Filipino techie takes over as Asia editor at The Next Web

For the past few years, Filipinos are proving themselves to be a power to reckoned with in and across social media and the internet. International blogging networks and a number of regional and global internet and tech companies have in fact tapped a growing number of Filipinos, and they are only too willing to learn from and to share what they know to vast audiences.

The latest to join this group of global Filipino techies is Francis Tan, who joined The Next Web as its Asia editor on Jan. 13, 2011. He is the first and — thus far — the only Filipino on the team of editors behind TNW, which Technorati counts as one of the 100 most influential blogs and is reputed to be one of the world’s fastest growing tech sites with two million unique visitors and about four million page views every month.

Filipino techie Francis Tan recently joined The Next Web as Asia Editor. Photo from Francis' Facebook Page.

Francis, who is just 23 and a proud Ateneo de Manila University alumnus, says he was “a bit intimidated” when applying to become TNW’s new Asia Editor, yet he has been on a roll in the first few weeks of his interim editorship — and hopefully what would turn out as a regular or permanent gig.

In an exclusive interview with Asian Correspondent, Francis shares his experience in joining TNW and what he thinks are the bright spots for Filipinos and other Asians in the surging field of technology:

1. How did you snag the Asia editorship at TNW?

Luck actually played a huge role in getting this job. Ever since, I have been following a lot of tech/social media blogs on Twitter, retweeting the stories I find interesting.

One day I was just in the right place at the right time when I saw The Next Web’s editor-in-chief @Zee tweet this:

“Still looking for a South East Asia based writer passionate about technology. Email w/ links to ur writing pls.”

I was a bit intimidated at first but thankfully, I was able to muster up enough enough courage to at least give it a shot. I mean, I do write, I’m loving everything about tech, and I’m from South East Asia; I fit the description so I just figured, why not? So I emailed him to express my interest and shared links of my work (mostly from Gadgets Magazine), 4 days later I got a reply and everything just started rolling from there. By January 13, 2011 I was able to publish my first article for TNW. Right now I’m still on trial. I need to log a couple more weeks before its made official but so far so good.

I’m 23 and I feel like I’m living my dream job– I must’ve done something right.

Are you the first/only Filipino on the TNW team?

Yes, I am the first and only Filipino on the team, and currently the only one handling Asia. The Next Web only started January of 2008, the growth has been just monumental ever since.

What was your job before TNW? What else do you do ?

Before TNW, I used to work full-time for Gadgets Magazine (Great Minds Media, Inc.) as the Online/Digital Editor. Since TNW required me to go full-time, I managed to strike a deal with my boss at Gadgets Magazine to adjust my working hours to part-time so now I’m handling both.

What’s a day or week for TNW’s Asia editor?

Basically we have shifts for monitoring news. I write around 3-6 articles in a day, but it’s not limited to Asia news. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Part of my job is to immerse myself in the regional tech-scene.

Any suggestions on areas where prospective Asian web entrepreneurs, app developer, bloggers could focus on?

Social, crowd-sourced is the way to go. Enable people to create and share content. Initiate discussions with like-minded people.

Grab a niche but don’t forget to integrate it with social networks. And if you have great ideas, please drop me an email at

Enough with the clones. There’s nothing wrong with rehashed content as long as you can put a personal twist to it.

What should Asian techies and geeks expect in the next few months in terms of tech goodies and gadgets?

Android will boom because of the budget Android phones. Nokia is dead serious in making a comeback. 2011 will be the best time to get a tablet. Netbooks aren’t dead as long as they can keep the prices down and Chrome OS delivers. Expect more content and apps optimized for tablets and smartphones.

Invest on your social media influence if you want a career in tech. Follow @thenextweb on Twitter to get the latest. 🙂

What are the top 5 favorite gadgets you now have?

1. iPhone 4 – most good-looking phone
2. 13″ MacBook Pro – ever reliable work horse
3. iPod Nano 3rd gen and Sennheiser Mx-70 – my running/gym/driving buddies
4. PS3, specifically my Rock Band guitar – stress-reliever
5. Technomarine Raft – my one and only watch for all occasions, casual or formal

What upcoming gadgets do you want to get your hands on?

1. Motorola Xoom – really depends if the performance can justify the price, but definitely an Android tablet
2. 3DS – I’m a huge Nintendo freak
3. Next iteration of the iMac – my MacBook needs a big brother