Juggling 2010 for 2011

It is now the 28th day of December 2010, rounding up to be one of the most inspiring year I have had so far. This year, a multitude of blessings and opportunities presented themselves to a point where I feel I am a child again this December excited about what I’m gonna get this Christmas. It is not without a great deal of struggle, that is a definition of me.

Looking back to 1996, I had my first Yahoo account. It was then Geocities.com, a website providing free website service for just about anyone interested. Back in the days, offering something free on the Internet is considered a lunatic. Well over the years, the web proved skeptics wrong I suppose. Look at the big 4: Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, they’re the very definition of success.

Nowadays, monetizing the Internet is getting smarter and smarter everyday. Directly or indirectly, startups create revenue channels. Either by ads or other means, the web has evolved to something bigger than anything we’ve come to expect. Indonesia is still an infant compared to other countries but all eyes are on us now. With only a penetration of just above 10%, we have managed to be the top users of any best seller website in the world.

While that’s proof of how big and engaging the Indonesian market, still the traffic is monetized outside of Indonesia. We are still a nation of consumers with an amazing consumptive behavior especially in big cities like Jakarta. I had college friends from Singapore and Brunei telling me how bored they are with their own countries because of their nation’s limited quantity in people. They’ve been through every corner of their country and to think or create something new to do is just not happening.

Here in Indonesia, we are blessed with an abundance of everything. From people, cars, bikes to culture, we are rich! The sad thing is that it is still not enough (for now) to trigger creativity that can lead to innovation. I’m just saying this generally because every day I see people with brands everywhere on their bodies and they’re like robots. Not that I don’t like it but it basically numbs you to think out of the box.

Compared to the general population, there are so few entrepreneurs and not to mention those whose success level are off the chart, they are a commodity in Indonesia rare and sometimes untouched. I have a habit of choosing the path that is not easy. It’s not something I intended but that’s just me. From something new and most likely difficult to comprehend at the time, I feel the challenge to understand at minimum. Whether I can capitalize on it is another story. Like an investment, values grow over time.

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do whatever it is I wanna do. Appreciation is due to friends and family for their never ending patience of seeing me do things they can’t understand at the time. The most important lesson is that I had the chance to explore myself and therefore knows my own limitation and boundaries. Technically, every one of us have the ability to compete but then it’s not all that. I learned that the most important part of being technical is to brand it into yourself and to others.

My first Hello World was in a very early age, I was at my 2nd or 3rd grade in elementary school where my family bought a new 8088 XT with 5.25” disks. It was state of the art at the time and I was amazed by it. My dad played Digger and I learned how to play it. Got really excited to understand how sometimes the monitor is monochrome but when you play Digger, the colors appeared.

Back then books about computers is a rare gem. My dad had 1 and it was a book about Apple BASIC while the computer was a PC. It was in English and I didn’t know the language. So I asked to have an English course at Verlin, Pondok Indah which I did. I began to understand bits and pieces from the book. It took me quite a while to produce my own Hello World.

I started subscribing to the US version of PC Magazine and that was life changing. It opened up a whole new perspective about PCs to me. I am a grassroot learner, I like to learn the basic of everything and after knowing the basics of them all, focus on parts that interest me most. Well in IT, it was programming, I find it amazing with every keystroke you make on your keyboard, you are controlling bits into something humans can comprehend.

In Junior and Senior high, I always get 9s on my report card with computers. They taught me BASIC and in elementary school, I already knew and practiced the language although privately. When I was in college, that was a pivotal moment in my programming years. I learned the almighty C. With most of today’s popular programming language derived from C, I felt at home immediately with PHP and just recently, Java.

This year, I had one of my best moment as a programmer. Since I joined Urbanesia, every time me and the team coded, we seem to always find “prograsm” moments throughout. Urbanesia is a complex and vast entity. A lot of it was still a sleeping giant. The whole team progressed to become by my personal standard to be one of the best programmers I’ve every worked with and everytime, the team is thirst and hungry for more. They have shown that nothing can’t beat our passion. Our passion spans across a multitude of diverse experiences between us and we managed to work collectively as one entity. You guys rock!

During Urbanesia’s v1.0 push to our launch date, the team coded 19.023 lines of codes not including those we were unable to count. Our SVN statistics was like Christmas all over. During the 4,5 weeks of coding, we have generated more than half the codes that Urbanesia Beta has produced. Every single aspect of Urbanesia was refined and optimized to enable to scale. We discovered things we didn’t know like this condition:

Logically thinking the condition above is absurd but that particular condition stalled a great deal of time with our programming because we have to refactor more codes. Nevertheless, I am proud of what the team has achieved so far. We gained so much in 2010 that it is my hopes and expectations that in 2011, it’s time for Urbanesia to run like never before. The marketing team both online and offline are already supercharged for 2011. This December was as I said, a pivotal moment. Urbanesia as a team confided with each other, there is an entrepreneurial atmosphere in each of the person involved, we pushed ourselves to the limit only to find that we don’t have any limits, our minds and imaginations are our drive.

We agreed on 1 motto for 2011:

Let’s welcome 2011 with an attitude the world’s Internet industry and definitely Indonesian’s Internet industry have never seen before. We are agents of change and startups are vessels. Bear in mind, every startup experiences the same obstacles, if we can collaborate, why not? We are in the business of passion, nothing can beat our passion!

So to wrap things up, it’s been a great year all round. I am thankful for every bits of blessings I have received this year, hopefully everything I am and what I have given can inspire more people to know for themselves that YOU ARE YOUR OWN STARTUP.