My Year in Review: 2019

"You don’t always get to choose what you work on, but you can choose how you work on it." – Jason Fried

This blog post is an annual review of what happened in my life in 2019, what went well and what went wrong. Hope we can learn something from here.

Sunset at Lapasi Beach, Lakoakelamo (West Halmahera)

Intermezzo: Google Year-in-Search is my most favourite year-in-review video in the last few years. Check it out!

I spent my new year's eve in Seminyak, Bali in a spontaneous end-of-year vacation, which I booked few hours before. I think it's a good idea to start a new year in a relaxing place, so we can think strategically what we should do in the upcoming 365 days.

At work, we finally had outing for the both business units together in Lembang, Bandung. It was two-days company gathering to know more about each other since we separated into two units. I learned that communication, collaboration, and good habits are very important for our growth, not only in professional life but also in personal life.

Tips Memulai Podcast

Podcast merupakan salah satu format konten yang sedang naik daun beberapa tahun terakhir. Kepopulerannya pun semakin meningkat di tahun 2019, antara lain ditandai dengan akuisi Gimlet & Anchor oleh Spotify. MacOS Catalina pun mem-breakdown aplikasi iTunes menjadi Music, Apple TV, dan Podcasts.

Bagi yang belum familiar, kata "Podcast" sebenarnya berasal dari kata "iPod" + "broadcast". Awalnya, sekitar tahun 2004, Podcast memang dipopulerkan oleh pengguna iPod yang mendengarkan konten audio dari sebuah website. File-file audio ini disindikasi dalam format RSS, sehingga umumnya berisi beberapa eposide yang biasanya di-upload secara berkala. Pendengar bisa men-download podcast per episode, atau langsung semua episode sekaligus.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." – Eleanor Roosevelt

Kali pertama saya mendengarkan Podcast mungkin sekitar tahun 2009. Saat itu 37signals (web development agency di US) baru launching podcast nya, obrolan seputar teknologi. Selain itu, saya juga beberapa kali mendengarkan podcasts buatan orang Indonesia, yaitu Teman Macet. Topiknya pun juga seputaran teknologi. Sayangnya, Teman Macet sudah tidak update lagi sejak 2011.

Saat itu mobile Internet belum secepat sekarang, jadi masih jarang orang yang streaming podcast secara mobile. Berbeda kondisinya dengan sekarang, di mana akses Internet jauh lebih baik, sehingga orang-orang sudah terbiasa streaming audio (Spotify, Joox, dsb) bahkan streaming video (YouTube, Netflix, dsb) secara mobile. Hal ini juga membuat Podcast kembali dinikmati.

Mengapa Podcast?

1. Pertumbuhan Pendengarnya Tinggi
Di US, lebih dari 50% warganya mendengarkan podcast. Trend yang sama kemungkinan besar akan diikuti oleh netizen di Indonesia, dimulai dari kota-kota besar. Lebih dari 20% pengguna Spotify di Indonesia mendengarkan podcast setiap bulannya. Hasil riset DailySocial di tahun 2018 menunjukkan data bahwa 68% orang Indonesia sudah familiar dengan podcast
2. User Engagement Relatif Lebih Tinggi
Orang-orang cenderung mengonsumsi konten lebih lama dengan podcast daripada dengan media yang lain. Ada banyak podcast yang memiliki durasi lebih dari satu jam per episode, dan surprisingly banyak juga yang mendengarkannya selama itu! Hal ini tentunya jauh sekali dibandingkan tulisan di blog yang umumnya cuma dibaca sekitar 2-3 menit, atau video di YouTube yang umumnya ditonton sekitar 4-5 menit.

3. Cocok untuk Multi-tasking
Podcast cocok dengan audience yang memiliki kesibukan dan mobility tinggi. Kita bisa mendengarkan dan belajar sesuatu dari podcast yang berfaedah, sambil mengerjakan hal-hal lainnya. Saya biasanya mendengarkan podcast sambil beres-beres apartemen, sambil sepedaan di CFD, atau sambil berkendara di tengah kemacetan Jakarta. Hal ini tidak bisa atau sangat sulit kita lakukan jika kita mencoba belajar dari YouTube karena ada unsur visual yang biasanya menyita lebih perhatian kita.

4. Melatihan Kemampuan Komunikasi
Podcasting membantu melatih kemampuan komunikasi saya, mulai dari persiapannya sampai ke proses produksi. Saat persiapan, saya harus melakukan research terlebih dahulu terhadap topik yang akan saya bicarakan. Saat produksi, saya harus melatih diri untuk memperbaiki diksi, alur cerita, artikulasi, dan intonasi suara saya. Menghilangkan "hm.." atau "eee.." dalam berkomunikasi adalah hal yang tidak mudah bagi saya, jadi ini harus sering dilatih. Selain itu, podcasting juga membantu saya meningkatkan relasi pertemanan saya, di mana saya akan mengundang teman-teman saya sebagai narasumber yang inspiratif.

How to Be an Effective Person

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is a classic self-help book that I read for the first time when I was a high-school student. Back then, I just read it without fully understanding the context of Stephen Covey's principles. I still remember all those seven habits, but didn't realize how to apply it optimally in the real world until I re-read this book again recently.

This blog post is my collection of paragraphs from Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits" as a reminder. I also add some other insightful talks that I learned in my life, which also related to these seven principles.


The P/PC Balance – P stands for production of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. When people fail to respect the P/PC Balance in their use of physical assets in organizations, they decrease organizational effectiveness and often leave others with dying geese. There are organizations that talk a lot about the customer and then completely neglect the people that deal with the customer — the employees.

You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his resourcefulness. PC work is treating employees as volunteers just as you treat customers as volunteers, because that’s what they are. They volunteer the best part — their hearts and minds.

Effectiveness lies in the balance. Excessive focus on P results in ruined health, worn-out machines, depleted bank accounts, and broken relationships. Too much focus on PC is like a person who runs three or four hours a day, bragging about the extra ten years of life it creates, unaware he’s spending them running.

#1 - Be Proactive

Principles of Personal Vision

Reactive vs. Proactive – Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn’t a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us. Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.

Listen to your language and to the language of the people around you. Our language is a very real indicator of the degree to which we see ourselves as proactive people.

Reactive Language vs. Proactive Language

Review the situation in the context of your Circle of Influence. Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.

Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.


The problems we face fall in one of three areas: direct control (problems involving our own behavior); indirect control (problems involving other people’s behavior); or no control (problems we can do nothing about, such as our past or situational realities). The proactive approach puts the first step in the solution of all three kinds of problems within our present Circle of Influence.

Answering 11 Questions from Tim Ferriss' Tribe of Mentors

I read "Tribe of Mentors" book by Tim Ferriss two years ago and I found it's interesting because you can extract unique insights from various succesful people by giving them the same questions.

And I wonder if the same eleven questions were thrown at me, what my answers would be. It's also a good exercise to understand the weight of each question before I try to adapt this style of interview to numerous successful friends of mine. So here they are..

"Tools of Titans" and "Tribe of Mentors" by Tim Ferriss

1. What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Almost all books that I read are non-fiction which around personal development, psychology, business, and economic books. So I have two categories of books that influenced me.

For my personal life:
  1. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey
    → Summary: How to Be an Effective Person
  2. "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
    → Summary: Mastering Interpersonal Skills
  3. "Atomic Habits" by James Clear
    → Summary: How to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

For my professional life:
  1. "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber
    → Summary: Building a Small Business That Works
  2. "Rework" by Jason Fried & DHH
    → Summary: 16 Lessons Learned from "ReWork"
  3. "The 4-Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss
    → Summary: 11 Lessons Learned from "The 4-Hour Workweek"

2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in recent memory?

There were so many books that I need to read but I didn't have enough free time. So, I've subscribed Blinkist for $40 / year since two years ago and just read the book summaries first. If the summary was interesting, then I read the whole book. This way I can learn more things faster.

3. How has a failure set you up for later success?

I went to a mediocre high school in Bandung, and I felt it was a failure. However, it helps me build my mindset not to compare with others, but to compare with ourselves. We don't need to be better than others, we just need to be better than our previous self.

Tech Startup Investment

As a startup founder, at some point you will meet potential investors. First-time founders usually don't really understand how to choose investor and how to prepare themselves before meeting them. This article summarized some books and articles about investing in tech startups, and hopefully it helps founders to make better decision.

Not all people who have a lot of money to invest are good investors. There are five qualities of good investors:

1. Money. Good investors provide you more than enough money to scale up your business, so you can focus on executing your vision and strategic plan.

2. Time. Good investors will always have time with the founders to discuss very important issues. Moreover, it would be great if the time horizon of their investment suit your growth plan.

3. Network. Good investors provide meaningful customer and more investor introductions.

4. Expertise. Good investors give actionable advice that saves the founders time and money – or keeps them from making mistakes. They should know your business model and industry.

5. Chemistry. Good investors are good partners. Do the "airport test", whether you'd be able to handle being stuck in an airport with the investor for an extended period of time.

Five qualities of (startup) investors

Kelas Inspirasi: SDN 2 Pegayaman

Sukasada, sebuah kecamatan di Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali, di mana puluhan relawan Kelas Inspirasi Bali meluangkan waktu dan tenaganya pada hari Sabtu, 4 Mei 2019. Mereka menuju ke enam sekolah dasar untuk berbagi cerita tentang profesinya sambil memotivasi adik-adik di sana untuk berani bercita-cita setinggi langit dan bekerja keras menggapainya. Mereka datang dari berbagai daerah, tidak hanya dari Pulau Bali, dengan tujuan yang sama, berkontribusi pada pendidikan anak Indonesia.

Relawan KI Bali 6 beserta Guru-Guru SDN 2 Pegayaman | 📷 by @riswandedik

Saya dan empat belas relawan lainnya akhirnya bertemu untuk kali pertama secara lengkap sehari sebelumnya. Interaksi yang tadinya hanya sebatas percakapan di dunia maya, bersambung ke percakapan nyata secara langsung. Tidak lama bagi kami untuk menyadari bahwa kami beruntung mendapatkan kelompok yang berisi orang-orang baik, yang terinspirasi untuk menginspirasi, dan rela memberikan usaha yang lebih untuk berbagi kebaikan. Meskipun tidak lama waktu kami untuk bersama berbagi ke adik-adik di SDN 2 Pegayaman, rasa persaudaraan itu terasa erat bagi kami.

Tulisan ini merupakan dokumentasi dari apa yang kami rasakan sebagai relawan Kelas Inspirasi Bali yang bertugas di SDN 2 Pegayaman. Semoga bisa menginspirasi rekan-rekan (calon) relawan lainnya untuk sedikit berkontribusi bagi pendidikan Indonesia.

Be kind, be inspired, be magnificent.

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

After "Getting Real" (2006), "Rework" (2010), and "Remote" (2013), last year Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson published new book titled "It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work". Both authors are the co-founders of Basecamp, previously 37signals, and the creator of the infamous web application framework: Ruby on Rails. Like their all previous books, there are a lot of great insights about how to run a company from them, although I don't agree at some points. This post is the summary lesson learned of their last book, which contain practices that are very insightful and also good reminders for me to run Suitmedia as a calm profitable company.

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

A company is like software. It has to be usable, it has to be useful. And it probably also has bugs, places where the company crashes because of bad organizational design or cultural oversights. When you start to think about your company as a product, all sorts of new possibilities for improvement emerge. When you realize the way you work is malleable, you can start molding something new, something better. Whether you own it, run it, or “just” work there, it takes everyone involved to make it better.

Curb Your Ambition

You can absolutely run a great business without a single "goal". You don’t need something fake to do something real. And if you must have a goal, how about just staying in business? Or serving your customers well? Or being a delightful place to work? Just because these goals are harder to quantify does not make them any less important.

Defend Your Time

Your time in the office feels shorter because it’s sliced up into a dozen smaller bits. Most people don’t actually have 8 hours a day to work, they have a couple of hours. The rest of the day is stolen from them by meetings, conference calls, and other distractions. So while you may be at the office for 8 hours, it feels more like just a few.

When you cut out what’s unnecessary, you’re left with what you need. And all you need is 8 hours a day for about 5 days a week. You can’t expect people to do great work if they don’t have a full day’s attention to devote to it. Partial attention is barely attention at all.

Effective > Productive. When people focus on productivity, they end up focusing on being busy. Filling every moment with something to do. And there’s always more to do! Being productive is about occupying your time—filling your schedule to the brim and getting as much done as you can. Being effective is about finding more of your time unoccupied and open for other things besides work. Time for leisure, time for family and friends. Or time for doing absolutely nothing.

Tips untuk Fresh Graduates

"The person passionate about what he or she is doing will outwork and outlast the guy motivated solely by making money." ― Reid Hoffman

Sejak tahun 2011 salah satu kegiatan yang saya lakukan hampir setiap minggu adalah melakukan rekrutmen pegawai baru. Dari sekitar 10 orang di tahun 2011, Suitmedia bertumbuh secara organik menjadi sekitar 120 orang di tahun 2019.

Sebelum kami memiliki tim HR, saya dan co-founder lainnya turun tangan langsung membuat iklan lowongan kerja, mempublikasikannya ke berbagai channel, melakukan seleksi CV, mengundang kandidat, sampai dengan menguji kemampuan teknis dan interview mereka. Setelah ada tim HR pun (sejak tahun 2013), masih ada beberapa hal yang saya turun tangan langsung, khususnya terkait kandidat yang akan sering berkomunikasi langsung dengan klien.

Dari pengalaman tersebut, sering kali saya menemukan fresh graduates yang clueless (tidak tahu apa-apa) tentang kehidupan setelah lulus kuliah. Ada yang tersirat tidak mengenali dirinya sendiri. Ada yang tidak bisa membuat CV dan cover letter yang baik, bahkan tidak punya netiket yang baik ketika menghubungi perusahaan melalui email. Dan terakhir, ada juga beberapa yang messed up ketika proses interview.

Berawal dari coret-coret di notes yang saya upload di Instagram Stories beberapa bulan lalu – yang ternyata mendapatkan sambutan positif – tulisan ini sengaja ditulis dalam bahasa Indonesia (mixed with English ala millennials) untuk membantu teman-teman fresh graduates dalam menghadapi tantangan dunia kerja.

Coret-coret sambil me-review CV, sambil menunggu klien

Tips #1 : Kenali Diri Sendiri

Tidak jarang saya menemukan kandidat yang tidak jelas dengan dirinya. Tersirat dari resume-nya, mereka banyak meluangkan waktu di bidang A, tapi kuliah di bidang B, lalu melamar kerja di bidang C, padahal punya potensi di bidang D. Oleh karena itu, hal pertama yang harus dilakukan oleh fresh graduates adalah kenali diri sendiri!

Carilah apa yang menjadi 'ikigai' dalam hidupmu. Ikigai lebih dari sekadar passion. Ikigai merupakan alasan mengapa kamu hidup dan bermanfaat (memberikan value) bagi orang-orang di sekitarmu. Ketika kamu sudah menemukan ikigai, hal ini akan menjadi salah satu energi pendorong ketika kamu bangun di pagi hari untuk segera berkarya.

Kelas Inspirasi: SDN 2 Wangunsari

Rabu pagi, 20 Februari 2019, saya bersama 11 relawan dari berbagai latar belakang berkumpul di SDN 2 Wangunsari, Lembang, Kabupaten Bandung Barat dalam rangka Kelas Inspirasi Bandung 7. Pada hari yang sama ada ratusan relawan yang berbagi dengan ribuan anak-anak di 29 sekolah di Bandung Raya. Kami datang dan berbagi inspirasi kepada anak-anak di sana, memberikan pengalaman yang berbeda dibandingkan yang biasa mereka dapatkan sehari-hari.

Relawan KI Bandung 7 & Guru-Guru SDN 2 Wangunsari | 📷 by @kautsarsgr

Tulisan ini merupakan dokumentasi atas apa yang dialami relawan kelompok 24 di Kelas Inspirasi Bandung tahun ini.

How to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

"You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." – John C. Maxwell

According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, there are four-step loop that underlies our behaviour: cue, craving, response, and reward. When this loop is repeated, it can form new habits in our life. To build or break habits we need to modify each step of the habit loop. This blog post is more or less summary of Atomic Habits.

James Clear's Habit Loop : Cue, Craving, Response, Reward

James' work was actually heavily influenced by Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit, which uses three-step loop: cue, routine, reward. Both James and Charles are great author. Charless' framework is simpler, but James' explanation is more systematic.

Charless Duhig's Habit Loop : Cue, Routine, Reward

The key to building lasting good habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Our current behaviors are simply a reflection of our current identity. Start with changing the identity (what we believe we are), then changing the process (what we do), then changing the outcome (what we get).

Good habits will bring positive compounding for our life especially in productivity, knowledge, and relationship. To build good habits we need to emphasize all four steps in habit loop in a positive way.

  1. Cue: Make it obvious
  2. Craving: Make it attractive
  3. Response: Make it easy
  4. Reward: Make it satisfying

In the other hand, bad habits will bring negative compounding such as stress, negative thoughts, and outrage. To break a bad habit we need to emphasize those four steps in a negative way.

  1. Cue: Make it invisible
  2. Craving: Make it unattractive
  3. Response: Make it difficult
  4. Reward: Make it unsatisfying