Singapore’s Fast Moving Startup: Interview with Socialwok Founder & CEO Ming Yong

24 Jan 2011 in Interviews

Interview with Ming Yong, CEO of Socialwok (Intro) from John Exley on Vimeo.


I still remember when I first discovered Socialwok. I was in Singapore’s Supperclub for the the iMATCH Launchpad event, standing behind a panel of investors that included former BitTorrent Founder and President (and current partner at early stage startup program i/o Ventures) Ashwin Navin and Google Senior Manager-turned-angel investor Aydin Senkut (whose portfolio at Felicis Ventures includes such successes as Mint).

I started filming as Ming Yong stood up to present Socialwok to the crowded room. I decided I simply had to interview him. Less than two weeks later (at a noisy Coffee Bean in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district on Orchard Road), I did. The video above is the first segment (of six) of our interview.


In the interview, we discussed what pain Socialwok solves, how the company started, how it’s different from Google products like Google Wave, and how users can try out the product. Ming talked about launching in Silicon Valley at the TechCrunch50 Conference and pitching Google’s legendary co-founder (and now CEO) Larry Page. Also, Ming breaks down Socialwok’s freemium model and explains how he believes the freemium model is a marketing strategy, not a business model.

If you wanna check it out, Socialwok is available in the iPhone App Store and the Android Marketplace.


Ming Yong is a serial entrepreneur in Singapore who graduated from Cornell University. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Socialwok. Socialwok is essentially Facebook for business, integrated with Google Apps. The startup brings feed-based sharing to the enterprise and is advised by Adam Rifkin, a well known entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Socialwok was the 2009 TechCrunch50 DemoPit Award Winner, and the fast-moving Singaporean startup has been covered by TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Robert Scoble, and The Next Web.


A big thank you to my friend Johanna Mortreux for filming the entire interview, and of course to Ming for his friendship and for bringing his A game to the interview.

What do you think of the freemium model? What are some really cool companies out there that use it?