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 :)

Branding an Enterprise Software

We are at the last phase or stage on our product building and we’re going to launch our public beta very soon (Excited!). With this in mind, we recruited a Sales team and also someone who is more or less experienced with branding. I realized that most enterprise software nowadays act just like consumer apps. They have a “character” or a brand.

To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about it at all before I brainstormed with them. All I can think of is building, building, and building the product and just sell it to as many companies as I can. I was totally reminded on the past few days that in fact, we ARE selling to humans too. We sell to the HR managers and the founders of companies – although we are a B2B/Enterprise Software.

I’m quite unsure how many of you reading this will be on the same journey of building an enterprise software but it is an interesting question when people ask you “How do you want to brand your enterprise software?” – to which I answer “I want to be the Uniqlo of HR software – simple, affordable, but they have an awesome quality”.

Slack and or HootSuite is a B2B software that I am quite inspired in terms of branding, how Slack is perceived as cool, awesome, and simply the best communication tools out there (at least for me). While HootSuite has this friendly owl as its mascot. One of our sales staff also mentioned Zendesk’s Buddha to which she said “I might not remember what Zendesk is, but I definitely remember the Buddha”.

So if you do have experience in branding an enterprise software, would love your feedbacks or probably share it to your friends?

On Growing

As I have just posted this morning on Facebook, as per January, we are a team of 15:

teamtalenta

Except our intern, everyone is here. More than half of us are focusing on the product side. We just recruited a few people on the Sales team too, getting ready for the launch. I hope this is just a start of something bigger. There’s a lot of excitement for sure, but lots of responsibility too.

If you think I magically recruited 15 people out of thin air, you’re wrong. I would say that this is what thousands of messages on LinkedIn, hundreds of interviews, and a lot of e-mails get you. Recruitment is a full-time job, and as a founder (moreover, solo founder), this takes most of your time (except product).

In fact, I’d love to say to any founders, soon-to-be founders, or bootstrapping founders. IF you think, creating awesome product is hard, try scaling the team. Even William from Tokopedia has hinted of hiring abroad thinking how hard it is to hire/recruit here. Doing startup is hard, convincing other people to join your journey is even harder.

All the best for Indonesia startup founders in 2015 and would love your take on recruitment in Indonesia if you have different opinion (perhaps you can hire tens of developers in 1 week? – we’d love to be your client).

Tokopedia Funding and its Effect For Indonesia Startup Ecosystem

So, Tokopedia has just raised $100m funding by Softbank and Sequoia. Who is Tokopedia you ask?

A little background (if you’re from Indonesia you can skip this): Tokopedia is the leading e-commerce startup in Indonesia on a C2C marketplace model. Its tagline is the biggest online shopping mall in Indonesia, meaning that most of the shops in Tokopedia are small and medium businesses that actually are depending on Tokopedia on their livelihood. Sounds familiar? Yes, you can say Tokopedia is like Indonesia’s Taobao. Even its CEO has often said that he see Jack Ma as his role model.

So far the startup has raised multiple round of funding from East Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures on 2011, Netprice on 2012, Softbank Ventures Korea last year. As it still operating on a free transaction model, it has little to no revenue thus has to depend on the funding and they have raised almost every year if you keep track on them

Now that we have put that away, my take on how this would effect the Indonesia startup ecosystem:

  • This proves that funding rounds and the money that is going into Indonesia and generally Southeast Asia are getting bigger and bigger. As Justin Hall famously called here: The Rise of Holy Shit Money in SEA
  • E-commerce is very close to a tipping point/mature period. I predict that Tokopedia won’t be the last e-commerce that has raised a whopping round. My prediction Traveloka will raise a mid to high 8-figure-round too soon. Followed by other verticals.
  • As e-commerce matures, VCs and investors will start to invest in other business models as well. Next wave can be on the B2B/Enterprise/SaaS startups.
  • This one is more of a hope: as startups are getting more attention and success stories, we will see more and more people start a startup or at the very least, increasing value for startups as a place to work at.
  • This is truly is the time to start your business as the money that is going into Indonesia are really getting bigger and bigger – it is huge. Though it doesn’t mean you should start a startup just for the sake of it.

What do you think? Tweet me @jshkvn and let me know your opinion

P.S. Congratulations to William and Leon. You guys have always been my role model ever since I first met you guys!

On Health

As a founder of a startup, it feels like we are expected to work as hard as we can, in fact forget about 9-to-5 weekdays, we probably still work on our bed or even on the weekends. This is all good if we can keep up with our physical and mental health.

I thought of this post two nights ago, as I was stuck on the bed, having craziest headache ever and ended up puking all of my dinner out (sorry for the NSFW image on your head) and ended up resting almost all day the day after. Obviously everyone has their own limits, and you are open to work as hard as you can but I think here are a few things that we can do.

  • Drink more water. Done? Drink some more. Our body needs a lot of water everyday to work at its best and it’s very good for our dietary too.
  • Take every chance you have to walk or exercise. This especially true for startups in Indonesia, we spent most of our days sitting: either on the way to the office/back home/meetings, working, meetings. So if you have a lunch break and you can walk somewhere instead of taking a taxi or say elevator, do it.
  • Sleep well. Get yourself a regular pattern of sleep even though you only have a few hours of sleep every day, this way your body can adapt and process. Don’t bring your iPad, iPhone, or even worse your Macbook to your bed with you.
  • Take a time off work to just chill or even better, have a holiday somewhere to clear your heads up and back feeling refreshed and full of ideas.

I know some of the ideas here feels like old and cliche but that’s the thing, we keep reading the same thing and we keep forgetting about it and destroy our very own body.

Moving On to New Journey

I know that this is a total contrast of what I posted around two months ago – but i guess this is life, full of twists and turns, and this is a part of the journey. Since I’m probably not allowed to post my last post in the Tech in Asia blog, I guess this personal blogpost would do.

Before I start my thank you post, I’d like to say that this is a mutual decision between us, we are moving towards different directions and I think it’s just a right timing to start over. Moreover, I’d say right now the Indonesia team is more solid than what we had at the beginning of this year (well, it’s only me) and I’m happy to have helped them scale the team (I hope they think the same too) and to reach where we are right now.

It is a hard post to type especially after losing out my grandfather just eight days ago, it feels like I just lost someone and something that is meaningful in my life in just a short time.

I’m really thankful to Willis Wee, for teaching me how to be an adult and I’d say I’m a different man compared to who I am before I worked for and with him. Minghao Teoh, he might not be the best single guy out there, but he’s definitely a great friend and one of the best biz dev I ever knew. Vanessa Tan, she might be the one we “bully” around because she’s a girl but never underestimate her potential, strongest and smartest girl around in the tech scene here in Asia. The editors – Rick Martin, Charlie Custer,  and Steven Millward – they are just totally three superb editors, and from my point of view, we won’t be where we are right now without them. Thank you Rick for drowning me in the Markdown realm, thank you Steven for the sexy british accent and your kindness, thank you Charlie, I learned a lot just doing work together with you and reading your blog posts, videos, and your work.

Ultimately, it has been a great joy for me to have planned, produced and ran Startup Asia conferences, especially Startup Asia Jakarta 2012. It was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, tech conference ever held in Indonesia and I’m proud to be part of it. Events and blogging will still be part of my future, but right now I think I’ll just lay low and help startups that want my help, talk to more entrepreneurs, and working on my thesis while figuring out what to do next.

If you would like to catch up or discuss anything interesting – please drop me an e-mail: hello[at]joshuakev.in

Thank you for reading!

Disclosure

Earlier today, I posted an article regarding Apps Foundry acquiring MakeMac. It didn’t get any great reaction, perhaps the opposite. But since I’m not the one doing the investment, I can’t say anything towards this investment. I say, you, the avid readers of MakeMac be the judge.

Now move on to the East Ventures & Penn Olson status, especially me as an employee in both company. Jon Russell, as quoted on his blog, said that:

There’s no doubt that investment of some form was needed to get the blog to the next level, bring on permanent staff etc, but there is valid question as to why an East Ventures associate is onboard and writing about stories with conflicting interests?

To put this straight, I am hired as Penn Olson’s writer [this post is even linked by TechCrunch]before I’m an Associate at East Ventures. Even before Penn Olson getting an investment by East Ventures. Hence, I can safely say it’s not that East Ventures is putting their employee to control or putting content into Penn Olson’s mouth.

I am a blogger, I love writing.  I was actually trying to write my own blog before I’m doing this gig for Penn Olson. But then East Ventures planning to build an incubator and offered a chance to work together, then as a 19 years old looking for experience in the startup scene he loves, he accepted it, wrong? I believe anyone would accept the once in a lifetime chance. If you’re talking about people my age in Silicon Valley, this might not be surprising. But until this day, I’m still thankful to be able to do this.

Regarding me posting East Ventures related articles. What different does it make if I’m the one writing it then it got posted with other accounts/authors? There will still be skepticism regarding the EV-PO connection, another note, all of my posts get through 3 editors and Willis himself, so there is no room for error and bias. And in the past couple of months, probably from November, I have been the sole contributor for Penn Olson covering the whole nation of Indonesia. I am trying to find more writers to accompany me, but it is hard, ask DailySocial. Blogging in English isn’t easy, tech blogging? :-)

I guess I can call it a day and sleep now. The fight and the debate won’t be over, but I’m done talking about it over and over again. Thank you for your attention and time reading this. And yeah:

Full Disclosure : Joshua Kevin is an Associate at East Ventures and Contributor for Penn Olson covering Indonesia

Startup Asia Singapore 2012

This post is a part of our coverage of Startups in Asia (Singapore), Penn Olson’s first tech conference. Our full coverage of the event can be found here, for our RSS feed, click here.

NOT! This is actually a post to sum up the Startup Asia, first conference that I’m in the organizing team and it was outside my home country. I might held the #StartupLokal 1st birthday party with a full day event but this was totally different beast all over again. This needs professional who has been in this kind of job for years. But then, we are a start-up, and we did learn a lot from our first experience.

I went to Singapore on 31st Jan, as early as I could because I won’t be able to spend my weekend over (Final Exams, fml) at the Lions. The flight arrived quite early, so thank you JetStar! And checked in at the V Hotel(Lavender MRT) – had a funny experience here, when I checked in apparently Minghao put me as Joshua Kevin instead of Kevin Tjong which was my name in my passport. I had to give out s$200 as a deposit to make sure it was really me who’s staying. Finished with that, I got up to my room and actually love it.

Had an e-mail sent to me to group up over at SMU, so I did and I finally met my editors at Penn Olson, which is Rick Martin, Steven Millward and Charlie Custer. We had a rehearsal for Startup Arena participants, we drilled them and I think these kinds of preparations which made our event is different than any other event. We want those who are up on the stage to be as best as possible. Done with that, we had our first team dinner, too bad the Biz Dev Chick couldn’t come. Had four pans of 12-inch-pizza together with Willis Wee, the editors, Minghao Teoh and Amelia Chen. After that, I thought the night was over, but apparently not. I went to The Studio with Joash and met Gabriel, Mohan, Dung and Claudia. We had some drinks and played the dice game! FYI, The Studio is owned by my fellow Indonesian – Angelina Pradana. Proud to met her, and proud to have a friend/entrepreneur/entertainer/drinking friend like her!

1st February, probably the toughest day of 4 days because this is the last day of preparation. We had start-ups who booked for booths coming to take a look and place their stuffs in their respective booths. Unfortunately, the start-ups came early, the booths weren’t prepared yet and so the booking should take place in a manual mode (someone look at a map, tell me what he/she wanted, I wrote down the number). Yet, there are start-ups who took the place without booking first to me, so it was quite a mess. Although it didn’t get to a brawl or shouts or something but we learned the most from it. We finally numbered the booths and they can just book the booth they want by writing the name of the start-ups on the paper pasted on it. In the afternoon, we had networking session/high tea with investors/overseas participants. It was fun, met NUS Enterprise directors who are taking care of Blk-71. Met some start-ups who are being incubated by JFDI Asia as well. And one more great thing is, to finally meet Dr Serkan Toto, which is one of my idols in the tech-blogging world. He was shocked to learn that I’m still in uni and haven’t even turned 20 yet. Went to The Studio again this night, got some pictures taken, not me but Angel, but yeah – my back was in the publication – so, I’m proud! :p

2nd February, the show finally begun. I was chosen to take care of slides, and working together with the sound engineer and lightning. Gabriel said to me my title is Event Production – quite cool, huh? So we had Dr. Lim Kuo Yi (CEO at Infocomm Investment), James Tan(Co-Founder of 55tuan), Discussion Panel on Starting up in Singapore, Dr Serkan Toto(TechCrunch contributor), Tetsuya Mori(Managing Director for DeNA Asia), Tatsuo Tsutsumi(Director of GREE Ventures), Discussion Panel on Cloud Computing and Entrepreneurship, and Startup Arena pitches part 1! Vibease took the climax from today by mixing Vibrator, Mobile App and Orgasm! (sex sells!) It ran smoothly although I made a tiny wee mistake and had fun being a bouncer as well earlier with Amelia and the volunteers! (P.S. Booth Babes ftw!) – Willis Wee had his birthday on this day, yet he chose to downplay it and focused on what is in front of him, making the event a success. Proud to be under his guidance! – Joash also had his birthday so there is Joash, Gab, Angel, Dung and more celebrating his birthday at The Studio (so this was my 3rd night in the row!). Had a couple of shots of tequila, HOT!

3rd February, the turnouts were as expected, maybe the late night networking took place, so a quarter of the participants didn’t make it until around lunch time. This day we had, Arvind Rajan(LinkedIn APAC VP), Steven Goh(mig33), James Tong(Partner at Gobi Ventures), Anuj Khanna Sohum(Affle Group), Angeline Tham and Tian Qiuyan (Co-Founders of Sold.SG), then it went off to the Startup Arena part 2. Had some more networking and chats with prominent people on Singapore. Exchanged half of my stock of namecards, which can only mean great. Then, we announced our winner for Startup Arena, Teamie.

A sum-up of Startups in Asia Singapore and De-brief of it was published. Yet, it couldn’t really picture what I got from this event. We, Penn Olson team, finally met each other and was in one room working hard for our event. (Met Yukari and Masaru too!) Make lots of friends over, not just for business but also for fun. The volunteers especially are kind and definitely would love to catch up with them. Some stats for those who love it: 800+ participants, 19 start-ups pitched for Startup Arena, 50 start-ups booked our booths, got sponsored by GREE, DeNA, Lenovo, Nokia, SingTel, iTwin, SkySQL, Monster.com, B Dash Ventures, Gumi, Crystal Horse Investments, Amazon Web Services. Quite a feat for our first event! Can’t wait to announce our next city! And thanks for reading!

How Technology Has Affected Kids These Days

Advanced technology is rapidly improving these days. All of our daily needs are mostly available on the Internet. From connecting to your friends through social media, buying things you love from e-commerce sites, or getting deals on the group buying sites. Gadgets such as Blackberry and iPad have also been a common thing in a household here in Indonesia.

There has been this chain of message going on in my Facebook feeds and BBM since yesterday:

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a laptop, iPod, Blackberry , PS3 or iPad. I played outside with friends, bruised my knees, made up adventurous fantasies and played hide and seek. I ate what my mom home made food and KFC was a treat. I would think twice before I said “no” to my parents. Life wasn’t hard, it was great and I survived. Kids these days are spoiled. Re-post this if you appreciate the way you were raised. I think we were happier kids :)
Kids these days lost something – Appreciate on

Most of the kids nowadays are playing with their Blackberries, swiping their fingers to play Angry Birds on their iPads, not only they lost what we got by playing around in our backyards, socializing in real life instead in front of a screen, what is most frightening is that most parents didn’t really control what contents that their kids are seeing every day.

I think that if we can manage to use this technology to parents advantage, and make them learn something new, also dividing a great deal of time between playing with technology and without it, it wouldn’t be a problem. What do you think?

Reject. Rejection. Rejected.

In life, we face rejection from people. Even we, ourselves, reject some things that we don’t like, or what we think are not good for us. Rejecting something/someone is easy most of the time, but at the other end of the table, being rejected is tough.

Being rejected is like being shot down, whether it’s your ideas, your proposal, your dream. All we can do is really try our best again, again and again. Because success came to those who tried the hardest. I’d like to share my experience myself. Graduating from senior high school, I always wanted to go to overseas to study for my degree. Most of my friends already applied to Malaysia, Singapore, Australia or even United States of America. Honestly? I’m full of envy.

My parents already told me it’s quite expensive, and we might or might not afford it, because at the same time my sister is also graduating from junior high school and he’s going to the best high school in town which is SMAK1 BPK PENABUR, Jakarta. I applied anyway, and I did get in, but in the end my parents said it’d be better if i don’t go to abroad. If i want to do postgraduate degree then i can go.

Filled with disappointment i applied to Bina Nusantara University. Always told myself that i despise private universities in Indonesia because of their lack of quality(my own opinion though). Basically because they don’t really put much quality and focusing on quantity.

And where does it got me? If i was at Malaysia right now, I’d be studying right now and knew nothing about startups. I wouldn’t be #StartupLokal apprentice, I wouldn’t be knowing all these great guys from Indonesian startups scene who inspired me day by day.

Another rejection? I applied for an ‘internship’ in a local news site months ago. BOOM! I was rejected. Days later, Willis Wee from Penn Olson mentioned me on Twitter said that a position for a writer there is available and he wanted me to fill it. Yup, and until right now I’m still writing for them and I’m happy that i have such a great mentor/editor/boss/friend in Willis. From then on, I am also appointed as Associate at East Ventures.

As people said, rejection is probably a God’s way of saying that it’s not great enough for you to have, I have a better plan for you. Keep going, and you’ll find your way!