About Me

Who I am

A Hacker and a Hustler. That’s what I would call myself. I like to build things and I like to sell them! Things that are helpful to people πŸ™‚

I grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and spent most of my childhood there. But I’ve lived in Dubai, UAE and San Jose, CA.

Nowadays, I live in Champaign close to University of Illinois where I’m pursuing PhD in Computer Science. My research interest is in the intersection of augmented reality, wearables, and communication.

I was also the Co-Founder of Virtision.com, a real-estate tour platform that lets you tour apartments from afar.

What I do

My passion lies in building technologies that are useful to people. In general anything technology and business related topics are a big fan of mine. However, I’m also interested in a broad range of lifestyle topics like traveling, martial arts, dancing, fashion, etc.

Technology

Technology has been my main curiosity since I was young. It’s a big story of who I am. I remembered playing Legos since I was 6; spending most of my time destructing and constructing little blocks.

From there I begin to tinker with electronics, wires, batteries, and little lamps. Then I soon graduated in computers. I still remember the first time my dad installed a family computer (which ends up hogged by me most of the time).

I began to play online games, and creating bots for it. On top of that I would learn robotics using the Mindstorms NXT platform.

Screenshot of the bot program I made while it plays my characters in the virtual world

Then High School came and passed. People soon asked me “What do you want to do in life?” A big question that I don’t know the answer of (or any other 17 year old, really). But I do remember saying this: “Well, I want to be an inventor! If Thomas Edison and Bill Gates can change the world, why can’t I?”

That’s why I came to the States to learn Computer Science. I soon became captivated by technologies like the Web, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Wearables, Machine Learning, and the list goes on.

Although, after learning all these technologies, I ponder “how can these tools help us in our daily life?” This question brought me to lead my first AR/VR Research with Professor Ranjitha Kumar

Playing with HoloLens

Now I’m leading a research team in Human-Computer Interaction exploring topics like Wearables, Augmented Reality, Computer Vision, Productivity, and Joy!

Business

Back around 2003, Yu-Gi-Oh was a big hit among elementary kids in Indonesia. I certainly one of many 7-year olds that is crazy about the card game. It involves strategy, luck, and and competition.

Noticing the rise in popularity, and being one of the early ones that dug deep into the game, I thought “maybe I could buy the cards in bulk, and sell starter packs to my classmates”

Yu-Gi-Oh Cards

I bought bulk pack of cards which is about Rp. 100,000 (about $10). That got me about 200 cards. Then I build 3 starter decks (each has 40 cards) with specific strategy on how to play them. And I sold them for Rp. 100,000 each. So I end up with $20 profit!

Fast forward to junior high, the time I made bot programs to run my online game character. I quickly realize that when my character is killing monsters, I would get items. And I thought, “hmm, what if I run 15 bot programs instead of one?” and I did.

5 characters gathering items from monsters. Another 5, processing those items into much more useful products. And the rest sells them in the market. Soon I became one of the richest players in the game! I thought, I didn’t know what is the term for what I do, but I love doing this.

Then I came to the US, specifically Silicon Valley, and that was the moment I realize how fun and impactful the intersection of business and technology could be. I soon got immersed with Silicon Valley’s Startup and Hacker Culture.

Virtision.com Team at Cozad New Venture Competition 2018

Fast forward a couple years, after I led a VR research called Virtual Reality for Interior Design (VRID), my research partner, Brandon Chen and I thought I think we can use VR to help people tour apartment. I remembered when moving from one state to another, touring an apartment is hard because I’m faced with two options: either pick the new place based solely on what it looks on the website, or fly to the new area and tour apartments. And thus Virtision.com was born.

I’m always intrigued with businesses. And always looking for ways to get involved. Whether as a founder, investor, advisor, or just a general helper.

Lifestyle

Beside business and technology, I have a wide-range of hobbies, activities, and topics that I enjoy~

Traveling is one of them. I am blessed to have been able to experience multiple different cultures, cuisines, and languages. I’ve met interesting people across the world. I believe, everyone has a name, everyone has a story, and the stories I’ve heard while I travel has been life changing.

I think traveling does to the soul what knowledge does to the mind. It enriched me in a meaningful way. Things that I believe to be “true” from the culture I grew up in, turns out not always true in another culture.

Another hobby of mine is kickboxing. I’m a huge fan of MMA and the UFC.

Hitting the bags like usual

I like martial arts in general. However, following the literature and seeing how it evolves, it’s pretty clear that some martial arts are exotic physical art (nothing wrong with that), and some are for practical self-defense. I like the latter. Arts like Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gets my adrenaline pumping.

Another big interest of mine is dancing. I’m currently learning Latin dancing. Both Bachata and Salsa. There’s something about listening to the tempo and let my body go with the flow; always got me energized. It’s a fun form of socialization too! since it takes two to dance.

Fashion is also a big part of my character. I think it’s a combination of personal expression, art, practicality, and experimentation. I consider my taste to be a on the Preppy side, but slightly casual. I found my casual to be business casual for most people :p

And there’s other things like cooking, singing, standup comedy, and hiking, but let’s stop here for now πŸ™‚

Until next time…