Batista R. Harahap

Moving On Off Urbanesia

Last night was thankful. All of us Ex Urbanesia gathered with Selina as a sponsor. Unfortunately we couldn't meet up for as long as we'd want to but I managed to learn a thing or two. It's satisfying to meet them all, it's been a fun ride for the last 3.5 years.

This blog post serves as a melting pot of what I've gained and also lost for the amount of time I was at Urbanesia.

Money

In total I have earned ~Rp. 727 millions during my time there.

I am friends with Selina from play school so if you add up my tuition fee from play school through junior high, that's the first capital my grandparents have paid for me. I can't remember exactly but let's say it's Rp. 50 millions.

Second point, just before I joined Urbanesia, I spent my personal money of about Rp. 150 millions to get to know the right people in the business.

So money earned subtracted with the last 2 paragraphs will be ~Rp. 527 millions.

It's not a lot because I didn't include lost time and or opportunity but I gained more than money.

Network

Before Urbanesia, no one knew me. After Urbanesia, if you google my name, the search results are exactly how I envision my personal brand is.

When Urbanesia was invested by Kompas Group of Digital, I was actually against it. But, to empower the people within Urbanesia with Kompas as a backing is interesting. There I met with Kompas' execs and also skillful people in the IT division.

I met with a lot of like minded people here in Jakarta and also in Bandung, Jogja and Singapore. The mix include founders, co-founders, VCs and everything in between.

People I don't know would contact me at LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to geek out. Thanks for the insights I've been privileged for.

People

This is what I'm most proud of.

In any company, people come and go. I met with different kinds of characters; some hungry for knowledge, some come & go just like that and some go inspired to become more than who they are before.

Knowledge

Being a software engineer, this is the number one trait any one of us should have. Back then, I told the engineering team that this is something other teams should be inspired with. We'd have Geektalks to talk about anything worthwhile.

"Bisa ga bisa cuman masalah waktu"

Trust

Not everyone was inspired but the ones who are were the ones who developed the most. I learned that a simple act of trust goes further than just telling people what to do. Too much trust effectively filter the right people from the worst kinds of people.

A couple of times I am criticized for my trust. Others would see it like I am washing my hands clean of my own responsibilities, others see me as too naive and others would not comment.

Yes, I admit that I put too much trust.

In the end, I never regretted my trust even towards the people who misuse it. Both me and them have learned more if they'd want to learn that is. If not then it's priceless for me to know how to filter out the right from the wrong people.

Booleans

A computer works because of binary digits of zeroes and ones. In any programming language this is somewhat translated into True or False. The problem with True and False, it doesn't know Right or Wrong.

So when making decisions, being Right is more important than being True. My harder decisions is letting go good people. Good is not Great. This means I have failed in developing them enough to a point where they are a valuable asset for the company.

I am told and talked that I cared for things that doesn't really matter. What I did wrong was my failure to quantify the things that seemed like it matters little. A very important lesson for me to measure and quantify everything.

Other times, value is derived from quantifiable properties like data. I have no problem in sharing data, I just don't like to share contexts within a data. Contexts like time and space are simple enough to convert data into information. The defining quality of data: conversion.

As much as I like revenue, it just doesn't make sense to surrender all to survive now and die tomorrow. I grew up in a time when Microsoft is a monopoly. So for the giant of the Internet, ever heard of the word empower? Go figure.


In closing, I hope someone else can learn from my experience poured into this blog post.

Indonesia needs to have an identity in the digital world. Today, we are still considered as consumers. Not just as a market but as startups. We consume high level abstractions like programming language, hardware and APIs.

We need to be strong in producing our standards and also implementations. Technology is what drives the world and now is a better time than any other time in history to claim ourselves not just as builders but as owners.

I still naively believe that one can make a change. I've proven it so many times either by myself or by empowering others.

So if you're planning, running or working in a startup, don't settle too early! Generations ahead of us need a role model, let's give them.

The journey is as important as the destination, empower others by sharing.


I am always up for Geektalks anytime with anyone, anywhere.

from me import Me

me = Me()

def _empower(other):  
  me.learn()
  me.build()
  me.share(other)

legacy = [_empower(other) for other in me.people()]  
01 May 2014 by Batista Harahap on build | empower | learn | urbanesia | share
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