Willam Tanuwijaya

William Tanuwijaya – “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars “

William Tanuwijaya, a name that most millennials look up to. His product, Tokopedia, has empowered  10 million entrepreneurs so far and served more than 100 million monthly active users across Indonesia. Despite being born to an ordinary family, his dream was not ordinary at all. Not only did he successfully build one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia, but William has also helped many other businesses grow and gave space to many new entrepreneurs in the growing startup market.

Tokopedia has a mission to democratize commerce through technology. Its vision is to build a Super Ecosystem where anyone can start and discover anything. To this day, Tokopedia has empowered millions of merchants and users across the marketplace and digital goods, financial technology, and payment, logistics, and fulfillment.

The Early Days

Despite his recent success, his early life was not so easy. Born in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatera, on November 18, 1981, he decided to pursue higher education in Jakarta, Indonesia, leaving all of his memories behind in Pematang Siantar to get a better education and fight for a better future for him and his family.

William was not your typical startup founder who graduated from Stanford, Harvard, or any Ivy League university. He took an undergraduate at Bina Nusantara University (BINUS), majoring in computer science. His four-year journey on campus was not easy. In his second year, he had to take up a part-time job in order to support his father, who fell sick and needed medical treatment. His first job was as a computer operator at an internet cafe, monitoring and maintaining the internet cafe’s computers and systems. No one saw how his first job would be the first baby step into the digital world he would come to dominate. 

Journey of Life

After he graduated, William worked in several big IT companies in Jakarta before thinking about his next big idea. Listening to problems is how a startup company is made – in order to find an innovative solution. William often heard issues related to scams on the internet that his close relatives were experiencing. Because of this, on February 6, 2009, Tokopedia was born.

Willam, with his close friend, Leontinus Alpha Edison, started to develop Tokopedia.com. It needed more than six months since the initial founding to launch the website platform. But in 2010, the world was not used to startup companies yet. Luckily, Tokopedia got funding from several of Willam’s close connections, such as the boss from his former workplace and other small investors. 

With all of the limitations, William Tanuwijaya’s mission and effort to grow Tokopedia to the next level paid off as the Indonesian company got more funding from the big league, such as East Ventures in 2010, and Softbank in 2013. This budget gave William an enormous amount of Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce companies’ capital to grow and later on being one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Indonesia alongside Shopee, BukaLapak, and Lazada. 

Every day it’s easy for us to find 1001 reasons for “can’t”, but the truth is, we only need one reason to be able to. When we wanted to start Tokopedia, the biggest challenge was about building trust. Even at one point, I met an investor and he gave me a piece of advice, “don’t be too grandiose about our dream” – at that point, I met my purpose in life. The past cannot be changed, but the future is in our own hands.

I remember Soekarno Hatta (Founding Father of Indonesia) gave a speech, “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars” It has not been 100 years since we were independent, it will be very sad if we lost our freedom to dream.

– William Tanuwijaya

Tokopedia Today

Tokopedia’s 8th Anniversary (2017), Announcing US$1,1B new funding. 

Today, Tokopedia is on the top ladder of Indonesian e-commerce platforms alongside Shopee. Their future is quite promising with giant funding across the world to the point where Tokopedia has crowned a unicorn startup company with US$2,8 billion funding as of right now, backed by 13 huge investors, including Google, Alibaba, SoftBank, and Sequoia. Tokopedia has created more than 5000 jobs across all of Indonesia, naming its employees “Nakama”.

Other than that, Tokopedia has collaborated with BTS and Blackpink,  two of the top figures in the Korean entertainment industry at the same time. 

Written by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.

Yu Young Jin

Yu Young Jin on International Women’s Day: “Many incredible women deserve to be recognized.”

Charli is one of the few who decided to make a bold move into the world of journalism. She was the former reporter at Asian Boss, a channel covering all kinds of conflicts, stories, bringing people’s voices together and bridging cultural gaps between Asia and the West.

We sat down with Yu Young Jin (Charli) and talked about her past as a Korean-Canadian who moved to Canada, and later worked in several Korean companies in the media industry. Other than that, she expressed her view on international women’s day and gender equality these days.

ASEANYouth: Can you tell a little bit more about yourself?

Charli: I’m currently a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University. 

ASEANYouth: Tell us more about your childhood, and did your family have a journalism/media background?

Charli: I moved to the US when I was three years old and spent my childhood there. When I was nine, I moved to Canada. My father studies media, so my career interests sort of followed his. He’s been a great inspiration to me in pursuing my dreams. 

ASEANYouth: Does journalism have been something that you always want to do?

Charli: Yes, I’ve always been interested in journalism. I loved to write as a kid and took a notebook and pen with me everywhere I went. I started writing for my high school paper, and naturally, that passion grew into what it is now. I love to write and learn about people. Journalism was the perfect way to combine my interests. I’m finding out new things about the world every day. 

ASEANYouth: Back to your college life in UC Berkeley, as a Korean who pursue college in the US, how does that shape you into becoming who you are right now? 

 Charli: I loved my time at UC Berkeley. There were people from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds, and it made me realize that the world was so much larger than I had known. I think my time made me love learning about different cultures and industries, and I think it was a large stepping stone for my personal growth and maturity as a young adult. 

One of Charli’s work at Asian Boss
(Source: Youtube)

ASEANYouth: Walk us through your first intern experience, Is there any moment that you remember until today? 

Charli: I remember at my interview, my boss told me that he liked my creativity from my portfolio and resume. I had never thought of myself as creative, and now that I think about it, that interview gave me a lot of confidence to write or create stories in my own unique voice rather than trying to copy someone else. 

ASEANYouth: How about your time in The Korea Times? How did it feel to be a part of one of the oldest newsletters in South Korea? What do you remember from your time in The Korea Times?

Charli: I interned at The Korea Times throughout my last year of college. I absolutely loved my experience there. It was the first time I felt like an official journalist, and to know that I was contributing to a larger community was so rewarding. I had a wonderful boss who gave me a lot of creative control over my stories and I consider her as one of my most respected mentors. The Korea Times was my first experience in a traditional newsroom and I had such a great time there, it never felt like work. I was always so excited to be there.  

ASEANYouth: How’s working in Asian Boss? Tell us more about your current position and the work there.

Charli: I actually don’t work at Asian Boss anymore; I officially stopped working there in January to focus on my graduate school studies. But I worked as a writer and reporter for a year, and it was a great eye-opening experience. It was my first time working for a video-based media company, so I got to learn an entirely new set of skills. Everyone worked extremely hard, and each video was a team effort.

ASEANYouth: If you can turn back the time, what skills do you want to learn sooner? And why?

Charli: I would like to learn more about camera work. I know the basics, but am not confident yet to shoot a documentary by myself. I realized that learning to operate a camera is extremely useful in today’s media environment, and it would have been nice to know more about it. 

ASEANYouth: Do you feel that the current society has a gender equality mindset? 

Charli: I think that while there has been significant progress in identifying gender inequality in today’s society, there is still much work to be done. Unfortunately, change takes a long time, and I think we’re still transitioning to become more educated on this issue. I am hopeful, though, that if enough people share their experiences dealing with inequality or discrimination (not just relating to gender but also race, religion, sexual identity, etc.), then there will be enough momentum to stimulate progress. 

ASEANYouth: Is there anything you want to say about International Women’s Day?

Charli: I am all about supporting women in their endeavors and hope that women all over the world will feel empowered on this day. There are so many incredible women doing outstanding work, and they all deserve to be recognized. 

ASEANYouth: How do you maintain the motivation to continue your journalism work?

Charli: Like any career, journalism has its obstacles. But knowing that I can share people’s stories and use my voice to shed light on issues, I’m passionate about has kept me motivated. It’s an honor to have a platform and voice to spread awareness to a broad audience. Not everybody has that.

ASEANYouth: What is something that has always been your principal in creating high-quality content across your work? 

Charli: People are affected and influenced by what they see on the news or in the media. I would never want to spread fake or unsupported facts and give people the wrong information. I think that this helps me take responsibility in making sure I do my research and produce high-quality content. 

ASEANYouth: With these experiences, is there something you want to say to everyone who is currently pursuing a journalism career or chasing their dreams?

Charli: It takes a lot of work and a little bit of luck (for journalism and other career paths). But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, then you’ll find a way to make it work. Take every obstacle as an opportunity to grow or learn something new, and have the confidence in yourself to take risks and go for what you want. 

Interview conducted by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.

10000 hours

Do you really need 10,000 hours to be good at something?

“If you really want to be good at something, it will take 10,000 hours to master those skills.”

In line with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, Bill Gates did 10,000 hours of coding sessions before establishing Microsoft. The Beatles played for 10,000 hours in small bars across the country before they were famous. But the real question that no one is asking is – how much of an expert do you truly need to be?

From a largely unknown music band to a world-famous ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’-worthy pop group, it may take The Beatles 10,000 hours. But is 10,000 hours really necessary?

Let’s take an example: playing the guitar. It certainly does not need more than 10,000 hours to learn to play “Jason Mraz – I’m Yours” with four chords. In fact, many pop songs use the same four chords.

In short, you do not need 10,000 hours to be good at something.

1. The first reason for misconception is that people tend to give up easily. Research shows that someone with zero knowledge can learn the guitar’s four chords in just around 20 hours of practice. The biggest limitation is not time or intelligence level – but psychology. Many people give up before taking the first step of their journey.

It’s true that the length of time actually required will range from person to person. Research shows that in the chess world, to claim the Master’s status, some people need only 728 hours, but others will need more than 16,120 hours to do the same thing. Research shows that many variables can affect how fast a person can absorb knowledge, such as gen factor, talent, and selecting the best learning method.

Therefore it’s not about the quantity of hours but the quality.

2. The second misconception is to study for 10,000 or more without learning from your mistakes. People who do not take feedback seriously and improve on it = 10,000 hours of wrongdoing = becoming an expert of misconduct.

So to conclude, 10,000 hours is just a number – nothing more. To become good at something, don’t get intimidated by the number of hours of practice you have to put in. Focus on deliberate practice: learning from your mistakes and being intentional with how you improve. Find shortcuts or ways to simplify the task (such as learning the four main guitar chords to play many songs). And soon enough, you’ll have mastered the skill of your dreams 😉 

Written by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.

Vietnam handing over ASEAN chairmanship hammer

ASEAN Chairmanship 2021: Brunei Darussalam

At the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi on 15 November 2020, Vietnam handed over the chairmanship of ASEAN for 2021 to Brunei Darussalam.

According to Article 31 of the ASEAN Charter, the chairmanship of ASEAN is rotated annually among its ten members, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of the member states. A recent departure from the norm was Indonesia swapping the ASEAN chairmanship for 2011 with Brunei Darussalam, a request that was unanimously accepted by the other ASEAN member states. Such exceptions to changing the order of the ASEAN chairmanship are, however, few and far between.

The roles of the ASEAN chair are to chair essentially all ASEAN meetings – most notably the ASEAN Summit and related summits, to promote the collective interests of ASEAN, to ensure ASEAN centrality, and to represent ASEAN in all its interactions with external parties. Ensuring ASEAN centrality is more vital than ever, given today’s precarious geopolitical context, in the face of the great power rivalry between China and the United States and the South China Sea dispute. The chair also plays a leading role in agenda-setting and consensus-building within the regional association.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) handing over the symbolic gavel of the ASEAN chairmanship to Brunei’s ambassador to Vietnam Pengiran Haji Sahari bin Pengiran Haji Salleh (left) at the closing of the 37th ASEAN Summit. Source: VnExpress

Brunei’s Chairmanship

Brunei joined ASEAN as its sixth member state on 7 January 1984, soon after gaining its full independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. This year is Brunei’s fifth time chairing the ASEAN chairmanship. Previously, it helmed the ASEAN chairmanship in 1989, 1995, 2001 and 2013.

What can we expect from Brunei’s chairmanship this time?

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the immediate priority under Brunei’s chairmanship is driving a cohesive regional response to mitigate the debilitating economic, social and health impacts of the crisis.

The theme of Brunei’s ASEAN chairmanship is “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, which encapsulates the vision and focus of its stint as ASEAN chair. Caring is about placing people at the centre of its agenda. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, it means ensuring ASEAN work together to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines promptly, fostering community resilience, looking after the well-being of people, and expediting post-pandemic recovery. Given the disruptive shifts brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and global issues such as climate change, ASEAN needs to prepare its people to be future-ready – adapting to a rapidly changing world, seizing opportunities and overcoming the challenges ahead – to ensure the relevance and prosperity of the bloc.

Overall, its other priorities include upholding ASEAN principles, strengthening ASEAN institutions, and continuing efforts towards realising the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The logo of ASEAN chairmanship 2021. Source: ASEAN

In addition to the theme, Brunei has unveiled the 2021 ASEAN chairmanship logo which comprises four elements. The ten petals represent the ten ASEAN member states joined together in unity. The colours symbolise values such as solidarity, respect and tolerance. The blooming flower expresses the diversity of ASEAN and its thriving as a region. Lastly, the gold ornament at the bottom of the logo draws inspiration from one of Brunei’s most recognisable patterns – the traditional motif “Bunga Ayer Muleh”. It illustrates ASEAN’s cooperation with other countries contributing to the development of the region.

For more information on Brunei, visit http://asean2021.bn/Theme/about-brunei.aspx

Source: UNWTO

Towards Sustainable Tourism in ASEAN

Sustainable tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” In other words, tourism-driven growth should not be achieved at the expense of the well-being of people and the planet.