The Podcast: Dr. Ryan Manuel is using AI to predict regulatory change

March 22, 2024


In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Ryan Manuel, professor of Chinese politics turned tech innovator.


Dr. Manuel is Founder & CEO at tech startup Bilby where his team has developed a groundbreaking platform that is transforming how individuals understand and engage with governments. By deciphering legislative signals, they are fundamentally altering the landscape of decision-making for businesses and institutions worldwide.


Tune in to hear about Bilby's origins, why Hong Kong is an ideal hub for AI startups, and an honest discussion about the realities of being a founder. Dr. Manuel also shares his vision for the future, where accessing government insights is as seamless as navigating financial markets.


Ryan Manuel (00:00)

If you focus on what you're trying to make rather than who you're trying to be, it's just so much easier. He's trying to, he's just asking the wrong set of questions, to me, for a startup founder. Like, I'm irrelevant.You know, if I'm happy, if I'm sad, I need to think about that solely from Does this help my product?


Jonathan Nguyen (00:40)

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back with, today, a very special guest I met socially and not actually through work. His name is Ryan. We met atSoho House, not drinking actually, in the gym. And I found out this guy who can do handstands and cartwheels is actually a very, very serious data nerd professor. And we got to talking and he tells me he's got this startup called Bilby AI.


Ryan Manuel (01:12)

That's it. Not just that, but I wear a suit to convince my mother that I have a job. Although it's really funny because, you know, when I was a professor, I had to dress like it because I got a little bit sick, I worked for the government before I went back to academia. I got a bit sick of, you know, people asking me to make cups of tea and all that sort of stuff.


Jonathan Nguyen (01:31)

Where's your elbow patches?


Ryan Manuel (01:33)

Yeah, well, this is it. And so then I had to take my suits and put an elbow patch on them and suddenly I get out and now people are like,"Oh, you're a founder. No one's going to take you seriously when you wear a suit." And I'm like, can we just get a consistent read for my life? LikeI just want something so my mom isn't embarrassed. "Yeah, my son, he does work. He does stuff." Anyhow, I should probably introduce myself.


Jonathan Nguyen (01:52)

Yes, tell us.


Ryan Manuel (01:53)

Hello, I'm Dr. Ryan Manuel. Yes, I was, believe it or not, a professor of Chinese politics. I still teach the Chinese politics class to HongKong University. But I began life as a computer programmer and as a data analyst. And so what happened was from there I worked for the government. I worked for a few professors, a few prime ministers in Australia, just various other things, but always really fascinated by this thing that I noticed that the Chinese government was like a giant computer program. And why don't we just turn it into a computer program. And so I left full-time academia three years ago to try and make this happen. And so that's how Bilby was sort of born. But then after that, we expanded to a bunch of other countries because the AI tools we needed to make to answer my original vision turned out to be useful for other things too. And thus I remain quote unquote gainfully employed. And that's what I tell my mom whenever I call home.


The one other thing you've got to say, we're fellowAustralians as well. So our apologies to overseas listeners to the lack of vowels, the dulcet tones, which will now assault your ears for the next half hour. The words that will blend together. Yeah, nah, what? All right, mate.Right, mate. Yeah. Every statement of this podcast will end sounding like it's a question. Right.


Jonathan Nguyen (03:21)

So on that note, Bilby. Bilby is what?


Ryan Manuel (03:28)

Bilby is an Australian desert, very good, This is the other great thing about dealing with Australians is that they get the joke. I'm from the desert. I'm literally from the desert. I grew up in a town in the middle of nowhere, which recently won the coveted and actually quite hard to win award ofAustralia's cheapest real estate. Its current economic development plan is togo to China and offer to bury their nuclear waste. So yeah, I mean, that was the genesis story was growing up there.


Jonathan Nguyen (03:55)

You haven't been invaded by people from Sydney?


Ryan Manuel (04:03)

Well, no. One, it's about 2500k away and kilometers away.And two, it's Australia's cheapest real estate. Exactly. That's for a reason.Demand and supply works. Academic economists, like, feel free to use this as an example in your first year. Like micro class, like actually there's low demand.And there's a lot of supply in the desert. So turns out not many people want to live there, but it's a great place to grow up and it has a very cute animal called a bilby. A bilby is a marsupial and it digs into things and it makes for good logo. And yeah, you know, that's how we got there.


Jonathan Nguyen (04:44)

So like we've talked a little bit about this and I've seen the tool. And not everyone here has. So maybe if you could just break it down, we could, if you send me some screenshots later, I can cut it in so that everyone can see it. But maybe give a bit of a description about what it does.


Ryan Manuel (05:03)

Yeah, so it's actually, it's a platform that's trying to solve a big problem. And the big problem is that every government has to, in public, tell people what to do. But then every business entity, people, dealing with government, they don't have the insider information of how to read those signals and do those signals. And then as the world has become more globalised, obviously also as we've reached sort of the geopolitical tensions that keeps growing, these misunderstandings and this lack of access to information becomes more and more difficult. And so what our tools do is they create unique data, they listen to, they scrape, they take, you know, gather everything that a government puts out across all the levels, local. central, so there's a giant data gathering exercise, and then we put in one central place so that we can use artificial intelligence tools to make sense of all that data to, you know, automatically translate, analyze, decode, do everything, you know, at at light speed rather than kind of having labs of people having to laboriously work through that. And then finally, we make that into into products for people, so that includes auto analyst tools, sort of analysts in a box. I'm trying to replace myself basically, so that I never have to worry about dressing badly and my mom really will worry about what I do for a living. We provide that to various types of clients multinational hedge funds, financial institutions, but at heart it's just a very simple problem, like why don't we just read what people say, you know, why don't we, if we know what people are saying to their own people then we might have better understanding across a whole bunch ofcountries as sort of, you know, "pie in the sky" as that may sound. I mean that's, it's just the same problem I did as a professor, just using AI andat a slightly larger scale I guess.


Jonathan Nguyen (07:04)

So the way I see it, and I've had the opportunity to look at the product...


Ryan Manuel (07:13)

Which is wonderful by the way, everyone, the best.


Jonathan Nguyen (07:15)

Come on, I told him not to pitch but he did anyway.


Ryan Manuel (07:23)

Is this called untold or shameless, because definitely shameless. Sorry.


Jonathan Nguyen (07:24)

I had a look at the product and, you know, to simplify it for people, you take legislation and things that have been said in public like policy addresses...


Ryan Manuel (07:43)

...newspapers, draft statements, official newspapers which deviate often from other newspapers, blog posts, social media posts, you know, it's part of what's so fascinating about governments is they got a really hard problem to solve as well. They're also trying to solve a big problem like if you assume good faith, that a government is trying to make life better for its citizens, like how on earth do you do that? In China or India or Vietnam or massive population, massive population, different dialects, different interests. I mean I can't even sell to one person like how do I sell to 1.4million or a billion of them. So yeah, we take everything in that sense and then the AI is very good at, you know, and then we structure the data on the way in, but the advantage of artificial intelligence is, it's actually in making it easier to access things and making it easier to put things out. So rather than just being able to put it out in English, you can put it out in any language. There's still though that part of you have to have unique IP, you have to talk to people a lot and you have to find out where their pain points are and then usually that's also something a government's trying to solve, right. So we have I think 160 different mediums as in of information and most countries is about 3-4,000 processes running every, continuously running justto bring in the data.


Jonathan Nguyen (09:20)

So for a business presumably, like Jonathan Nguyen is not going to be like searching this database, but for a business they're probably looking for answers for issues before they enter a market I guess or how do you see that?


Ryan Manuel (09:36)

I mean part of the interesting thing about having a platform is that you're trying to hit different, you know, you can actually hit different needs at once. So there's this market entry problems that people have. AI is very good for that. You know it can instantly synthesise the tax codes of four different jurisdictions and tell you which one is most suited toJonathan Nguyen's particular business. But there's other parts as well of just prediction, you know, knowing what's coming. Not because you can magically seethe future but because the government has already had to tell people, people have to get ready, you have to prepare the ground, always. And so what's really hard if you're a business or even an analyst wanting to go somewhere new is you don't have that context, that background, that sort of thing. And that's whereI think technology can really improve the world, right. Like it's instant context, it's instant analysis, it's instant translation and you know what your factory does, you know your business better than anyone. But imagine you had a thousand Vietnamese interns working for you who all did exactly what you said24/7, and that's where tech can fill in the void, I think, really powerfully.


Jonathan Nguyen (10:55)

It's like, having seen the system, it's almost like magic, right? Because you've worked for prime ministers, I've worked for government, certainly when you have teams of people trying to read the tea leaves of like, okay well he said this, but what does this mean? What's the broader context?


Ryan Manuel (11:19)

And not just that but also people making a living out of reading tea leaves, you know, there's a very good soothsayer industry out there and it's very hard to get that is specialised knowledge but we need to make that available to everyone. And so governments working in senior offices in the government and even in businesses, like your org chart tends to take over, and there's so much incredibly good IP just trapped. There's so much stuff that's trapped in different pockets. Software is, you know, that's what software is good at. What software isn't good at is figuring out the stuff in the first place. It's a broadcast mechanism. It's not an engine in that sense. But at reconciling everyone's interest, at getting everyone on the same page and getting information together and then distributing information out and flattening the curve so that the best idea can actually win. I mean, tech is magical. And so like you know when you see that at the end and you're like, oh you know, what's the time to think about it. It's like oh wow that's magic and you're like well it is but it's just like having you know it's still built on humans. It's still built on IP and on that sort of stuff, it's just the data, data doesn't sleep. It doesn't lie. It doesn't, you know, it doesn't worry that the sort of EL2 boss, sorry that's an Australian government term for those of you who have not been unfortunate enough to have to sift through all these years of bureaucracy, you know that their boss might not like this thing. This is what China's government said. How you deal with that? How you interpret that? That's difficult to say but this is a leading indicator. We know that because they've done it six times in the past. This is what usually happens.This is what they said. You know this is that in Swahili. Tech. Tech should do that. That's what tech should do. That's the sort of, you know, it should serve us. Like it should be.


Jonathan Nguyen (13:29)

That's a conversation for a much longer podcast. You've won a few awards recently. Most recently there has been a pitch competition for the global start up.


Ryan Manuel (13:43)

We did win that although I have to say is my staff reminded me I didn't win that. I tend to lose them much more. It is actually my staff, head of, my star head of product won that, but yeah we've won some awards.We've won a few, four or five, competitions. Yeah.


Jonathan Nguyen (13:58)

And so now your name is out there. It looks like you've been an overnight success.


Ryan Manuel (14:10)

Because nothing says success like you personally not winning a pitch competition and then you're, you know, look, nothing is, there's no such thing. One, what's success, you know, that's a much much longer conversation, but more importantly, I mean it looks looks easy. Yeah, it doesn't even look easy. It just looks like a thing but it's just, you know, you actually get there from all the pitch decks, as my staff, the one that Jonathan is referring to, Hong Kong one, and the competition before that, literally one month before that, I went to another competition run by a government agency and these people who didn't even have a product, they took a certain type of consumer good and they brought it into Hong Kong and they repackaged it but they were smart enough to have like a very attractive person go and give samples, and they won this competition and like my staff come back and they're like, "What is wrong with you? You can't even pitch well. What is your job in this organisation?" So, one, there's no such thing. Two, it never stops. Three, you're not really that successful. And four, the failure is what actually makes it look like you're successful, not because you've become a success, but just because you've got it wrong five times beforehand and then magically the sixth time you're like, "Oh, right. Finally!"


Jonathan Nguyen (15:43)

How long have you been at this now?


Ryan Manuel (15:47)

I mean, how long have I been at the idea that we should use technologies to read what governments say and figure it out? 20 years. How long have I been building this? I left academia to have you know a notion of just like maybe we should try this, three, four years ago. Bilby as an entity, we've been running for, we've been selling for 18 months and we, you know, so we look, by startup standards, yeah it looks fast. Part of that is though that the20 years beforehand meant that I had met people along the way and they were, already had bought into what I was trying to do and so when I was like,"Oh hey, you know, we got a bit of money, come work for me," they're like, "Oh totes." Yeah but it's so far off being successful and sonot about, like the main success in the startup, I literally think it's just waking up in the morning not in abject terror, but just in a mild state of anxiety. That's, you know, it's going from this, and part of that is just being like, well you know it was really nice to win and we're looking forward to the, you know to talking to lots of more people and more people getting to see what we do, but it's not, you know, it's not thinking of that as the giant high because otherwise like the next second when they're doing scaffolding on the building next door so you've got four months of jackhammers going next to you without telling you and there's a leak and there's a cockroach in a station and literally you walk back to the office in your suit getting ready to do the dishes every day, like that's what it is, actually. Yeah that's the thing like you have to just believe in what you're trying to make and then you make it the best you can and if you've made something in the world that's a success, and anyone, I don't care what it is, if you come to me like, "I made this thing," like man, that's incredible.


Jonathan Nguyen (17:51)

Yeah it's not easy. Yeah exactly. Like, you know, hats off to you. So what's the biggest hurdle you've come across?


Ryan Manuel (18:01)

Dealing with those ups and downs. Dealing with the reality.Dealing with the fact that there are ump-teen hurdles and that there's just another bunch of mountains after this mountain. But I think the biggest one is also, and there's a lot of overlapping things in that Venn diagram between the same ups and downs problem, is just believing in yourself. And you can't believe in yourself as in like, "I'm right. I'm awesome." You have to just believe that like, okay, this product is good, this will make something and that something is worth whatever, you know, cockroach infestation, dishes problem I'm dealing with, you know, whatever I'm facing right now, the future will be better, we will make something. And after that, like the chips will fall where they may.


Jonathan Nguyen (18:50)

It's a really interesting question to ask a founder becauseI have to this, I have a few rules, but first rule is not every person should be a founder. I think you can have a good idea, doesn't mean you're a founder.


Ryan Manuel (19:11)

Well 100% and also even if you have a good idea and you make a really good founder, that's like what, 1% of the start. I think though we need to get away from the idea of there is a good founder, a good this. This is like the history problem of the great man of history versus the structural thing. I think we just need to be like...there's this thing, I wrote books before I sort of made companies, I guess, which is, as a professor, and there's this thing that you notice when you're writing a book where like the universe just gave you the right path but you just had to just keep staying in that game. You just had to stay on that path. You just had to keep turning every page, as that great quote goes. And you know, the founder is just the vessel for the idea, and you know you can be a flawed cracked vessel that tries to cover it up but if your idea is good... an early mentor of mine, or an old boss of mine, I probably still really do work for him, you know I never, 20 years later, he taught me this thing where it's just like, "Ryan, in the long run ideas always win." He's like, "You? Maybe you went from this idea, maybe not, but in the long run, you have to bet that ideas will always win." And in my typical cocky young man, I got this man like, whatever boss, just let me write this memo, you'll see. I just I think that like it's the same for a startup like the in the long run the product will always win, just keep going, make more stuff, and forget about you, forget about you as the founder, forget about like what are you trying to do. You know, because if you just think about, "Am I a good founder? One, you'll never get a bed, and two, people won't follow you, and then three, you yourself, you know the flip side may think that you're so good at being a founder, if you are lucky enough to get a bit of success, that you forget that you need a team around you. You need, you know, you brought up this thing that we want, I didn't, my team did, my team did literally like, and if you are focused on you, I find that conversation hard to have, whereas if you're focused on what you're trying to make, I mean really focused on what you're trying to make, like it's just a nice easy north star, like is this good for what we're trying to do? Yes. No. Why are youcoming to me then? You know that answer. That's what I mean by this, you know, founder is not for everyone, because actually you have to sign up to take outthe garbage and still believe every day. But by the same token as well you have to believe and you know you have to not get stuck in the pity party of like,"I'm onto my fourth credit card because I keep using them to pay off the other three credit cards." Look, laugh all you want man, and then even worse you have to not be on that thing of being like, "I'm rubbish,"because you have to walk into that room being like, "Yeah, I made this thing, and this thing is awesome." Yeah, like, "Get amongst it."You know? Sorry, more Australian slang for them. And then the flip side of that though is you have to take the, and this is getting back to my point about the roller coaster, you have to take the losses. And there will be so many losses.And just be like, "This isn't me, it's that the thing wasn't ready, and this is how we're going to get it ready next time." And I think finding that kind of blend, of just insane arrogance to think that you can do something in the world with the deep humility of being like, "Yeah this is going to suck, and tomorrow it's going to suck, and after that's going to suck, and probably suck some more."


Jonathan Nguyen (22:59)

Basically just got to be a stoic.


Ryan Manuel (23:11)

I don't know because stoics make bad sales people. I read a lot of Marcus Aurelius. In fact I like to say hello to my old office made ofBoston Consulting Group who used to like, every morning I'd be like MarcusAurelius and sort of because I liked him so much, hi Ben. Marcus Aurelius was a rubbish sales guy, as an administrator he wasn't great. And you know what did he make? He wrote a beautiful book. Meditations are stunning I, you know I even read it in Latin when I was at high school, that's how nerdy I am.


Jonathan Nguyen (23:36)

Such a nerd.


Ryan Manuel (23:40)

I mean hey I'm cool. All right yeah yeah yeah yeah. But if you focus on what you're trying to make rather than who you're trying to be, it's just so much easier, like he's trying to, he's just asking the wrong set of questions, to me, for a startup founder. Like, I'm irrelevant. You know, ifI'm happy, if I'm sad, I need to think about that solely from Does this help my product? Does this help me make something?


Jonathan Nguyen (24:03)

Lessons in startups and life.


Ryan Manuel (24:07)

No but it's true, you need to think like that, I think you know, you just need to almost like take yourself out of the picture, like just... Serve the mission. Yeah. You know, [speaks Chinese], serve the people.Yeah but I, so I tend to think as little about myself as possible almost, and I try to not dwell, you know. And if it's bad, tomorrow's gonna be better and let's just get through this.


Jonathan Nguyen (24:44)

Comes with age too, I think. I was a different man when I was younger.


Ryan Manuel (24:47)

Yeah I was, I don't think it comes with age, it just it comes with deep failure, you know, like an acknowledgement, a kind of, yeah youknow been there done that, been in this hole before we'll get out.


Jonathan Nguyen (25:00)

Yeah. So okay. Out of this, you know, we've been at this tech game I think this whole startup tech thing has been around for now, I remember my first bubble of '99. Why today? What makes now the right time to deploy this type of tech? And I can probably guess your answer somewhat, but I want to hear it from you.


Ryan Manuel (25:34)

I don't think there's ever a good time, I actually think the reverse, I think if you sit waiting for time, or you're waiting for a thing, then you violate Ryan's one and only rule of the startup: make something. It's about, like, Can you see the problem? Can you see where to do it? Are you annoyed enough about it that you can deal with the "fourth credit card when you used to be a professor" problem? Right? Like can you deal with that? If you can do that then just pull the trigger. Right? But if you kind of constantly worry about the rest of the world then you know, one, by the time you've actually made the thing it would have moved on, two, you know you're going to have that founder problem of being like, "Hi, this is where the market is, but they want more sales people, but I'm better at like a broader marketing perspective, and I've got this safe job, and I'm thinking about, you know, I'm single it may be nice to actually like date some, or I got a kid coming,"it just, it never ends. Whereas if you're just like, "I can do this."Do it. Like it's just see ball, hit ball. I don't think in timing, I don't think, it's 100% true that you will have really good timing come to you, like now for our business, amazing. But we were doing the same stuff a year ago, it's just that it was much harder to find analogies that people could understand.People were like, "What are you doing?" and like, "We're doing a combination of supervised and unsupervised machine." And then they're like, "So it's like ChatGPT, but for China's government?" and you're like, "Better, and with Google."


But it's the same problem we're trying to solve, it's the same thing we're trying to do. I think timing is less about like, there'll be good times, there'll be rubbish times, just don't die. Stay in the game. Make something, stay in the game, everything else is just the ups and downs part.I'm very...


Jonathan Nguyen (27:43)

That's a very founder way of looking at, it's definitely, I would say, an investor would turn and say, "You're not the right time to invest right now."


Ryan Manuel (27:54)

That's one of the issues that investors have to face, like investors have a really tough job of they have to see what's the needle in the haystack. Because we all look the same, right, I mean it's funny how you know the same pitch will resonate or not resonate or my background will be this or my background will be that and sometimes it'll be an advantage and sometimes it'll be a disadvantage and like, you know investors, though in the long run, you just have to, you have to believe in the idea and you have to hope that investors do too and that's where your job is to give that to an investor in a two minute forty-five second PowerPoint deck, well a PowerPoint deck they'll look at the two minutes and forty-five seconds, and even if you do that job brilliantly there's gonna be people that are like, "You're not my bag." That's okay, like, I mean how does an investor tell whether something is gonna work or not work? Your job as the founder is to make something that doesn't exist before, how on earth can someone evaluate that?Like it's an incredibly hard job, I mean I'm not, I don't know that if I would make a great investor because the skill set is different.


Jonathan Nguyen (29:06)

It's different, it's also that it's also a particular typeof investor as well, so most of what we talk about is with VC investment, whereI have particular metrics like 10x 100x whatever over X horizon, If you make a, you know, if you've got a personal experience when, my first startup was essentially Google workspace but I came up with the idea in 2000, the technology didn't exist, the internet speeds didn't exist. It was, yeah, I exited a very simple trade sale, didn't make any money, covered my losses, went and got a job and face planted into the sand on a beach for like two years.


Ryan Manuel (29:55)

Yeah but part of that actually I think, that's a very good critique though of what I said before about you know timing, capital is definitely a separate thing. Like you know I gave you the very founder"make something, yeah" but capital is different. There are times in your business when you need that money and that money will, and you need to think of how you're going to spend and deploy and allocate it in a way that gets you to the vision and that's a real skill set. Like that is, and yeah I've had to teach myself that, because you know there is a huge "Why now?"that matters in terms of cost of capital versus rates of return. Yeah especially now, right. But then by the same token especially now, you know, AI is so sexy, China, AI, government, you know this is amazing and so you knowI've got to show that I need this money now to do X in a way that will get you to Y that will still keep me going in my vision and that's where it's kind of, investors and founders, when it works, it works. Because you learn so much from having to do that.


Jonathan Nguyen (31:05)

Your timing on this thing is very serendipitous because going where, well I hope, most pundits think we could be going into recession we could be coming out of recession either way. It's a good time. Yeah they could always be surprised.


Ryan Manuel (31:18)

Good prediction. Yeah yeah yeah, I'm a great economist. I'ma professor. Tell me about the flaws of your principles.


Jonathan Nguyen (31:29)

I learned from the best so at, I remember watching, I remember the economists that JPMorgan, strategist, market strategists, if you actually listen it's always like, "It could be this, but it could also be this." But you know they can always be surprised.


Ryan Manuel (31:48)

Yeah it's funny, when I went to work for the government, this is that, they literally spent eight hours a day just trying to beat us ifwe ever did that they're like no one needs that. Tell them, what do you think.Yeah, sorry so we may be going to recession, we may not be going to recession.


Jonathan Nguyen (32:04)

And I think your timing is serendipitous. So good luck, you.So the timing looks good for this at the moment. Why do you think that, when you're based in Hong Kong, which is a counterintuitive place to set up an AI startup, but it's not a counterintuitive place to set up a China-focused startup, so unpack that a little bit for me. How has that impacted your...


Ryan Manuel (32:38)

I mean it goes back to your point before on timing and my kind of hopefully not too boring rant about there isn't such a thing as timing,I was in Hong Kong, I was a professor in Hong Kong, I met people in Hong Kong,I could see the market need, I build a model. It got some early results. Yeah.Banks liked those, suddenly I had to make a company. AI at that point in HongKong was not attractive, right now it is incredibly attractive in Hong Kong, contrary to what you might think because, you know, I have access to, as long as you can read and write Chinese, you have access to everything that's happening over in the Mainland, which is a fascinating ecosystem and they do do some things very very well. And you have access to everything that's happening in the West, which is also fascinating since it does some things very well. You have capital, you have everything, you have people to talk to, you know, it could be the AI hub of the world and I've bought you and many other people this rant before. The point though is that people make companies and the human side of stuff, to me, again matters much more than necessarily where you are. One of our investors is CEO of the bank I was talking about before and he taught me this really well, he's just like, I come to him like, "Oh but you know we're doing this but like Hong Kong," and he'd just be like, "Ryan, where's the wallet? Where's the problem you're trying to solve?" And I'm like, "Well it's in the Middle East," and he's like, "Why don't you just do it? And then so you know I built that model, we built it for theMiddle East and then sure enough that was that, solved the problem, everyone moved on, life got better. If I'd sat there and been like, "Oh I'm in HongKong I just do China I do this." Like the good startup should, as in, you know, you concentrate on one thing, probably wouldn't have worked. And I thinkHong Kong, in that sense, is a very good place to be because there are people who think like that, who get you to think globally, who get you to think about, you know, where's the wallet, where's the problem, you know, is it a generalised, or is a global problem, how do we get it out of Hong Kong as fast as possible into the world. But it's also not such a good place to be because there's not that human capital, that nurturing. I don't mean nurturing as in everyone gets a hug, but I do think that it's really important that you look at like what are the incentives to start a startup, what are the incentives to be a founder, like even before when you're like, "Oh that's a very founder perspective," and straight away I'm like, "Oh oh no no no cool man I look like, I talk IRR, like investors love me trust me, like," and it's because in Hong Kong there's not, you know, the human, just, yeah, I have this great line I stole from you, "All decisions are emotional decisions."You know, if you are going to make something, a human will have to not just make it, a human will have to sign off on the check, a human will sign off on your first ticket, if you invest, a human will sign off on the big contract, or not so much obvious if you're B2B SaaS sort of on a small ticket size, but yeahI just think Hong Kong, in that sense, it's a place, it has strengths it has weaknesses, I happens to be here. But I'm still very bullish on Hong Kong because of the human capital is high I just think we need to get a bit better at sort of massaging that human capital.


Jonathan Nguyen (35:56)

So this is the last question.


Ryan Manuel (36:02)

It's hard for professors, I'll take my apologies to the viewers, I promise I'll shut up say, I promise.


Jonathan Nguyen (36:08)

This is a hard question because it requires you to think a little bit further forward and you may have already done this but somewhere,2030, 2040, what's the one big thing you're hoping to change with Bilby?


Ryan Manuel (36:32)

That's it, is just that people look at governments the same way they look at markets. You know I mean 20, 30 years ago bond prices, how did you get a bond price, you had to call up all the different bond. It's just madness. And then Bloomberg put together and done a job, you know, made a very good business, fantastic customer service, or that sort of star. Good investors, the works. But then that bill to hedge fund industry that's on high frequency trading that relies on instant information, like I just want people to know what governments think. Like it drives me crazy when it's just likeChina, China is going to do this, India, India. Just like, look. Why don't we just read what they say? Why don't we think about this from a risk perspective?How do we, not quantify it because on the quantification matters, but how do we make this accessible to people? So every decision you don't have that blackbox, you don't have that soothsayer, you don't like, that's the dream, and I mean to go back to your question on, "Why now?" Now is, you're seeing the tools exist, things exist, it can be done, it's not far away like we, because frankly again we did it for markets. Just do it for government, you know? It's such an impact on people's lives. And yet we don't know what they do, what they say, we don't even read it, like it's just sitting on the ground waiting for us to make something of it. I think that's where I see these things going and I don't think it's even 2040, I will get there by 2030. Like it's just how well we do things, so there's many different factors, that doesn't mean it's going to be some amazing, like maybe, the company. Isn't giant by 2030 or something like that, but I think the problem will be solvable and it's solvable soon. So you go back to my whole argument like if you think the problem is solvable and you think you can make something that solves it, then my responsibility is just to do it. When, fingers crossed, hold me accountable everybody, you know yeah, he said it, I have a job, Mum.


Jonathan Nguyen (38:50)

He just wears a suit and goes to the office, an office.


Ryan Manuel (38:54)

Hey I have an office alright. All those startup founders out there. All those people sleeping on the floor of their office tonight, you are my friend. There's a reason I wear a suit because people don't guess that.


Jonathan Nguyen (39:07)

All right. Right. Thank you very much. Yes. See you next time.


Ryan Manuel (39:11)

Thanks. Yeah hopefully if you have me back.


Jonathan Nguyen (39:13)

We'll have you back. We'll do a debrief. We'll follow up on all the claims you made and see whether you followed through.


Ryan Manuel (39:21)

Note this is not investment advice and prior performance does not indicate future.


Jonathan Nguyen (39:26)



Ryan Manuel (39:28)

Exactly. Insert disclaimers here.


Jonathan Nguyen (39:30)

See you later.


Ryan Manuel (39:31)



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