my digital nationalism

looking for Indonesia's significance on the web

Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Building Something

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So I mentioned in my post before that I have been picking up coding. I am taking an online course on MIT OpenCourseWare, I am learning the basics of Python from learnpythonthehardway.org, which is an excellent way to get acquainted with the basics of coding, and also reading the book Think Python, which is also an excellent book to learn the foundations of programming.

On the side I am also learning HTML at w3schools.com. An from this I decided to start my own website, which I am proud to show here, www.gumoh.net.

I know its not much at the moment, but I am proud to say that I worked on this site on my own, with some assistance in purchasing the domain and setting up the host server. The coding is all done in HTML edited with notepad ++, and my FTP client to upload files to server is WinSCP.

Also, the site is mobile responsive meaning that if you view it using your laptop it will show 3 columns, but if you resize your window, or, you are viewing on your iphone or android phone browser the layout will resize to single column, like this:

I thought this was pretty cool and I was surprised how simple this was to implement. I may not understand the underlying coding involved to make this thing happen yet, but that is something I intend to learn over time. The framework I used to make this responsive site is GetSkeleton.

I am reminded of something I read on the learnpythonthehardway.org, it’s that learning to code is like learning a musical instrument. Before you write music you have to learn the chords, before you understand the chords you have learn the scales, before you learn the scales you have to learn how to move your fingers. And that is the stage that I am at, I am learning to move my fingers on the instrument an getting a feel of what I can do with this.

On a closing note, It’s a really exciting feeling working on something and seeing it come to life, and I am getting as excited about learning to code as I was about learning to play guitar almost 20 years ago when I was a teenager.

Hopefully I will learn something useful that I can use to build something that I can call my own.

Written by randomwalls

June 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Motivation

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It’s been a while since I last posted here.

I’ve been really busy at work, trying to get back into the groove of jogging everyday, and trying to learn how to code in python, just for the sake of learning something new.

I recently subscribed to the new Sitra WiMax internet service in my area, which in itself is an interesting experience I might post about (hint: the service is hit or miss, sometimes it’s really fast, sometimes I just can’t connect, but that’s another story).

Now at work I have been taking on more management responsibilities meaning that I am spending more time talking and listening to people and trying to solve problems, and less time behind the screen in front of my computer grinding away. Which is fine because I guess that’s what management is supposed to be, interacting with people.

One interesting interaction I had was in a sharing session I held with all my team members, one person asked me, “What is your motivation?”

Instantly I was reminded of something physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shared on reddit a few months back during an AMA  when he was asked by a redditor on any advice he might have to a young person looking for motivation in life. Dr. Tyson had this to share, (and you can see the original thread here):

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

Inspiring words from a great man. This perfectly sums up my feeling on what motivation is. All along my youth I thought that I needed people to tell me what to do or what to be, only after I gained the confidence to believe in myself and create my own path in life did I achieve any personal progress, and this belief that we have to generate our own motivation has driven me so far.

So back to my session, I answered simply that for me, my motivation comes from within myself, to be a better person today that I was yesterday, and to make this world a better place for everybody around me, starting with my family, my colleagues and friends, and so on.

That is my motivation in life.

Written by randomwalls

May 23, 2012 at 2:40 am

The 3 Tech Giants: Income Statements Compared

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You can tell a lot about a company by looking at its financials.

The purpose of this post is to look at income statements of Apple, Google, and Facebook. And we try to point out any interesting similarities or differences between these companies, based on the numbers. Of course these 3 companies work in different industries and the numbers are not comparable to each other, but what I’m trying to do here is to get some feel of what the margins and cost structure of these giants are.

(Apple and Google income statements are taken from the latest 10-k filing, and Facebook’s income statement is taken from their from S-1, with some formatting done by myself for comparison purposes.)

So here they are,

What can we learn from this?

1) Net Sales/Revenues, Apple currently makes way more money (net sales/revenues) than google and Facebook combined. With the popularity of its products it’s no wonder Apple is the most valuable tech company in the world. It’s net income (profits), though the lowest of the 3 in terms of percentage of revenues (24%), are the biggest in terms of real dollars, 25.9 billion dollars, almost 3 times as much as google’s profits and 25 times Facebook profits. Please note that the profits in terms of percentages of revenues between the companies are not far off with apple, google, and Facebook at 24%, 26%, and 27%

2) Gross Margins, In terms of gross margin however, Facebook is leading the pack with a 77% gross margin, while google is second at 65% and Apple at 40%. This is because the difference in industries, Facebook and Google are internet companies whose costs of revenue are mainly salaries, revenue share to publishers, and data center costs. It’s online presence allows it to deliver its services at a relatively cheap price and it shows in the gross margins. Apple, on the other hand, is a brick and mortar manufacturing and retail company. They have raw material costs, production and distribution costs, including the costs to staff, stock, and maintain the apple stores they have all over the world.

3) What about Research and Development? No surprise that Google leads the pack with an R&D budget of $5.1 billion dollars (14% of revenue). Apple on the other hand only allocates 2% of its total revenue (2.4 billion dollars) to R&D. Facebook allocates 388 million dollars to R&D, around 10% of its total revenue. Please note that even though Apple only contributes 2% of its sales, that amount is more than enough for apple to keep generating new products. I wonder what would happen if Apple allocated more than that to R&D, what kind of new products would we see in the future?

4) Selling, general and Administrative and Total Operating Expense, Apple’s selling, general and administrative (SGA) costs total 7% of total revenue (7.59 billion dollars), while and google and Facebook’s SGA costs are a higher percentage of revenue (21% and 20%) but lower in terms of dollar values (7.8 billion dollars and 707 million dollars). Whats amazing to me is that in terms of Total Operating Expense, Apple is the most efficient of three with a total operating expense of 9% of revenues (10 billion dollars), which is even lower than google’s total operating expense of 12.9 billion dollars, around 34% of google’s total revenues. Facebook’s total operating expense is 1 billion dollars, 30% of total revenues. This demonstrates that Apple is an incredibly efficient company, and no wonder its profits are so high. These high profits are also due to the fact that they can get away with selling items at ridiculously high prices.

So there we have it, the income statements of the 3 tech giants today compared side by side. What do you think, any ideas or comments?

Written by randomwalls

April 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Creating and monetizing

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Instagram was recently bought by facebook for 1 billion dollars in cash and stock. For a company thats been around for only 3 years with no revenue, that is crazy.

What can we learn from this?

Instagram is an outlier.

Creating a product and hoping for it to get bought at an absurd value is not a business plan. It almost never happens.

Creating a product that solves a specific problem and brings value to users, that always has to be the key.

In this industry the focus should be your customers, your users. Know your market and what problems they are facing. Create products that address these problems.

Only if you manage to create something that attracts million of users can you think of monetizing. If by then you haven’t figured out how yet, don’t worry, this is a good problem to have.

What you don’t want to is to ruin the user experience for the sake of monetizing and ruining your product in the process. If this is the case, you have lost the battle even before it has begun.

If your product is great somebody will eventually pay for it. It might be from the millions of users you have, or in other forms, like a 1 billion dollar payout from a huge company. Who knows right?

Written by randomwalls

April 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

45 million users

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There are 45 million registered facebook users in Indonesia.

What does this even mean?

I guess you can use this figure to demonstrate that Indonesian youth are tech savvy, connected, and sophisticated.

I dont know what the precise number is but the 45 million figure must be close to the internet penetration number in Indonesia.

Meaning almost every Indonesian that uses the internet has a facebook account.

What I’d like to see are metrics showing how the internet has improved the quality of life in Indonesia.

After all thats what the internet should be, right? A tool to improve life.

Such metrics, for example, would be number of wikipedia articles created and viewed in bahasa. The number of online businesses created and transactions done. How much easier it is to find things and connect with people and create new value.

I wonder of there are such metrics and if there even is a way to measure such things.

Saying Indonesia has the most facebook users is nice, but so what?

It still means we are just users.

Written by randomwalls

April 4, 2012 at 11:46 am