There was a time when Internet players had ideals and strived to keep Internet a sanctuary for freedom of speech and equality. The days of “Do no evil” are far gone, today those words are just a hollow phrase.
Governments do everything to control the Internet, privacy has gone and now the neutrality of the Internet is in serious danger.
I can write a long post about what net neutrality is, why it’s so important and why it will disappear. But John Oliver (HBO) does a much better job at that in his own brilliant kind of way. Along the way he comes up with a much better word describing what’s going on: “Cable Company F**kery”. Well said John, well said.
Since I’ve parted from Tokobagus I’m involved in several lower profile startups in Indonesia, I just love pioneering, build stuff and help out like minded peers. In general, I like to get involved really early stage because I think that’s where I can contribute a lot and it’s the phase I enjoy most. One rule though, the startups I like to get involved in have to have great ambitions and their model needs to be scalable, in the end I like building big things.
Scalable not only means that the product should be scalable, but also the organisation and infrastructure, and that’s mostly where I come in. In my past I had some experience with scaling an e-commerce platform to become one of the largest sites in Indonesia and I definitely remember the head aches and stress that gave us. So I like to spend time thinking about and working on solutions that are scalable from the start, which is for a part in the code and for a part in the architecture. Often this means serious investing in hardware and knowledge from the start, but startups are startups and often have little means, no money, short on staff and a hell of a lot of work to do.
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Though programmatic buying in Indonesia still seems to be in a very infant state, it’s nonetheless very interesting to see what’s happening on a global scale and how it affects specific industries. All but mobile is up…. On a side note, the success on mobile for a lot of publishers also often leads to declining revenues so for me that’s a challenge I would love to take on. More on that later this year.
For the rest, a cool infographic, courtesy of Turn, the whole report can be downloaded here.
Nice infographic from Brand24 (the brand monitoring guys) on the social media landscape in Indonesia, very insightful. A special congrats to the great team of Malesbanget on being the most popular Indonesian youtube channel in Indonesia! (via: DigitalinAsia)
There is this whole thing about Internet investment in Indonesia that seems to be generating a lot of confusion. Most recently, TechInAsia picks up on the subject and went on with an extensive post. Allow me to stir the water a little bit…
[disclaimer] First off, it should be said that anyone who plan to invest 250k USD in the Internet Industry in Indonesia should not rely on bloggers and wanderers. Checking with a proper law firm won’t cost you much and generally should get you some reliable answer.
(I’m curious how a legal consultant work both for the ministry as well as for the’ foreign companies to work their way around the new regulation‘, maybe that’ll work, but I’d recommend you to work with a real law firm).
Regulation… What Regulation?
The TechInAsia post, like the DailySocial post before that, was not clear on what regulation are they talking about. I’m assuming that TechInAsia is referring to the DNI – Daftar Negatif Investasi/Negative Investment List – which is a Presidential Regulation and maintained by the BKPM (Foreign Investment Board), the gov’t agency in charge of approving each individual applicant.
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Quite a surprise this morning, renowned tech blog TechInAsia apparently did some solid research that you might expect from a journalist, thumbs up! Well, at least for the effort. The headline is clear (and long): “Hold your horses: Indonesian government hasn’t approved any new regulation to halt foreign investments“. Raise the flags, we’re all saved! Honey, here’s my credit card, go shop whatever you want! Justice is done, we’re all gonna be rich.
Well, to quote TechInAsia: “HOLD YOUR HORSES”!! So, the source for this conclusion is Vichi Lestari, a lawyer working for Trias Consultant, who has handled numerous tech companies as her clients as well as being a legal consultant of Indonesia’s ministry of industry.
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Newsflash! I’m not a journalist. This blog is not a newspaper. Really. I’m actually an entrepreneur doing some small investments here and there in Indonesia. Weird thing though. Apparently this blog was the first bringing the news that online retail in Indonesia is now closed for foreign investments. Weird because again, I’m not a journalist. Weird because this is actually not “news”, unless you consider changes to the interpretation of the law that came effective on june 28th 2013 is still regarded news more than 1.5 months later.
So what happened next? Well, Dailysocial contacted me asking for some “proof”. Well, I have the “proof” in the form of an official letter of intent from the BKPM but so far my legal adviser requested me not to publish this document as it was sent to him directly and not me. Now, even though I think this letter is an official and public document, I consider myself a smart person by never upsetting lawyers, period.
What happened next was Dailysocial writing a post with the title “Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade MAY Have Banned Foreign Investment for E-Commerce Companies“. “MAY have…”. What the hell do you mean with “MAY have..” ? Is any artcile with “MAY have” in the title even news? Followed by comments like “…but if what Lupker said is true…”. This was then soon reblogged or posted on sites like Yahoo and some tech blogs like SGE, because DS is “the authority”.
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UPDATE: Anyone doubting what I write below please read this post and stop asking me for “proof” or quoting me as an unconfirmed souce! Much appreciated.
Wow, this is kind of a shock indeed. Coming home from summer holiday to find out that e-commerce, or online retail as you will, is now completely excluded from ANY foreign investment/ownership in Indonesia. This was already so for offline retail (unless the shop size is larger than 400m2, 1200m2 or 2000m2 depending on the kind of retail), but until now the online industry was excused for this regulation.
But this all changed on June 28th 2013 with a letter from the Secretary General of the Ministry of Trade with reference 689/SJ-DAG/SD/6/2013. Google it. You won’t find it. But basically all the rules that already applied to offline retail now apply to online retail as well. Check page 61 of Perpres 36 2010 where you find the DNI (list of negative investments) for retail businesses. Now if you think your company type is actually not listed there then don’t get your hopes up. Apparently, any company selling directly to consumers (as in private persons) is only allowed in case of 100% local ownership.
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Remember the speech from Obama in 2007 in which he argued to stop spying on people who are not suspected of a crime? Probably you don’t, at least that’s what Obama and all other politicians generally assume when they make promises to get voters. Well, please REFRESH YOUR MEMORY.
An then a few years later Obama addressed questions about the US government disregarding all principles of privacy, how ironic. Basically the outcome was that the NSA is allowed without any warrant to access emails and all other digital information as it seems fit, as long as the targets are not living in the US. Nice! Companies like Google and Facebook providing any kind of info the NSA needs, straight from our email boxes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for security and that for that sacrifices have to be made. However, we’ve made many sacrifices already, such as airport
molestation security. Harassing new moms about their baby milk. Or what about this young girl bound to a wheelchair on her way to get medical treatment? Surely a serious bomb threat. Yep, the kids and the elderly fit the terrorist profile perfectl. Riiiight….. Just like those extremely dangerous women with prosthetic breasts.
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You know what they say, once you’re lucky twice you’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 with 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 don’t think I ever met Steve, he doesn’t seem to attend any of the many digital (startup) events and I like that because those events add basically nothing to the growth of your company. They’re more events to showcases ego’s. Anyway, here’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: