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.
  • 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.


Just like that, the first half of 2015 has passed us by. Not sure about you, but I really feel like the time is getting faster and faster. They say that from age 1-20 it feels super long but once you hit 20s, it starts to get fast. I’ve been super thankful and grateful of what has happened or what I did so far in 2015:

Looking back, I felt like I have done tons of things and these are only the highlights of what is a great year so far. I’m really looking forward to the second half of this year where things can only get even better. In fact, I’m starting to remind myself of my New Year’s resolution such as losing weight (I’ve started going to sports club – did 15 laps of swimming today) and also writing more, and reading more (I want to finish all the Game of Thrones books by end of year).

How was yours?

Turning 23

So I just turned 23 last week, 12th of April, to be exact.

And – I just realized that the reasons grown-ups doesn’t really celebrate their birthdays anymore is that the older you get, the reality hits you even harder. All of the expectations and responsibilities are getting bigger and heavier as you go older. It just started hitting on me.

Ever since I turned into my 20s, I have this expectation that I set for myself. I’m going to settle down when I turned 30, and which by then I can focus more on my family instead of working my ass off all week and missing out on the family time like a lot of dads did. With that being said, it’s like a clock ticking or counting down on me. “7 more years, Josh, 7 more.”

Some of my friends laughed me off and said “Dude, you’re only 23, don’t be so tough on yourself” or “I can’t even remember what I was doing when I was in my early 20s, probably playing and slacking off, cheer up”. But, comparing myself to rich or successful young people pushes me to pressure myself even further. Which sometimes, either stressed me out or my body just can’t take it and turned sick.

I also realized that time is moving even faster and you just have less to no time nowadays. Which, in turn, making all your time seems much more precious to you. I picked which meetings or events I would attend, I picked which friends or groups that would value my time more, I picked which TV series that I’d watch. Picked being more selective.

The past 3 years of my life in the 20s has been nothing but awesome. I hope my 23 is going to be even more awesome. Thank you for being part of my life and see you around!

Two Hours

You can name it 120 minutes, 7200 seconds, or whatever. That’s how long I would spend nearly every day on the road. If we do the math, I would spend 60 hours per month and 720 hours per year. Which equals to one month per year. This is not exactly a complaining post, I know a lot of people who would spend 3, 4, or even 5 hours per day commuting from and to Jakarta on the weekdays.

I’m just imagining a better Jakarta, with all the MRT and better TransJakarta, which would allow us set our schedule without being late. Which would get all the employees be on the office on time, and wouldn’t be wanting to go home earlier to get ahead of the traffic. Would allow us to do or get more opportunities. To be honest, sometimes I cancel or postpone my meeting if it’s around the peak hours. OR if it’s really important, I would stay over at the meeting place until 8 or 9 just to stay out of the crazy rush hours.

To be honest, I’m not surprised that jobseekers nowadays are putting location to top of the consideration beside salary and benefits. I know a friend who was doing an awesome job at a startup, but she decided to move just because she felt tired and exhausted commuting to the office and having less energy to work. Now, she’s working in an office 10 minutes from her house and she’s doing even better there.

So, how many hours do you spend commuting per day? And what you’re doing when you’re commuting? (let’s say if you’re not driving)