Christmas is Not (Just) a Celebration, but a Reminder

It’s Boxing Day today and you probably had scrolled through tons of Christmas dinner posts, even you probably uploaded one yourself. Despite it’s festivity and all the sale and discounts you see in the malls or even online, I chose to take the meaning of Christmas this year rather differently.

I went to Christmas celebration on the 24th in NDC (Nafiri) at Baywalk Pluit. The theme was Christmas is a Miracle. Why? Because in the Jesus’ birth itself is a miracle. Virgin Mary give birth to our Savior, and indeed until today His miracles still exists, even amongst ourselves.

The meaning of Christmas stressed out even more by the service on the Christmas Day at my church, Gereja Kemah Tabernakel. Pak Handoyo Santoso clearly reminded us of how Jesus is NOT a baby anymore (despite how He is pictured on every Christmas, year in year out). He should grow in our life and we SHOULD let Him take over.

We always feel like we can’t handle the pressure or the problems that we are facing, that’s because we still rely on our own strength, we believe that our power is strong enough to handle anything. But, if you choose to do the opposite, if you choose to let Him take over to handle your problems, imagine how easy it is for God who has created miracles in this world to solve your problems.

This service really hits me because I do felt that this year I have let myself on the front seat and even didn’t let Him on the passenger seat as I feel my life gets better. I get big headed or cocky sometimes, I became arrogant and even bailed on going to church more often than not. Because of this, these past couple of months, more than a few problems, hit me in my face. I feel like I couldn’t handle most of it. This really reminded me to kneel in front of God and really, let Him take over. Let him take control. Let His will be done in my life.

The verse that I got for 2017 is another reminder for me (At Gereja Kemah Tabernakel, we got 1 verse every year on Christmas to help us and remind us of next year) – Psalm 7:18

I will give glory to the Lord according to his justice: and will sing to the name of the Lord the most high.

God reminded me to give thanks of what He has done in my life, and of what is yet to come. And I can’t thank Him enough of what He helped me achieve in my life. I really can’t wait for 2017 and I really want to let Jesus take control of my life and create miracles in my life.

Merry Christmas and God bless you :)

Looking Back and Looking Into the Future

2015 flew so fast yet after reviewing the first half of 2015, the second half got even crazier. I traveled to several countries and so much more. Some of the highlights:

While that highlight reel seems like really awesome, in reality there are tons of hardships and pure grunt work while building the company that is Talenta. I am beyond blessed to have such friends, teammates, family, and investors, that is supporting my journey.

2016 is going to be the best year yet, I believe, as (some might believe, some might not) it is the year of Monkey (I am born in the year of Money, I mean Monkey). So, despite me not achieving most of my resolution last year, I’m going to keep it simple this year:

  • Work harder for Talenta. Harder doesn’t equal just putting hours in front of my laptop but it means how can I set a higher bar for myself and the team and push even harder. With this I believe we can raise our A and B round. So far we have grown to a team of 30 and I believe that it’s possible to double it again by the end of this year.
  • Write more and read more. This is something that has always been in my mind. In fact, it can be my life motto. By writing you can be a better storyteller and by reading you can discover so much more in the world vs watching a drama.
  • Travel more. If everything goes as planned, I’ll be traveling to Europe for the first time (yay!) and hopefully also watch the Euro 2016 final. Other than that I’d also be traveling to Taiwan for my sisters’ graduation. Hopefully I can go to one more new destination!
  • Earn more money, spend less of it. I’ve been pondering on a few small passive income projects and I really love creating and producing. The problem is, I also love/tend to spend more. I hope to spend less by decreasing my visits to the night clubs and also on shopping.
  • Simply be happy. One’s purpose of life can simply “be happy” – in fact a friend of mine recently told me so. Despite me being negative about it, I’ll try to embrace this and be more thankful of who I am and what I can do/have.

I do hope that instead of quantifying the resolutions, we can relatively achieve the goals that we have in this new year. It’s going to be another roller coaster ride, but I do hope that we can enjoy both the highs and the lows.

The Rise and Battle of Virtual Private Assistant in Indonesia

Ever since Magic launched, and raised funding with $40m valuation. There has been a race to replicate the success in Asia, with BeMalas from Malaysia raised $500k, YesBoss from Indonesia raised from 3 prominent VCs, and also Nihao Concierge from Singapore. But I’m going to focus on the battle of HaloDiana and YesBoss in Indonesia.

HaloDiana, which was born inside SribuLancer backed by East Ventures and Infoteria is poised to battle YesBoss for Indonesia huge market. I believe that the timing and also the culture of Indonesian people are fitting of Magic style concierge service. The reason is that people here loves to be served, if you see in almost every place that involves paying or buying, we’d rather choose to be served than using a self-service machine. Example would be when I visited Blitzmegaplex on most malls, there are long lines of people queuing and few people on the self-service machine. Another reason, a lot of executives actually are served by personal assistant, hence, having virtual personal assistant like Diana or YesBoss, sort of boosted our “ego” and at the same time, super helpful since most of us are quite lazy to do simple things like “ordering your Gojek”

With all that mentioned though, I would highlight several key things that can make or break the Magic clones:

  • Scaling: As the services get popular and get used by more and more people, it will be a lot tougher to serve 10,000 people compared to say, few thousands people. YesBoss’ plan to create a Natural Language Processor are one way to do it. Otherwise, scaling the customer service team is needed. One of the advantages being based in Indonesia is that human resources are still relatively affordable compared to our neighboring countries. Other solution is to create a freemium model where paying members can be prioritized and served faster. If used frequently, I think people won’t mind paying $3-$5 per month.
  • Overreliant on on-demand services: As both players are built on top of the on-demand services such as Go-Jek, this creates a problem where if one of the deliveries are late for example, the one that is getting the blame is the services not the on-demand players. I saw my friend ranted against one of the two, but when I investigated, apparently it’s because of the courier. Another problem is the business model part, since so far both players are relying on making money from its partners/merchants, it puts the leverage on the partners, the revenue won’t be that big. Not to mention, there’s always a possibility of one of the on-demand services creating their own concierge service.
  • Low barrier of entry: Let’s say Magic expanded to Indonesia with millions of dollars in funding. I think that the model is actually have a low barrier of entry, proven with how fast HaloDiana is catching up with YesBoss (yes, I did consider that SribuLancer has bigger funding and well-positioned). Someone with huge capital can enter the market and erude the market share quite easily at this point.
  • Vertical private virtual assistant: in the Valley, there has been multiple Magic clones focusing on verticals instead of processing all requests. Such as Native for traveling, Vida for diet consulting, and more. As Nir Eyal discussed in his blog, Assistant as an App might be the next big thing and both YesBoss and HaloDiana might have bigger problem when the vertical players are coming in. For one, Travelio has developed its own travel concierge service, although focusing on its own inventory.

Despite all of the worries, the market is huge, and it’s ready for this kind of services. I’m definitely excited to see who will win and how they will try to beat each other on this rise of private virtual assistant.

Disclosure: Talenta is funded by East Ventures, also an investor in SribuLancer which creates HaloDiana.

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.

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 ;)

Tempo

For the past months, or shall we say the first half of 2014, it has been all about politics. From our TV stations (not that I watch TV, but my dad does) to the Internet, especially social media. For those who have been living under the rock, Indonesia has just went through a legislative election and the presidential election. The winner have been decided officially, though the opponent are still insisting that it is not over yet.

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Putting all that behind, I want to talk about how I have been reading Tempo magazine a lot ever since politics get into our daily life. I mean I have been hearing about it a lot and how great it is but didn’t really realize it until I actually read it. To be honest, I didn’t exactly love reading in Bahasa Indonesia, I have always preferred to read in English (thus, making me better writing in the language as well), but Tempo has changed that mindset.

Compared to any other media, I probably will say that Tempo has a really, really good investigative journalism. It has courage to write something that other media might not write about especially on how corruption isn’t only happening on this place, but apparently it’s all over Indonesia and it manages to dig deep on more and more things. So, with this post I’d love to recommend you to read Tempo (it has English version as well) and subscribe to it.

Back to Writing

I realize that I didn’t really write anything this year except some articles for Tech in Asia. Even compared to my 2013 commitment, I really mess it up. So here I am in another effort to do a blog post a day, even though it will be just a paragraph. One of the thing that is holding me back sometimes is that, I think too much about what will people say about my posts – then I realized that I’m nobody, why should I worry about that. Hopefully I can commit to writing more!

 

 

2013, Best Year Yet

I should say it is the best year yet of my life so far (been saying that three times back-to-back from 2011, 2012, and now 2013) – this year I get to travel to quite a lot of places and meet a lot of new friends. Started my own initiative, and get interviewed by Bloomberg Indonesia. Not bad, I guess?

January:

Had a blast NYE and then followed by New Year’s BBQ.

My I Got a Boy album arrived

Helped Touchten’s Cute Kill covered

Flood is all over Jakarta

Submitted my thesis

February

Chinese New Year!

Valentine’s Day date with my dad.

Sister going back to Taiwan after spending a month of holiday.

US Visa approved!

KakaoTalk Indonesia team celebrating Jude’s birthday

Press Conference of KakaoTalk – “Media Play Day”

March

XL & KakaoTalk Event at Central Park

Attended Music Bank Live in Jakarta

Valentcia Trifonia’s Birthday

Interviewed by Kis FM Jakarta

Exhibition at Jakarta International School

Announced that Big Bang is KakaoTalk’s TVC Model – took part in the decision making

Successfully defended my thesis with Grade A

KakaoTalk TV Commercial launched

Had a KakaoTalk Event together with @benakribo

April

Went to Startup Asia Singapore 2013

KakaoTalk reached #1 in both iOS App Store and Android PlayStore

Interviewed by Aneka Yess! Magazine

KakaoTalkXBigBang mini concert – had a chance to shakehand with KPop SuperStars! And met with Kakao’s Co-CEO – Sirgoo Lee

Seoul Trip! don’t forget to eat street side foods

Went to the best club in Seoul with best friend, Tesong Kim and his wife!

Visited KakaoTalk office

May

Volunteered and attended BeLaunch 2013 in Seoul.

The magazine that interviewed me was published

Launched Kakao Games in Indonesia

My dad’s birthday

KakaoTalk’s Game TVC launched

June

Met with KakaoTalk’s Chief Service Officer Joshua

Went to HongKong with my dad and sister, yay!

HongKong DisneyLand – checked!

Avenue of the Stars, yes, Madam Tussaud HK, yup, and saw the Rubber Duck Project and Ocean Park HK too!

Hello, Macau – Venetian is superb

Visited Window of the World, Shenzhen.

Experienced Dialogue in the Dark (must try!) in Hong Kong

SGHaze happened

July

TouchTen’s new office – super nice

Time to officially graduate

Watched Chelsea FC vs Bni All Stars. Finally get to see my favourite team ever

Departing for the San Fransisco Trip

Arrived in San Fransisco after 18 hours flight

Officially left KakaoTalk Indonesia

August

Trip to Angel Island, San Fransisco

Hello – Golden Gate Bridge

Seattle Trip

Alaska trip cruise (photo link will follow) – this will suffice for now.

Visited Googleplex and had a free lunch there (thanks Sarah!) & Facebook’s 1 Hacker Way too

First time eating In and Out, and now I want one!

Trip to LA, starting with Hollywood

Indonesia Independence’s Day in Universal Studio Hollywood

Disneyland Hollywood – the firework is always wonderful and superb

Vegas, baby!

Grand Canyon, one of the world wonders. A pleasure

Chilling and eating Oysters at San Fransisco’s Pier

September

Kris Antoni’s Wedding

Watched Girls Generation Tour in Jakarta, this is the third time I saw their performance.

Aldwin Wijaya’s Wedding! Congratulations, bro!

October

Medan trip with Minghao, Andrew, Xin Yun, and Emily.

Jogja trip

Attended and moderated a panel at WordCamp 2013

Launched an Indiegogo experiment

Anton Soeharyo’s [birthday[*https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202383773340722&set=a.4268379392768.176239.1384564355&type=1&ogpermsrc=OPENGRAPHSINGLE_STORY)

Halloween party at TouchTen

November

Launched Bridge Inc – my very own initiative

Startup Asia Jakarta 2013 – with Bridge Inc booth!

Went to Bandung with these great people

December

Dede (CTO of Touchten Games) Wedding – congratulations!

Interviewed by Bloomberg Indonesia you can see the video here: http://www.bloombergindonesia.tv/videos/watch/1116/siapa-dibalik-bridge-inc-apa-misi-dan-tujuan-ekosistem-startup-indonesia-