Current Position in Life

I guess it’s been a good year. I got so much to do. I have a bunch of business I’m trying to jump start. That is why I want to quit my day job. For the last two years, I’ve been employed in a small law firm. Initially, it was good to gain experience. But after a year, it became boring. Klikonsul’s been doing not so bad either, and Kemaro is still going strong. In 2016, I decided to leave the law firm.

I discussed my resignation with the boss last week, after months of saving up. I’ve saved enough to last me half a year unemployed. I want to spend my unemployment writing and working on my startups. I was worried leading up to the discussion with the boss, because he’s been so nice to me. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful. I was ready to make up reasons for my resignation, but I decided to tell the truth, because he deserved it. It was an unexpectedly difficult conversation, because he wouldn’t let me leave.

Firstly, I told him that I’m not the conservative type of an employee. Office hours feel like a cage, I don’t like it. He said, “Have I ever complained all the time you come late to the office?”

I told him the second reason, that I have a lot of projects outside of work. I would feel better if leave the law firm, because it’s not my priority anymore. He said, “That’s ok. I’m alright if you have a lot of projects. Develop yourself!”

Third reason then, that mom is starting her own business and she wants me to assist her there. He said, “You just manage your time, half a week here, half a week there, I don’t mind.”

Oh, wow, he’s really not letting me go. He asked me to consider it again, even though I told him that I had considered it for the better half of the year. In the end, I asked him if he would mind my working from home. He needed sometime to answer that.

A few days later, I asked him again, and he said that he didn’t mind. But he had to talk to the foreign counsel first. The foreign counsel is a Japanese, and you know how the Japanese work. I know that the boss wouldn’t mind, but I do realize that whatever arrangement I’ll have with him in the future, we have to communicate it to the foreign counsel, because my work comes from him. I’m pretty sure though if they allow me to work from home, my productivity would rise. I don’t enjoy commuting to work at all. It depletes a lot of my energy in the morning, leaving me cranky through the whole day.

I’m going to talk to the boss again tomorrow. As soon as he agrees to my new work schedule, I will start planning a new timetable. I really can’t wait for it, because there’s a lot of things I want to do away from the supervision of bosses at the office. I need flexibility, because I get bored easily. And I have to start my own business, so I can stop getting salaries from others. That’s no way to get rich. xD

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Jualan Tiket: Belajar Bisnis dari ‘Hamilton’

Sedikit banyak kita pasti sudah pernah berurusan dengan calo. Apalagi yang langganan nonton konser. Calo biasanya dicari kalau tiketnya sudah habis, atau tiketnya kemahalan (karena ada aja calo yang banting harga). Tiket konser/teater/bioskop hanyalah selembar kertas kecil yang rusak jika kena air. Tapi selembar kertas itu tinggi nilainya, baik dari segi intrinsik maupun ekstrinsik. Selembar kertas itu yang memperbolehkan kita masuk, menonton sebuah acara yang bisa jadi sudah kita tunggu sejak lama.

Perbincangan soal tiket jadi menarik untuk gue, karena tidak sedikit orang yang menganggap remeh tiket. Sebuah tiket adalah hasil dari perundingan dan perencanaan matang penyelenggara acara, tapi tetap saja sering kena protes oleh pembelinya. Dan gue sendiri sudah sempat jualan tiket selama bertahun-tahun, dan macam-macam bentuk pembeli yang gue temui.

Tiket umumnya adalah pemasukan utama dari suatu penyelenggaraan acara. Metode pembiayaan yang digunakan bisa macam-macam. Ada yang menutup semua pengeluaran produksi/operasi dari penjualan tiket (dengan risiko harga tiket relatif mahal), ada yang sebagian saja (supaya harga tiket relatif murah). Ada yang berprinsip menutup setidaknya 60% biaya produksi/operasi dari penjualan tiket, dan sisanya ditambal oleh investor atau sponsor. Dan dalam harga tiket itu, komponennya ada beberapa: harga produksi pokok, pajak hiburan, biaya administrasi, dan margin. Jadi, guys, kalo nemu harga tiket yang mahal, please jangan langsung marah-marah ke penyelenggara acara. Coba dicek dulu pengisi acaranya sekelas apa, produksi seperti apa, venue di mana, dan seterusnya. Penyelenggara acara juga pasti pengennya acara sukses dan diramaikan orang. Namun saat tiket murah tidak dapat menutup produksi, harus gimana?

Hari ini gue baca sebuah berita menarik dari Hamilton. Sebelumnya, gue perkenalkan dulu Hamilton, sebuah produksi Broadway yang baru manggung Agustus 2015, dan sudah sold out sampai Januari 2017. They’re a huge hit. Even calling them ‘huge’ is an understatement, because they’ve made a permanently cultural dent in terms of theater, hip-hop, Broadway, and politics.

Picture from the NY Times

Picture from the NY Times

Hamilton main setiap hari di Richard Rodgers Theatre (1.319 kursi), New York, kecuali Senin. Khusus Rabu dan Sabtu, bahkan mereka manggung dua kali, siang dan malam. Tiket Hamilton dijual dengan harga $139-$177 (standar), $475 (premium), dan $10 (lotere). Tiket lotere adalah sesuatu yang tidak dipraktikkan dalam kegiatan teater/konser Indonesia (yang ada undian tiket gratis doang). Hamilton menawarkan 21 kursi terdepan yang bisa kita dapatkan jika menang lotere $10 (per kursi). Lotere ini diadakan pada hari yang sama dengan pertunjukan (hampir setiap hari). Sementara tiket standar dan premium bisa dibeli sebelum hari pertunjukan, dan jika ada yang cancel, tiketnya akan dijual kembali pada hari pertunjukan.



Perebutan lotere Hamilton selalu penuh sesak oleh calon penonton dan fans, karena mereka selalu dapat hiburan gratis dari para pemain Hamilton. Jadi, ga menang pun tetap senang. :))) Bayangkan pemasukan dari lotere aja udah berapa, padahal pembelinya belum tentu bisa masuk dan nonton.

Seperti kebanyakan acara laku, tiket standar dan premium Hamilton habis diborong orang, yang kemudian menjual kembali tiket-tiket tersebut dengan harga berkali-kali lipat. Per minggu pertama Juni ini, rata-rata calo menjual tiket Hamilton seharga $800-an, dua kali lipat harga aslinya. Untuk pertunjukan hari apapun, 13%-22% tiket Hamilton dijual di pasar sekunder. Hal ini menjadi isu, kenapa? Karena keuntungan si calo tidak masuk ke kantong tim produksi Hamilton sama sekali. Di satu sisi, penonton juga dirugikan karena membeli tiket dengan harga yang jauh lebih mahal. Rockonomics pernah meneliti soal betapa merugikannya praktik percaloan di pasar sekunder. Konser Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band di Philadelphia tahun 2002 kehilangan potensi pemasukan sebesar 1,1-1,4 juta Dolar karena calo. Dalam kasus Hamilton, kehilangan potensi pemasukan mereka mencapai $60 juta setahun, mengingat mereka manggung nyaris tiap hari. Enam puluh juta Dolar yang lari ke kantong reseller, yang padahal bisa jadi pemasukan Hamilton untuk berkarya lebih banyak dan baik lagi.


Tim Hamilton menyanyikan lagu pembuka mereka di White House.

Untuk mengatasi masalah ini, produser Hamilton, Jeffery Seller, mengambil langkah drastis. Tiket premium akan naik harganya, menjadi $849, mengikuti harga tiket tersebut di pasar sekunder, dengan harapan calo termotivasi untuk berhenti jualan. Jumlah kursinya nggak banyak (200 kursi), dan posisinya memang bagus (dekat orkestra, eye-level ke panggung). Tiket standar juga naik menjadi $179-$199. Sebagai kompensasi, kursi lotere juga ditambah, dari 21 menjadi 46 (di dua baris terdepan), disubsidi oleh tiket premium yang mahal tersebut.


My favorite #Ham4Ham (their hashtag for the lottery ticket event) ever.

Permasalahan calo ini ada di mana-mana. Mending kalo berurusannya sama manusia. Beberapa calo sudah canggih, dan pakai bot dalam memborong tiket. Kalo tiket baru dijual dan beberapa detik kemudian udah habis, kemungkinan besar yang borong adalah bot. Hal ini sering ditemukan di konser K-Pop di Korea dan Jepang. Gue pernah nggak kebagian tiket SHINee World Concert IV di Seoul gara-gara ini. Tiket habis dalam sekejap. Belum 15 menit! Nggak berapa lama kemudian, muncul oknum-oknum yang melelang tiket tersebut. Bukan menjual kembali, tapi melelang. Tega. Akhirnya gue terpaksa beli di calo dengan harga dua kali lipat.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, pencipta Hamilton, sudah menyampaikan frustrasinya atas praktik bot ini dan meminta pemerintah (di sono) untuk memberikan sanksi hukum pada reseller yang menggunakan bot. Di Indonesia mah boro-boro. Langkah lain yang juga diambil oleh Hamilton adalah membatasi pembelian tiket oleh satu orang. Hal ini sudah dipraktikkan di sini, umumnya maksimal empat tiket per orang (Hamilton maksimal enam tiket). Selain itu Hamilton juga melarang orang-orang camping dalam rangka antre tiket di depan venue. Ticketmaster, ticket box resmi Hamilton, juga meng-upgrade sistem jualan mereka, di mana pembeli harus melewati beberapa langkah dalam proses pembelian, demi membuktikan mereka bukan bot. Tiket juga dijual lebih dekat ke hari H pertunjukan, supaya tidak sempat dijual di pasar sekunder (ini mungkin maksudnya untuk tiket sisa, karena kan kebanyakan udah sold out). Hamilton bahkan membatalkan pembelian borongan senilai $10 juta karena diduga dibeli oleh bot.

Dalam rangka memastikan Hamilton dapat ditonton oleh seluruh kalangan, mereka juga bekerjasama dengan Rockefeller Foundation. Yayasan ini akan menjual 20.000 tiket Hamilton khusus untuk anak-anak SMA seharga $10. Dari tiap tiket yang terjual, Hamilton mendapatkan $70, disubsidi oleh Rockefeller Foundation.


What has certainly been frustrating to me, as a business owner, is to see that my product is being resold at many times its face value and my team isn’t sharing in those profits. It’s not fair,” kata Jeffrey Seller. Honestly, I agree with him. Gue suka sedih kalo penonton mencap penyelenggara acara tamak ketika tiket yang dijual mahal. Tenaga, waktu, dan uang yang dikeluarkan penyelenggara begitu besar demi acaranya berjalan lancar jaya. Pemasukan yang kelihatannya besar, kalo di-break down, menjadi relatif tidak besar sebetulnya. Pemasukan itu harus dikurangi dulu oleh pengeluaran. Keuntungan masih harus dibagi dengan investor. Dan keuntungan yang didapatkan ini juga bukan setiap hari loh. Dalam satu tahun, berapa acara yang diadakan? Keuntungan tersebut jika dibagi dua belas bulan, bisa jadi nggak seberapa, kalau acaranya memang nggak banyak. Dan percaloan itu nggak adil juga untuk fans yang nggak kebagian tiket, dan nggak mampu beli tiket resell yang sangat mahal.

Dulu pas Super Show 4 Indonesia (2012), gue dan promotor keras banget melawan calo. Satu orang cuma boleh beli maksimal empat tiket. Dan pembeli semuanya di-screening (sebisanya). Untuk masuk ke venue, tiket harus diikuti oleh gelang identitas, yang mana gelangnya baru dibagikan hari H. Bahkan pada konser hari kedua, gelang itu ditambahkan lagi dengan stiker hologram, supaya makin sulit untuk dipalsukan. Penjualan tiket juga dibuka seluas-luasnya untuk fans yang berada di luar Pulau Jawa dan tidak punya kartu kredit. Terlepas dari pelaksanaannya yang berantakan, niat kami baik, cuma mikirin kepentingan fans ketika itu. Harga tiket pun pembahasannya lama banget, karena dari SM sendiri, mereka juga nggak mau harga tiket sampai kemahalan dan orang ga bisa beli.

Gue sadar dan mengakui, scarcity principle dalam Hamilton ini memberikan (potensi) keuntungan yang menggiurkan karena produk yang dijual berkualitas, berkuantitas (tinggi), dan super laku. Kalau produk yang dijual adalah konser 1-2 hari, mungkin mau tidak mau calo menjadi solusi bagi yang tidak kebagian tiket. Menurut Freakonomics, semua memang harus ada insentifnya. Untuk menghindari praktik calo, insentif apa yang bisa kita kasih ke calon pembeli, supaya mereka ga beli di calo? Dan setidaknya sekarang kita bisa sama-sama belajar, nilai sesungguhnya dari sebuah tiket, di luar angka yang tertera dalam tiket itu sendiri; dan fleksibilitas macam apa yang dapat kita lakukan demi meraih keuntungan optimal, tapi juga membuka kesempatan yang setara bagi setiap orang untuk nonton acara.

Hamilton selaku itu di Amerika Serikat, dan gue sering pening baca berita/laporan keuangannya. Urusan percaloan tiket ini baru seujung kuku aja. Nanti di post selanjutnya kita bahas lebih lanjut soal Hamilton.

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Tattoos, Mothers, and Twitter

My friend and I were talking about tattoos. We both want one, but what if our mothers find out? We may not fear God, but we both fear the wrath of our mothers. My mother keeps me more grounded than religion ever could. There are some decisions I don’t dare to make because of my mother, such as permanently inking my skin. There’s also the issue of marriage. It’s not that I don’t want to get married, because I do. But how much of that wanting to get married is because I personally want to, or because my mother wants me to?

She asked me what kind of tattoo I want to get. For a while now, I’ve wanted to ink the sentence “the enemy’s gate is down” from Ender’s Game across my collar bones. I imagine it will hurt badly, so let’s reconsider the placement of the tattoo later. Not to mention it would be very big and visible there. But I want those words on my skin. It’ll be an homage to my favorite book. It’ll also be a reminder of optimism, strategy, and victory.

All of a sudden, I thought of another tattoo I want to get. A tesseract tattoo. Or ‘warping’ for Trekkies. Check this out:

An excerpt from Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" regarding tesseract.

An excerpt from Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” regarding tesseract.

I want a tattoo of an ant, tesseracting from my forearm to my bicep. The tattoo won’t have to be big. I can have a small ant on top of a thin line or a small dot on my forearm. Then the end of the line or the other small dot would be on my bicep. To show the ant tesseracting, I just have to fold my arm and voila! Damn it, now I want that tattoo badly.

It’ll be another homage to my favorite book ♥ and at the same time, it’ll say a lot about me, summarized in a group of tiny pictures. It’ll tell my love for SFF, my muse of and neverending hope in science, and my faith that we’ll travel the stars one day. That we will reach far beyond our eyes can see. It’ll be great to pair it up with the Ender’s Game tattoo.

As for my friend, she wants a tattoo of a cage and a bird. I joked about it being a bird out of its cage and she got mad lol the interesting part is, she wants a silhoutte of a bird as a symbol for many things. I didn’t expect one of them to be Twitter.

I think all millenials would agree that Twitter has not only changed our lives, but it has become a part of our lives. I can’t imagine not having a Twitter. I have retired most of my Twitter accounts, but I don’t delete them. Twitter is a part of my identity, and it’s one of my streams of self-expression. It doesn’t show a full picture of me, but it still shows a lot. It is there where I make and interact with a lot of friends. It’s my number one source of lightning news update. It’s a constant pool of discussion and debates. And you get to share your piece with the rest of the world, through different communities. Twitter is a social magic. It is how we connect these days. It also serves as a micro diary as well as a personal announcement platform. Out of all of my social media accounts, Twitter is the only one I have consistently maintained. It’s not an overstatement to say that it has shaped me into the person I am today, and I believe I’ll still be using it in decades to come.

My future biographer would have a hell lot of material from my Twitter alone.

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The Returnees

I expected neither of them to come back. Their coming back only cemented the statistic that they always return at one point. Except for one. And sometimes I wonder what we would have become, have tried, have gained, and have lost if that one returned, even if it was only for a while. Why do they always come back? Do I look that welcoming to them? I guess that says a lot about me, something that I’m reluctant to admit.

In February, he came back and we spent the night a la Before Sunrise. When it happened, of course I didn’t know that we were living a Linklater. It’s when he disappeared without a trace my hands started to look for him. Shame, embarrassment, disappointment, hope were only some of the things I was feeling as I looked for him. I thought of a hundred ways I could go through just to obtain an answer. I finally chose one and I called him. He hung up. Well, this is it then. No answer is an answer, I get it.

Recently, another one has risen from the dead. We had our brief catch up, something I didn’t expect considering his situation. I don’t want to think too far ahead, but I can’t help imagining it. Explaining what I feel for him is a conundrum unto itself. There’s a thousand reasons I can tell you why I feel this way for you, but at the same time, those thousand of reasons won’t do it justice, because what I’m feeling is more. And I feel like shaking myself hard, yelling, “Open your fucking eyes! Let it go already!” Because there has been no news until today. I was foolish to think I could handle it with a nonchalance. Well, I haven’t been overly emotional until today, so that’s a start.

Since the situation calls for it, I’ve dug up an old playlist I created when I thought of you. I’ve been listening to it over and over again the past few days. By the time I get bored of that one particular song, I hope I’ll also get bored of you.

Are you gonna hide? Are you gonna burn? Are you gonna answer me? Let me take your heart, love you in the dark. No one has to see. I want more. I want more. I want more. I want more. You seek yourself in another way. I try my best but I don’t ever change. I love to watch your body lie. It makes me feel better, makes me satisfied. You could bring it back. Who wouldn’t want it when he looks like that? I want you to stay. And if I try my hardest, would you look my way? I want to leave this curse. I don’t want to feel worse.
– “Memo” by Years and Years

They say you write best when you write about something you’re ashamed of. And this is my deciding not to put this post on private.

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Recent Development: Rap

Generally, I like rap. When it comes to music, I try to keep an open mind. I listen to everything. I pay attention to its creative process and business turn out. Some rap, I can understand. Eminem was a big thing in my teenage years, and he rapped some relatable things with catchy hooks. Some of my favorite artists also occasionally rap. It’s only when it comes to K-Pop I cringe whenever I hear rap. K-Pop has this habit of putting rap into EVERYTHING and I’ve never stopped asking why. And then fate hooked me up with Hamilton.

hamilton-the-musical-official-broadway-poster-3

I’d heard of Hamilton for a while, but never checked it out. It intrigued me that there was even a crossover fanart of Hamilton and Star Wars, which is really weird. At the same time, I was also watching tons of Broadway shows as references for my own musical. I guess it was time for me to see Hamilton.

The first thing I did was download the cast album from Apple Music. Right from the very first line, my mouth gaped open. I thought, oh maybe they’re only going to rap for the first verse. Boy, how I was wrong. They rap their way out the ENTIRE show. How is it even possible? This whole musical is rap and hip-hop! Something I’d never expected to be spawned out of a Broadway show.

Not only Hamilton broke its way out of the old-age Broadway formula, the whole production is great too. I became obsessed with Hamilton in lightning speed. Until today, I’m still obsessed with it. I’ve had experienced Hamilton for hours and hours, and still I can’t get enough of it. There’s a million things I haven’t learned about it. The stage production, the storytelling, the research, the music production, the lyrics writing, and the character development.


Hamilton is a hit EVERYWHERE.

The great annotation project from Genius has helped me a lot in deconstructing Hamilton. Genius analyzed the show through historical, production, literature, and musical lenses. I didn’t even know that you can display character development through their rap lines, as seen on Lafayette (performed by Daveed Diggs). Lafayette is a Frenchman with stuttering English, but as he becomes closer with his American allies, his English gets better and suddenly he has the fastest rap lines in Hamilton. Then there’s also Hamilton himself. They show him as a brilliant man, a wordsmith, by giving him relatively more sophisticated rap lines than his mates. I can feel I’m failing as a writer already.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote Hamilton in 7 years. The cast is perfect. Their performances are perfect, their vocals and raps are amazing. I have spent my time obsessing over each and everyone of them. Hamilton has opened my eyes to the poetry that is rap. I was introduced to a whole new world of wit and creativity, and how it can collaborate with other forms of art. Hamilton shows me how rap can tell stories, protests, debates, and inner voices. I’ve been trying to learn more about rap ever since. And black music too in general. I’ve been listening to Raleigh Ritchie a lot, even though he doesn’t rap much. I’ve taken a little taste of Kanye West’s latest album, and am going to listen to his whole discography. The one I really have to pay attention to is Kendrick Lamar and I’m still looking for the right time for it. I have a feeling he’s going to blow my mind. Once it happens, he’s gonna consume my attention like hell.

Now, I want to start dipping my toes into history of rap, but I don’t know where to start. If you have any suggestion, please drop me a comment. Which representative rapper do you think I should listen to?

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