2018 Resolutions

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As I grew older (I’m getting used to the way my girlfriend – or practically all Koreans – of adding one year of age once the year turns new) and looking at my past New Year Resolutions: 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 — it has a consistent theme. I somehow forgot to create one this year but one thing for sure: I traveled a lot this year.

So here goes my goals (not resolutions) next year:

1) Read 25 books a year – or roughly 1 book in 2 weeks. How? By reading 25-30 pages a day for whole 365 days.

2) Write at least 1 post a day for multiple blogs/projects that I’m going to do next year

3) Start doing Digital Sabbath - No electronics or screens from Friday night to Saturday night. Less social media (I’ve deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone, blocked its access from my web/mobile browser)

4) Travel more, but to places that I’ve never been. I traveled a lot this year, but the only new place I’ve been is Manila and Boracay.

5) Be more healthy and disciplined. I’m trying to not have dinner after 6, no fast food, no coffee (only weekend). I’m also creating a more disciplined schedule (from waking up to sleeping) — I realized that actually my school days are better since I have a routine I can just follow (and you basically can’t be late for school)

6) Starting a non-profit, God/church related movement. I realized that ever since I was baptized there’s one wish I have for God and what God has been fulfilling: how I can be a platform where God’s name is exalted. How can I convince or inspire people to follow God through my personal and professional life. I want to do more next year in this regard

7) Committing to my love life. I believe that I am super lucky to have found someone that: understands me, saw my worst yet still accept me, I can feel at ease with her, supports me in my hard journey of entrepreneurship, and the best thing: she’s the one who pushed me to start tithing (8 years of new life and I only did like 1% instead of full tithing) and to really read bible.

8) Getting Talenta to where it should be. We’ve had probably one of the worst thing that can happened to a startup in early 2017, our co-founder left, and we sacked our sales manager. Yet, God has different plan for us. We hired an awesome Sales Manager who led Talenta turnaround and managed to triple our sales. Here’s hoping to tripling that again next year.

9) Spend less. I’ve been trying to track my spending yet the effort is half-assed and so I kept feeling that I’ve been spending more than I earn. I bought new PC and TV this year (of which I’m still paying its installments), I traveled way too often because of my long-distance relationship. I aim to spend less and invest more this 2018 year.

I’m sure 2018 is going to be another better and more awesome year blessed by God. Amen!

First Sermon 2018

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Starting the year properly with a kick-off sermon by Pak Handoyo Santoso at Gereja Kemah Tabernakel. Here are the summary:

1) Start your life journey with God guiding you and together with God’s blessing/protection. As being pictured in this verse:

Numbers 10:33-34

33 So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest. 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.

2) Just like the way Samuel and Saul relationship, we (God’s sons and daughters) have to have strong relationship with God’s disciples/prophets so that we can be guided to be “King” in this world.

1 Samuel 9:26 & 1 Samuel 10:1

They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together.

As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”

3) And yet, don’t forget God as God has blessed us.Read Deutronomy 8 as Saul became King and yet he sinned and forgotten Jesus and ended up killing himself, as does Jonah in number 5.

4) This year, do not depend on other people’s help. By this, he meant we still should be kind to each other, but each men has their own trouble and so we should depend on God and God only. Just like the way Samuel told Saul to let his “helpers” go ahead:

1 Samuel 9:27

As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”

5) In Jonah book and or life, God has given us several lessons for us:

a) God is in control of our life and everything. This is true when we see how God can make Jonah survive despite being eaten by a big fish. And then again, when Jonah was provided a vine (Jonah 4:6), and again when the vine withered because of only a worm.

b) If you / your life doesn’t follow God’s plan and order, despite your glory (Jonah made a city of Nineveh follow Jesus from their life full of sin) – you will feel like it’s better to die (Jonah 4:3)

c) If God can love a sinful city like Nineveh (that can’t even differentiate their right hand from their left), won’t God love us even more and bless us more?

d) Jonah has made 120,000 people follow God, the biggest in the bible (even compared to Peter who converts 3,000 people when Holy Spirit was given to him)

e) Do not depend on your own idea/power. Despite Jonah helped 120,000 people, he chose to stay on his own – outside the city of Nineveh, and built his own shelter. This shows his arrogance and belief over his own power. (and yet even God blessed him with the vine)

f) See the big picture/focus on winning the war not the battle/small things. In Jonah 4, Jonah are seen protesting a small matter (withered vine) despite winning over 120,000 lives and preaching words over them.

Last Sunday in 2017

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Ending this year properly with Sunday sermon today at Gereja Kemah Tabernakel. Summing up Pak Handoyo Santoso’s sermon and basically this will prep us up for 2018:

1. Be amazing/create amazement in your circle/for your audience – in the name or for the glory of our God, Jesus Christ. As He did:

Mark 1:27

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him

2. The way you start your life or anything in your life, and the way you go through it will decide the outcome/the end of it. Start with Jesus Christ and go through it with Him.

3. If you read the words of God (that is the Bible) there are so many promises, waiting to be fulfilled (or already being fulfilled in your life), but remember that in it also exist the rule/the way of living life according to Him.

4. In this parable of the sower (Matthew 13), Pak Handoyo highlighted this part

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The question: if it fell to THE GOOD SOIL, why not everyone receive hundred percent of the yield? The answer: because some people only listen/read, yet doesn’t understand. Some people understand, yet doesn’t do. Some people listen, understand, and do His words day in day out and thus receiving 100%

5. And even despite all God’s blessing and us doing right in God’s eyes. Be wary (but not scared) of the evil. As the verse goes:

Luke 4:13

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

God bless you all!

God is here for us, sinners

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Continuing from my previous post, I will write in excerpts of today’s Christmas sermon by Pak Pendeta Handoyo Santoso from Gereja Kemah Tabernakel.

Pak Handoyo repeated previous verse again:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And he strengthen it with Matthew 1:23

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel — which means, God with us.

How beautiful this verse is — God is saying that from now on, from this day, from Christmas, YOU are NOT ALONE. You are with Me, your creator, your Father, your Guide. If you choose to accept Me.

And Pak Handoyo continued to read from Matthew 1, where Jesus’ family tree/genealogy is written. From Abraham, to Jacob, to Judah. This might seem to be a “historical verse” to normal eyes.

But Pak Handoyo told us that on this list, there are sinner, not just one but more than a few. Jacob has sinned for he deceived his father and brother. Judah, also sinned by sleeping with a prostitute which no other than his own daughter-in-law, Tamar, and Perez was their son.

God has came for us, sinners, no matter how deep or how bad our sin is. He has came, and it is a new beginning for us. And we should celebrate this beginning, not just the festivities.

The Meaning of Christmas

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For most of my life, Christmas is a period of festivities and as a child back then, it was enjoyable purely since it’s a holiday and I don’t have to do assignments or learn for an exam.

As I grew older and start going to the church, I start asking questions regarding of why are we celebrating God’s birth over and over again.

Over the past few years, I have taken the Christmas day or week leading towards the new year as a way to re-connect (If I feel like I was disconnected) or to rejuvenate/re-fill my faith as I go toward a new year.

Today’s verse is simple yet powerful (Isaiah 6:9):

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The first word might mean nothing; a child is born. But the second one, to us a son IS GIVEN. God was born in flesh, and was given to us all — IF we want to receive Him. IF we want to receive His advices.

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s service as I get deeper in preparation for 2018, another year where God will make miracles in my life. Amen.

Achievement in 2017

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As the year comes to close (Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!) especially on my 25th (quarter life crisis, anyone?) – I’m spending this long weekend reviewing 2017 especially on a personal level.

And so when @arisetyo tweeted “What achievement from 2017 that you are proud?” – most people would probably guess my answer will be related to my work/company: Talenta. Yet, despite that, I instinctively replied:

I got into a (long distance) relationship sometimes around September 2016. She’s Korean, lives in Seoul, speak little to no English.

I have been preaching to most of my friends that long distance relationship wouldn’t work. I mean, even couple who live close by would fight all the time, how would a relationship survive hours of flights away, nevermind culture differences, and whatnots.

Yet, here I am, 15 months into the relationship, and I couldn’t be more happier with who I am with. No matter how tiring it is to fly 7 hours for both me and her. No matter how big our fight is when we meet. She’s the right match for me and I feel super comfortable with her, whenever I’m with her I feel at home.

Thank You God, for letting me meet her and to help us stay committed in this relationship under your blessing. Also, she’s the one who got me back on track in Jesus and after all this years, I finally gave a tithe because of what she said “Your money, is not yours, it is God’s”

 

 

Parents Knowledge and Future Childrens

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Just had this thought and I think posting it will do me good as a future parents. Or maybe some of you might be thinking of this too.

When I was little, everything that my parents said is basically like God’s commands. I rarely say no to them. At the same time, everything they explain about this world became my primary source of knowledge.

As the time passes, obviously I started school and I have my second source of knowledge. But still, if I had my doubts, I would go to my parents and ask them which is true and which is false. Whatever their answer is, I would believe them with all my heart. Because, parents is always right, right?

Lately, I realized that this isn’t always true. I also realized that parents can limit a child’s knowledge or even imagination. This is somewhat sad or unfair to think about as the child’s brain is just like a sponge which is at its very best absorbing tons of knowledge at this age, but parents might be a filter or even be a stumbling block.

Internet liberates children from this block, I would imagine starting from those who was born in the 80s. This can only get accelerated in the future and parents’ responsibility as the source of knowledge might dilutes to none as a kid would assert to Google just like their parents can.

With Elon Musk developing Neuralink (must read), future of parenting might not be the source of knowledge but instead a judgement of a knowledge. Children in the future might learn a lot more things in 5-10 years than their grandparents did in their whole lifetime.

This is scary, but it might be awesome for human kind. What do you think?

 

The Most Important 7 Years of Your Life

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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.

Basically: if you are younger than 20 and reading this, STOP SPENDING HOURS WATCHING INSTAGRAM STORIES AND SPEND THOSE HOURS TALKING TO PEOPLE, FIND MENTORS, AND READ BOOKS.

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

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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 :)

Being a Founder is a Privilege

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Michael Pryor, CEO of Trello, was up on stage at SaaStr 2017 (a conference for Software as a Service/cloud software) and as I watched the interview with Jason Lemkin (SaaStr), he mentioned something that I’d love to highlight.

“I’d like to mention that I came from a very privileged background as a white male and with high education and a nice family to back me up”

Something similar to that.

And the point being, if he wasn’t all that, he might or he could not have started Trello.

While diversity and gender are all the rage in Silicon Valley, we might not highlight it enough in the SE Asia region, or specifically in Indonesia.

Events and conferences might not highlight or showcase this but if you dig deeper into funded startups in Indonesia, you can see a trend where most funded tech startups are founded by founders who have studied overseas and came back. In fact, 2 out of 3 unicorns in Indonesia are founded with such background. Which I’m kind of dumbfounded of a VC who announced they will only invest in such background, while the market reality is already happened that way.

Founders with such background has a safety net where they can take the highest risk and if the company was shut down – they will always can go back to their family business (however small or big they might be)

Despite not being part of such background, I still want to be thankful of the fact that I have a supportive family, I don’t have to work to support each and every one of my family, and even if I failed (knock wood) – I know I can find a decent job. I have all the time to learn languages by myself through the internet (fluent in English and Korean now). I definitely would state that I am privileged and thanking God for it.

This lack of diversity will also resulted in less snowball effect as the rich gets richer and might have less rags to riches story from tech. Again, I’d love to applaud William Tanuwijaya (which went to the same university as I did) as he might be the poster boy for that story.

Here’s to hoping there will be more diversity of (funded) startup founders in Indonesia and in the region.