Monday May 21

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Meet Ollie, entrepreneur and writer from Indonesia


What do you do?
I am a writer and entrepreneur.

Describe yourself in a few words.
Creative, Self-Confident, and I like doing things I have never done before. 

What was your first book? When and why did you decide to write it?
I wrote my first book in 2004; I was 21. It was a novel called "Look! I am on fire". I undertook a three month writing scholarship and the story was part of an assignment for a writing class. I gave the assignment to my teacher, who gave it to a publisher, and then it got published.

I always wanted to go abroad...but at the time, I did not have the money or the chance to go. The unique thing is that the book is a love story based in Seattle. I researched via the internet and wrote the book based on my research.

What are your proudest achievements to date?
I always feel proud whenever someone publishes their own book on…to see their lives change, it always make me proud. There are also two other things. First was the launch of in 2010 – it was in conjunction with a book launch; 99 writers wrote the book in nine days. It was a very special moment, standing there with 99 new writers. Secondly, this year I received the Inspiring Woman Award 2012 from Tabloid Nova. My mom was there and she was very happy. When I saw my parents happy, I am happy as well.

Photographs from Ollie's visit to UBDfm




What is one of your biggest regrets in life?
I regret not being able to say sorry to people I have wronged. Other than that, I don't have any regrets. Everything happens for a reason. I learn from my mistakes.

You were invited here to Brunei as a panelist in the Think Big Innovate Forum 2012. What has your experience in Brunei been like?
It has been very insightful and it has opened my mind about a new and totally different world from where I live. There are all the basic things that are needed to live - I have learnt about we are different...but not so different after all. One observation is that in Indonesia we have a lot of problems. Here, the people need more problems (to get them out of their comfort zones).

photo_4You have met a range of people here including start-ups and students. What have been some of the themes from your discussions to date? (picture with Ollie holding her latest book, "Yes You Can!")
How to ignite entrepreneurship...some people haven't found what they want to do...what's their passion, what they want to do in business...where to start. Some are still at a basic point of starting a business. Here, you have a lot of support from the government (through grants schemes and initiatives) but in terms of the human resources, it is not yet fully inspired to know what to do.

What would you say to someone who comes up to you and says, "Ollie, I want to be successful but I just don't know where to begin?!"
Find your passion. From my own experience, from your passion you will find a problem…then provide a solution to that problem...and that will be your first business. But you must find first your passion.

What can we expect from you in the next three to five years? Where do you see yourself?
I would love to make Jakarta into a literary destination where you can go to learn how to write and learn more about literature.

Thank you for your time Ollie.
Thank you! Thank you for having me.

Group photograph with Ollie at UBDfm


Editor's Note: I first met Ollia (a.k.a. @Salsabeela) at the ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference in 2011. We have been cyber buddies ever since. For a little more information on her background, visit her blog but for now, this is how Ollie's current bio reads. "Ollie is the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of, Indonesia’s first online self-publishing start-up and co-founder of, Indonesia’s top online book store. She was named one of Indonesia’s top women in IT in 2011 by Infokomputer Magazine and as one of 50 inspiring people 2012 by Intisari Magazine. Ollie has written over 25 books." And get this, she's still under 30! See you next time Ollie.


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