Review on Startup.com

hello, this time I would like to post one of my review about movie Startup.com

this review is part of the assignment of my class in CMU, which is 45-805 Entrepreneurship for High Growth Companies

Startup.com Lessons Learned

We watched the documentary Startup.com in class. To help me get to know you better, I would like you to reflect on the lessons you learned from this documentary. Tell me what you thought about the people, the company, and/or what was happening during this unique time “the internet bubble”. Reflect on what you would have done in the same situation or how you experienced something similar in your own life.

About the Company

Kaleil made a decision to leave his job in Goldman Sachs to start his own internet company, originally named Public Data Systems, together with his childhood friend, Tom Herman. At the beginning, May 1998, there were only 8 employees.

The idea of the business was to provide people an easy access so that they can do transaction with state government institutions such as parking tickets through internet portal. The market was huge and the potential to provide high quality of service to a notoriously inefficient sector was breathtaking.

This movie talks about the “dot com” phenomenon in the beginning of 2000s where the technologies applied in innovative ways sparked enormous enthusiasm amongst investors who were afraid to miss the next big thing.

Actually, the idea and the moment were perfectly matched. Making people’s life easier by providing online facilities to do governmental things so that they would save time and money, and at that time the booming of the internet was exciting for many people especially because of the technology behind it. But what went wrong?

In my opinion, first, the company grew too fast, from only 8 to over 250 employees in about only 16 months. Second, their technology was not ready. They underestimated the time needed to build the core system, which was the technology of their web site. They should have spent more time for the development and the testing of the web site before going live, no wonder their web site was worse than their competitors at that time. The readiness of the company was seen the most in the part in which the company was broken into and stuff was stolen from the company. For one thing when running a company that deals with personal information in car tickets and sensitive material such as credit card numbers and addresses security is a huge priority. Then when coming to realize what was stolen and trying to observe if any information was compromised the company during filming was only able to find out about, about being the key word what time the break in happened. Third, although they have succeeded raising money for about $60 million, it means they also brought a loss of control as outsiders gained control of the company’s board of directors.

About the founders: Kaleil and Tom Herman

I think that they were too optimistic in their expectations of the income from clients. Kaleil was the obvious leader and throughout the film showed his leadership style in a very obvious way. In the film there are meetings and retreats that the company holds to bring them together. In all the meetings it is him and his enthusiasm that brings people in the company to share in his passion. Kaleil is truly dedicated to his project and like a good captain goes down with his ship. As the company falls down into debt and eventually dies, Kaleil attempts to stay positive and upbeat but it is too late.

From the relationship point of view, Kaleil was really poor at it. He lost his best friend and his girlfriend. The girlfriend however we could see from the beginning that that was probably not going to the last but the Tom and Kaleil relationship was almost harsh to watch. Kaleil’s passion towards the project was amazing but in any venture is necessary to also have a life outside of the company. If one does nothing other than work eventually you will go crazy no matter how much you enjoy what you are doing. Kaleil did not so this and it was not until the company went completely under that we realized what had happened.

Tom Herman should not have been the CTO (Chief Technology Officer), enough said. They should have hired someone with a great deal more expertise in the technology.
At the beginning, sometimes Tom was also did not share his vision about the company with Kaleil. When Kaleil talks to the potential investors about building a web portal for parking tickets, Tom interrupted with talking about installing digital cameras inside a building.

What you would have done in the same situation

By learning from the Govworks experience, if I would like to start a business, first, I do not want to build my company with my best friends since it will risk our friendship. Second, I would be more focused on the product that I would like to offer than raising the money from the investors. What I have seen in the movie, they often talk about money, money and money, when they should have been talking more about the technology. I will try to fund the company mostly from myself so that I have the full control of my company. At the end, I will hire some real expertise in technology so that he is really dedicated to what he does, unlike what had happened with govWorks.

Kesan Pertama

Hello!

Tanpa terasa sudah sebulan saya menjalani kehidupan di negeri paman sam ini sebagai mahasiswa.
Memang belum banyak hal yang saya alami, dan tentunya masih banyak lagi yang akan dipelajari, tapi saya ingin share sedikit mengenai hal yang paling membuat saya berkesan sejauh ini. Alhamdulillah teman-teman saya cukup membaur satu sama lain, meskipun secara kasat mata komunitas mayoritas terbagi tiga: US, India dan Cina. Ya, saya satu-satunya orang Indonesia di kelas ini. Bahkan orang Indonesia pertama yang mengambil master di jurusan ini.

Tidak terlalu panjang lebar, ada Lima hal yang menurut saya paling berkesan di awal-awal mengenal masyarakat di sini.

1. Work life balance
Ini hal yang menurut saya amat jarang saya lihat di negeri sendiri. Orang-orang di sini sangat menghargai efektivitas pekerjaan dan hiburan. Istilahnya: Work Hard, Party Harder :D
Saya akui teman-teman sekelas saya senang sekali mengadakan party, bahkan tidak cuma teman-teman, termasuk staff-staff fakultas juga sering mengadakan jamuan makan atau minum, yang di sini juga tak lain adalah bir. Namun jangan salah, di malam ini mereka party hingga jam 12 malam, besok paginya jam 8-9 pagi sudah di library untuk mengerjakan tugas. Bahkan tidak jarang saya melihat mereka sudah menyelesaikan tugas-tugas kuliah sedari awal, yaitu seminggu atau dua minggu sebelum deadline.

2. Be Social!
Bagi mereka, masyarakat amerika, hal terpenting pada saat berkumpul adalah BERBICARA. Bukan berkumpul bersama lalu masing-masing pegang gadget dan sibuk chattingan sendiri atau main game di iPad/iPhone sendiri. Beberapa kali saya diperingati untuk tidak menghiraukan telepon pada saat kita hang-out. Social Media murni hanya sebagai alat pelengkap hidup, bukanlah sebagai kehidupan sendiri.
Jangan heran jika teman-teman Amerika di sini jarang yang punya foto di facebook. Mereka punya hanya sebatas punya, malah tidak sedikit juga yang tidak memliki facebook. Jumlah pengguna facebook Amerika memang terbesar di dunia, tapi aktivitas di news feed masih lebih sering terlihat sibuk orang Indonesia.
Jika dibandingkan dengan di Indonesia, orang-orang Indonesia sangat keranjingan facebook, bahkan sudah menjadi kehidupan sendiri. Atau social media lain, Path, Twitter, atau apapun itu. Hal yang bisa kita pelajari, sebaiknya memang menganggap social media sebagai alat, jangan sampai terlalu diperbudak hingga merasa hidup di dalamnya.

3. On Time.
Kumpul jam 3PM. artinya mereka benar-benar sudah siap di ruangan kelas / lab atau di tempat makan tepat jam 3:00 PM. Yap, Tiga nol nol. Bukan tiga lebih lima, bukan tiga lebih sepuluh. Setiap menit amat berarti. Bukan berarti kumpul jam 3, datang jam setengah 4 atau bahkan jam 5 yang sering terjadi di Indonesia. Menurut saya ini pelajaran yang paling bagus. Supaya kita selalu bisa tepat waktu.

4. Straightforward
Berbicara dengan lantang, singkat padat dan jelas. Tidak ‘mbulet’ atau ‘muter-muter’ adalah gaya berbicara di sini. Untuk yang baru awal-awal mengenal, mungkin memang terkesan sombong atau angkuh, kesannya seperti marah tapi sebetulnya tidak. Sebaliknya, mereka hanya berbicara sejelas mungkin.
Bukan yang sok pintar berbicara panjang lebar dan menggunakan istilah aneh-aneh “strukturisisasi” atau “harmonisisasi” seperti orang yang mengaku-ngaku kuliah di Amerika tapi bahasanya jadi ngawur begitu.
Sangat to the point dan terstruktur.

5. Open Minded, it’s a free country!
Banyak yang bilang, masyarakat amerika banyak yang anti-islam dan sejenisnya. Sama sekali tidak benar. Bahkan, toleransi di sini terbilang cukup tinggi. Apapun yang kita lakukan selama tidak mengganggu orang lain, ya silakan saja. Kita kumpul-kumpul party, lalu memilih untuk tidak minum bir sementara yang lain minum, ya tidak masalah. Semua sangat terbuka dan sudah terbiasa menerima komunitas dari luar Amerika. Oleh karena itu mereka maklum. Agama apapun, mau atheis, ya silakan saja melaksanakan keyakinannya selama tidak mengganggu keyakinan orang lain. Tidak seperti kita di Indonesia yang terlalu disibukkan mengurusi bentrok antar agama atau demo terang-terangan melarang Miss World mengatasnamakan agama.

Connecting the Dots

The title is taken from the famous Steve Jobs’s quotes during his commencement speech of Stanford in 2005.

During his speech, he said that:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them, looking backwards.

You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma or whatever. Because believing the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that all make the difference.”

By reviewing my journey since I was in high school, I can understand how the dots connected to each other. It was unexpected, and works in a mysterious way that only God knows.

 

1. High School

 Until the last year in my high school, I was still thinking that I might become a doctor, following my brother’s path. But after a while I took a look at my brother’s doing, I felt that I wasn’t interested at all reading all of those medical and anatomy books. I realized that I love more physics than biology.

When I was studying in an Extra Course in SSC Tebet, I met two brilliant teachers with unique mind, Sabda and Pak Meidi, who made me in love with physics. They taught me about the concept of physics and fundamental of thinking, which is very different from what has been taught in school. In my high school, all of the curriculums are already written in the book and it seemed very monoton only to follow what’s in the book.

In SSC, I was taught about the very basic concept of physics, and how to think about how something can happen. I was very interested in physics since then, and I followed my heart to learn more in “physics and math” major which led me to electrical engineering. The first time I thought about electrical engineering is computers, handphones, and robots, and my teacher from BTA, Bang Doel also told me that. I love all of that, that is why I decided to take electrical engineering as my next study in college.

– If my brother wasn’t a doctor, would I know what a med student’s reading? I might end up in a medical faculty university and got really bored since I don’t like it.

– If I did not meet Pak Meidi and Sabda, would I be so interested in Physics?

 

 

2. College Life 

The first time I stepped on the campus, I felt like I would like to build a robot in my college life. By following my curiosity, I was exploring more about the smart robotic contest, which is held annually by The Minister of Higher Education of Indonesia.

On the first day of orientation of EE Students Organization, I was shown the greatness of Workshop Division, a division within the union for electrical hobbyist. At that time, even only a simple circuit of clock and flip-flop already amazed me as a second year student of EE. After that, I decided to focus on the workshop division. I met many geniuses of Workshop, both from my contemporaries or my seniors. One of them is Syawal, he is a very calm person but genius inside.

During my third year of study, I would like to start my own robotic team, that was when I met my colleague Ichwan, and also added Syawal to join the team. At that time, Syawal actually already started making a hexapod robot on his own. But it was a very beginning since the robot found it difficult even only to stand up. Therefore, I asked him to continue the research on robot together as a team, Where we can develop faster and moreover, getting funding from the campus.

Also helped by Dody, the boss of robotics unit in ITB, we got sufficient amount of money to build robot and well organized. Dody found the robotics club in ITB. with his hard work, all robotics team in ITB are well organized and well funded. Sometimes I think that he deserves to be remembered by making his statue in the lab :)) Even at that time, there was a famous story in the office of students. When Doddy came to the office, all windows and doors are closed to avoid him looking for money :)) *please don’t kill me, Doddy :))

At that time, none would know that we started a BIG THING for ITB. After a lot of work hard in about a year in Autonomous Vehicle Research Group (AVRG) Lab, We successfully made it to the national champions of smart robotic contest, and were sent to the US. Pak Soni (Dr. Kusprasapta) and Pak Doni (Dr.Widyawardana) also helped us a lot during hard time in the lab. They were always there.. encouraging us.

I also worked on my final project with Pak Doni and Pak Soni. They asked me also to do a conference in an international conference in Bali. I made a paper, and I presented it during the conference. I didn’t think that this paper would be very crucial in my next step.

– If did not join Workshop, I wouldn’t meet my geniuses colleagues.

– If I did not meet Syawal and Ichwan, would we be able to succeed in the contest of robotics?

– If I did not meet my great colleagues in AVRG and Dody, would we make it to the end? I don’t think so.

 

3. Work Life

After finished my study, I started to work in IBM as an apprentice in IBM Apprenticeship program 2010. I was very thankful to have a chance working with tremendous persons at my age. We worked hard, getting passionate about what we do, and had so much fun also. I would never be able to thank enough especially to my great mentor and role model, Mas Ivandeva, who has inspired me until today. He also made me a brilliant recommendation letter.

 

I am also fortunate knowing my inspiring friends, Laksita and Ronald, who really boosted my spirit to continue to master degree. Both of them would like to continue study overseas. Especially Laksita, I’ve never met such a diligent girl like her. Even after working hard until night, she worked really hard in pursuing her masters study, learning IELTS and other things tirelessly and sleeplessly. Her efforts brought her to a full scholarship in TU Eindhoven in Netherland. She also helped me a lot while I was making my essay for application.

After the graduation of apprentice, I had a very hard time to settle with my job. Even though it was so much fun in the beginning, much pain and hard work also colored most of my time. I worked really hard during this 2 and a half years. There was time that I did not sleep for 2 or 3 days, and worked during weekends. But I found it fascinating. I love challenges. Once Mas Ivan told me,

Being confused is a sign that we are developing ourselves.

if we stop being confused, it means we stop developing ourselves.

So keep being confused! :D

I still keep dreaming on getting my masters degree in robotics/comp science in top universities. I felt that managing the time for work and preparing my masters study is very difficult. Moreover, GRE is a very tough exam for Indonesian people since we are not used to use very difficult english verbal language. Thanks to my GRE teacher Milo, who taught me the essence of GRE. Being in the class with many inspiring and hardworking students such Christian and Rina also encouraged me a lot, A LOT!.

I got more confidence in doing the GRE and scored nicely on the math section. After the formal Exam of GRE, I scored very bad for the verbal sections (only 11% from 100%) while my math is more than 90%.

I submitted my applications to MIT, CMU and ETH. I thought I was very reckless for only submitting 3 applications while my friends usually submit 10-20 universities at a time. Even worse, my GRE score is really bad. Moreover, those 3 universities are top ranked of the world. MIT ranked 1st, CMU 3rd, and ETH got 8th place (based on these articles:

http://inet.detik.com/read/2012/07/13/130044/1964623/398/9/10-kampus-ilmu-komputer-terbaik-di-dunia9

QS : http://tinyurl.com/bmnb34d

 

Well, it seemed everything went better than expected.. Thank God.

I was rejected by MIT and ETH, but CMU once gave me a chance to have an interview with me via Skype. The Director of The Robotics Institute of CMU himself interviewed me. He said that I was lacking of GRE’s Verbal score, therefore he needed ‘Something’ to boost my value in the replacement of bad GRE’s Verbal Score. Again, thanks again to Pak Doni and Pak Soni and also my robotics team, I created papers for conference in Bali and for documentation of the robotics team. These papers were appreciated much by the director. The director also told me, he appreciates my 2 years of work experience in IBM. After that interview, I got a acceptance in 2 weeks.

– If Pak Doni and Pak Soni did not ask me to have a conference in Bali, would I make such paper?

– If I did not participate in the robotic competition, I would not be recognized by the director.

– If I did not get into IBM, I would not meet those great people..

– If I did not know Laksita, maybe I would not be able to make such a good essay

– If I did not meet Mas Ivadeva, would I be developed like today? Would I get his recommendation letter that really amazes me?

Finally, I believe that there will be so many dots to connect in the future. Maybe some of the dots are already here again, and will connect with the others in the future in a way which only God knows…

So iPad Mini is Out..

It has been less than a week since Apple announced the new iPad Mini. Overall, The design of the new iPad is electrifying although it is not a novel idea.

The piquant design of the thickness and its size which is built by meticulous engineers aggrandized Apple once more to be the most beautiful device-designer company.

Having iPad already, I should think twice to put spendthrift ways in my money buying this device..

Confidence or Hard Work?

Some people argue that confidence and optimism are critical to achieving a dream, while others believe that selfless hard work is the only way to reach a goal.

Rather than relying solely on self assurance and positive outlook, sustained levels of effort and industry must be remained in order to reach a goal. While some claim that a positive outlook alone can bring about good things, and others say only a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude with will get you where you want to be, it seems to me that the former flows from the latter. Most truly successful people are positive and confident hard workers who derive confidence from their work ethic. Goal-seeking people put in so much time and energy because they actually believe that those goals are achievable and probable results of their efforts. This in itself is characteristic of a positive outlook and leads me to believe that these two attitudes can exist independently, but, hard work is the key ingredient to successfully achieving a goal.
Personally, while my constant optimism certainly helps me to maintain my strong work ethic, my ability to achieve a goal is grounded in hard work. When obstacles and set backs occur, I am able to convince myself that a goal is still attainable and that a particular situation will improve if I put in necessary work. I can offer, as anecdotal evidence, an instance in which I had three papers due on the same day for three different classes. I felt overwhelmed, as I had gotten a late start on all of them, but what motivated me was the knowledge that working hard would ultimately lead me to success. A positive attitude could not write my papers, but I was positive as a result of my drive to work hard. What pushes me to stay focused and determined is the conviction that hard work will lead directly to accomplishing a goal. While I do believe that they work best in union, there are certainly benefits to each goal-seeking approach mentioned earlier.
Hard work often results in measurable progress, a gain of experience, and skill development, to name a few. This, in and of itself, will inculcate a positive attitude that will reinforce that strong work ethic. Maintaining a positive outlook and remaining self confident can help goal seekers stay persistent and focused despite the inevitable setbacks that occur on the road to reaching any goal. Although these goal-seeking approaches both do have positive outcomes can individually result in the achievement of goals, goals can only be successfully attained if the goal-seeker is driven by an indefatigable work ethic.

One Last Class

It has already been 20 hours of my GRE class.
Due to my next-studies requirement, I took a GRE class in Kaplan in Jakarta.
From what I’ve learned, GRE is really difficult in their Vocab!

for the Math though, High School’s math in Indonesia is much more difficult. Surely i’m not kidding you. the most difficult of GRE math is combination and permutation.

Many vocabs are difficult also for native speakers, even though my teacher, which is from USA. Well, I am thankful to be taught by him, he is too damn smart and genius. And his English is very fast .

Learning math can be doe at home by ourselves. But learning vocab and the other metaphors? can only be taught by the experienced ones. let me give you an example. Many vocabs have different meanings while they are described in a sentence with the ones described word by word in the dictionary. To learn about this, it can only be made sense by learning from someone who really is capable.

well, enjoy

Interesting Google Job Interview

I have just read an interesting book by William Poundstone, he said something like this about one of Google job interview:

You are shrunk to height of nickel & thrown into a blender. your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual.The blades start moving in 60 secs.What do you do?

Think about it in few minutes, can you answer this question?
Maybe you would like to test yourself if you are qualified to work in Google or not :p
The answer can be seen by scrolling down: (SPOILER ALERT!!)

 

 

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Ready for the answer? here we go:

Answer:
in physics, energy of a projectile:

E=mgh

E= energy(of a bottle rocket,let’s say),
m is its mass,
g is gravity,
h is the height the bottle rocket attains.

The height increases in direct proportion with energy (as long as mass stays the same)
suppose you tape two bottle rockets together and light them simultaneously. will the double rocket go any higher? NO.
Because twice the fuel energy but also twice the mass to lift against gravity. That leaves the height,h, unchanged.
The same principle applies to shrunken humans jumping. As long as muscle energy and mass shrink in proportion, jump height should stay the same.

So, the answer is just JUMP.

interesting, isn’t it? :))

The New iPad

Just want to write a simple review about ipad 3, (hey I haven’t even touched it!)

It is just simply amazing that the ipad 3 uses quadcore graphics and dual core for general processing.

The most amazing new thing on the new ipad is nothing else than the Retina Display. It is even higher resolution than any HD devices. It provides 4/3 of HDTV 1920 x 1080 p :D

I have seen the WWDC of Apple at apple.com , Tim Cook presented the new iPad.
Is it just me or his presentation for me is really boring? I did not see passion from the audience to hear him. Well, no one can be like Steve anyway,, I do really miss his presentation at former WWDCs

Wonder when will it come to Indonesia..

The Most Difficult Task

After all of these years, I have realized what the most difficult task is.
It is referred to one of the great quotes :

if you would like to be an expert, try to practice 10000 hours. It works.

Yup. That’s it. Everyone can be an expert if they would like, and willing to work hard.
But basically,  it is one’s skill which can achieve 10000 hours of practicing faster than the others.

One can accomplish the same goal in 5 years, another one in 3 years, even another one just in less than 1 year.
All based on their skill in time management.

As we live on the same planet, the same universe, we are all given 24 hours a day.
Someone who is successful, someone who is not, a doctor, a professor, a president, a star-singer, a criminal, a dropped-out student, all are given 24 hours a day. Not much, not less. The same time, different result. How can that happen?

be thankful of time given to you. Like the river, there will never be the same water flows twice in the same place.
It is also difficult for me to manage the time.

 

Just an introspection of me.

RIP Yofanka

My deepest condolences for our friend Angelina Yofanka, who had an accident during rafting in Garut, West Java.

It happened on Sunday, February 5th, when she joined rafting with her colleagues. With her 4 friends, their boat was hitting a rock and they fell, 4 of their friends were rescued and she was drown into an undercut.

The chronology can be read on the web from her colleagues made: http://saveyofanka.blogspot.com/

Based on the web http://www.ccadc.org/instruction/ACA_SWR_Class/HazHydro/Undercut.html , it is written:

Undercuts can be very dangerous as we will discuss in this article. Undercut rock formations are often quite irregular and may capture river debris like trees, branches, and manmade objects. Either way if you are in your boat or out of your boat, passing through an undercut rock is a crap shoot. Seldom can you see under the water surface and what you don’t see can be very deadly indeed. Since undercuts are typically in rapids the force of water can be really strong as well. Undercut rocks are created where the water is most forceful like the outside of bends, waterfalls and high ledges, and sometimes in mid-current like the clam shell formation on Railroad Rapid on the New River Gorge.

As told, it can be deadly indeed. Hopefully next time they can be more careful with this likely natural dangerous challenger.

Be at peace Yofanka.


by Bliss Drive Review