Adi Kusma: Reading Hidden Opportunities

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DESPITE his relatively young age, his forward-looking spirit and vision deserve kudos. He is Adi Kusma, president director of PT Supra Primatama Nusantara, better know as Biznet Networks. Biznet is a company providing Internet-related services, namely Network, Internet, Hosting and Voice.  

Born in Jakarta on June 19, 1976, Adi has demonstrated determination in building his career. In his opinion, age is no barrier to high achievers. He illustrates this with Biznet, a company he established eight years ago that has become quite strong. He says a person must have the courage to accept any challenge, a belief that has taken him to the top of his profession.  

Traveling overseas to study and work for an international company in the U.S., while earning just enough to cover his expenses was the first indication of how much courage he had. Later, he took the brave step of setting up a company that required quite a lot of capital and had a high level of risk. The result is a company that has been moving fast and has penetrated the market.  

Around 1994, he finished senior high school and continued his studies at Oregon State University, U.S. majoring in industrial engineering. Adi was more interested in information technology (IT), but his parents expected one of their three children to one day take over the family business. And so Adi had to forget his love for IT.

His father ran a factory in Jakarta making iron wire and another in Padang producing corrugated iron roofs. Therefore, Adi has been acquainted with factory activities since he was a small boy, and is fond of observing the working process in a factory.  

However, his destiny determined a different road for him. During his school days, he liked playing computer games, which led to him becoming familiar with websites and encouraged him to learn more about software. When he was in the U.S., he did an Internet course and earned a certificate from Microsoft (Microsoft Certified System Engineer, or MCSE).

“I learned everything about networking, operating systems, programing, web servers and database servers from scratch. I passed eight tests from Microsoft and earned the certificate,” Adi said.  

He was lucky as in 1998 he got a job as a systems programmer at Software House International (www.shi.com) in Somerset, New Jersey, the U.S. His salary was not very high, but he gained a lot of experience in this job and further improved his IT skills. Two years later, Adi returned to Indonesia and founded Biznet.  

Adi did not set up Biznet without a plan. At that time he was well aware that this line of business would be very promising. When he returned home, he gradually became acquainted with the country’s Internet business mapping, particularly regarding Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

“The way I saw it, at that time ISPs had only a maximum of 40,000 to 50,000 members while America On Line (AOL) in the U.S. had up to 40 million members. It struck me then that this was a good opportunity to tap in Indonesia,” Adi said.  

To run this particular business, Adi said, the main asset is courage, including the courage to determine your market segments. Biznet’s early strategy was to eye the relatively established class, with corporations as the target market. This led to the creation of the name Biznet with “biz” referring to business.

“For me, corporations have the most potential. At that time I thought that all large companies would be willing to pay a lot and punctually as long as the services were excellent, meaning price would be second to quality. In the retail segment, however, the condition is different as there is a tendency for price wars,” he said.  

Biznet is indeed aggressive in its activities. In 2006, Biznet Engineering Labs created Biznet Metro — the first Carrier Grade Metro Ethernet Network in Indonesia. Then in 2007, Biznet Engineering Labs launched the FTTH (Fiber to the Home) Biznet Metro, the Fiber Optic network that reaches houses.

It was the first such business in Southeast Asia. Then in 2008, it launched Biznet InterCity Network, which links major cities in Java, Sumatra and Bali to the global network.  

Biznet Networks is directly connected to a number of leading Tier-1 backbones and Internet Exchange in the world to provide high speed and a short route to the destination network. Biznet has also made an agreement on direct peering with one of the leading content delivery networks, Akamai (akamai.com) and a number of other leading content providers in the world.  

Biznet Networks also operates a direct Internet route in Europe with the point of presence (POP) being located in London and the U.S. (Silicon Valley) to complete the International Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong (China), Singapore POP developed previously.

“Up to now, Biznet Networks operates five international POPs. With the addition of this route, Biznet users can have direct access (peering) to the London Internet Exchange (LINX) and the Palo Alto Internet Exchange (FAIX) in the U.S. without going through the Tier-1 provider,” Adi said.  

Biznet is the only provider or ISP in Indonesia with peering with LINX (European POP) and PAIX (US POP). These two new Internet exchanges are the most superior on their respective continents with, of course, the biggest data content. This direct route allows greater speed in performance and access to content in Europe and the U.S.  

Biznet is now penetrating large corporations. However, it is still expanding its business and is eyeing the retail segment of its market.

“We are building a fiber optic network that will reach households. Besides being an expansion, this is also an investment for the future,” Adi said.

One of the retail products of Biznet, MAX3, has a speed of up to 10 Mbps, much faster than the average dial-up speed of about 56 Kbps.

“The essence is that we must continue to learn, including learning to read opportunities and widen our knowledge for the sake of the future. This is the most important key to success for someone in building a career,” Adi said. (Iwan Suci Jatmiko)  

The Jakarta Post, June 18, 2008

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