Since coming back home to Indonesia, ive been working in a fintech startup called Amartha. Amartha is a peer-to-peer lending platform targeting unbankable populations in rural Indonesia. Inspired by Grameen Bank, loan was disbursed through group-lending mechanism and all of Amartha’s mitra (lender) is exclusively women.
My time here has been great so far, the company value resonate with me , i have a good team and im learning so much day by day. However the business model, the industry and startup environment is completely new to me hence i need jam lot of knowledge just to stay afloat.
Another thing that forced me to learn many things at once is my double role in Amartha. I am currently responsible for Amartha Go, initiatives to optimize our loan-collection process using combination of agency model and android apps. At first, I was responsible for business direction of this initiatives. However, the product manager resigned, hence i took those responsibilities. Hence not only i am managing a strategy team, i also need to manage team of developers as well.
In the midst of block chain hype, i read an HackerNoon article which reminds us that one (or plenty) dose of healthy skepticism regarding the technology is necessary.
Kai Stinchombe elaborates many points on why blockchain characteristics (distributed, encrypted and anonymous ledger) might not be best suited to “revolutionize” many of the hypothethical use cases of this technology.
Really enjoy this article. I share some of the pessimism regarding this technology. One of my team mate is really excited to research block-chain on one of our business problem, but i still havent convinced yet because i felt like that is merely a ledger problem which will be overkill to solve it using distributed ledger.
Read the full article here, do make sure to read the comment discussion as well since there are many contrarian points which adressed nicely by Kai.
Here are some of the highlights :
On payments and banking :
– For processing payments, Visa currently can handle 60k transactions per second while blockchain-enabled Bitcoin current maximum is 7
– With 0.01% performance, Bitcoin estimated to use 35 more electricity than VISA
On Anonymity and freedom from government overreach
– Government-backed banking system provide guarantee, reversibility, identity verification, audit standards and investigation system. Bitcoin on the other hand has none hence Bitcoin is akin to banking institution in the middle-age
– Smart-contracts are self-executing contracts which can be encoded in block-chains
– Theoretically, Smart Contracts are more cost effective than “dumb contract” because they will execute the clause automatically with no ambiguous interpretation
– Dumb contract are better and safer because of their “slow” nature. it makes it possible for human intervention and leave room for debate from both-sides of contract
On blockchain as distributed storage, computing and messaging
– Blockchain as distributed storage seems make sense : break document up into “blocks”, encrypt, and put them in a distributed ledger
– However current common solution for this (Dropbox, GDrive) is better in many ways : multiple factor authorization instead of private keys, price and features
On blockchain as stock issuance (ICO)
– Primary role of government-backed stock exchange (e.g Nasdaq) is compliance and security provider. Taking these factor out of stock-issuance is a recipe for daylight robbery
On blockchain as authenticity verification
– Other usecase for blockchain is to make public, unalterable, undeletable statement published publicly
– However, in blockchain, there are no way to delete the records or override the transaction
– Adopting block chain technology makes theft or impersonation more likely rather than less
– Advantage of existing existing human and software systems surrounding transactions outweigh promised benefits of blockchain as well as hidden costs, of irrevocable, automated execution
– With all the hype, nobody currently asking questions whether current user of existing system (payments, credit card holder) are seeing the benefit of blockchain
It has been more than a month since i submitted my dissertation. This was my first proper academic project which i have been working since June this year. With this submission, i have completed Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship MSc program in University of Manchester. I havent got my final grade yet but hopefully it wont be too shabby.
This dissertation project has been both exciting and exhausting at the same time. I deliberately chose the topic that i most interested with . However, there were still many times during the work that i became so fed up and wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. In the end, the project made me learn a lot about how to do scientific project, building arguments, critically reviewing academic papers and executing research project.
Along the way of working this dissertation, i’ve been getting a lot of help both directly and indirectly. Hence this post serves as thank you note for everyone who has been supporting me in finishing this work.
Proposal of my research can be seen here. Ill post summary and conclusion of my dissertation in the upcoming post, hopefully. I was proud of my work before submission but after reading it again after getting good night sleep, i realised it was shit haha.
I would like to dedicate my first thank you to my dissertation supervisor, Dr Elvira Uyarra. Reading Elvira works on innovation policy was one of the trigger that made me chose Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program in Manchester. I even referred her works in my scholarship application to convince Indonesian government that Manchester is the place to be to learn about innovation. As supervisor, Elvira has been helping me a lot in shaping my ideas, building theoretical framework and even fixing my grammar.
I want to also thank my Research Method professor, Frank Boons. He designed his class in order for students to make step-by-step research progress every week hence it was very useful for me which never done any proper scientific research. On top of that, he was also very responsive and thorough in giving feedback which further support me in shaping rough ideas into research proposal. I once gave him draft at 2 in the morning and before 8, Frank wrote a page full of detailed revision.
I was also get support from my other professors and faculty members in the brainstorming phase. Hence my thanks to Kieron Flanagan, Bruce Tether, Marcella Miozzo, Jonathan Pinkse for the advices.
Next on my thanks list is the founders, activist, journalist, managers, developers and enthusiast in Jakarta digital startup scene which was the topic of my dissertation. These are the good people which helped me in various ways. From agreeing to be respondent, providing raw data, introduce me to people and support me in navigating the ins and outs of the industry. For that, i will be forever be grateful
So lets start!, i would like to say my gratitude to : Yasaka Rani from Blibli, Oky Mauludani from Traveloka, Muhammad Ihsan from Tokopedia, Nalendra Wiryawan from Blibli & XL Axiata, Berlian Agusta from Airy Room, Christa from Womantalk, Janet Valentina from IDN Media, Leontinus Edison from Tokopedia, Rama Mamuaya from DailySocial, Aulia Halimatussadiah from Zettamedia & StartupLokal, Robi Baskoro from Duniaku, Aditya Saputra from Tripvisto & Tamasia, Yoga Nandiwardhana from Google Indonesia, Gery Azriel from Youtube Indonesia, Nadine Freischald from Techinasia and many others which gave comments or reply on my questions in Twitter or Linkedin.
I also getting lot of help from my classmates in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship MSc 2016 – 2017. For the feedbacks and chats during late night word count grinding in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, my thanks to Kai, Camilo, Aisha, Shresta, Phing, Hilde, Farah, Andrea, Hector, Ravi, Nishant, Stoyko, Danai and Chiara.
Then, i would like to give my special kudos to Indonesian-IME group: Mira, Tera, Faiz, Jojo, Derian. A support group, a home away from home and best study group I have ever have.
My masters degree program and dissertation research project was funded by Indonesian Education Endowment Fund Scholarship (LPDP). This is a great program which enabled thousands of Indonesian to pursue Masters and PhD overseas. If youre planning to apply or have questions regarding the program, drop me an email (kiki dot ahmadi at gmail ) and i will gladly help you.
Lastly, to Sari and Ghazi. My raison d’etre. Thank you for accompanying me in this wonderful journey. The works is for you two.
I did comparison of total number of employees of all Indonesian tech startups listed in Crunchbase and employment numbers of other major business sector.
Several interesting points :
In country level, startup employment is still miniscule which is not surprising. However in Jakarta level, it already surpassed banking, construction, education and enterprise support services sector
Still in Jakarta level, Startup employment is already nearly half Real Estate sector, nearly third of Transportation and Warehousing and quarter of Manufacturing
Jakarta hold 60 percent of total Indonesia startup employment. Compared to the ICT sector which Jakarta only contribute 2% of total country employment. I guess startup ecosystem is still very Jakarta centric ?
Startup employment probably can be used as proxy for Digital Economy contribution. However its still need average wage data points in Startups to see how the contribution related to other business sector.
Also couple of notes regarding the data
This is a pre-eliminary analysis, did it in my spare time so please do comment if i made mistakes or something doesnt felt right
Number of employee data in Crunchbase is in estimated range. I used the maximum estimation.
Out of around 900 Indonesian based startups listed in Crunch base, 270-ish doesnt have employee data. So the number could possibly bigger
Techinasia listed around 3000 Indonesian startups however they didnt parse it by city and also i believe they didnt offer access to the raw data. However, just by looking at the number of startups disparity compared to Crunchbase, again the number of startup employment could possibly much bigger
Today, Ive delivered presentations for regional innovation class. For the final coursework, the students are expected to submit essay on several topics related to regional dimension of innovation, from role of public policy in cluster formation, university-industry relation to smart specialisation. I choose to do clusters, specifically start-up cluster. The topic fits into my interest and i want to take the topic as my dissertation areas as well. Before submitting the final essay, the students would need to present first in order to get feedback and directions.
The case study that i chose is Silicon Roundabout which also known as East London Tech City. It is a high tech startup cluster in the east London area (Shoreditch and Hoxton). Digital economy is huge contributor to UK GDP. London in particular has turn over of 56 billion GBP from digital economy. Majority of this are contributed by cluster of tech startups around the old street roundabout in East London. The area has a history of being a creative hub from the early 1990s. Post dot com boom, several startups such as Moo, Dropplr and Last.fm relocated to this area and in 2008, the terms Silicon Roundabout was coined.
In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron launched Tech City initiatives to support this cluster to become world class technology area. Two years later, Google developed seven stories co-working space / incubator called Google Campus.
For the presentation, i include a short history on the cluster, how the cluster grow without policy intervention, the pros and cons of Tech City initiatives and future challenges of the cluster moving forward. I need to be very concise considering 15 minutes time limit.
My presentation is embedded below. Write me in the comment if you have any questions.
All in all, i did okay on today session however as i think my presentation delivery need to be upped a notch. One deadline finished, a lot more to go.
This week is going to be a semester two hell week. All the best for you folks!.
To prepare for semester exam, i wrote several essays on Innovation topics to help me revise. As the exam period already finished, rather than throw it away i might as well post it here. All of the essays can be looked up using ExamEssay tag. Hope it can be useful.
Research by definition is a creative activity to produce knowledge. By characteristics, research can be divided into two categories : basic and applied.
In short, basic research is curiosity driven activity to produce science while applied research is a problem solving activities to come up with new technology.
Classical view on science and technology relationship
In the old fashioned view, science came before technology. Basic research increase the stock of science in the society which in turns becomes the fuel of applied research activities. Technology is an application of science hence basic research need to be prioritized first.
The prominent supporter of this view is inventor, engineer and former head of US Office of Scientific Research and Development Vannevar Bush. After world war 2, Bush advocated the importance of funding basic research. In his report to the president titled Science The Endless Frontier, Bush argued that basic research increase the nation’s scientific capital, drive technological progress which in turns improve the nation’s competitiveness in world trade.
Tidak terasa, sudah hampir lima bulan semenjak saya sekeluarga meninggalkan Indonesia dan tinggal di Manchester. Walaupun tentunya ada enak dan tidak enak, secara keseluruhan pengalaman ini terasa menyenangkan. Pada saat tulisan ini dibuat, saya sedang merapel bahan bahan kuliah untuk persiapan ujian. Sebari rehat sejenak, berikut refleksi empat bulan pertama menempuh pendidikan master di Inggris.