What Jokowi Needs to Learn from Soeharto (Hint: Book Lovers will Agree)

‎As the honeymoon phase is slipping away, Jokowi has been getting bombarded with criticism (out of varying levels of disappointment) from some people around him.

And now it’s my time to do so.

It’s been almost 7 months since Jokowi started to reign. Overall, I approve of almost all his steps (with the KPK-Police tug war as an exception).

As a book lover (and a hopeful writer wanting so much to get published), however, I feel deeply concerned with Jokowi and his regime’s ignorance of the importance of publishing and book industry (one significant part of Indonesian creative industry which the president once promised to help flourish) . Not to mention authors’ welfare. Knowing Indonesian author N. H. Dini (and the majority of Indonesian authors) living in such a way makes me think a zillion times before plunging into the ocean of publishing industry full time. ‎

A fellow writer and publisher Bambang Trim today fretted on his blog about his concern, which we also have in common, saying that Jokowi and the related ministry seem to pass National Book Day on May 17th with nonchalant abandon.

For your information, the special day was set by President Soeharto, reasoning that Indonesian Republic National Library was founded on May 17, 1980. The day, Bambang wrote, is also commemorated as Indonesian Publishers Association (IKAPI), born 65 years ago.

Bambang compared Jokowi to Soeharto, commenting the current president ( and leaders after Soeharto, too) have done very little — if any — for the progress and betterment of the domestic book and publishing industry.

On May 2, 1973, Soeharto even invited IKAPI staffers to Bogor Presidential Palace after having declared 1972 as International Book Year. At the time, Ajip Rosidi chaired the organization. “I do hope all of you can come up with well-planned and neatly-conceptualized suggestions needed for the development of our nation,” the smiling general told them at the banquet in response to the meager number of books published in the country.

Soeharto walked his talk. He poured some funding which later was used up to found Yayasan Buku Utama. The foundation selected the best teenagers book on an annual basis, told Mr. Rosidi.

Of course, we may not overlook Soeharto’s censorship and book bans and most importantly, freedom of expression and press markedly lower than freedom of it during the subsequent regimes.

Another milestone was Kongres Perbukuan Nasional in 1995 but sadly soon after the monetary crisis hit Indonesia, the future of book and publishing industry turned hazy.

Aside from that, we should see whether Anis Baswedan can be as daring and innovative as Fuad Hasan when it comes to this issue.

And this explains very well why there is much disappointment arising after Indonesia came out as the guest of Frankfurt Book Fair recently. Some said it was quite pathetic because it wasn’t well prepared.

(image source: ayojokowiaja.blogspot.com)

More Dramas, Fuel for the Journalism Industry

‎I plan to be a lot more optimistic in 2015 and here I am now drenched in the streams of information about the political drama. Last year’s epic drama seemed to keep us in high spirit and it still has a lot of sequels to come.

I don’t want to talk about whoever or whatever related to the political dramas staged currently. We all can consume the news on mainstream news websites. I’m bored with it all. So are you, I suppose.

What I’m more interested in is the fact that we have an endless supply of dramas throughout the year and journalismwise, it’s wildly SUPERB. It’s all there for us to cover, rant, write or simply sneer, mock and spit at. ‎The material is so so abundant you’ll find yourselves drowned in it before you even try to plunge.

This is how I choose to be optimistic this year. Understanding that the industry is stimulated by such never-ending dramas ‎keeps the industry of journalism happy and alive, and ultimately growing fast. And when this happens, there’re more jobs for writers and reporters like me or even hopefuls out there.

Thus, I’m lit up. Aren’t you?

Sekat-sekat Muslihat

Dalam berita yang saya pernah dengar menjelang malam Natal, yang biasanya saya dengar adalah aparat kepolisian disibukkan dengan penjagaan di Gereja Katedral Jakarta. Saya tidak banyak bertanya mengapa katedral yang kerap kali disebut. Jika saya cermati memang lebih jarang saya mendengar ada pemberitaan penjagaan aparat di gereja-gereja Kristen Protestan di media massa.

Saya tak ambil pusing dengan itu karena saya tidak terpikir ada perbedaan di antara gereja Kristen Katholik dan Protestan.

Hingga suatu hari saya bertemu dengan seorang teman yang berkeyakinan Katholik. Pagi itu kami bersantap bersama di sebuah kedai makanan di alam terbuka. Kami menyinggung tentang Ahok yang berhalangan datang ke taman meskipun sudah diundang jauh-jauh hari.

“Saya juga sudah ragu kalau Ahok benar-benar akan datang ke sini,” terang teman saya itu. Pasalnya, Ahok memeluk Kristen Protestan. Dan katanya lagi, pemeluk Kristen Protestan memiliki keterikatan dengan gereja tempat ia menjadi jemaat. Seperti ada keanggotaan tetap dan mereka diwajibkan untuk datang dan menyumbang ke gereja itu sepanjang waktu.

“Lain dengan orang Katholik seperti saya,” imbuhnya. Gereja-gereja Katholik kata dia lebih terbuka dalam hal menyambut orang yang ingin beribadah. Tidak ada keanggotaan yang mengikat dan mereka diperkenankan untuk beribadah di gereja Katholik manapun di dunia ini, tidak cuma di satu gereja yang sudah menjadi tempat mereka memberikan komitmen penuh untuk beribadah.

Itulah mengapa kita tidak perlu heran saat ada tetangga yang memeluk Kristen Protestan yang tidak memilih untuk beribadah di gereja protestan di dekatnya dan lebih memilih beribadah di gereja yang lebih jauh. Ternyata itu karena ia sudah menjadi semacam anggota di gereja yang bersangkutan.

Karena itulah gereja Katholik lebih rawan terhadap penyusupan dan pemboman teroris yang mencoba mengacaukan kondisi yang kurang kondusif di antara umat beragama saat ini. Apalagi kita telah tahu munculnya bibit-bibit radikalisme di masyarakat Indonesia.

Dalam umat Islam sendiri – yang di dalamnya saya menjadi bagian – bisa dijumpai pula fenomena semacam ini. Ayah saya yang bergabung dalam Muhammadiyah hanya beribadah di satu masjid yang sudah ia bangun bersama kawan-kawannya. Lalu meninggalkan masjid Muhammadiyah di kampung lainnya yang sebelumnya biasa ia kunjungi yang juga sama dekatnya untuk beribadah hanya untuk beribadah di masjid baru tadi. Dan sangat tipis kemungkinan ayah saya mau sholat di masjid dekat rumah yang dibangun orang Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), kecuali semua masjid Muhammadiyah di desa, kecamatan atau kabupaten kami runtuh, rata dengan tanah.

Memang ayah saya tidak sampai seekstrim menghindari sholat di masjid lain saat berada di luar kota tetapi tetap saja ini membuat saya jengah. Mengapa harus fanatik seperti itu? Mengapa tidak sesekali ke masjid-masjid lain di sekitar kita, menjumpai orang baru yang sama sekali bukan warga kampung, orang yang bukan anggota organisasi yang sudah kita masuki, yang bukan bagian dari keluarga besar kita?

Ahok, “The Mad Man” of Jakarta, Tells Us More about His Views on Entrepreneurship and Jakarta (2- end)

ahokAhok previously touched on plurality and creativity as the nation’s potential.

He was again pissed off as he found out a shocking fact. Upon knowing it took several days for a letter to reach his working desk, he casually went curious and questioned his subordinates. “I want all of the letters for me came to me right away no matter what. How many people in charge of letters are there?,”Ahok recounted. Twenty five people were known to be in charge of it. We all can imagine how ineffective the bureaucracy of Jakarta has been and we somehow don’t think it’s too surprising but having 25 people to handle letters in an office for a governor is undoubtedly a waste of resources.

Needless to say, he was enraged at the inefficient approach. Ahok later opened a single desk for all letters written for him as the governor. He wants to read these letters as soon as they arrive. “I want no one from my staff filters any letters for me,”Ahok firmly stated.

He fervently wishes there will be more entrepreneurs a.k.a. job creators in town. And to attract more entrepreneurs and encourage them to set up businesses in Jakarta, Ahok conveyed a message of change to all of business folks: Jakarta is changing.

Ahok is deeply concerned about the low sense of trust grassroots give nowadays to public officials like him. And he knows to well he has to work hard to change it.

“All we (Jakarta) have is location, to be frank,” he spoke. If people have a creative idea, are trained, permitted to operate, they might as well get funded by the government. “We also subsidize fledgling entrepreneurs who need to exhibit their products or services.”

Under Ahok’s command, the government of DKI Jakarta has begun a local, culinary-focused business incubator at Monumen Nasional (Monas), Central Jakarta. There are 339 people (micro businessmen, street vendors) trained in the incubator. They were trained to cook and serve foods more hygienically and professionally. Once they have funds and want to expand, they should move out of the location.

Ahok can’t be fooled so easily. Some of the street vendors tried to take advantage of this facility generously provided for them. Ahok found out that these dishonest people sold their kiosks at Monas for 200 million rupiahs. They sold the space to others instead of truly running their culinary business there to come back to their hometown only to remarry women and build a decent house. And what happens next? These people come back to Jakarta and sell foods like what they did before the government trained and funded them.

“That’s why we now are really really stringent!” Ahok explained. Knowing Indonesian law enforcement is too weak to prevent such cases from recurring in the future, Ahok had an idea. A brilliant one, I should say. All these street vendors are to have ATM cards issued officially by Bank DKI as their identity cards. That way, any violations can be taken to court, only this time with more severe, more serious punishment. Ahok knows it’s against the law to
counterfeit ATM cards and if these street vendors – who have been trained, funded and provided a strategic space to run businesses – forge the cards, they should get prepared of being put behind bars for at least 12 years. “They said I’m so cruel. I said,’Now you all know!'”

He later emphasized Jakarta is the best opportunity for entrepreneurs. They provide one-stop service for handling the business permits. “No need to bribe. You can tell me if you’re told you must bribe,” he said. “I work for this, to have fights against all these violations. For the sake of you all.”

Ahok promised for entrepreneurs to give space to ‘show off’ products at Monas, which he assumes to be the most commercially attractive landmark of all. He is committed to help entrepreneurs who can produce something. To fund potential entrepreneurs, Ahok will push Bank DKI to provide more capitals for them.

Speaking of the traffic jam issue and city plan, Ahok likened Jakarta to Chicago in 1920’s. It was all chaotic and messy with buildings and properties erected with no certain guidance. To add to the mess, the traffic was worsening from time to time. Not to mention, the Chicago goverment was as corrupt as we all are now.

He also challenges all of Indonesian public officials to implement and ratify the United Nations advice on combatting corruption in the public government. He strongly advocates this idea to be applied in Indonesia. “But there needs to be raises in salaries at first,” he said in an understanding tone.

Thus far Ahok, apart from his being a minority, has managed to show his capability of working as a competent public official. Yes, he is blatant, overly outspoken most of the time, so outspoken he annoy and offend some. But as we all realize we really need this type of man to drag our people forward. This donkey needs to wake up and work his way up, stop complaining and start achieving. And Ahok is ready with his whip so the donkey stand up and start to run, to become a stallion, or even better, a unicorn flying to the sky.

Ahok, “The Mad Man” of Jakarta, Tells Us More about His Views on Entrepreneurship and Jakarta (1)

ahokBasuki Tjahaja Purnama – the complete name of Ahok – never tries to please everyone. Especially those haters. The relatively young, amazingly blatant and straight-to-the point leader of Jakarta seems to be undismayed even by the agressiveness of Front Pembela Islam (FPI). But he has really strong reasons to support what he does now as the man in charge of the capital.

In front of the youthful audience of Global Entrepreneurship Week Summit Indonesia yesterday (21/11), Ahok stunned us, again. He mentioned several STRONG words that any other public officials are likely to say, even when they’re most aggravated in public. Truly, he sets a new trend of how someone should work as a public official. You can’t be as lazy and sluggish as a donkey and just work as usual.

During his 40-ish minute speech, Ahok told us his insights about just everything. From his interest in entrepreneurship to the recently launched BPJS program. His extent of knowledge might amaze you all.

The current era is very much different from the industrialization era, he said. These days, a nation’s comparative strength lies on its creativity. This proves to be the issue for Indonesia.

“With the plurality of this nation, we may generate more creativity,”Ahok remarked. Indonesia is hugely remarkable in terms and if you see any other nations seem so amazing when it comes to ideas and products, you’re wrong. Indonesia can do it much better. Only if we want to do better with our potentials though.

(To be continued)

Two Things Foreign Entrepreneurs Complain Most About Indonesia

“To build business in Indonesia is actually really good,”said he. Steven Kim of Qraved.com claims the reason is because Indonesians are familiar with English. This is considered a plus. Language barrier is minimum. It’s also network-oriented. “When I worked for Zalora Singapore, it was very tough because there were additional problems I had to solve.”

Indonesia, however, needs to fix these two things: INTERNET and TRAFFIC. The Internet speed is miserable, I should say. No service provider can solve it by consistently doing great at every place. On and off Internet connection, there’s nothing more pissing avid Internet users off than that. Even wi-fi connection doesn’t really provide satisfactory speed you’ve always wanted. But if you’re used to super fast Internet such as one in Korea just like Mr. Kim, of course it’s understood you’d whine over the speed here.

Meanwhile, the traffic issue especially holds true in Jakarta. Painfully clogged and chaotically managed. Needless to say. And it takes more years to untangle the mess because it’s the accumulation of problems spanning for decades.

Despite Huge Market Potentials, AirBnB Lets Indonesia Users Base Grow Organically

‎Being a reporter means you’ve got the privilege to ask whatever questions you have in your mind. So while everyone else spoke up about how cool AirBnB service has become so far and how lucrative the business opportunities for being a host may seem, I hurled a rather outlandish question about co-founder Brian Chesky at Leander Yohanes, a rep from the startup presenting mostly about the experience of being a host and guest via the service. “[We] always think the company first before making any decisions.

Answering in full English, Leander ‎recalled the ‘intimidating’ looks of the co-founder who used to be a bodybuilder at the first encounter in 2013 when he applied a job at AirBnB. “You know him..,”Leander paused and shrugged his shoulders. Chesky must be significantly bigger than Leander and the authority Chesky has in hand makes him look even more authoritative and domineering. Leander said Chesky asked him a series of randomly-picked interview questions. “So he’d know how fast one can think and solve problems as we know startups are so dynamic and full of unexpected things,”Leander explained further.

Though AirBnB has so many rivals, they’re confident to compete in the niche. As Leander ‎put it, when compared to platforms like CouchSurfing, AirBnB has its own stregths. One thing CouchSurfing doesn’t have is the guarantee of accomodation type. Because you pay for it, you can demand or expect a certain kind of service you deserve. While ChouchSurfing is free but makes one more prone to fraud or any crimes or sheer disappointment because it’s overrated.

While CouchSurfing ‎is inclined to be a pure backpackers community, in my opinion AirBnB also has to compete with budget hotels such as Amaris. Leander begged to differ,”I don’t think we’re competing with them because we provide different experiences.” One of the avid users of the service coming that night, Vivek, prefers AirBnB to “connect with the local beats”. Leander argued budget hotels can’t provide it.

From the perspective of a non-user (I’m an AirBnB service virgin myself), I was curious if I could choose a guest based on my preference, such as avoiding guests who don’t snore or smoke or so on. He claims we can. How? “By reading reviews,”he said. To some extent, we can avoid annoying guests but rarely can we find reviews about someone’s snoring. The different thing applies to filthy guests. These filthy people can be easier to detect from reviews.

I read on Quora that AirBnB ‎has quite a few negative reviews, which made me wonder whether they have a strict moderation system. When I asked if it was right, Leander told us that there’s no such a thing in the company he works for. “We have no moderation system for reviews,”he confirmed. But he missed mentioning about the non-anonimity for reviewers, which according to someone on Quora doesn’t allow them to leave reviews without names. So there’s a high chance if your previous host can find and read it and gets raged if s/he find bad reviews about him/ her written by you. Retaliation or vengeance could happen. And that’s no good.

‎As I asked Leander how it feels to work at a hyped and fast-growing startup like AirBnB, he said it feels like being thrown to a world where he has to figure out everything himself. That explains why AirBnB is so rigorous when it comes to hiring people. “They want people they hire understand the goal,”said he. The level of trust and autonomy as an employee is also higher. The employees of AirBnB are also expected to be thinking and solving problems like their founders do.

That said, I challenged the proposition of hiring likeminded people asking if it’s really what the company does all the time. “Yes and no. Because if you hire someone likeminded to you, you would find creative solutions, right?” Leander thought it’d be better to hire someone who understands the goal like you do (the founders) but brings also something different to the table. Different strengths, different ways of thinking.

To get the insider’s view of why AirBnB succeeds, I asked Leander. And he just giggled, seconds later saying,”You shouldn’t ask me this actually. You should ask the communities. Because essentially we’re just a platform. The success is very much dependent on our users.”

‎Knowing the huge contribution of communities to the success, AirBnB must have some strategies to maintain or nurture their communities. According to Leandern, some of the strategies are the group channel introduced lately which is designed to provide space for communities to share tips, stories, help each other. They can also organize meetups, thus strengthening the relationship amongst members of AirBnbB communities. The communities, Leander stated, dictate the experience of AirBnB service. He stressed on the aspect of authenticity and being real as they can stay with local people living in a city.

Speaking of the 1 million dollars host guarantee given by AirBnB, I was wondering if there was any case of it occuring in the past. “Not the full amount of course.. haha,”he told me. When a claim is filed, the AirBnB would make sure the claim is genuine and complies with the conditions.

AirBnB reportedl‎y has no plans to file an IPO this year, and Leander said he knows nothing about when the company is set to do so.

In Indonesia, as Leander put it, ‎the company has no specific plans like opening a branch office like what Twitter does. “A lot of our growth has been organic initially. And now that we have our staff presence here to accelerate the growth so there’s no plan to open our local office just yet.”

This Is Why Nobody Wants to Be a Wordsmith in Indonesia

Living as an author or novelist or short story writer or journalist is TOUGH, regardless of countries. Though people are inclined to see only the glory of renowned authors like JK Rowling, Danielle Steele, Elizabeth Gilbert or Dan Brown, many ignore the story behind their glamorous lives. One may find these authors’ past period as depressing. There’re millions of authors even in Western countries who are just as impoverished as we are in developing countries. These wordsmiths (people earn a living by means of arranging words) are living pathetic way of life and not many know it or even they know, give it a single damn.

Suharso (38) is one of the poor Indonesian novelists out there who struggle to make money. The man whose pen name is Aveus Har mostly makes money on daily basis by setting up a food stall selling chicken noodles. Yes, the level of the challenges in the Indonesian publishing industry may seem so overwhelming he can’t make money by writing alone. An author may be published but it doesn’t mean they’re getting more prosperous after their books are marketed. They still have so many tasks to complete:i.e. marketing their works. And this is not a part-time undertaking. S/he needs to plunge into it days and nights. Relentless, as we know it.

Suharso who lives in Pekalongan, Central Java, mentioned about not hoping his works (6 books all together and other writings fro printed publications) are making much money. That’s something I’m strongly opposed to! For God’s sake, you need to make money to live better. You’re entitled to it. If you can live better and deserve it, why shouldn’t you? I don’t know about others but this ‘humility’ should stop or wordsmiths never deserve the rewards they ought to enjoy.

Surprisingly, the novelist writes on an LG touch screen phone which screen looks ridiculously small and narrow. That’s exactly how he writes when he has spare time. I wonder why he doesn’t buy a BlackBerry instead. BlackBerry or any phones with a QWERTY keyboard would make sense, but a touch screen phone? I don’t know.

He has hopes though in spite of the authorly humility he has shown us. “I’m learning how to write a filmic novel, so if anyone wants to buy the book to make a film based on it, it’ll be much easier.

Suharso added,”I read a lot so I can write more and more. That’s how it all works.” But then I’m thinking, what if the food stall gets flooded by diners after he’s now seen on television? Could there be a food stall with a writing studio inside it?

That said, I wish him luck with the new endeavor. Now that everyone knows he’s about to write a filmic novel, I guess some potential movie directors in the country are interested in the book. Still, he’s such a phenomenon.

But hey I also have a writer friend who worked at Alfamart and now being a marketer for a telco company. Probably I must tell television journalists to cover his story.


Mindset Gratisan dan Revolusi Mental Bangsa Agar Lebih Bermartabat

Siapa sih yang orang Indonesia yang tidak suka barang gratis? Hampir semuanya pasti suka. Uang di dompet masih utuh, kebutuhan terpenuhi. Ah, enaknya!

Maka dari itu, mendapatkan barang diskon apalagi gratis yang masih layak dan bagus menjadi kebanggaan bagi orang Indonesia. Sebuah prestasi yang bisa dikatakan membanggakan dan membuat iri. “Bagaimana dia bisa mendapat barang semurah itu sementara saya harus membayar???” Begitu gerutu seorang teman saat berwisata belanja beberapa waktu lalu. Saat berbelanja semua menjadi tentang bagaimana mendapatkan harga miring, kalau bisa diskon 100% alias GRATIS! Karenanya turis Indonesia dikenal sebagai penawar yang gigih. Kalau bisa sampai tidak bayar mungkin.

Siapa sangka bahwa pola pikir ‘gratisan’ itu di sisi lain menjadi biang keladi payahnya bangsa Indonesia dibanding bangsa lain? Sektor industri kreatif kita MEMBLE. Kenapa? Karena konsumen kita sendiri suka barang dan layanan gratis. Saya juga! Bagaimana kita bisa menggerakkan industri kita, menumbuhkan entrepreneur dan startup jika konsumen sungguh pelit.

Seperti contohnya yang sudah saya tuliskan beberapa waktu lalu. Saya pernah bertemu seorang teman penulis yang begitu riang karyanya saya beli meski saya TEMAN BAIKNYA. Saya bisa saja merajuk meminta bukunya secara cuma-cuma, tetapi saat itu yang terpikir dalam benak adalah jika saya adalah dia, saya juga ingin hasil kerja keras saya dihargai. Tidak dengan memberikannya semua uang yang saya miliki tetapi cukup dengan membeli bukunya, sesuai harga pasar. Harga normal. Tidak ada harga teman, apalagi gratis. Inilah yang membuatnya bersemangat untuk berkarya lagi, menulis lagi, menerbitkan buku baru lagi, meningkatkan kesejahteraannya sebagai pekerja kreatif.

Lalu sebuah cerita menggugah dituliskan oleh Tjiptadinata Effendi di Kompasiana hari ini yang menurut saya juga memiliki benang merah dengan pola pikir gratisan yang bisa menjadi bumerang bagi kita ini. Ia tertegun saat mendengar seorang warga Australia mencegah
keluarganya mengambil barang gratis berupa roti yang ditawarkan oleh sebuah toko di Wollongong karena alasan yang menurutnya MENAMPAR. “No darling, please we have enough money to buy. Why do we have to pick up a free one? Let other people who need it more than us take it,”begitu kata si pria pada istrinya. Ini bukan sekadar gengsi dan pandangan orang lain pada diri dan istrinya tetapi lebih tentang orang lain yang tidak seberuntung mereka.

Saatnya mungkin kita mawas diri, apakah kita memang miskin atau hanya MERASA miskin sehingga membuat kita merasa sellau berhak mendapatkan bantuan dan uluran tangan?

Saya akui juga tidak bersih dari praktik dan mindset semacam itu. Di masa kuliah, saya pernah menerima beasiswa tertentu, yang diberikan untuk mahasiswa kurang mampu. Dan karena orang tua saya PNS, akhirnya saya lebih mudah diloloskan tetapi sayangnya untuk itu ada batasan maksimal penghasilan. Karena penghasilan orang tua lebih, terpaksa ‘markdown’ (penurunan/ pemangkasan dari jumlah yang sebetulnya) harus dilakukan. Gaji orang tua diturunkan di dokumen yang diserahkan ke pihak yang berwenang memberi beasiswa dan akhirnya gol. Saya dapat beasiswa, yang lumayan untuk uang jajan, bukan membeli buku pelajaran.

Dari semua itu, saya tidak heran ternyata mental gratisan tidak hanya menghambat industri kreatif kita tetapi juga membuat kita selalu menjadi bangsa yang bermental PENGEMIS dan EGOIS (betapa kebijakan Bantuan Langsung Tunai bisa dipakai sebagai contoh epik mindset gratisan ini dalam bangsa kita). Apapun yang kita miliki sia-sia saja karena kita tetap merasa miskin dan merasa perlu untuk terus menengadahkan tangan, secara harafiah atau figuratif. Kita merasa mengeluarkan uang itu tidak perlu tanpa peduli untuk apa pengeluaran itu. Yang penting hemat! Tetapi menghemat di segala bidang juga seperti menghambat kemajuan diri. Harus ada pengeluaran yang tidak sepantasnya dianggap sebagai belanja tetapi investasi dan modal bekerja. Dan yang lebih penting adalah pengeluaran yang dilakukan karena Anda bisa menghasilkan uang sendiri untuk memenuhi kebutuhan Anda dan orang terkasih sehingga barang-barang gratis itu bisa diberikan ke orang yang jauh lebih membutuhkan.

Yuk, ubah mental penyuka gratisan dan peminta menjadi mental bangsa yang mandiri dan lebih bermartabat!


Image credit: Wikimedia


“Indonesian startup world s*cks,”celetuk teman saya petang kemarin. Saya tidak kaget. Ia seorang ‘salary man’, tipikal ‘corporate guy’ yang kurang tahu menahu dengan perkembangan startup di Indonesia. Namun demikian, ia memiliki sejumlah pemikiran yang menurut saya cukup menarik karena dan saya sepakat dengannya dalam sejumlah poin.

Pertama, ia berkata bahwa startup Indonesia masih belum menjanjikan. “Siapa yang mau beli?” Saya mencoba menyangkalnya. Tentu saja ada. Sejumlah investor asing tidak segan mencari dan menjadi penanam modal bagi para entrepreneur dan startup yang kehausan modal. Saya sepakat dengannya. Kecuali beberapa kisah ‘sukses’ seperti Koprol (yang pada akhirnya juga layu karena dijual lalu dilepaskan Yahoo!) atau Kaskus yang akhirnya diakuisisi Djarum, rasanya sukar menemukan sukses serupa. Akan tambah sakit hati kalau kita membandingkan dengan kondisi startup di negeri lain. Memang benar, startup Indonesia masih banyak yang ‘copycat’, meniru dari Barat lalu menerapkannya di sini, entah itu disesuaikan atau tidak dengan budaya dan pemikiran lokal tidak terlalu menjadi prioritas. Asal membuahkan laba!

Kedua, masih banyak kisah ‘sukses’ ini yang membual, kurang transparan dan kurang lengkap memberikan perjuangan mereka pada pers. Setahu saya, memang masih sukar menemukan iklim keterbukaan di startup lokal. Nilai akuisisi Koprol oleh Yahoo!, misalnya, sepengetahuan saya belum pernah dipublikasikan. Ini sangat mengecewakan. Padahal jika dipublikasikan pada khalayak, bisa jadi akan menjadi pendorong pertumbuhan ekosistem entrepreneurship di negeri ini. Kita jadi tahu seberapa besar potensi itu jika divaluasi oleh investor atau pelaku bisnis dari luar. Tetapi karena selama ini ditutupi, kita tidak bisa memastikannya dan terus meraba-raba sembari mengkhayal menjadi sebesar eBay, PayPal, dan sebagainya. Dan karena mereka tidak banyak mengungkap kisah gagal mereka, rasanya juga startup mereka kurang realistis. Hal itu juga karena pers Indonesia tidak terlalu tertarik menulis kisah gagal dan seluk beluk startup. Buat apa menulis kegagalan? Publik lebih suka dimanjakan dengan prospek cerah bisnis X, atau potensi laba bisnis Y. Mereka kurang suka menghadapi kenyataan pahit bahwa startup bisa membuat entrepreneur bangkrut, menderita lahir batin, atau stres berat layaknya calon legislatif yang harus menanggung kekalahan di pemilu lalu padahal modal sudah habis-habisan, kampanye tidak kenal lelah di mana-mana.

Semua itu memang kenyataannya begitu, setidaknya dalam persektif kami. Ditambah lagi dengan kurang mendukungnya ekosistem usaha, tampaknya makin bertambah saja tantangan yang harus dihadapi entrepreneur Indonesia. Entrepreneur kita merasa kurang didukung oleh pemerintah, yang aturan mainnya dirasa memberatkan startup untuk muncul dan berkembang. Padahal katanya menteri kita sudah pernah berkunjung ke Silicon Valley. Lalu apa yang sebenarnya mereka pelajari dari sana? Tidak ada!

Semoga di pemerintahan baru nanti Menteri Koperasi dan UKM baru yang dipimpin Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga bisa melakukan gebrakan positif yang akan mendorong pertumbuhan startup Indonesia dan ekosistem usaha pada umumnya.

Karena kita sudah muak dengan janji-janji dan retorika serta program-program yang tidak tentu arahnya…

(Image credit: http://www.rmol.co/read/2014/10/29/177712/Sertijab-Menkop-UKM-)

“It’s My Startup”: Ramuan Kiat dan Motivasi Bisnis untuk Entrepreneur Indonesia

Membaca buku kadang tidak cukup. Apalagi kalau Anda seorang entrepreneur. Saya teringat dengan penuturan Megain Widjaja, seorang entrepreneur muda, yang mengatakan, kurang lebih seingat saya, bukan membaca isi buku yang paling penting bagi pembaca tetapi apakah pembaca itu mau bergerak melakukan sesuatu yang nyata setelah buku itu habis dilahap. Bentuknya bisa bermacam-macam. Entah itu mendiskusikan isinya dengan orang lain sebagai sesi curah gagasan atau brainstorming untuk menampung dan menguji ide-ide kreatif yang muncul setelah membaca atau melakukan aksi lain yang konkret agar pengetahuan dan pengalaman yang sudah terakumulasi lewat buku bisa dimanfaatkan dalam mewujudkan sebuah proyek atau cita-cita besar. Intinya, setelah membaca, terus apa? Membaca buku-buku dari orang besar tak akan serta merta membuat Anda besar, kecuali Anda membaca kemudian melakukan sesuatu yang menuju ke arah itu.

Mungkin itulah yang saya sarankan pada Anda dan diri saya sendiri juga saat membaca buku-buku motivasi. Pasar buku sudah begitu banyak dibanjiri buku semacam ini.

Dalam pekerjaan, saya juga kerap – malah bisa dikatakan hampir tiap hari – menulis‎ tips dan motivasi bisnis. Begitu seringnya, sampai saya kadang skeptis dan pesimis dengan kiat-kiat itu. Apakah itu realita atau retorika belaka? Apalagi sejauh ini saya belum mencoba membuktikannya.

‎Tetapi meski saya dan orang lain bisa menulis tips dan motivasi bisnis, saya rasa tidak ada yang lebih baik dari seorang penulis yang menerjuni sendiri hal yang ia tulis. Dengan begitu, penjiwaannya mungkin akan lebih baik dalam menyampaikan ide-ide penting.

Itulah yang membedakan saya dengan Lahandi Baskoro. Saya belum pernah ‎mencicipi rasanya mendirikan startup, Lahandi lain. Tiga tahun lalu ia merintis pendirian komunitas pegiat teknologi digital skala lokal yang bernama “Depok Digital”. Ia juga menjajaki wirausaha dengan membidani Qanvash.com, sebuah situs online yang memuat konten inspiratif bertema relijius.

Tidak heran jika Lahandi (@lahandi) yang pernah menjabat sebagai senior content strategist Kaskus.co.id ini lebih menjiwai dalam menulis “It’s My Startup: 50 Tips Memasuki, Memulai, dan Mengembangkan Bisnis Startup”. Buku setebal 172 halaman itu ia serahkan pada saya awal tahun ini. Dan ‎saat saya bertanya padanya apakah saya harus mengulas buku ini, ia menjawab tidak harus. Akan tetapi, mengingat buku ini ia berikan secara cuma-cuma pada saya dan saya tidak bisa memberikan imbalan apapun, saya pikir sebuah ulasan yang jujur dan membangun akan bermanfaat baginya, jika ia kelak ingin menyempurnakan buku ini, dan bagi Anda yang ingin membangun usaha sendiri tetapi masih meraba-raba medan pertarungan yang Anda akan terjuni.

Di dalam bukunya, Lahandi seolah memeras semua nasihat wirausaha yang ia pernah terima‎ menjadi tips singkat yang dibagi-bagi menjadi uraian singkat. Fontnya besar, cukup mudah dibaca dan berwarna-warni meski tidak terlalu mencolok agar menekan biaya produksi.

Buku “It’s My Startup” ini kebanyakan memuat nasihat dari entrepreneur-entrepreneur asing (terutama Silicon Valley) yang tentunya disarikan dari media-media Amerika. Namun demikian, di antara itu semua Anda masih bisa menemukan sejumlah entrepreneur Indonesia yang turut dikutip saran-sarannya di sini, di antaranya adalah Natali Ardianto yang dikenal luas sebagai salah satu inisiator/ penggagas komunitas #StartupLokal yang baru-baru ini berkunjung ke Makassar untuk menemui sejumlah entrepreneur pendiri startup di sana.

Menurut hemat saya, buku ini lebih tepat dibaca untuk mereka yang menginginkan motivasi dan inspirasi awal dalam merintis bisnis. Bisa jadi mereka adalah calon entrepreneur yang masih buta sama sekali dengan dunia startup teknologi. Buku ini menyuguhkan nasihat dan saran penting itu menjadi satu sehingga lebih mudah dan praktis disimak.

Akan tetapi, jika Anda menghendaki sebuah buku yang lebih ‘berisi’‎ dan kaya dengan deskripsi, narasi dan data, “It’s My Startup” saya pikir kurang mampu memuaskan Anda. Anda akan menginginkan lebih banyak dari sekadar tips, apalagi jika Anda sudah benar-benar menjalankan startup.

Selamat Ulang Tahun, Pak Wowo!

Ada dua alasan kenapa orang berubah baik secara tiba-tiba: karena bulan puasa datang dan karena hari ulang tahunnya akan tiba. Untuk kasus Prabowo Subianto, alasan kedua tampaknya lebih cocok.Di BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29655872), ia diberitakan sudah “berdamai dan mendukung” musuh bebuyutannya di Pilpres 2014 yang sudah mirip Bharatayudha bagi bangsa ini. Entah kenapa BBC masih memakai tanda petik di judulnya: “Prabowo Pledges ‘Support’ for Indonesia Leader Jokowi” tetapi yang pasti mari kita ucapkan selamat pada Pak Wowo yang berulang tahun hari ini ke-63.

Berikut ucapan selamatnya dari Jaringan Partai Gerindra yang ia bina dan dirikan malam ini di email blast mereka.

“Segenap keluarga besar partai Gerindra,

pada hari ini ketua dewan pembina sekaligus ketua umum kita, Bpk. H. Prabowo Subianto berulang tahun yang ke-63. Mari kita sama-sama doakan agar beliau senantiasa dilindungi dan diberkati oleh Tuhan YME. Kami berterima kasih atas teladan yang sudah beliau berikan kepada kami, teladan agar kita semua menjadi warga negara yang mencintai bangsanya, berkomitmen, disiplin, tetapi juga penuh kasih kepada sesama. Selamat ulang tahun Pak Prabowo, semoga panjang umur.

Bagi sahabat yang ingin menyampaikan selamat kepada beliau bisa melalui sosial media pribadi Pak Prabowo. Twitter @Prabowo08 dan fb.com/PrabowoSubianto

Salam Indonesia Raya.”

Apakah Jokowi akan memberikan kado ultah bagi Pak Wowo? Mungkin dengan mengajaknya kirab di Monas tanggal 20 nanti. Ah, senangnya…

[image credit: Reuters]

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