Sangat Pedas

Telkomsel And XL Pop Ads And How To Opt-out

August 1, 2013 by Remco | 1 Comment

screenshot-pop-adIt’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.

It’s not like I use a website like Tokobagus for free and Tokobagus in return shows me some ads to pay for the bills. 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.

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On Digital Startup, Founders, Governance and Happy Dreams

July 20, 2013 by Hasan Yahya | 0 comments

happyRemco 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 I’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 ‘failures’ that I’ve witnessed, I would say that this is very often the case. Firstly tho, let’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.

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Investing In Indonesian Startups - Myths, Rules, Regulations And Solutions

July 20, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

bkpmI 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 what’s probably the worlds 7th largest coal mine.

Also we’ve seen sudden changes in Indonesian laws introducing a cap of 40 percent on the single ownership of domestic banks. 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 there’s also still the everlasting corruption, which despite all the efforts and successes of the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commitee) doesn’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?

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Startups, Founders, Angel Investors & Dilution

July 14, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

boardroomI 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 you’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?”. It’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 won’t be that flexible and dynamic anymore. Also, any investor would prefer to just talk to 1 or 2 persons, which is clear and manageable.

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Invasion Of The Mind Peelers

July 13, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

mind-peelingThough 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 they’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, don’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 they’re personal achievements and a statement on how serious they are about the Indonesian market.

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Ambient Digital Indonesia - Yet Another Light Bulb

July 13, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

AmbientDigital_logoAfter 8 months of extreme 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 my defence, in the 8 months of indulgence, besides doing two investments, I just didn’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.

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Is Bitcoin A Ponzi Scheme?

April 6, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

Is Bitcoin a Ponzi Scheme?Sometimes I’m too hasty with my conclusions. This morning I tweeted: “so bitcoin is a (slow) ponzi scheme, well surprise surprise!”. This based on the article BitCoin, Pyramid Schemes and Alternate Currencies on The Refined Geek. After my tweet I immediately got comments from claiming my conclusion is wrong.

Truth being told, I think I know quite a lot about Ponzi Schemes and can spot a scam from quite far but I’m no expert on Bitcoin so I guess had to do some research to  learn more to see if I would stick to my initial conclusion.
For those of you who don’t know what a Bitcoin is, in short it’s a digital (crypto-)currency created by Satoshi Nakamoto, which is actually not his real name. Some say it’s not even one person, others say it’s these guys based on a patent registration: Continue Reading →

Danger Looming Large In Indonesia’s New E-commerce Law?

March 23, 2013 by Remco | 4 Comments

There has been a discussion about the definition of a “Public Service”. In the context now most agree with my definition of “a service that’s accessible for the public”. But I gotta agree that usually “Public Service” is defined as a government service such as gas, electricity and public transport. So probably they should change it to “Public Accessible Digital Service”.

For people who still disagree with this interpretation please read art 1 par 4:

Penyelenggara Sistem Elektronik adalah setiap Orang, penyelenggara negara, Badan Usaha, dan masyarakat yang menyediakan, mengelola, dan/atau mengoperasikan Sistem Elektronik secara sendiri-sendiri maupun bersamasama kepada Pengguna Sistem Elektronik untuk keperluan dirinya dan/atau keperluan pihak lain.


Electronic System Operator is any person, state officials, business entities, and community provider, manage and / or operate Electronic systems individually or together to Users for Electronic Systems her needs and / or needs of others.

Pretty clear in my opinion.


This week the long awaited and probably feared Indonesian E-commerce law PP 82 became public and even though I’m no longer (directly) involved in any e-commerce business I thought I would take some time to read it. Mind you, this law is just the beginning and will be followed by 10 government regulations which will provide more details.

My friends from Dailysocial already reported on this law yesterday highlighting the part that requires any e-commerce company doing business in Indonesia to register in Indonesia as well as running their platform on a .ID domain name. Already excisting e-commerce companies are excused from the last clause, for now they are allowed to continue running their service on a .com or any other top level domain name.

Though I agree that the need for a .ID domain name is weird to say the least, it seems that the law poses bigger worries for new and existing e-commerce players in Indonesia. I won’t be discussing the whole law but just highlight some things that attracted my attention.

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Business In Indonesia - The Case Of The Chicken And The Egg

February 9, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

Cute yellow baby chickThe coming time I want to share a bit about doing business in Indonesia, mostly aimed at foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Because, my fellow foreigners, things are indeed different in Indonesia. Applying the same strategies, approach, culture etc in Indonesia as you’re used to abroad might very well lead to unexpected surprises. But more on that in a later post.

This post is about a simple example of some of the frustrations you will encounter when doing business in Indonesia. Mind you, I love Indonesia and I believe there are great opportunities here. However, I also see Indonesia as a graveyard for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who think they know it all and for sure know better than the Indonesians themselves. If you don’t learn about the culture and the way thinks work in Indonesia, if you’re not extremely patient you might be in for a surprise.

Anyway, when setting up a business you will encounter a lot of bureaucracy and crazy long forms to fill out. It is what it is so just do it. Once you’ve got approval from the Ministry of Justice for your business you need to obtain two documents: SIUP (Business License) and TDP (Company Registration). Easy, just fill out the forms and wait for it… Just one thing, you need a bank account.

Ok, easy lah. You just go to the bank and open account, right? Just one tiny problem. Due to new legislation to fight money laundering  the banks now request your SIUP and TDP, without it no bank account. Uuuuuuhhh……

Good luck with that and till the next “Business In Indonesia”.

5 #Startup Rules I Will Follow In 2013

December 30, 2012 by Remco | 1 Comment

After leaving Tokobagus in 2012 I’m basically back to square one  where I want to start new companies myself and invest in young promising startups. Around me there seems to be the expectation that whatever I will do it will become successful, just because I’ve had my share of success with Tokobagus. Obviously things are a bit more favorable for me than 7 years ago, but also for me goes Wall Street’s favorite disclaimer:

Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

I think I mentioned it before, a large part of success is luck. I’ve seen a lot of once successful entrepreneurs loose a lot if not all their money because they actually started to believe that everything they touch turns into gold. My resolutions is to not fall into the trap of overestimating myself so I’m binding myself to some basic startup “rules”.
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