Becoming a Successful Female Techpreneur

Aulia Halimatussadiah, a.k.a. Ollie, calls herself a techpreneur. Armed with a degree in informational technology, Ollie dove into the world of entrepreneurship and startups and has made a name for herself in Indonesia. Named as one of the top five Asian female geeks to watch for, Ollie devotes much of her time to developing her online businesses. Her startups include an online book store, a self-publishing site, a game studio, among others.

In addition to starting up Internet companies, Ollie also manages to find the time to write books, both fiction and non. Her titles range from Finding Soulmate for Mei to Easy Biz. She is also very active in the community, working closely with the local startup organizations to promote others wishing to walk her path.

 

1. You claim to be a techpreneur. How would you describe that to others?

For me, a techpreneur is an entrepreneur doing technology based business. My educational background was information technology and I was a web developer before I start my own business, an online bookstore Kutukutubuku.com back in 2006. After my first business, I co-founded more digital startups like, an online self publishing company NulisBuku.com, and a game studio TempaLabs.com.

2.You are an avid writer of both fiction and non-fiction. How do you balance your time between both kinds of writing? Do you end up including a great deal of true facts in your fiction work?

My kind of fiction writing is always based on true facts. Either something I experience myself or from other people’s experiences. It’s just a natural creative process for both writing. I was once writing 2 books in the same time, a novel and a how-to book on how to make an online store. I wrote fiction in the morning and how-to book at night. But it’s not always that way, can be the other way round. So, I treat fiction and non-fiction the same way.

3.What types of books do you write? Are they dramas, comedies, or a mix of genres?

For fiction, I write more about romantic love stories, relationships, and life stories. For non-fiction, I write how-to books, motivational and business books.

4.Where do you get your ideas for your fiction books?

The ideas are everywhere, but always from my personal interests. I always write something that I want to be. Or problems that I want to solve. Or dreams that I want to achieve. I dig within myself on what I really want to write first. Ideas can also come from everything’s that happens around us, online and offline. All things can be inspirations, we just need to open our eyes, ear, heart and soul.

5.On your website, you have quite a resume with multiple start-ups, books in print, and community service. How do you find the time to fit everything into your schedule?

I manage my energy. Usually I will write early in the morning after morning prayer around 5am to 9am. Then I get ready to office to work with my startups. Then in the afternoon, I can do meetings, attend events and networking to plan growing the communities I organize.

6.Tell us a little bit about your community work. What part of the community are you most actively participating in during your free time?

I’m one of the initiators of #StartupLokal, the biggest digital startup community in Indonesia. Every month we make a meetup, inviting speakers to talk about startup from business perspective. I also actively create writing club, Nulis Buku Club (NBC), where we help writer launch their self-published book, invite senior writers to share tips and trick about writing and simply sharing session with writers. Started in Jakarta, January 2011, now NBC has spread to many cities all over Indonesia. I also the co-founder of Girls in Tech Indonesia community, encouraging girls to use technology as the catalyst of their success.

7.You have defied the odds of being a successful female techie. What inspired and motivated you to go into the field of information technology?

I was an internet addict (still is). I started using internet when I was 13 years old. At first I only use it for browsing and chatting with friends from all around the world. The urge to make an awesome personal website of myself made me learn how to make a website. I decided to learn further by taking Information Technology in college. And that’s how it started.

8.What gave you the idea to start up an online book store? How did you manage to get that going?

I love books, I can read 7 books a week. And that time I was having difficulties shopping in my favorite online bookstore. They didn’t have shopping cart yet so it was very hard to shop. So I decided to solve the problem and make my own online bookstore. I collaborate with my partner Angeline Anthony who did the website design and we started contacted publishers and set up our office from a small rented room with 1 staff. We did it part time while still working full time as an employee in a company. Our online book store grew rapidly in 1 year, and we decided to resign and growing our business full time.

9.Another one of your startups is Nulisbuku, an online self-publishing site. Is this how you publish your works? Tell us a little bit about the services provided on your website.

NulisBuku.com is the first online self-publishing, print on demand, in Indonesia. We offer free services to help new writer self-published their own book. We will share royalties with the writer for each copy that getting printed.

10.You were awarded the best e-commerce at SparxUp Awards 2010 for Nulisbuku. Tell us about that experience?

We were just launched our website for a month that time and we submit it to SparxUp Awards. Fortunately, with our unique concept of selling self-published books, we won award on Best E-commerce category. We love the experience and it was such a nice publication for newly launched site.

11.You are also involved with the startup, TempaLabs, associated with online gaming. What is that website all about?

My partner in TempaLabs is my own brother, Alif Harsan. He’s a true gamer since he was a child. One time he was bored with all the games he played and he said he want to make his own game. And he went to IT in college and started working with a US game company for several months. I see the potential in game industry and I ask my brother to partner with me and start a game studio. In 2010, TempaLabs launched. We create social games like Facebook games, Flash games, and also mobile games, either in feature phones or smartphones. Half of our projects are from clients and other half are our own games.

12.How did it feel to be known as one of the five geek girls in Asia to look out for in the future?

I feel really proud and I hope I can help inspire more young (especially Indonesian) girls to work actively in IT industry, because if I can do this, I’m sure every girls can do that too

13.What is ON | OFF 2011 and what does being the chairwoman of the event entail?

ON | OFF 2011 is a national blogger gathering, where bloggers and their communities can meet, attend workshop, network and collaborate in our event. It was attended by 1000 people. Before the big event, we also make pre-event, going to 10 cities around Indonesia to promote how to use blog and social media to empower their ideas. Being the chairwoman, I help to create and decide the concepts of the whole pre-event and event.

14.What has been the proudest moment of your career thus far and what is one big goal you hope to accomplish in the future?

The proudest moment of my career is when I can make other people’s dream come true thru any of the effort I’ve been trying to do, either in my self-publishing startup or in any community event I organized. One big goal? I have two. First, I want all young people in Indonesia (around 60% of 240 million people) write at least 1 book every year. Two, I want to make a sort of book center building in Indonesia with all kind of book related facilities in that building.

15.What’s next for Ollie? Will you continue to write books and build startups?

My true passion is in writing. So I’m going to challenge myself to write a new book genre every time. Next one I want to try writing biography books. I will launch my new book soon, titled ‘Yes, You Can’, motivational book about inspirations and lessons I learn from people I met in my life that helps me to be who I am.

Thank You

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Aulia Halimatussadiah (Ollie) is an entrepenuar and a blogger. Visit her at www.salsabeela.com or on twitter @salsabeela

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