InnoKOL | Simon Young:Authentic Connection is the Future of Humanity

2021/08/30 Innoverview Read

On Aug.30th (GMT+8), InnoKOL had a fascinating conversation with Mr. Simon Young, who is the Head of Advisory at RCN Asia, talking about his unique working experience in management consulting and deep insight in innovative application of blockchain technology.


Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?


My three words are: Future of Humanity.

My motto is: Authentic Connection is the future of humanity.


Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to management consulting domain.


I grew up in New Zealand, a small country with few resources. Here it is common to be self-taught across a number of disciplines. Then New Zealanders become the generalists who learn from experience and serve in a wide range of capacities. My own self-taught background covers media, marketing, and lately music.


I was a journalist for magazines conversing marketing, management and innovation for a decade, which gave me exposure to a wide range of cutting-edge technologies and thought leaders. So, this unusual path has now led me to my role as Head of Advisory for RCN Asia, managing over 200 advisors worldwide.


Jokia: What are the secrets to being a successful social media influencer from your point of view? Could you share 2 to 3 typical cases you’ve been involved in?


Authenticity is crucial. So is simplicity. An influencer is trying to bring someone from the known to the unknown. This is particularly important as a cross cultural influencer.


So I will talk briefly about three cases I’ve been involved in, all cross cultural.


First, the 2017 New Zealand general election. Our brief was to persuade Chinese New Zealand voters to trust the New Zealand electoral process, and vote. I already had a profile in Chinese language social media, and because I’m a local New Zealander (“kiwi” as we are called), Chinese people will take notice of me speaking Chinese. We also involved local Chinese people in the community, asking them not about voting, but about the bigger question, belonging. By speaking to the bigger issue, the surface issue of voting became more relevant. So we were able to ensure a bigger turnout for Chinese voters in the election.


The second case is of Biosecurity New Zealand, the people who check airport baggage for any animal or plant materials that might be a hazard. Our campaign helped persuade Chinese travelers to New Zealand to declare items they wanted to bring into the country, and avoid fines. We did so with gentle humor, we like to call this infotainment and edutainment. The videos where I role-played the traveler NOT declaring what I was bringing, helped let over 60,000 people know about New Zealand’s biosecurity rules. For those who can understand Chinese, here’s the original article + video:


The last case is a combination of many of the services RCN Asia offers. We worked with a New Zealand malt manufacturer that exports around the world. Malt is one of the key ingredients of craft beer. Gladfield Malt asked RCN Asia to help them find a new distributor in China, which we did through our networks. We then worked with Gladfield to support them in on the ground activities and marketing air support. It’s normal for an exporter to attend a trade show, and we accompanied Gladfield to the annual craft beer show in Shanghai, but we did more, and we used technology to do it.


The additional support we offered was a technology driven activation of the trade show audience, using MikeCRM, WeChat and printed banners to get brewers attending the trade show to enter a competition. Through this technological leverage of a trade show, we were able to reach 37 new significant b2b clients for Gladfield. The “influencer” part of this was in support of the larger strategy. We help our clients to become the influencer themselves, rather than rely on others. This is true, even if they can’t speak Chinese. It’s possible for those who are dedicated. So those are a few examples of influence using social media. As part of an integrated plan, it can be very powerful.


Jokia: Do you favor that it’s strategy, not technology drives digital transformation and why?


Technology is an amazing thing. It takes best practices and puts them into a system that anyone can use, with limited skill. A good system will help even a bad person achieve their goals. But with a bad system, even a good person will stumble. I learnt this from Mr. Glyn MacLean, who is my mentor and the founder of RCN Asia. Glyn won the Australian National Business Award for digital transformation, applying these principles.


We are putting these same principles into practice in our platforms being developed. Such as RCN Asia’s Asia Engage app, which uses the best available technology stack. We have a strategy, sure, but it is the technology that enables us to implement and to scale.


Jokia: We’ve noticed that you would be the conference host for Blockchain Downunder 2022, how do you foresee the trends of blockchain application as a helpful tool for advertising and marketing?


Over a billion dollars in cryptocurrency has been siphoned through organized crime. The criminals have used marketing and advertising to lure crypto consumers to their fate, causing a lot of harm. Good system, bad people, there’s that principle again!


In Blockchain Downunder 2022, we turn to the victims of crypto crime to learn how they lost their life savings. From this, we can identify solutions to the problem of organized crime. We are also working on a documentary about crypto crime, through our website The Dark Night Online: . This is also being produced by Glyn’s film company Oikos Media: . Members are most welcome to join The Dark Night online, become part of the solution to crypto crime. The name comes from the fact that many victims are awake at night, online, lamenting their lost wealth.


Jokia: What inspired your move to join RCN Asia? How does RCN Asia prepared to play a leading role as an Asia culture & commerce community?


I have always been interested in the future. Hence my three words: “future of humanity”. About 15 years ago I began to read as much as I could on the trends that would shape the 21st century. I had some knowledge about many of these trends, but about China, I knew next to nothing. I was fascinated, and began to learn the language. Because I am a social person who loves to connect, I used social media to learn Chinese, and Chinese language to learn about social media in China. I began working with Glyn five years ago, because I wanted to take my services and offerings to a new level. I had acquired cultural intelligence but needed the rigor of business processes to reach the full potential. Glyn provided that rigor and we are in the midst of building that global platform.


Asia is the center of growth, now and in the foreseeable future. Asia is also difficult for western brands, because of differences in culture, language, financial systems, technology … and so on. Where there is difficulty there is opportunity. Besides China, we also help people connect with other Asian countries, too. Not to mention Asian communities in their home market. Maybe in a generation or two, cultures will become so entwined that there won’t be a need for RCN Asia. But for now, we help our clients connect, for commercial gain, but also for their personal development, and the good of society. I believe if we can understand each other better, the world will be a better place.


Currently when someone from overseas wants products, they go to a platform like AliExpress. Alibaba created a system where consumers could trust what they were buying. That’s exactly the vision that RCN Asia brings to professional services. Every member of RCN Asia is vetted by our team to ensure they are who they say they are. So currently the Asia Engage platform is a community, with regularly updated content from our advisors around the world.


In the near future we will open up the commerce engine, so each advisor can sell the services and products of any other advisor on the platform. So many Asia advisors are solo or freelance; this gives them a platform to offer many services, and get paid for their referrals. It also becomes a sales and marketing channel for industry specific advisors.


Another point of difference is the global aspect. There are many great organizations based on location or industry. Australia China Business Council, for example, or Food & Beverage exporters. What’s needed is a truly comprehensive global approach, and RCN does this. 

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About the Speaker:

Mr. Simon Young

RCN Asia
- Head of Advisory & Community Manager | Asia Culture & Commerce | 200+ Advisors Worldwide
- Board Member of RCN Asia Advisory Board on Asia Culture & Commerce
- Host, RCN Asia-Talks, ChApps, China Business Ready
- Join the community for free at

杨瑾鸿 | What's your story?
- I can help you tell your story, whether you are a thought leader who wants to learn from me about how to become a key influencer, or you are an organisation that would like to leverage me as an influencer to authenticate your brand. Start your journey at

- Glyniverse | Humanity Projects with Glyn MacLean
- Pacific Enterprise People | Mentor to Marie Young
- Contour Value | Cyber Security Engineer
- Oikos Media | TV Producer, Director, Editor
- My Team Works Online | Systems Engineer

About the Host:

Ms. Jokia Yin is the Founder of Innoverview and InnoKOL,  the Vice Chatiman of HK International Blockchain Finance Association as well as the Head of Media at United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce。 Jokia has over 8 years of marketing and management experience, much of which has been in the Asia Pacific Region within events and PR industry. She has held key leadership roles executing market research and entry, developing sales channels and revenue generation, building marketing, finance and Operations related infrastructure for a more than 20 events related to retail, tourism, energy storage, blockchain, cosmetics domains.