A Life Between A Geek And A Rock Star By Irzan Raditya

Irzan Raditya

"You can start as a Superman in starting a business, but in order to grow you need some Power Rangers."

- Irzan Raditya

He may have that IT stereotype, but Irzan Raditya has had a history which was far from it. As the CEO and the co-founder of YesBoss, an Indonesian-based tech company which provides an digital assistant, his life went between art and technology.

From an artist to a comic hero die hard fan, a rock star to a geek and lastly an entrepreneur. Life is just too short for most people to experience all those contrasts. But Raditya has experienced them all.

Early Life

Irzan Raditya was born in December 11th 1988. When he was still a child, his parents has introduced him to numerous technology. His father who worked at Motorola usually returned home with a new gadget he would like to show Raditya. But what was seen at first at Raditya was his passion for art. At that time, he frequently draw some caricature which he then sell to his friends for additional pocket money. His passion for drawing went further as he attended junior high. His favorite drawings were superheroes.

During that time, Raditya that was familiar with technology has experienced broadband. He used this opportunity to sell some bots from the Ragnarok Online game. What he got from selling those bots was more than sufficient for his allowance. His interest in tech went further when he hacked his Playstation 1 to be able to play some Playstation 2 WWE Smackdown's playable characters.

Looking For A Way Of Life

When Irzan Raditya graduated senior high in 2007, he decided to go to Germany to continue his studies. His reason was simple: he wanted to study abroad. While it doesn't cost him to study there, the challenge to be accepted is what he likes.

After more than 500 hours studying German, he attended HTW Berlin which is the largest public University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and Eastern Germany, majoring in IT and specializing on mobile application. While his interest for technology continued, his old time hobby never faded. As he arrived to German, he joined a band called Not Called Jinx when a former member Arseny Knaifel left. He became the band's bass player.

With the band, he once attended the 2010's music festival Java Rockin' Land in 2010 which is the largest rock festival in South-East Asia, and had tours in many cities in both Indonesia and Germany. He was also the band's International Marketing Manager until January 2014.

On one side he was a student learning his way to meet his tech interest. On the other side, he was a band member, a pop punk lover who loves to be a celebrity. But when he realized his interest for programming, he started to focus on the subject. While his passion for music also continued, he said that he was like living in two worlds: a rock star when on stage, but a geek when behind a computer monitor.

During the time he was looking for his "way of life", he took numerous jobs which include: Mobile App Developer at Smart Mobile Factory (April 2012 - November 2012), an Android App Developer at miniride GmbH (January 2013 – March 2013), Feature Engineer at Zalando (April 2013 – October 2013).

"After graduating college, I haven't got the idea to create a startup, so I went to work with a number of companies," Raditya said. But he then realized that his "way" wasn't there.

The he found an interesting subject: Product Management. When he wanted to become a Product Manager in a mobile app marketing firm, he worked his way up and succeeded in becoming the Head of Mobile Product at a food delivery company Takeaway.com (July 2014 - September 2015).

But with all those ventures, he still didn't find what he was looking for. Beside music, gaming and technology, Raditya also sharpened his entrepreneurship skills. He stated creating his own Android apps called Amplitweet, clothing line Cape & Fly, STYYLI which was never launched, and Rumah Diaspora.

Not Called Jinx

Creating YesBoss

The idea for YesBoss first sparked when Irzan Raditya returned to Jakarta. At that time, he saw was the potential that could be explored. Living in a metropolitan Jakarta which is the capital city of Indonesia, Raditya saw all the hectic and chaotic mobility people are having. In the city famous for its traffic, Raditya saw the citizens to need something to smooth their work and the flow, something that can help them, something like a personal assistant.

Raditya that received his Bachelor of Science degree in 2012 said "At that time I saw people in Jakarta are wasting too much time on the road."

He then contacted his old friends: Wahyu Wrehasnaya and Reynir Fauzan who were already having a steady job at a tech company based in Europe, about his idea.

Then three were then joined by Chris Franke to found YesBoss. The service was established formally in June 2nd 2015. The Indonesian text-based personal assistant which Raditya became its CEO, helps users in running various errands from purchasing tickets, buying flowers, to food delivery. Users simply send a couple of messages to a single number, have it confirmed by operators, then the goods are delivered right to their door.

The founders are all Indonesian, except for Franke who is German. He takes the COO title. The four founders were friends when they were studying as undergraduates in Germany.

With "Your Time Matters", as a tagline, YesBoss wants to open the possibilities for other startup in Indonesia to work together in further enhancing the industry as a whole. While starting in Jakarta, the service could be also used by users on other places. Raditya believes in "a tap for a help", meaning that technology exists to ease people with daily life, therefore everything he does with apps must be valuable to the people who use them." This principle was implemented on YesBoss.

About how YesBoss works, it isn't a full and pure machine like many other digital assistants which totally rely on AI (Artificial Intelligence). YesBoss is also having human representatives (Client Service Representatives) just like non-tech services do. But what makes it unique is that their representatives are anonymous. They're just given some common names such as Cindy, Nindy, and Agus.

Not truly AI, YesBoss that is the first virtual personal assistant service in Indonesia is more HAAI (Human-Assisted-Artificial-Intelligence) than pure AI.

At first, YesBoss was similar in appearance to the joke chat bot app SimSimi. But along the way and with numerous media announcement, users then realize that the two are totally different beings.

Not long after being released, the firm was having more than 500-700 new users a day from all over Indonesia. YesBoss has partnered with more than 30 notable local partners services such as Foodpanda, Go-Jek, HappyFresh, Nusatrip, Raja Karcis, etc.. Within 6 months after its launch, YesBoss has managed to acquire more than 40.000 users with 90 percent repeating customers.

With many on-demand services available, YesBoss acts as the meta layer aggregator service which aims to make the user the "Boss". As Raditya explained it, "Just text and consider it done." While YesBoss is a free app with a free service, it's business model is based on affiliation with partners/merchants.

The technology firm was then receiving an undisclosed amount of seed funding from 500 Startups, IMJ Investment Partners, and Convergence Ventures.

Personal Life

Raditya is a fan of Steve Jobs and Tom Delonge; and his favorite band is Blink 182. As a comic superhero fan, Marvel's were his favorite. Loving Star Wars and Back To The Future, Irzan Raditya usually spent his spare time reading books and having quality time with his family and his love interest.

Raditya that met his fiancée while performing with his band, said that "As for books, I can usually read about 2 to 3 books a month." One of his favorites is Simon Sinek's Start With Why.

Before doing his daily routines, as a Muslim, Raditya always wakes early in the morning to perform Subh prayer. He then continues to jog for about 30 minutes. And before going to work, he usually checks his email while having breakfast.