Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Profit, Passion, Purpose

Tony Hsieh, the visionary CEO of Zappos, in his book Delivering Happiness shares how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success, based on the different lessons he has learned in business and life.  One thing I took from his book: most of us work to make profit (or financial gain) in mind at the beginning, then move to a state where we want to work on something we are passionate about, and finally reach the last state where we want to contribute to bigger community; to have a higher purpose other than for ourselves.

Tony is not an ordinary CEO. First, he was already damn rich in 1999 when he sold the company he co-founded, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. Second, Zappos started the business in online retailer by only selling shoes at that time. You must be wondering, who's on earth would buy shoes online? The answer is the third point, Tony and his team turned Zappos from a small online retailer with no sale, into doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year, within 10 years. Until today Zappos is still listed as one of Fortune magazine's 100 best companies to work for, and was acquired by Amazon in 2009 in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

I'm still far behind what Tony has achieved in life. Right now I still work for a corporate, with mix target between gaining financial stability and working on the field that I like. I'm nowhere near Tony's courage to drop everything he had in life to focus on developing Zappos. Even currently I've been trying to set up something outside my work. But for a while I have felt that I need to do more, I need to do things to fulfill my purpose: to live life to the fullest and at the same time to provide benefits for others whenever I can.

With that in mind, I set my target in 2012 to focus on helping the IT professionals and students from my country so they can be ready to work and to compete in global market, just like what I do now. I will only do the things that I know best: sharing my knowledge and experience to my country men, with hope that they will gain some benefits from it. I can give advice on career and Cisco certification program to the students, and I can share some network design case studies and my project experiences to the professionals.

On the last week of March, after my trip to Melbourne to present at Cisco Live, I'm planning to pass by Indonesia for few days to conduct free session and workshop for students and professionals. So far I've got positive response: there are 4 universities in two cities that are willing to host the session, and there is one training institute that will provide a location in central Jakarta for me to conduct the free 6-hours workshop.

What I will do, you may consider it as a small contribution.
But I consider it just as the first step.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

And then what?

You went to the best school in the country. You studied hard competing with many others. And finally you were graduated. And then what?

You got accepted in your first job. You worked hard trying to distinguish yourself from others. And finally you got yourself a promotion. And then what?

You were among the best at work. Suddenly you felt money is not the object anymore. Finally you could afford all the things you always wanted. And then what?

It's a new year and I feel like I haven't done much during the past one year to contribute to the community. For 2012 I set a target to put more focus on helping the professionals and students from my country so they know how to compete in global market too. Expect more WebEx sessions, more writings, more social media, and more knowledge and experience sharing workshops.

The new year's eve has passed. The firework show is over. Those who went out for hangover are already in bed.
And then what?

Happy new year 2012.