KamaLabs

Git

Demola Project – Fingrid Electricity Market Visualization

PrivaTutor

Mikalu

AngularJS Arabic Keyboard

GeraiMobile

Social Media Analytics Tool

Demola is an international organization that facilitates co-creation projects between university students and companies, either locally or internationally. This is the project brief from Demola's website: Visualising the Future Electricity Market. In this project, we were tasked to formulate an idea along with its concrete example i.e prototype to reach the goal. The goal in this project is to make sure people could understand the electricity market in an easy way. We were team of 5. 3 of us were developer and theo other two were from social sciences which had been working previously in the energy sector. The first few weeks was all about idea formulation. We map the main problem that need to be solved. Analyze to root cause of those problems. We define the main value proposition that we want to offer. Until we came up with several ideas such as:
  • Integrated marketing campaign which includes: social media campaign, microsite campaign, youtube campaign etc.
  • Simcity-like game but in this case, instead of managaing cities, the player would manage an electricity grid company like Fingrid.
  • Mobile apps to track electricity usage.
  • Electricity marketplace which will connect electricity buyer and electricity provider.
  • Open, personalized and extensible electricity market visualization dashboard.
With several considerations, we finally decided to build the last idea. We Developed the dashboard using NodeJS and D3.js. I setup the framework for the technical team so that they could code it faster. I prepared the build process. I split the job of creating visualizations to the three of us, including myself. We also did intensive testing on their newly developed RESTful API and found several critical bugs to which they finally made some big adjustment to their API configuration. Basic demo: http://kamalabs.com/fingrid/

Challenges

This was my first experience working with a big international corporate client professionally. There were a lot of communication challenge on this part. We have to make sure that we could really understand what Fingrid wants. Initially the scope of the porject wasn't very clear. And it was intentionally designed that way by Demola. They expected us to dig the problems by ourselves and formulate the solution for that. Fingrid of course already something in mind but they want to see what kinds of problems that we find and solutions that we offer to them. Fortunatelye, with good communication through Slack and various other channels, we could come up on the same ground.
This was a school project on Business Development Lab course in KTH, Stockholm. In this course, we were given task to build a real startup with a real product, real customers and solid business model. We had about 6 months to start everything from group forming, ideation, prototyping to product launching. So, the product idea that my team decided to work on was a social media analytics tool. The brand name  that we chose for this tool was LettuceMine, it was a pun of "Let-Us-Mine the social media data for you". With this tool, customer can track social media conversation about a keyword which they are interested in. They can see all sort of data analysis from those conversations. They can how many people are talking about a particular topic at any given time. They can see the sentiment analysis towards a topic. They can see the traction velocity of a topic to see beforehand if a topic will become a trend or not.
mikalu Mikalu is a bedding online shop. It is my 4th startup. While all of my startup had been closed down, this one prevail. I started it initially as a way to help my sister with her then-bankrupt offline bedding business. She used to sell bed sheet and/or bed cover offline with a store in Cipadu. Sometimes, she also tried to promote it online via Facebook. Her business didn't run very well. She got drown in the competition (her store was located in one of the center of bedding industries in Indonesia). She got too many unpaid debt and no longer had enough capital to run the business. At that time, I was also just closing down my own business, Univind. So, I thought that I could help her by focusing on the online business. Unlike her previous offline business which need quite a lot of capital for production, online business doesn't really need that. With online business we could do a make-to-order business scheme. We make the product only after the customer paid for it. I proposed this idea to her and she agreed to do a joint online business. We named it Mikalu after her first son's name. In this startup my role is specific to all the IT and online marketing stuff, while her role is in production and general business development. I deal with the website development, server maintenance, search engine optimization, social media marketing, etc. The business runs pretty well from there. It has its ups and downs but it just keeps growing until now.
Layanan Startup
privatutor Soon after Univind closed down, I bootstrapped PrivaTutor. PrivaTutor was meant to be an online tutor marketplace. I hired several juniors of mine in college to develop the product. I acted as their project manager to make sure they made a great product. All the work was done remotely from each other's places. We collaborated the code using git/bitbucket. We had offline coordination meeting once a week on campus library. The product done greatly. It reached the minimum viable product (MVP) pretty fast. We deployed it eventually and started beta testing. In this stage of beta testing, I kept promoting it to a specific target market of mine: college student. They're the perfect early adopters for this phase. Many of them are looking for a tutoring job to make some money. Most of them knows pretty well about technology. I expected lots of feedback from them.  This part turned out to be not that easy. I kept fishing for as many feedback as possible while continuing the limited promotion and iterating the software. All those activity were pay rolled from my own pocket. I kept burning money from the selling of NeoHoster to run this new startup of mine. Server costs, development costs, promotional costs were all covered by myself. I did a little calculation that I had enough fund to bootstrap it all by myself until the product reach the critical mass for me to start hunting for investment. My calculation was missed. My fund was running out long before I could brought the product to its critical mass. Privatutor couldn't survive its first year.

Lesson Learned

Just like what I think about the dissolution of Univind, I also never consider PrivaTutor as yet another failure of mine. This was all just a little more step for me toward success. Of course, I took another lesson learned from this experience, something that I didn't get from my experience with Univind. Below are some of those:
  • Don't start a startup alone. Find a fully dedicated complementary co-founder. You would easily feel exhausted without anyone to complement your skill AND your spirit.
  • If you want to bootstrap, make a really-really thorough calculation with your funding. Would you have enough money to keep your business running until you could either monetize it or finding an investor?
  • It's not easy to gather feedback from user. Satisfied user would just use your service happily in silence, Unsatisfied user would just simply leave you. You have to find a way to stimulate user to give their precious feedback for you.
Layanan Startup
arabicangular This is a simple arabic keyboard built using AngularJS. This keyboard is meant to be used on desktop only.

Feature list

  • Transliterate typing (type directly with you latin keyboard and this app will automatically transliterate it to arabic text)
  • Change transliteration scheme. I have made 3 transliteration scheme so far, you could add more of it or create your own transliteration map. Just fork it, copy any transliteration json file and edit it yourself. I'd be glad to merge it here :)
  • Change font family and font size
  • Copy arabic text
  • Translate (direct translation link to google translate)
  • Search (direct search link to google)
  • Image (direct image search link to google images)
  • any more suggestion?

Demo

Live demo in here: http://kamalabs.com/arabic-keyboard

Github

Check out the source code here: https://github.com/emkamal/angular-arabic-keyboard
geraimobile-frontpage-screenshotGeraiMobile is an e-commerce platform similar to Shopify. It's a web service for people who want to start their own online shop. GeraiMobile intend to be the Indonesian e-commerce software as a service (SAAS). It aims to be absolutely easy to use given the fact that many online seller in Indonesia doesn't have the time to learn complicated e-commerce system. It strive for as many automation as possible, letting the machine to do the work as much as possible instead of handing it over to the people. It has Android and Blackberry application alongside the main web application. The main web application was built with a heavily customized Wordpress to support a robust multisite e-commerce solution. The mobile applications were built using PhoneGap. We develop it as a web based mobile apps (with HTML, some fancy JS and all ;) ), PhoneGap deal with porting it as native app on Android and BlackBerry. Currently this project is still under intense testing and bugfixing.

Project Challenge

This project is done by a team of independent freelance developer. I am one of them. There were many hurdles in the middle of the project caused both by the client and also by us. Communication with the client was hard. The team itself was not so solid. We worked remotely with each other but we didn't coordinate very well as a team. I, as one of the team member, frequently reminded the team to evaluate our way of coordination. The usage of Git was often dismissed by the team member although I kept reinforcing it. To make it worse, one of our team member was mysteriously missing. His parents were looking for him until now. He left his task unfinished. This was the state of the project when everyone (either the clients and the developers) start to feel exhausted and hopeless. It was the darkest moment of the project. Fortunately, we didn't stop there. We kept running albeit all the problems. With constant evaluation and continuous communication, we managed to get the project running pretty well again.