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!



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.

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 :)

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)

Creating a Productive Weekend

There is a good reason why people say TGIF or Thank God it’s Friday. The next two days (after Friday) are the break or a breather from our routine. Some are spending it with their family, some partying with friends, some having a date with their girlfriend or boyfriend. For me, I realize that after I made the decision to start my own company, it is a pitstop. I spent most of the weekend getting more sleep or catching up with TV series or K-Dramas.

But then it kinda hit me that time is moving even faster. This kinda scares me, and to be honest I didn’t do anything productive while I’m at home on the weekdays, most of the time I got home exhausted and after reading some articles/Tempo/watching one episode of anything, I sleep right away. I felt like I need to do something more on the weekend.

It doesn’t have to be related with the work (in my case, Talenta), although sometimes I spent Sunday night preparing what to do over the week, I leave it nearing the end of the day. I decided I want to do or at least start to do these things:

  • Read books. I’ve always read a couple of pages here and there over the weekdays. Weekend is supposed to be the time where I can do much more than just a few pages.
  • Writing. Whether it’s a blog post like this or regarding the tech industry, if I can do one post per weekend, that would be cool. Or it can be in a form of newsletter (Jon Russell inspired me to do one for Indonesia)
  • Podcast. I’ve always been wanting to do a podcast but there’s always a reason to delay (no time, didn’t have any proper mic, etc) but this year let’s just start with whatever equipment I have and do it on a bi-weekly period.
  • Working out. Time is limited on the weekdays. I should make more time to exercise on the weekend.
  • Doing a YouTube channel. With the video consumption rate going nowhere but up, there is so much opportunity to actually do a quality/niche and get traction in the current market. Moreover, Google Indonesia seems to be promoting more and more local content producers.

How about you? Do you have any plans to make your weekends productive?

How Baptism Changed My Life

Disclaimer: I think this post might be too religious for some, so if you think you can’t read something around that topic, I guess you can stop reading.

Today at the church our pastor, Handoyo Santoso, preached about how we should stay strong or persevere until the end. From Alpha to Omega, and he quoted this from Revelation 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

The pastor said that God nor Jesus doesn’t have a beginning or an end. He’s been there all along, and He will still be there forever. But what God meant in this verse is for us, we begin our true Christian life through Him in baptism and reaching the finish line when He came again to this world. Today’s preach or specifically this verse, inspired me to write this post.

I have been Christian ever since I was born into this world with a reason that my mom is Christian. I went to Sunday school sometimes and since my school from pre-school up to senior high school is built by Christian institution, having a class where we read bible and sing a song for God is becoming just an activity for me, just like having a sport class. Although I believe in Him, I never really give my all or put a serious thought about my Christianity.

It has to wait until senior high school, when I fell into the deepest misery ever in my life. If there was hell on earth, I was in one. I ashamed myself in front of my friends, I lost most if not all of my best friends, and the worst thing is I kept disappointing my parents. (No, it’s not about school grades, it was much much worse) I felt like there is no way up, sometimes even the thought of killing myself had became an option back then. I can’t tell you what I did, but if I do, you would look at me differently.

A couple of months after the incident, I started going to a church, the same one as the current one I regularly go on Sundays. I started to seriously pray and I just felt like there is no one else to talk to but to God. After becoming an official member of the church, I applied to be baptized. Usually you have to go for 6 straight months without any absent, but somehow me and my sisters (I have two younger sisters) were getting a call that the appointment was advanced and we were getting baptized in two weeks.

We did it. My youngest sister get Phoebe, the older one get Priscillia, and I got Joshua. I wasn’t that excited back then but when I read the whole book of Joshua, I realized that he is in fact is more successful than Moses, he got to the land of promise and most importantly, the name means: God saves. If this is an article on Upworthy, it would be titled: “You Won’t Believe What Happened After He Got Baptized”

For the past few years after I got baptized and actually wore the name Joshua on all of my internet profile also when I met new people. I used to introduce myself as Kevin but now I’d say my name is Joshua. Not just my name is changed, my entire life changed. I have managed to:

  • Work at East Ventures, one of the most active Venture Capital in Indonesia based in Singapore, headed by Willson Cuaca and Batara Eto (co-founder and ex-CTO of Mixi $5b internet company in Japan)
  • Work at Tech in Asia, the TechCrunch of Asia. Held Startup Asia conferences in Singapore and Indonesia. They have now expanded to more than 50 people and holding a Tokyo conference in a month.
  • Work at KakaoTalk, where I was the Indonesian on the small team back then as a Community Manager. Helped them to reach more than 10 million downloads, now it’s a public company (after merger with Daum) and in Jakarta it has more than 30 employees.
  • Travel to Singapore super often, back then it was a luxury to even fly to Singapore but ever since I start working, it feels like a home away from home
  • Traveled to Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the hottest destination nowadays, visited KakaoTalk office, and did almost all the touristy stuff. Went there alone, came back with more than 10 Korean friends that I met at BeLaunch 2013 – the biggest startup conference in Seoul.
  • Went to the United States for a month. Mostly in San Fransisco. Did a West Coast trip, from Hollywood, LA to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon.
  • Went to Alaska with a grand cruise (to be exact it’s a Norwegian Pearl – NCL Cruise). Probably the first 21 years old from Indonesia who did this trip without bankrolled by rich parents.
  • In fact, managed to did all above with my own money that I saved from all the work I have done.
  • Went to Hillsong Conference 2014 in Sydney this summer. Sponsored by Ronald Ishak and Grace.
  • And this year also managed to raise small investment to start my own company that is trying to disrupt the HR industry through technology.

All of these were done in less than 5 years, and in fact these are just the highlight reel, I received so much more important things like friends. All of these happened after I received baptism. So, if you are a Christian, why wait so long to get committed to your faith? Get baptized and feel the difference of living with God and on the road to the Omega, which is heaven. God bless you all :)

This post might seem to surreal and feels like a bragging post (I really hope it doesn’t sound like that) but what I hope is to inspire more people. I’m still the same human who isn’t perfect and make or do sins in my daily life, but what is different is that now I make less of them, I “think” before I do it, I try to limit the sins I make. Thank you for reading this!

The 2013 Resolution

Boom, 2013 is here. I don’t know why but my 2011 was awesome, and my 2012 was legendary, so I sure do hope my 2013 would be even more superb. Now that we can move on from the end of the world as we know it, we will look 2013 as a year of new hope and to unearth potentials. I will be graduating this year, and I finally can say goodbye to school though I will keep learning through an ever-advanced technology called the internet. So here goes my 2013 resolutions:

1. Write one paragraph a day on my blog

Yes, this blog. I know that I promised to write 3 times a week back then and ended up only making probably up to 30 posts on 2012. But maybe that was the one that limits or prohibits me from blogging. I put on too much pressure. Now that I lower that bar by only targeting one paragraph a day, it might actually help me write more regularly and at the same time start the “Positive – be thankful – project”

2. Read at least 6 books this year

Again, I promised to read 10 books. I did buy 10 books probably more but I didn’t get to read all of it. So this time around again I lower my expectation to read 6 books a year which means 1 book every two months, or to put a micro perspective on it, 10 pages a day for a 600 pages book.

3. Decrease my weight by 10 pounds (5kgs)

By that I mean get fitter or get healthy-er, I gained around 5 to 6 Kgs across the year of 2012. I bet it’s because of all the bubble tea and Starbucks meetings. Not to mention my supper of Nasi Goreng around 12 to 1am at night and sleeping not too long after. I believe that 60 Kgs is my optimal weight, hopefully by the end of next year I’ll reach that goal. How? Most likely by swimming and futsal more regularly.

4. Graduate without any trouble

This is a bit (or maybe totally) different than what I proposed last year, I was all about GPA but 2012 certainly puts that perspective on hold or even disappeared. I don’t need any cum laude title, all I want to do is to graduate quickly and without any trouble in the process. I will have my last “defense” on the March then I will have my graduation on July. Can’t wait!

5. Travel more! (a.k.a experience more things)

I did go to 5 citites and 3 countries as I hope for my 2012 resolution. I went to Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), Singapore (Singapore), and Indonesia (Surabaya and Malang). Since I never went to Surabaya and Malang before, I counted them on the list. Next year I have Malaysia and South Korea on the itinerary. I kinda hope for one more country on the list, hopefully I will get that chance. At the same time I made a promise to myself to watch Girls Generation concert at least 4 times (2x in Jakarta, 2x in Singapore).

6. Personal projects

Since I will be graduated by this year. This is the year that I won’t have “school” as a distraction. I can focus on what I’m gonna do. I will start a couple of things that I think I will like to do, and at the same time contribute to the community. Hopefully, I can continue to do what I love and do more in this year.

To close this post, a verse that I got from my church to guide me this year: Phillipians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.