Bouncing Back

“What the values most important to you for making difference in the lives of others?” I was inspired by John C Maxwell’s question. I borrowed it from Astra’s Library at Headquarter, I read it during my three hours trip to ICE BSD in my trip to visit BCA Expoversari from Sunter.

I was questioning myself, Do I have life that matters? What are values that I have? What skills and knowledge or “sweet spot” that I can do best for providing value to others (my closest friends, colleagues, and company)? Do I have surrounded myself with like-minded people and partnering with them?

What is my sweet spot? I feel Strategy is my sweet spot. Strategy is the thorough, systematical, and intentional action to achieve a goal.

How big and audacious the goal is? Since 2014, my biggest goal is join Corporate strategy team, in which my first time meet consultant from McKinsey, I was imbued by what they did. The moment is the beginning of my pursuit to work in Corporate Strategy. I wanted to be like them, explore opportunities and create values for company.

Do I made it three years later? The answer is not (yet).

What is my Bigger Goal?

I reminisced goals I set at Malang State University in 2008 at Astra’s Lily Soeryadjaja Gym. It such a boon, 10 years later all of them are accomplished. Which are Jakarta, National Business Coverage, Graduate School, a golden ticket to work for Jardine Matheson and Astra International, through an opportunities given by FIFGROUP and SPEKTRA.

A Podcast by The Investor Podcast ,talked about how to set a bigger goals and the importance of challenge status quo based on facts cited by book from Ray Dalio and Jim Collin. Those podcast intrigued me on what is next goal that scared me the most? Still the same, to have an opportunity to work corporate development conducting green and brown field venture. I still feel that is plenty gap that in need to fill to get the job that I want.

Therefore, I studied at a business school in 2013 until 2015. In 2015 I joined startup accelerator such as Founder Institute. I failed both in Hong Kong in 2015, and Jakarta in 2017. I dropped out, both of the business was about Coffee. But for two different reasons, first because of inability to setup a company and the second coffee is not my core competence. I had interviews with coffee bean aficionados. I facilitated a group discussion; Found out that who purchased a coffee bean are snobs. They asked about how coffee beans are harvested, fermentation methods, roasting methods. I was not confidently addressed most of the questions. My core competence is not about coffee.

Am I Have a strong why?

Questions from mentors about my coffee project, such as Andy Zain, Ashraf Sinclair, and Ancali gave me a hints about “The why” and how strong is my commitment to do that for life? Do you can do it best compare to others? That reminisced me about an offering few months ago to lead the coffee project in which I said no.

My Failure in entrepreneurship endeavors has been leading me to new subjects, such as venture capital, private equity, and alternative finance such as financial technology. My Failure also has been teaching me of the importance to find our why (the driver of our courage to take action) and to create a team and partnership. We can’t never achieve something big alone.

I have two failures, the first in 2016, I was not succeed to join Innovate Jardines team, In 2017 I was not succeed to join Astra Corporate Strategy. I am thankful because of my friends help; Adisty, Christel, and Adri, I was able to had interviews with the Chiefs. I have elucidated “my why”, I wanted to learn Corporate Venture Capital and Corporate Development, especially merger and acquisition, valuations, and corporate innovations. I also worked at Business Development, in which the waterfall methods of project management has led to time development to create a new product is around six months, compare to SPRINT methods by Google Venture which only need five days. Nowadays Speed or time to market is paramount. Although at the end of the day, company which has more cash will tend to be win, but I personally doubted that since we are dealing with digital savvy customer.

I think 2017 is paramount for corporations to spot imminent innovations before it becoming too pricey, vigilant new players that might gnawing market share, and embrace entrepreneurial spirit of a startup. Major conglomerates has been setup Venture Capital, which are mostly listed overseas, such as: NSI Venture (Northstar), Ardent (Sinarmas), and GDP Venture (Djarum), Venturra (Lippo),  even Toyota has setup its Artificial Intelligence Venture.

I read Astra’s classic book “Dare to Do, the story of William Soeryadjaja”  by INSEAD’s Charlotte Butler in 2002 and “William Soeryadjaya, The Rise and Fall” by Amir Husin Daulay in 1993. Those Books described how aggressive Astra was during 1957-1990. I believe that the company has an entrepreneurial DNA, and I wanted to be part of it. It was Industrialization that accelerates Astra growth. But now I believe technology is capable to benefit all sectors in its portfolio.  Astra’s 150 Million Investment to Gojek is a good sign that the company is ready for faster digitalization.

Embrace failures, find a way to serve, and excel what I do

My failures may not be my future failure. if I truly wanted it, I must have grit and faith that I can make it happen. Do I feel frustrated? Yes. But I must adapt to embrace the reality and support priority of organization, in which I think fair enough, the company has been giving me plenty opportunities to grow since I joined the company by end of 2010.

My boss told me that I should learn to spot opportunity by combining risk management and marketing responsibility in one person. My role for last 9 months are marketing and risk management for Astra Financial Services in which it’s financing unit contributed to 25% of Indonesia $35 Billion industry. Working at risk management has helped me to think in an integrated way, not only about credit risk, but also nine other risk categories which is required by regulators, but also able to help company navigate business risk. In Marketing, I am learning about four wheeler automotive in which has different competition landscape, that the industry of four wheeler financing having tough battle with bank backed financing, despite the automotive sales only grow 2% p/a. Those assignments complement my previous experience in business related to two wheeler motorcycle and consumer financing.

It might sound foolish, to share my failures, my ventures and endeavors. But I believe that failure is a motivation for me to keep mettle to triumph my vision.

Coconut Ivory

18/02/17 | 01.45 PM.


Why You Should join FIFGROUP.

There are 193 multi-finance companies in Indonesia as of December 2017, The asset totally US$ 35 Billion. FIFGROUP (PT.Federal International Finance) is one among them, it established on May 1st  1989. In 2017, it financed more than US$ 2.5 Billion, profit more US$ 157 Million or 16.7% of Industry’s profit, Non performing financing (NPF) stands for 0.7%; while the Industry made 2.96%. FIFGROUP consumer financing includes FIFASTRA (motorcycle), DANASTRA (microfinancing), SPEKTRA (consumer electronic), AMITRA; the new sharia business unit (micro, travel, and gold financing). FIFGROUP has more than 1.800 networks spread across Indonesia, more than 17.500 employees, more than 7.000 business partners, and more than 4.5 Million active customers. FIFGROUP is a member of Astra Financial Services, along with Toyota-Astra Financial Services, Astra Credit Company, Asuransi Astra, Astra-Aviva Life, Komatsu Astra Finance, Surya Artha Nusantara Finance, Astra Venture, and Permata bank.

I was fortunate that I ever worked at FIFGROUP, which provides me tremendous opportunities to learn operations, marketing, and business management. Hence, I wanted to share my experience on why FIFGROUP is great a place to learn, work, and have fun. For the last five years, there are new opportunities arising from technology companies which has potential to become “any kind of company”, but if you interested on Financial Service, continuous leadership development, and indefinite opportunities; FIFGROUP is a prolific place to grow. Hereby the why.

Leadership Development & Talent Management

Lucrative market, Solid infrastructure, and strong corporate values (TEAM – Teamwork, Excellence, Achieving, and Moving Forward) has been making FIFGROUP a place where best financing company talent is made. SWA magazine awarded FIFGROUP as Indonesian Best Companies in Creating Leaders from Within at the end of 2017. FIFGROUP budgeted $ 2 Million per year for people development. The Company has been allocating individual budget for self-development, such as Seven habits, Project management, and Business Innovation. Additional trainings and workshops are collectively organized by Training & Learning Development to make sure that knowledge, skills, and attitude is developed in congruence with organization priority. If required, overseas training also encouraged to ascertain company at the front edge of technological and business innovation; especially nowadays, where financial services especially consumer lending is facing some big challenges, such as the advancement of Big Data and Machine learning which have been altering the landscape of competition, which not only from adjacent sectors, such as banking, but also from technology sectors such as e-commerce, transportation, and financial technology.

Talent management program also prepared as a special treatment to those who performed beyond satisfactory; such as coaching with luminary executives, special benefit packages, fast-track career, and exchange program internally within FIFGROUP divisions and externally within Astra Financial Services companies. Despite Individual skill is encouraged, FIFGROUP always encourage more to Teamwork, the company’s credo is “There is no Super-man, but A Super-team”.

An Adventurous and Innovative Company

I called it adventurous and innovative, since I was fortunate that I had rotated in many departments and different divisions, from branch operations, marketing and strategy in headquarter, even my last role was in Business Development which gave me opportunity to work across department where I learned project management, business process, and enacted business partnership. FIFGROUP’s management has a courage and gut to assign employees in various role to expand perspective of how the business is operated, accelerates learning, and connects employees from different functions. Adventurous means the company has an ample initiative for experiments, it might be derived from one of its corporate value “moving forward”, a value which triggered a new innovation should be created to continuously serve customer better. Innovative (and competitive) means it has an annual Internal competition such as Suggestion System, Quality Control Process, Quality Control Circle, and Innovation Idea as a pooled of initiatives that can be scaled up within organization and screen employees who has improvement and innovation project for annual innovation award.

Innovator team consisted of selected nine individuals across divisions, and divided into three team to create and implement value creation initiatives which sponsored by executive and board directors. The prominent result of the project such as FIFGROUP Mobile customer, an app to help customer access their personal information and valuable offering, FIF Safari, a fancy truck to help FIFGROUP get in touch directly with customer and help increase financial literacy across Indonesia. The Innovations reward, not only able to be competed internally in FIFGROUP, but also has an opportunity to be competed in Astra International’s competition, such as Innovastra, Jardines Pride in Performance awards, or new initiative from the group, the Innovates Jardines.

Merit Based Performance & Inclusive

In financial service, especially branch operations and marketing, most of individual performance can be tracked in a real time. Hence, most of them have some Key Performance Indicators to measure progress and achievement to perform their duty. Every end of year, each employee will be evaluated based on their performance and evaluated by executive committee.  There are some success stories in FIFGROUP, from an office boy, counter sales, debt collectors and surveyors, who started join the company from the lowest level of organization have been become middle managers and executive in the company quickly. Some common traits that I obtained during conversations with the successful executives was their Integrity, Determination and Strive Excellence to perform the duty is the key to succeed in the company. There are fast tracked programs for young and bright graduates from universities who has opportunity to join program such as Management Development Program and Junior Officer Development program to cater with proliferation needs of leader to be assigned across Indonesia.

As I mentioned earlier, FIFGROUP is a place to learn, work, and have fun. I have shared about the learn part. The have fun part could be a subjective matter, for me frequent business trips is the fun part of work at FIFGROUP, since for me business trip is not only for work, but also enrich my knowledge and understanding about Indonesia’s diversity, from foods, customs, behavior. Getting to know local leaders who responsible for profit and losses and learn about their success stories is also a refreshing and inspiring moment.

For the last two years, there has been more challenges faced by financial services sector, not only financing, but also insurance, and banking due to the advance of technology. Last weekend I had a diner with my friend who assigned to create an Insurance-tech Incubator backed up by Singapore government, some Asian Venture Capital funds also interested to penetrate into consumer lending company, given their experience for creating lending platform in China.

Every company should encourage Innovations, collaborations, and inclusions to cater fast paced changes, not only from within, but also outside-in by quickly embrace and adopt external innovations that could affect the business sustainability. As an example, in certain company, a new project, required 6 months, but in SPRINT methods, its only need 5 working days by encourage agile innovation and start-up way.

Companies also need to embrace the importance of growth strategy not solely on common business decision indicators, such as Internal Rate of Return and Net Present Value. When earthquake struck Jakarta last week, I was coincidentally had an enticing conversation with Prof.Djoko Wintoro, Director of Prasetiya Mulya Business school whom shared to me a bit of growth strategy, He said that current business practice which solely focus on short term performance indicator should be careful about the risk of upstart company which focus on growth and quickly deteriorate market share or has created a new market. We should ensure that our knowledge and skill is relevant for the changing landscape of financial service sector.

Coffeewar, 280118 22:05 PM

Soundtrack: We – Mamas Gun

 *The writing is based on personal experience and do not represent FIFGROUP. 

First Thing First Imperative

Its always  amicable to have friends who gave honest and brutal feedback. I had a dialogue with Mas Guruh at La Vue, a mentor whom I had worked together at previous company. I always tried to elucidate the truth of what I am thinking and ardent of. I shared to him my plans to create an online lending company, working for a venture capital, My ECOCE fiasco project (coffee bean dealer), and risk management consulting, and also my intention to join corporate strategy function of the group. I shown him a paper about my plans, and he said “A paper won’t solve real problems, its a futile thing if you not execute it”. He was not the first person who said that.

A week before, I shown my plan to my coterie; Nana and Ahong at Hauss Rooftop, Ahong told me that I was too “Nerimo” or “Too Accepting Condition” I accepted His feedback even I felt chafed. Ahong have been progressing a lot. He have been leading Marketing team in Manado, He has plenty wisdom and ambition, He also successfully built his venture: Property construction, Forex trading, and Bank note trades. His incitement for being entrepreneur was so contagious. Nana is Lead Business development team in a Hongkong based Life insurance firm. It was an enchanting financial service coterie gathering, we just need a Banker and Lawyer to make the meeting more exciting going forward.

A month before I had a Diner at Kitchenette at Plaza Indonesia with a mentor who used to be an ex-Investment Banker, he said “A paper won’t solve real problem, focus on customer pain points”. He offered to join his endeavor for a venture creation. A week later, I also offered to handle trading for a Coffee endeavor, and I said that i unable to take it now for both of them, but I gonna think about it.

Given to that three evidences, I do need to focus on what I am good at and focus on what I will do seriously. I think its about my Integrity and my Point of Different among me and my friends, I believe if I decided to jump in, it must be with a “full force”. I believe that I have Grit and tenacity to achieve what I wanted to be.

I glad that my friends has awaken me on what I must do; to avoid doing too many thing with no result,moseying around too many initiatives; instead of doing 1 or 2 thing in a full force.These conversations, even debilitated my vision, was so helpful to gauge my plans by delete or delay non-urgent thing. focusing my resource (Time, Capital, and Network) for thing that matter the most.

“Action is not equal to result”.

I tend to be traped in Analysis Paralysis; overthinking; focusing on long term about what happen on US, Europe, China, India, which not many people think its an urgent matter; instead of focusing on present. it also not synced with company objectives. I also work out of my function and give my non office hour to do the job. even I Know, those information will help me in my future role, the temptation must be controlled. I feel that it is imperative to take a deep breath, focus on what I can do based on the role given excellently, Invest my resource to things which the result can be measured, reduce my long term view which not in line with the organization objectives. the capability of control desire to explore seems gonna rescue me in a time of crisis.

North Jakarta 19 November 10.34 AM



Knowing The Personality test

Jung Test Score

INTJ – “Mastermind”. Introverted intellectual with a preference for finding certainty. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 2.1% of total population.

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Enneagram Test Results

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||| 68%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||| 38%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||| 68%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||||| 68%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||| 34%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||| 60%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||| 56%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||| 40%

Your main type is 5
Your variant is social

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A Polish in Yogya

It was on early 2010 when I wrote this story, it is important for me to reminisce that I ever tried to work for Sinarmas Bank, Traveling with economy train, and had a luminary Father  (He passed away, 9 years ago at October 23rd 2008). I slightly repair the note to remember his persistence, fortitude, and humility for raising me and my brothers as a single father; It is a boon for me as one of his pedigree.

Once upon a time, I went to Jogja for three days to attend an Management Development Program  test for Bank Sinarmas at Boston School of Banking. I went there by a travel, I never went to Yogyakarta by myself, it stopped at Kaliurang. I stayed in Jogja for 3 days at my niece’s Dorm, she was being a billiard athlete. On the test day, I passed the Psycho-test and Focus Group Discussion session and will be invited for interview test with the Board in the following week.

On the third day, I decided to return to Surabaya by economy train, it only spent IDR 26K; much cheaper than by travel which priced IDR 100k. At 8.30 PM, My Niece took me to the station by her Shogun bike, We were so starving, We didn’t eat anything since afternoon, We took diner in front of Universitas Gajah Mada, We talked about Jogja’s vibrant life, I said to her that it would be interesting if I were choosing Jogja as place for my undergrad, given the fact that I had spent four years live in Malang, “so pity” she said.

Tingtong 9.30 pm. Finally, We arrived at Lempuyangan, the economy train station. I saw an expat (Bule), age around 40, He was sat in front of station stair, He seems upset. I wasn’t  bravely talk to Him, I thought it was so uncommon, an expat to took an economy class. Fortunately I was able to speak in English. I started to collect my bravery, then finally I asked him questions and starting a conversation. His name was Drake, A Finnish who traveled to Jogja alone for seeing Borobudur and Prambanan since he was bored with his friends who only interested to had a diving on Lombok.

Our topic was about “how to pick an appropriate women to accompany our life until the last breath”, Sounds interesting, (but i forgot on how to pick an appropriate women tips). it was a heavy topic at that time, He told a serious story about his life, how did he met his wife, how hard to earn money to pay childbirth, how he pay for school tuition. I was touched, I thought that I must be a strong man. even I was still 21 years old.

His story reminded me on how unswerving my father’s endeavor to raise me and my brothers, for 9 years as a single father of three, commuting daily Bangil – Surabaya, departing 6 AM and return by 6PM, Pay for house bills, tuition, pocket money. even on weekend he also clean our home, I don’t know how did he manage all those thing alone for 9 years since my mother passed away. We bought foods almost everyday since none of us able to cook, except noodle and some recipe from Kartini Magazine, which my mother subscribed when she was alive on 1996-1997. What I admired from my Father are He always gave me the best part of the food, while He just ate the rice and gave me the fried fish, He always reminds me to “be unpretentious, be grateful on what is given, and be cheerful even when You sad”.

Ting-teng. train depart at 11.30 PM.


Tame the Beast within

“Do you living your dream?”

It is an inextricable part of my life for adjusting dreams. My Dream in high school, was to be a barber, inspired by Takuya Kimura’s Film,  In College, was to work in Brand Management. Now? The reality is am I living in Jakarta, working at a corporation, earned an MBA, lived overseas. Can you gauge my dream deviation and standard of error? Now, I have curiosity on Venture Capital.

I believed  on Allah’s blessing, for always showing me path through many serendipity. Anand Krishna which taught me of the importance of respecting diversity, Djenar M. Ayu which tell me the exoticism of Jakarta, and an event in University of Indonesia in 2008, called Youth and Multicultural Conference, seared my ambition to be able to deliver speech without text in public.

I met many inspiring individual who changed my perspective of how big a desire should be and triumph it. I met friends from Strategy Consulting Firms, Investment Bank, Venture Capital, Private Equity and Tech Startup; I met mentors who shared me their wisdom on how they get into their position, I felt aspired of what they do.

Last Monday, I visited a Toastmaster at Menara Imperium, A speech by Reggy.H, He said “If your desire is not scared you, its not big enough”. He reminds me the importance of balancing  Idealism VS Realism and  being proud of yourself as a tools to distinguish you from others. if you don’t have pride, you don’t have character. I was imbued to find and tame beast within me.

Do you do what You wanted to do? Do you aspired of what You do?

first – A realism 

I felt blessed on my job, learning new skills in enterprise risk management, marketing, and networking opportunity in HQ and Business Unit. the role is not scare me to death, probably since it still my 3rd months, (still) limited knowledge, and a transition from working in 4th gear into 2nd gear, and euphoria of worked in multiple departments. but like my previous boss said, “There will be a time when you being put at Kawah Chandra di Muka, and when you be there, what you do is deliver the best, be the best Kid“, I think its a good time for me to enjoy the role, since i would have more time to do my what’s next.

Second – an Idealism

I like to work in Project Management, Business Development, Investment, and Marketing; roles that I passionate and I believe i can be my best. I feel that a role in a VC  is fit for me. People said, compared to folks who have corporate finance background and graduated overseas would be have higher chance to be hired, given that most PE and VC in Indonesia funds are generated by overseas graduated, is it an indicator that I must go to West Coast?

Third – The Middle Ground

Wise man said “Grit, focus, and perseverance” is a key to get what we wants. Not all the things we truly want can be easily get. I have a hallow voice, a beast; spoke to me “it is very close if you bravely jump out”,  but the steadiness also thwart me to jump out. The older we are, the more we become risk averse. to conclude, if no one from my elementary school eligible to enter the most prestigious high school in my district and get full scholarship in college, if no one from my college able to enter the big company and sent overseas,  If no local boy able to enter a VC, Could I?


Jakarta’s Transportation 7 Years ago and Now, and outlook of the future.

There’s positive and negative impact of owning car, my friends asked me; why I don’t purchase car; I still do not have budget to own the car that i wanted to have, handling Insurance Premium, Maintenance, and Administration cost. I heavily rely on Jakarta Public transportation, especially online motor and car hailing, my favorite is Grab and Uber for Car, those two provides decent discount, My Favorite for motor is Go-Jek since it always provides masks both face and hair. These service was never existed two years ago, and it has changed my transportation preference.

If People said Jakarta is left behind compared to neighbor country such as Singapore and Hong Kong, yes it does, but I have faith soon it will change, at least by 2019.

I kvetching why the infrastructure project development has caused traffic become crippled, especially around SCBD, Mampang, and Matraman. I feel it since for last three months I frequently work in AI WTC Office. Transjakarta has becoming solution of the problem, its extensive networks now is better than 7 years ago; I used to take Transjakarta from UKI Cawang to Pasar Rebo; then I change transport with Kopaja 510 or Metromini 509 to go to my prior Office at TB Simatupang.

Here some tips on how to  use Transjakarta:

  1. Purchase e-money by alternative Bank; the price of e-money is IDR 40.000 (USD 3), it contained IDR 20.000. (I hope i can be e-money provider; at least those who use it in early morning and after hour are mostly fixed income segment, the white collar who lived in Jakarta, Bekasi, Cileduk). the most interesting part is the tariff is flat, IDR 3500 per trip to anywhere.
  2. Make Sure to have plenty of time, last Wednesday, I planed to attend Toastmaster class at SCBD on 7 PM; 18KM distance. by 6 PM I arrived at ITC Cempaka Putih Shelter, it took 15 minutes to wait TJ 2A; which go straight to Senayan;  but it got stuck in Senen Tunnel, for 30 minutes; I arrived at Senen Shelter by 7 PM. meaning I canceled the class. I knew that was my fault to use TJ, next time I will spare 2 hours ahead, or I use Gojek then stop at Harmoni Shelter, I believe the waiting time will be less than 5 minutes. I expect Government should adds more TJ to reduce waiting time.
  3. Make Sure Sit at the right seat and be ready to stand on rush hour, I was too tired at the time and I was sit at woman only seat, and every eyes on me, I thought its due to my affable face, but seems i sit at pink marked seat. during rush hour at 5 – 7 PM, TJ is like a Human Fridge, you can smell various odors,  natural and artificial. and make sure you put your bag or purse in front of your body.

I think government is quite fast for developing LRT and MRT which will be done by 2019 I am a believer of “centralization”, that people will return to the center; which I saw it in Hong Kong and Singapore, that transporation is becoming a central role of urban living. So If you wanted to purchase property, it must be in the center, not go too far into Serpong, BSD, Bekasi, or the newly developed The Meikarta,  (but now i fall in love with Sentul City – I think its an exception to have a small cottage there with a mountain view). I realize living in the center is expensive, but it is a strong motivation to strive harder, go beyond everyone expectation, and Invest on your Skill.

I am ardent on facing the future.

Jakarta North 030917