HB Naveen: New Media is the Mobile Phone

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ALWAYS being innovative and never satisfied with himself has made HB Naveen a top businessman with class. After gaining experience as a professional at an advertising agency and a production house, HB Naveen set out to establish his own business.  

Naveen decided he’d had enough as an employee and ventured out of his comfort zone and stepped into a new world; one that was still related to advertising and television. Fifteen years ago, with just a little capital he was able to distribute several television programs, such as Joe Millionaire and Fear Factor, which were adapted from foreign television programs and aired by RCTI.

After tasting bitter sweet experiences at the production house, Naveen ventured into the business of mobile phone ring back tones as the market was promising.  

As this business required a huge investment – Rp 7 billion – he sold his shares in PT Bhakti Media. “I made this decision after my director, Harry Tanoesudibyo, gave me his full support. I was still young, had a lot of time and had to move fast. If I didn’t run with it, I wouldn’t have been able to realize my dreams,” he stressed.  

With courage, research and lots of reading, Naveen, who was born in Jakarta in 1971, took another step forward. In 2006, Naveen established PT Falcon Interactive, a company that concentrated on a new media. After radio, print media, television and the Internet, a new media appeared: the mobile phone. Using a mobile phone, one can do many things such as SMS, MMS, video and ring back tones. One extraordinary aspect about his business is that it has grown by about 40 percent despite the poor business climate.  

Naveen, a Harvard University executive program graduate, said his business would not run smoothly without courage, determination and meticulousness in trying out new trends in the market. “I have to be innovative just like my adventurous character. My dream is actually simple. When I die I want to be remembered for what I have done and created, just like the inventors of Google and Facebook. That is why I cannot stop creating.”  

Naveen’s determination in building his business has indeed borne fruit. In just a few years the potential of the mobile phone has grown rapidly. In just one day, more than one trillion text messages are sent from one user to another. Naveen’s focus on this business was becoming more pronounced as over 128 million mobile phones are in use in Indonesia. Hence, it has the potential to be a highly promising business.

“What is good about this business is that not only communication is built but also communities. Another profitable factor is that payment is made though the deduction of credit on the user’s phone. This media is stronger than other media, because it is more commercial,” he explained.  

The business development was really beyond prediction, as Naveen was entrusted by two legendary Indonesian musicians, Iwan Fals and Rhoma Irama. Their music and songs were made into ring back tones for their fans to buy. And not only that, fans can communicate with Iwan Fals through the Internet for 20 minutes, plus there is also a blog for his fans.   Naveen used to work as an account manager at McCann Erickson, but just like his parents, business is in his blood.

He made another innovation at the end of 2008 when he came up with the brilliant idea of making the Muslim Hidayah concept available through Esia offering various forms of Muslim content, such as daily prayers and Koran recitals.

“We cooperate with operators like Flexi and Smart as well as Mizan bookstore. In the future, we plan to make a mobile phone book reading program and are working on the possibility of cooperating with Mizan bookstore to make a mobile book.”  

Naveen’s business targets the below 25s as this age group follows trends, which makes it easy to sell ring back tones to them. “We have developed an application, called chatting. So, one does not have to use the Internet but just a mobile phone to chat, SMS and so forth. The cost is much lower.”  

Naveen achieved success after encountering a number of impediments. However, for him problems often heighten his spirit and inspire him to move forward. Naveen never sees an ending but a path toward success. As a new player he learns a lot from competitors. He said that his new business does not totally depend on financing or money, but careful observation, independence and free thinking. In relation with all this he also intends to further his knowledge and will go to Harvard for a short course. He said that a human being has to keep on developing mentally.

“Over there one can find a community of smart people, so I want to reflect about myself, how far I have gone and how far my business has developed.”  

Naveen currently has 70 employees. He has his own style of management: simple and firm but still using his heart. “In my opinion my team has also to be good, not just me. The team here is relatively small, but everyone wants to work and create. If they don’t make the best effort they usually feel left out. A leader’s duty is to motivate, open their horizons on how to press forward.”  

Naveen, who is single, is serious about his work, but it is not the only thing on his mind. He is also a fitness buff and runs daily. Even when he is abroad he makes the time to run 10 kilometers every day. “I want to be physically and mentally healthy so that I can think clearly,” he said.  

“Another important thing is that I am always grateful to God, because my work flows smoothly and my workplace has a relaxing atmosphere with young and creative employees, while the company’s profit is not bad at all,” he said. (Titian Cuo)  

The Jakarta Post, July 22, 2009

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