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‘Ask Me Anything’ Session in Virtual Group

Biweekly agenda in one of my online chatting group is named as ‘Asdul’ or ‘Assalamu’alaikum Dulur’ which is initiated by some of alumni of a dormitory scholarship regional Jogja. This kind of programme aimed to greet one member who is chosen as a speaker at that night and he/she should share life experience particularly after graduated from college and answer any questions come up from moderator and other audiences. My turn was successfully held at 12 March 2016 start from 8 pm until finished. The discussion run very well and we mainly discussed about startup which I will share what we talked about here. As usual, the discussion was led by a moderator (Mod) who had a responsibility to keep the rhythm and ensure it run conductively.

Mod : “Hallo Hamid, have you already joined in this group?”

Me : “Hi everyone!”

Mod : “So Hamid, we will talk about something related to new life lesson, what kind of lessons you got after graduated from UGM?

Me : “The valuable lesson, Allah SWT always knows the best way for us. I think that is a message once I put the student status off.”

Mod : “But, why?”

Me : “Okay, post-college is a phase in which we are let to choose one of many options, we are given chance to select a way that is the best according to our consideration and calculation. In that process, we will then realise there is a help from God to answer whether our chosen way is the best one. This is what I experienced after graduation.”

Mod : “Well, that is so diplomatic :)”

Me : “Haha, How come?”

There was another question from member.

Rosy : “What does make you eventually realise that you are led into the best way?”

Me : “Because of a way that I cannot imagine before, which is better than what I plan before.”

Mod : “Alright, we would continue to next question. What about your dreams? Are they still in the same things or there any changes?”

Me : “To be honest, they are already changed. What I wanted to reach while I was still in dormitory is totally different with I am planning now.”

Mod : “So, what’s that -your dreams for around one to two years later or probably next five years?”

Me : “Now, I am interested to be involved in technopreneurship.”

Mod : “Well, very nice. And what about your current startup? Is it still in progress?”

Me : Alhamdulillah, we still keep maintaining the momentum in order to grow continuously :)”

Mod : “Which one?”

Me : “The only one I involved. For this time, I am still learning within current this startup. I will be hopefully able to run my own startup next time.”

Mod : “So, what kind of partnership opportunity with Farah and Arsyan? Will you build a startup?”

Me : “Oh that belongs to #keepdreaming, hopefully in two thousand something, we could make it happen.”

Mod : “Great! What makes you become interested so much with startup? How joyful it is?”

Me : “I really eager to create a collaboration of science, technology and entrepreneurship to solve problems. What problems? Unfortunately, they have not been fixed yet. Why startup? Because working in startup is pleased, there are young people, dynamic and creative. And obviously, we become a part of solution.”

Mod : “Hum, so you are still discussing about future startup right?”

Me : “Yup, there are a lot of references which make me amazed, mostly in the US. But, for nowadays Indonesia’s situation is not ready yet.”

Mod : “What are they that make you amazed?”

Me : “One of them is Farmer Business Network, this startup delivers the advantage of Data Science to be applied into Agriculture. That is very cool!”

Mod : “What technical knowledge is most important to be learnt?”

Me : “I think it is Lean Startup, this tends to a circulation of try-learn-develop. This is quite general but effective enough to add value to product or company.”

There was another question from member.

Pras : “Mid, what is the definition of startup actually?”

Me : “There are a lot, but the most essential is that startup presents an innovation to be ready disrupting the dominance of big corporate by implementing technology.”

Mod : “Interesting!”

Me : “We plan to develop business in sector Agriculture or Maritime.”

Mod : “Why do you choose those? What is the potential features?”

Me : “Clearly because the future Indonesia economics in those two sectors remain big challenges.”

There was another question from member.

Pras : “So it is always related to technology which I mean is online basis?”

Me : “Why not? I mean -based on my limitation- a country whose tech company environment is well established is US. Its first phase started with digital technology and grew uninterruptedly to software, hardware and biotech. Indonesia today is still entering first phase, that’s why there is a hype of digital startup. Furthermore, startup will grow exponentially in a country that has huge population number and benefits demographic bonus, namely, US, China and India. The next should be Indonesia as long as the Government is ready with the regulation and infrastructure, also the society should be ready with the creativity and their involvement.”

Lena : “Hamid, I am still unsure with startups’ contribution to GDP?”

Me : “Startup is similar to other kind of business, they must pay tax, reduce unemployment rate and etc.”

Asri : “I think it is not limited to only mobile apps, but digital technology application is still dominant. Do you agree?”

Me : “Exactly, Indonesia is still experiencing early phase which deploys digital things, its market remains the same situation. I have ever discussed with VP of eFishery whose product is hardware, it needs massive effort to educate market. But I believe that its future is so positive”

Rosy : “What are some cool startups?”

Me : “What aspects do you look at? ‘Cool’ has different meaning from person to person, for me eFishery is very cool. But if you ask the remarkable startups for common people, I will mention Bukalapak, Tokopedia, Gojek, Traveloka, Sale Stock and etc.”

Mod : “What are the obstacles which we need to know?”

Me : “Okay, the first thing is team. This becomes common factor of many failed startup. There are few people who want to involve into startup due to its big risk. Cofounders are very important, they are people who complete your weakness and have the same vision. It’s likely same way to find out a spouse. Thus, for a single who plan to build startup, you have two big homework: find out spouse and prospective cofounder. :p”

Pras : “What about the same person, I mean our wife is also our cofounder?”

Me : “Personally, I don’t agree, because she will be needed to grow children instead of startup. But she absolutely will help us to grow the startup itself by giving any wise advice.”

“Second, problem and solution. Startup is coming to solve problem and make sure that the solution you deliver is needed. Your solution should not make the problem become more complicated.”

“Third, strategy. It is very necessary, in particular monetisation strategy. Create the business model effectively and well-matched and please do a market research to confirm your market size. The product or service you develop must fit to the market, because startup should also make profit, not only solve problems.”

“Fourth, don’t make a lot of plan, just do your idea along with your dream team. Learn it, develop it time by time.”

Mod : “How to know the whole tips and strategies like those?”

Me : “More reading either books or articles and more discussions.”

Asri : “What are difficulties to be handled that lead the startup not running well?”

Me : “For now, I am not leading a team, I am a part of the team. But, from my experience, commitment is vital, therefore, you must be quite smart in finding cofounder out. As we see at Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed Google, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy developed Snapchat, Dr Warsito and Dr Edi developed Edwar Technology, Zaky and Fajrin developed Bukalapak, Ghibran and Ikhsan developed eFishery and also Senjaya and Jaman developed Badr Interactive. There are many startups started from a dormitory such as Facebook, Snapchat, etc.”

Mod : “Well, let’s move to questions from audience, ‘Mid, when will you plan to get married? You have already worked right? Are there any crazy ideas after involving in your current work?’”

Me : “Just give me do’a to be able marry soon :D. What ideas? As I mentioned before, willing to build startup in either Agriculture or Maritime sector. I also amaze with CI-Agriculture which deploys Data Science into farm management.”

Mod : “Let’s move to Gossip or Fact session guys, Hamid’s Medium account already has 23 followers, it’s a gossip or a fact?”

Me : “That’s true :)

Mod : “Next question, ‘Hamid has never had shampoo, consequently he always asks for it from friends.’”

Me : “That’s not true, I seldom ask for it.”

Mod : “There is another question from audience, ‘Halo mid! What year do you plan to start your own startup? Now, what are you doing, looking for idea or team or investor or everything? Is there a plan to pursue master degree? MIT-Sloan has just launched a master of analytics degree :)

Me : “For now, I am still learning for 2 years to collect three things: Knowledge, Network and Capital. Pursuing master becomes one of my dreams, but also still discussing any visible ideas in the meantime.

Asri : “that is too long, isn’t that?”

Me : “As long as there has not been a startup who exits IPO yet, the opportunity is still remaining a long time, prepare it very well. According to my calculation, my plan in the future will get the best momentum in some years later, hopefully.”

Mod : “Next Gossip or Fact question, ‘Hamid always throws away breath through nose loudly.’”

Me : “Haha, that seems to be true if I get flu.”

Mod : “Next, ‘Hamid always plays a song from Ran titled ‘Dekat Di Hati’ every morning, also sometimes he sets the room alone and plays Payung Teduh’s songs, even though he ever said that the songs are bad at the first time.”

Me : “Seems to be true. But those are caused by others. They always sing those songs in the home, therefore I become more like to listen to the songs.”

Mod : “The last statement, Hamid has a favourable book that always kept below the bed. It’s likely a photo album.’”

Me : “That is gossip, I have one but is not kept below the bed.”

Mod : “Is there a plan to back to hometown?”

Me : “Yup, I have a plan to build a social foundation developing education and youth in Batang regency.”

Mod : “What is it likely? Is it similar to Rumah Imperium?”

Me : “Not really, honestly I have not specified it. But to gain the dream, I need: Knowledge, Network and Capital, so the most visible way is to be an entrepreneur. Because, an entrepreneur allocate most time to meet new people, make a lot of connection.”

Pras : “Keep it up! Becoming a regent of Batang right?”

Me : “Not really, prove it by real contribution, make a real impact, then you will be allowed to talk about political position.”

Mod : “Talking about a partnership starting from dormitory, and then #keepdreaming along with friends. What kind of startup do you imagine to build up with them? And who are they?”

Me : “As I said before, it is about Agriculture or Maritime. Hence, I need spatial expertise, biologist and IoT (Internet of Things) specialist. Hopefully, our #keepdreaming will come true and Jogja’s collaboration will be able to be gained in the near future. For now, we are still learning respectively.

Mod : “Who are they?”

Me : “There are Arsyan, Farah, Ryan, and Isca. We create a chatting group to discuss tech-related things.”

Mod : “Did it run since a long time ago?”

Me : “Yes, quite long time ago.”

Mod : “What about future potential business in Jogja?”

Me : “In my view, alumni UGM is not passionate in entrepreneurship, they would prefer career to be lecturers or employees. But, that is not wrong. That’s not the same with Bandung and Jakarta (UI), hence the tech level in the two cities are the highest. There is an interesting fact after discussed with my friend, most of ex-Outstanding Students are becoming founders of some startups. Let me mention: Alfatih Timur (Batch 2007), CEO of Kitabisa.com, Andreas Senjaya (Batch 2007), CEO of iGrow.asia, Iman Usman (Batch 2009), CEO of Ruangguru.com, Khaira Al Hafi (Batch 2010), CEO of Meetchange.org and Rangga Husnaprawira (Batch 2011), CEO of Bukapintu.co. Different college, different culture.”

Mod : “What makes them becoming more interested to build startup?”

Me : “I think because they are near to centre of business, Jakarta, information will absolutely flow faster than other campus. Bandung, as a centre of creativity, allow the youth to produce something creatively. Different to Jogja, its trend is to be development offices of many startups because of low cost of employment fee despite high quality human resources. Nevertheless, after Rector launched a business incubation centre, Innovative Academy, we can hope that there will be a lot of startup coming from UGM alumni.”

Mod : “Then, what are the difference between business and startup?”

Me : “Startup is a business, it is actually coming from Startup Business or Startup Company. But, there is a little different in the way they run the business. They would prefer to increase the company’s valuation instead of profit. Nonetheless, they mainly have set up the monetisation strategy in the near future. Bukalapak, Tokopedia and Gojek have not had profit, they are still losing a lot of money, and thus they need investors. What investors believe to injecting their money to startups is because of their monetisation strategy. That is very important.”

Mod : “Interesting! What about medical? Is there any opportunity?”

Me : “A lot! In the US, the trend is entering into biotech business. Today’s business around the world are entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in which many scientists and biotechnologists are much needed. Unfortunately, Indonesia is not ready to face it yet. Our current project in Stream Intelligence is to help a healthcare startup to grow, but they are facing a hard fact that their business model cannot be scalable and sustainable right now. Thus, they must change a bit of their business model. It is why data analytics for business of either startup or mature company is very important. It is useful to know how far your business is and how to grow it bigger and bigger by analysing data. If you have questions about data analytics, please do not be hesitate to contact me or just visit our site.”

This is the end of our discussion. Quite long, but hopefully it can be useful for the readers or inspire you to do any great things for Indonesia. Thanks for reading!

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