Weekend

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My weekend is changing over time as my role changed in life. I realized that during my Talenta days, I barely have a weekend as I’d probably always need to do something. Even if I didn’t do anything, I would always be thinking about doing something for Talenta.

Then I did my sabbatical, and it turns my weekend into a similar weekdays. I didn’t see a clear difference between any single day to the others. Weekends aren’t as fulfilling.

Nowadays though, I feel more thankful of my weekend. It’s the breather I’d need to continue working on weekdays. But, a big but here, I use Saturdays to collect my thoughts and write. If possible, write possible ideas to improve process or even a new product for the company I’m working for.

How has your weekend changed? Especially during COVID?

Living in a Bubble

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Lately, I have been thinking that I’ve been living in a bubble. At first, perhaps it’s organic, but as it goes on, maybe it’s deliberate.

When I look around, most of my friends and close friends are working in tech and or owns a business in some form. Creating an echo chamber of first world problems and sometimes, superficial thoughts.

When I watch (yes I know it’s a scripted reality TV) series like Terrace House, I found myself being envious of the situation or opportunity of actually making friends with people in various jobs and backgrounds.

Lately, I’m becoming more afraid that I live in a bubble that I created on my own. And feeling a little bit trapped.

Documentation

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When building a product, we all hear this all the time. A great developer is someone who will do a great documentation whether it’s their code, building an API, and so on.

I’d like to expand this thought into a larger perspective. Why don’t we document our professional life more? Whether you are a founder who just started a company, an employee inside a fast growing or even a unicorn company, or a business owner who have been doing a business for a decade or more.

I think why people don’t do this more often is they feel: I have to write publicly, and if I did, what if no one reads it or someone doesn’t like it?

My thought: documenting our professional life (progresses, challenges, problem and what I did to solve that) will help you compare how much you have grown over the past 1,2,5,10 years.

Creating a documentation also helps when you became a mentor and realizing that one of the problems that is being faced by people you coach is something you’ve faced before. Documenting more things also help to create clarity as we are absorbing unlimited information than ever before. We can’t rely 100% on our brain.

Sabbatical

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One word that is a tad taboo in this hustleporn world: Sabbatical. Googled the formal meaning of Sabbatical: a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.

I think that as a human being, not a machine, we need to pause and have a long stretched rest. There are several companies that actually gave a month of time-off after you worked for 4-5 years.

I was very privileged (thank God) to actually took this sabbatical when I officially left Mekari mid last year. I planned for 2-3 months off, but circumstances and no irresistible offer made me extend my sabbatical to end of the year. In total, I took 6 months of rest. Worth it? Totally

Most people I met pre and post sabbatical told me that I looked “fresh” and that’s an obvious as I was burnt out after running a startup for 5 years. I’m not gonna lie though, I do get FOMO when my founder friends kept raising big rounds while I sit around doing nothing. Yet, my theme of 2020 onwards: compare to no one, but yourself.

Mondays

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How do you like your Mondays? I realized as we grow up, we tend to hate Monday on default. I remember my Sundays are full of watching cartoons on TV and the day after I have to wake up early not to be late coming to the school. Most of the time, I had to wake up around 5.45 to catch a breakfast, shower, and to actually go to the school.

On my uni days, things started to change since I might have classes on Monday or in some semester I might not. Even if I had one, it won’t be as early as going to the school. When I started Talenta, I think the “hate” returned. Our first office was at Mayapada Tower, Sudirman (thank you Grace Tahir!) and to arrive on time, I had to leave my place quite early.

Luckily during COVID, we don’t have to commute now, and since it’s WFH — you don’t have to look proper while working.

This is a weird twist to the post but I feel that Monday, when done properly, can set the tone to the whole week. If you can have a great Monday, you can (most likely) have a decent week. I try to schedule meetings mostly on Mondays for internal so I can get to work the rest of the week.

You Got More in You

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Imagine that you are ‘THE FIELD’ where God sow the seed and there are several parables in the bible where two important things happen:

One, if you really believe and accept Jesus, your field (potential) will grow and bear fruits (results) 30, 60, even 100x

Two, there will also be weeds among the wheat, where the weeds can be the stress, the cap to our potential, also the potential destroyer of our harvest, but God has said on the bible: let it be, because at the end, they will cut those weeds, and throw it into fire.

I’ve always reminded myself that I want my life to be “the platform” or in this case “the field” where God can sow his seeds and the world can see the fruits. Yet, over the past 1-2 years, thoughts like “maybe I’ve reached the top, or the end of my potential” “maybe I won’t be able to experience such growth anymore because I’ve went through one”

Today, I got a proper telling by God that God has “unlimited resources” (Ephesians 3:16-20) and He has infinite potential to make you even better than what you can ever wished for

So, yes, you got more in you!

Based on Hillsong Church online sermon 5th July 2020 by Brian Houston

Long Distance Relationship

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I have been in a long distance relationship for 46 months (almost 4 years) now and I’d never write about this if it wasn’t for Om’s post — The Pain of Distance — it feels like a sting in the gut. I kept evading this pain or feeling but reading the post made me stop and put me in deep thought.

My girlfriend is Korean, there is a whole backstory on how we met (that’s for another day), but before 2020 — we’ve never been apart for longer than 2 months (8-10 weeks). It’s either me going to Seoul, we meet in the middle (Singapore, Taiwan), or she went to Jakarta.

This COVID changed everything as we haven’t met for 17 weeks and counting (went to Korea end of February until early March when COVID was growing like crazy there). There’s even a chance we might not meet again this year.

Indonesia government closed the border for foreigner without KITAS/KITAP and Korean government is making visa request exceptionally hard, and even if you got it you have to be quarantined for 2 weeks with 2,1m KRW (~23 to 24m IDR). With a max of 30 days stay, that is simply outrageous.

There’s this feeling of helplessness and pain and it just brought you back the reality that we have different nationalities and separated by distance and borders. I wished that she’s Indonesian sometimes or perhaps, I’m Korean. But we’re not. And it’s excruciatingly hard to process.

Post COVID Blessing

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I’ve always been a glass half full person. It used to be that I have to as an entrepreneur/founder. Now, maybe I got used to it, or it’s just effortless. During this pandemic, there is even more urgency for me to do so.

  • Working remote: I never thought a business/non tech department/individual can work remote, I’m proven wrong. It’s definitely helpful that we’re all remote so people didn’t demand to meet in person, but I definitely would like this to be an option or even a default
  • Walking: At first, it’s just a way to replace my exercise because we all couldn’t go to the gym. I love walking now that I concurrently listen to podcast while walking around my block. I look forward to my walking session every day, it’s almost my favorite part of the day!
  • Catching up: It’s mostly my fault where I’d always say to a friend or a colleague “let’s catch up soon” but we never and years passed by. Over the past few months, I’ve managed to reconnect or have a conversation with people I’ve always wanted to talk to.

What’s yours?

FIRE

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Financially Independent, Retire Early

IF there is 4 words that I like more than hearing I Love You, Joshua from my girlfriend is these words. Over the past few years, I realized that I don’t think I can survive going on multiple sprints in order to become “rich”. Rich is a very relative to each person’s limit but that’s why I didn’t like the race.

One of my inspiration in this world is Derek Sivers. He exited his company for $20+ million and instead of buying lambos and big mansions, he gave it all to a charity. He now live a very simple life and up to this year, he evaded any publicity, read a lot of books, and just have a minimalist life with his son.

I would like to think that I prefer that route too, while my friends around me always like to say: think of money you spent to socialize as an investment to get richer; I prefer to do the opposite and have set personal goals to decrease my burn every few months — to answer: How can I live with minimal cost? Can I survive with UMR?

Two reasons why I picked this route:

I’m in control: you can control what you buy/eat but not all the opportunities that you will have if you “invest” your money. If I can control myself by having less “wants” in life — I’m in control of the outcome that I need: to get to FIRE.

I’m not in control: in life, there are multiple incidents and accidents that can happen. Whether to yourself, to your family, to your loved ones. At the same time, to your business, or to the business that you’re working for. If you are spending substantial amount each month — depending on everything being okay — then you’re pretty much fucked if any of these went wrong.

What about you? Do you prefer to get rich/financially independent (stressing the OR here) by making more money or by spending less?

Remote Ready Organization

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Working remote seems to not only gained momentum but became mainstream nowadays yet not because we want to but because we have to. Back when I was running Talenta, I would never feel that we could go remote wholly as an organization. Yes, of course, for the product team especially developers we always have flexible hours, even we’d allow occasional remote working. For business team? I didn’t think so, and up until Q1 2020, I don’t think I ever will.

COVID19 changed everything because it forced all businesses to go remote or else. In this experience that I realized as I went through it in the organization that I’m working for and comparing it with my circle whether it’s my founders friend or brick and mortar business like my dad’s — it is important to be ready. I’m quite privileged to be part of an organization that pride itself on independence and as we entered 5th month of remote — I didn’t see a drop in productivity, in fact, I’m seeing people working extra because we’re in the war season.

COVID19 made me realize that organizations need to be, not only remote ready, but always ready for change. No matter how drastic.