Friday, December 19, 2014

Strategy for Yourself

One of my duties at my current workplace is to teach class of Strategic management. As instructor, I prepare the teaching materials from some sources including books, cases, websites and journals. Something interesting about this course is we can know the strategies applied by both local & foreign firms and we can apply them in any organization, companies and even ourselves.
There are some strategy tool-kits which companies use. These are SWOT analysis, five forces analysis of Porter, competitor analysis, competitive life cycle analysis, capability analysis. Among all, to me SWOT (stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis is quite fascinating to be applied within ourselves, meaning that each of us may use it formulate personal strategy. Having personal strategy has of course some benefits. First it can improve us to be better in terms of our capabilities and “marketability”. Second we can can win the competition. Third we can always update ourselves in the always-changing environment.
SWOT analysis does not belong exclusively to business. This is used in military, politic and other fields, too. SWOT analysis begins with describing the object to be analyzed or evaluated. In a firm case, this can be the products it sold, the period of business it has experienced, location and so on.
The first step in the SWOT analysis is to list the Strengths. Strengths are the key points that make the firm superior in terms of resources and capabilities, for example excessive cash flow, long experience, government regulation support etc. If it’s in ourselves it would be the strong character we have, for example persistence in facing the hardship. Knowing the strength, we have to then exploit this strength to catch and create opportunities, minimize the weaknesses and prevent threat.        
Weakness is something the company is left behind or needs to be improved. Some examples are rigid management, dull product, non productive sales team, lengthy service delivery, defect in production etc. These things for sure make the company less competitive. Within ourselves the weakness can be; weak characteristic, less experience, limited knowledge and so on. Having identified the weaknesses, we know the things to be improved. Some efforts have to be made in order that those weaknesses to lessen.
  It is a consensus that the strength and weakness come from internal side. The external sides are opportunity and threat. The examples of opportunity are favorable tax cut, supportive government policy, increasing income of customers and so on. The opportunity for ourselves can be anything that benefit us. I would say that it depends on our way of thinking and the way we see something. A creative entrepreneur has a strong sense in identifying an opportunity. Being a nice person and helpful will possibly result a good opportunity for us too. I believe that opportunity is made by us, or at least most of this. In short, we need to be geared up and make improvement in ourselves to take benefit of the chance coming in the future.  
Threat for a company can be acquisition of a competitor by another competitor. For sure this can result the weaker position for the firm. In the case of person, threat mostly comes from our bad behavior or act. Being a rude one will not be liked by others. Or, having bad habit such as smoking will threat us in terms our body health and financial health.
Having identified those four things, I am sure we then can opt strategies to make our quality better. In fact, in my religion teaching, knowing ourselves is one of the ways to know God. When we know God better, we will finally live better, God willing. Happy doing SWOT analysis!     

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Faith in Business

I'd like to begin by questioning, do weed to have a faith in doing business? Well, the answer is of course yes. The faith that I mean here is that something that is greater than the faith within yourself or just being confident. We need it though. 

The faith that I am interested in sharing here is the faith in our God. Subsequently, we believe that He is the One who gives us wealth and He is the One who suffices our needs. Whatever we do to make earning, He is the only Giver and Sustainer. 

Sometimes, most of us in Indonesia are not really confident in starting up the business, due to the lack of experience, knowledge, link and so on and so forth. Do not make it even worse by not believing that God will suffice us. Whatever we do, as long as the ways we are searching for the wealth is permissible according to our religion teachings, we need to keep going. To be what? To be a noble person. Yes this is one of the reasons we have our own business. 

To sum up, believing that God will suffice our need is the first step. Well, there is a consequence of believing God though. It is to do anything He orders and likes. It is a must and intolerable. Being confident in running the business is the second step. Having done these two things, just see the result and time will prove. God Willing!
Thank you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ranca Buaya (again)

I think this is not the first time for me to post an article about Ranca Buaya beach. But anyway, it was the first time to go there with my little son, Kautsar.

We went there on August 1, 2014. It was seven persons of the family heading to this another Java's astonishing beach.

The beach is located at the south part of West Java. It is in line with Santolo & Pangandaran beach. This beach is located 30 km from my house and it took about an hour to get there by car. You can get there sooner by motorcycle.
in the past
Something good about the beach? To me, it is the fish. Yes the seafood you may call it. The scenery is awesome, too. But the biggest reason for me is always the fish. Well, I used to be a fish hater. My wife made me aware of the importance of eating fish as well as the delicious taste of it.

Anyway, if you live in Bandung and plan to get to Ranca Buaya, you should go to Pangalengan to make it fast. Then pass my village, Cisewu. From there, as I said you just need one more hour. In total, you need five hours. But please stop by my village, there are many cool things there. Well, at least you fill the gas there.
Hope you have a journey there, to the beach of Ranca Buaya. See you :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lesson from Pupa

This beautiful butterfly was a sort of disgusting or scary pupa. It was a caterpillar.
Some students showed me this right after the pupa transformed itself became a gorgeous butterfly.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blogging on the Go

Blogging is now much easier as we can do it by using our phone. This is my first post using Blogger app at Android. Thanks to Google

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My writing at edx Berkeley

“A Great Way to Learn English”
Egi Arvian Firmansyah
This essay is submitted as a final assignment at edx University of California Berkeley

English is undoubtedly the international language in which by using this language we can communicate with anyone in any place in the world. The reasons of learning English are varied among people. Some people learn English because their work requires English, some learn it as they want to study in English speaking country such as United States or England, some learn it as they want to get better job or education. Of course there are other reasons that I cannot write here. The key point is, people keep learning English either American or British style. We, as the non-English native speakers try many ways to master English in a very fast and best way. Joining an English course, reading English books, watching English movies, listening to the English songs, taking home stay program in English speaking countries or joining English club might have been chosen by some us in order to master English as quick as possible. But the greatest way for us (adult) to learn and maintain the English language is by joining an English club or community.

English club or English community is a place where the members of it learn English and share any lesson and information related to English in a regular basis. From any age or educational background, the members usually gather on weekend in the afternoon when they have free time to meet up. This non-profit organization is usually managed by some dedicated members and the membership is open to anyone. This English club might look strange to most of English native speakers. It happened to one of my Australian friends saying that she could not believe that they are people who study English in an English club. But for us (non-English native speakers), learning English at the club has indeed many benefits for improving the English skills.

The first reason why English club is an awesome place to learn English is that, we can save more money. Compared to an English course where the students usually pay a high amount of money, English Community only charges the members an annually membership fee or even an everlasting membership fee. This cost factor matters much for us especially during this today's economic hardship. As we have also known that English course is a profit oriented company whose the main goal is earning money. This is not wrong, and yet the relation between the company and the students is often a transactional relationship – they sell the product and we buy it. Moreover, when we have finished the course program, we somehow loose the connection with them, meaning we do not come there anymore or talk to our former teachers. At an English community, the relationship is more to emotional relationship. There is no term teachers or students, in fact the terms used are members and facilitators. It feels that there is no gap among them as they are all basically members who have the same goal – mastering English in a fast and fun way.

The second reason is that, English community is perfect to maintain our English skill. At an English course we are usually limited by the levels, let us say beginner, intermediate, advanced and so on. Therefore, the period of learning English has been determined by that course institution. At English club on the other hand, we can learn English as long as we want let's say five years or more. This means we have more chance and time to keep our English sharp. When somebody only joins an English course, he or she might loose his or her English proficiency when the course duration or level ends. It is caused because he or she does not practice English anymore. But at English club we are always motivated by our friends to always learn and we do not recognize the term level or period. At English community, it is indeed a-never-ending-learning that we get. 

The third reason why English club is great is that, the learning is conducted in a fascinating way and the members of the community are highly appreciated to get involved in building the community itself. The fun learning is possible at an English club since the syllabus or let us say the curriculum is usually made by the senior members and other newer members who also take part. The senior members who are usually the facilitators will someday be succeeded by their newer members. The way the members learn English is often fun as the planners position themselves as the members, too. I do not say that the learning at an English course is dull or boring, it is just the students there often do not have chance to give their opinion, feedback or suggestion on how the learning process or curriculum should be. Members' participation in the making of curriculum at English club is indeed really important in determining the quality of the study. Therefore, the members can have clear picture on what they really will study in a certain time in the future. Aside, this kind of learning also enables other members to be facilitators as they have involved in the planning process which finally makes them even more ready to be facilitators. Learning at English club does not always have to be a member (student), in fact everyone is encouraged to be facilitator (teacher). In other words, all members can quickly master English by “learning to facilitate.”

The last reason that I would like to make here is that, at English club it is really possible to all members to share any beneficial information they have. For example scholarship information, tips and tricks on how to get it, job vacancy, wonderful English studying websites, videos and songs in learning English and nice event or seminars. Information sharing is really crucial and it often happens at English club where the members have the same vision. I am not sure it will happen at English course where the relationship among students is often full of competition. As has been outlined earlier, the transactional relationship makes the study atmosphere feels not really good, moreover when the relationship among members is rigid. It eventually hampers the sincere interaction among all. At English club, everything is all about building the community and its members. Therefore, whenever there is valuable information, it will be shared with everybody as it will finally benefit the community as well.

I believe that the future of our education should be open, including English learning. This means everyone in any part of the world should be able to access it – to be smart does not have to always spend much money. I really appreciate this online Writing course at Berkeley which lets us learn English at no cost. Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Fedora and other Linux distributions are also good examples regarding what the power of community really is. They have proven to the world that the community can result something great and build something beneficial for the people whole over the globe.

Learning English is a challenging thing for us non-English native speakers. The demand to master it is getting higher therefore we do our best to master this language in a fast and effective way. The choice often comes to learning at English course or such. And yet the price often gets more expensive especially for the people who live in the developing countries. Therefore, here I suggest that we had better join any English club to sharpen our English skills. Aside from saving the cash, we can also get something great from other members. The learning is often fun, too. If we cannot find any English community around us, we can build it and I am sure it will finally benefit other people too. We can start finding two or three friends of ours to establish it. I am sure the power of community and knowledge sharing among the members of English club will make our English better. It is really effective and great especially to maintain our English skills : speaking, listening, writing and reading. Let us build an English club, it is for the better of our future, for us and for our community.   

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jomblo Park

Bandung, the city where I live has now a new interesting place that I would like to share with you. It is “Jomblo Park”. Sounds great! Jomblo is Indonesian term for those who don't have girl or boyfriend. Who is jomblo here?
Well, you might ask why the mayor of Bandung built that kind of facility? This park is designed for all people in every age; babies, kids, teenagers, adults and beyond. It is therefore the park is not for couples who usually use the place such as park to do sort of dating. It is impossible for babies for having dating right?
There at Jomblo park we can enjoy the view of Bandung, which I like so much. And you know what, the seats or chairs (made from cement) are in green, red, white, purple, blue, yellow etc – so colorful. Beside, we can also play skateboards there. I cannot play it though! Hm...can't wait to come there again very soon!  

Optimistic Citizens

Bandung, one of Indonesia's largest cities is the city where I live. We, Bandung people are now governed by a new mayor namely Ridwan Kamil. He is an architect and he got his master in urban development from a university in the USA. The way he governs is so much different from others. He is really creative and communicative to people of Bandung. He replies almost every question in his tweeter. Whenever we have problem with anything in this city, we can ask him to solve the problem. He will continue to message to the related department. Once I sent a text to him about the bad road (it has hole) where I usually pass through. I knew the one who replied my SMS was machine but it was great that I got the reply very soon. Three days latter it texted me that the road had been repaired. I then checked it and yes it was good now, no hole!

For entertaining the people who live in Bandung which is a quite crowd city, Ridwan Kamil made an open theater which is free for anyone. Those who don't have money don't have to go to the cinema and pay for the ticket to enjoy the update movie. Ridwan Kamil builds the cinema for free and is located in the green area of the city.

He also made the drainage better therefore we don't experience terrible flood in the rainy season, which is different from Jakarta. Aside, Ridwan Kamil also invites the people of Bandung to make biopori in every corner of Bandung. It is targeted that one million bioporis will be made until the end of this year. The people of Bandung participate in making biopori and the people in an RT (smallest residence) who make the more biopori will be rewarded by the mayor - holiday ticket and foods.
To make the air cooler and better, malls or shopping centers and other buildings are required to to make roof garden on the top it the buildings. It is believed to reduce the pollution and make the air fresher. This city is now greener and the people are happier. We believe we can be the "champion of Indonesia". Thank you Ridwan Kamil!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

One Day One Juz (ODOJ)

As a Muslim, it is my obligation to read my holy book – Al-Quran. Reading Quran is one of the ways we can do to get the safaat (help) in the day of hisab (the day when our good deeds and bad deeds are measured). And yet reading Quran often be the thing we feel hard to do. Especially when we should read as many as one or two juz. One juz is approximately 20 pages and if we read Quran one juz per day, we can finish reading it in one month. One thing to that might make you and me persistent in reading quran is by joining a program called ODOJ. What is ODOJ?

ODOJ (stands for One Day One Juz) is basically a program of reciting holy Quran (wherever you are) in a regular basis and it is facilitated via WhatsApp. I think I need not to tell anyone about WhatsApp here as you might have heard the popularity of it. In a simple way, ODOJ is a group of WhatsApp consisting of 30 members and one administrator. If all members (the 30 people) can read one juz per day, that means this group has finished reading the whole Quran on that day (we call it khatam). Awesome isn't it? Moreover, if all members of the group again keep reading it for 30 days, every single of them has finished reading the whole quran in one month. It's super cool idea! Currently, there are around 1300 female groups and 600 male groups of ODOJ (female and male are separated). The numbers are growing!

The administrator is the one who invites the 30 people and motivates them. The administrator is basically also a member of the ODOJ group, but the prior one and he is deemed a senior. So he or she also does read the Quran. The ODOJ members-to-be have to register through a website (‎) before they can join the group. It is nice that we can get 30 new friends via WhatsApp and all of them have the same vision – khatam the Quran.

As in WhatsApps there are many cool icons, we could find entertainment while we make endeavor to finish a juz. As an example, when you have finished one juz, your name will be listed and given icon 100 or checklist. But if you haven't finished reading (on progress), your name will be given zero. If you are the very first one finished reading one juz, you will be rewarded with a super icon (such as a helicopter or train). We don't expect it though, it is just hilarious and fun!

Often the case, we human really need good friends in order to be good people. Environment is so much important. We also sometimes feel motivated when others can do better thing than us. This is the fundamental of ODOJ program which is designed by someone I didn't really know. But he is graduated from the same university as mine (UPI Bandung). I thank him very much. May Allah love you.
At ODOJ we feel all of us are brothers as we can motivate to each other to finish reading the Quran (one Juz). It is the biggest happiness and a sublime attainment of ours if every single of us could finish reading one juz per day. Due to our worldly activities, we sometimes finished reading it at late night. And yet all of us often feel really unspoken bliss, indeed.

Muslims are indeed the ones who should really take benefits of every technology advancement, regardless who the inventor is. This technology invention should make our good deeds increase. Here I would like to thank WhatsApp for making a cool app, thanks to Google for making Android and makes it popular, thanks to Sony Xperia, Samsung and all phone manufactures for making the phones more and more affordable so that anyone can buy, thanks to governments and all telephone carriers around the globe for providing Internet connection. All of you have made our goal attained! All of you have facilitated us in conducting our duty as Muslims (reading our noble Quran). May Allah keep our intention pure, Only for Him.
I hope you can join ODOJ, too.