Itâ€™s a pretty new phenomenon in Indonesia. I have two paid sim cards from Telkomsel and XL. For both I pay a monthly subscription fee and obviously I pay for the usage. So far no problem. However, both Telkomsel and XL decided to monetize their paying customers just a tad bit more. When you now access the Internet using 3G changes are you will get to see a Pop ad which is basically a complete page take over. Something similar as in this screenshot.
Annoying to say the least. Also pretty much illegal in most of the rest of the world. And for good reasons I think. Why? Well, first of all, I pay for this service.
Itâ€™s not like I use a website like Tokobagus for free and Tokobagus in return shows me some ads to pay for the bills.Â No, I actually pay for this service and at the time when I subscribed their service did not include any pop ads. Next, I never did an opt-in for this service, which in my understanding is required by law. But even when not required by law, it would be the proper netiquette. Right? Also, as far as I know and can remember I never got any instructions on how to opt-out.
I will share the opt-out methods in the end of this post.
A good business idea is finding a solution for an (everyday) problem and monetize it. But what does an industry do when thereâ€™s actually a lack of problems but it still wants to rake in billions? Well, easy. You make up a problem and make up a solution. Thatâ€™s what the drug industry for psychiatric disorders seems to be doing. Seems… I would say is doing.
Every heard of the disease Bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable.
Based on this definition, who doesnâ€™t have a bipolar disorder? Itâ€™s called human emotions in my opinion and itâ€™s part of life, no cure required in the form of chemicals.
If I would have been born 20 years later, I bet you I would have been diagnosed ADHD and would have been put on medication. But Iâ€™m not ill and Iâ€™m pretty sure I wasnâ€™t ill, just a tad more active than the average person.
So the pharmaceutical industry is making drugs to cure diseases that actually donâ€™t exist. Huh? Well, so far thereâ€™s absolutely no scientific proof that any mental disorder is actually a disease. Sure, experts on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry talk about “imbalances in the brain” but bottom line, thatâ€™s speculation. The cures they fabricate are raking in billions but seem to do more harm than good. Just to be clear, Iâ€™m not saying all medicines for mental disorders are fake. But, you gotta wonder, where did all these “disorders” all of a sudden come from? And why is it that 50% of the people committing suicide in the US is using a drug for a mental disorder?
Remco kindly invited me to post, and here I am. The subjected he suggested was Startups Founders, Angel Investors & Dilution. Which is a mouthful to pronounce and even more complicated to elaborate in details, but maybe Iâ€™ll add a few items to the post.
To take a different angle on the same issues, I think most startups in Indonesia simply fails on Governance level. In fact, in the majority of ‘failuresâ€™ that Iâ€™ve witnessed, I would say that this is very often the case. Firstly tho, letâ€™s be clear that I specifically refer to Startups as Digital/Tech/Media related Startup.
First, a Digital Startup differs by definition to traditional business in a sense that it relies on digital technology to deliver and produce the return. The underlying value will be with the people who create and make stuff happen and the Intellectual Property it produced. The Startup is a for profit business entity that will create value with Digital Technology. Not to buy a Coal Mine or Plantation Concession or a Chocolate Factory. A Digital Startup must have a clear grasp of this before they venture any further.
I could probably compile 20 pages with just links to “horror stories” about foreign investments in Indonesia going awfully wrong and resulting in a total-loss of money. For instance the German entrepreneur who twice opened a restaurant in Bali and twice got squeezed out of his restaurant by landlords who all of a sudden decide to increase the rent with 500%. Or a little bit bigger, the case in which Churchill Mining lost their license on whatâ€™s probably the worlds 7th largest coal mine.
Also weâ€™ve seen sudden changes in Indonesian laws introducingÂ a cap of 40 percent on the single ownership of domestic banks.Â This followed a mining law put in place in March limiting foreign ownership in the industry to 49 percent from 80 percent previously. And in the digital world the government is also imposing new regulations which are less than motivating for foreign companies to enter Indonesia. And then thereâ€™s also still the everlasting corruption, which despite all the efforts and successes of the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commitee) doesnâ€™t seem to be beaten at all. According to Daily Social, an Indonesian tech-blog, also startup entrepreneurs seem to suffer under the strict rules for foreign investments.
So, how bad is it anyway? Is Indonesia indeed a mine field for foreign investors?
I see it happen a lot lately in Jakarta. Startups with 4-5 founders, who are pretty much equal shareholders. Then a lot of those startups will look for very early Angel funding which, if they get it, brings another shareholder on board.
Now youâ€™ve got a situation where there are 5-6 shareholders in a company that still has to land its first serious funding. Now this is in my opinion a situation far from desirable, for some obvious and some less obvious reasons.
In general, when a startup approaches an (angel) investor for a pitch and shares that the company has 4 or 5 shareholders with pretty much similar voting rights, my first question would be “Who wants to give up his or her shares?”. Itâ€™s just too early to have such an amount of shareholders. Startups succeed for a large part because they can make decisions instantly, react faster than competitors who are more corporate. Having 4 or 5 voting shareholders on board chances are your company wonâ€™t be that flexible and dynamic anymore.Â Also, any investor would prefer to just talk to 1 or 2 persons, which is clear and manageable.
If the crash of the Asiana Flight 214 in SanÂ Francisco wasnâ€™t such a tragedy, if people didnâ€™t die and gotÂ severelyÂ burnedÂ Â this could have been funny. Unfortunately people did die and people di get burned and scarred for life. Just an EPIC FAIL from the category Ho Lee Fuk!Â Apparently KTVU did check the names with the NTSB, who are investigating the crash. Allegedly an intern at NTSB confirmed that the names were all correct. But did no one at KTVU had the common sense of reading the names out loud to then come to the conclusion “Sum Ting Wong”?
Though it would be a great movie title, this is not the title of a badly produced low budget Hollywood movie. Mind peelers, they come in all forms and shapes. Usually they try to avoid showing their stiff corporate background with quasi nonchalant clothes and try to make you feel theyâ€™re one of you. But on average they do a really bad job at that.
Mind peelers are mostly attracted by emerging markets which they, by definition, donâ€™t understand. It starts with an email in which a mind peeler will mostly use the strategy of elevating your achievements, experience and personal skills to divine levels. This followed by a list of theyâ€™re personal achievements and a statement on how serious they are about the Indonesian market.
After 8 months of extremeÂ extravagance, partying and many holidays it was time to get back to real life. Even though I could be sipping a Mojito in Bali right now I found that I just NEED to do something. Without a goal I tend to spiral out of control, probably out of sheer boredom.
In myÂ defence, in the 8 months of indulgence, besides doing two investments, I just didnâ€™t see any opportunity where I wanted to invest my money and energy in. Up until I met the guys from the Ambient Digital Group in Vietnam, who are a great bunch of guys. So straight after I saw there product I had the classical light-bulb-moment, thinking YEAH, THIS I GOTTA DO.
You know what they say, once youâ€™re lucky twice youâ€™re good. And while everyone seems to be consistently negative about Indonesian digital entrepreneurs they tend to overlook the ones that are doing great, like Steve Christian. Steve is known from founding Kapanlagi.com together withÂ Eka Wiharto and making it the largest entertainment portal in Indonesia.
Steve is a busy guy, being involved in multiple startups in different digital industries. One of them is news portal Merdeka.com which started early 2012 and has managed to become #6th biggest local site and #20th overall most visited site in Indonesia according to Alexa in just a matter of 14 months.
This is not luck, this is experience, dedication and pushing hard every day. This is not launching something and waiting for a miracle to happen, but knowing that to grow you need to take matters in own hand and enforce growth.
I donâ€™t think I ever met Steve, he doesnâ€™t seem to attend Â any of the many digital (startup) events and I like that because those events add basically nothing to the growth of your company. Theyâ€™re more events to showcases egoâ€™s. Anyway, hereâ€™s to Steven and his team, good for you guys and cheers to much more in the future. To other startup entrepreneurs, this is how you do it: