigner who want to stay more than 14 days at India must register themselves at FRO, this go the same for me. Me and my friends went to FRO at afternoon for the first time, register ourselves at the security check point and found out the FRO only open at morning and close registration at afternoon. So, we went there for the second time the next day and queue up for more than 2 hours early in the morning. There are less than 50 peoples register there yet take so long time. When we almost reach the gate, one of the officer approach us and told us our form is outdated, please use the latest version. After we fill everything in the new form, the officer told us the registration is close, please come back next time. Great, what we can do except come back again next time?

We make full preparation and went to FRO for the third time. After queuing up for more than an hour, we successfully enter into the office for the first time (Yes, for the first two time, we are standing outside of the office only). When the officer at the counter half way go through all the documents we submitted, he voice out and ask us what is “IAMRL” written in our VISA. Well, they never told us what will written on our VISA when we apply right? So we have a guess and said it is Internship at Microsoft Research Lab. The officer don’t want to believe (maybe he choose not to listen) and call us came back with the letter that prove what is the 5 characters all about. That drive us crazy, after calling this and that, running here and that, queuing again and another 1 hour more, they finally believe it.

After that, the next counter question why we went there with VISA type X. Man, High Commission of India at Malaysia give us this, how I suppose to know then! After some great long explanation and confirmation, that counter only approve our application and went for process. While waiting for the validation process, I saw others whom went there with an agent and with the outdated form application process without any problems at all. I guess something going under table huh? After all those trouble, I really don’t wish to visit FRO any more…

There are just too many stories I want to share but this are the one I can think of now. I enjoy the weather, the people and the food (some time) but not really for the government service.

by Ooi Keng Siang

Internship Experience at Microsoft Research Lab India

3 months past quickly and yesterday was my last day internship at Microsoft Research Lab India (MSRI). I wound said I gain a lot of experience at here from other researchers and having a lot of fun with people at MSRI.

Everything begin at Imagine Cup 2009, where my team and I won the ticket in Design for Development Award and have the chances go to MSRI at Bangalore for internship. Aren’t it sound so cool to have the chances to intern at other country? I still remember the first day at MSRI where everyone whom visit the MSRI for the first week need to answer a question. The question is “If you have an hour or two to spend with someone, no matter living or dead. Who will be the one.” This is really something I never think of before. Well, I answered “I guess that will be my lover because I think no other people can listen to me boring talk for an hour or two.” and it work, some one came and told me that he like my answer. Shocking huh!

While working at MSRI, I always start my day with some toasted bread with nutella  and a cup of milk. Having my breakfast on top of the roof with a nice view of the sky really is a great kick start of my day. I can’t believe that I have been using a machine with 2.0 GHz single core with 2GB RAM running Windows 7, Outlook 2010, Visual Studio Team Suit 2008, 2 Messengers, 3 Web Browsers, etc for the past 3 months. I sure give the machine a hard time, but I kind of get used to the speed later on. Well, it also give me a great reason to Facebook-ing when I compiling my code. The unlimited sugar and caffeine at pantry really keep me awake while working. I try to control myself for not taking it too much, else my weight sure will increase a lot.

I really enjoy my internship at MSRI. The working environment are so nice, and the people there are friendly too. My happy boss Ed, who always has his happy smiling face. It seen like even the sky fall down, he can still smiling and get the problem solve. Saurabh, who is very friendly and always give us a lot of direction when to visit at Bangalore. Some how he is keep on promoting IIT on us during our farewell dinner. Aishwarya, the researcher I’m working with. She surprise me as a non-IT background researcher yet know how to appreciate the work from programmer. I’m so glad to do the project with her. “How are you doing?”, this is always the question ask by David when he bump into me. He like to joke and make us laugh non-stop. He told me that study Phd is like eating a cake, full of fat in the end. I guess I will only understand it when I study Phd. My first impression on Bill, a very serious guy who don’t talk a lot. But in the end, I found out that he like to joke and tell some funny thing too. I think I know him a bit too late. I also learn some serious programming practice and .NET CE programming from Pushkar. Glad to working together with him too. Too bad that I doesn’t have much chances to know more about Indrani and Mimmi as they are too busy traveling around for their work.

I also have a lot of fun with other intern there too. Aakar, Anand, Anuj, Diwakar, Gaurav, Kanika, Navkar, Olga, Praveen, Rebecca, Shashank, Vaishnavi, Varun, and Vishal. I guess I didn’t left anyone behind. The lab is so much fun with you guys and girls. We work hard and play hard there. I still remember the first time we play Frisbee together, where I hit my head on the tree truck when chasing the Frisbee. Ouch! Exploring Microsoft Surface together. Having lunch together and sharing our own story, about research, about future, about food, about place, about dog and etc. Lunch with Shaishav and Chinmay never get bored, because both of them sure make me laugh non-stop. Man, I going to miss you all.

What I really learn in this internship? Good C# programming practice, Windows CE programming, .NET CE programming, using Visual Studio Team Suit, learned basic UI design for rural people, micro-finance, mobile banking and etc. In this internship, I also found that I’m still really weak in communicating, English speaking, reading research paper. I should really polish up my communication skill with others rather than just with computer only.

I love MSRI!!!

by Ooi Keng Siang