Adventure of a Lifetime

It’s funny how life works, I might actually have said this for many times. It’s just that this life never fails to surprise me (of course with both ups and downs) – although sometimes it is not so unexpected. I thought I’m not gonna be able to implement things that I specifically learned in my master degree – ever. But I actually am, the path is simply just not that instant.

This week I almost finish my Amatil X journey. Almost, because apparently my team was selected to continue to the final round of the program. This, actually, is something I wasn’t really hope for. I’ll tell you why.

The story goes way back to my postgraduate study in 2015. I studied Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship. In the first semester, one of the compulsory subject was High Tech Entrepreneurship. It taught me about how to build a tech startup. I enjoyed the class very much. Not only because the lecturer and the subject itself, but also because I was teamed up with amazing people. For the final project, the class was grouped into teams and we had to create our own startup proposal and to pitch our idea. I was in a team with 4 other students and I think we worked together very well. We won the pitching competition and I was very pleased with how the final proposal looked like.

The rest of the study in my master degree was about innovation and somewhat getting ourselves ready for startup environment. In the second semester, I had to work with one UK-based startup and helped them to understand the market better. That was the moment where I kind of reflecting what I learned in the High Tech Entrepreneurship class. Since then, I had a balanced view of startup environment. It wasn’t all cool.

So I came home to Indonesia, looking for a new job. I applied to several Jakarta-based startups and to other big companies as well. Finally I ended up working in an FMCG company. However, I’m actually curious of whether I can actually work in startup or even build one of my own. But I don’t quite have time to work on my startup idea while working as a full time employee. Slowly, the curiosity faded away. I will work in corporation and I don’t really mind of it.

Not so long ago, I decided that startup might not be for me. I can still implement all those stuffs I have learned back in university to a corporation, and that’s enough. Yet, life takes me to the path that can answer my curiosity. Amatil X.

The company I work for launched an intrapreneurship program. Employees went through 6 classes of startup thinking. Those who have an idea that can benefit the company can register for the Hackaton event. During the Hackaton, I was grouped into a team of 5 people and we had to define the problems we’re trying to solve, the solution we offer (which was our idea), and the benefit for the company. My team was selected to continue to the second round. Thus we went through another classes of creating a product. This week, we finally got the chance to do a pitch in front of the directors and investors, where they selected the best two ideas to continue the journey.

I value the experience very much. All the discussion, the thinking process, the chance to pitch in front of important people, those aren’t something all people can get. I’m very grateful, I know this is good for me. The drawback for me is because the process had totally drained my energy – more than ever. It’s not easy to work on an idea, it’s even harder to convince people that the idea is worthy. I salute all founders of startups that try to solve problems in various aspects in life. That is one tough job. However, I do believe that if the person is highly passionate about what he’s about to solve, it won’t be as tiring as how it affected me (I guess this validates more of how I am not so passionate about supply chain). But the ship has sailed, I gotta finish what I’ve started and keep doing the best that I can.

The thing that I want to highlight here is actually how life can take us to many different routes before finally reaching the destination – to where we really belong, to our true calling. And the road isn’t always straight. We might end up in a strange place several times, there probably shortcuts, and we can definitely get lost or just circling around a few times. I guess I haven’t reached my destination, there’s a lot to figure out. It’s a adventure of a lifetime, Coldplay said, we are diamonds taking shape.

Love, Atiqah Zulfa Naida

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Does All Improvement Necessary?

Sudah pada tau tentang startup lokal bernama Wahyoo dan Warung Pintar? Kalau belum, bisa cek google untuk tau detailsnya. Secara singkat, dua startup ini memberikan sentuhan teknologi pada bisnis tradisional di Indonesia, seperti warteg (Wahyoo) dan warung rokok pinggir jalan (Warung Pintar).

Kemarin aku dan Jihan makan di salah satu kedai bubur terkenal dan melegenda di Jakarta Pusat. Terlepas dari rasa, ada beberapa hal yang kurang pas dari pengalaman kami makan di sana. Apalagi dari sudut pandang anak manajemen dan anak teknik industri, bikin geregetan. Pertama, pelayannya kewalahan melayani pengunjung yang saat itu cukup ramai, mereka bahkan ngga mencatat pesanan – kalau kondisi sedang sepi mungkin cara mengingat pesanan ini lebih praktis, tapi nyatanya kalau sedang ramai jadi berantakan dan salah-salah. Lupa pesanannya apa, ngga ingat pelanggan mana yang duluan datang, dan lain-lain. Kedua, stok empingnya habis (entah sejak kapan) dan baru tiba ketika aku dan Jihan selesai makan. Jadilah kami berdua ngga dapat emping.

Dari situ jadi iseng berpikir kenapa warung yang pastinya omzetnya besar ini (karena legendaris dan selalu ramai) ngga melakukan improvement untuk memperbaiki layanan dan manajemennya?

Hasil ngobrol-ngobrol iseng aku dan Jihan, bisa jadi karena mereka ngga mengenal improvement.

Kedai bubur ini sederhana tempatnya, ada gerobak, kasir, dan kursi serta meja makan untuk tamu. Begitupun dengan bisnisnya, sederhana juga. Semua masih tradisional. They do their business as they did years ago. Yet people keep coming back, jadi mereka ngga merasa harus mengubah apa-apa. Mereka mungkin ngga tau bahwa opsi improvement itu ada.

Ini yang menarik dari bisnis kuliner tradisional, rasa dan legendanya itu bisa mempertahankan posisinya di pasar. Beda dengan bisnis lain yang harus terus menerus berinovasi, marketing ini itu, promo sana sini, untuk menjaga posisinya di antara kompetitor lain. Well, we’re not talking about that tho.

Jadi, manajemen kedai bubur ini bisa jadi ngga mengenal konsep improvement. Yang dia tau adalah berjualan, untung rugi, kualitas bubur, pembeli kenyang dan datang lagi. They just know they survive and that’s enough.

Lalu, gimana kalau mereka ditawarkan dengan opsi improvement? Apa yang akan terjadi kalau suatu hari ada orang yang datang ke sana dan menawarkan improvement untuk bisnisnya?

There’s always two options. Ya dan tidak. Inilah kenapa aku menyinggung dua startup sebelumnya, yang mencoba memberi benefit-benefit teknologi kepada toko tradisional supaya toko tersebut menjadi lebih baik. Yang aku tau, customer dari Wahyoo dan Warung Pintar ini sudah lumayan banyak, yang artinya banyak pebisnis tradisional yang tertarik – at least ngga reluctant terhadap teknologi dan perubahan.

Then, we have to look at it for a longer period. Akankah bertahan? Masihkah teknologi itu digunakan dalam 6 bulan, satu tahun, atau 2 tahun ke depan? Apakah penjualnya merasakan dan memahami manfaat dari teknologinya?

Semua tergantung dari seberapa effort dan benefitnya.

Menurut aku pribadi, it’s easy to change a system, a business process. Tapi, mengubah behavior orang itu sulit. Sebelum kita menerapkan berbagai teknologi dan sistem yang sekiranya bisa memberi improvement, kita harus bisa memengaruhi pikiran dari orang-orangnya. Bukan hanya membuat mereka bilang “ok” tapi juga membuat mereka paham betul bahwa mereka butuh improvement – dan solusi yang ditawarkan betul-betul bisa membantu mereka. Or else, improvement yang ada hanya bersifat sementara, ngga sustain. Karena orang-orang yang menjalankan bisnisnya belum memiliki urgensi untuk berubah.

Di bisnis kelas multinasional pun, perubahan ngga gampang diterima oleh semua karyawan. Sebagian karyawan lebih suka mengerjakan yang sudah biasa dikerjakan, dengan cara yang biasanya, di mana outputnya ngga jauh berbeda dengan sistem yang baru.

Dari sini aku tau pentingnya manajemen inovasi. Waktu S2, aku belajar bahwa sebuah inovasi itu harus dibuat semirip mungkin dengan kebiasaan saat ini. Sehingga effort orang-orang untuk berubah hanya sedikit, namun benefitnya bisa bertambah. Salah satu hal yang menentukan berhasil atau tidaknya inovasi, ya seberapa mudah orang beradaptasi ke sistem atau produk yang baru.

Aku yakin kedai bubur yang aku kunjungi akan senantiasa ramai selama dia tetap menjaga rasa dari makanan yang disajikan. Some improvements with the service would be good, but I don’t think it’s that necessary… yet.

♥️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia