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!

Independence in God

Taken from 2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

The true independence or freedom is indeed when we are in God. We are free from the punishment of our deadly sin, we are free from the devil that is trying to get us each and every day, so if you feel trapped and scared, receive freedom in God. Because only in Him, you receive a true and eternal freedom.

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia!

 

Why We Need To Work a Little Bit Harder

Don’t work too hard. Have a work and life balance. Enjoy life. These are some of the things you see in blogs or websites lately advising us to do less work and have more time off, and disconnect. I’m not saying that it’s wrong or false, all of these are really really good, but when you apply this advice to our country, Indonesia? I personally would say that it’s a bit misplaced. Why?

Indonesia has a very laid back culture. There, I said it. This is something that we all admit. We tend to or prefer to have more meetings than to do the actual work. We really, really, like to hang out and chill in a cafe or a bar with our friends. Lunch hour is literally an hour because we spent more time talking than actually eating. Again, there’s always two sides of coin to everything, but we certainly not a country that you can describe as “hard working”.

This culture has made a lot of foreign companies or management teams coming from abroad, surprised or sometimes, dumbfounded. Because we ask for a higher salary, yet sometimes we arrive late and always waiting for 6pm to come sooner so we can just go right away (in Bahasa Indonesia we call this “teng-go”, when the bell rings, we just go). We have a tendency to “work slowly” or in Bahasa Indonesia “Santai aja/Selow aja”  and when the deadline came, sometimes miracle happen and you “finished your work” (you can define the meaning of the quote).

Obviously, this stereotype doesn’t apply to everyone or the whole country (it applies to me too), if you are working hard already, that’s awesome. And if you say “work smart, not work hard” – yes, but can you apply that to the whole work force? Some might not be able to do the former, but I believe that everyone can pretty much do the latter.

But, but, we have potential, a huge one, in fact our nation is predicted to be in the top 10 of global economy in the future. If you have been reading about Indonesia over the past few years, we have been hearing, writing, mentioning, talking, pitching, about Indonesia potential for quite a while now. This is what I am afraid will happen: that we will be complacent, that we will keep saying we have potential but we never know when it will unfold. Why? Because we are not working hard enough.

I tweeted that almost two weeks ago and I really meant every words of it. If you see Japan’s successes, and now China and Korea too. It was all built on a foundation of working hard. In fact, it’s not a surprise anymore that you heard about people getting sick or even worse because of overworking. They eat their lunch quickly, and get back to work right away. Even in Korea, there is a culture where students in the university would take a gap year or sometimes more than one year, because they know, once they graduated, there is no “life” anymore for them. But if it isn’t for hard work of that tens of millions (for China it’s hundreds of millions) of people, I don’t think they will be where they are right now. Alibaba’s $150b valuation? All because of hard work. (Please do watch Crocodile of the Yangtze to prove my words – it’s an awesome documentary)

Another thing that has been mentioned about Indonesia is that right now and for the next 20 years, Indonesia will have a golden generation because of our demographics. Again, this is a potential not a sure win. What if you have tens of millions of young people or generation but they are not skilled worker, they prefer to post pictures to Instagram compared to learning something new like coding or a new language, they prefer to read 9gag over “thick books” (Even Harry Potter is too much to read). The potential bubble will be burst and we might have more unemployment rather than a productive young workforce.

That is why I think in this post, as someone who wants Indonesia to succeed and exceed all the prediction (like you do), I would love if we can work just a little bit harder. It doesn’t have to be in a form of staying over in the office one more hour without doing anything, but it can be reading more books, it can be learning to code, it can be learning new skills or languages. I think rather than speaking to all the people, I’d dedicate this post to people who are between 15 years old-30 years old. Because the next 20 years will be on us, not on anybody, but on us.

This isn’t even specifically for tech/digital/internet industry because if we go there, we have two potential here: either we own our market by having locally made products/company founded by Indonesian succeeding or we just sit in our comfort zone: Googling everything because we just don’t want to think, liking pictures or stalking on Facebook, posting what you’re doing on Twitter, scrolling and double tapping on Instagram, and updating your sleeping hours on Path –  resulting in a scenario where we only became a market for foreign companies. I wish that Indonesia will not be the latter, but the former.

If this post offended you, it’s good, it means that I hit the right target. If this post resonates with you, please share it to your social media. If you have opinion, would love to hear it on the comments or tweet me: @jshkvn – I prefer not to hear a quick reply or comments such as but we want to enjoy life OR but we have to have a work and life balance.

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!

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.

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.

image(1)

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-

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.