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Posts from the ‘Contemplate’ Category

Just Start Creating

August 14th, 2016

Sharing is easy. Commenting reactively is even easier. It’s easier to be a passive-reactive audience on the internet and feel smart about it. Except, you are not. You are not smart doing that.

Anything is a canvas.Start creating. Start a blog or a vlog. Start populating your Medium account with a more meaningful writing. Start posting more daily content to your Instagram. It’s fine, just do it. Now.

It’s easy to feel intimidated by what other people would say about you. Believe me, they don’t care. Some of them, or a few of them, would only care at certain points, and that’s when you start to touch their lives and minds. Until then, nobody cares.

Just do it. Forget about loves and likes. Forget about stats, growth-hacking, and all that thing. Just do it.

Do it with love. Do it like you have no end. You can pause anytime, but it’s not about getting rewards from other people. It’s about getting rewards from within. When you stop expecting for recognitions from other people, you have peace.

There’s no peace like this. The peace of doing something just because you like it. It’s a luxury!

We’re in the world full of people encouraging consumptions. You can consume, but the input should be balanced with the output. Get inspired by the consumptions, and get it out with productions. Create. Initiate. Go out there.

As you go, you’ll learn about why it matters more to live by what you create than what you think you deserve. You learn about what you are, what you love doing, and what you should do then. You learn about doing all these things in fun and in responsibility. There’s something about creating that pours joy into your everyday life.

Take that picture. Write that idea. Assemble those footages. Write that code. Design that interface. Sing that song. Then, share it with the world.

No Job Is Too Mundane

November 12th, 2015

Some people understimate regular 9-to-5 gigs. While it’s true that there are more options to sustain yourself and achieve your dreams, and to stay out of the corporate rat-race, there is something very substantial about working for someone else.

First, not everyone is keen on pursuing lifetime goals with starting their businesses. We understand you can take risks more than anyone. However, not everyone is entitled to taking that risk. Family issues can force someone to take any job they could to sustain themselves in the short and the long run. If you have a family that is basically peaceful and have enough financial means to support themselves without disturbing your life-changing dreams, then be it. Take the different paths. Be different.

But, please, don’t just think anybody should do it.

I see career as two-way goals. First, it sustains you, mostly financially. Second, it helps you achieve your creative goals, particularly if you are passionate about something. Of course, you can work on something solely on financial goals, or solely on doing something you love. Your choice. However, I don’t see any problem in people taking whatever means they want to achieve the two sides of career goals, including if they can bear the 9-to-5 thing, and not do some breakthrough entrepreneurial endeavours.

I agree that people ought to have passive income and asset and whatnots, especially when they bear kids and they get older. However, we can achieve it without breaking our bank accounts or sacrificing our family.

Yes, you can go to India to help poverty and live very simply. Yes, you can go to Laos and be a monk and forget about life. Yes, you can go to the south of France to live remotely and drink wine to contemplate on life, then write an epic novel. Yes, you can travel the world and live like a nomad and advocate people to leave their cubicles to break free. But no, you can’t think your only way is the only way that other people should live their lives.

I find it a bit selfish to be out there in the world of your own and claim it a success or a way of life, while the closest people around you are suffering. Imagine helping to help people in other countries but you don’t take care of your family. Of course, if your family is happy about you doing all that, it’s totally fine. Just think of them first.

So, just remember that your parents might have worked the “regular jobs” that you hate now to be able to allow you to enjoy what you wish for. Never take anything for granted, and every small step towards sustaining life, whether it is a boring or a euphoric adventurous job, counts towards the continuity of human lives.

Another New Chapter

July 5th, 2015

Soon, it will be my last day with DBS Bank, and my last day in Singapore.

I am returning to Indonesia. Not sure what I’m going to do next, at least I am going to take a break for a while and enjoy time with my family and new-born daughter, Janis.

It’s been a rough six-month period. I learned a lot of things, about the company, about myself, about the industry, about design. Bad or good, I take everything as lesson.

It might sound immature to some of you, but for me, it’s just a spice of life. You learn, you move on. You design your life and forget the past. Six months later, the company you worked for would’ve moved on and would’ve forgotten about you.

There is one reason why I leave DBS Bank, no matter how many people say it’s better to be here.


Before you think I am a self-entitled guy, let me explain. I’ve been in corporate, but never been in an industry outside technology. It is very difficult to adjust myself in. Even if I give myself time, I am afraid I’d fit to their culture even more and will not be able to “depart” from that culture. I am afraid I will be blended in. I want to stay what I am now.

Corporate environment is where you are not allowed to make mistakes. Your heads will be cut off. Everybody is risk-averse. This is not how design operates. We assume, experiment, prove and iterate. Business environment is different. They never can make assumptions, nor experiment, let alone prove and iterate. They are very strict and money-driven: This is what we want to do to make profit and here’s our projection. Do this our way or we’ll cut your head off. The only measurement tool is profit, profit and profit. Design success is not measured only by money — nor short term benefits — it’s about recognitions, experiences, feelings. These things can’t be directly measured. Only good companies who care can really recognise these benchmarks.

I know you’re going to say that every company has the same problems, big or small. Well, I gotta say you this: I am not expecting to escape all these. I am just expecting to get out of these frustration within a grand scale and find a scale I can tolerate more with — maybe with a smaller company, maybe with a better culture. I know I will always find issues, but I believe there are issues and companies I can deal with.

That said, I am currently open for opportunities. If you are interested in engaging a full-time digital product designer who focuses in user experience and user interface, please email me and let’s talk!

On Living Off the Airport

May 11th, 2015


I go to Changi airport almost daily. Not to fly, but to transit — so to say — before I come to work. My office is just one subway station away from it. Taking the bus from home to the airport takes a little longer than the subway, but it’s worth it.

I usually have breakfast at Terminal 3. It’s the first terminal that bus 53 comes into, and it’s the most spacious terminal there is.

On my way home, I also take the same subway to the airport, then take the same bus 53 back home in Pasir Ris.

There’s a direct bus from the office to where I live but I find going to the airport route is the happiest route for me. It makes me happy to be at the airport. I don’t know why. Maybe the anticipation of going on a plane. But then, I am afraid of getting on a plane these days.

A routine that makes you happy. When was the last time you feel that?

When you anticipate something, you are happy — regardless of it being a positive anticipation or a negative one. It’s good for my mental health, especially when things go rough at work.

Singapore does make it easy for people to visit the airport just for the sake of it. It’s like a destination in itself. You can go there just for food. You can go there just to shop. Having the destination as the reason is what it is.

The key to happiness at work and life is anticipation. It’s what keeps motivating you. One’s life purpose is not just for the sake of living, but to be alive. Having an airport is not just for the sake of its purpose, but to make it close to the heart of the people, to have a real purpose, to have anticipation.

Advice for Startups by David Noël

February 19th, 2015

There are 22 of them, but here are the ones that hit me the most.

1. don’t get fooled by disproportionally spending energy externally. Companies are built from within. Focus on that.
3. overcommunicate rather than undercommunicate. Early investment in documentation and information-sharing will pay off in long term.
4. hire those excited about the future vs. those nostalgic about the past.
5. solution-orientation > problem-orientation. BUT: make effort to truly understand the problem and once done, move on to solution.
8. for things to move fast, sometimes you need to start slow.
11. good hiring managers hire with diligence. Remarkable hiring managers hire with diligence *and* trust their gut #culture
12. building a company > doing a startup
13. hire (and develop) builders, not runners.
14. as a leader, use every opportunity to connect with a team member. A look, a high five, a thank you, a challenge, an ask for help..
17. company culture = values + people.
18. people are tempted (and attracted) to join startups. Ensure that they know what they are signing up for. Clarity of expectations.
20. you’re one company. There are no ‘they’, there’s only ‘us’.
21. start with a philosophy, then create a process. Not the other way around.
22. guidance > policies

More here.

The Designer’s Dream

September 5th, 2014

Every digital product designer dreams of a perfect ecosystem: a company or an organization capable of carrying their designs to life in the exact ways they want, as accurately as possible, and that these designers wish to be treated like the single source of truth.

Welcome to the real world, instead, where no company or organization that you join does this exactly. Even if you go solo and you have to select a developer friend carefully — that developer friend who knows your work inside out, knows your passion, nurtures your wishes — in short, your soulmate, you will realize that he too needs a life. A realistic life. Occasionally, he wouldn’t be able to fulfil what you wish perfectly and in timely manner. Same as you as a designer. In their eyes, designers are just perfectionist stubborns. Don’t even talk about the sales, the marketing guys, the C-level executives. Wake up, designers, you have to be able to sell your ideas to the organization. If you can’t, but you wish to be heard, you will fail miserably.

Designers think they are unicorns. No. We are just the same. We fight for our ideas. We work together with others. Sometimes we compromise a little — on time, on matters, on people. What we don’t compromise, however, is the vision. Even though the MVP doesn’t have what we wish for, we know it’s an MVP, things will get better and we’ll continue to fight. However, we have to ship. Now. Or never. Designers should deliver, not ponder forever.

My advice is as a designer, you have to work fast & as accurate as possible, but not perfect. Just imagine agile development. There should be agile design. Design simple things that work now, and perfect overtime. With every ship, it has to work, to some extent. Don’t forget to brush up that communication skill with other departments. Sell your ideas, move around, don’t be a unicorn and don’t build castles.

Backyard Dawn

May 30th, 2011