Joshua, why do you work while finishing your degree?
I am working on my thesis right now, but Tech in Asia [my employer] still holds my attention. I feel that just my studies would not be enough in the real world. Surely not everyone feels the same about this.
What do you think is needed in the real world then?
I believe that you need to network; meet people who trust you and can open doors for you. Even if you are very intelligent, without networking, it is hard for you to use and apply your skills. When it comes to hiring for example, people who get recommendations would take priority over those who don’t.
What are some strategies you use for networking?
The Internet connects people easily through social media. I personally use Twitter and LinkedIn for my networking purposes. I have two Twitter accounts, one for my friends, and one for professional networking purposes. With Twitter, we can follow anybody that interests us and talk with them. In fact, my first job at East Ventures came from my tweeting activities.
How did Twitter land you the job?
I followed people who work at East Ventures. And I got the chance to talk with them through Twitter. And when they needed help in their first startup incubation program in Indonesia, they offered to let me handle the project. Then I guess they liked how I performed and I got offered a job there. After working for about a year, I met Willson Cuaca, the managing partner of East Ventures. He introduced me to Penn Olson [now known as Tech in Asia] and told me that the company was looking for an Indonesian representative. Long story short, I’ve been working at Tech in Asia ever since.
What about Facebook? Do you use it for networking too?
Not mainly. I think we use Facebook more to reconnect with friends. When it comes to Twitter, you can use it to follow important people and make new friends. I personally started to follow people who were active in the startup industry, then when the time is right, you might be able to get new friends and opportunities.
What are your tips to get people to trust you online?
For social networking, make sure you have a credible profile and don’t use any weird pictures. You have to make sure that your name is visible when being googled. Thinking back, I think one of the reasons why East Ventures referred me to Tech in Asia was because of my blog. They had a look at my blog, then referred me to Willis, the founder of Tech in Asia. When communicating online, don’t be demanding. When you want to talk with them, be sure to know what they usually like to talk about, what topics interest them. Then you can start to contact them from there.
Right, but don’t you find it hard to juggle both work and study now?
You can say I’m lucky because my work is quite flexible and doesn’t consume a lot of time, so I’ve been able to keep up my good grades up until this point. While you are young, you still have the time and energy. It all comes down to will power.
Would you recommend to other people following your path of working while studying?
I believe that we need to start early in life. You have to create an advantage for yourself when you graduate. And when you already have sufficient networks by the time you graduate, everything becomes much easier for you. We have to be open to any chances, do something new.
Did you find it difficult at first to adapt to more professional standards?
Yes. In the early days at Tech in Asia, I fought a lot over simple things with Willis. For example, when it comes to the articles I wrote, I thought that they were all good enough, but they still got rejected. I was really childish then; I got grumpy a lot of times because of it.
But hey, they had their own standards, and I had to understand their point of view.
How many tweets do you send out daily on average? What do you tweet?
I never counted it, but according to Twitter statistics it’s about 20 a day. I tweet mostly about tech, entrepreneurship and soccer.
Joshua Kevin was talking to Enricko Lukman.