Why Twitter Will Decline and Snapchat Will be the Next Big Thing in Indonesia

Indonesia is huge. All the numbers are there, starting from its 250 million population, young age, mobile-first country, people having more than one smartphone, social media country as top 5 in terms of users for Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Twitter said that Jakarta is the Twitter capital city.

Yet, despite Indonesia making the worldwide trending topic over and over again, like what’s happening for Twitter outside Indonesia. Its unclear use-case or usage made the barrier of entry or usage pretty high for a country with small percentage of the population received higher level of education.

Why am I bringing the level of education to the play in this article? When I started using Twitter, I was mesmerized by how Twitter made it possible for me to say hello to my favourite artist, soccer players, and so on. Then, I moved on to following smart, funny, or insightful users. For a lot of Twitter users in Indonesia, they still see Twitter as a way to connect with their friends. Tweeting what they are doing and or chatting through mentioning their friends.

Back at my argument, with so many ways to chat or connect with your friends, Twitter loses more “general” users and only those who have or understand the use-case staying. For the past three to six months, I have never seen even one friend who opens up Twitter. In fact, some of my friends asked me “Oh you’re still using Twitter?”

Instagram is already the big thing in Indonesia. If you are famous on Instagram, people will talk about you. Instagram is also very simple and visual, so it attracts people to post every day, stalk your friends or crush, and or even for a simple usecase like following people who post awesome pictures. The barrier of entry is pretty low.

Here comes SnapChat, with no marketing push at all, I have seen more and more people using SnapChat starting with a simple use-case just like Twitter back then. Following artists with almost real time feeds of video made fans feel so much closer as if they are there with them.

The use-case also has very low barrier of entry. You don’t have to be smart/insightful like you’d probably need on Twitter. You don’t have to be able to showcase awesome pictures like on Instagram. In fact, Snapchat allows us to be free and post literally everything with no censors as it will all disappear within 24 hours or even faster if you send it privately. This creates a great user loop with people checking Snapchat for more contents.

Where does Path fall into this? I’d say Path will become the next Facebook where you will have your families and not so much of a close friends wanting to be friends with you. Although there’s the “Inner Circle” feature, you will still filter what you post (like what I’m doing). I use less and less of Path now and more Instagram and Snapchat. How about you? What do you think of Snapchat?

Looking Back and Looking Into the Future

2015 flew so fast yet after reviewing the first half of 2015, the second half got even crazier. I traveled to several countries and so much more. Some of the highlights:

While that highlight reel seems like really awesome, in reality there are tons of hardships and pure grunt work while building the company that is Talenta. I am beyond blessed to have such friends, teammates, family, and investors, that is supporting my journey.

2016 is going to be the best year yet, I believe, as (some might believe, some might not) it is the year of Monkey (I am born in the year of Money, I mean Monkey). So, despite me not achieving most of my resolution last year, I’m going to keep it simple this year:

  • Work harder for Talenta. Harder doesn’t equal just putting hours in front of my laptop but it means how can I set a higher bar for myself and the team and push even harder. With this I believe we can raise our A and B round. So far we have grown to a team of 30 and I believe that it’s possible to double it again by the end of this year.
  • Write more and read more. This is something that has always been in my mind. In fact, it can be my life motto. By writing you can be a better storyteller and by reading you can discover so much more in the world vs watching a drama.
  • Travel more. If everything goes as planned, I’ll be traveling to Europe for the first time (yay!) and hopefully also watch the Euro 2016 final. Other than that I’d also be traveling to Taiwan for my sisters’ graduation. Hopefully I can go to one more new destination!
  • Earn more money, spend less of it. I’ve been pondering on a few small passive income projects and I really love creating and producing. The problem is, I also love/tend to spend more. I hope to spend less by decreasing my visits to the night clubs and also on shopping.
  • Simply be happy. One’s purpose of life can simply “be happy” – in fact a friend of mine recently told me so. Despite me being negative about it, I’ll try to embrace this and be more thankful of who I am and what I can do/have.

I do hope that instead of quantifying the resolutions, we can relatively achieve the goals that we have in this new year. It’s going to be another roller coaster ride, but I do hope that we can enjoy both the highs and the lows.

The Rise and Battle of Virtual Private Assistant in Indonesia

Ever since Magic launched, and raised funding with $40m valuation. There has been a race to replicate the success in Asia, with BeMalas from Malaysia raised $500k, YesBoss from Indonesia raised from 3 prominent VCs, and also Nihao Concierge from Singapore. But I’m going to focus on the battle of HaloDiana and YesBoss in Indonesia.

HaloDiana, which was born inside SribuLancer backed by East Ventures and Infoteria is poised to battle YesBoss for Indonesia huge market. I believe that the timing and also the culture of Indonesian people are fitting of Magic style concierge service. The reason is that people here loves to be served, if you see in almost every place that involves paying or buying, we’d rather choose to be served than using a self-service machine. Example would be when I visited Blitzmegaplex on most malls, there are long lines of people queuing and few people on the self-service machine. Another reason, a lot of executives actually are served by personal assistant, hence, having virtual personal assistant like Diana or YesBoss, sort of boosted our “ego” and at the same time, super helpful since most of us are quite lazy to do simple things like “ordering your Gojek”

With all that mentioned though, I would highlight several key things that can make or break the Magic clones:

  • Scaling: As the services get popular and get used by more and more people, it will be a lot tougher to serve 10,000 people compared to say, few thousands people. YesBoss’ plan to create a Natural Language Processor are one way to do it. Otherwise, scaling the customer service team is needed. One of the advantages being based in Indonesia is that human resources are still relatively affordable compared to our neighboring countries. Other solution is to create a freemium model where paying members can be prioritized and served faster. If used frequently, I think people won’t mind paying $3-$5 per month.
  • Overreliant on on-demand services: As both players are built on top of the on-demand services such as Go-Jek, this creates a problem where if one of the deliveries are late for example, the one that is getting the blame is the services not the on-demand players. I saw my friend ranted against one of the two, but when I investigated, apparently it’s because of the courier. Another problem is the business model part, since so far both players are relying on making money from its partners/merchants, it puts the leverage on the partners, the revenue won’t be that big. Not to mention, there’s always a possibility of one of the on-demand services creating their own concierge service.
  • Low barrier of entry: Let’s say Magic expanded to Indonesia with millions of dollars in funding. I think that the model is actually have a low barrier of entry, proven with how fast HaloDiana is catching up with YesBoss (yes, I did consider that SribuLancer has bigger funding and well-positioned). Someone with huge capital can enter the market and erude the market share quite easily at this point.
  • Vertical private virtual assistant: in the Valley, there has been multiple Magic clones focusing on verticals instead of processing all requests. Such as Native for traveling, Vida for diet consulting, and more. As Nir Eyal discussed in his blog, Assistant as an App might be the next big thing and both YesBoss and HaloDiana might have bigger problem when the vertical players are coming in. For one, Travelio has developed its own travel concierge service, although focusing on its own inventory.

Despite all of the worries, the market is huge, and it’s ready for this kind of services. I’m definitely excited to see who will win and how they will try to beat each other on this rise of private virtual assistant.

Disclosure: Talenta is funded by East Ventures, also an investor in SribuLancer which creates HaloDiana.

Living in Jakarta

Posting this after 12 hours (SFO-ICN), 6 hours (ICN-SIN), 4 hours transit at Changi, and another one and a half hour flight to Jakarta. Despite all the glamour and what I posted here about living in the Valley. Plus an awesome public transportation and people in general. We should be thankful that we are living in Jakarta:

  • Most of the things are cheap. We can literally eat for as little as $1 and drink coffee for $3. Decent food in the Valley cost you at least $4-5, so does a cup of coffee.
  • Despite lack of public transportation – gas and parking are still generally cheap and definitely far cheaper than the US.
  • Human resources are also much cheaper, we can compare the minimum wage. Thus, allowing us to hire maids, drivers, baby-sitters, and so on.
  • THANK GOD FOR BIDET ON MOST PUBLIC TOILET IN JAKARTA!
  • There are so many problems to solve, so many opportunities.

I believe there are more things to be thankful of, but I’m definitely out of energy and need some sleep. Thank you for reading!

 

 

Living in Silicon Valley

This is not an article about a tips or an experience of living in Silicon Valley, but more of an observation from what I get by being here for around a week now. It is definitely an “American Dream” or to me, “Indonesian dream” to work and live at the States but let me just give you a picture of what it’s like:

With a few years experience (not totally green or fresh graduate), after tax, you’re going to have around $70-$75k per year which is around $6k per month. And the cost of living here are:

  • Let’s say you live in the South Bay (San Jose or Santa Clara), a rent for one bedroom apartment is around $2,5k to $3k.
  • If you own a car, that’s another $500
  • Eating out for lunch and dinner might cost you around $25 and with daily coffee it’s a total of $35 (assumption) per day which adds up to $1050 per month
  • Minus insurance, weekends entertainment, and so on.

You practically just getting by with almost no ability to save. Well, at least this is from what I observe. But despite all that, I do think that it is really an awesome city/place to live. Every little thing is here, transportations are awesome, I love the weather so much that I’d kill to have the same weather in Jakarta.

Considering the picture, I sometimes consider our life in Jakarta is really good. Minus the traffic, you can literally eat out and still have cheap foods. Coffee are (still) cheap. You can still save and invest for your future plus I think there are much more opportunity to build your own business in Indonesia compared to the US considering all the problems that we still have in Jakarta. Plus, the labor are still cheap that you can have drivers and maids. (I know I’m totally not an independent guy)

So, building a business vs working for a tech company in the Valley. Which one is better?

Blessing of Water

Not a movie title.

Or even related to religion or anything. I’m just talking about how integral of water in our lives and yet how we (especially, me) are not thankful enough to have it. To quote this article:

Water plays such an important role in our lives no matter where we live. It’s a primary element of our planet’s ecosystem. It nourishes us. It quenches our thirst. It impacts our health. It’s critical to our survival. It’s the source of life.

Imagine people out there who can’t even drink water whenever they want, see this article about “The Right of Water” – I am really really thankful that I can live where I live right now where water is considered affordable or cheap enough even compared to our neighboring countries. Drinking water can be bought with 10 to 20 cents. We often see people take a long bath without ever thinking about the cost.

Which is why I’d like to remind how blessed we are that we should:

1. Drink water and be thankful. We need water intakes everyday, and thus please drink and feel thankful. Your body will too.

2. Shower and be thankful. Use the water properly. Feel how refreshed you are and again, feel thankful for it.

3. Donate and be thankful. Charity:water is one of the best non-profit to support a movement of clean water for the one who needs it. Any help will be a blessing.

The Act of Creation

This one is going to be a shorter post than the usual. Trying to get more sleep in a day by sleeping earlier than usual. Nevertheless, this topic has also been bothering me recently.

We, as a human being, consume a lot. We consume all the time. From the moment we wake up, we consume the air, the water or coffee you drink right after, the breakfast you eat, all the contents you read all day, the big lunch, the fancy dinner with the wine.

Yet, when it comes to the act of creation, to create, we lack willingness, we lack the motivation to do so. Why? Sometimes it’s because we are forced to – the job and the work you choose push you to create something you don’t even enjoy. Sometimes it’s because it’s just simply easier to just consume than create. To sit back and relax.

This post is a reminder to myself that I need to consume less. Whether it’s food, or content, or time. And create more. More posts like this. More awesome work for Talenta. More contribution to the Indonesia tech ecosystem.

Because the reason we live. Is to create. Not just to consume.

Value of Experience (and Loyalty)

In this generation of young, tech-savvy, yet want everything to be instant. The career path of someone graduating between the past 3-5 years to the next decade is gonna look like Mario jumping from one block to another. Job hopping is something that I see (and afraid of) is happening and becoming a trend. Yet that is not what I’m going to talk about.

This post is for those who are graduating, has already graduated recently, or had been in a workforce for a year or so. We are young, so YOLO, right? Yet, I still don’t get people who choose a boring corporate jobs over fast-paced, learning-a-ton, building-network job in a high growth startup. Okay, you might say: “Well, corporate jobs paid me 30 percent more or even twice! I need money to support my Starbucks morning, and weekends at clubs”

Too bad, you’re wrong. Not on the part where you will get paid well for corporate jobs, but on the part where you value money too early in your life. Unless you have to support your family (parents or young siblings) OR you are a young married couple with kids, then this post is not for you. BUT, if you are single (not married) and don’t have that much of a responsibility – explore things, do new experiences, work where you know you will learn tons of sh*t and grow your network by 10-20-100 times.

To give you an example of what I faced, I worked for East Ventures and Tech in Asia. Back then, I’d say I’m getting peanuts but to learn under Willson Cuaca and Willis Wee on a daily basis. That is priceless. I have grown my skills and network – both which are super duper useful in my life as a founder, building Talenta. In the middle of that, with my experience from TiA and EV I got to work for KakaoTalk, earning 10 times what I make at the previous companies – and able to lead the expansion and marketing for KakaoTalk in Indonesia.

Money is important. Peer pressure exists. But please, don’t value yourself over how much salary you got and comparing it to your friends. Make sacrifices for the next 1, 2, or 3 years and reap all the benefits after. This is a generation where we will see tons of changes for the good for Indonesia. Be part of the change, don’t just got stuck up in a corporate rat race.

(To add to this, I am totally biased as I have worked all my career so far in startups. I don’t have anything against corporate, but my post won’t hurt you guys. Any smart and bright talents that I can convince to join the startups movement can only be good for this country.)

And even after a few years in startups and you don’t feel like this is for you, the corporate job will still wait for you to take. Getting a job is easy. Getting the value of experience and being loyal to a company is a chance that you shouldn’t miss.

P.S. Talenta is hiring :)

Writing Regularly

I think the hardest part of writing is creating a habit of writing itself. Especially writing more than just 140 characters or less. With world that is trying to steal our attention all the time with all the notifications. We barely have time to: stop, think, and just write.

Another Medium post inspired me to take the challenge and just basically write a post every day for a month and see how it feels. To be honest, my biggest challenge of doing a post regularly is not finding a topic to write but instead “what would people think if I write this?” or “what if I can only write one or two paragraph and that’s it?” or “I can only imagine people rolling their eyes as they read my blog posts”

I have always have a special room for writing and reading. One of the biggest regret of not going to foreign university is the lack of writing assignments especially in English. Imagine how good I would be if I were writing essays in English every week. That would help me in a lot of things as it already is today.

Writing also helps you remember what happened today, yesterday, the past week, month, year, you name it. And it’s always fun to do that. Outside the personal posts though, writing your thoughts on a specific topic in your professional field is also creates a personal branding that can only benefit you. Let’s take this challenge together and improve our writing ;)

Broken Family

Before you read my post, do read this Medium post first: Be With Someone Who Came From a Broken Family. This is not a self-pity post or anything related to that, but in fact, I’d love to add to this topic. This is a sensitive issue and something that I haven’t brought up to anyone in my professional circle, only my close friends knew about this.

I came from a broken family. My parents were separated (can’t say divorced as they were never legally married) ever since I’m in elementary school, or around 10 years old. I would say it was actually good for all of us since they fought a lot. I can’t imagine going through puberty with all the fighting. I do believe that God helped me through it.

My dad has been a single parent ever since (love you dad) supporting me and two younger sisters. He has been like our very own best friend, he has supported my decision to start my own company as he is also an entrepreneur on his own. He has been my “punching bag” whenever I’m stressed or about to give up. (Being a founder isn’t an easy journey)

I’m going to point out some notes from that Medium post:

They are emotionally stronger. People from a broken family know how to handle different kind of emotions like abandonment, guilt, unhappiness, anger and well, happiness. Experiencing this roller-coaster-kind-of-life enhances them to become strong. They believe even the hardest point of their life won’t knock them down.

This is super true. There is almost nothing worse for kids to experience parents fighting all the time and in the end, growing up with a single parent, whether it’s with their dad or mom. We do have our own trust or commitment issues because of this, but we are stronger. I am stronger.

They are the most loyal and values trust more than anything. Being able to experience rejection and abandonment, they tend to shield themselves from getting hurt again. People see them as a person with a cold-heart and difficult to deal with but they act like one to spare themselves from dealing with the episodes of taken for granted. Loyalty matters to them and they give it to someone worth keeping.

Related to what I pointed out above, trust issues that we have – actually brought us into super loyal friend or lover since we know how it feels to be abandoned. Up until now I have more friends and colleagues than what I would’ve imagined ten years ago.

They are independent and motivated. Being in a broken home, the urge of getting away from crap is intense that they use the negativity to motivate themselves. They channel their disappointments and frustrations by giving their full potential to anything they are on. They compete with no one but themselves. They can rise up even with the absence of help from anyone because they know their success depends on them alone. They believe they can succeed with or without help.

This is what I can relate to the most. Although I won’t say I’m successful at this point, I’d say that every success that I got have been mostly from relying on myself (and God). I want to prove to the world that age is irrelevant and with whatever background that I have (local uni graduates, no hard skills at all, less to none capital) – I can succeed. Today, I’ve been running an online software company focusing on Human Resource called Talenta without any HR or programming skills/background before.

To sum it all, if you can relate to my post, believe me – no matter what you face in this world/life. Don’t give up. Fight.