lesson learned, work

Between you, me, the new year, and human capital

Someone over StartupLokal’s mailing list asked how much does startup development cost. I stumbled upon reply made by this guy named Roni Ishak.

I unethically copy-and-pasted the reply he made here for viewing pleasure:

Hmmm, I have issues with that list, because I really believe coding is something worth investing in. Gini deh,

For a developer/coder, you can have them write a specific function that does the same thing. While a junior level coder can perhaps write code in 20 lines, a senior coder might be able to do it in significantly less lines of code. Experienced coders can write code more efficiently, and it pays off in the long term.

In the past I’ve been criticized by other development companies for overpaying my developers (especially in the BlackBerry development community). But you have to understand the real “role of gaji” in development.

High salary means less hijacking! It means attracting talent. It means people are comfortable to work. It means less time trying to find another job and focusing at the work at hand.

There’s a trick here tho. You should never need more that 1 senior coder per development team. In the case u need 2 highly skilled developers, hire a senior level coder and a junior coder. In most cases they help each other out and you will have 2 awesome devs.


Junior – 3jt

Senior – 5jt

PHP devs, Sysadmins,

Junior 5-7jt

Senior 8-12jt

PM level 13+

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android

Junior 6-8jt

Senior 9-13jt

UI Designer/ HCI

10jt +

But it doesn’t stop there. Health insurance, Quarterly Book Buys from Amazon, Developers conferences (even to the US), seminars, classes, etc. I also let my employees freelance in their own time. Because a healthy company will grow together with the employees.

Most developers don’t work for a salary, but they work to find purpose. So have them believe in your ideas and vision and they will work their asses off for you. In most cases, that means working beyond 5pm if it means de-bugging for perfect code.

There have been developers that come to me begging for a job and also bringing source code from their previous company. That is not ethical, but it happens. This is Jakarta, the wild wild southeast. You don’t want your devs selling your source, so invest the time and money to develop a relationship with them.

I’ve even met people pitching me “ron, I can lower your development costs by 1/5”. And yea, there are developers sponsored through a government initiative that pays them a total sum of 1-2 juta per month for an android developer and locked with a 8 year contract. But its not ethical to hire these people.

In an IT company, developers are investments.

Its also very important that you find developers that have passion in their skill. Ask them what blogs they read. Because what separates a developer that codes “as a job” and developers that goes out of their way to know the latest SDK or technique is Passion.

Before hiring, learn all you can about Human Capital Management. Its methods of keeping your developers happy.

Hope it helps!


Ronald Ishak

This guy, his comment in particular, successfully manage to interpret what’s in my mind. I can tell there’s a huge difference between this guy way of thinking than people who tend to thinks like “There are tons of developer out there who’re after job. Thus replacing one after another is how it works”.

“… they work to find purpose.” – hit me the most. I just can’t agree more.

In my humble opinion based on perspective as a developer, I could say that this is a leader type I’d love to work with. Leading is one thing. Giving purpose, is another thing.

Difference between leading and giving purpose is interesting. I’ll dig into these later.

Anyway. Its the last day of 2010. Happy new year!


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