KamaLabs

PHP

Univind

Social Media Analytics Tool

Dekbed Expert

Pusdiklat Dephut

Enjoy Jakarta

PrivaTutor

NeoHoster

Adhimix Precast Indonesia

Mikalu

Litwe

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.
PT Adhimix Precast Indonesia is one Indonesia's biggest player in concrete and construction industry. Their parent company, PT Adhi Karya, were first established since 1960 by nationalization of a Dutch company called Associate N.V. At 2002, PT Adhi Karya decided to sell/disintegrate their concrete production unit business because of its poor performance. Thus, PT Adhimix Precast Indonesia were born. It turns out that this disintegration was a great thing for them. Their performance went really well until today. One of the key success factor of their operation is the existence of a good enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This custom ERP software has really helped them to make their company operation more efficient, which in turn helps to boost performance. But today, this ERP system is starting to get obsolete. It needs many adjustment to fit their newly-designed and more-efficient business processes. And as the company grows over time, it's getting more important for the top management to get a quick insight about company performance. This is why they also need a good decision support system (DSS).

Role and Responsibilities

I work on this project as a system analyst for both the extension of the ERP and also the DSS. My responsibilities include:
  • Communicate intensely with the business analyst to gather the business requirement of the system
  • Transform the business requirement into system design and development plan
  • Coordinate with the programmers to make sure the development went as planned

Project Challenge

Extending an old system has always been a hard thing to do in software engineering. We need to learn the previous system extensively to really get a good understanding of the old system works before we begin to make any extension. This is one of the biggest challenge that we have to face on this project. Another challenge is business process of the company itself. We didn't just make a system out of their own running bussiness process. We aim to reconstruct a better and more efficient business process for the company with our system. This kinds of work needs a tight collaboration between many people from many departments on the company, the business analyst and also the system analyst.

Screenshot

Below you can see some screenshot of the system that we built. The screenshot was taken from development server with dummy data.

ERP

erp login erp login2  investigasi incident listing

DSS

evaluasi safety dashboard fuel ratio
Litwe is a lite mobile web based Facebook and Twitter client application. It's built using vanilla PHP. It used TwitterOAuth to connect with Twitter's API and Facebook API to connect with Facebook. Although initially I just built it primarily for my own personal purpose, I eventually published it on domain litwe.info. And it turned out that there are many other people like me who liked to use it. This web app still run until no one else were using it anymore.

Project Background

I was a bit late in adopting smartphone. I still used feature phone while many other people have had their Android/iOS gadget. So, I didn't have the luxury to use tweetdeck, ubersocial or any other fancy social media aggregation apps which were only available on smartphone. So.... I built one for myself. An app specifically designed and developed for my own use on my feature phone. I wanted an extra lite mobile app which won't hog my data usage but still have a fully complete facebook & twitter features (mention, retweet, comment, DM, etc)

Project Challenge

This was my first time dealing with REST API. I didn't have any prior knowledge about it before. So, I had to really understand the concept of it before I stumble down the Facebook & Twitter API code. It took a while for me to grasp enough understanding of the concept of communication between web applications.
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
neo NeoHoster is a web hosting and domain name provider. It was founded by my college friends, who was also one of Univind's crew. He started it alone on 2008. He grew his customer base from zero to about 100 in a year. That 100 customers started to occupy his energy. He could no longer handle it alone, so he proposed to me to merger Neohoster with Univind. I agreed. That merger coincided with the new office of Univind on 2009. We ran these two business from that small home office. I started to build a business system around NeoHoster. We hired full time dedicated customer service team, implement customer relationship management (CRM) tools, developed a standard operation procedure etc. We also got an investor to expand our web hosting business. We utilized the fund to build better server infrastructure and to optimize the marketing effort. Since the merger until 2 year after that we successfully boast up NeoHoster's customer base from a mere 100 to about 1500.
Layanan Startup
univind Univind, officially named Tunas Univindo Mandiri, was my very first startup. I started it on my freshman year (around 2006) back in college (Universtas Indonesia) along with 5 of my college friends. We're all from the same major back then, computer science. We positioned ourselves as a web design firm although back then, none of us had a clear idea of how to build a website. But we did it anyway, we went straightforward by promoting our new so-called business. We utilized any promotion channel that we had but after 6 month of aggressive promotion, we still hadn't got any project. Only on the edge of our desperation, the moment when we start thinking of giving up, we finally got a project. We pursue a client 800 km away from our home base in Depok. The client was located in Surabaya. All project negotiations were done remotely until we really close the deal. This first project really boosted back our spirit after 6 month of nothing. After that first project, our business life which inter-mingled with our college life, had been one hell of a roller coaster ride. We kept promoting aggressively, pursuing any slightest chance of project while dealing with our own course assignment. Sometimes we got a big project (for a college student standard), some other time we got zero.

Product Development

Knowing the fact that we couldn't rely on projects to survive, we started thinking about building a product. We began to do a lot of brainstorming to determine what kinds of product that we want to builld. We wanted to build something useful, sustainable and profitable in the long term. We came up with one idea: AnakUI.com. It is a campus online community, pretty much just like Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a campus online community for Harvard ;). We developed it, nurtured it until the community grows. When we were still in college, we run this business alongside with our college activity, we didn't have office of our own. Our college campus was our office. The college computer labs was our desk. We did the business while dealing with our own course. One couldn't really says that we are a professional company, we're just a bunch of college kid trying to make money. But despite that, I myself consider this phase of Univind as a training ground for a better future version of Univind. This is a phase where we learned to run the next phase of Univind.

The next phase of Univind

After we're all graduate from the college on 2009, we had a meeting to determine the future of Univind. Whether we want to continue this venture or not. Univind surely still unable to pay the roll for the whole 6 fresh graduate crews. 3 of us decided to quit to work on some "real" company. 1 still want to be Univind part time. The rest is just me and my best friend who strong-heartedly still really want to continue and even expand to a more serious, more professional business. Long story short, we decided to continue. We rented a small home near campus as our office. At this time, we started the next journey of Univind. We re-positioned ourselves to be more of an online marketing consultant instead of just web design firm. We realized that many of our old client couldn't really handle very well the website that we built for them. Most of their investment with us gone useless because they don't know how to utilize their newly created website to optimize the promotion of their business.

NeoHoster merging

Soon after we rented an office space, we merged with our friend's business, NeoHoster. You can see more detail about it here: http://kamalabs.com/2015/01/neohoster/

The dissolution

After two years running Univind with our own office, we felt stuck. The projects got monotonous, the product was unable to take off, NeoHoster stopped growing. I myself, to be honest, got bored. I need more challenges. But it seems like the team composition that we had couldn't really handle more challenges. We're all too similar, we're not complementing each other. And at that time, each owner have their own path for Univind. It's getting harder and harder to unite the mission. This is one of the reason why I finally decided to liquidate Univind. I thought it's best for each of us to start our own journey. So, we started the liquidation process. It turned out to be not that easy, especially with NeoHoster. At that time, Neohoster already had about 1500 clients. We couldn't just stop the service for those 1500 clients. We decided to sell Neohoster, it's really not that easy to find a buyer for this company. We offered NeoHoster to many people until we got one person interested. He was also owner of a webhosting company, he interested to acquire NeoHoster. From there, we started the acquisition process. This also took quite a long time considering all the negotiation, the legal aspect, the technical migration aspect etc.

Lesson Learned

To me personally, I never really see Univind as a failure. It's just another step that I took towards success. I got a huge amount of lesson learned from my experience with Univind. Here are some of it:
  • Don't start a startup with too many people. Apparently, 6 similar people is too much.
  • Try to diverge the skill set of each team member. In an IT startup, we need people who understand marketing, accounting etc as well as people who code stuff on the computer.
  • Define a clear mission from the very beginning and incorporate this mission as much as possible to the whole crews.
  • etc
Layanan Startup
dekbed-scrSoon after I close my own startup, Univind (web design agency), I got a job offering from a similar firm in Netherland: YaviDesign. They have office both in Netherland and in Bogor, Indonesia. They gave an option for me either to move to Bogor and work on their Indonesian office, or to work remotely from home. I chose to work from home. In there I was being tasked to handle several projects with their clients, one of the most prominent client was Dekbed Expert. It was all Magento based online shop. Below are some of my job responsibilities:
  • Design a Magento template to be used by their clients
  • Create proprietary template framework to be used company-wide on future theme design project.
  • Develop some Magento plugin
  • Do a test and some bug fixing to some of their templates / plugins

Project Challenge

All my work here was done remotely. We used SVN as the versioning control and Redmine as collaboration and project management tool. This was my first time doing a fully remote software development project. Initially, there were many mistakes I did here and there with the collaboration tools. But as the time goes by, I was becoming used to the whole remote collaborative project.
dephut The client is Ministry of Forestry, Republic of Indonesia. They need a web application for their training center. This is one of my earliest web project. I did this way back during my freshman year in college. My role in this project was to design and develop the front end code of the application, as well as the main site of their training facilities. It was all built using vanilla PHP.

Project Challenge

Since this is one of my first experience doing a web project, anything about this project is challenging for me :D This was also the first time I really did a project collaboratively under supervision of a great project manager. He taught me many things on how to run a project with many team members.
enjoy-jakarta-11 The client of this project is DISPARBUD DKI Jakarta. It's an abbreviation of "Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan DKI Jakarta". In English, it is translated loosely to "Tourism and Cultural Office of Jakarta". It's a local government institution which deals with tourism and cultural issue. My responsibility in this project was to rebuild their website. Their old website was developed using a custom built PHP CMS. Unfortunately, this custom built CMS has too many fault in it. It had too many bugs. It's slow and unsafe. The design was clumsy. The code was a mess. At first we planned to annihilate this old website and rebuilt a new on with better CMS, but then I ended up fixing it instead.

Project Challenge

In the middle of the project, there were a succession of the leadership in Jakarta. We were finalizing an election and just got a new governor in Jakarta: Mr Joko Widodo (Jokowi). Jokowi did some reshuffle to his officials, including officials at the Tourism Office. So, at that time, the PIC of the project moved to another person. This turned out to be a big dilemma for the project. We were halfway through our project and then there was someone new "in town" and she wants everything changed. The institution didn't have a good succession mechanism to make sure that the works which were still running, could still run smoothly. The new official demanded so many new things from us that we ended up being brought back to the beginning of the project. And all of a sudden, we were finally just brought back the old website and fixed what's wrong it instead of continuing to develop the half-finished new website. Of course we're familiar with the fact that fixing someone else's code is harder than writing a new one. But, in this case, where there's already too much miscommunication between us and the recently-changing client, doing whatever the client wants is better than just dumping the whole project. For the sake of our integrity and credibility, we chose the hard way to fix the broken web. Thankfully, we managed to finish the project with client somewhat satisfied (although I wasn't ;) ).

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