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Malcolm Ong

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Monday, August 14, 2017 - 7:35am

“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.” RIP Zach.

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 7:35am


How do you learn differently?

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 7:35am

Just amazing. Baby’s life saved with 3D printed device.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

My 2013 was a whirlwind of a year, and 2014 is already propping itself up with a couple big changes.

First, I recently decided to relocate from NYC to San Francisco. NYC is an amazing city, and I will miss it. Its tech scene is vibrant and growing, its culture and diversity are energizing, and its selection of activities (and food) is unmatched. I remember when I was ready to move from Austin and wasn’t sure if NYC would be the best destination (being a west-coast person at heart). I told myself I’d give it a try for a bit.. 3 years max. It’s been a little over 6 years since then, and each new experience NYC offers still surprised me with delight.

I’m certainly grateful that life brought me to NYC because I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my NYC experience. Now is the time for me to make another change in life and take my next course. 

Which brings me to my next big change: I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined the 500 Startups team as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). My initial relationship with 500 Startups started back in late 2012 when I became a Mentor (thanks to Gary Chou for the recommendation). Since then, I’ve witnessed first-hand the breadth and depth of the global 500 network, especially when 20% of the portfolio consists of companies from outside of the U.S. For instance, last Nov I joined in on 500’s Geeks On A Plane trip to Istanbul where we met some awesome unheard-of startups that are amazing businesses. It was also there where Dave McClure and I casually chatted about a business idea I had, and where my head was in terms of my next career steps. That conversation eventually turned into serious talks about me helping the 500 team specifically. 

Thus, I’ll be helping with our upcoming Accelerator batch (#9) and closely mentoring several of our companies through the program. In parallel, I’ll be defining and shaping the early stages of my next company, the details of which I hope to announce in the near future.

If you are a founder looking for help via an accelerator or investment, give us a holler: 
If you are an SF transplant and would fancy chatting about life here, hit me up: @malcolmcasey. A super plus if you’re also a mobile developer or designer interested in music, like I am.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
Pharrell Williams - Happy: Pharrell Williams - Happy, the 24 hour music video. A 24 hour of unique content.

This is pretty awesome.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
How Hardware Startups Can Turn Indifference into a Profit Center:


Lots of articles have been written about the renaissance of hardware startups. On Kickstarter and in VC conference rooms, there’s a steady wave of founders pitching new devices, peripherals and even apparel. Which is wonderful. And inspiring. And, costly.

Tho the internet has empowered creators…


Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
“If you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t make a bonus, then we don’t want you. The performance bonus is you’re employed or not.”

- Patty McCord, former Netflix Chief Talent Officer
Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
“Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

- Viktor Frankl (via explore-blog)
Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

I remember I first met Mike indirectly through a mutual friend because we both had a common interest in DJ’ing. It was soon revealed that we both wanted to start a company someday. From that point, we’d meet every week just bouncing ideas off each other, poking holes into each one, and explored what we could potentially work on together. We learned that we were both interested in creating something with a social good mission, and in fact, passionate in taking a stab at solving today’s issues in education. One thing led to another and Skillshare was born in Fall 2010.

When I look back, it’s incredible to think how far we’ve come, how much we’ve been able to accomplish, and to watch Skillshare grow up. We have vibrant teaching and learning communities in cities all around the world. Our team and “family” has grown with a number of talented and ambitious members helping us realize our vision. And along the way, I’ve been able to learn invaluable lessons that will be ingrained in me forever. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help Skillshare reach this stage, proud with what we’ve been able to accomplish against many odds, and excited with what’s to come in the next phase.

While I still have the same level of passion, energy, dedication, and commitment for Skillshare, our mission, and our team, I’ve also realized that I can contribute the most value to companies whose path to success is far less obvious than Skillshare’s. It was one of the reasons why I decided to start a company from scratch in the first place, and it’s also why I took a step back from my day-to-day role a few months ago. I’m still a Board Member and Advisor, and, of course, will continue to help in whatever capacity I can.

This was obviously not an easy decision to make, especially considering that Skillshare is in such a pivotal stage in its life. Fortunately, I’m confident that, thanks to the strong team we have put in place, Skillshare will continue to grow and change education as we know it.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude for all my friends, mentors, investors, and colleagues who have supported me and Skillshare with our accomplishments to date. I’ve started to advise a few great companies and mentor for 500 Startups, and am looking forward to the next course in my life.

Keep on learning,

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am

Being in NYC, I use a lot of elevators. Now, this might be a bit nerdy but, the algorithms used in elevators have always intrigued me.. even from a practical POV.

  • Why don’t elevator doors stay open when idle on floors (and during times) where people commonly enter (as opposed to exit)? In theory, this could shave a few seconds each time.
  • I’m in a 10-story building with 2 elevators, E#1 at floor 10 and idle, and E#2 at floor 5 and going up. If I’m on floor 1 and hit the Up button.. why would I have to wait for E#2 instead of E#1 coming down to get me?
  • What is the optimal floor # for taller buildings to segment elevator banks? ie. if you have a 100 story building, at what n should you have a second bank of elevators that skip floors 2 through n?
  • Do elevators keep track of how many times a “request” button is pressed? (my assumption is no, but it’d be interesting if this stat was used)
  • Could you design an elevator system (with reasonable practical and financial constraints) that adapts and learns based on usage?
  • (and a nice-to-know fact) What % of elevators have a working Open/Close button?
  • (and more of a pet peeve) Is it really more cost-effective to hire someone to man an elevator vs. upgrading to an automated one? The inefficiency of manually-controlled elevators really annoy me.

Of course, these questions only generally address optimizing users’ wait times. It doesn’t take into account optimization of power usage, maintenance costs, etc.

Anyone have any opinions on this? Is there an easy way for us non-elevator-engineers to somehow tap into an elevator system and tweak its algorithm (and measure our results)?

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
If you ever feel alone in this...:

Thank you @bubs for sharing. Well put. We’ve all felt alone.

It’s hard to talk to the people that love and care about you most, cause you’d scare the shit out of them. If they knew every up & down you went through, they’d probably hold an intervention to get you to switch careers. They don’t want to see you suffer, and rare is the founder who hasn’t suffered.

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 7:40am
Skillshare: We believe there are few things better than having access to the power...:


We believe there are few things better than having access to the power of learning, which is why we are super excited to announce a whole series of complimentary classes aimed at empowering your personal and professional ideas, all courtesy of our friends at MasterCard!

Read more…

Sunday, December 11, 2016 - 7:40am

Curating a list of top 300 EDM tracks, both new and classics. Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:14pm

Daft Coke. Want!

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:14pm
Skillshare: Introducing Hybrid Classes!:


(Image Credit: Bubble Gum Bin by Anna Bullus)


That was the whole brief for my first project in graduate school, VCU Brandcenter. Our teacher gave us the project guidelines: come to next week’s class and present something interesting about gum in 60 seconds. Then he left.
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:12pm


(via The State of Music Subscription)

didn’t realize Sirius had such a head start.

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:12pm


Take a minute today to remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be!

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:12pm

Here’s my Spotify 2014 Year in Music #Spotify2014

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:12pm

Happy (Lunar) New Year! By now, I hope all of you are off to a great start on your new paths and goals, whatever they may be. As we move into the Year of the Horse, here are my reflections on the past year, which was one rich of personal transformation.


Picture: art exhibit I saw at Burning Man

Experiencing something for the first time in your life is a magical moment. Sometimes it can be as mundane as the first time you tasted bacon (ok, maybe not such a mundane moment). Other times it can be more significant, perhaps life-changing, such as witnessing the death of a loved one. In all cases, they will trigger a feeling of delight or despair (hopefully more of the former); they’re moments of transformation, inspiration, discovery, and learning.

Twenty thirteen…

It was the first time that I’ve ever felt completely lost in my life path. Throughout my life, I’ve always known what I wanted to do or accomplish every step of the way, or I’ve always had a logical next step when faced with a fork in the yellow brick road.

Remember when we were little and we had the “goal” of retiring and settling down at 30? And, at the time, “30" felt like such a long way to go? I still remember meeting people who were 30+, thinking they were really old. Well, when I turned 30 myself last year, it was the first time I felt old, and subsequently lost. I felt like I followed my path step-by-step, eventually fulfilled my career goal of starting a company, and suddenly I hit the “end” with no next step in sight. It’s as if I was Jim Carrey in The Truman Show and I hit the wall at the end of the world (side story: I felt this again when I hit the outer fence at Burning Man).

It was also the first time I’ve ever felt complete freedom. On my life path, I’ve always felt restrained by external forces, whether it be school, (undesirable) work, or the need to please the people around me. When I let go of those restraints, I had the liberty of, as James Altucher puts it, choosing myself. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, I simply said “yes.“ And by doing so, I’ve opened my eyes to so many remarkable things in the world. I felt like a child again, experiencing something for the first time — the “lightness of being a beginner again.”*

It was the first time I really traveled, and mostly alone — 30 cities, 16 countries, 3 continents, 15 currencies, and 14 languages to be exact.

  • A first to explore Europe, from Brussels - the capital of the EU - to Istanbul - the 3rd largest city in the world (by population).
  • A first to see most of Asia, from the serenity of Bali and Thailand to the bustling of Seoul and Tokyo.
  • A first to experience the Middle East, from the modern wonder of Dubai to the world wonders of Petra and the Dead Sea.
  • A first to many festivals, rekindling my passion in music, including: Ultra (Miami), Coachella, EDC (Las Vegas), Full Moon Festival (Thailand), and Burning Man.

If you’ve never traveled the world before for an extended period of time, I highly recommend you just do it. Pack a small bag and leave everything else behind, and get on a one-way flight alone without a plan. Let serendipity play its course.

Other firsts for me, in no particular order:

  • Watching an international baseball game (in Korea). A lot more fun than the games in the US.
  • Witnessing the dichotomy of the super rich and super poor next to each other in coexistence on the streets of SE Asia.
  • Being trained on a military base to sharpshoot with guns not available in the US.
  • Riding a camel (a lot more glamorous in cartoons) and an elephant (really fun).
  • Riding a motorcycle “taxi” in the city, and a scooter (around a Thai island).
  • Going on “Airplane Mode” (no pun intended) for weeks at a time. Try it.
  • Being threatened (essentially robbed) by airport security in Cairo.
  • Seeing animal cruelty on a completely different, worse level.
  • Being in a city where I’m the only Asian person and as if people around me have never met one in person before.
  • Eating food new to me, such as stinky tofu, foie gras sushi, Turkish delight, mulled wine, etc. 

This past year, I made many new friends, and rekindled old ones. I experienced things I never thought I would, and I felt emotions of every extreme - highs and lows - that I’ve never felt before. Through all this, I’ve learned that there is no one path, there is every path.** As long as you’re not afraid to choose yourself, and focus on inner health and happiness, you will be in the right direction. And when in doubt, just say yes.

Thank you for being a part of my incredible year. Here’s to another year full of firsts.

Thanks to Lindsay H., Greg W., Garrett W., and Eric T. for helping me proofread this post.
* inspired by Steve Jobs
** inspired by Dick Costolo

Malcolm is the CEO & Co-founder at Sandstorm, the Co-founder of Skillshare, and a Mentor for 500 Startups, the Thiel Foundation, and SXSW.