EIA 012 Hardware Hacking with Brilliant Strangers

Emily & Jeremy 0

Emily Zheng and Jeremy Ann both took part in TechYiZu’s HackYiZu 2015. Emily is from London and has a financial investment background. However she has recently switched to working for a tech startup property platform that serves the worldwide Chinese community. She is new to Hackathons and uses them to learn about the tech startup world, and meet experienced makers and hackers as she makes her way in the tech startup world. Jeremy has a background in IT consultancy. He currently works in the area of solar technology and. He is an experienced hacker as he has attended many events organised by TechYiZu. He uses these events to improve his skills in electronics, team work and team coordination. Both participants had never worked with the other team members before, which is common for these types of events and allows for ideas to flow between those with open minds.

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Shownotes EP14


Emily Zheng is visiting Shanghai from London and attends the TechYiZu Hackathon in between attending her company’s annual conference. She has attended events promoted by meetup.com in her search to find new and interesting things to do, and it was through meetup.com that she found HackYiZu 2015. The Previous two Hackathons that she participated in, Wix Hackathon 2014 and Women Who Code Hackathon 2014, were both held in London and software.

HackYiZu is the first hardware based event that she has attended and she finds it both amazing and enjoyable. Towards the end of the second day she is exhausted but feels excited that she has and is learning some thing new every minute. The best things for her are that joining a team and learning from the team even though she has no hardware knowledge. Team members include a professor from an engineering university, two academics, experienced coders that can help improve the coding abilities that she learned earlier in the year.

When Emily describes her day job she starts by describing her background with a hedge fund. This leads to her 3C’s in life “Choice, Chance and Change”, you must make a choice when you get the chance otherwise you can never change. Many people have asked her why did you move from a hedge fund to a tech startup based in Shanghai. This reminds me of a previous interviewee, Karen Farzam, who went through a similar process from financial investment to tech startups.

Emily is fascinated and enjoys hanging out with people that possess solid knowledge and are down to earth. As a result she has stopped partying and drinking and uses her time to learn.

The detailed story of how she went from a hedge fund to a startup begins with her desire for a change in her life when 6th Jan, 2014 she attended the Google campus in London and interviewed 10 entrepreneurs asking them the following questions. “What are you doing? Why are your doing it? Why have you joined Google campus? Why did you quit your job? She found out that the one thing they had in common was they were all passionate about what they were doing. This led her to question her lack of passion during the years with her current career in finance for which she was well qualified. Soon the urge to try new things developed in her leading to her attending conferences. It was a chance encounter with her current employer as she attempted to sell them a business idea. The company she now works for is juwai.com, which is a property portal for Chinese people finding properties overseas.

The decision to leave the finance had a moral base and she has chose a tech startup because she wants to follow the trends and is committed to doing something that she really believes in as well as the desire to work with smart people.

The coincidence that I had recently spoken with the co-CEO of juwai.com, Simon Henry in the head office just before Christmas and that I felt it was good. Emily explained that I was very lucky to get the interview as Simon was very busy. Her desire to work for juwai.com was expressed by the fact that she basically chased the company that included knocking on the door and saying I want to work for you and also stalking saying “I want to work for you”. I myself had met Simon at an event and asked him if he would speak to me for AsiaBizStories.

Emily can be contacted on GitHub and Twitter @Emily_RRZ

Jeremy 2

Jeremy Ann is an experience participant of TechYiZu’s HackYiZu and has attended every hackathon, which go back to 2012. He is thirty years old and has lived in China for five years. He currently works in the solar panels industry.

The team he is working with formed one week before at the registration and he had not worked with any of them before. They came together like the other teams based on common interest of a product or idea. He is personally interested in home automation and wants to develop and produce in the technology area. The idea they came up with for HackYiZu is a smart door with a gun. This is a merger of two ideas and is not to be taken seriously. The idea is that knocking on the door and not having your credentials validated with result in being shot. You do get four chances before being shot by a plastic pellet.

Through attending TechYiZu events he gets the opportunity to work with brilliant people, is able to discover what is happening in China, witness people building companies, also learn and exchange ideas. His day job has no relation to the hacker space and he has the opportunity in his spare time to start a company. Currently he has several ideas but he cannot go into them at the moment.

On the current HackYiZu 2015 project he is learning more about electronics, team work with a team of 8 with some members working remotely, which requires coordination.

Jeremy can be contacted by given email


**Show Notes: “Asia Biz Stories: Entrepreneurs in Action”**

– Introduction (0:01 – 1:19)
– Host introduction: Neville J McKenzie
– Podcast name: Asia Biz Stories
– Purpose of the podcast: Featuring entrepreneurs in action
– Website: asiabizstories.com

– Interview with Emily Zhang (1:20 – 7:46)
– Background of Emily Zhang, a participant at the Tekazoo hackathon
– Emily’s transition from a financial investment background to a tech startup
– Her motivation to learn and explore the tech startup world
– Benefits of participating in hackathons and learning from others
– Emily’s previous experiences and her passion for continuous learning

– Interview with Jeremy Ann (7:47 – 13:16)
– Background of Jeremy Ann, an experienced hacker and participant at Tekazoo hackathons
– Jeremy’s interest in home automation and his project at the hackathon
– The collaborative nature of hackathons and the opportunity to work with diverse teams
– Jeremy’s motivation to be part of the hacker space community in China
– His goal to gain knowledge, exchange ideas, and potentially start his own company

– Conclusion (13:17 – 15:45)
– Recap of the interviews with Emily and Jeremy
– Highlights of their experiences at the hackathon
– The value of hackathons in learning, teamwork, and exploring new technologies
– Invitation to subscribe to the podcast and visit asiabizstories.com for more episodes and information

*Music outro*

Thank you for listening to this episode of “Asia Biz Stories: Entrepreneurs in Action.” Join us next time for more inspiring stories of entrepreneurs. Don’t forget to hit the Subscribe button and visit asiabizstories.com to stay updated.

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