It is the 28th of January 2019 when I published this post, almost one year since I left the world of working for a corporation. What did I miss? A lot of things. Am I happy? Absolutely.
This year, I dedicated my life to building a startup from zero. Let’s take a deeper look.
If you work for the same company as I used to, you might remember me from my goodbye email that I sent right before I clicked that sign out button on my company’s laptop for the last time.
It was an email about the Super Blue Blood Moon, that happened on the night I resigned, after more than 150 years it last happened. Some of you told me the email’s subject and content was crazy unique, few said it was kind of stupid, and more than twenty people told me that it was the best goodbye email they have ever received (I’ll take that as a compliment).
Many of you, of course, questioned where I am going.
It was a valid question since the company I worked for was one of the biggest in Indonesia. The opportunity was broad, the pay was good, and the culture was almost excellent. What more could you ask for?
The answer is, I am building a startup. And this blog post will tell you about the first year of it.
One of the major shifts that I experienced was the working environment from a corporation to a startup. From being a project manager to a jack of all trades type of worker. From being the guy with money, to actually create something to raise for money.
The first thing I looked for was, of course, a working space. It was the beginning of 2018 when coworking space in West Jakarta was rare to be found. I chose Apiary, which is strategically located in Puri CBD, just hundreds of meters from when I live. These guys helped me find a suitable working atmosphere. If you are around the area and looking for a working space, you should really visit them.
The second was the work spirit. Working as an IT Analyst for a company means that you stay in the office, doing things that have been assigned to you. Building a startup, on the other hand, means that I need to do anything from building a website, pitching to stakeholders, attending conferences and networking events, talking to potential partners, and maintaining all our back end systems. The joke was I am the CEO, as in Chief Everything Officer.
During the first year, I’ve spoken to and got feedbacks from countless startup founders, early-stage investors, angel investors, and also leaders of a then-startup, who is currently driving their company to be the next unicorn. I learned a lot during this first year, more than I ever imagined.
As cheesy as it may sound, it was the passion that kept me going. The wind was oftentimes against my way. As an early-stage founder, it was all the negative voices that keep floating around you, and if we are not careful, it can hit you really, really hard.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company
I first discovered the vision when I was assigned to a remote location by my previous company. It was in 2013. During the assignment, I found out that there was a gap between local business owners and tourists, and I knew that someone needs to do something about it. Someone who is really passionate on the topic.
Fast forward to 2017, the urge of doing it myself was so big that I decided to start my exit plan from the company. There were, of course, some doubts and fears. But I always believe and remember a quote from Winston Churchill.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.Winston Churchill, Former British Prime Minister
The Post-Graduate Program
Realizing that during the first year of building a startup you need as many networks as possible, I also decided to start my master’s school. I chose IPMI, which has a proven track record of having amazing graduates, as well as a strong business network in the Indonesian corporate space.
All of the lecturers are veterans of Indonesian corporations. We have leaders from McKenzie, PWC, IBM, GE, as well as several government agencies.
It is always great to be able to learn from more experienced people, they really opens my mind.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.Anonymous
The Next Chapter
What is my next chapter, you may ask?
From April this year, I will be joining a scholarship on mobile development, given by a Silicon Valley company. Since day one, my passion is to build a platform that empowers people and allows them to do more with technology, and I am very excited to be given this opportunity which surely will help me to reach my goal.
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company
My people manager, peers, and co-workers in my previous company, for giving me an amazing experience during my 5 years working there,
Folks at Apiary, for making me feel at home,
People of BLOCK71 Jakarta, for having me and for holding so many inspiring events,
Indonesian Twitter Moderator team, for all the random chats on our Telegram group,
Friends at IPMI, for broadening my view of many industries,
People to whom I pitched to in 2018, for every advice, input, and challenges,
Prayudi Satriyo Nugroho of Kotalogue,
(This is the most serious piece of writing that I have ever published.)