Why Tech in Asia?

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Each and every day, you wakes up and go to work, there should be a question of: Why do I work for my current employer? Why am I working on the current job? What is my purpose? Have I got something worthwhile out of this company? Those questions should be in your mind and if most of the answers lead you to a negative feeling, I’d say you should quit your company and start a fresh/a new.

This brings me to the question: Why Tech in Asia?

  1. To write and have my opinions/articles be seen by 1, 10, 100, 1.000.000 of people. I love English, and I love to read so that leads me to learn writing and there is no better place than an online media to do that. Although we’re a blog, we do keep the journalism ethics intact. And to simply have your writings published and seen by thousands after the publish button is clicked is just a satisfying feeling.
  2. Putting Indonesia startups on Tech in Asia map, if not the whole tech world map. If you realize, most of our news are coming from China, Japan, and Indonesia would probably come third most of the time. This is a concern for me and really pushes me to write more and cover more stories so that when people browse Tech in Asia, you will see stories about Indonesia and especially about startups from the country.
  3. I meet extraordinary and inspiring entrepreneurs & leaders almost every day. This is probably a chance that not every 19-years-old in Indonesia can get. I have met countless entrepreneurs whether it’s from my very own country or even abroad. I talked and chatted – either casually or seriously – with people who I never imagined to even meet with in the first place.
  4. To learn the successes, and the failures, of building a start-up on a first hand basis. Writing about startups has really involved me in a way where I get updated with what is happening with the startups here, although I’d want to write only the successful stories, failures always be there and as they say the majority of startups fail anyway. It really helps me to learn from them directly or indirectly.
  5. To simply build my network from ground up. Before I get involved in the startup scene, I basically just a normal university student with a dream of getting some decent job with the decent pay. I know almost no-one in the industry, but now I’d say after around 18 months blogging and networking on events, networking nights, and conferences, things have changed dramatically and network will help me when I build my very own startup later. Since the world has more and more working towards a globalization and more connected, without a right connection, even if you have great ideas or skills, you won’t get that far.
  6. To mature, on a more accelerated basis. Most of people in my age with rich parents (I’m not stereotyping, but if I do, I apologize) would probably just party hard and live the life like you will be in university/college all your life. But fortunately, I don’t have that privilege. Working in a startup really made me mature in an accelerated way because it forces you to do that. It shapes your mindset and push you to make hard decisions in a timely manner. Which leads me to number 7.
  7. To work in a startup environment. If you ask me several years ago, “would I work on a small company with less than 10 people and making less than millions of dollars?” I’d say “I’ll think about it” or maybe “Naaaah” – but nowadays I’d suggest to my friends to do that. Why? Working in a corporate structure is really old-fashioned and not really nurtures your entrepreneurial instinct, at the same time there’s always bureaucrazy and your boss will have to report to another boss. In startup, you really feel that your contribution matters, a lot, that if you keep winning, your company wins too. You will be more exposed, you will see that people appreciate your work directly instead of congratulating your boss. (P.S. I have never worked in a corporate world so I might be biased, I’m open to any million dollar paycheck vacancy so I can feel it though!) – yet at the same time I know that working in a startup is not for everyone, the challenge, the stress, and the pay might not be the same. But if you really want to build your own company, where’s better to learn than at a startup?
  8. To work for and with amazing people. When I met Willis for the first time, and first couple of months, we fought a lot. Seriously. But now I’m just simply amazed (have always been) at his work rate, his ambition, his contribution to the ecosystem, his maturity, and his none-bullshit way of thinking and speaking. I learned a ton of things from him, both good things, and bad thing such as playing Diablo 3. He’d look like a zombie most of the time yet even if I did mistakes, he would patiently tell me and told me what I should’ve done. The editors are just really the 3 people that I really look up to, although so far we only have met for work stuff, I really really do wish that the whole team can spend 1 week on a beach playing and drinking beers.
  9. It all leads into two things: Passion and Purpose. I know that passion is probably one of the most-used words lately, but it really does affect the way you work. If you are passionate about it, you will see that the work you produce is just better and people will see it too. Working with a purpose and a goal always important, and I always have a purpose of getting inspired and inspiring people. I want to see more and more upcoming young entrepreneurs from this country, whether it’s in tech industry or not. The country needs these people badly. And I hope what I’m doing would help that, bit by bit.

There isn’t a number 10 because 10 is a symbol of perfectness and startup is simply a right example of imperfectness. Hence the reason we build it day by day, scale it, fund it, so that it can work for thousands of people out there and affect their life one way or another.

I’m not gonna lie or at the same time boast, but I have been offered jobs from several companies, both foreign and local, where he/she is also working on something exciting and some of them offered a higher payroll and bonuses. I’m flattered and it really shows me that money will follow great works, but for now, I’m not thinking about money yet (I do need it, yes) but more towards what I can contribute to the ecosystem and really leave a mark before I continue to my next adventure.

Startup Asia Singapore 2012

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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!

Reject. Rejection. Rejected.

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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!

April, April, APRIL!

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It has been three months since I updated my blog. Yes, I know I have promised to update this blog regularly, hey, I even promised myself I would update it at least three times a week. Well, life caught up with me and so am I, but now I’m back and this time hopefully will be different. Once a week, at least.

So, what has been going on with my life?

  • I’m 19! I’m getting older, and hopefully more mature. A little bit different this year though, I didn’t blew my candle with my own family but my second family. Which is my friends! Here’s one of the picture(thank you Jeanette Jusuf, Fenny Natalia and Valentcia Trifonia !) :

Me and My beloved ‘sisters’

  • Academically, last semester which is the third semester i got the 4.0 GPA which is quite a surprise to me as I felt like it was going to be my worst semester to date. Yet, life surprises you! This semester, I’m in the Applied ERP class which is full of people that are far more dilligent than me, and now I’m having such a difficulty to catch up!
  • Profesionally, it is super great! Ever since I said yes to be the Project Manager of the #StartupLokal birthday, I get to meet the initiators quite regularly more than the others, which is a privilege to learn more from the four inspiring people. Then, i get to the point where Sanny Gaddafi, one of the initiators asked me to manage startuplokal.org because of my work at Inageek, and so I did, and people are quite satisfied with it. Time goes by and Willis Wee from Penn Olson approached me to write for them, and again so I did. Recently, Penn Olson got an investment from East Ventures and so I get to meet Willson Cuaca of EV a couple of  time and we got something in the motion!

So, these are what i can compile in the last 3 months. It supposed to be a lot more than this but hey, I probably can make a book out of it! Talking about a book, I do co-curated a book with Rhein Mahatma#StartupLokal Kita. Do visit the site and buy it! See you all on the next update! :)