2019 Year in Review

TDLR: Moved to Bangkok, had a second son, failed to sell CryptoWeekly, found product-market fit at GrowthList, had lots of fun in Japan

We moved back to Bangkok at the beginning of the year to have our second child at the same hospital (and with the same doctor) we had our first child at in Bangkok. It was a smart move as the hospital and doctor are both first class. All things went really well and we welcomed little Oscar into the world at the beginning of April – which was easily the highlight of the year.

During this time we put my older boy into a great pre-school which he has really enjoyed. The initial goal was to let him finish before moving back to Europe, but sadly the pollution in Bangkok is getting worse – to a point where it’s affecting our health, and thus we have decided to leave early. The next few months will be busy with another big move.

In other personal news, I stopped smoking cigarettes after smoking a box per day since I was 14. It feels amazing to finally get rid of this nasty habit. Alan Carr’s ‘How to Stop Smoking‘ book really helped.

I quit Facebook and got rid of my iPhone and use phones/tablets way less than I did before. With less screen time on all my devices now, I have way more time to dedicate to my family which has been fantastic.

I also rediscovered fasting and now fast for 16 hours most days of the week, and try to fit in a few 24-hour fasts per month. This not only helps with weight control but also clarity of the mind.

So all in all, I feel I’ve made huge progress on my health and where I spend my time this year.


I spent the first few months of the year trying to find someone to take over CryptoWeekly without success. I am now in the process of going out again to try and find a company that can take it over.

From day one I started CW to learn how crypto works, but now I feel I’ve learned as much as I can, I want to pass it onto someone else with more enthusiasm. CW makes decent money via sponsorships and CryptoList sales, so I’m eager to watch someone take CW to the next level.

As outlined in my 2018 review, I wanted to focus 2019 on building GrowthList up after neglecting it for a few years, and that is exactly what I did.

I tried multiple variations of the product (in startup world these are called pivots); from selling limited quantities of smaller lists to selling unlimited quantities of bigger lists – and nothing really stuck.

In total, I launched 26 new reports without much success (i.e – success in where I could support a family of 4) and 3 months ago I decided to try one last product variation before calling it a day.

I ‘pivoted’ GrowthList to offer a report of every startup that is getting funded right now, priced at just $49 (previously these reports cost $299 each). So far growth has been great and I’m so glad all this testing has finally paid off. GrowthList is where I’ll spend my efforts for the foreseeable future.

I also launched a few side projects earlier in the year that I have since paused while I focus all my efforts on GrowthList. These included Cosana, NewKeys and DailyNames.


Traveling with my boy who is getting older is so much more fun, and as we didn’t travel as much this year thanks to pregnancy and school schedules, we plan to do a lot more of it in 2020.

Trips this year included some Thai beach time, a few family visits to Ubon, a great time in Hong Kong and 2 separate trips to Japan; Osaka and Sapporo.

Goals for 2020

I completed all my goals from last year apart from starting a podcast – which I still want to do and will make this a goal for 2020.

I’m not going to add any new goals this year as I’m at a point in my life where I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing. I enjoy updating GrowthList, I enjoy spending lots of time with my kids, and I enjoy traveling. Lot’s more of those and I’m one happy guy!

Building small, profitable and remote tech companies at KintuLabs

Earlier today on Twitter I shared the criteria we have set (not in stone) for building small, profitable and remote startups at KintuLabs:

  • Does it solve a problem we have?
  • Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)
  • Can it be managed by 1-2 people?
  • Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?
  • Can it generate $100k+/yr?
  • Do we know how we can onboard new customers?

I want to expand on these a little in the hopes it’ll help other people considering starting a small, profitable and remote tech company.

Let’s jump in…

Does it solve a problem we have?

My most successful products have always come from working on a product, experiencing a problem, and going on to create a new product to solve that problem.

Here’s how this has worked for me:

I created FoundersGrid (acquired) as there was a lot of content around tech and startups, but no one was curating the very best reads every week.

I created GrowthList as I started building lists of fast-growing startups I could email to see if they wanted to sponsor the FoundersGrid newsletter. It turned out my friends wanted copies of the lists for their own outreach efforts, hence a new business was born.

I created CryptoWeekly when we started adding a lot more crypto/blockchain pieces to the FoundersGrid newsletter – so it made sense to create a new newsletter just for crypto
(which consequently went on to make $350k in its first year).

I created CryptoList as we needed a list of crypto companies we could reach out to about sponsoring the CryptoWeekly newsletter.

I created NewKeys as I wanted an overview of what properties are available to purchase all around the world in the $75-$100k price range, along with the key details of what’s required for a foreign national to purchase a property in each location.

I created Cosana as finding reliable remote contractors to manage the above businesses was becoming a real pain. Now anyone can access a database of fully-vetted remote contractors whenever they need some help.

I created DailyNames as finding great affordable domain names has always been time-consuming as most domains on marketplaces are overpriced and there’s so much crap to filter through.

So yeah, I’m a firm believer in creating products that solve your own pain points first.

And as we are happy to generate $100k-$500k/yr with each new product we create, we do not need the whole world to like or want our products.

Fun fact; at $299 per quarter for CryptoList, we needed to find 83 customers who also value the product as much as we do to pass $100k/yr.

Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)

Right now I’m kind of blessed I have enough product ideas that don’t involve code – which is what makes a lot of product development cycles time intensive.

If I look at what we really do across our current product line, it’s we save people and businesses time. All our products take an insane amount of hours to put together, but that’s our business; we are good at saving businesses/people time.

But I’ve noticed with my list of “ideas” that some products will take much longer to launch than others – so it’s important as a young bootstrapped startup that we focus on building the products we can get launched quickly first.

Can it be managed by 1-2 people?

As we are not shooting for ‘world domination’ with our companies. The end-goal is to have each company serve 100-300 paying customers with just 2 employees – ala Instagram when they sold to Facebook for $1 billion with 13 people.

By the end of the year, I’d like each company to have one person focused on product and operations, and the other focused on sales and marketing. As we don’t rely on code for our products (yet), I think this small combo will work really well.

Please note: due to resources – we do not currently have this setup – but it’s our goal to have this setup by the end of the year.

Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?

As bootstrappers, this means everything to me. If we can’t cover overhead costs within 1-2 months, it makes sense to allocate our resources into products where we can.

Can it generate $100k+/yr?

I believe most good products can. It’s more of a question of knowing how to get the product in front of the right customers – even if this does take a while.

Do we know how we can onboard new customers?

The list of user acquisition channels is immense right now – and each new product will respond differently to different channels. More on this on another post!

2018 Year in Review

This year has been pretty special. My family and I traveled extensively. We finally sorted out homes in Barcelona and Bangkok after traveling for 14+ years non-stop. Our boy started school, and we found out we are having another kiddo early next year.

I also sold FoundersGrid and went all in on crypto projects (as I said I would in my 2017 review) – which has been an interesting, educational, and sometimes scary, ride.

Here’s a look at what I acomplished with work, my travels, my fave restaurants and goals for 2019:


  • I sent out 74 CryptoWeekly newsletters
  • Published 26 in-depth guides here on my blog
  • Built and launched Crypto100 with Crypto.com (the 2019 edition has been built – currently looking for a partner)
  • Traded crypto (which I’ll share details on another day)
  • Invested in 1 startup that will be launching in January
  • Built, launched and sold hundreds of copies of CryptoList
  • Built and launched CryptoDomains with BrandBucket
  • Sold FoundersGrid
  • Hosted 3 Newsletter Workshops (I’m hosting another one in Jan)
  • Built and launched AsiaTechNews and AsiaTechList
  • Consulted with 15+ crypto clients on their marketing strategies
  • Built and launched CryptoTracker with some awesome partners including ADconity, LocalEthereum, Heat Wallet, CXO and Gem
  • Built and launched CryptoFirst with Crypto.com
  • Built BitcoinPredictions that I’ve yet to launch
  • Built and launched LamboIndex
  • Built FlyContinents which allows you to search for the cheapest flights when flying from one contitent to another (it’s a bit buggy – need to find a better API)
  • Started building a SaaS platform in the crypto space which I’ve since paused pending better market conditions
  • Rebranded GrowthList which will be my sole focus for 2019


  • Spain – Barcelona, Mulaga, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao
  • Italy – Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Genoa, Rome
  • Thailand – Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Istanbul
  • Budapest
  • Lisbon
  • Vienna
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Dubai

Best Restaurants

The very best restaurants I visited this year:

Best hotels


2018 goals were:

  • Get a family home, school and a small office set up in Barcelona
  • Solely focus on crypto (both trading and CryptoWeekly)
  • Find really smart people to work with and learn from

I’m pretty stocked I completed all 3 goals I set for myself.

My goals for 2019 are:

  • Rein back work – I haven’t stopped this year and I’m seriously feeling burned out. Would be nice to take a whole month off when our new kiddo arrives.
  • I want to do more for those in need – not just financially, but with a hands-on approuch
  • Start a podcast interviewing people from all walks of life (not just business). Would be cool to set up a low-cost studio anyone could come in and use

How was 2018 for you?

What’s happening at Ethereum?

Like the rest of the crypto markets, Ethereum has had a wild year. As the price of one ether has whipsawed between highs of $1,389 and lows of just $87 over the course of 2018, the platform’s developer community has continued to quietly build out more Dapps and use cases for the network. But even so, there are storm clouds on the horizon in the near term, as development teams continue to face scalability challenges and some of the biggest Ethereum projects encounter serious operational headwinds.

One of the most prolific contributors to the Ethereum ecosystem to date is ConsenSys, best described as a kind of app studio for crypto – and Ethereum in particular. But a recent report from Forbes has revealed that the business, despite being well-funded, is burning through nearly $100M per year, with no profitability in sight.

Yesterday, ConsenSys confirmed that it would be laying off 13% of its staff across all of its startups, contributing to a broader concern that mass layoffs could begin hitting other businesses in crypto during an extended bear market.

Ethereum’s development ecosystem is facing challenges, too. Development on plasma (once heralded as a short-term fix for Ethereum’s scaling woes) has slowed in favor of zk-snarks, a form of cryptography also used by Zcash that can aggregate transactions into batches, rather than processing them one at a time. The platform’s relative centralization remains a concern as well – and this has led to projects like slow.trade launching, which aim to make Ethereum’s original vision of decentralization a reality.

Despite these headwinds, it isn’t all doom and gloom in the Ethereum community these days. Many developers are already working on building the next generation of the platform – one such example is the Turbo Geth project, which is aiming to transform the way Ethereum clients handle storage. Efforts like these are continuing to gain traction, and the continued focus on scalability issues means that a solution could be coming as early as next year.


I recently spent a week in Istanbul, my 2nd visit this year.

Istanbul is a vibrant city which I really enjoy hanging out in to eat and work. The coffee shop culture is growing fast. The local cuisine is varied and delicious. The locals are very friendly. And due to the Turkish Lira weakening this year, it’s never been a better time to visit.

Here are my travel notes:

  • I like to stay near Taksim Square – the vibrant shopping area surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The InterContinental in the area is a great choice to base yourself.
  • Dinner at Zübeyir Ocakbaşı is a must (bookings needed) – it’s one of my top 5 restaurants and I always try to dine here twice on each trip (yes, it’s that good)
  • Talking of food, other good spots I enjoy include Ciya (good home-cooking, very inexpensive), Mikla (rated one of the best 50 restaurants in the world) and brunch at the Four Seasons for a blow out at the weekend
  • Get lost exploring the Grand Bazaar – one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world
  • Take a ferry ride. Each trip will set you back less than $1 and you’ll be guaranteed great views no matter what direction you head in
  • Enjoy a sundowner overlooking the Bosphorus. The bar at the top of the Conrad hotel offer’s excellent views
  • Uber is the easiest way to get around town – including to/from the airport. Not only are they always big vans with nice spacious seats, but they are crazy cheap too!

I’m now back in Bangkok for the winter. Hit me up if you pass through!

Is the ICO party over?

After a record-breaking year of more than $5.5B in funding last year, many saw a bright future for ICOs. And when looking at the raw numbers, it’s tempting to think that’s still the case. This year’s ICO funding has already surpassed $10B, in a significant increase over last year’s total, and new token projects continue to launch every day.

But storm clouds are on the horizon for ICOs – securities regulators have been cracking down in recent months (four more ICOs were shut down in the US just yesterday), and regulatory pressure has forced many token projects to look elsewhere for funding.

In the third quarter of this year, ICOs raised just $1.8B – a dramatic decline from Q2 of this year, which saw more than $8B in funding raised. This regulatory pressure, combined with an overall downturn in the crypto markets, has left investors reluctant to invest in ICOs with poor prospects of a healthy return.

But is the ICO party really over for good, or will other funding methods take its place in the blockchain industry? It seems likely that for the time being, venture capital and private equity firms will pick up the slack where ICOs left off.

As ICO funding for crypto projects has continued to decrease in recent months, VC funding for those projects has only been increasing. In fact, a recent report from Outer Ventures found that VC investments in the crypto sector rose from $900 million in 2017, to more than $2.85 billion this year. This influx of VC funding is helping blockchain projects continue to build even as ICO funding slows, which should be encouraging for crypto founders.

Still, the Securities and Exchange Commission remains focused on regulating ICOs, and the regulatory body maintains that the funding mechanism won’t be going away anytime soon. This week, the regulatory body created an ICO guide for investors that outlines how ICOs are presently regulated, and how to handle risk and unregistered offerings when assessing investment opportunities.

After much uncertainty, the SEC has finally confirmed that ICOs are indeed securities, and this is also reflected in its latest update. The site also provides updates on the latest regulatory activity around ICOs, which should prove useful for token projects considering launching an ICO of their own.

Recent events have made it clear that the ICO party isn’t dead yet – it’s just moved locations. While the verdict is still out on how ICO fundraising will evolve in the future, for now at least, venture capital seems set to become more prevalent than token sales for at least the next few quarters.

Understanding the Bitcoin Cash hash war

Bitcoin Cash has undergone a hard fork this week after unresolved deliberations on a number of key upgrades, and tensions are running high.

Two of the largest Bitcoin Cash implementations (Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV) are at odds over which features to include, and as a result, a “hash war” has broken out.

Bitcoin SV is led by Craig Wright (of nChain fame), while Bitcoin ABC is supported by the controversial crypto influencer Roger Ver. Both implementations are incompatible with each other, which means that in theory, only one can continue to be the “real” Bitcoin Cash.

A hash war consists of two competing sides that are boosting their computing power in a bid to gain increased influence (and show support for) a preferred implementation, with mining power being used as a weapon to potentially kill off another blockchain.

This is done using a pooling of hash power resources, which are the total computing resources assembled by a group of miners in the interest of keeping a blockchain secure.

If either side has more than 51% of the hashing power in Bitcoin Cash, the dominating side would in theory be able to launch debilitating attacks on the smaller chain. This represents a troubling turn of events for a community that’s been equal parts competitive and collaborative in recent years.

Perhaps most important here is that neither side has implemented replay protection in the lead-up to the hash war. Replay protection is what allows traders to safely spend their funds when a fork takes place, and without it, any hard fork can quickly become a dangerous proposition.

A lack of replay protection means that both chains intent to keep boosting their hash rate until the other loses, with the victor becoming the “one true chain” for Bitcoin Cash traders. Crypto investors on the losing side stand to lose a lot of money, and that’s part of what makes this war amidst a hard fork so risky.

On the exchanges front, most are already listing both Bitcoin Cash hard forks as trading pairs. Some (such as Poloniex) have suspended Bitcoin Cash trading altogether until the outcome is confirmed.

With a number of attacks that can be launched, both sides seem willing to fight to the death for the right to control Bitcoin Cash’s future. While it seems likely ABC will emerge as the victor in this hash war, SV could still execute an attack to destroy ABC.

Both blockchains are being pushed to their limits, and it’s a great way for the crypto community to see the pros and cons of each. To follow the hash war live, check out Hashware Live or read this primer on the battle.

Introducing CryptoTracker

During a late night in Bangkok a few months ago drinking wine with friends, we were discussing how news could impact the prices of cryptocurrencies.

We all agreed it would be cool if there was a site that listed live coin price data alongside live news. After searching Google and not being able to find what we wanted, myself and one of the guys set out to build a site that did just this – provide live coin data with live news associated with each coin.

After many weeks of working on the design, setting up a back-end system, testing and integrating different API’s, and securing a great domain name for the project, I’m pleased to introduce the first version of the product at CryptoTracker.io

It was a super fun project to work on and I’m thankful we had some amazing partners who supported the product pre-launch, including:

  • LocalEthereum – The smartest way to buy and sell ether
  • Heat Wallet – A 3rd generation cryptocurrency with high-frequency trading
  • CXO.ai – The all-in-one crypto learning platform
  • Gem – The friendliest way to manage your crypto portfolio

If you’re after live coin data with live news, check CryptoTracker out. We have a great roadmap laid out which will make the site even better to use over the coming months, which we are working on now. With that said, I’m really excited to see the progress we make over the coming months and years.

Crypto Dinners

I’m not a huge fan of large crypto/blockchain conferences, but do I have a lot of fun when I network and learn with interesting people in the blockchain/crypto space.

With this in mind, I’m considering hosting a couple of “crypto dinners” later this year while passing through Barcelona, Dubai, Tokyo and Bangkok. Nothing fancy – just a group of crypto fans connecting, geeking and learning about crypto together over a nice meal. If there’s keen interest, we could probably invite an expert or two to give some talks.

The aim will be to keep these dinners small and intimate (10-30pax or so) so everyone gets a chance to network and learn. If you could be interested in attending one of these dinners, please send me an email letting me know what one you’re interested in. If there’s enough interest, I’ll get the dinners organized.