The children of Singapore’s high society are now at the cusp of adulthood. We catch up Brandon Cheong to find out what he’s been occupied with lately.
How a society’s culture influences its economic development was a subject that fascinated young Brandon Cheong, who wanted to be an academic or a research economist growing up. So when it came to choosing a course of study at the University of Cambridge, economics was the natural path forward.
His undergraduate programme, however, didn’t turn out the way he’d expected. “The taught material isn’t intended to deepen understanding of
how economies work in the real world as much as developing familiarity with abstruse theories and models premised on highly questionable assumptions,” he elaborates. “I lost interest in academia as a career. I was reluctant to sacrifice my broad range of interests on the altar of hyper-specialisation, especially if it meant publishing in obscure journals only a few people would read.”
Still, the 26-year-old obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics and went on to pursue a master’s in machine learning at UCL, after learning about the major developments in artificial intelligence and their potential to affect a wide range of fields and industries. “It was definitely more enjoyable as I worked on projects with practical relevance,” he says.
These days, Brandon has his hands full with Pozyt (pozyt.com), a new social network he started with a few friends from school. “Users post about anything they think will happen next, from football club signings to celebrity gossip. We have a scoring system called cred, short for credibility. Once there is enough information to judge, everyone who called it right gains cred and those who are wrong lose it. Over time, everyone builds a track record of all the times they were right and wrong,” he explains.
On why he started Pozyt, Brandon says that while people love to speculate with their friends on a whole range of topics, including sports results and TV show plot lines, there isn’t yet a social network where you can see other people’s track record of whether they were right or not. Pozyt is also a departure from the current social media landscape that’s obsessed with the newest and the latest. “Currently, our feeds only give us the most recent content. Whatever happened in the past gets drowned out. Our product is all about remembering what people said in the past and seeing who got it right in the end. This gets people to engage with calls others made in the past as news around it develops and hold them accountable for their opinions.”
This story first appeared in the Oct 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.