Merah Sunset

Writing has been a relieving activity for me for the last several years. Usually I can be truly honest to myself.

But when I know that my friends know about my writings, I can feel insecure. “What will they think about me?”

So when these last several days I wrote several morbid postings, several friends contacted me or even my mom. In one side, It helps me by knowing that they do care and that they have good intentions. But on the other side, I become more reluctant to write with full honesty. Sometimes it is not very comforting to think that your friends know that you are currently vulnerable and naked.

But then, why don’t you just write a private personal diary? Idk too, I feel that knowing that someone, a human, will read your writings is like knowing that someone else will listen your lamenting and mourning. I feel it better than just writing on my personal diary.

So oxymoron right?

So I gonna continue writing in this tough time. The middle ground is that I will write from this new blog so that people who used to follow my blog won’t be disturbed with my morbid postings. And migrating those postings to the new one.


Indonesian Malls

My colleague: “when will you fly to Jakarta?”

Me: “Friday night”

My colleague: “What? Why? What will you do in Jakarta? ”

Itu percakapan gw ama salah satu tim gw yg dari SF. Kita sama2 harus ke Jakarta but she prefers to spend a weekend in Singapore and thinks I am such a crazy idiot since I want to spend my weekend in Jakarta.

Gw jg ga tau kenapa gw impulsively decided to fly on Friday night instead of Monday morning. Maybe makanan Indo? Not really. Since I have been travelling a lot to Jakarta, I don’t have that craving anymore. 

But I just found out one of the reasons: Indonesian malls! 

Indonesian malls emang gila. I literally can do anything I need in it. In plaza Indonesia I can get a hair cut, visit a dentist, get a feet reflexology, get my shoes cleaned, watch a movie, eat good food, and the list will just be longer. 

As for now example, since the barbershop that I wanted to go has a long queue, I needed to wait. So I just asked a person in the shop “is there any massage place here” and she answered “yes. Just in that corner”.

And voila! while waiting I can get my feet massaged for an hour only for 12 sgd.

Indonesians are really pampered! 🙂

Day 29

Toshi, engineer ama Elisha, designer.

It is day 29 of my long trip. I feel numb. Hahaha. My body clock acts weirdly. For 2 days in row I went to sleep at around 4 am. Was awake for the whole night.

The good news is that my SF part of the trip is over. It is usually the most important one since I need to meet my stakeholders and present my work. I did 4 presentations in the HQ, mostly about my last 2 weeks research in SEA. It was fun too since I could catch up with other folks like Toshi and Elisha.

The interesting part was that (again) I was in the Uber HQ when something hot was happening. Last year in July I was there when UberChina-Didi merger was happening. This time, I was there when Susan Fowler’s article about her bad experience working at Uber was getting viral. It was a tough week for the company. A lot of emotional discussions and crying too. Hopefully we will make our company’s culture better.

Two more legs and I will be back to Singapore!

Kerja sebagai UX Researcher di Uber

Udah sekitar 8 bulan gw kerja sebagai UX Researcher di Uber. Posisi ini lumayan beda dengan role gw sebelumnya. Kalau sebelumnya di adidas Group gw memimpin tim UX dan juga act sebagai UX designer, kali ini gw murni ngerjain UX Research sebagai individual contributor. So sambil nungguin pesawat ke Portland gw yang delay 4 jam, let me share about what I learned from my last 8 months experience at Uber.

1.Gw belajar banyak dari UX researcher lainnya

Di seluruh Uber ada 29 UX researchers sebagai individual contributors dan 4 UX managers. In my previous companies, at max I worked with three other UX researchers, but not 33. Keuntungan utamanya tentu gw bisa belajar banyak dari pengalaman mereka. Dari satu orang yang PhD-nya ngerjain cognition dan perception, gw belajar gimana run study tentang gangguan ketika mengemudi. Dari dua orang researchers bekas IDEO, gw belajar BANYAK banget metode kreatif buat cari insight tentang hal-hal rumit dan sensitif seperti penghasilan. Dari mantan researcher pertamanya Google China, gw belajar gimana caranya masukin proses UX research kita di design sprint. Dari manajer gw yang memimpin tim researcher Global di Amsterdam, Bangalore, Singapore (gw!), London, dan San Paulo, gw belajar hal2 praktis gimana kerja remotely dan bekerja antar negara. Dari salah satu senior researcher yang ahli banget tentang survey dan quant method, gw belajar buat teliti banget dalam merancangan pertanyaan-pertanyaan surel gw. Dari salah satu staff researcher gw yang asli dari China dan aksen Chinanya masih kental, tapi semua orang mengakui kejeniusannya dan mengagumi paten2nya, gw belajar kalau walaupun aksen Inggris gw masih ga bagus, gw tetep ga boleh minder di hadapan researcher2 lainnya. Tapi yang paling terutama, gw bener2 belajar banyak hal praktis tentang UX research. Dari yang paling kecil seperti gimana caranya set kalender gw supaya nampilin beberapa time zone di waktu yang sama (berguna banget buat set up meeting) sampai hal rumit seperti bikin framework untuk menyampaikan findings dari riset gw. I really love these smart critters and I am really proud to be part of them.

2. Gw belajar untuk berkata tidak

Di perusahaan gw sebelumnya kadang tim gw kudu “nyembah2” supaya tim UX bisa diikutsertakan untuk mengambil keputusan2 strategis. Di Uber, pertandingan untuk menunjukkan seberapa pentingnya design dan riset udah dimenangin oleh orang2 sebelum gw. Jadi gw tinggal menikmatinya. Challenge yang ada justru kebalikannya. Request untung do riset bisa datang bertubi-tubi. Padahal jumlah UX researchernya ga sebanding dengan jumlah product/engineering teamnya. Sehingga yang terjadi, gw belajar banyak buat berkata tidak jika ada proyek riset yang menurut gw impactnya akan kecil. I learnt it the hard way. Di 3 bulan pertama, gw masuk ke fase “mendapatkan trust stakeholder”. Karena itu hampir gw selalu bilang yes untuk semua UX research yang gw dapet. It made me went quite insane. Gw masih inget pernah habis  2 minggu di SF, gw langsung do riset di Jakarta for a week, then gw ambil penerbangan pagi ke Singapore, do my stuff with my product team there, and then the day after that I needed to fly again to Manila, did 3 days research, and finally could come back to Singapore. Or on the other occasion, I packed my luggage just to stay for 5 days research in Jakarta but then I was stucked for another 3 weeks there just because requests kept coming.

Nowadays, after gaining good trust from my stakeholders, I am brave enough to say no for their request if I think its priority is low. Gw selalu bertanya 3 hal buat setiap request mereka: 1. Lu bakal apain hasil riset gw 2. Seberapa besar impactnya (in numbers kalau bisa) 3. Siapa yang bakal own setiap action point dari hasil riset gw. Dari pertanyaan2 itu gw bisa filter request2 yang asal2an dan pilih proyek mana yang impactnya bakal besar untuk perusahaan.

3. Gw belajar kalau kerjaan gw sekarang ga bakal sustainable buat gw ke depannya

Gw masih inget ketika gw di dalam pesawat dari Hanoi ke Ho Chi Minh. Ironi banget, karena gw lagi duduk di first classnya Boeing 777 but I was so depressed. I was just not that excited at that time for conducting UberMOTO research in Ho Chi Minh. It was not usual since at that time I felt so demotivated and tired to hear all of the drivers complaint or try to conduct a research with a translator. I found out why: I was burnt out!

Kalau kata colleague2 di Uber, learning curve di Uber itu 6 bulan. Setalah 6 bulan kita bakal tau apa bakal bisa survive di pace kerjanya Uber. It turnt out that I was not that strong. But I am getting better now. For example now, I am at day 22 of my f*cking 7 weeks research sprint outside my home in Singapore. Jakarta – Surabaya – SF – Portland – Germany – Sydney – and then back to Singapore. Yes I do miss my netflix and Nasi Ayam Penyet Presiden in Singapore but somehow I get used to with this nomad life as a field researcher. Do I want this kind of job forever? def no. Do I think this kind of role is sustainable? not at all. Gw def pasti berpikir pekerjaan lain yang less capek and less tensed in the future.

4. Gw belajar kalau di atas langit masih banyak galaxy

We know that yang lagi (atau masih) sexy di SV sekarang ada 4: Facebook, Google, Airbnb, dan Uber. Efeknya the hiring bar becomes higher dan so many awesome people who were bored working at Google or Facebook moved to Uber.

Di salah satu projek gw kerja ama sebuah tim produk yang namanya Markethealth place. Itu pertama kalinya gw berasa bodoh banget sejak beberapa tahun lalu waktu gw masih di bangku kuliah. Shit, these people are crazy. Most of them are having PhD in either economics, maths, cognitive behaviours, or comp science. So I was literally had no idea when they discussed on supply (drivers) positioning with some math formula. At that time I felt like how different is the playing field. I wish I grew up with that kind of environment yang bisa bikin gw buat lebih semangat buat ga skip kelas programming gw waktu di ITB dulu. :p

5. Gw belajar tentang positive leadership

I can say that I have the best manager I’ve ever had in my whole career. What is interesting is she employs positive leadership, meaning she will just do whatever she can to encourage me doing my job well. There is no micromanagement at all. There is no “you need to do this. you need to do that.” She def lets me do whatever I want as long I am responsible with my OKRs. Do I want to have 2 weeks vacation in December? Yes why not. Do I want to have another 2 week vacation in Feb? Yes, why not as long as I finished my projects. She just knows that I work my ass pretty hard and she doesn’t care if take 2 weeks holiday every 2 months or working from home everyday. She said that “I believe that people will work the best with a positive encouragement compared to with a punitive approach” which I think work pretty well for me.

Ok. my flight is boarding will continue this writing sometime

Milano . Soho

Karena gw nginep di sebuah hotel deket bundaran HI, gw jadi sering banget makan di Grand Indonesia. Nah, surprisingly ada dua restaurant yang gw sering kunjungin dan dua-duanya jarang mengecewakan. Namanya Milano dan Soho. Ini hari ketiga gw lagi kerja di Jakarta, dan udah dua kali jg makan di dua tempat itu. Both were not disappointing at all!


Lidah gw Jawa abis. Jadi sebenernya kurang suka makanan bule. Cuman kadang kalau gw travelling di Europe dulu, gw suka nemuin makanan2 barat yang gw demen. Nah, Milano ini cukup mengingatkan gw akan Eropa. Restorannya sebenernya kecil dan agak tersembunyi, yaitu di dalam Central, department storenya GI. Tapi surprisingly makanan2nya enak banget, terutama pastanya!

Pastanya somehow ngingetin pasta2 di Eropa sana. Gw lumayan suka pasta aglio olio + pasta item kepitingnya. Jarang banget gw bisa abisin pasta, tp Milano salah satu exceptionnya.

Kekurangannya cuman satu: semua daerahnya smoking area! Walau gw jarang liat orang ngrokok sampai ngepul2 disitu sih.

If you are in Grand Indonesia, you should definitely try this restaurant!

O ya, walau restorannya casual, ga dibolehin pakai sandal jepit yang cowok. Aneh bgt emang peraturannya. Kalau ga enak makanan-nya, pasti uda gw kata2in. Sayang enak. hahah. Pernah suatu kali gw sama temen kantor makan disini. Salah satu tim gw dari SF pake sandal jepit. Dan udah nego sana sini sampai berbusa2 mulutnya, tetep ga dibolehin masuk!


Dulunya gw pikir tempat nongkrong kaya Soho gt bakal ga enak makanannya. Tapi again, surprisingly makanan disini bisa enak. Jadi good combo. You can get good wine here while also eating good food! Yang lebih asik buat gw, mereka jual makanan fusion Indonesia! Jadi bakal ada makanan kaya nasi goreng buntut, dll.

Kekurangan ada dua: Kalau diatas jam 10.30an, musiknya mulai keras banget. Jadi kadang susah ngobrol. Yang kedua, selalu rame! Jadi selalu nunggu kalau buat dapat meja.

Overall Soho and Milano have been one of my fav restaurants while I am working in Jakarta. You guys need to check it!

Agus . Anies. Ahok

Tinggal pilih variabel mana yang paling penting untuk kita.

Kalau mau research satu hal, biasanya gw bikin framework dengan dua sumbu. Dengan isi sumbu kira2 variabel apa yang penting untuk si objek riset itu. Tinggal diapply jdnya ke Ahok Anies dan Agus. Contohnya, menurut prediksi gw krn pak Ahok rada koboi, dia akan lebih jago Moshing nya drpd Pak Anies. Tapi Agus bisa kombo, ga cmn jago moshing tapi dia bisa moshing ganteng. Sekian.

Law of diminishing returns

The following 7 weeks will be tough. My trip is finally set. Just finished booked all the flights and hotels (except the Aussie part): Singapore – Jakarta – Surabaya – Bali – San Francisco – Portland – SF – Lisbon – Porto – Nuremberg – Oberstdorf – Singapore – Sydney – Brisbane. 

Gw beneran ngiterin dunia mak! Asia – US – Eropa – Asia – Australia.

Law of diminishing returns – dulunya gw bakal excited kalau punya plan kaya gt. Sekarang? Ngebayangin nya aja gw jiper. Paling mati gaya waktu di pesawat sih. Any tips and trick how I can kill my time there? Or how I can be less pegel2? 

To make it worse, perusahaan lg ada efisiensi. Jadi sekarang ada maksimum harga hotel yg boleh di inepin (dulunya kaya raja minyak. Bebas milih hotel mana). Nah SF jadi masalah. Krn harga hotel2 disana ga masuk akal! Masak hotel motel yg kaya di film2 horror US bintang 3 aja bisa sampe 280 usd per malem! Ga masuk akal. Any recommendation on good hotel/airbnb in SF? My max cap is 250 usd per night.

Yang paling excited bakal mampir ke nuremberg sih. Gw kangen nyimeng! Hahaha. Been almost a year since nyimeng di Jerman. Sungguh fana hidup gw.

Yang jg aga mikir. The next 7 weeks berarti bakal susah ke gereja. Haish. This has been a problem until now. Any tips on finding a church while you are on business trip? 

And the next 7 weeks will make me fatter too. La pie. Kalau lg traveling tu bkn males olahraga. 

Ah too much complains. You should stop complaining and just say: C’est la vie..


Ini postingan bakal bisa dikira postingan super congkak. But anyway I don’t care.

I don’t think I’ve never been this tajir before. Lima hal yang bikin gw merasa tajir:

  1. Gaji di bidang tech company yang lagi lumayan hype
  2. Pajak penghasilan Singapore yang kecil abis disbanding pajak Jerman gw
  3. Gw sering banget having business trip, jadi biaya hotel, makan, laundry, transport, dll ditanggung semua.
  4. Gw sering travel ke Indonesia padahal living expense di sana jauh lebih kecil daripada living expense di Singapore
  5. Gw belon berkeluarga

Karena 5 hal diatas bikin gw ngerasain yang namanya hidup tajir. I meant not tajir kaya the 10% or even the 1%, tapi tajirnya middle class. Hahahaha. Jadi sebenernya ga tajir2 amat juga.

Tapi karena ketajiran ini akhirnya gw baru ngerasain buat ga pernah mikir buat spend apapun. If I think I need it, then I will buy it. Pernah gw lagi jalan di mall, mau beli pemotong kuku buat anjing, lewat toko game, ada urge buat beli PS, ya gw langsung beli. Thug life.

But tajir ini bikin gw mikir juga. I meant gw ga setajir Ciputra, tp gw disatu titik dimana gw ngerasa ada di titik ekstrim ketajiran dalam 28 tahun kehidupan gw. Trus apa yang gw rasakan?


Klise tp bener. Kalau tajir ga bikin lu happy. Ada riset bilang bahwa sampai titik penghasilan tertentu (kalau di US skitar 90rb USD/tahun) maka kenaikan penghasilan lu ga akan menaikkan kebahagiaan di kehidupan lu.

I think that’s what I feel currently. Gw ga merasa gw lebih happy dibanding waktu gw kuliah dulu. Padahal mungkin dulu pengeluaran gw dalam sebulan bisa sama kaya pengeluaran gw 4 hari sekarang. Kalau secara matematis harusnya kebahagiaan gw sekarang sekitar 7.5 kali lebih besar. Tapi ga, bahkan kadang ga jarang kalau gw ngerasa dulu jauh lebih happy.

Mungkin bener apa yang gw tonton dari documentary yang judulnya “happiness”. Kalau orang suka ngejar 3 hal dalam kehidupannya, yaitu: uang, fame, dan recognition. Ternyata 3 hal itu cuman tipuan dan ga bikin lu happy. Sebaliknya 3 hal yang bikin orang happy sebenernya: berguna buat orang lain, perkembangan diri, dan hubungan yang berkualitas. 3 hal yang gw ga ada tajir2nya sama sekali….

How about you?

Are you tajir? Are you happy? Are you not tajir but happy? Are you tajir but happy? Are you not tajir and not happy? Are you tajir but not happy?


Let me be sombong for a second.
“Also wanted to share that after a nice catch up session w Yoel this week I was inspired by the rental “try it on” story in SEA. I will use it as part of an experiment I’m running with home chefs. Congrats Yoel!” – Hillary

“Way to go, Yoel!!! See, I told you everyone was talking about your amazing work!” – Lisa

“Go Yoel! 

Inspiring and eye-opening work! ” – Maria

“Well deserved Yoel! It’s incredible how many projects, PMs and designers you’ve been supporting in your short time here. You’ve definitely been pushing everyone’s work to higher levels of quality and helped start closing the experience gap with the regional competitors. Congrats Mr. Black Knight!” – Matt

“This is awesome Yoel! Well deserved 🙂 You are the epitome of collaboration and making locally inspired impact across teams.” – Elisha

“Well deserved! Your work is tremendously helpful on almost every project in SEA :)” – Peiyu

#sombong 🙂