The Peak has been privileged to interview i n depth or profile a wide range of people at the top of their chosen profession. A l l have made their mark i n Indonesia. W h a t they had to say at the time makes interesting reading. Iwan Tirta — Batik prince Prijono Sugiarto — Automotive visionary Warwick Purser — Craft ambassador Yaya Winarno Junardy — Corporate chameleon Sofjan Wanandi — Citizen tycoon Harry Darsono — Activist designer Tan Kian — Luxury lord Joe Kamdani — Paper tiger Anhar Setjadibrata — Curio crusader Dr Doris Phua — Furniture magnate Raam Punjabi — Show maker Sandiaga Salahudin Uno — Entrepeneur whiz Trihatma Kusuma Haliman — Property baron Hermawan Kartajaya — Patriotic marketeer Tience Sumartini — Pilot trailblazer Aidil Akbar Madjid — Money master John Hardy — Green jeweller Edwin Rahardjo — Art custodian Irwan Danny Musry — Timepiece merchant Danny Armananta — Ad protege
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O V E R T H E Y E A R S , THE PEAK H A S B E E N PRIVILEGED TO INTERVIEW I N D E P T H O R PROFILE A W I D E R A N G E OF PEOPLE A T T H E TOP OF T H E I R C H O S E N PROFESSION. S O M E HAVE W O R K E D AS DESIGNERS O R CRAFTSPEOPLE, OTHERS I N T H E BUSINESS OR FINANCIALWORLD. A L L HAVE M A D E A
LASTING M A R K I N INDONESIA. T H E I R VIEWS
A N D OPINIONS AT T H E TIME THEY WERE
INTERVIEWED M A K E INTERESTING R E A D I N G A N D PROVIDE A VALUABLE C O M M E N T A R Y O N
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TEXT SHER MAINE WONG ILLUSTRATION XIN
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A property magnate who owns some of the most luxurious buildings in Jakarta, Tan Kian also pays attention to the smallest details.
ew notice the height of a hotel room's desk, the length of its sofa or whether the wood grain on the ceiling is aligned in the same direction â€” not even most hotel guests. But Tan Kian, who is responsible for building some of the most luxurious and lavish hotels in Jakarta, does. "I'm always observing how we behave in all kinds of situations and I always ask myself what I can do to make every situation more comfortable," said Tan. Paying attention to such nitty-gritties which escape the minds of most property developers, has certainly paid off for Tan, who is considered a mega luxury developer in Indonesia. He is the 31 richest man in Indonesia in Forbes' annual ranking in 2007, with an estimated net worth of US$225 million. He owns a property firm, Dua Mutiara. He also co-owns two Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta and the JW Marriott hotel. When he started out, Tan had inherited from his father the familyowned Dua Mutiara Group â€” which then had interests in chemical dyes and seafood supply â€” but Tan entered the property business in the early 1990s after developing the company's flagship office tower along Jalan Sudirman. st
As a property developer, luxury is his trademark; everything he builds is ornate, lavish and expensive. One of his most recent, biggest and headline-grabbing properties is Pacific Place, which consists of one office tower, two apartment towers, a second Ritz Carlton Hotel, serviced apartments and possibly the largest shopping and retail centre in the city. It will comprise more than one million square metres and stretch more than 1.6km, with a 180m man-made canal on the fourth floor where Tan plans to have gondolas ply shoppers around.
"We are in the service industry. I can't just build the biggest, most luxurious hotel and not match it with excellent service".
T A N K I A N W A S F E A T U R E D I N THE PEAK [WDOmSIA) I N V O L U M E 18 N O 4
The shops in the already-opened Ritz-Carlton Hotel include The Link Wedding, Vertu, Le Salon Jakarta and the hotel itself is built such that it rises from a colonnaded neo-classical podium to incorporate the luxury hotel and serviced apartments. During the building process — which was notably speedy, the hotel rising to its full height of 212m in just two years — Tan would visit the site every day and fuss over the tiniest details. Why he micro-manages, is to ensure that what his customers are getting is luxury by his definition. "Everything I build is based on my observations and experiences of what comprises true luxury," he said, giving examples and throwing out the kind of explanations at which lesser mortals would exclaim: "Oh why didn't I think of that?" For instance, for his Pacific Place project, the canal on the fourth floor is not simply there for the wow factor. It is to draw people to the upper floors. Each boutique will also have its own bathroom because "it's very easy to lose customers once they step out of a shop to look for bathroom facilities. You have to find ways to keep them inside the store with amenities that answer all their comfort requirements." As for catering to hotel guests, to him, a desk in a hotel suite should be exactly 76cm high: no more, no less — "If you work for a long time in your room, you will know that one centimetre makes a big difference". The sofa should be of a specific length — "Some people prefer to lie down on the sofa while watching television, the length and depth of the sofa should allow them to do so comfortably". The passage from bed to bathroom should be unobstructed — "One should be able to walk from his bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night without bumping into furniture". None of the doors of the suites in Ritz-Carlton hotel face each other — "When room service comes with your food, you can answer the door without the occupants of the room opposite seeing inside your room. That's privacy, that's luxury." Apart from the hardware, Tan is well aware that the software —service aspects of the hotel — is just as important. "We are in the service industry," he said. "I can't just build the
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biggest, most luxurious hotel and not match it with excellent service." The father of three also shows a remarkable knack for bouncing back from the brink. The Asian financial crisis did not shake his resolve to continue building on prime properties that were becoming scarcer each year. "It was an economic cycle. Although it was particularly bad during that point in 1997-1998, we all knew that it would recover at some point. And we were correct in saying that. After a while, consumer confidence returned, middle income families began coming back, and we saw growth of pre-crisis levels." The disastrous deadly terrorist bombing which occurred in front of his JW Marriott Hotel in 2003 and which killed a dozen people, did not faze him for long. At the time, Tan was having lunch next door. "I wasn't thinking of how it would affect my business. All I wanted to find out was how many people were hurt and what could be done to save them." Within 20 days of the bomb blast, Tan rebuilt the hotel from ruins and was ready to open for business. On a parting note, Tan reveals more about his working style: "I don't stop asking questions and finding things out for myself. Most of the information I gather ends up in my properties. If I can't find the answers, I simply invent them." A
Paper tiger Without a privileged background or a good education, Joe Kamdani managed to build up a stationery company on determination and vision.
he bright-burning vigour and energy which propels 70-something Joe Kamdani into extreme sports like snow skiing and scuba diving while other men his age are enjoying retirement, is also what made him one of the richest men in Indonesia on an aggressively self-made business â€” based on nothing more complex than stationery. Datascrip today has over 500 products â€” from paper and pens to camera, computers, presentation equipment and scanners. From starting out as a self-employed salesman earning
small commissions from selling office stationery, Kamdani today employs over 700 people. "First you have a dream, then you must write it down, develop an action plan and, most important, share it with others," said Kamdani, on his success strategy. "Otherwise you and your company are working alone, everyone
"A paperless office — that will never happen. There may be less paper, perhaps, but never none". JOE KAMDANI WAS FEATURED IN THE.RBIA'(INDONESIA) IN VOLUME 19 NO 2
is in the dark. What you must do alone is take risks. That is the difference between you and all the rest of the staff. You take the risks. The staff will still be there, they do not suffer. You are the one who will suffer. You are also the one who could win!" Kamdani had big dreams, when he, living with his family in Bogor, was the eldest of 11 siblings with hardly any chance for a proper education. "There was no school because of the war," he recalls. "So, from then on, my education was intermittent and always a couple of years behind the normal schedule." Life meandered on when he eventually left school to work. In less than two years, he changed sales-related jobs four times. "I thought to myself: I can be much better than this. I was selling those old calculating machines with bells. So, I became an unpaid salesman selling office stationery on commission, then typewriters then adding machines. I had no office; I worked from home. I finally built a small office which eventually became two and then three storeys." Times were tough, but Kamdani hung on tenaciously. "When you are small, you are a nobody. No banker wants to know you. Then I met a man at Chase Manhattan Bank who decided to take a chance and give me credit. But do you know for how much? All of two million rupiah (about US$200). Even then, it was nothing; obviously it was a test. Now they are JP Morgan and they are still my
His small office grew to become Datascrip, which has evolved through the years since 1969 in keeping pace with the times; from simply selling stationery to office systems and most recently, in 2000, to dabbling in information technology. Datascrip, now based in Jakarta, does not just sell hardware, but software and IT solutions for companies. It is in line with how the company itself has changed. "Before computer and digital technology arrived, we used to have a big line in technical drawing boards," said Kamdani. "Now this is all done by computer-aided design." Datascrip also deals with the Indonesian-made office furniture line Ergomatic and Lavaro. "We have people who will go into your office and help you design the layout and filing system, whether physical or electronic," he said. After decades in the hot seat, Kamdani has unsurprisingly become an expert in the business of business. He has written three books on company management. His mantra: Good
employee/company relationships and working methods. He is, however, ready to vacate that seat. "In this business, I have been at the centre of the decision-making process," he said. "I am the superstar of the team. Now I have begun to delegate, so there is a team without a superstar. Not many businesses that start from one man reach beyond that generation, which is why I am writing everything down." He envisions himself as an "elder adviser" in the company. As to whether he thinks the paperless office will one day drive Datascrip out of business, he laughs. A paperless office — it will never happen," he insists. "There may be less paper, perhaps, but never none. You know, our biggest line these days is in printers. And what do printers need? Paper!" In the meantime, Kamdani, who has two children andfivegrandchildren, continues to live lifefiercely.With a penetrating gaze, he behaves like a man half his age — laughing, thinks out loud and jumping up from his armchair with nary a groan. If he has any broken bones, these are sports injuries, like breaking a collarbone while skiing in Australia. He continues to snow ski and scuba dive. He has clearly done well enough in life to afford an office which he feels most comfortable in: It has a rooftop garden complete with a lawn and palm trees, a rooster and hen, and adorning the space is glass panels sand-blasted with tropical fish. "I like to have something live around me," said Kamdani. "I like to see green. I don't like big cities — they are mostly all the same." A.