Monday, December 24, 2012

What's Keeping Me Awake in 2012

The end of 2012 is near.
It's time to look back what I've done during the year with hope there are lessons to be learned, or to find any pending tasks I should try to accomplish in upcoming year.

At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself to spend more time to help professionals and students from Indonesia to prepare for the competition in global market. How far have I reached with this promise?

On March, after I did my session in Cisco Live Melbourne, I passed by my country to meet students from 4 universities in 2 cities. Then I conducted free 8-hour workshop for more than 100 professionals. I also had opportunity to met other CCIEs and a reporter from local media who wrote about my activities in the news.

But I've never had any thought to do all of these just to become popular.

I have been away from my country for more than 10 years, working as Global Consultant for different companies from multiple countries. During the past 6 years in Cisco I've done projects for customers in more than 30 countries. I have seen and personally tried competing in global market. So I know how it feels. I can use my knowledge and experience to prepare other professionals and students from my country to be ready for this global competition.

And I know, global competition doesn't mean only when we try to get a job outside the country or to compete in climbing the career ladder in global company. Until now I still see many consultants from different countries work and live in Indonesia. I'm not against them. Perhaps we really need external consultant for specific area. But for most areas, like in computer networking, many are doing the work that actually can be done by local consultant from my country.

How come we can compete globally if we can't even compete as consultant in our own country? Why can't we take over the work that is currently being outsourced to external consultant? How to produce more qualified consultants with global mindset?

Those thoughts are the ones that keeping me awake in 2012.

Couple of months after my visit I co-founded GEM Foundation with few Indonesian friends. It's a non-profit organization with focus to provide a bridge between global professionals, entrepreneur, young professionals and students. We've been doing regular bi-weekly session over online meeting tool Webex called WebexSunday. We had many Indonesian professionals from around the world and entrepreneurs filled up the 2-hour slot, sharing their knowledge and experience for free.

We even registered the organization to become legal entity in Jakarta. To run more activities we need to raise fund as organization. But then we found out as non-profit the procedure to run activities to generate fund is more complicated. All of us who involve in the organization have no time to deal with bureaucracy. So I decided to come up with another solution.

Few months ago I co-founded a company with focus on helping Indonesian professionals and students preparing for global competition by offering advance training system that is designed thoughtfully to answer industry's latest skill requirements in computer networking. Some of the products we created are CCIE93, world's first community based mentoring program to help to pass CCIE in 93 days, Network Engineer+ to produce network engineer with CCNA-level technical skill but also possesses other skills that are more relevant with the industy, and Global Consultant class which is a unique training to combine in-depth IP NGN skills, hands on lab, best practice deployment and consulting experience.

The concept is simple: those who can pay, pay to attend our classes. Those who can't pay, will get subsidized. We offer scholarship for students and those who are willing to learn but can't afford the training price. We use the profit to build CCIE lab that can be used by community. We develop online platform to offer new way of learning "anytime, anywhere", "at your own pace", and "learn one thing a day". I personally even conducted the IP NGN class by myself in Jakarta early December.

With CCIE93 my goal is not only to help more Indonesians to become CCIE, but to create strong community where CCIEs as mentors are helping the candidates in their lab exam preparation. With Network Engineer+ I want to provide easy first step for those who have no background in computer networking at all, to learn CCNA plus all relevant knowledge such as the big picture of networking, wireless and security, communication, team work and other relevant skills such as documentation and project experience. With Global Consultant, I want to train and produce more Global Consultant like me, who will work and compete in global market as well as to become qualified consultants to do projects in our own country.

Meanwhile I also founded CCIE Club Indonesia as the hub for communication between CCIEs and all other computer networking professionals. We conduct CCIETalk, regular monthly online meeting with Webex, where CCIE is sharing his knowledge and experience to the community.

There are still many things to do. With so little time. Because I still have to work as Solutions Architect for Cisco and most of the time I have to travel to meet my customers within Europe, Middle East and Africa.

I might have not done much in 2012.
But now I know what needs to be done in 2013.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Comfort Zone

Many people mistakenly think comfort zone only applies to those who work for a big company. They imagine those people work in 9 to 5 basis, come every morning to office to turn on the light and turn off the light at the end of the day, and try to waste time whole day by socializing with colleagues, updating facebook status, and browsing through news site on the Internet.

According to Wikipedia "The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk."

Pay attention to the word anxiety-neutral, limited behaviours, sense of risk.

That means, even if someone works for a big company and everyday he has to take risk in making business-related decisions, he is not in comfort zone.

That means, even if someone works for his own business but always executes the same way he has been doing, he does not try to challenge new norm, he does not take risk, he only uses similar set of behaviours to achieve a steady level of performance, is more likely to be in his comfort zone.

That means, anyone who works in environment or situation where one does not feel safe, does not feel ease and always under stress, is not in his comfort zone.

It has nothing to do with the type of work. It does not mean full-time entrepreneur is always outside the comfort zone. It does not mean working for someone is always end up in the comfort zone.

What is the easiest way to stay away from comfort zone?

Jim Carrey knows best. Always say yes.

Always say yes to new opportunity. Say yes to new challenges. Say yes to new places.

I personally like this approach and I have embraced the principle of saying yes during the past few years of my life.

And where does it take me, you may ask?

- I have moved to several different teams inside Cisco, I changed manager three times this year alone
- I have lead many different projects in different countries
- My new team,  which I moved to it last month, is giving me opportunity to build development plan of the skills required to deliver new and emerging technology for all other team members
- I was able to build custom IPv6 training material kit for customer
- I made a project delivery model to help optimizing the cost during project execution
- I received few internal awards this year, and the highest rating for employee
- I'm currently focusing on Software Defined Network and working on my Python skill
- I have been volunteering to develop CCIE content as well as other certifications including the internal specialization program for Cisco employee
- I have been in Cisco Live few times as speaker for CCIE session
- I moved to a bigger house that all my family members love
- I'm currently a student of Global MBA program from Manchester Business School
- I did hajj, mandatory religious pilgrimage, two months ago
- I founded a non-profit organization and I have been managing its activities like regular Webex meeting to facilitate senior professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and experience to young professionals and students from my country
- I'm the chairman of a new company focusing on advanced education, at the same time as revenue engine to help the operation of my non-profit organization
- I created CCIE93 recently, world's first community based mentoring program to help my fellow Indonesians to pass CCIE exam in 93 days, then I created the new Network Engineer+ class as the bridge for those who want to learn computer networking even without any computer background at all
- I designed and delivered IP NGN class in Jakarta early Desember where I taught a 5-day training course combining technical theory, best practice, hands-on lab and consulting skill to help professionals in my country competing in global market

Always say yes. And stay away from comfort zone.