Sangat Pedas

Steve Christian: Now This Is How You Do It!

April 7, 2013 by Remco | 0 comments

steve-christianYou 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 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 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:

Merdeka Indonesia growth

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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Pirate Bay - Away From The Keyboard Documentary [VIDEO]

February 10, 2013 by Remco | 1 Comment

This was for sure the best way I could have spend 80 minutes of my Sunday, watching the documentary about the founders of Pirate Bay called “Pirate Bay - Away From The KeyBoard”. If you’re a geek or even just have the slightest interest in Internet this is a definite MUST WATCH. If you enjoyed “The Social Network” you probably enjoy this documentary way much more.

Best way I can describe it is using the word “Surreal”. No script writer in Hollywood could possibly come up with the scenario and the characters of this story, it would be dismissed as “over-the-top” or “too far fetched”.

The documentary is about “freedom of speech” or “copyright infringement” depending on where you stand. It’s  IT mixed with a little bit of ideology, intrigues, law suites, lots and lots of alcohol and drugs and a datacenter in an atomic bunker (so cool) resulting in the biggest p2p file sharing site in the world.

Opinion wise I’m totally against copyright infringement and the “Freedom of Speech” argument is total bullshit. On the other hand the movie and record industry should smarten up and realize times have changed. Instead of fighting and trolling they should realize the Internet made/makes people consume in different ways. Sticking to an old school approach will lead to more smarter and harder to fight “Pirate Bays” and not solve any issue at all.

But for me this documentary wasn’t so much interesting from the angle of the debate, it was more the story itself and even more the persons behind Pirate Bay. To see how naive highly intelligent people can be. Another example that being smart and being intelligent don’t always go hand in hand.

If you enjoyed this docu like I did, please help out the makers of this docu with a donation.

Tweet Of The Year - Pacific Place Jakarta

December 22, 2012 by Remco | 1 Comment

Yep, Jakarta is flooding, the city (read traffic) comes to a halt and many people have some serious problems due to the excessive rain and floods. In short, it’s a really shitty day in and for Jakarta. While the roof in one of Pacific Place, one of the biggest malls in Jakarta is leaking and elevators stop working someone in the social media dept of this mall saw his chance and made this tweet of the year. You might drown, your car might drown, your house might flood, it might be dangerous in the mall, but KEEP ON SHOPPING!!!

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Implementing Solr4 in WordPress - No Plugin

December 2, 2012 by Remco | 1 Comment

I’m currently working on a WordPress based travel site….


I left some space here where the experts can chuckle, LOL, ROFL and whatever else they think is appropriate. To those cynics I say good luck with you’re home made platform. WordPress is so much more than a blog platform, it’s the perfect framework for almost every project. It’s known for it’s near perfect and solid database design, it’s equipped with a great admin interface, offers great caching plugins and many more. I at first thought I had to migrate to another platform but along the way I found out that at least for me the possibilities are unlimited. And scalability? Well, read this post and make up your mind again. Continue Reading →

An Outlook On The Opportunities In The Indonesian E-commerce Market

November 28, 2012 by Remco | 9 Comments

It’s now been almost 4 months since Arno and I parted from Tokobagus and truth being said, I miss it a lot. After 7 years working so close with a great team and becoming friends I guess that’s normal. But the upside is that I had some time to put things in perspective and analyse things from the outside.

In the first month I left Tokobagus I was contacted by a reputable e-commerce company for a prestigious job which after some short consideration I declined for several reasons. I find that everybody assumes that my next venture will be e-commerce related, everybody but me. Yep, I love the e-commerce business, or more correct, I love the Internet industry.

Indonesia is in theory one of the countries with the most potential in the world when it comes to Internet and e-commerce. Every investor you meet will tell you the same based on the reasoning that every country in the world works the same. A very simple and defendable argument but without any notice of some fundamental differences in the Indonesian retail supply chain.

This week a remembered Rama from Dailysocial asking me about a year ago the question: “So what do you think about the Indonesian e-commerce market, is it gonna grow?” Back then I actually didn’t even understand the reason for asking and my answer was over confidently YES. But after 2 years in Jakarta and learning a lot how things work in Indonesia I totally understand why he asked me this and I’m not sure if my answer would be as confident as then. Probably now I would say it still needs a long time to really live up to it’s promise, 5 years perhaps.

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Filter Access To Tomcat based on IP behind Proxy Server

November 28, 2012 by Remco | 0 comments

Another day lost on something that seemed so simple to implement. After having installed Tomcat 7 and Solr 4 I wanted to limit access to the interface based on IP. This was actually the reason I chose Tomcat over Jetty because with Jetty there’s no straight forward dummy proof way to do this. Don’t let the firewall image fool you, this is just an IP filter and can be circumvented by means of IP spoofing. However for me it’s enough for now, once it goes in production all access will be blocked completely.

Somehow most documentation of platforms like Tomcat are clear if you get the whole picture but if you’re a first-timer it’s a pain in the ass because of the lack of simple/working examples. S what seemed straightforward cost me another 6 hours and by posting I hope to spare you the time.

So my website is hosted with Webfaction, a great hosting company but due to the fact that it’s still shared hosting it comes with some challenges.

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How-to install Solr 4.0 with Tomcat 7 on Webfaction [Tutorial]

November 27, 2012 by Remco | 6 Comments

For one of my startups-still-in-stealth-mode I’m working on a professional and scalable solution for search suggestions. Considering the current low number of daily visits I first thought I could easily get away with one of the many tutorials on search suggestions with mysql. However, the complexity would force me to use JOINS in combination with UNION JOINS which will result in the end in a crappy performance. Also, I shoot for the stars so anything I build needs to be super scalable.

So I chose for a setup with a text-based search engine. Now these days there are many text-based search engines out there but since I have some experience with Lucene based Solr and since Solr is just a bit more suited for dummies I chose Solr. Another popular alternative is Elastic Search but I seriously doubt that my website or yours would come to a point where you can’t do it with Solr. The Lucene engined is suitable for and extreme high number of concurrent requests, is super stable and serves many high-traffic websites out there.

So, this will be the first time I actually install Solr on a Webfaction server and for the view out there struggling with the same I share the complete process step-by-step.

In order for Solr to run it needs a Servlet container like Tomcat and Jetty. Solr actually comes with Jetty build in but for several reasons (security, doing-difficult-just-for-the-heck-of-it and others) I’ve decided to go with Tomcat 7.

OMG, this was a total nightmare and cost me >2 days to get it done so kudo’s and other forms of appreciation are very welcome!

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How-to install Tomcat 7 on Webfaction [Tutorial]

November 25, 2012 by Remco | 3 Comments

Since a few months I’m completely independent again, which at some times feels a bit scary but most of the time it just gives a great feeling of freedom. So now it’s time to use that freedom and do one of the things I always wanted to do more: sharing. So here’s the first of a long line of sharing how I run my new startups and also sharing the technical aspects.

So today I started on a project to implement search suggestions, which considering the current number of visitors I could easily and much more quickly do with MySQL but I choose for scalability. This means I want a lean and mean foundation and I chose the text-based search engine Solr. Because hosting is done by Webfaction and the posts on how to get this done are quite outdated I thought it would be nice to share the process so here we go.

In order for Solr to run it needs a servlet container such as Tomcat, Jetty, or Resin, I chose Tomcat because it was most referred to while doing my research. I know, hardly an intelligent way of choosing but I really don’t care since Solr should work fine on it and that’s the sole purpose. So here’s part one on installing Solr on Webfaction, which is installing Tomcat on Webfaction.
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(Not) Saying Goodbye To Tokobagus

August 17, 2012 by Remco | 11 Comments

Team Tokobagus

The word is out by now, Arno and I, the founders, have left Tokobagus. I’ve been involved in some other exciting startups before but by far this has been the best ride ever.

The journey started in Bali in a small house in Tukad Balian in the middle of the sawa’s, where we started out developing e-commerce platforms for clients in Europe. We were struggling to build something sustainable but it paid for the bills and it was an exciting time exploring new things.

Then we decided to start and somehow we never doubted it would become as successful as it is. This might sound arrogant but I sure didn’t have that feeling with all startups I was involved in. From the start we felt we were in the right place at the right time and knew what we had to do. Even though very few took us serious at that time, our small team believed in what we were doing and that was more than enough for us.

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