A leap of faith

YOU MAY have seen him on YouTube and Shopee Live. His presence and charisma are undeniable. But, what truly makes Adam Lobo a welcome face on the technology circuit is his friendliness and willingness to share his knowledge.When I told him I was dabbling in making videos, Adam advised: “Camera-wise, the smartphone is already good [enough]. But, two things that people skimp on [are] investing in good lighting and audio. Lights are key. You can have the best camera in the world, but with bad lighting, you’re going to get bad results.”We met up at Rage 2.0, a cafe on the first floor of the South Court at Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur. Adam has a knack for finding hidden treasures like this.It is no surprise that he would propose a cafe. I rarely saw him without a cup of coffee in his hand when our paths would cross during assignments. But, what was surprising was how much he was raving over the food at Rage 2.0. I could not make head nor tail of Rage. The outlet in Mid Valley Megamall is one of 12 locations nationwide. Its website talks about its app, where you can order your drinks ahead and have them delivered or prepared for pick-up. The rest of the page is so full of marketing jargon that it didn’t have space for any details about what’s on their menu.Adam spoke highly of Rage’s beef dendeng rice bowl lunch set, which comes with an iced cafe latte. Deceptively simple, the whole meal – made up of rice, the beef dendeng, and a side of salad – fits in a medium-sized bowl.“It reminds me of rendang tok,” said Adam, and he is right, despite it being heavy with gravy, the opposite of the famous Perakian dish. It also tasted sweet thanks to the well-cooked rice.Adam loves his food. But, he also balances it with workout sessions at the gym.“I eat whatever I love to eat. Life is too short to only eat clean, and life is too short not to work out,” he said.Feeling adventurous, I picked the iced Matcha Gula Melaka 2.0, a Japanese green tea with milk and palm sugar. It turned out to be a delicious light drink with complex flavours, and made the perfect addition to a conversation.“I’m just doing what I love,” Adam insisted. “The reason why some would look at me as a journalist is because my videos are not hard sells, they are technical. Sure, I would recommend a product, but I will explain the technical side of why one would buy it, why one should not buy it, and compare it to other products.”Adam was working at Astro for about four years as the event management head in Astro Publications, then to Astro Radio, before becoming the head of the music label Rocket Fuel Entertainment. He started recording YouTube videos three years ago, and now does it full time.“I wanted to do something different. Something where I am in control, as in, I can make decisions” said Adam. “Back then I knew nothing about working a DSLR (digital single reflex camera). I learned everything from YouTube.”He added that technology has always “been in my blood”. Adam is especially passionate about smart home technology. Even his very first video on his YouTube channel (also named Adam Lobo) was a review of a smart LED bulb.He said: “I’ve always been the go-to tech guy. But, I could not put my content out there because I was not good at writing.“I do emceeing for events. The voice and language I use for hosting and everyday speech is different. So, for my online videos, I wanted to be authentic.”Of course, Adam also offered some technical advice for budding YouTubers, in addition to getting good microphones and softbox lighting.“Know your niche and develop your crowd,” he said. “The YouTube (algorithm) does not like it when you don’t have a focus. My vlogs (video blogs), although informative, don’t do as well as my technology-focused videos. YouTube does not push my video when it is not a phone review.”He added that YouTubers should also think about who their target market is. “For the Malaysian and Indonesian market, I could do my videos in Bahasa. And they would be huge.”To reach an international audience as well as to capture the Malaysian and Indonesian audiences, Adam does his videos in English, but starting from his most recent video, has been putting in Bahasa subtitles as well.“I may work long hours and have very little sleep, but what I love about what I do is that I wake up smiling and I can go to bed smiling,” says Adam.