BRIEF23 brings you insights and inspiration from Ian Goh, CEO, Tiki – the short video app with more than 32 million monthly active users.

Ian writes on invitation and exclusively for our special series BRIEF23, which features industry stalwarts, thought leaders, industry captains, business heads, brand custodians and other C-suite heads from diverse companies across sectors,  size and scale, sharing their learnings from 2022, and guidance and inspiration to help empower professionals for the upcoming FY 2023-24.

Ian Goh is the CEO of Tiki, a short creator platform. He is an entrepreneur with a passion for building & launching tech ventures across Asia. He previously launched the OYO’s business in Malaysia both on the demand (revenue/sales) as well as supply-side and extending it to other Southeast Asia (SEA) markets. He also pioneered a team in oBike – a Global Dock-less Bicycle Sharing startup for the Asia Pacific Region & Rush – a Scooter & Power bank sharing startup.

Ian grew up in a city in Borneo, Malaysia and pursued his education in Singapore and pursued his business degree at the University of Melbourne. He currently resides in Singapore.

BRIEF23 by Ian Goh – Tiki 

2022 defined: The year 2022 was the year of transformation for Tiki, we transformed the short video space and created a healthy ecosystem by building strong communities.

Creator verification on Tiki has become a highly sought-after process in the market. Tiki is recognized as the most trusted creator platform and to ensure the trust is maintained, we made significant strides in our policies, and competitions such as Upgrades/Downgrade to strengthen our talents.

We have witnessed impressive growth in the number of users from 50 million in 2021 to 100 million in 2022 with a minimal creator churn. Users are more engaged on the platform and feel a sense of honor and belonging, which led to a significant increase in the number of self-organized offline meet-ups, which has grown from 2 to 500+ per month in 200+ cities.

Our Family Champions League (FCL) event has also made a meaningful contribution to our startup success. All with the goal to create a community of creators that is supported, celebrated, and appreciated.

We launched our live streaming feature in 2022, which was well received by our users, and we have more than 2 lakh active hosts with multiple new events IP and have seen impressive growth of 50~100% month-on-month since the early launch.

We have also achieved top-grossing app status, ranking at #2 in the social category and #9 overall, which motivates us to further empower our creator community to support our creators to thrive through their talent.

On track, ahead of, or trailing the pack?: As I explained above, 2022 has been a year of major milestones, every achievement is a milestone for Tiki. We know we were not first to market, but we were able to sustain fairly well during 2022 and rise through the noise. Our numbers were healthy and we are glad that we were able to kickstart our sustainable revenue stream for our creators, thus strengthening our creator ecosystem.

Our growth in 2022 is attributed to word of mouth or organic reach, as we were transparent in our creator policy and were able to provide authentic high-quality content to our 100 million Tiki community. This has led to the creation of a vibrant creator community, where creators have become family, meet online and offline, and do good by helping their local community in India.

Under the hood:  We are elated to share that we have reached a community of 100 million users in 2022 from 50 million in 2021. With the expansion of our family, Tiki meetups have scaled from 2 per month to 500 per month in 200+ cities. This growth is only possible because of the High-Quality Original Content created and appreciated by the Creators.

Creators are seeking verification on Tiki and our Blue Verified badge has become a talent status symbol. As the creator number increased, Tiki’s monetization model has been established to support the creators to thrive on their talents. 

Lessons learnt: Sustainable growth is key in this economic climate. Platforms that add value to Creators and stakeholders will stay for the long run.

The pivot from the ‘Attention Economy’ to the ‘Intention Economy’ is about moving from a model where attention is the main commodity, to one where the focus is on fulfilling the needs and intentions of the users.

Who/What inspired me: The success stories of creators have been a great inspiration to me and my team. Before we began our venture in India, we had some concerns about whether we will be able to contribute positively to the creator community.

However, after hosting our second Tiki Star Award and meeting with creators, it felt like a family gathering where everyone was united in creating the best content and giving back to their community.

One creator from Bihar, who previously had a limited social media presence, approached me and said, “Tiki is my world”. That moment made us realize that we are truly making a difference in the lives of creators.

Looking ahead: Social media platforms must support creators to foster growth in the creator economy. Many platforms have flooded the market with viral content such as screen grabs from popular movies or memes from overseas. They give the users the hot trending videos. What they failed to realize is that if a platform simply showcases the non-original viral videos, there’s no room for growth for original content created by local talented creators. Few apps even thought of making creators the focal point of their strategy; still, the users did not get the space to grow as creators.

One can see a gold rush of short video companies but there are great risks and challenges on the horizon and it is getting difficult to sustain in the market. The dilemma for the Indian creator economy is that the creators are not the winners of the boom, they are not even fairly represented by the media. Without the success and satisfaction of creators, the creator economy is nothing but another bubble economy.

We know that as an inherently social product, a user who simply comes because Tiki is a cool product will probably not stick. There needs to be a larger value at play. And we placed our bet on building a community of creators and fans alike. “Come for the content, stay for the community”, is the motto that we abide by.

And here’s how we’ll do it!: We’ll stick to our position as one of the leading ‘Make in India’ short video platforms. Our North Star is to increase investment of time & investments from stakeholders.

With over 100 mn users coming to our platform and with now over 5 lakh real creators, the aim is to strengthen the relationship between creators and fans for mutual support. We are also working with local partners to become the go-to media platform in India and break even by 2023.

Advice: Always put an emphasis on providing value and to find joy in the process, rather than solely focusing on the outcome. Remember that the journey is just as important as the destination.

One big learning/realization: I remember writing a memo to myself before embarking on this venture which highlights the following:

  • One should focus on personal growth, self-acceptance, and contribute to society rather than solely pursuing the idea of a perfect idealistic goal
  • Do not live with regrets and to make choices based on the present moment and with gratitude. Ultimately, life is a journey and the process should be enjoyed one step at a time.

I really resonated with the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once which explores the themes of self-acceptance, family, and community, and the impact of the choices that we make on our lives. It encourages the audience to be more open-minded, to accept the different versions of themselves, and to understand that the journey is just as important as the destination.

The quote or thought that’ll inspire me in 2023: I shall use the same quote that got me to start Tiki which is: “Start something, Lead an amazing tribe, Make an impact”.