Once in a while, I thought, it will be good to attend an event that open your mind, and make you think out of your box. And nothing more appropriate than attending TEDx, an independently organized TED-like event. So, when I was informed that there will be TEDxUniversitasPrasetyaMulyaJakarta on Friday 11 August 2017, I signed up for it, paid and applied for 1 day leave from my company.

Seven speakers will share the stage on common theme: “Forward”. They come from different background: painters, musician, book writer, financial analyst, serial entrepreneur, designer and public staff of former Governor of Jakarta. As they talk in front of students, I was guessing that it will be what they can do post graduation, also interesting topic for someone with small kid. So, I come with high expectation on the TEDx event.

I wasn’t disappointed. The whole 6 hours worth every penny and time spent on it. Here is some thought-provoking story that each speakers bring on the stage, that will make you have more thought on the word: FORWARD!

Dewi Candraningrum (Instagram: @dewicandraningrum)

Seventeen years ago, Dewi was blessed with a son. Seventeen years later, the baby that she breastfeed, and nursed with love, has never called her Mom. Her son is diagnosed with Autism.

As her son grow, Dewi noticed that her son held a pen strongly, different from kids at his age. Dewi then gave her son a piece of paper, where his son began to draw. He draw, and draw and draw on thousands of papers.

From papers, Dewi got his son paint and brush. The drawing media then changes from paper to canvas. And from the envy of seeing how much fun his son had from painting, Dewi started to paint herself. “I call my son as my first teacher”, Dewi said on stage.

Today, as single parent, Dewi regarded the time to paint as “Mother and Son moment”, where both of them can connect. Dewi’s paintings work around Ianfu, comfort women that was many in Java during Japan’s occupation, and also continuing during the New Order.

These days Dewi’s and her son’s work is made as scarf. The reason, Dewi said on stage: “We paint on scarfs so that it is hugged, and carried anywhere, not wasted like the Ianfu.”

Nikita Dompas (Instagram: @nikitadompas)

Probably not many people know that Nikita Dompas is the guitarist of famous music group: Potret. Nor maybe his contribution as Program Coordinator at Java Jazz Festival 2017. However, his vision for the music industry is very real. Learning from his own experience to start his music career, Nikita envisioned an incubator for aspiring musician.

“An incubator for musician, just like incubator for startups. Why not?” Nikita challenged the audience. “No more concern on having to rent expensive studios, or broadening their networks. An incubator will help aspiring musician on that aspect so they can focus on creating their music.” Nikita continues.

And if you are wondering, whatever Nikita Dompas said on stage is not very far in the future. “That is what we are doing in Shoemaker Music (Instagram: @shoemakermusic), providing Creative safe space for artists to develop their music”

Edwin J Tanga (LinkedIn: Edwin J Tanga)

“Who has heard about Steve Jobs? Elon Musk?” Edwin started his talk. I can see that all of the audience in Prasetya Mulya’s Auditorium raised a hand. “Do you think if Steve Jobs or Elon Musk will be successful if they did what they do in Indonesia?” This time nobody raised their hand.

Edwin’s talk, as he admitted on the stage, was a critics towards the society, who tried to copy what the people on the western world do. “It is OK to learn from the western world. But it is not OK to change Indonesia to become like western world.”

Edwin J Tanga membuka sesinya dengan sebuah pertanyaan: "siapa yg kenal dengan Steve Jobs atau Elon Musk?" Ketika semua orang yg di auditorium mengangkat tangan ke atas, dia pu melanjutkan: "Cara2 yg dilakukan Steve Jobs atau Elon Musk belum tentu sukses di Indonesia" Sesi Edwin J Tanga memang sebuah kritik sosial. "Meniru konsep negara barat boleh-boleh saja", kata Edwin. "Tapi menjadi barat tanpa melihat lingkungan dan permasalahan sekitar, itu menjadi masalah" Demikian pula dalam hal bisnis. Contoh yg diberikan Edwin adalah tukang sate di pinggir jalan yang sudah berjualan 10 tahun. "Itu adalah sebuah contoh entepreneurship yang sukses. Yang berkelanjutan. Bukan restoran sate yang megah tapi isinya sepi." So, pesan Edwin ke kita semua, cobalah lihat lingkungan sekitar. Mulai bicara dengan tukang sate pinggir jalan, sekuriti kantor, dll, supaya kita lebih peka dengan lingkungan kita. Niscaya dari sana, kita bisa memulai bisnis yg realistis yg sesuai dengan lingkungan sekitar . . . #tedx #tedxupmj #ted @tedxupmj @tedx_official

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According to Edwin: “Indonesia is Indonesia, with its unique problem, and ecosystem to support entrepreneurship.” He urge us to start talking to people around us, to the security guard who open the door for us, or to food seller on the street. “Learn from satay seller on the street that has been there for 10 years. It is an example of successful entrepreneurship, instead of from the big luxury satay restaurant with no patron”.

Side note: Talking about small scale entrepreneurship, I was reminded by Mbah Mo in Bantul, Yogyakarta. It is visited by so many medium-high class people, with car. Yet, it proudly write in a banner: “We have no branches.” They stick to small business model since 1986, for 31 years. The message: Success should not be measured by how many branches that a business has.

To be continued in part 2………

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