Taking a Break


With COVID and WFH situation, I realize people are working more as there is no forced breaks like an hour long lunch that you usually have in the office. People tend to eat quickly and go back to work (at least in the company I’m working at)

We are 5 months in (from early March) and I’m already seeing signs of fatigue and burning out from people. This is why I’m proposing a proper break (definitely should use this long weekend) and even taking annual leave despite COVID.

We definitely can’t go anywhere during this pandemic, but you can use a few days not thinking about work and not working (checking your Slack or e-mail). I’m (finally) taking my annual leave in August and hope to recharge then.

This also marked the end of my daily blogging challenge, I will be posting less starting August (probably weekly) and I’m trying out to create newsletters and also putting my writing on KaryaKarsa and Trakteer to A/B test those platforms.



I had a great conversation with my ex-boss and acquirer Suwandi, CEO of Mekari, on this podcast.

Some of the highlights:

  • Subscription isn’t a new business model, we’ve been subscribing to newspapers, magazines, cable tv, or even utilities like electricity and water
  • Payment is key to unlocking this business model, the easier/less friction it is to create recurring payment, the likelier this business model will succeed in a particular country
  • Subscription is a way to lock-in your customers, for example if I only have $15 for content subscription budget, I will only be able to pick one between Netflix, HBO Go, Disney Plus, and more
  • Subscription also works as a way to create behavior loop as proven with Amazon Prime. Customers with Prime are buying more things compared to customers without prime.
  • As generations change, ownership became something of a luxury or perhaps, an option. Subscription helped with this transition.


Human Resource


Recently I had this discussion in one of the calls I had with people who are researching the HR/tech space in Indonesia: “What is HR problem? What are the problems that they face?”

My answers:

  • When people see HR, they don’t see people champion, they see the king or queen of admins doing administrative stuffs
  • And so, they are treated as such, they are part of cost center and it’s just a support function, with little to no budget to improve
  • Management/board rarely support the expansion of this team with the reason of ROI
  • Even to purchase a software/product that can help serve HR better, it’s hard to convince management
  • As HR evolve into People Experience in US/EU – HR in Indonesia are mostly still stuck in the 90s or 2000s. They care more about certifications rather than actually connecting and helping people inside the company
  • HR are mostly firefighter = waiting when there is FIRE instead of detecting them early and solving those problems.

We need to improve and evolve HR, because organizations in the tech enabled industries rely on people, and what is people without proper HR?

Checkins or 1-1


One of my favorite sessions while leading Talenta is my 1:1s especially with the new hires. I think it’s that precious time where you just have time to share your vision, but also to really understand the people behind the job.

1:1s are also important because people always assume and they don’t communicate. This helps people to put everything on the same page.

Checkins are in a way similar, but mostly it’s between manager and people they manage. With startup pace, Checkins is crucial to make sure that managers can remove blockers in place between the team and success.



Are you more of an Inward or Outward person? I know for sure that I’m an Inward person.

How do you know this? I realized that I talked to myself a lot, I ponder about a lot of things, I can go very deep in thought, I’m usually harder on myself vs waiting on my peers to give pressure to me.

Most of the time, I don’t care about what people think, I care about what I think about myself.

There’s a question that sounds like this: “Do you prefer: to look handsome/pretty when people see you but when you see yourself in the mirror you look like an ugly person OR people see you as an ugly person but when you look in the mirror you’re handsome”

I think I’m the latter. I don’t confirm to people’s expectation or standard, I usually try to build my own. Two sides of coin for this type/personality is you are very sure on what you’re doing but it’s very hard for you to take people’s advices at times.

Living in a Bubble


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.



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.

Remote Ready Organization


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.

The Most Important 7 Years of Your Life


I couldn’t agree more when they say:

You will regret things you don’t do than the things you did

You’re only young once so you have to try everything

The only thing that young people have is TIME

I have hit the quarter life crisis, in a good way, I believe. It took a lot of courage and focus to step back and look at what we have done — both good and bad — and how we’re going to spend the next 25 years.

I would say the most important 7 years — or the life defining years — are when you are 18 (entering uni) until you are 25. (I am biased, yes). I believe in these 7 years. You’re either going to be a boring person who went to classes, did all the assignments, went home and get a safe job.

OR you are going to fuck up with your life, party hard — way too hard, and jumping from one job to another because you don’t feel satisfied OR people just hate you because you can’t do your job properly.

OR you can maximize the resource you have which is time, and just basically learn all the sh*t you need, meet all the people you want to learn from, get all the experience you believe can be the foundation of your life ,and just absorb all of them.

Pretty much that’s what I did – I almost had to repeat a year when I’m in senior high school, but didn’t because something ‘clicked” in my brain when I was in this tutoring after-school program (called Rumah Belajar — SMAK 1 and SMAK 4 Penabur peeps should know them)

Went to Binus University basically because they are the only decent IT school. Aced my first 2 years and got bored, ended up with a job with East Ventures and Tech in Asia (both career defining jobs) went to hundreds of meetups, met with probably a thousand people through conferences and events and as they say the rest is history.

If I had to redo it all over again, I would do more, learn more, and meet more people. When you are 25, like I am right now, all you want to do in the weekends are sleeping in or just watch Netflix. You are more cynical to new ideas, you take less risk in your decision making, you don’t do roller-coaster anymore (thank God I did skydiving last year), you got sick after just 2 shots of tequila, you don’t go to meetups anymore because you can’t stand listening to wannabe founders telling you they are going to be the next Go-Jek or maybe not.


It’s 10pm and I can’t wait to go to bed (I used to laugh at my older friends back in uni saying that they are such a pussy for sleeping in so early while I was spending all nighters playing games or just watching movies — what a karma huh)


I Have (Not) Made It


Nowadays, when I went to a wedding of a friend or high school/university gathering or a reunion. Most of the time I will hear something along the line of:

“Boss, how are you? Wow, you’re such a success now!”

“Talenta Boss! You’re growing so fast! Remember me when you succeed!”

And usually I just brush them off by saying “We’re just getting by” or “we’re fighting for survival” or just thanking them for their good wish.

I think I just want to reiterate, and probably if there’s a lot of people that read my post, announce — that I have NOT made it. There is still looooooooooong way to go. I’m barely surviving. Not that I’m cocky, but the exact opposite, I don’t want to get people’s expectation and perception too high.

I am not saying that we didn’t make progress or we didn’t achieve anything, it’s more of like reminding people that not all startups are going to end up like Go-Jek, Tokopedia, or Traveloka. In fact, 9 out of 10 — startups will die. The question is when?

We have passed 3 years so far, most of the time limping from one client to another, educating companies the importance of software especially in their HR. We have also raised more than $1m so far, and hopefully we can raise more soon.

Whether I will raise more money or close Talenta in the future — this post serve as a reminder that I have NOT made it, but yes I have made a progress over the past 3 years. I have learned a lot. It’s such a humbling experience. Thank You God :)