HNS Adoption with Firmware


(00:01) [Music] all right hello handycon um so this session was supposed to be a bigger panel on south asia but um the other speaker couldn’t make it so it’s um me chris here in hong kong and nick you are in india yeah and so in this section we’re just going to kind of have a free flow nick’s got some pretty interesting technical background in hardware and um yeah so i i am the person that got uh mike involved in handshake by accidentally donating him a name not accidentally and then um speaking to nick just before i came on
(00:55) here he told me that he found out about handshake from a post that mike did so it’s funny how the things turn into bigger things and now we’re all here thanks to mike um anyhow nick i’ll let you give a background on uh yourself okay so i can do that uh so yeah first of all actually thanks to mike and i owe a lot to mike not just this session so we have a history of working together in the past and uh very impactful for my personal life also so let me tell you a little about me uh always been a techie
(01:30) always trying to be on the forefront of tech but my journey is something i mean i always loved tekken people but as i moved forward forward forward i understand understood no matter how good your tech is it’s always about people and slowly slowly i started getting more into the community side of things and now i have i kind of understand and it’s very clear in my head that any good tech wins only if it’s adopted in fact even an second level tech can win over the first level tech if the second level take is adopted more than
(02:04) the first level tech so more than tech it’s about making more and more getting more and more people on your side so i also run a community here in india so community has stuck with me uh ever since i did a startup weekend with uh mike and then after that we did i was also the mozilla community leader for shenzhen china and uh i was into hardware and stuff so shenzhen was eight years and i learned a lot really a lot of what when you say hardware and electronics the people think it’s made in china i think it’s mostly made in shenzhen
(02:42) that’s how cluster based and how concentrated shenzhen is and if you can disrupt something from shenzhen you can disrupt the entire hardware world so it’s actually sitting at the root of things and i learned a lot from the ecosystem which we’ll talk further but yeah this is largely me now i’m excited about a chinese richness i had heard but i was not going to jump on it if i had not seen mike’s video then i told mike hey this looks interesting and in fact i told my my worry is it’s not the tech i’ve seen this tech
(03:14) many times you know different people have this tech it’s about this is getting adopted this is moving do you think we’ll be able to move big or someone else would move big before these guys move big who takes yeah so this is where we can probably drift yeah and and so i had heard you mention this in a clubhouse a few weeks back but i think nick has a really interesting insight we had drew rosner on earlier and he was saying that if this can’t get adopted by mainstream browsers then there’s no chance it’s dead in the
(03:45) water but nick has a different strategy that goes a layer further starting at the hardware uh i’ll let him expand on that based on his uh experience in china and firmware stuff okay so i’ll say that idea so basically yeah what i realized is being a techie sometimes i was first in the tech world as you go out more and more into the world you realize less than five percent of the world cares about what the tech is they just want to get things working i think uh dns is critical to this technology because you need
(04:17) all your dns to point to the new uh server that’s when this will get you know that normal people will be able to use it and a lot of people probably don’t even know what is dns on their router what is the dns setting on their router now this is known so my idea was that and i’ve seen this happen in china that when the mobile revolution happened there were a lot of people in fact i don’t know if people know xiaomi also did this xiaomi was initially a firmware company and not a phone company they used to
(04:45) uh give away firmware free that you can download and make your um stuff very interact very very cool your phone very cool so the idea and the way they monetized is they used to put few apps pre-built into it and you know the app gets so much downloads without people really downloading it so you know china does things differently so i said on that clubhouse room that you can do the same thing with routers what you can do with routers is if this dns is pre-built into most of the routers that are going out of china
(05:14) and a lot of people don’t care trust me a lot of companies don’t care i mean the us they’re very specific but there are so many countries like turkey indonesia india where most of the people the the brand owners who come are just traders uh they don’t understand the deck so much they want a cool looking firmware whatever as long as it works they’re just going to test everything works i’m getting the right price and even china itself the market in shenzhen is constantly fighting on optimizing the
(05:42) cost of the hardware but very few companies i don’t know how many people know but very few companies make firmware and shenzhen so they just copy whatever firmware is available for the same hardware and the entire fight is around optimizing the hardware cost someone would invest a lot and buy a lot of chips and get down the price lower someone would produce so they keep competing on the hardware but very few people do something on firmware which is what xiaomi did xiaomi came in and worked on the firmware oneplus came and
(06:09) worked on the firmware they made a good combination of hardware and firmware and but there are like another 90 of the companies which don’t know so if you can give something of that sort to these companies they’ll just pick it and put it into all routers was the idea yeah so so how how would we get uh h s shipped on the hardware like what would the route be to make that happen okay so the route is uh basically what you need to see is see i mean i’ll answer in a vc way you know vcs has this question why
(06:40) now why now why can this happen now if it could not happen in the past by now what is changing is a lot of disruptions happen at times different time periods we are we’re at the crux of wi-fi six wi-fi was wi-fi for a very long period of time and now there is wi-fi six coming in so that means a whole lot of routers people will upgrade to wi-fi six and there is another thing that we are missing browsers are for humans the internet of people revolution has already happened the internet of things revolution is
(07:11) still to happen that means it’s not just that you are going to connect to the internet but a lot of things are going to connect and these are also going to get on the dns so in this transition the router is critical because all of these devices are not going to self program their dns they’re just going to go to the router and the router whatever dns it points to is going to get served you’re just going to get your pages served so now how the market works in china is that like i said firmware is something
(07:41) it’s very expensive as a skill in china to make uh few people invest in software because software guys are expensive and hardware a lot of people know in china so i moved back to india and i got this learning from there and i started a firmware company with the whole intention of selling to china that i understand this is the gap there the firmware is not so cool uh you know so if you go and give them and my original idea was to sell to them but now that this has come up i think maybe i will just give away the
(08:12) firmware free make something super cool for wi-fi six and and in many cases what they want is something like xiaomi because xiaomi and oneplus can afford to make the firmware internally themselves and most of them else cannot so you make something like that and that’s what they aspire something more cool if you just make that firmware and i’ll tell you how much gaap exists in the world just just quick to sum up so your proposal is uh from your experience in china that uh people will take on firmware because
(08:43) it’s so expensive so if you can create some firmware that they can embed on the phones that people are going to buy anyway that’s kind of a hack around the browser problem and you might need to expand a little more on like how the chinese system works i know you were in shenzhen i may have met you at the startup weekend that you and mike had done i know mike from shenzhen i’m in hong kong right now but i i think people that don’t have experience on the ground in shenzhen really understand that system especially
(09:12) if you’re coming from the u.s maybe western europe where like rules and regulations are really really hardcore enforced and you know things are a lot looser in china so maybe expand a little how that gets in but i guess just to wrap up real quick the idea is getting this already put on the firmware that people are already buying in the next generation of the the uh wi-fi six right and and the phone so that we can skip the browsers all together to get a huge distribution true true so that’s the idea that we get
(09:43) into all the routers of future you know and it’s just pre-built so every router that shipping a lot of routers that are shipping that are not top level brands are like just shipping with this uh so second part why this in why this can happen out of shenzhen now people need to understand then there is a word in shenzhen called shanzai the shanzai market you know and it’s a huge size market uh so there are big brands who control everything that would go into it like probably linksys will never do this and a lot of
(10:15) these top-level brands wouldn’t but how it works in china is once those guys go and establish the market like the link systems of the world or probably you know the apples of the world they kind of create a product and they make wi-fi sits big the whole lot of chinese shanzai market and alibaba guys are going to jump in it’s in the whole army you know how it works is someone designs a product then everyone every factory takes it then there is then they make those brochures and every girl on alibaba sales is going to send out
(10:43) that mail to a lot of people hey we have routers someone’s doing 80 someone’s doing 70 someone’s doing 74 75 but then this whole army of china just starts blasting wi-fi six we have five six we have wi-fi six and then the whole idea is someone makes it 80 someone’s the next person’s thinking is make it at 79 and blast it i’m gonna get it at 70.
(11:04) so they just focused on cost and get giving more to the customer so and in that element the biggest cost which they cannot control and they don’t normally don’t they just copy the firmware they just copy the firmware so because they don’t have engineering teams to make firmware it’s a very expensive team to have but hardware is like something you can copy very quickly you can just use just a bulk purchase hardware so if you release into that market and it has to be done stretch strategically because there are top guys and how this
(11:33) works is i don’t know how much depth you want in this i can really go down to the chip level and say how it works is mtk is the dominant player there in that market uh so there is some guy who has the distribution for mtk because he licenses that chip and then he designs something and that’s what every factory takes so there are only two or three people who do this uh so one more thing that happened and is happening actually it used to be mips all along you know the routers are all mips based architecture because mips is
(12:07) cheap but in the wi-fi six space there are only three chips right now one by qualcomm broadcom and then the mtk but all three of them are using arm okay and he’s an arm fellow or innovator maybe you can explain what what that is and what you’re able to do with that and okay um also he’s kind of looking for some people to partner with to make this happen so uh give your contacts out at the end and hopefully there’s somebody out there watching this either now or in the uh on the youtubes later to uh try
(12:40) and make this happen that that’s what the intention of this is i’m being so open about it uh so what is i’m doing and the what is the arm innovative thing so i’m every year selects few people who they find promising will uh do something cool on their technology and then they give us budgets to do something and drive it into the market so normally uh so what we have done is we have done this ai firmware our firmware is not simple it can also do ai on the device itself um and we can do it at extremely low power hardware
(13:12) uh like you know again the chinese thing i learned it from china that no matter how good features you have you still need to control the price uh you know so so i i built the firmware company ground up took me three years though uh to build it that way but now we are able to do it at a very optimal cost and something that if you want to sell to china you need to have control online cost you cannot have great features and come to china and say hey i have great features will you buy for this extra money no i need all the great features but i
(13:39) still need it at the same price that i’m selling because that’s how it works in shenzhen so i had this in my mind before i designed my firmware company so um pick me up and give me okay so i’m one of the innovators with them so they kind of give budget for proposals so i can send this proposal that hey on wi-fi six i think we can do something and uh release the firmware so more and more of arms continues to sell you know before mips or these guys come in if you make something cool that is probably ai or
(14:06) even doesn’t even need ai uh it just needs it just needs a very good looking browser i mean like very good looking interface and i’ll give you the example of how much gap exists between the hardware world and the software world like you will see so much so many cool ui on software right i mean so many apps look so cool so many uh websites look so cool and the browser and the when you log into our router and do the admin admin kind of login it’s exactly the same web page but people don’t know how to get that
(14:36) kind of cool web page into a router and and that page is actually running on your browser it’s not running on the router it’s only stored there so it doesn’t need the compute of the router that means it’s not a compute problem it’s a tech problem how do i get this web interface cool web interface to work with this hardware i mean inside of firmware because it’s complex so that is the possibility of how boring the router ui today looks to how good how cool websites and apps have become you know and we we stand there as a
(15:11) bridge that we can put all of this coolness into the router and we have the next generation of cool routers for our selfish interest a little bit of it that this dns is pre-built into it and and people don’t care because it’s working right all of the current websites also can be opened but it what it gives you is like just one of my friend i spoke with him uh i think chad was also there on that room i did not get back to him uh i asked him what is the quantity that we can do every month he said i think we
(15:38) can do 500 000 every month very easy 500 000 every month yeah that’s what it’s selling already so you said like 500 000 looks easy uh i think with wi-fi six the market will grow and it because wi-fi six is going to be there for next two three years and has that option now it’s 100 dollar above price it will come down and that option would just go so and on wi-fi six again i said it’s arm so if you if you start there it’s intersection of multiple things happening at the same time right that we’re moving to wi-fi six there’s a
(16:07) technology waiting there to happen and going for mass adoption so people upgrade their routers and this is huge opportunities sitting in front of us then i have a firmware company that i can help with uh understand the shins and markets so well so there’s just too many pieces but i think i still can put them all together because someone who needs to come from top level and say and that’s what i told mike mike you know someone at the top level who’s gonna who wants to who’s really can drive it i’m more of a techie
(16:35) somebody needs to give me confidence that yes i’ll drive it just do the firmware we’ll drive it together this is where i am yeah thanks excellent excellent so yeah this is a little off track from the uh what’s happening in south asia but i felt like since the other speaker wasn’t here that this is a pretty unique innovative proposal to put out a distribution uh alternative distribution uh way that routes around the uh the browsers so uh we’re coming up on time i think uh maybe open to some questions if if
(17:13) anyone wants to put questions in chat for uh nicole yeah someone did ask a question it’s an interesting question lee novel did you can can you see it there yeah he is talking about the uk top broadband providers yeah uh okay so the uh issue with the uk two top brand providers possibly top five do not let dns be changed in the provided router this means it’s currently per device or a middleman box in front of the router so how would that work in your scenario so here’s a very valid point like the top brands
(17:52) will not love like and that’s especially us and uk market and then from shenzhen is a very different perspective you know that u.s is a huge market for sure but there is a lot that the chinese sell and there’s a lot of replacement market uk maybe is a more controlled market i have really no idea of uk but we tend to ignore markets like india africa middle east all of these countries don’t care turkey you know consumes like crazy and turkey exports to europe so a lot of people buy routers beyond what their broadband
(18:25) providers provides and if it’s going to be wi-fi six so here you have to beat them in the game uh as in those guys are gonna take their own sweet time to plan around wi-fi six and include the next strategy you need to be ahead of the game and keep the wi-fi six router ready so people are upgrading before the broadband provider is providing them a wi-fi six router with a plan and saying that okay buy and pay this extra cost you’re beating them on both the price and the technology faster so that’s why i said i i’m i’m not
(18:53) enough to drive this there’s someone on top level so you will have to find ways and which is what the chinese do i i think i can personally bet on the chinese sales very aggressive uh those girls every single day they email a lot of people and they get sales even in europe in many countries and you know the market that they tap to is also something that brings in numbers and once you have the numbers on your side that means if say name base is showing that so many people across the world are hitting my dns server
(19:25) you’re already someone in the space now yeah okay another question we have that was great is uh this is from dean chandler with this router dns setup you won’t have to pick one or the other it would access traditional internet and handshake domains at the same time right yeah that’s what i think the new resolver at name base is promising to do right this resolver will resolve both so these servers need to be like that it resolves both these names so yeah correct i think uh dean mike just posted the uh
(20:01) just came out a lot of people haven’t picked up on that yet um well great if anybody else has a question now is the time to chime in uh and then how could anybody get in touch with you if they want to uh my linkedin i can drop my linkedin okay i’m pretty active and then put it in my if you want my email it’s it’s simple uh so i can put forth just in here first oh can can you this is like a vc you know elevator pitch okay so the idea is that a lot of routers sell but the game is in firmware if you can put
(20:48) if you can create a firmware before others do in the wi-fi space market and and get a lot and make it free for a lot of people a lot of companies who cannot afford to make the firmware are going to download and you know use your firmware and that firmware just has this option to pre-built in so whenever they download a lot of people also individually upgrade their routers with open wrt and all of that so you just take the market the way xiaomi took it with their firmware and then became a very commanding force in that space a lot of people just
(21:18) tried the xiaomi firmware and then they went and bought the phones so we are trying to do something similar maybe i’m not sure if uh if uh we’ve got to get off here if if we do somebody from uh one of the hosts let us know but um maybe it’d be useful i remember hearing you tell the story about uh the example of uh an app or something that basically got its distribution via firmware in xiaomi you’d given that example i believe in a clubhouse or when we spoke at some point right that might help people
(21:48) understand what you’re getting at because i feel like it’s still kind of abstract for people that aren’t yeah okay i think it’s abstract for people in the west because they think really the straight way the legal way and and this becomes kind of blockages like tick tock actually this is how they got adopted they got into so many phones pre-built so the chinese are kind of working in a different way and the west is working in a different way and it’s always hard for everyone right i’ve lived in china and that’s why i had
(22:18) a shop for like at least two three years i was aligning myself to oceans and a lot of people find it hard to align to that thinking how are you doing this this is probably not the way to do it it’s a completely different thinking so that’s why i i completely understand if they’re finding it hard how does this work but when you have seen it work you know that people have paid for putting their app onto so many phones then the chinese phones were selling and until the brands took over fully can you give a concrete example of an
(22:49) app that that did it via the firmware and then became a really popular app because it was already pre-installed on the phone actually uh like i said tick tock tick tock has this tick tock has done this the they actually went through a lot of phones in china had it pre-installed and uh during my i mean i know of a friend who was doing this for india market and i’ll also tell you another surprising thing about chinese culture uh sometimes you can get all of this done for free you know yeah well it sounds like it’s
(23:23) an extra future feature and like i know mike and myself it’s hard if you haven’t seen it but uh we’ve been in the uh you know the world’s largest uh electronic market in shenzhen and the kind of uh opportunity there and the the speed of innovation and also the the you know all the random stuff that you can actually get done and then all those people’s connections to the factories it’s almost like you know some of the stalls there are supplying all the factories and that’s how things move so
(23:54) fast and so like if you’re if you’re adding an extra feature and providing it for free and then all of a sudden it just spreads in those things and now you have native distribution in you know maybe it’s not in the the western like main mainstream things that that might have to go via the puma browse or whatever but you’ve got africa india south america all these places where it’s already native so i mean that jumps a huge a huge gap in distribution okay and south america was where people were
(24:24) doing this a lot and india was a place where people were doing this app thing a lot so uh yeah i was just i missed some point it was in my mind uh yeah it’s okay i think you can contact and and then if if that usage is happening and there’s and there’s actually sites and apps and things that are that are online and and people are using the uh the hns sites then then you have usage that that could influence uh firefox chrome and uh safari to actually integrate this stuff because it’s being used in all these other
(24:56) places you know so it would be something coming like like the uh in in africa with the uh people going mobile first and never having the landline so they they actually make a techno a technology jump because they don’t have the legacy systems so this is kind of like a trojan horse way to do it via the uh the electronic distribution that uh comes out of china right right and and oh yeah that was the point so there are there have been cases in the speed of china like there have been cases where you know people launched something on
(25:27) kickstarter and they were going to ship out their product before that chinese made a better like the uh i’ve done a few kickstarters and uh so i’m very familiar with that and i used to like the spinner some kind of yeah yeah the fidget spinner and the factories in china had that out before the kickstarter was done which yeah and everyone had it like it was like all over markets everyone was and the distribution reached much everywhere before the actual original guy can reach so china’s and you must have leave there to
(25:54) see this happen that these guys given something they can just go with it and you know sell like crazy so so i guess the takeaway from this is like um instead of fighting against that like knowing that system’s there which most people that haven’t seen it don’t know about it but would be getting in the flow of that system and having hns be a part of that where it just naturally flows organically into all the all these things because it’s an extra feature added added at the hardware layer via firmware uh for free
(26:24) that they give out to the to all these kind of i don’t know if you call them hackers but the the uh i think it’s like the the mountains yeah so um yeah so yeah actually you had a wonderful point that you said you know like if these these people take it and then a lot of websites are getting access it starts if there’s a reverse disruption possible but then the big the big guys feel left out because there are so many sites on the new domain and that is getting accessed in so many countries that they are not part of so
(26:58) you know that’s why adoption is so critical once a lot of people adopt you cannot stop it you have to go where most of the people are numbers just work and and the speed that the stuff happens in in china is just it’s like that best example is a fidget spinner from uh from kickstarter and the factories and stuff were distributing it before the month was done on um on kickstarter so uh yeah any other questions i’m i’m johnny said we’ve got some more time i’m i’m not sure uh i know we’ve got a good thing coming up
(27:33) next but i hope this was valuable for people uh thanks a lot nick thanks mike for organizing this and and everybody who’s being here uh and uh for people that aren’t here if anybody out there that’s watching this those people who should see this once mike gets this on his uh sky include youtube channel uh please share it with them or connect with nick because you know the spread of hns and building sites and doing stuff on this helps us all all right someone is still typing a question it seems he says one more question in the
(28:05) queue okay let me see here i’m not seeing the question cues uh what about other open source routers like firmwares opensense i what about other open source routers firmware like open sense pf sense open right i i guess one thing to add here is like what you’re talking about isn’t about open source routers it’s it’s a like it’s a layer he’s talking about actually at the factory this stuff being installed before it even it’s installed on the new devices in the boxes so like the users don’t even know that
(28:38) that settings like set up in there and you get it you get it installed by giving out the firmware for free because that’s the expensive part at the factories by telling them it’s an extra feature and then then it spreads and they they trade all the stuff you know and then then when you’re buying that new uh wi-fi or something ahead of your isp giving you the upgrade say in the uk that’s already pre-installed on your system but it would probably have much more spread for all of the commerce that’s going on with
(29:08) uh with south america africa india these places where it’s a little bit more uh traders and and not not as much of a uh organized system as we’re familiar with in the west uh yeah and turkey i mean i don’t want to ignore this country because that’s what i learned since then that a lot of supply to europe happens from turkey okay those guys are also traders in turkey so you’re saying that there’s factories like this in turkey too that we could also uh no the turkey the the buyers in turkey also buy from shenzhen they are
(29:45) not they’re also traders uh got it got it from turkey you can enter europe so these are these distribution network actually china is something that is not fully studied you can ship something within u.s the cost to ship something is higher than shipping from shenzhen you know there’s a scale that they have achieved so distribution is a whole i think mike has this uh global channel and then maybe he can he can discuss it sometime but distribution is very powerful china is okay amazingly good distribution channels all
(30:14) right we’re out of time guys yeah thanks a lot you’ve got his contacts um cheers jahan is up next and i don’t know how to exit this room so anybody help me out me too [Music] you