Archive | life RSS for this section

The 99% Syndrome

Back in university, where I studied product design, one of our professors taught us about the 99% syndrome. In a nutshell, as we work to improve our product, we gain references or insights that may improve our product, and go back to work, trapped in an endless cycle of improvement where the product will ultimately never be finished.

The references or insights could be from reading, research or even input from other people, but it is a rare moment where all the references and insights that you have will all point to a common solution to which you can build and deem the product complete. Well, anything such as this would have to be so obvious as to have been made or invented already.

At some point we have to stop. At some point we have to make a judgment call and say “okay, I’ve analyzed enough data, I’ve done enough research, and I’ve arrived at the best solution based on the entire development process. Let’s wrap this up and give it a go.”

Worried about people turning away when they’re not happy with your product? Work on it and offer it again – people have a sufficiently short attention span today to get away with it. If you did your homework properly, the improvements will get you more customers.

We supposedly learn early in life that you really can’t make everybody happy; there is never a perfect solution that applies for everyone. There will always be that one guy in the group who prefers to go out for pizza rather than burgers. There will always be someone who says “meh” about your product. The trick is, make sure it’s nobody from your core target market. Because at the end of the day, a “meh” product that earns you $1 is still better than a never-finished product stuck in the 99% syndrome that costs you money.

Budaya “Melawan” dan Romantisme Era Perlawanan

Kenapa sih, orang Indonesia susah diatur? Seperti ada semacam kesadaran  kolektif untuk melawan aturan, melanggar lampu lalu lintas, dan menginjak rumput padahal jelas-jelas ada tanda dilarangnya? Seperti ada kecenderungan ‘melawan aparat kalau rame-rame’?

Padahal kan ya, nunggu bentar di lampu merah kan nggak papa (dan di beberapa lampu merah, ada indikator waktunya. Dan ternyata cuma nunggu 90 detik kan…). Berjalan berputar sedikit nggak soal toh, ga usah nginjek rumput. Nggak perlu nembus jalan lawan arah demi ‘biar cepet’. Polisi mungkin ada yang korup, tapi mas2 polisi yang ngatur lalu lintas sambil kepanasan karena harus pake seragam lengkap mbok ya dibantu juga biar pekerjaannya lebih ringan. Terus, kenapa kebanyakan dari kita nggak bisa gini sih?

Gue sendiri merasa dari kecil kita sudah disuap pelajaran sejarah soal perlawanan kita pada penjajah, pada “otoritas”. Buku sejarah bercerita soal pahlawan-pahlawan yang hebat dalam perlawanan mereka – memang tepat sih, mereka memang hebat. Tapi yang gue inget soal cerita dan isi buku sejarah itu adalah soal perlawanannya, bukan kenapa ada perlawanan. Kenapa ada perlawanan ya karena ada penjajah. Ada orang yang otoriter, sewenang-wenang sehingga perlu dilawan. Sesederhana itu. Ada sebuah romantisme yang dijual dalam perlawanan, terutama akhir-akhir ini dalam bentuk demo turun ke jalan. Pendemo turun ke jalan merasa melawan sesuatu dan sedang mengikuti langkah para pahlawan sebelumnya. Padahal kan… harusnya, intinya bukan perlawanan belaka.

Ya saat ini sih kita memang belum lepas dari “penjajah”, hanya saja sekarang yang menjajah kita adalah warga kita sendiri, melalui penguasaaan uang, modal dan infrastruktur. Kita diminta jadi konsumen yang patuh. Jadi warga negara patuh. Opresi militer sudah berganti jadi opresi ekonomi untuk sebagian besar warga Indonesia.

nah kayak gini sih emang harus dilawan, tapi emang harus segala hal dilawan? sampe rambu lalu lintas dilawan? 

Kenapa nggak kita inget bahwa pahlawan-pahlawan kita mengutamakan perjuangan, bukan perlawanan belaka? kalo kita mikir perlawanan doang sih, ya ampe sekarang penjajah masih ada kali. Perjuangan ada objektifnya – dulu ya kemerdekaan, dan sekarang adalah kemajuan kita sendiri sebagai warga maupun sebagai bangsa. Dalam perjuangan memang ada perlawanan terhadap sesuatu, tapi sepertinya hari ini lawannya adalah rasa iri dan dengki, rasa ketidaksabaran, dan sebagainya.

Diulang. Perjuangan ada objektif – dan perlawanan adalah salah satu strateginya. Alatnya. Kalau perjuangan nggak perlu perlawanan, tapi butuh diplomasi atau akal sehat, ya kenapa harus perang? Kalau jalanan macet akan sedikit lebih lancar kalau semua sabar dan cermat menempatkan diri dalam lajur jalan yang tepat, kenapa harus ada serobot jalur, bunyi-bunyi klakson dan sirene palsu nggak penting? Kan objektif bersamanya sampai di rumah secepatnya. Di badan jalan yang macet, lebih mudah kalau kita berjuang bersama toh, ketimbang melawan semua mobil yang ada di jalan?

emang jauh banget hubungannya antara perilaku di jalan dengan sanubari bangsa. tapi, hal besar mulai dari hal kecil toh… kalau hal seremeh temeh perilaku di jalan raya aja kita nggak bisa disiplin dan memperjuangkan yang benar, gimana hal lain? 

Iya, pemerintah buruk, polisi buruk, DPR buruk, dan lain-lain. Tidak adil kalau ngomong itu secara umum, pastinya ada yang baik dalam lembaga-lembaga itu (sayangnya minoritas sepertinya), tapi masa karena orang lain buruk, kita harus ikutan buruk? mentang-mentang yang lain ngelawan arah di jalan, kita harus ikutan juga? 

Berjuanglah. ini perjuangannya. Mulai tertib. Berhenti melawan, dan mulai berjuang.

Yang diklaksonin dan dipelototin semua orang kalau berhenti di tikungan berlampu merah, karena menurut mereka belok kiri boleh langsung.

I’ve Joined

I’ve been back in Jakarta, Indonesia for about 2 weeks now, and have started working for the past week; so I think it’s a good time to officially share here what I’m working on. As my work has a lot to do with social media, I might as well announce it on my personal blog as well.

I have joined, a company founded by my university friend Ramya, which is basically a technology services company that uses RFID tag technology for social media amplification. Simply put, once you register and connect your Facebook, Twitter or any other social network account to a RFID tag, you can tap that card to an RFID reader to ‘like’ things, check-in to places, and take a picture at a photo booth to upload to Facebook and other social networks. This creates a wonderfully engaging experience – I’m not exaggerating, I’ve seen it in action myself – and the possibility to connect social media with the ‘real’ world. Here’s a video of it in action:

We currently power various events, and we’re hoping to expand our activities into other areas as a technology solution. I’ll also be writing on the blog to talk about, well, work! But I promise, it won’t be just the usual string of ‘my company is currently doing this and that at where’ and I’ll write about the industry in general as well. If you have any questions or inquiries, suggestions, or anything at all, you can contact me directly at ario.tamat[at]

So, wish us luck!

The ‘Long Holiday’ Has Ended – Time To Go Home

People's Assembly Building, with Uncle Ho's statue in front

Well, it was never meant to last. We even tried to hold back – unsuccessfully – from buying anything of significant size or weight, because we knew, some day, we will go home. Well, now that time has come.

Bitexco Financial Tower, with Duxton Hotel in the foreground

Sky Garden, Phu My Hung

After 17 months in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we have decided to go back home to Jakarta, Indonesia.

at a HCMC traffic light

I’m still at a loss to describe the multitude of roller coaster experiences that we have experienced here, but I dare say it’s an experience that I will never get anywhere else. We lived in a city where the only direction that traffic won’t come at you is from the sky, and where the food is absolutely fabulous. We got to experience being an expat in an exotic city, and enjoyed the virtues of a city not as crowded as Jakarta. On the work side, it was a constant plunge into the movie and TV industries – industries I may have not been able to learn if I were in Indonesia – and then some. Obviously, I learnt a lot. The good and bad of my experience in Vietnam has helped me obtain new possible perspectives to looking at problems, and at life itself. That, by itself, is already a blessing.

Grilled Catfish, specialty of Cha Ca La Vong restaurant

I must admit, one of the main reasons we came, was that we had to get away. Clear our heads, and get a completely new life experience. But now, as fate would have it, it’s time to return home. And I’m coming home, with a fresh head, to tackle fresh challenges. But let’s talk about that later…

Sunset at Mui Ne Red Dunes

Ho Chi Minh City, as a reflection of modern Vietnam, has its quirks – there’s never a day that goes by without seeing or experiencing something absurd – but you can feel the energy to the city. The city’s energy is definitely positive, optimistic and carefree [to a fault], compared to Jakarta’s negative, survival-of-the-fittest energy.

Floating Market at Can Tho

So. Vietnam. I’ve found a second home there. I’ll see you again soon 🙂

Pilih Sendiri Petualangan [Musik]mu

[ini adalah guest post di]

Saya (ceritanya) anggota band. Sebuah band yang berkat bantuan si Aldo ini, sempet manggung di sebuah acara musik rock internasional yang berlangsung di Jakarta. Band ini juga yang cuma punya sederet kecil prestasi, yang tidak termasuk pernah rilis album. Kenapa? File-file masternya hilang. Klasiklah, masalah-masalahnya.

Konon sih band ini udah malang melintang dari jaman Poster Cafe, ikut festival dan pensi sana-sini, dan seperti banyak band lainnya sempat vakum, gonta-ganti personil. Pernah juga lagunya tembus ke no.1 chart indie sebuah radio Jakarta, dan lagu lain malah nyaris masuk ke kompilasi dari radio tersebut. Yah, banyak nyaris-nyarisnya lah.

Kalau melihat dari sisi profesional gue, yang pernah jadi anak major label, materinya bagus kok. Gak boong. Cuma gak mainstream aja. Dan menurut gue, kalau diaransir sedikit lain dan dinyanyikan orang lain, mungkin bisa jadi lagu pop yang bagus. Nggak akan pernah tau, karena nggak pernah dikerjain.

Baca selanjutnya di

[REFLECTION] Our Secret Expectations

The cruelty that is Jakarta, is that it never lets us think, reflect, or contemplate. From the moment we wake up early in the morning, usually a good time for reflection and prayer, we’re forced to plunge ourselves into our routines of preparation for work or school or whatever; we have not yet made peace with the new day and given it purpose, so we rush into it – because there’s no other way, like trying to stuff in a huge hamburger in 2 minutes. We probably haven’t made peace with yesterday, either.

Read More…

In Vietnam, 1 Year Later

Exactly 1 year ago, Saskia and I packed our bags – 2 large suitcases, 32 kg each; 1 small suitcase, 10 kg, a large backpack and tote bag – and went to Soekarno-Hatta International airport. Our parents were there, and a few of our friends were kind enough to see us off, to an adventure of a lifetime. We were moving to Vietnam.

After 2 apartments (we moved to an apartment complex in a nicer area in April) and right now in the middle of a move to a new office building, we’ve had the opportunity to take trips to Phan Thiet and the Mekong Delta, and I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hanoi.

Read More…

[GEEK POST] 5 Reasons Why I’m Still Using A BlackBerry

RIM has certainly lost a lot of steam these days. With sales dropping like flies across the globe, the future looks uncertain because no one in the world will know exactly how successful – or not – the upcoming QNX-based phones will fare. It certainly didn’t do well for the Playbook, which in all accounts is actually a solid hardware product with a mediocre software product. With the trend in computing – mobile or otherwise – is obviously moving towards a focus on software (the OS and apps), we have yet to see how RIM will ride tomorrow’s waves behind the giant ships of iOS and Android.

Of course, all this doesn’t matter for the average consumer, and I consider myself one. I do keep tabs on tech news and the latest trends in computing, but at the end of the day, I choose what works for me as a consumer. And for me, the BlackBerry works.

Read More…

Bus Schedule for Phu My Hung – Dong Khoi Shuttle Bus, Ho Chi Minh City

So, there’s a shuttle bus that goes around Phu My Hung, District 7, HCMC and drops everyone at Dong Khoi in District 1, HCMC (and vice versa). Currently the ticket price is 15,000 VND, making it a better option than a taxi (which might cost around 120,000 VND one way). I have adapted the map found on the Phu My Hung website so it is slightly more readable. (Click the image for a larger version)

Here’s a handy timetable also, if the picture confuses you. The times below are the departure times from each stop.

Route 1 (Area H)   Route 2 (Area H)
Phu My Hung (Sky Garden Cafe) Dong Khoi   Phu My Hung (My Khanh) Dong Khoi
07:00 07:30   07:00 07:45
08:00 08:30   08:15 09:00
09:00 09:30   09:30 10:15
10:00 10:30   11:30 12:15
11:00 11:30   14:15 15:00
12:00 12:30   15:30 16:15
13:00 13:30   17:00 17:40
14:00 14:30   18:30 19:15
15:00 15:30   20:30 21:30
16:00 16:30      
17:00 17:30      
17:30 18:00 (only on weekdays)

18:00 18:30      
19:00 19:30      
20:00 20:30      
21:00 21:30      

Indonesians Working Abroad – Why or Why Not?

Well, here’s another theory why “not many” Indonesians work and stay abroad:

The fact is, there are a lot of Indonesians abroad. A LOT. Working and living abroad. They’re just not that visible, because:

  1. Indonesians tend to adapt themselves to the local traditions of wherever they work and live, at least in public.
  2. Indonesians do bring their culture abroad, but usually for their own consumption; i.e. food. Even in Singapore, which arguably has a lot of Indonesians living and visiting, there is only a handful of authentic Indonesian restaurants.
  3. By the numbers, there are not many Indonesians abroad compared to people from other countries, i.e. India, China, and Vietnam.

There’s also the real issue of job competition. In a world economy teetering on recession, not many jobs are available – for anyone – in Europe or North America, the usual “dream location” for overseas work. A language barrier stands between many and a job in other Asian countries, because many otherwise qualified people may not have the necessary English-speaking or local-language skills to work effectively. Also, for many, the simple fact that the local culture is totally different from what they are used to, living is often impractical or uncomfortable.

These many factors, compounded by the fact that most Indonesians would be reluctant to leave their extended families behind, has probably prevented many people from trying their luck abroad.

Let me share my experience on living abroad, if I may: Read More…