Friday, July 26, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+12: Snooze!

My laptop charger broke last week and it led me to a full week of no laptop. Thanks to this, I was forced to write only on my 3.5" cellphone, which, frankly, was good to take short notes but not so much for a complete one. I also tried to write at the office, but I found it to be too distracting, so I gave it up. Thus, no single post in this blog for a week (well, almost 2 weeks actually).

I found the break to be a much needed refreshment, like a snooze in the morning. Lately I've been spreading myself too thin, juggling between work / friends / families / other stuffs. Focusing on this single project, no matter what positive effect it created, had also taken its toll (less time for friends / families / rest to name a few). 

Next thing you know, you sleep for like an hour
At the end, I decided to just post here weekly instead of the usual daily. There are so many things to do out there, it's time for more exploration! 

I'll see you guys, next week! :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+11: Best Ages to be Alive!

Several days ago, my friend and I were discussing about our lives. One of the things that we agreed on was that 20s is definitely the best ages to be alive! I'll explain the reason why, but before that, let's take a look at this picture below.

The picture differentiates people into three types: young, adult, and old. Most of the time, the descriptions are correct: young people usually don't have a steady supply of income, they can only rely on their parents for money. Adult ones, probably just finished their study, are occupied with their first jobs, and are running out of time. Old people, having retired from their jobs, are (supposedly) having a lot of time and money, but not the energy.

Of course the description are not always true. For instance, not every adult can get a decent job that pays well; some are stuck in a job that drains all of their energy but doesn't pay that much. Also, not everybody can retire with loads of money; some haven't acquired enough during their younger days and are still 'forced' to work even when they're supposed to retire. Yes, shit does happen. 

So, what does this have to do with my notion that 20s are the best ages to be alive?

It has to do with the fact that the balance of these three components are the key to your overall happiness. Problems start to arise when one of them are not sufficient enough: not enough money, time, or energy.

The biggest benefit for us 20s is the combinations of traits. Our energy is still overflowing just like the younger ones, but unlike them, we already had a steady supply of money. We are not too burdened with responsibilities like kids or family, and we can still experiment with our career (which is hard to do if you're already in your 30s or 40s). We have some experience with life, but not too much that it made us cynical (like some old people would become).

The biggest challenge (not the only, mind you) we will be facing in our 20s is the time management! If only you could manage your time well, balancing between your work and other stuffs, you can do whatever it is that you wanted to do in your spare time. Combined with your limited-but-still-enough supply of money, that's really a sweet spot to hit on!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+10: Glitch

Something really weird happened to me yesterday. 

Below, is screenshot taken from my friend's cellphone, when she messaged me in LINE.

So far so good
And here, is the screenshot taken from my own cellphone.

Wow, that escalate quickly!
Yeah, somehow, a glitch occurred in my cellphone and caused it to display the mature ads instead of the sticker... I have no explanation for this..

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+9: Fasting

Ramadan, the holy month.

Starting tomorrow, Moslems in the world would start the fasting tradition for one full month. The goal was to subdue our desire / lust for one month and (hopefully) in the process, making us a better person.

My mom always tell me that when you suppress something inside yourself (your feelings / urges / etc), there will be a huge retaliation afterwards. Just like when you inflate a balloon, it can stretch to a certain degree, holding all the air inside. But, if you keep inflating it beyond limit, the balloon will explode, releasing all of the air at once.

The same thing happens when we're fasting. After being committed not to eat for the entire day, we often have our 'revenge' in the afternoon by eating more than needed. It also happens in the Lebaran day, when we eat and eat and eat, despite our battle against our desire for a whole month.

Eating more than we need is not good, it just shows how greed we actually are. I don't think that's the purpose of this whole fasting tradition, is it?

So, happy fasting everyone! Let's try to become a better person by constantly reminding ourselves that anything that is too much is not good. Cheers!

Breaking My Habit, Day+6 +7 +8: Jakarta Startup Weekend July 2013

Jakarta Startup Weekend July 2013 is finally over!

I mentioned about this event several weeks ago, but if you haven't read it, here's the summary:

The concept for the event is quite simple. In 54 hours, participants are required to form teams and develop an IT-related startup idea. They will need to refine those ideas, validate it with potential customers, find the business model, and most importantly, make the simple prototype for it (either a mobile app or website). At the end of the 3rd day, each team will need to present their ideas in front of several judges, who will then select top 3 teams based on their business model, customer validation, and execution (technical and design-wise). 

I have no idea what are those judging criterias...

Anyway, the participants are categorized into 3 types: a designer, developer, and non-technical. A designer designs, developer writes the codes, and non-technical person is usually the businessman type, the ones with the most experience when dealing with business aspects of a product. I picked the non-technical role, as I am not a designer nor developer. Well, I'm not really a businessman, but I think that's the closest thing I can manage to be.

The event took place in @america, Pacific Place (1st day) and Prasetiya Mulya Business School Cilandak (2nd and 3rd day). 

Prasetiya Mulya Business School

The class where the event took place

Nice spot for hanging around
A lot of cool ideas were pitched in the event. After carefully selecting the ideas, I decided to join 'Sekolah Pengembangan Diri' team. Our team's idea is to create a platform where trainers (motivational trainers, etc) could post their content and the viewers (people who needs access to those content) can get it for free. The leader of our team was actually a trainer himself, and he showed his crowd-grabbing skills in his final pitch!

He really looks like Ryan Higa 

Too bad our team did not win the game, but winning was never on my check list in the first place (the winner definitely deserve their winning). My intention was to have fun, meet new people, and learn new stuffs. In those aspects, I have no complaints.

Some of the things that I learned in these past 3 days:

- How a startup company is made. Start with your idea, 'match' it with what the customer needs (validation), refine the idea when needed, find the appropriate business model and revenue stream, create the financial model, then execute the plan and see what happens. Check out these series of video if you wanted to know more.

- Idea is not everything. A good idea does not guarantee a successful company. A normal idea with good execution is better than good idea with poor execution.

- Release early, release often. The kind of strategy that was used by Natali Ardianto, CTO of, when developing his booking company. The idea is not to spend too much time polishing the product (long development time) and instead release it early, polishing the product along the way using customers' feedback.

- Monetization is important for all kinds of businesses. You're creating a company, not a charity foundation. 

- Be not afraid of failures. It's part of being successful. They even say that "Your first startup is going to fail" to emphasize that it is perfectly fine to fail on your attempts, as long as you get back right on your feet. 

In all, meeting a lot of great people from different background and listening to the coaches criticizing your ideas are really humbling experience. It puts your mind in the right perspective, that there are still soo many things each of us could learn, potentials we haven't tapped.

Thanks Grupara for holding this event, I'll see you with my own idea next time!

Got this book from good guy Amazon Web Services. Thanks guys!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+5: Shave For Hope 2013

Several weeks ago, I got this message in my handphone:
"Dear Friends, Please turn ur profile pic into the Burning Candle of HOPE as on my profile. Then ask everyone on your BBM to do the same for 24 hrs for ALL Cancer Patients. Also we wish everyone to take 1 minute to bring all Cancer patients before The Almighty in prayer. Every flame represents a prayer said for a cancer patient."
I've always been at doubt about this kind of message. I feel that if you ONLY change your profile picture, pray for the cancer patient, then stop at that, you're helping nobody (well, except maybe some encouragement for those patients who did see your profile picture). I know, it doesn't cost me anything to do this, but I don't see the benefits, either (pardon me for being skeptical). That is why I didn't bother changing my profile pictures or broadcasting the message. 

Similarly toned stories could be taken from Facebook. I'm pretty sure you've encountered pictures which stated that for every like / share that the picture get, something good will happen (X will donate Y to Z, e.g: Facebook will donate $1 to kids in Africa). This one is different than the first story as it actually dupes the reader into clicking the 'like' / 'share' button (not really harmful, just makes me want to say "Owh.." and pat you on the back). 

Good Guy  Facebook, donating for every share
The over-abundance of these kind of pictures even gave birth to this cute little internet meme..

Even the African kids are judging you

.. and even a campaign from the Unicef about making the actual, monetary donation.

Yeah, the world doesn't run on likes.

If you are interested in actually helping other people, but don't have that much money to spare, let's go together to Shave for Hope 2013. For every person who shaved their heads, funds will be raised (by the sponsors) for Yayasan Pita Kuning Anak Indonesia, a foundation that specifically helps children with cancer.

It doesn't take much out of you (except your hair) but it will really make a difference. The event will be held on Gandaria City Mall, Sunday September 15, 2013. This time, let's be bald for a good reason. See you there!

As I will be too busy from tomorrow 'til Sunday for Jakarta Startup Weekend, blog posts for those 3 days will be combined in 1 giant post next week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+4: Worry

Worrying does not solve anything.

Few years ago, my college friend taught me that worrying over anything was basically stupid. 

Consider this scenario. You're stuck inside your car in a traffic jam. You're going to watch a show that starts at 7 o'clock, while now it's already 6. You're still 5 km away from your destination, but the traffic moves slower than your walking speed. 

In the car, several thoughts are coming to your mind. You are now worried that you're not gonna arrive on time. You will miss the show, and your money, and your time spent on the traffic for nothing. 

If only you bring your bike

At this point, actually there are two possibilities. Either you arrive on time, or you don't. 

If you ended up arrive on time, that means all your worrying before was for nothing. You arrived on time because the traffic was getting cleared, not because of the worry. Being worried just ruins your night a little bit.

And if you ended up not arriving on time, was being worried helped you in any way? Did it reimburse your show / money / time? Still no! You missed the show, lost your money, and wasted your time. All that the worry did was adding an extra burden to your mind, ruining your mood, and probably adding one or two strands of silver hair to your head. 

So no, worrying does not help, at all. If you ever feel worried about anything, do something about it. If you can't do anything about it, then don't sweat it. Trying to control things that you cannot control, that's what makes your life miserable! 

That's all for today, see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+3: Superstition

With all the science training that they've taken, you'd think that scientists are the least superstitious people on the planet, right?


It's funny, but due to the nature of our experiments (deals with invisible stuffs / dependent on organisms / easily contaminated / etc), sometimes determining the cause of our failure was not that straight forward. And when the logical reasons cannot explain our problems, we often look for the 'otherworldly' reasons.

Did I tie my hair correctly? Have I changed my lab coat recently? Was this a punishment because I did something? Yeah, those kinds of stuffs. 

One of the most common procedure in molecular biology lab is DNA extraction. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, are basically small molecules that act as blueprints for our body (well, not just us, but every living things actually). The molecule was normally dissolved in water and too small for our eyes to see. In conventional DNA extraction, at one point we will need to precipitate the DNA and compacted it into small pellets. 

Even when you can't see the pellets, it's actually possible that the DNA were there and you just can't see it because it's too small. But still, if you've repeated this step over and over, even a slight setback would hurt your confidence, and maybe get you a wee bit more religious. "Oh God please please please let me have those darn pellets!"

DNA Pellets, making scientists more religious since 1960s

Being superstitious is definitely happening not just to me, but is shared by biology students all over the globe. I remember reading this article about PCR troubleshooting method (PCR is one of the most common skills for a biology student). The list was really exhaustive, it even mention things like 'bad karma hypothesis' and suggest making a good deeds to solve itThe author must've gotten pretty desperate getting the PCR product! :)

For me, I think this kind of superstition is just a learning phase. Deep down, we knew that our superstition are not rational and more likely to be wrong, but for now, we'll stick to it rather than getting confused in the unknowns. Human brain loves to connect the patterns, and any kinds of 'reason' is probably easier for our brains to handle. I believe that as we continue to study further, we'll know better, and eventually we'll outgrew the phase. Well I hope, at least.

But enough talking for now, I need to get my beauty sleep for my
DNA extraction tomorrow ;) See ya!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Breaking My Habit, Day+2: Weekend as Usual

Hi, how's your weekend?

I spend my weekend at home as usual. This week all of my families were out of town, so my Mom asked me specifically not to go anywhere and stay at home. It's funny, normally I'm fine just stay at home doing nothing, but because my mom asked me not to go anywhere, suddenly I have this urge to just go somewhere else. Haha, really funny, brain.

One of these days, I'll get an intervention for making too many custom-made memes.

So.. that's it?
Hahaha, yeah, that's it for today. See you tomorrow, folks! :p

#sloth #lazybrain