On 11 August 2017, I took 1 day off from office, and attended TEDx UniversitasPrasetyaMulyaJakarta. This is my first TEDx Experience. There were 7 speakers from various background and profession, sharing the stage and talking about common theme: “Forward”.

This is the 2nd part of my experience attending TEDx event. The first part is available in this link: My First TEDx Experience.

David Soong (Instagram: @awie)

People know him as the owner of AXIOO Wedding Photography. What most people don’t know is that David Soong as serial entrepreneur. He co-founded Boga Makmur, the owner of several big multinational food chain like Bakerzin, Shaburi, PepperLunch, and many more.

The notion “Follow your passion” that David brought on the stage sounds cheesy. However, many people leave out the continuation of that sentence: “Follow your passion, and do it so damn well that people are willing to pay for it.” David said.

The restaurants are David’s first passion: Food. AXIOO Wedding Photography is David’s 2nd passion: Photography. And now, David is now working to realize his 3rd passion: Travel. “Sweet Escape , will be the AirBnB for travel photography.” He said. After his session, the words “Follow your passion” is not so cheesy after all, as long as you remember to “Do it so damn good that people are willing to pay for it.”

Fredrik Rasali, CFA (Instagram: @frederik_rasali)

To be honest, I would expect the talk from a CFA to be boring. However, Fredrik Rasali talks about money in the language of physics, which is my area of interest.

Frederik compared money like energy stored in a battery. “It can be put in a flashlight, or mobile phone. The energy stored in battery is only useful if it is spent”, the analogy shared by Frederik.

Another analogy is fried rice, pretty bad analogy considering that Frederik’s session was the last one before lunch time. While everyone thinks of rice and eggs as the ingredients of fried rice, Frederik went one step back. “The rice is there because of farmers spent their energies to grow paddy. Same with eggs. And also, there are those who produced the stove, wok, and many more.” So, the chef who cook fried rice trade money for the energy from the farmers, and manufactures.

What does Frederik tried to convey here? Well, people buy battery not for collection, but to be used to power devices. So does money. “It is a tool, not the end goals. Money is only useful when you spend it”, said Frederik. And his statement also implied a message for us: “Don’t work so hard for money. Work for enough money to achieve your goal.”

Here is a question by Frederik Asali for us to ponder: “If you are stranded on a island, which one you choose to have? Money or food?”

Ditto and Ayudia (Instagram: @dittopercussion & @ayudiac)

Ditto and Ayudia is husband and wife, who has known and befriend each other since they are at junior high school. They wrote their love story in the book “Teman Tapi Menikah”, which also has been produced as cinema film. However, their talks about love was deeper than love between men and women, or husband and wife.

“When I was about to marry Ayudia, I was thinking to switch career as pilot. Imagine flying around the world, and better income compared to being a musician. And also being surrounded by pretty stewardess.” Ditto jokingly said, which earned a lovely punch from Ayudia.

Ayudia then pick up, “But I asked him, are you sure? Is it really what you love and want to do?” The reason she asked the question is, “Because, if you don’t love what you are doing, it will reflect in your family, when you come home, and when you are with your family.”

I have a personal experience on this matter, which I would like to share. In 2012, I was faced with decision to take a new job that I want, with brighter future, or staying in the job that I feel stagnant and didn’t want to do, but allowed me to have more time with my then-4-months son. I had a discussion with my wife Grace, and she pretty much said similar thing. I decided to take the new job, and 5 years later, I never regretted it.

Rian Ernest (Instagram: @rianernest)

As the Aide to Governor of DKI Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Rian witness first hand on how religion was played in politics during the Governor Election, creating polarization that the people of Jakarta and Indonesia still feel until today.

But, why Rian Ernest, a successful lawyer in Baker McKenzie law firm, decided to leave his career to become public service employee with less money to earn?

Taking analogy of someone who cut the queue in front of you, he explained his reason. “When someone cut your queue, you have 2 options. First, you can post a long complaint in social media. Or second, politely explain to those who cut your queue that people are queuing. Which one will bring changes?”

Rian asked all of us in Prasetya Mulya’s auditorium to act against corruption, instead of complaining in Social Media. How? By getting into the system. He leave his career to join the system because he believes that the current government is trying hard to eliminate corruption. And he is lending his hand for the change.

But government changes. What if in the next election, the new government take a different stance against corruption? “I have experience in private sector. I believe with that experience, I can move out of the system, open my own practice, or join another law firm, while waiting for the wind of change to blow into the right direction.”

Leave a Reply