Recommended Readings #5

Mid of the week  on the mid of the October already.  Jakarta weather are starting to get wet and the accompanying trend of sore throat will soon follow. I got mine already. So i hope you guys stay healthy and heres this week recommended readings to make your day more positive

. RR5

Drake Ballew on Lesson from the rise of Tao Bao

Unless youre living under totally disconnected rock, youve probably heard about the Chinese e-commerce titan Jack Ma. Especially after record breaking Alibaba’s IPO. In this post, Drake Ballew tells the story about how Jack Ma’s Tao Bao beat eBay and whats the lesson that can be learn. As a compliment to this article, i suggest to watch this talk by Jack several years ago. He gave enlighting yet incredibly honest speech.

Sacha Greif on Lesson learned from making projects open source

I associated open source development with all things positive and full of selfless contributor.  But is it always like that ?. Sacha Greif is a developer of Telescope, an open source Hacker News-type app built with the Meteor JavaScript framework. After 2 years of founding, developing and becoming BDFL for Telescope, she learnt that creating an open source apps actually a lot harder than making it close. The article is very personal and highlights challenges in open source development which are not widely known.

Slate on What happen when companies opens up their salaries information

Buffer, an application to simply manage multiple social media account, made a daring move to open up their whole salary structure to the public. Employees is able to know how much their colleague or boss makes. With current norm of treating salary as a very private matter, does this move brings good impact to buffer ? Apparently it is.

Canva’s tutorial on Font pairing

As i wrote previously, great thing about Canva is they put easy to follow tutorial like this for creating professional design in an easy way. Check out this one on font pairing.

Paul Graham on Before the startup

YC founder Paul Graham breaks down in detail several things you need to know before starting a startup.  Apparently, startup is one thing in life that you will do better if you don’t follow your instinct.  This topic is also delivered in the YC How to start a startup class in Stanford hence you can watch the video here.


Canva is web apps to create graphic design.

It has it’s mission featured on the front page :  to make everyone a designer. That ticked me personally, because im totally sucks at design. I cannot  operate Photoshop all my life so im definitely the lost cause which Canva would hope to convert. So does Canva successful making me better ?


Spoiler alert, yes it does. Canva is utterly simple yet amazing. I now use it regularly for create awesome graphics in presentation, social media and of course, this blog.

To start using Canva, you pick from the several predetermined templates ranging from podcast cover to Facebook covers. Once you picked , Canva will give you several example work which i think is the best feature. The example designs are already good looking you can just start editing which will fasten your work.


If you want to use custom image, you can instantly search inside the Canva’s stock photo colection on the top left of the screen. Unfortunately, youll need to pay for using these images. But surprisingly, Canva let you upload your own image. Giving this option is enabled, i wonder do any of the Canva users paid for their internal stock photo.

You dont know where to look for free stock photos ? go check this incredibly useful Buffer blog post.

Another interesting stuff about Canva is the blog. They have lots of design tutorial which you can instantly applied inside Canva. The tutorials are written in an easy language and it break down slowly step by step like a patient older brother. Very pleasing to read for non-design-aware population like me. Check out this tutorial on how to choose perfect font. 

Canva are built with good design at its core. Their mission to make everyone a designer has been working for me so far. Canva became part of my regular tools and will recommend it to everyone who wants to create great design materials in an easy way.

Canva – Amazingly Simple Graphic Design

Productivity Apps on Windows

Today im going to share some of the productivity apps which have been part of my workflow for years.

These are dependable apps i can swear my words with but seems like not many people are using it. Even better, all of this programs is free / open source software. As a token of appreciation for the developers, heres the list of my productivity apps and why they are so damn good.

save your time, be more productive

save your time, be more productive


I work using Windows environment all the time hence all of these are Windows application. Download links are included so you can immediately try it.

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Recommended Readings #4

Great morning folks.

First of all, Eid Mubarak to all of my fellow moslems. I hope you guys had a great meatful Idul Adha weekend. As usual, here are four articles i recommend to read to kickstart your monday.

GigaOm on Mobile App Economy

More and more apps are released daily but on the other hand people are using less. Even worse, willingness to pay for an app is on decrease as well. Is mobile apps economy reaching maturation ? an insightful analysis on GigaOm tackled this question.

Mike Monteiro’s 13 Ways Designer Screw Up Client Presentations

On point tips from designer Mike Monteiro on things to avoid if you deliver high impact presentation to your client. The last one really speaks to me because i have a severe problem remembering people names.

Fast Co Design on Writing Great Interface Copy

I learned that design is not just the visual. In this FastCo article, John Zeratsky of Google Ventures share five tips on achieving great design with copywriting.

The Next Web on Why Big Companies Struggle with Innovation

George Debb describe in details several factors that contribute the lack of Innovation in most of Big Companies.

Recommended Readings (RR) is a weekly compilation of  internet articles which is interesting and insightful. No limitation on the topic, as long as it ticks me ill share it with you guys here. Check out the previous RR articles here

Sam Altman’s Startup Class

Remember the post ive write about the YCombinator class at Stanford ?

The infamous class is already online. As i previously wrote, this class has garnered a lot of attention because of the band of lecturer which are some of the top name in Silicon Valley ranging from Peter Thiel to Facebook’s Dustin Moskowitz. Been waiting for this to be uploaded since and it was my first thing in to do in my mind while i was on the way back to Jakarta.  The lecture has been going only for two weeks so its not that late to catch up.


Sam Altman’s startup class

Ive watched the first lecture and it was great. Sam Altman’s talked about foundation principles on building a startup. Theres lot of insightful gems such as how to determine what is a great idea, how to execute the ideas to product and the importance of mission in a startup. It was relatively easy to digest and Sam Altman gave a lot of real life example on Google, Pinterest, Airbnb and other Y Combinator’s alumni.

He posted the course transcript and the full video on his personal website. A must watch for everyone who interested in startups, tech scene and business in general .

Sam Altman’s How to Start a Startup

Additional resources for this class:

  1. Discussion group on Facebook
  2. English subtitled videos on DotSUb
  3. Annotated transcript of the lecture on Tech Genius

Blogging as a social media

After a long time of inactivity, earlier last month ive made a self pledge to blog more often.

Two reasons for this. First one, i spend 18 dollars for this blog every year for the domain. Might as well utilize it more often.The next one, Ive made a plan to pursue master’s degree overseas next year, hopefully through scholarship (amen) . One of the thing that stands between me and the scholarship is essays, a lot of essays. I still finds it difficult to write a blog post let alone create an impactful writings. Hence im forcing myself to regularly write.

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. - Jane Yolen

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
- Jane Yolen


My previous problem with blogging was overthinking what and how should i write. At the end of the day, i write nothing. So to make it simpler, i treated blog as social media. Whenever i found something interesting and feel the urge to share, i posted in this blog rather than twitter or FB. Using blog, i can revisit the content easily by googling it and its connected to all of my social media account anyway.

So far this method works well. After that self pledge post, ive writed 29 posts which is about a post each day. Quite impressive considering the last time i wrote that often was  back in March 2008. I shared about interesting articles, Indonesian album and even movie trailers .

Going forward ill try to keep this pace with also adding longer analysis articles to exercise my wrting depth such as the one i did with Steam

Do you guys blog as well ? share your blog in the comment , ill definitely check it out.


Collecting Physical Records

Theres this record store in Jemursari Plasa , Surabaya where everytime my parents take me there i will spent time checking wall of album covers. After several times admiring the cover, i decided to spend 21k to buy my first casette. This moment kick started my interest in music and it was also the starting point of my fascination with physical records.

It was Slipknot – Iowa, 21k rupiah worth casette tape. Not the most morally sound choice for a 7th grader, but in my defense its either that or Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth. The later one i considered to buy just solely by the album covers only,  never heard CC or any grindcore bands before. Id surely get a lot of trouble when my parents look at the CC album, so Slipknot was a safe choice. A great one i guess, because i still cant enjoy CC until now.

Slipknot - Iowa

Slipknot – Iowa


At those early internet pre-ipod time, the holy place for music enthusiast like me is Aquarius Record Store. In Surabaya, it was located in jalan polisi istimewa. I cannot count how i spent hours and hours just to stroll around looking at album covers, listen to the CD samples and going home not buying anything. My pocket money was not that much but hey its still a good way to spend time.

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