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Reginald Koh: Podcasting Pioneer, Personal Finance Advocate and Overcoming Fake Gurus

· Podcast Episodes,Financial Security,Singapore,On Deck,Content Creators

I always take the path less travelled. I have this inner rebel in me. And I always want to take the other path that's like; Everyone is walking here. I was like lets try this other thing. And to do that you always need some sort of bravery to kind of make that happen. But specifically, I think the craziest one was I was part of a financial scam. Accidentally, I was part of financial scam because I was young and dumb and like you don't know much, so I was part of it. Maybe that's also why I'm so big on personal finance. It's like been there, done that, done all the crazy shit. Now I tell you what the fuck is going on. I went through that phase of coming out of that thing. And that was crazy - Reginald Koh

 

Reginald Koh is the founder and host of The Financial Coconut, the first podcast network in Singapore dedicated to personal finance. What started as a dining table project, grew to become a serious contender in the finance content space. At the core, he is a creative and explorer, avid backpacker, serial failed entrepreneur, and now a champion for personal finance. He is quite a rebel and failed to meet most of the stereotypical goals embedded into the Singapore narrative. He hopes you can live a life you love while managing your finances well.

Jeremy Au: (00:29)

Hey, Reggie, good to see you. For those who don't know you yet. How would you describe yourself? 

Reginald Koh: (00:35)

My name is Reggie and I host Singapore’s number one financial literacy podcast. It's called the Financial Coconut. But I think we are a little bit more than personal finance at this point in time. It's like a podcast network. So I would say we are the only serious guys in town, at this moment in time. So yeah, we run the proudly the first podcast network in Singapore. Yes.

Jeremy Au: (00:59)

Amazing. You know, we got to know each other from being part of the On Deck podcasting fellowship. So it was a fun thing where we got to meet each other. And I was like, Wait, there's one other person in Singapore. 

Reginald Koh: (01:07)

There were a  few others, 

Jeremy Au: (01:08)

But there were a few others. But I was like oh, that's cool. We got to hang out. And that's how we got to know each other. 

Reginald Koh: (01:14)

We had steamboat. Yes. I think On Deck was quite an experience, because it was probably in US, right? So we kind of had to tune in at like super odd hours. So I remember those few weeks my sleep cycle was so messed up. But anyway, it's all part of being brave, right? All part of like, kind of jetting through this whole cycle to get to where I want to get to. So that's all it's all good time. Good time. But if you asked me will I do it again, I won't. I won't ever do it again. Courses from the other side of the world man, it messed up my life. Yes. 

Jeremy Au: (01:47)

Yeah. I think the biggest thing was just like thankfully, they let you consume it asynchronously now right. So you can, watch it later. So yeah, that's the way to do it. 

Reginald Koh: (01:56)

That's the good part. 

Jeremy Au: (01:58)

So Reggie, I think you got to ask the question. So why did you get started building out a podcast called The Financial Coconut? 

Reginald Koh: (02:06)

I was so irritated with fake gurus. I don't think I need to elaborate what is a fake guru, right? Well, do you need me to elaborate what’s a fake guru? 

Jeremy Au: (02:13)

Yeah, Do some simulations of what a fake guru does

Reginald Koh: (02:19)

Like give me 25 seconds of your time! Those guys that disturb you on Facebook and YouTube and all that jazz. The general idea was I was very irritated with them. Firstly, disturbing my videos. Secondly, stroking unnecessary anxiety and fear and you know, selling outsize hope to myself and kind of like my friends around, right. So I thought like, Okay, let me just pick up my microphone and just record and share my thoughts and just kind of put it out there. And it kind of blew up from there. So I wasn't like very strategic about it. I know, these days, when people think of starting a podcast, they’re a little bit more strategic (in terms of) audience, what are you doing? What are you going forward strategy, etc. At that point, I was just kind of reacting to all these fake gurus. And I was just recording some of the things that I think are best practices. And that's about it. And then we share it and they just got shared on socials and one after another it just kind of grew. So that was the part, essentially a reaction to all these guys. 

Jeremy Au: (03:14)

Yeah, it's nice to be frustrated about this. And turns out there's a lot of people who are frustrated like you about all that stuff, right? I mean, yeah, it blows my mind. Because you got to live on YouTube ads but still some of it is just like, whoa, like, if you really knew all of that, why aren't you trading? Instead of teaching, which is you know, I don't have a problem with basic education. Actually, I don't have an issue of teaching or education or courses. But sometimes they frame it up in such a predatory way that just frustrates me to no end. 

Reginald Koh: (03:44)

Yes, yes. I don't have issue of courses. I do have issue with people charging, like, pretty pricey for courses and all that, like close to like a month salary and all that stuff. I don't think it's exactly a problem. The problem is like what you say, right? predatory practices, the way they sell it, they make it sound like, “Hey this is like your miracle pill, come for this course, is going to solve all your shit!” But the reality is, it is not the case. And a lot of the things that they're teaching you honestly, you could kind of just pick it up from a few books, and you can kind of refine your way through the process is not that difficult. So yeah, that's it. So that's my base case. And the podcast, as a reaction to that was finding a lot of resonance. But I chose the other path. And I saw a lot of people, there was a period of time in Singapore, and maybe in a lot of parts of the world, like Hafiz Ullah and other guys, right, they were trying to like do all these shaming of all these fake gurus. So they were like calling them out and breaking down their sales pitch and all that stuff. So that's like, okay, it's cool when you're telling people how they do it, give people a little bit more awareness. It's great but for me, I decided to take on the other side, instead of shaming the seller, I decided to kind of educate the buyer to share with them like hey, this is how probably you should do it. It's some of the best practices out there etc, etc. What are the core ideas about personal finance and I thought there was a much better angle, you can keep shaming these guys in and keep breaking down their schemes and all that. But hey, at some point, people are craving for all these, really because of an axis of understanding where they want to essentially get some frameworks to work with, right. So I decided to, hey, let's go with a buy side, teach all these buyers how to be smarter and all that stuff. 

Jeremy Au: (05:18)

Amazing. And why the name Financial Coconut? Because I know you get the question all the time. But you got to share it with my audience here, like, at some point, you're like, Wow, this is the name that's gonna make us go viral? Or was this because he just randomly just thought about it? 

Reginald Koh: (05:33)

Dude enough. Enough, stop asking me this question. Everyone asked me this question. And I have all these people coming say, How about we start the financial pineapple lah, right, we do Mandarin version. So essentially, you know, the podcast eventually will become a financial fruit basket. Okay, but the general idea was, I just like the fruit like, I'm a big fan of the ‘Kelapa’ right. So I'm a big fan of the coconut. And I was like, Hey, you think about it; when do you really have coconuts? You know, there's only two stereotypical situation in Asia that you have coconuts. One is when you're having lunch or dinner, like the hawker centre, right? And then the other stereotypical situation is when you're at the beach, that you're just chilling, you're hanging out, and you do your thing, right. And so I was like, Yeah, let's just call it the coconut. And the Financial Coconut was easy for people to kind of understand, like, What is this for? You know, because there are a lot of people trying to create a lot of interesting names and all that. But it makes it very hard for people to understand. What is this podcast about? But with finance in the word; It's just like, yeah, it's about finance. So that's kind of where it is being chill about your finances. It's part of the Financial Coconut.

Jeremy Au: (06:41)

Yeah, And it's amazing. And what's it like getting all these questions all the time about it? Because I mean, you do a bunch of Q&A’s, people are asking you questions all the time. What's it like to be handling and processing and answering questions? 

Reginald Koh: (06:52)

Mm hmm. You mean like about the coconut or like about personal finance? 

Jeremy Au: (06:58)

Both I guess, I mean, I was gonna ask you about a coconut, then ask about personal finance as well 

Reginald Koh: (07:04)

The first question, I don't know why it's always a first question. Like, they have to ask about the coconut. I was like, Okay, guys, I'm gonna like, just look at the website, or just, I'm gonna ask, listen to this podcast. Okay, once and for all, I’ve already explained why it’s Financial Coconut. Don't ask me any more. But I do have a lot of people. I got a lot of podcasts, a lot of interviews. And people ask me all sorts of personal finance questions. It's not easy giving people the answer, a few things. Number one is individualism in the way you manage your personal finance, there are broad ideas, okay, there are broad ideas, broad frameworks that I've already talked about extensively on the podcast. And when I go into other people's podcast, I tend not to talk about it, but I get boxed in. So everybody wants me to talk about personal finance. I'm like, “Dude, I've recorded 150 episodes, about personal finance”. They just can't listen. But generally, that's idea. But it's either way, it is still fun. But it does feel a little bit like how am I going to give you answers, because especially when I go into podcasters that are not very well versed in personal finance, they don't understand the space very well. They would want me to have the kind of very punchy one liners, people want to cut it out and become like this, like social shareable kind of thing. So all these punchy one liners go around on a lot of podcasts, self help, communication, entrepreneurship, and all that stuff. But because I've become the voice of personal finance, I'm just extremely cautious about that. And I was asked them like, hey, what do you actually want to know? Give me an example? Like, what are the parameters that we're looking at? And then I can give you some sort of objective, feedback or advice from there. Overall, it's a big push for frameworks, big push for understanding best practices, and not so much about like, yeah, do this, buy that, do that kind of stuff. 

Jeremy Au: (08:49)

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, I think there's something I also noticed as well, right? Because a lot of people are reaching out to me now about okay, how do I build my start-up? How should I fund raise? This issue of the board? How do I go about tackling it? And I'm like, Okay, this is not, I know, you think you gave me a descriptive email with four sentences. And it's probably like, more sentences, then most emails, and but it's still not enough to really make a very wise decision in a very complicated topic. And so, you know, sometimes I'm able to point them to an episode, we talked about it before. Sometimes I have to point to other people who are more sophisticated than me at it. And sometimes I point them and say, like, okay, we can have a quick chat about it. But it really depends, right? 

Reginald Koh: (09:31)

Yes. And that's the fun part about having your own podcast. You can just kind of point them to like, yeah, just go listen to episode 13, 45 and 86. Just get download it, listen to it, and you get a general idea. You don't need me to repeat again. Yeah, so I do think like more people that are in the creative space or in the Smart Content space, they should do their own podcasts whether or not it becomes big, is another question but it's really about just kind of documenting your ideas. So when people ask you about it, then you can, yeah, just go there, makes your life easy. 

Jeremy Au: (10:07)

Yeah. And I think one interesting part about it is also because not about, you know, obviously repeating, which is actually an inconvenience for sure. And there's also the fact that you get to go deeper, because if someone has actually read the basic summary or previous materials that you already recorded or written down, that at least if you do have that conversation, they can actually go deeper into it right and have a more sophisticated thing. And sometimes when they do that, then I'm like, Okay, I'm happy to have this conversation, because it's a deeper level of thing, right?  And of course, if I can record it is even better. So sometimes I ask them and say, Hey, can I record this, more advanced version of the question you're asking? Hopefully, the next time the guy is gonna be like a genius, because he's really listened to two episodes worth of the same topic that is coming in certain set of questions. But I think that's how I think about it quite a bit. So you know, obviously, what's interesting, as well as that you and I are taking advantage of this new medium called podcasting. Right. We had a fun time chatting about it over hotpot, one of the questions that we were thinking about is just like, why is podcasting, you know, so popular these days, 10 years ago, podcasting really didn't exist. I think, you know, only the past few years where It started to become more mainstream in America. And now I still think it's a bit early, even in Southeast Asia as well. So I'm just kind of curious what you're thinking about this. 

Reginald Koh: (11:19)

The other day, I was on like an editorial interview with I don't know if I can name drop. But yeah, one of the newspapers, okay, they're not published yet. But one of them, and then the producer was like, “Oh yea so you know, you're a veteran podcast”. I'm like “Dude, I've just been doing this for 18 months. And, why am I a veteran?” Oh, okay. So because you're, you're considered like, much, much longer, like, this space is very young. Yeah. But it is a thing, right. And I do think, two main reasons. One is the rise of distribution, people who are already producing a lot of audio content, or like video content, pre YouTube, and all the subsequent streaming services make video consumption so much easier. Right, so audio is following the same path with Spotify coming in, they're definitely improving their whole ecosystem of supporting podcasters, and all that jazz. And then like Apple podcasts, Audible, you know, everybody's doing all that. And it's making it a lot easier stream, you don't need to download anymore. Apparently, I've talked to like some really veteran podcasters, like before podcasting was at word, they record it, they post it on the website. And if you're listening, you have to go and download that audio file, load it into your mp3 player. And then you kind of bring around I mean, you listen on your iPod nano or something. So that was like super old school. So reach was, you have to be super invested to want to consume like that. But I think because of the distribution today, because of technology, it makes it so much easier. So that is definitely one reason why people are consuming more of it. And then the other reason probably is because more money is going around. Right. So more advertisers, more people are recognizing the medium. A lot of people that have listened to a lot of podcasts are very happy to support their favourite podcasters, so that they can continue to produce content. So all these monetization strategies and more money being in the space, it's like a network effect. It's a cycle more money, more people, more people, more money, more people, right. So it's kind of grows that way. So generally, my baseline is that it is this two reasons. Well not because hardware technology is much better. No, it's hardware has always been pretty good. Of course, it's relatively more affordable these days. But yeah, distribution and money. That's my base idea. 

Jeremy Au: (13:27)

Yeah, I totally agree about that. And I think one last thing I think about is like the availability of airpods or headphones, because it was easy to watch a visual while you're traveling, etc. But it's hard to hear good podcast, if you don't have earbuds. So that's an important part of it. 

Reginald Koh: (13:44)

Yeah, one of the podcasts was talking about this, like podcast is actually a super intimate medium. Because you don't really have people listening to podcasts. They just kind of set it up on the side in their room. And it just plays out to everybody. No it does not. Most people when they listen to podcast is like  earphones and your ears. And then you're like kind of whispering to them. Or it says an extremely intimate medium if you think about it. So a nice voice does help. And I find a lot of listeners that I meet after that. They have this impression that they know me very well already. Like when I meet them. It's like I know all this about you. I'll say okay, you know, like, that's cool. But tell me more about yourself. It's a fun thing with podcast and as a medium, I think underexplored for sure, a lot of people are playing around. So that's great. 

Jeremy Au: (14:34)

There's something I noticed as well they know about you because obviously they read about you online, but now they also get to hear your voice. More interestingly is that you don't know anything about them effectively in comparison to how much they know about you. So it's less about the fact they know more about you. It's more about the fact that they know about you and you don't know about them and that's the tricky part. You're just like Okay, I know we want to talk about all these things, they want to talk about this and that, just give me like, two minute download on who you are right? Because I want to know who you are as a human being. 

Reginald Koh: (15:05)

Yes, They always get so excited, and I totally get why they're so excited. Good stuff. But honestly gets a little scary at times. I was like, Okay, relax, relax, fill me in about yourself. Before we vibe, right? Yes yes, control.

Jeremy Au: (15:22)

What's interesting is that so many folks are asking themselves should I set up as a podcast? And of course, there's a bunch of questions about later, why and how and so forth, but what is your thoughts about advice for someone who's asking you like, should I set up a podcast? 

Reginald Koh: (15:36)

The cheesy answer is always like, no, don't set it up. The amount of work that goes into it is very real. Although I do recognize that video is a lot harder in terms of the dimension, right? There's lights, there's footage, animation, post, and a lot of those things. It's a lot more complicated. Yes, I get that. But audio is kind of different. And I do think it's not for everybody, but I do recommend everybody to try, right? Give it a shot. But it may not be your thing. You may not get there. And it's okay if you don't, but yeah, give it a shot. Try it. But if you really want to do it from a more strategic standpoint, that is a lot a lot of work. And it's very different compared to if you're just kind of like, you know, three friends get together. We want to talk about menstrual cycle thing. Or some, like social stigma thing or something, right? There are a lot of like people doing a lot of this kind of podcast, which is great. And it's cool, do your thing. But if you're trying to do things that are more strategic, it gets a little tricky, because they're like goals, they're trying to hit certain things, there are numbers that you're trying to meet. And all that jazz becomes like work, not as a hobbying anymore. It's very like, okay, which kind of guests we want, what is our audience profile? Who are we trying to speak to? What is our target number? What are download rates? You know, where do we distribute? Do we do email lists? Do we have blasters? Do we send a telegram group? Do we need a website? It's no different from setting up another ecommerce, mini-ecommerce store or something like that with one product. It's kind of the same whole set of things and people don't realize that. So yeah, I do recommend people to start and play around, get simple mics and just kind of do your thing. But if you really want to go pro, and you really want to do it serious, then the workload is very different. 

Jeremy Au: (17:27)

Yeah, there's a lot of truth there. And I think you kind of hit the crux of it is like, are you doing for fun? Are you doing it for some sort of goal, right? Because I think doing for fun is so easy, because you literally just take your mic, and you just produce, and create what you want to create; people recording themselves playing guitar, right? People ask me like, I want to do a podcast fun always like 100%. Yes, go for it. And then when they're like, oh, I want to achieve this goal. And I just want to have this podcast. I'm like, Whoa, is there an easier way to get there? You know because going back to the guitar channel thing is like saying, like, oh, I want to like build a business, playing the guitar. And I'm like, Well, do you enjoy playing the guitar? And the answer's no, there's a de-synchronization there, right? Because your goal is to create a business but you don't like playing the guitar. In this case. If you want to get goal, but you don't like posting, you don't like setting up the gear or not thinking about a production, distribution, this may not be the right channel medium for you to accomplish those goals because you just don't like it intrinsically. Right, which is I think a big part of it.

Reginald Koh: (18:28)

It is true and my personal experience. I didn't start podcast thinking that I want to go pro. I just did a podcast because I had nothing much to do and a lot of things to say. That was so it was like kind of like a fun thing at first, right? I was recording and just like kind of bitching around sharing my thoughts. And you know, all that jazz. Apparently, people found it useful, so great. But it was a lot more about self expression and just kind of putting my thoughts out. But at some point, it became like, are we going to make this into a business? If we're going to make this into a business, then the discussion now is very different. So it's like, how do we consistently produce? How do we consistently recruit and cast calls for guest? How do we connect with our audience and produce what they want and then every step along the way, from being a hobbyist to taking a little bit more serious and getting some sort of like system going on with consistent production and understanding your audience, and then going into the business monetization part of it with talking to sponsors, talking to advertisers, affiliates, or even like monetizing within your community, every step of the way is like a big leap because when I look at it now I don't think it's a big leap because I've really been there done that but if you are doing it on your own, right from the get go, every step is a heart wrenching experience like really is it that difficult? I just want to talk but yes, dude it is that difficult. Yes, every step along the way. But happy to share my experience, even share my thoughts if you have any questions.

Jeremy Au: (19:55)

Yes, yeah, I totally agree view about effect is much harder than you think. So on the consumption side its very easy to consume. And so it feels easy also, because its just talking, actually there's a lot of stuff this is happening in the background, right? Editing, the production, the distribution, those are very big words. But you know, there's a lot of stuff that goes on there. 

Reginald Koh: (20:17)

Yes, I know. And a cute story. So I've been recruiting my listeners, we have a telegram group, and then we'll be like, hey, we need someone to do transcribing is anybody interested and stuff, because we pay them and all that jazz. But it's fun to have your own community to do it. Because their invested, right. So that's fun and great. But then recently, everyone was late in a team call. And then I was just kind of chatting with one of them. And then she was like, “Hey, I just want to tell you that as a consumer, it was so easy. But after I came to the back, like joining the team, I know now, I know the kind of amount of work that goes into that!” So yeah, life experience there. You know, it's exactly like what Jeremy said. It's so much additional work that people don't see. 

Jeremy Au: (21:00)

Yeah, I was just talking to someone who's like release about 10 episodes so far. He was asking me for advice. How do I slowly do that? I told him I said, Hey, there's something called pod fade, right? Which is where lots of podcasts would die around the 10 to 20 episode mark. Yes. So I said right now the only advice I can give you is don't try to increase your frequency. Don't try to do anything fancy. The trick that you had to do now is just keep going for another 40 more episodes like once a week for the next one year like once every twice a month for 12 months. Just have that routine where it fits in your life. And you know you can keep going because if you can do that, then everything else will follow right distribution, the improvement,iteration. If you over ramp and you get too aggressive on trying to produce and create then you just end up burning out, there's no point having the world's best website if you're just not having fun. 

Reginald Koh: (21:51)

Yes, Pod fade is a real thing. I know a lot of people actually pod fade and faded out. But I had pod fade about the 20th episode, 30th episode mark, but I was already bulk recording by them. So I always binge record because I have too many things to say and my podcast is really short, its kind of like break down things and keep it short. So, I already have a lot, a lot of content recorded, I maybe had like two months, eight to 10 episodes of content recorded already. So during that pod fade period, I had that bandwidth to like, really ask myself Do I really want to do this? Because I had time. So if you can like what Jeremy said, right, like, either you can just kind of cruise through and keep recording every episode, or you can use my strategy, which is bulk record, so you have time to think, I think that fits me a little bit better. Because at some point, you will run out of things to say, and you really got to study to say more, because I'm doing monologues is different from dialogues. So dialogues are like interview, you just keep getting good guests and all that jazz. So we also do dialogues. But for my monologues, it's just me talking to my audience, and trying to explain something, I'm trying to educate them about something. And at some point, there's only so much I know, so I had to like go and pick up new things. And I need that bandwidth to learn, and then translate it into a language where my community can understand. So that is a whole different set of work doing monologues that way.

Jeremy Au: (23:16)

Wow, you just unlocked something for me, right. I also similarly had some pod fade. And mine is all interviews you know one-on-one interviews, because I tried that I did do a few monologues just experiment. And I realized that I felt to myself, I felt like a crazy person just talking to myself. So it didn't work for me, unfortunately, as far as of how I was producing, right, I just felt like I was like, Oh, my God, just talking to myself. I think that's where the pad fade was coming in. It was because there was a network of people who I thought were great guests. But I didn't necessarily have to work at all to get them on the show. Because it was someone I co-founded a business with, there's someone that I helped tremendously, and they helped me a lot as well over the path. And they fit the target, I know it's gonna be a great conversation full stop, no matter what, and I'm going to have fun doing it no matter what, because I'm just gonna treat it as a way to catch up. And I think the pod fade kicks in because you're like, well, I need start talking to people who I haven't talked to for a while, who I know fit that profile and persona. I also know I should have a good conversation. But I haven't talked to them for like, one two years. So you have to reach out to those or this other way around other folks that you don't really know. So you're pushing that network larger for the conversations that you want to have. And at the same point of time, like you said, you know, still it's pretty early, you don't have that much success in that sense. And so you're like, Well, I'm doing all this work now all of a sudden, and it's becoming less fun. And I think that's where the pain is right at a pod fade. So thankfully, I had some bulk edits and stuff like that. So I think at some point, I had three or four months of like material. And I honestly didn't record much for three months. Also, because it's kind of embarrassing to talk to a guest and then be like, Okay, your episode is in six months or whatever. But also.

Reginald Koh: (24:55)

Dude, you know, I'm at a level where all my guests come in and they record. It's all at least three to four months out before it gets published. Right. Yeah, and I'm like, so not paiseh right. And so I'm not shy about this, I will tell them that if you want me to push it up, you can sponsor the podcast. And we will kind of push it ahead to meet your marketing timeline and all that jazz. So because we're in finance, right of people in finance, that are pretty used to you know, paying, and sponsoring. So it's not that difficult. But I know what you say when all these guests, maybe they're not in the content circuit, they're not always talking. They're not always on interviews. So finally you think they're very cool. You think they have a lot to share? And you get them on there. You think like yeah, you know, you got them on, and they're very excited. And then they share everything now they ask you bro, When is this gonna come out? Hmmm, October. And then they are ohh its so long, but it’s the reality guys, if you want to go on popular podcast, there is a waiting time, there is a long, long journey.

Jeremy Au: (25:56)

We have increased the frequency over time, right. So for myself, I already bumped myself out from once a week to twice a week. Yeah, I still have that long line of around for I think around four months now maybe going up to five or six, based on the upcoming schedule. And then similar for you also, you're not only broadcasting your shows in terms of frequency increase, but also multiple shows as well. 

Reginald Koh: (26:18)

Yeah, yeah. We're at the point where it was so difficult at first to bump up to like two. I think I'm still struggling to keep up with two episodes. Because it's not this interview is like we have monologues and interviews. And then we have four or five other, I don't even know how many shows we have running because we have a team now, producers taking care of a lot of production. We have other hosts in the network. So it's like, oh my God, so many things going on. I've reached a point where I can't even keep up like how's that podcast coming along? How was this project with these guys coming along. Right and then once a week to come in to meet the team as I Oh, okay. Okay, good. Good. Let's carry on. But it's all a step by step thing. But yeah, I do think that if we bring it back to shoot your podcast, I do think that you should try. You never know will it make it big, but It's same as investing in any other thing, you want to double down if you see a little bit results. And if you don't, then maybe you could just stay as a hobby, it's a fun thing. And then you can just go do something else. Like I actually wrote a book before. And I realized that writing is not my medium, I cannot invigorate anyone through words. Some of my friends really laugh, because I like insider jokes and all. But it's not my thing. But I tried it. And it was extremely cathartic, it was a great experience. So I take that same idea to towards podcasting for hobbyist. So we just want to have fun, do your thing. But we want to go pro, see some results, be a little bit more strategic and talk to Jeremy, talk to myself. How do we do it, right? Different little bits of strategies here and there, which can go on and on. And we can do like five episodes just on my how to podcast. But yeah, do it. Play around with it but go pro, I would make sure you have some results first. 

Jeremy Au: (27:59)

Yeah, I think that's a tough fight for everybody. Because there's that dynamic, right? It's like, what is pro? What is success? Just have fun. All right, let's make sure the topic that you'd want to talk about is something that you already talk about all the time with your friends and colleagues. And if you're not talking about it organically, you can't do a show on this topic. And it's not just one topic. It's also multiple topics. So people are like, Oh, I feel to boxed-into this one topic. And I'm like, no, just do more. Do the ones you like.

Reginald Koh: (28:26)

I actually take a different stance on this. My topics are very boxed in. It's personal finances. I love mental health. I'm extremely interested in politics. I mean, we have a lot of good discussion. But I don't talk about all that on the podcast. It depends on are you building the podcast around you? Or are you building the podcast around a brand? So I've chose to go the Brand path, which is the show. I'm just a host within the show. I'm not like Joe Rogan Experience you know, I'm not the Jeremy Au Show or something like that, right? We're not building a show in our name. We're building a show in a brand. So within the brand, whether its TFC, BRAVE, what kind of brand, there's a brand identity. And I believe that you got to stick to that within that frame of the brand. Because audience tune in for a particular reason. Okay, if I listen to a philosophy podcast, I don't want to mix next week, suddenly they talk about sexuality as if it's maybe yeah, we can stretch into philosophy. Yes, but it's a little bit of a stretch, you really have to talk to me about it. Right. So I do think at some point, you want to stretch your audience a little bit. But there is a barrier, there is a place where you have to stop. That is kind of where I see, honestly, on our platform, we've really stretched like crazy. Careers, entrepreneurship, property investing, stock investing everything. We're very stretched right? And anymore, we start to talk about therapy, family therapy, what have you, what have you not right, so it's that thing. I do think you want to stick to the core. Don't stretch too far. that's, my base idea. For a lot of people, when they start a podcast, if you want to do it for fun, great, do it for everything, right. But if you want to do it for fun, but at the same time, think that it may become a thing for you and may become a business for you, may become a project for you, then a little bit of advertiser persona will be important. And so if you want to talk about like politics, or if you want to talk about social issues, you will have a hard time finding sponsors, because it's very hard for brands or sponsors to come into a particular topic. Generally, that's my idea. So if you want to make it into a business, then go for certain spaces that people are spending money to acquire customers and all that jazz. Yeah, that's my base idea. 

Jeremy Au: (30:40)

Yeah, there's a lot of truth there. And I think what I like is the differentiation actually, between the two types of shows.People who are around the personal person as a brand, versus like the problem-solutions as a brand. And I think if you go through the podcast Top 10, you see both of those right, Joe Rogan experience? He's talking to everybody, right? I think they all have the same sense where people are really there for Joe Rogan, and his interactions with all kinds of folks. And then he said, there's other shows that are much more like yours, for example, like the financial help on personal finance. And I remember for me, personally, I was like bouncing between those two things. And I still don't think I've got the mix just right. But I think one thing I've come to accept more is just like, it's okay for me to be about how I view the world and what I find inspirational and the stories that I look at as brave. And I think there's something that took a while because I was like always talking for someone else. And at some point, I was like, You know what, I'm just going to trust at the end of the day, I'm going to be selecting, like you said, in curating a set of folks that I think are good conversations. And I think what's interesting is I'm going to let my listeners choose what they want to listen to. I don't think they listen to everything right. And then I think there's this vote with the pause button, right? You know, the play button, whether they like it or not. So if I do something that's a bit too far out, there's not going to say yes to it. And interesting some of the stuff that the data will tell us and it was interesting, what data will tell for example. I have a bit of interest in like society and community. So I started looking at some of those intersections between technologies, society and I saw there's actually a good chunk of people who follow the along and were very interested in it, because it's something that wasnt talked about right. And it was something a little bit fresh to cleanse the palate from all these founders and VCs.

Reginald Koh: (32:22)

I know, what you mean. Yeah. Recently, on my main show, I've handed over the interview portion to another host, because we're growing all these things. So we need more personalities. And I need more bandwidth, extremely painful but I’ve handed over the interview segments to another host, essentially. And that was the time when I felt like yeah, you know, creating a brand around a brand gives me the room to take a break. Or, gives me that room to be like, it's fine. And imagine if I started another Joe Rogan experience and I have to be there. As Joe Rogan, you cannot not be around, right? And it's like, oh, my name is Harry. And I'm going to take over Joe Rogan experience like, it's kind of weird, right? So yeah, I do believe that if you can grow a brand for brand, then at times you can take a holiday, you know, like people can actually give you that break. You can try other things. 

Jeremy Au: (33:15)

Yeah, that's definitely true. I definitely had to reschedule some stuff, because I needed to take a holiday. And then I was like, Sorry, I gotta move on my podcast interviews off for the week. So I can travel, no guarantee of internet connection. So I’m kind of curious as you've definitely grown quite a bit, and what are you excited to be building in this upcoming year?

Reginald Koh: (33:33)

Every year I set a theme. Okay, so I try not to have too many goals in a year, only to have to create this very nuanced strategy to kind of achieve all of them. So I try to take the other path is like, every year, we'll do one thing,

 I will try to do this better. And then with all this next year, I'll do something else. Right. So this year's focus was really to monetize the podcast, and to make it into an actual profitable venture where we can actually hire people, and it can have a life of its own. And you know, you can kind of grow and grow and grow. That was essentially the goal. And we are making it happen. So that's great. Like, we have all the banks, insurance companies, everyone you can think of in the finance space that wants to reach the retail guys, we are in conversation of, we've already signed a deal. So that is amazing where that is going. So yeah, hoping that by the end of the year, we could make that a profitable venture. Hire a proper team. Gonna keep it going and see what happens next. Yeah, generally, that's idea. And then I can free up my time to explore other creative stuff like different kinds of podcasts, or like peripheral podcasts or peripheral content. So yeah, that's kind of where it is. 

Jeremy Au: (34:39)

Oh, we are getting itchy to explore and found new formats 

Reginald Koh: (34:45)

Yeah, exactly. I started with monologues. And then it became dialogues, because I ran out of things to say, so let me just interview someone out there more things to tell me. And they became a thing as it became a feature of the podcast. So now, you know that monologue dialogue and eventually, we have to go into narrative. Right? So now that there's a crew, we have producers, we have post producers, everybody in house, and I'm like, Hey, guys, you want to stretch yourself a little bit? Shall we do some narratives? So yeah, we're gonna do a narrative podcast about property investing in Singapore. It's coming out very soon. So very excited about that. 

Jeremy Au: (35:23)

Wow, that'd be really interesting to see how that goes. And one last question here of course is. Could you share with us a time where you've had to be brave to kind of overcome adversity or challenge in your professional personal journey? 

Reginald Koh: (35:35)

I honestly think I had to be brave so often, that I no longer feel like I'm being brave anymore. Not because like I'm trying to flatter myself. But just because I always take the path less travelled. I have this inner rebel in me. 

And I always want to take the other path that's like, Everyone is walking here. I was like let tries this other thing. And to do that, you always need some sort of bravery to kind of make that happen. But specifically, I think the craziest one was, I was part of a financial scam. Accidentally, I was part of financial scam because I was young and dumb and like you don't know much, so I was part of it. Maybe that's also why I'm like so big on personal finance. It's been there, done that do all the crazy shit. Now I tell you what the fuck is going on. I went through that phase of coming out of that thing. And that was crazy coming out of a cult, coming out of a financial scam. That was the most painful shit. And it lasted for like three or four years to be exact. It's not like oh, once you leave, you're done. You can kind of reacclimatized, I had to reacclimatized to kind of know what is actually the reality here. There's a certain way of thinking, and it's very obscure, very weird. And I'm sure Jeremy understands this. Not that you know, but you've studied enough about social stuff. So this whole cult thing. It's very scary. And when I came out, wow, it's so painful. And I had a lot of friends that were no longer with me because of all that jazz that I went through. But it was really that few people that I still have today that really kept me going. I was literally waking up and showering and uh, laying on my bed watching YouTube all the way until I eat and sleep again. I was going through that crazy, crazy you know, messy shit. But I had a few friends, who did very simple things okay very simple things without going too emotional and touchy. It was just like a “Hey bro want to go gym?” You know I literally wait a whole week for this one guy to ask me go to gym now, I just met this one guy to do this one thing. And this one other friend will be like, “Hey bro want to go dinner?” and he'll drive all the way to my house downstairs, pick me up and there we go for dinner. And there was only two things that I was really doing for like, maybe close to half a year. But as it picks up, as I talk to them, I feel a bit better. And you know, I can get to interact with other people. And you know, when once you go out there, there's a lot more casual bumps and casual interaction with other people. So then it kind of helps the whole psyche and all. So that was really hard. And without spiralling into the abyss. That was quite a brave moment. Yeah. And a process and I got to thank all these people. 

Jeremy Au: (38:10)

Wow, that's crazy. 

Reginald Koh: (38:11)

Yeah bro. Heavy shit.

Jeremy Au: (38:14)

Why do people fall into all these financial cults? 

Reginald Koh: (38:16)

Honestly, I don't think I've enough research to tell you. But anecdotal experience tells me that for a lot of these people, including myself at that moment in time, we're seeking a little bit of hope. Which is why there's actually a correlation. And some study out there to say that during terrible financial times, there's a rise in scams, all forms of it. I think a lot of people other than being practical, they really were seeking a little bit of hope to try to change their lives, which is why I get extremely personal when I see all these fake gurus selling outsized hopes online. And I was like, Dude, I've been there, done that. That is rubbish. And some of these guys, probably not all of them, but some of these people are going to be spending very important, whatever money that they have, which is not probably not a lot into this stupid program. The best case will be there, they learn some things. And then after that, they realize okay, maybe it's not enough, I got to improve further. And then somehow, they make that thing work. Okay, that's great for them. But the worst case can really go into the level of like, they get hooked into this course circuit. Are they hooked into this like financial cult circuit, that they keep spending, keep spending, keep spending, and they get melted. And that is crazy. So to me, it's that desire for hope, that desire for change. And for some people, maybe a desire for recognition, which is also probably why a lot of young people are going digital, they're going online. And they're finding their space. They're finding their medium to express and all that great stuff. Look at us, we're doing audio podcasts. And we're not on like radio. Radio is old. As society progresses, always a lot of systems that are really fill, there is system here, there’s a equilibrium, power structure is set up, you have no place to go, you need a place to express. So people go elsewhere, and they go to a different country, they go to a different state, they try a different, career up and coming industry. They go digital, and some people may end up accidentally these kinds of scams. 

Jeremy Au: (40:10)

Wow, that's, rough. 

Reginald Koh: (40:11)

Well, bro, I remember, this was supposed to be like a fun podcast. But we did say, we're gonna make this a fun podcast, but that's heavy.

Jeremy Au: (40:21)

That's heavy, as well. And it's so true right now hopefully, it's helpful for people who are out there and you know, someone who's going through some struggles or, you know, going through a similar cult or whatever it is. It's not an uncommon experience. Actually.

Reginald Koh: (40:36)

I do talk about a little bit of this throughout my podcast, and I had a few listeners actually DM me, and telling me that like they were going through similar experiences, and all that. And then I met them up and just kind of share with them my thoughts, my experience, third person viewpoint, give them a little bit of like strategy and comfort to know that hey, you know, it's gonna be painful, like super painful. But if you feel that there's more to life than Yeah, there will probably be more to life. It's kind of it's a phase of life you got to go through. And like you said, it's not uncommon just people don't talk about it. If you guys anyone listening is going through something or you feel like you're going to something or feel like someone's going through something, you can always DM me and I can try to support you if, however I can. Yes, sometimes I'm not very responsive, because recently, I'm just like, super occupied. But, you know, priority goes to all my fellow friends going through this process, in this phase of un-culting yourself with.

Jeremy Au: (41:33)

Wow, thank you so much for helping talk about it. So its less unspoken, right. Because it feels shameful to acknowledge that it was a cult, so that's painful to feel. And then it feels tough to feel that you've been suckered about it. And it feels tough to share that other people, because you worry about other people saying like, Oh, this person is so dumb or stupid. So whatever, right? So it sucks, the stigma. 

Reginald Koh: (42:04)

It is, I've come so far, but it's still painful honestly, like telling you all these, I still feel like the emotions, I can feel it. It's definitely not as crazy as before, at least now I can talk about it like even on air. It's painful, it's real. It takes time. So if you're going through something, hey, you need some time you need, you need to breathe, and you need to heal. So it's a process. 

Jeremy Au: (42:21)

Thank you for sharing about your grief and how you've been recovering and helping others through it as well. So Reggie is wrapping things up here. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I think that three big themes that I got from you, that I’d like to recap. The first of course, was a fun conversation about podcasting as a medium, about why it's popular, why it's growing, why is increasing, and a lot of the outside-in view about what a podcast is in terms of consumption and production. And then the second thing I really enjoy, of course, was more like the insider point of view, just what is it like to be producing in terms of the actual war stories of pod fade and us trying to get through and figure out what's going on. And it also are slightly divergent, but also similar views on what to focus on, how to go about producing, what the brand should be about, and how to manage your lifestyle around podcasting. So that's been also a ton of fun. And then lastly, of course, is thank you so much for not just being brave to kind of emerge from that financial cult and use that to be a better person. But also thank you so much for being brave to transform that hurt and grief into, like I said, Singapore's top financial literacy podcast, and help others through the process. And also, lastly, thank you so much for being brave, to share the experience and how it transformed that in the podcast by sharing that experience with me. And so I feel very honoured that you told me this. And I'm sure anybody listening in must be feeling some gratitude to your for this being okay with sharing with it and normalizing it. So thank you so much, Reggie 

Reginald Koh:

Thank you. Thanks very much, Jeremy. That's fun. It's quite an experience. Thank you. 

 

 

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