My Startup Weekend Experience in Bali

I didn’t know about Startup Weekend until end of last year when someone who I just met for the first time–who then later become my friend–told me about it and volunteered to be my sponsor for the event.

I was in Bali for my fashion design course and as I am a hyperactive person, I always looked for interesting events in the area, I wanted to make the best of my time in Bali. There’s a cafe-coworking space in Sanur which regularly holds free events/ talks every week that I always tried to come when I could, even though it’s not close to where I stayed. In one event, at that time Aaron Mashano was the speaker, I met Jennifer. She’s a foreigner living in Bali and pursuing her fashion design career (but with different approach from mine) and she’s almost similar like me, she likes to come to events as well.

Then she told me that there was an event in the upcoming week which is very cool and a good learning and networking experience that she really liked. I didn’t really understand what it was at that time, and also hearing that it’s a paid event and in dollar rate, I thought I wouldnt be able to join. I was surprised that Jennifer just offered herself to be my sponsor, meaning she’d pay for the events and let me stay at her place during the event (because the event was held in Ubud, which is 30km from my place). It’s not cheap I think to give to someone you just met for the first time, I didnt know why she just trusted me, she only asked me to promise that I would give my dedication to the event. So I said yes and promised her that I would not take it for granted.

I didn’t know much info about what the event is about and how things would be run. All I knew is that you might pitch ideas of a startup and then we would be grouped into the chosen startup ideas. I didn’t know really clearly what to expect from the event, I only knew there would be winners in the end, and I like winning. So I already prepared an idea and a one-minute speech for a pitch.

Startup Weekend is actually a global event now run by Techstars with the help of a lot of Volunteers. It’s held in hundreds cities in the world annually, in Indonesia it’s held in several major cities like Jakarta, Bandung and Bali. But the one in Bali is the most different from other cities in Indonesia because the one in Bali has internationally mixed participants while in other cities are mostly Indonesians.

It’s a 2,5 day event started from Friday night until Saturday night. In 54 hours, we learned and experienced what it’s like to make a startup, from finding the ideas to brainstorming the execution to sell it. We’re given the opportunity to pitch our idea in such a short presentation time (so we had to make every second and sentence count) then sell it to market (the audience), recruit team, and make a product mockup. My idea and team was chosen as the 3rd winner. I was very happy that I also made a remarkable impression to the people there, every presentation I made always caught attention.


It’s a very good event to network with people who might need your work in the future or if you’re looking for a side project to break from your routine. As for freelancers, networks is a vital part.

At that time I totally had no idea that it could be used for that, I was just there to compete and have fun. So I didnt understand why people were really putting their time, efforts and energy to the max for just a weekend activity. Now I understand that they were marketing their selves. Who knows you might find a potential client who’s looking for say a designer or programmer. At least the people who know about what you do could refer you someday to someone.

This year, I will join the event again or the ones next year in order to market myself. I will come back with different strategy and different mission. Last year I came to win and to prove my idea, but this year I’ll come to market myself as a graphic designer/ illustrator. If you’re a freelancer/ digital nomad, Bali is the right place for you to find and be found. Hence I’m preparing myself for it, that’s why I’ve been locking myself in my room since I arrived from SA to improve my skill, learning from the very basics. I’m not a good drawer, many people can draw much better than I do, but I’ve learned several skills by myself because I didnt have the fortune to pay for expensive schools. That being said, I’m a hardworker. I’ve had some plans what I’d do and make people remember me again, to tell that I’m not only a fashion designer but also I can do digital art work. Hopefully things will go as planned or better, I cant wait!! Watch Startup Weekend 2018’s video here and see more photos here.



Lessons that Travels Have Taught Me (so far)

Experience is the best teacher and the most experiences I’ve got are from travelling or living nomadically. I’ve moved a lot in my 27 years although none of the places I’ve lived in or visited is abroad. Well my country is big and it’s not easy for a developing country citizen like me to travel abroad. Also, every corner of Indonesia is so different even though it’s in the same island; the people, culture, norms, weather, etc are different. The first time I moved to other city was when I was 17 y.o when my parents decided to go back to their hometown in West Sumatra. I hated it back then, the fact that I had to be separated with the things and people I’d been familiar with. Ten years later, I’ve become a restless soul that always wants to be challenged by new environment periodically. It has given me long-term impacts and lessons that shape the person I am and will be. Even the ways I travel changed. Let me share some things that travels have taught me so far :D.

  1. Travel has made me realize that life is short.

Life is short to do and be something I’m not, to only read one book, to only have one perspective, to stop questioning, to not seek for answers, to be spent in only one place, to only have one dream, to learn only one skill. And most importantly, to not be shared.

2. Changes are not always scary.

Fly High Yoga by the sea in Gili Air

Starting again in new places with new people, situation etc sounded scary before for me. But I survived, I’m glad of most changes that happened, sometimes a reset button is necessary. Breaking the comfort zone is good, just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it’s better. It is when you’re already outside the box then you can see what’s wrong about the box.

3. The world is so big and there are so so so so so many people in the world.

The more places I visited and the more people from different background I met, the more I want to see and experience other places. This makes me realize that for me moving is one of my needs. Many people seek for settling down in one place until they’re old and die, while I don’t think myself belongs to that category. Even if I know Bali is my fave place to live, it doesn’t mean I want to stay in Bali forever. I will someday settle, just not now. Also, knowing that there are billions of billions of people in the world–I mean yeah of course all people know the big number of population, but many of us choose to trap ourselves into small community; like people in our city or our country only–makes me more optimistic in life that it doesn’t matter if one person doesn’t agree with nor like me, there are still billions of people in the world, even Trump is still liked by some people. It doesn’t matter if I feel I don’t belong with people in West Sumatra, maybe I just happened to be a black sheep, I met people who are like me–the black sheep–in Bali, whose homes are away from homes. There will be a lot of places in the world that are more willing to accept who you are, you just need to find where it is.

4. The more I travel, the more I need less.

The moment of packing and unpacking are the times I know I’ve been collecting or wanting things I don’t actually need. It’s the time I have to decide which one to keep in my life. I still don’t travel light, but for people who know me and with so many things I had back home, it’s an achievement to pack my life into just some briefcases. It makes me realize that if I’m ok with it during travelling, then I will be okay with same at home. The more I don’t understand why people could be so obsessed with having a big big family home, taking loans for big house, fancy cars, electricities, etc. That makes more sense to me if it’s for property business, but I can’t see myself living in a big house because I don’t need that. I need plane tickets, enough money and health.

5. Self-discovery.

I’ve read somewhere that if you want to find yourself, leave your home. My self-discovery process happens faster every time I am away from home, my goals get clearer.

6. Travel gives me hope and faith that THAT kind of life is possible.

Since my childhood, my parents and most adults around me taught me how scary it is to have no uniforms, which means a job in institution or company. I believe that every generation has their own advantage from the previous generations, hence we should not live with the same fears. My generation’s advantage is the advance of information and communication technology. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. Nomad living is possible which allow us to make money from anywhere we want. It makes it possible to earn in different currency. That if I really want something to happen, there’s always ways. Travel allows me to meet alike-minded people who many of them are more successful in their 30s than my parents who worked for over 30 years in institutions. And what great about these people are their energy and creativity that are always alive and pumped.

7. Complaint less, be more patient and grateful.

When you just move to a new place, then expect the unexpected, things go out of plans and it’s okay. I saw how people can live with less and still be happy which all too often we forget how to live like that.

8. Shop less, experience more.

I can say I’ve been very lucky to be able to travel myself since young age. But the way I travel and how I see it have changed a lot. I used to only target big cities with big malls during the sale season, travel was only about shopping for me. I always flew back with extra baggage than when I left. Doing it for years, I always felt exhausted after the holiday (and broke, of course), also felt rushed during the travel. I used to list so many shopping agenda in my itinerary for a 2-3 day holiday. I think that’s how most Indonesians are like during holidays, we try to go to as many destination as possible in super short time that we don’t really enjoy our visit anymore, it’s become more like a check-list than a relaxing holiday. Now I prefer to have much less agenda and be more spontaneous. I rarely shop unless it’s something very special that I still think of after 3 days, by then I know I really want it rather than an impulse buying. I buy something that I will use and remind me of the place when I see and use it. Someday when my hair turns grey, it’s the experience that I will remember, not how many and expensive things I bought.

9. Enjoy solo travelling while you can.

The idea of travelling with a partner and family may sound tempting to many. I have friends who missed their travelling opportunities or chances to move somewhere only because of waiting for a life partner to arrive. That’s not me, at least for this moment. Most of the time for me at this moment, I want to have a time for myself. When I get married, I will less likely have it anymore, I will have husband and kids to travel with for years. So now is my time for my self (before I get stuck with them, LOL). It’s nice to have a travel partner sometimes, but not every time.


So that’s my ode to travel. I’m sure that’s not all yet–at least what I can think of for now. I want to continue living like this, moving place to place, looking forward to more adventures and changes for the better because nothing is more exciting than seeing who I will be at the end of each one. PS: this year I will have my first international travels, can’t wait!!

Co-working Spaces in Bali

Millennials have brought a new style in work habits in which we prefer to be able to still make money from anywhere we want. Bali as the holiday destination is also in the digital nomads’ travel lists where they want to travel yet still be productive.

Co-working space is basically you’re renting a desk instead of a whole room or building as a place where you go to be more productive even when you’re working freelance or on your own stuffs. Maybe this sounds a bit strange, why would you leave your job to later spend money just to go to an office? Well, for many people, we can be more productive and motivated when we’re surrounded with people with the same working ambience, while at home or a nice cafe, we tend to procrastinate.

To be honest, I didn’t know about this concept until August 2017 when I came to Bali. I was totally amazed by this idea, also the fact that most co-working spaces in Bali have communities and interesting programs that help you to network or improve your knowledge in other fields. Here are some co-working spaces that I’d been to during my stay in Bali from October 2017 to March 2018. These places are located in different parts of Bali, if you don’t know, one good thing and very unique about Bali is that every area has different vibe and different characteristics of people. Say, Ubud is more like the meditation and yoga center, Kuta is for party animals, Sanur is where the oldies go to, Canggu is creative and relaxed.

  1. Kumpul Coworking

Kumpul is located in Sanur and shares the building with a creative house Rumah Sanur, a cafe and coffee shop, then a shop. Equipped with a good internet connection and office equipments (printer, fotocopy, skype rooms, lockers, infocus etc), it has a well-balanced proportion of members between locals and foreigners. Faye Alund, the founder, is also an amazing woman who likes to share and help women and communities as I’ve attended some events for women entrepreneurs that she held. It collaborates with Google and became the place where Google’s Gapura Digital initiative took place. Various membership package starts from Rp 30.000,- (USD 2.2) for hourly drop in, one day visit Rp 200.000 (USD 15) , weekly and monthly packages for 20 and 40 hours, and unlimited monthly and weekly. There’s discount for Indonesians too. However, I didn’t register myself here because lately there have been less events and people, also I’m not a Sanur people.

*Photo source: Kumpul’s IG

2. The Night Market Cafe and Coworking

It’s located about 5-7 km from Seminyak, I don’t really know what the owner’s concept of the place is. The building is nice, the cafe is also good and cheap, but for a coworking place, the music is too loud and there’s no office equipments nor community like other coworkings. But it rents out meeting rooms also with good internet connection, with electricity socket almost in every table. There’s no border between the cafe and coworking, so you can be in the same room with lovey-dovey couples, families, etc while you’re working. There’s no membership fee either, you just need to buy the food. It doesn’t open 24 hrs, and I don’t recommend coming at after 16.00 as the cafe starts to get busy.

**Photo source: The Night Market’s Instagram

3. Genius Cafe and Coworking Sanur


with my besties, Jennifer and Gaby on my last day.

Even though Sanur is not my fave in Bali, but I came to Sanur Beach almost every week for the free talks that the place holds every week. Every day it has regular free events, and my fave was the talks where people who are already experts in their own field can register themselves to host a talk, mostly business coach. During the talks, they give 50% discount on food and drinks for Indonesians and Genius members. Although it also doesn’t have office equipments, skype rooms and indoor rooms, it has a very nice community with very positive vibe. The staffs are very friendly, they remember our names. I met some good people here where I’ve learned a lot from, including Dee, the owner and founder of the place. She’s a Rusian woman with a love for Bali and dedication to women empowerment. When I visit Bali again, Genius cafe is in my must-visit list for sure, I miss the people already! Check out its price here.

4. Hubud

Hubud is the first co-working space in Bali, one of the two coworkings in Ubud. Hubud is for me one of the best, it is designed with an open space concept, surrounded by gardens, and equipped with amenities such as fast internet, a printer, a scanner, a copier, and a seminar room. Located near The Monkey Forest, next to Habitat Cafe. The people in Hubud are fun, also every week they hold regular events and most of them are free. Too bad I’m not an Ubud person, but would like to visit Hubud again in my next Bali visit.

Check out its price here.

5. Dojo

Dojo is the winner, it’s my fave coworking space, also because I’m more of a Canggu person. Well, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been to Bali. Dojo has the coolest office place because it has a pool! Yess, you can work by the pool on bean bags and if you’re lucky, hot guys usually jump into the pool, what a distraction you wish you have in your office, right? It opens 24 hours and offers you a night worker membership for you who work like an owl (read: at night). The coolest thing about Dojo is the vibe that you get from the people there, every week they hold free talks for members and public, Dojo also provides events where start-ups can meet up and network. Some successful youtubers and vloggers did talks here, I was lucky to get knowledge from them. It also has regular photography meetings. Btw, in Canggu and Ubud, people are either barefoot or in flip-flops, and when you enter the coworking space, you leave your flip-flops outside and work barefoot. Also, there’s no AC in Dojo, unless in the meeting rooms.

Check out its gallery, price and events here.

Actually, I made a youtube video on this topic, I didn’t take pics, hence I’m using photos from their own IG accounts. But if you wanna see a tour of the coworking spaces, please kindly watch my vid 😀

Happy nomad life, everyone!