In this episode, we have Garret Jeremy Koeswandi, the Vice President for Finance and Operations of social commerce company Super. In our last season, we got to talk to Steven Wongsoredjo, the co-founder and CEO of Super who gave us the whole narrative about how they are building a social commerce company and the […]

Garret Jeremy Koeswandi, VP for Finance and Operations at Super

S03E18: Building Hyperlocal Logistics for Indonesian Social Commerce with Super VP for FinOps Garret Jeremy Koeswandi

In this episode, we have Garret Jeremy Koeswandi, the Vice President for Finance and Operations of social commerce company Super. In our last season, we got to talk to Steven Wongsoredjo, the co-founder and CEO of Super who gave us the whole narrative about how they are building a social commerce company and the things that they’re learning from the likes of Pinduoduo and what it’s like to build in rural Indonesia. 

Following this whole theme of inviting not just the CEOs and the founders, but also some of the company executives who have been with these companies since day one, seeing it go from zero to one and leading the different aspects of making these companies, we’ve now also invited Garret to give us a more on-the-ground perspective on what it takes to build hyperlocal logistics for social commerce in Indonesia. 

Highlights and Timestamps

  1. 00:28 Paulo introduces Garret, VP FinOps of Super;
  2. 2:02 Garret shares how ran an angel-backed startup at 16 with his mentor Rendy (co-founder of Nusantara Technology), and how Rendy brought Garret back to Super after his studies in the Netherlands;
  3. 07:02 Garret on balancing the finance and operations perspective in decision making at his job; “When we’re talking about social commerce, the whole idea of social commerce is that, “Paulo, you know me. I know you. We’re good friends and I have this really awesome computer or whatever, and I’m going to sell it to you cause you trust me. It’s social commerce. If the relationship is not there, then you can’t have commerce as well.”
  4. 10:21 Super’s logistics backbone approach to social commerce; “This is why the backbone is very important because you can’t just rely on third-party logistics because they can be the solution, but they can also be part of the problem.”
  5. 13:47 How go-to-market approach and customer retention varies across different cities in Indonesia; “It really comes to show that the market approach for each market is different. So [my example] was ethnicity-based. It could be different for another market — it could be product-based. …So that is what is most challenging, but it is also a barrier to entry for other [players].”
  6. 16:52 The value proposition of Super’s hyper-localized supply chain for FMCGs and the role data plays in social commerce; “Data is basically the 10% innovation in the social commerce game, but then it brings about the scalability of the whole industry.” 
  7. 21:37 Impact of pandemic lockdowns on Super’s sales, logistics, and team; 
  8. 24:46 How Super stays lean with its finances by leveraging existing infrastructure for the short-term; “With whatever existing warehousing, existing people or human resources, trucks that are already there, and distribution channels that are already there, we just piggyback on those existing channels. Once we hit scalability or economics of scale, then we invest into our own networks and our own infrastructure, because by that time, our turnover would match our investment.”
  9. 30:41 What Garret is excited about for Super in the next five years; “Long-term wise, I want to be part of a company that helps consolidate Indonesia and for now I guess, I’m hoping that I’m contributing in the part of the distribution. And I think that will not only have a lasting value for the company but also for the country as well.”
  10. 31:35 Rapid Fire Round;

About our guest

Garret Jeremy Koeswandi, VP for Finance and Operations at Super

Garret Jeremy Koeswandi is the vice president for finance and operations of Super. He joined Super as CEO Steven’s Chief of Staff back in 2019 and began leading finance and operations of Super that same year. Prior to that, he was also doing consulting for tech companies, and at the age of 16 co-founded a venture-backed startup with Michael Rendy, co-founder and CPO of Super. He took up his bachelor’s and MBA in the Netherlands. 

Transcript

Paulo: So I think that would be an exciting discussion to really go down into the details of what will really make social commerce work and especially in rural Indonesia. 

So welcome to the show Garret, how are you doing?

Garret: I’m good. Thank you for having me, Paulo. It’s an honor to be here and I’m happy that we got this chance to talk as well. I would definitely love to show more of the on-the-ground, how it has been in Indonesia working within such a convoluted market.

Paulo: Anybody who’s been looking at Southeast Asia and Indonesia especially would know that Indonesia is quite complex. There are a lot of different provinces. Even within those provinces, you have a lot of different nuances that you have to take note of.

So let’s get right into it and start off by asking you how you got into Super in the first place? How did you meet Steven? And what made you decide to work with Steven and work in this business?

Garret: Sure. So I’ll give you the long story short kind of answer. I actually started working when I was 16. At the time I was working with my mentor Michael Rendy (Chief Product Officer of Super and co-founder at Nusantara Technology), and we started a media company at the time. 

It was 2013. We got our first angel investment round and we’ve been growing the company ever since then. I was just like a high school kid. I was paying taxes and I didn’t even know what taxes were. After five years of working at that company, I got a scholarship to go to the Netherlands. So I was really sad that I have to choose whether I keep on with the company or move to the Netherlands to finish my studies. But then again, I was thinking, “You have to prioritize your studies.” Business is cool and everything. It’s important. But then again, otherwise, I get an ass-kicking from my mom. 

So I went to the Netherlands, I finished my scholarship and then I went back home. I worked at a consulting company and I was still in touch with Randy at the time. He was asking me a lot of questions about the organization and about product development and about operational schemes. At some point, I was like, “So why is it that we just don’t work together anymore? I’ve been working with you since I was 16. Now I’m back here. I’m working for this company, but then again, we’re still in touch and everything. So why don’t we just work together? And Rendy was like, “Good idea! I’m going to have you meet Steven at the mall.” 

So, I think it was a Tuesday when I met Steven in the mall. The thing is, just a little info about me is that my Indonesian is really bad. My Bahasa Indonesia is not that good. So I met up with Steven and I was talking with him in English. He was confused because he was like, “This guy is Indonesian, his name is Garret. And he’s talking to me in English. What’s happening here?” But then we hit it off. I think we got chemistry on that day.  We played the same computer games and everything, so we talked it out and the next week or so I started working at the company already. 

Over there they weren’t sure yet what kind of position I was supposed to be in. That’s why they put me as chief of staff because as Chief of Staff, I’m like Steven’s second hand. So I can move around between Finance. I can move around between Operations. I can just start to structure the team. At the time we didn’t have seven departments. We had seven people, not seven departments. It was more about doing whatever it is that you needed to do to get the ball rolling. So I think that position was spot on at the time. And since then, I’ve been working with Steven. We’ve grown from those same seven people that I used to work with. Now they’re all the heads of departments for all of their own departments. So really happy to be here, to lead the team as well, and to be part of this journey. It’s been awesome. 

Paulo: It’s really great just to see that hustle that you’ve been doing since you were young. It’s actually a really inspiring story. Maybe you can talk a little bit about some of the lessons that you’ve learned growing up with this startup as well.

But I’d also like to get into your current role, which is a bit more defined than when you first came in, you’re now leading up operations and finance. So maybe you could tell our listeners a bit of what a day in life is like for you as VP for FinOps, specifically for a social commerce company like Super.

Garret: Definitely. In the scope of social commerce and where I am right now, my progression was that I started as Chief of Staff, and then I worked my way to VP of finance and I’m the VP of finance and operations. But the finance role is actually interim because finance and operations shouldn’t be the same person for the organization long-term.

At the moment my focus is more on operations, and I’m happier if I just focus on one thing and let someone else focus on the other thing. But the thing is, working as VP of finance and operations, I think the biggest hurdle is that I have to analyze and judge my actions in a financial way. And I can’t just say, “Operationally, it makes sense. This is how it’s supposed to go.”

I’m going to give you an example. We’re expanding to a different island. So it makes sense on a financial basis that the market for the island that I’m heading to is really big up north and somewhere in the middle of the island. But for the logistics, you have to stop at the south of the island. These complications and challenges — whether it makes sense financially to go directly to the heart of the island, but then operationally, it doesn’t make sense because you need to through the port first, and so how do you balance a position like that — are what I usually deal with on a daily basis. 

So the same thing also happens when I’m expanding to different markets. And so we’re talking about social commerce, right? So what kind of Super Agents do I have with me at this moment? At this moment, a lot of my agents are from East Java. So if I were to expand somewhere to like middle Java, it wouldn’t make much sense on an operational basis because East Javans and middle Javans are different people. They are of different ethnicities. They have different cultures. 

When we’re talking about social commerce, the whole idea of social commerce is that “Paulo, you know me. I know you. We’re good friends and I have this really awesome computer or whatever, and I’m going to sell it to you cause you trust me. It’s social commerce. If the relationship is not there, then you can’t have commerce as well. But then on a financial basis, it makes sense. Middle Java is close by. Logistics-wise, it’s cheap and the market is huge, so we need to go there. But then operationally, it doesn’t make sense as much. So balancing these two things when it comes to where to expand or how you approach a certain market is the key balancing point of my daily job.

“When we’re talking about social commerce, the whole idea of social commerce is that, “Paulo, you know me. I know you. We’re good friends and I have this really awesome computer or whatever, and I’m going to sell it to you cause you trust me. It’s social commerce. If the relationship is not there, then you can’t have commerce as well.”

Paulo: It’s really great that even if in the long term, definitely you want to focus more on operations and I think, you really need a dedicated person focusing on finance for sure, the fact that you were able to experience this, seeing things from both perspectives benefits your role focusing operations in the long term as well just as the example that you’ve given shows.

Speaking of operations, I want to dig a little bit deeper into that. In the podcast that we did with Steven last year, he called Super’s model of social commerce not just social commerce per se, but social commerce with a logistics backbone. So what has been your experience, building this backbone on the ground, and what’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned on the way?

Garret: I would say one of Indonesia’s biggest problems is logistics, right? Steven might have used a different example, but I’m sure it shows the point that if you buy a carton of milk in Jakarta, and if you were to buy a carton of milk in Papua New Guinea, the price is going to be double or quadruple. It’s the same carton of milk, the same brand and everything, but the price quadrupled. And it’s because of logistics because Indonesia is an archipelago and we are islands and within each island, we also have mountains every here and there. The terrain is definitely not flat at all.

It’s very challenging. Within these challenges, you have inefficiencies, you have some areas that are much denser, and they have also matured much more. So they’re more developed in terms of the GDP and then you have some areas that could be closed by which are very underdeveloped. The logistics costs to approach those markets are different every time. 

This is why the backbone is very important because you can’t just rely on third-party logistics because they can be the solution, but they can also be part of the problem because you have a lot of these third-party logistics that only specialize in their zone and they might be the only player there. So it’s a monopoly for them. And so you have huge logistics costs over there if you want to approach those areas. 

What we do is that we work with third parties, but we also have our backbone in-house as well that studies the market, studies the logistics, and we replicate what’s working in that market. And then we replicate it into an in-house team, which then saves efficiency. It depends of course on the area, but it could save up to 20 to 60% of costs which is a lot.

Paulo: Do you have any experience of going into areas where even if you’re not a logistics provider, that, because you have that logistics backbone, you have any experience of going into a second-tier or third-tier city where you’re the only player doing that kind of thing, or is it pretty much covered most for most areas?

Garret: You could always find a third-party logistics provider that wants to cover that area, whether they have covered it yet or not, or they’re doing it at the moment or not, but they could always just open up over there. But the fact is that when you rely on them and then they’re the first person that does that, then they’re gonna secure a really good price on your doorstep. 

In new areas, I usually do work with third-party logistics, but in some cases, when I look at the third parties, logistics options are not that available, then I would start with the in-house team immediately as well. 

“This is why the backbone is very important because you can’t just rely on third-party logistics because they can be the solution, but they can also be part of the problem.”

Paulo: I think that really gives you good optionality and flexibility to really execute really fast because when you can’t afford to lose time to really find a good 3PL, then you can actually just go through Super’s backbone and use that to execute. 

Speaking of execution, we’ve talked about logistics, but what’s the next biggest challenge that you face in terms of rolling out these operations in second-tier, third-tier cities, or rural areas in Indonesia?

Garret: The market approach is also very niche. So I’m going to give another example. Even in Surabaya, which is a second-tier city, it’s very well developed in Indonesia, but then it’s also very close to an island called Madura. Geographically, Madura is still considered Java, but it’s a whole different island. It’s surrounded by its own seas. It stands on its own and it has its own ethnicity and everything, but those Madurans kind of bleed into Surabaya. And so you have a crossbreed of ethnicity between Madurans and Surabayans.

At first, when we started in Surabaya, we approached the market and we had our people go in there and we tried having commerce there and we were dumbfounded because it was pretty hard. Why are people not connecting with our agents? 

We couldn’t figure it out. We kept trying until we had a different sample of Super Agents, which was locally homegrown in the North of Surabaya right. And [a customer from this sample] was the deviation. 

And then we figured out that the culture in the north of Surabaya is very loyalty-based. People that have been doing business with you will stick doing business with you just because they know you just because you’re friends with them and so on. And there was this instance when we had competitors coming in conventional players and they wanted to match our price, usually, pricing is the first thing that people attack with price dumping.  

The customer called our Super Agent and was like, “Hey, there’s this guy coming to me and he’s giving me all these promotions and whatever. Can you just promise me that next time when I buy from you, you’re going to give me a bonus?”

Our Super Agent is like, “Yeah that’s a done deal.” And then the customer didn’t buy from our competitors for that instance. 

It really comes to show that the market approach for each market is different. So that was ethnicity-based. It could be different for another market — it could be product-based. Ethnicity might not matter, they don’t care about that, but really care what kind of product you’re bringing in. Are you bringing in the kind of product that I grew up within this village? The brand that I am affiliated with? Or are you bringing in a different brand that I don’t know? So if it’s something that I don’t know, I’m not even going to talk to you, I’m just going to shut you down and get you out of my way cause you’re wasting my time. So the market approach has to be very tailored. It’s a tailored experience for each market. So that is what is most challenging, but it is also a barrier to entry for other people. 

“It really comes to show that the market approach for each market is different. So [my example] was ethnicity-based. It could be different for another market — it could be product-based. …So that is what is most challenging, but it is also a barrier to entry for other [players].” 

Paulo: We’ve talked about this whole logistics backbone from the perspective of the Super Agents, really the driving force of this whole social commerce model, but at the same time, you’re also working with a lot of these brands as well, FMCG brands, although you also have, or you’re also planning to roll out your own white label products as well. What does the backbone look like from that end of the value chain and how do you work with them in order to optimize and make costs more efficient and make distribution more efficient? 

Garret: It’s super fun working in the Indonesian market, because when I was in the Netherlands, everything was just set in stone. You have the supplier, and then you have the distributor and then you have the retailers and that’s it. That’s the only chain that’s there and it’s governed by the government so that there’s no monopoly and everything is just so set in stone, but in Indonesia, anything can go? 

Anything goes and we have a lot of suppliers. We have local suppliers. We have a village here in East Java that produces their own rice and they call their rice, “Greedy Catfish” or something. It works in that area. 

Paulo: So it’s sort of a closed ecosystem there, specific to that rice product. They produce the rice and then it’s also sold through Super as well. 

Garret: Yeah, so we worked together with the local rice producers because what we figured out in Indonesia is that the market is fragmented. There are suppliers that are working with us because they have a problem with distribution. They can’t distribute their goods to tier three or tier-four cities. And then there are suppliers that are already in tier three and tier four cities, but then they want to introduce a new product. They want to diversify their products because — for example, one of our suppliers has the problem of 80% of their sales only coming up from 20% of their channels. So their bargaining power towards the distributor is very much on the losing end of that deal. So they would really like to diversify their distribution channel much more. That’s where we come in and then we start opening up this new channel in tier three or four cities. Then we have the same case of problems with a supplier with 80% of their GMV being reliant on only the top three products. They need to diversify the products, and so we come in there as well. 

How we are able to be a solution for them is that firstly, we operate everything through our database. Every province is different and we have the data to crunch all of that. We can come up to them and we can tell them, “Hey, your product is doing very well in this region with these kinds of people and these kinds of behaviors, but it’s not doing great in this area. And the reason is because of different brand affiliation, etc.”

Paulo: So you’re sort of consultants for these brands as well as, or helping them strategize and optimize the distribution. 

Garret: Yeah, because it’s like, what do you do with data? You gotta turn it into information. And we have that data. So the second we turn it into information and then we give it to them, they’re always so happy to work with us because they usually pay people to do this kind of research for them. And we’re just telling them, “No, no, you don’t have to pay us. Just give us your goods.” 

Paulo: That’s a great way to really get that retention on the supply side of the equation. Speaking of data, what are the other use cases of data on your platform in terms of growing this social commerce company?

Garret: Data is the blood of the company if I would say because the twist here is that social commerce is not an innovation, at least I wouldn’t think so because we’ve been doing it since the beginning of time — for example, I’m friends with you and I sell you stuff — barter and everything, it’s the same deal.

Then the innovation comes in with the data. With the data, I can firstly do group buying, because I know there’s a lot of people in the area that like the same thing. So logistics-wise, I can distribute products efficiently and I can have the same products delivered on a certain density point. That’s data. 

Also I can provide a tailored experience for the Super Agents as well by figuring out the answers to — What kind of person is this? What does he/she like? What are his/her repeat orders? What kind of products does he/she usually buy? How old is he/she? I can mix and match that data with the correct product and the correct brand with the segmented suppliers. So I’m just connecting the two with the data. Data is basically the 10% innovation in the social commerce game, but then it brings about the scalability of the whole industry. 

“Data is basically the 10% innovation in the social commerce game, but then it brings about the scalability of the whole industry.” 

Paulo: That’s a really interesting point. First of all, that social conference isn’t really that new. It’s new in terms of the internet economy and then using all these digital platforms, but it’s also new, as you mentioned, because of the scalability of data. 

Now I think we’ve gotten a great idea of how social commerce in Indonesia works at least from Super’s perspective. So now I wanted to know — since you guys started in 2019, and obviously coming into 2021, it’s been quite the rollercoaster ride, 2019, obviously getting your feet on the ground, and then 2020, COVID happened. Unfortunately, the situation really hasn’t abated as we initially hoped. So how has Super adapted to the situation and continued pushing out your services even amidst the situation in Indonesia?

Garret: COVID has I would say a different take on our industry in comparison to a lot of other industries. And what I mean by that is that on the demand side, in the FMCG world, would say it only affects it so little if not even positively, sorry to say, because again, everyone is stocking up on their basic primary needs, rice, and vitamin C, and they can only stay inside. They have to buy everything online. So sales-wise, it’s actually really good. 

But then logistics-wise, again, we’re always coming back to that challenge of logistics. We have lockdowns. We have government roadblocks and everything. That’s making things a lot tougher and I’m not trying to be super critical, but then again, execution is always really difficult. So the government allows logistics companies to still operate or essential companies can still operate, but then we still have roadblocks near warehousing districts. 

So it’s kind of a mixed communication from my side that we’re supposed to still operate because again we’re distributing milk and everything towards the end consumers, but then there’s this roadblocks and everything, and we can’t get there on time. Usually, lead time is only about one day and lately, there are delays that go up to three days. So that’s a real pain bucket from our side. That’s just from the logistics side. 

How we solve this is we work together with other third-party logistics and we become a group and we help each other out on vaccinations and also on swab testing. So whenever we do encounter roadblocks, we have all the proper documentation to move forward, and we do have the logistics [permit] that we are a logistics company as well distributing primary goods. So they can really let us through. 

Another issue that’s been also hampering the organization, and I think it’s affected a lot of Indonesians, is health-wise right. Some of our teams are down for the count for a couple of weeks or two, and they’re suffering from COVID. But the thing is the whole team is helping one another. Just a week ago I dropped off an oxygen tank to one of my colleagues because his brother needed it.

And then a week before that, one of my colleagues also gave me a recommendation for a doctor and also some medicine for my family member that was also suffering from COVID. Everyone is helping one another at these times, but that’s pretty much how COVID is affecting us on all three levels. 

Paulo: I asked you earlier about your background with Super and that you seem to have never really left the company and even you came back as you said, it’s because you guys are really family. It’s great to really see that [spirit] come together through this crisis and that concept of the family even extends beyond the business itself, and even amongst the 3PL players collaborating with each other. 

I also want to get into how Super manages to stay lean. Super marked up tremendous growth over the past year considering the COVID situation and considering that you guys had just started off the year prior. When we asked Steven about it in the podcast last year, he mentioned part of it was really about what he called “wise costs”, to keep super lean while growing fast, and really being strategic about spending. So maybe you could explain that from the VP of FinOps perspective and are there any new developments or learnings in terms of that approach coming into 2021?

Garret: So on a lot of the spendings in Super we are very lean on that matter and how we are able to do so is what I call “leveraging existing infrastructure.” What I see a lot of other companies do is that they want something done — let’s say they want to expand to a new market — what they do is that they just hammer on a lot of spending for new infrastructure, new human resources, and everything else. They just hammer down on that expansion. 

In comparison to that, what we do is that we lean on existing infrastructure. We don’t just hammer down a new warehouse. What we do is that we go there and then we talk to one of the villages there and we were like, “Hey, I’ll give you 40 bucks a month if you just let me use your backyard. Is that cool?” 

“40 bucks. You can use the backyard.” 

And so we started using the backyards for our initial phase of expansion. We balance out the short term and the long term and in the short-term we use the existing infrastructure first and we keep things lean. With whatever existing warehousing, existing people or human resources, trucks that are already there, and distribution channels that are already there, we just piggyback on those existing channels.

Once we hit scalability or economics of scale, then we invest into our own networks and our own infrastructure, because by that time, our turnover would match our investment. And so we keep things lean. So that’s always been the approach that I personally adopt whenever we talk about expansion or making decisions about whether to invest at this time or whether we stick with the short-term strategy and keep patching things up until we hit that scalability point.

Paulo: Just to give some context for our listeners in that example, how does that compare to otherwise up your own center or buying out infrastructure?.

Garret: Just to give more context, if you want to rent a warehouse for a beginning phase, it’s usually at least about 300 square meters — 300 to 200 or 400 square meters. Then you have to go through a notary to get it officialized and everything, and then you have to pay for everything annually, and then there’s the whole depreciation. You’ve got to set up the racking and the security, and all that — in comparison to just me coming down to someone that lives in a village and he owns a big plot of land, cause he’s been there forever. I just come to them and say, “Hey, you’re not using that part of the land, right. No? Okay. I’ll give you 40 bucks. Just let me use it.”

Paulo: And that’s really the whole concept behind social commerce. Working with the existing community, really leveraging the trust and relationships within that community to make more efficient distribution. Another follow-up question is how do you mitigate the risks that come with working with other people or not necessarily more formal infrastructure?

Garret: Because we’re in social commerce, then the risk has to be also qualitatively assessed. In that case, the person that we are talking to — these people that we trust initially — are usually the village elders. They’re the people that people look up to in that area. So they have a reputation going on. 

Not only that, but usually we also go through recommendations, because we have Super Agent networks pretty much scattered around the island. If we need someplace, we just call up someone that’s usually around this vicinity and be like, “Hey, do you know anyone there that we can trust for a simple backyard warehousing operation kind of scheme, is that cool?” And they would say, “Yeah. I have an uncle that’s there or a cousin.” Then we’ll just sign some partnership papers, and that’s going to be good enough. 

Not only are we assessing this risk qualitatively through those aspects, but also when we first roll things out the volume and the scale of things are not big. We start small first and so whatever bad thing can happen — let’s say there’s going to be rain, and then location doesn’t have a good enough roof and then something leaks and then the goods go bad — when those things happen, then I lose about, let’s say 40 bucks of goods value for that initial phase, which is like, “Okay, that’s fine.”

That’s a risk worth taking for an entry point in comparison to the investment I would have to make if I didn’t take that kind of risk. So that kind of approach really helps mitigate the risk factor. And again, I don’t just do it with one guy when I start up. I also do it with a couple of other guys. So if anything goes wrong, it’s not like all of them are going to go wrong at the same time. I would always have comparisons and I will always have different perspectives to assess the current scenario through all those different partnerships that I’m doing at the same time for that expansion. 

Paulo: I think it’s just really about avoiding concentration risk when it comes to distribution and in a way you guys are also investing into these communities, taking that risk in order to, get an early foot in and then actually support these communities without having to wait to get that cash flow to actually invest in more formal infrastructure. But again, you do make that decision right over time once, as you said, that that turnover sort of matches the investment that you need so that’s really great. 

“With whatever existing warehousing, existing people or human resources, trucks that’s already there, and distribution channels that are already there, we just piggyback on those existing channels. Once we hit scalability or economics of scale, then we invest into our own networks and our own infrastructure, because by that time, our turnover would match our investment.”

So far we’ve been going through all the details and nitty-gritty sharing, some really great examples of how super works as a social commerce company in Indonesia. But now to wrap things up before we head into our rapid-fire round, I also wanted to get your long-term view on things, right, what excites you about super in the next five years? 

Garret: I’m looking forward to breaking the norm of the fragment that Indonesia, that we all know about. Long-term wise, I want to be part of a company that helps consolidate Indonesia and for now, I guess, I’m hoping that I’m contributing in the part of distribution. And I think that will not only have a lasting value for the company but also for the country as well. And as an Indonesian, that’s something that I can also be proud of as well. So I’m looking forward to doing that. 

“Long-term wise, I want to be part of a company that helps consolidate Indonesia and for now I guess, I’m hoping that I’m contributing in the part of distribution. And I think that will not only have a lasting value for the company, but also for the country as well.”

Rapid Fire Round 

What’s the biggest misconception people have about rural Indonesia? 

Garret: They’re poor — they’re not. 

Paulo: If Super’s business is any indication, they can spend a lot and it’s just a matter of getting them access to the goods.

Garret: You got it. Spot on. That’s the whole business model.

We’ve all been students once (and always are arguably) — most memorable class you’ve been in? 

Garret: I have a class called decision-making tools by professor Kalid Waba. He was able to put statistics into words. He puts statistics into a narrative. So you could understand bell curves, you could understand skewness and all of that in very simple layman terms about what is it to see the graph and what is the graph trying to tell you what to do? And ever since, until now, when I look at a graph, I just imagine him talking to me, like, “What does this graph mean, Garrett?”

What video game did you and Steven bond over when you caught up with him after returning from your MBA? 

Garret: On the first week that I met him, we wanted to play PUBG at the time. So PUBG was all the rage, but it was 2019 and so everyone was taking PUGB super seriously. 

What do you do to de-stress / take care of your (mental) health? 

Garret: I go to a mountain nearby Surabaya. There are about three mountains here and I just go there. I have a staycation there and I just chill out, usually bring my cello as well. I’m learning the cello, so I just go there and I play every now and then. 

Anything else to share with our audience? 

Garret: Well I’m hoping that once we all get vaccinated, if you guys found this podcast awesome, just shoot me up on LinkedIn or my email, and hopefully we can all grab a beer soon enough. 

***