Just see the world with the holy heart

Interview: Abdul Rahman (Co-founded detik.com )

Abdul Rahman co-founded detik.com 12 years ago and have been on the helm of Indonesia's #1 internet destination for just as long. Prior to starting detik, he was a career journalist with several magazines, including Swa, Tempo and Prospek. He dives and travels quite a bit and he knows a lot about things i don't. Since i didn't see him at the recent Asian Pacific Media Forum in Nusadua, i decided to get his thoughts on it. @Ngabdul is also on twitter.

Q: You’re the CEO of Detik.com. What do you do, exactly?
A: Having fun!

How many people work for Detik.com now? Is it a big company?
300+. Big? More to the medium side of SMEcategory

How many articles do you publish on detik.com every day?
500? But most of them I wouldn't call articles. Just updates. You know, like status updates in FB or Twitter posts, only a bit longer.

Do you guys ever make mistakes?
I'm no Ical and Detik is no Bakrie. Of course we make mistakes!

Detik.com is 12 years old now, is it an old company?
Old? 12 years of having fun doesn't make you old. Besides, age don't matter anymore. Constantly changing business environment requires every company to stay agile no matter how big and storied they are.

You started the company when the country was under the spell of the Soeharto press regime, detik excels by being fast, nimble and independent. Now that detik is a much bigger company and with the intense competition, do you think you could still be independent and maintain your market leadership?
Detik is independent in the sense that it is not owned or affiliated to a big conglomerates or people with political agenda. I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Detik is also independent in the sense that we don't have agenda of our own (beside making profit of course). We are not taking side and we don't fight for something. We just report stories that we found out there. We updates Indonesian people about things that happen in this country and in the world. We don't even pick headlines or cover stories. All news are the same for us. The newest one we put it on top. It is up to the readers to decide which one they consider important or whether Lapindo is responsible for the mud.
You can think of detik just like how you think about Twitter and FB. Only in our case, our reporters do most of the updating not users.

How would you describe the press environment/media industry in Indonesia 2010?

No, seriously, I would appreciate it if you breakdown this question into several more specific ones. Commercial environment? Regulatory frameworks? Media in general? Just online? I have no energy to write
an article.

After Obrolan Langsat two weeks ago when Mr. Budiono Darsono (Editorin Chief) moderated an open discussion with Mr. Aburizal Bakrie, a number of people publicly suggested that detik.com is losing its edge and independence. Do you think this is an accurate projection?
About losing edge: you should ask them. I would like to say no of course, but if people think differently I would love to hear their opinion.
Losing independence? Never! Giving Aburizal space to defend himself in detik doesn't mean we support him. Like I said, detik is just a media without any agenda. To suggest that we are being influenced by somebody is just plain ridiculous.
Budiono is there because as a journalist you wouldn't miss the opportunity to talk to somebody with a lot of issues like Aburizal.

At APMF, most of the attendants were very excited of the explosive market potential in Indonesian digital media landscape. What areas do you think are the most exciting areas?
Practically everything since eventually digital media will touch all aspects of life, all activities that we, human being, do.

Social network is definitely taking off – with Twitter and Facebook propelling the growth and Yahoo! acquisition of Koprol last week – does detik.com have a social network plan(s)?
Yes we do.

After more than ten years in slo-mo mode, do you think Indonesian internet scene is finally ready for a take off?
digital media revolution is what? if you are talking about digital media overtaking traditional media, it won't happens anytime soon. Number of people with internet access in 3 years time it might grow to anywhere between 50 to 70 million. A lot, but still less then a third of Indonesian. I'm pretty sure that TV, which almost all household in Indonesia owned at least one, will still be number one media for the foreseeable future.
if you are talking about digital media becoming main media for people with internet access, it is happening now. They spent more and more time tweeting, facebooking, googling, checking for news online, downloading videos, etc-etc. They read less newspapers, magazines, or books. Detik now have far more readers -- 16 million unique visitors a month -- then Kompas and Jawa Pos combined.

You disagreed with my 3 yr projection, What do you think is the biggest obstacle for growth?


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