Who is the 31-year-old entrepreneur part of Jokowi's US entourage?
President Joko Widodo arrived in the United States on October 25 for an official visit but is now en route back to Indonesia to attend to the haze crisis.
Widodo decided to cut his trip short by canceling the San Francisco leg of his trip, and said he will instead send his ministers to take care of business and complete his meetings there. The meetings, aimed at increasing foreign investment, include appointments with fund managers and Silicon Valley executives including from Google and Apple's Tim Cook.
Among the prominent figures and business people that will speak in behalf of Indonesia will be Nadiem Makarim, a young Harvard graduate and the founder of what might be called the Uber of the motorcycle world.
Who is Makarim?
Makarim has been described as the personification of the young professional that Jokowi, as the president is known, is looking for to boost the country’s creativity sector.
The 31-year-old Makarim in 2011 founded Go-Jek, a play on the Indonesian word ojek, or motorcycle taxi. The service has become wildly popular in Jakarta’s traffic-choked streets.
Go-Jek won the Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia in 2011. The young entrepreneur was also selected by the Geneva-based New Cities Foundation as one of the world’s nine outstanding urban innovators in 2015. He has spoken to hundreds of global urban leaders about their success in tackling some of the greatest current urban challenges.
Poor man's Uber
While motorcycle taxis are ubiquitous in Jakarta, Makarim combined a penchant for marketing genius with up-to-date technology, dressing his drivers in smart green jackets and helmets and using Android and iOS apps so that their customers can track them as Uber does.
Customers can order a Go-Jek to either transport them to their destinations or stay home and ask the driver to deliver goods, order food or even shop for them. As with Uber in other more advanced metropolitan areas, users can track the driver’s location via a global positioning system (GPS), which tells them exactly how long it will take for the driver to arrive.
Go-Jek’s popularity has been rising on the slogan “An ojek for every need.” After launching “Go-Box” which serves customers with various sizes of trucks for transportation, it also introduced “Go-Glam” for beauty care services, “Go-Clean” for cleaning services, and “Go-Massage” which offers a private masseuse delivered to customers’ homes.
That has raised antagonism of more traditional ojek riders, much as traditional taxi drivers in other cities have grown angry from the competition from Uber, which is cheaper, trackable via internet, and whose drivers are supposed to be guaranteed to be polite.
Go-Jek users need not bargain as the company sets a fixed price for each kilometer traveled. It also offers a flat tariff during non-rush hour of Rs15,000 Rupiah (US$1.10) for maximum 25 kilometers. – Rappler.com
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