Batista R. Harahap

Products & Technology

Tons of blogs and various other reading sources discuss about products & technology across different perspectives and also geographically. What may be successful in one country (area) could be successful in other places or it may fail horribly. The point is, products are hand made using technology as its driver, a fact that is always true anywhere in the world.

So what's the deal here in Indonesia? Usually between products & technology, they both play catch up with each other depending on the product owner's focus. But as a product become more and more mature, it is technology that is the driver behind all the innovation. This paragraph is like proposing that a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the way to go but I don't think it is necessarily so.

The question that we should be asking ourselves is essentially about the product itself. What are we trying to build? What will it accomplish? Will it be a solution or as a chance for users to do things enjoyably? The million dollar question as always; will it be "feasible" as a business?

Just now I just read an article at Venture Beat about SAP's initiative toward startups here. There's a great quote I feel needing to be asserted into every product and every effort of building one.

Build the Future

A bold quote and also the truth. Anyone in the tech scene must know SAP and their products, their enterprises magic to automate, index, manage and most importantly act upon the foundation of data (analytics) generated by their businesses. Their revenue is with the kind of numbers, any company would target for and the quote above is an affirmation of the company's culture. Data abundance is surely a positive indicator of the future, right?

I am a very open person when it comes to the latest advancements in technology and more often than not, I plunged into all kinds of sci-fi imaginations. Well, here in Indonesia, technology is advancing at a slower rate generally. We have cities like Jakarta, the capital that is no doubt has the most fiber optics coverage city wide. We also have Jogjakarta, a place where in hawker stalls, you can get free wifi while you eat. But those two are cities within the Java island, I can't say for cities in others islands, I never been there so I'm not speculating. Information is steadily expanding to places where the general population are.

My point is, we need more people in the tech scene to have the guts to define who we are technologically as Indonesians. Yes, we need businesses but as I said in earlier paragraphs, businesses need the technology. We are a nation of curious and tinkerer, criminally here in Indonesia, the outside world doesn't trust credit cards issued in Indonesia because of fraud levels are high here. This shows the kind of technical skills we have. It's a matter of putting it to good use for the rest of the population who doesn't know shit about technology.

Startup incubators are flourishing in Indonesia, they take technical and non-technical founders. Train and consult the founders to create awesome products through their startups. I want to underline non-technical founders and call them toonies. Toonies are founders who have the same passion with Techies, don't think of my term there as a devaluation form, it's not. The more toonies, the more startups here and that's a good thing for all of us. Competition will surely create innovation, education for the users and most importantly a solid foundation for startups to be businesses.

At the moment, I'm in Urbanesia and founded by a toonie. As a team, we've had so many differences in the past and I'm sure in the future but this is a good thing as far as the startup is concerned I believe. We learned organically about how to manage teams and create products. Yes, right now the products are still finding its identity but we're getting there. Experiments and experience is delivering us to new heights. So many things I'd love to share but will do so when it's due. Fundamentally, the most difficult part of creating a product and the technology behind it is not the product itself, it's 2 things: mindset and communication.

I can't say how much I love being in a world that I've passionately love since my first "Hello World". To wrap things up, all the randomness above leads to this. There is no such thing as a perfect product, even miserably so, a perfect technology to support products. It is the bread and butter of any startup to find ways to cope. My best thinking about product & technology is to just create, create, fail, create, success, create, fail, fail, create, success, success, fail, create, create and create. You just don't give up. Sounds simple, I know by hand that it is not anywhere near simple, that's why mindset counts. Communication will happen after mindsets, when it's there, kickass products are there for the taking.

No product sucks, the creators are and that's a learning curve any product owners should realize. It takes man hours and a whole lot of efforts to create, things that are usually lightly taken. Toonies or Techies, we're in the business of delivering happiness to our users, now, to build futures.

26 August 2012 by Batista Harahap on communication | competition | future | indonesia | innovation | mindset | product | sap | techie | Technology | toonie
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