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7 Questions on Leadership with Untag Pranata

Name: Untag Pranata

Title: President Director

Oranisation: PT Unzyp Solusi Teknologi

I'm a technology enthusiast with a business background. You can say technopreneur. Both knowing how technology works and combining it with commercial perspectives allow me to deep dive into the tech industry. I have been in the tech industry after the tech bubble era, from renting preloved PlayStation games in my elementary school, selling customized MP3 CDs in my junior high school, and many other things. The company that I founded with my partner, Unzyp Software has been around for some time to help enterprises and small businesses to leverage technology on their business.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Untag's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a leader, you might face different kinds of challenges. If you are in the technology industry, the rapid development of new technology will push you to do something new. But for me, it's always fun to create something new and people use it, beneficial for everyone. The most challenging one is managing people. I'm not that good at communication, but I'm good at listening to people. I can listen to someone else for hours, giving my opinion in minutes. But those valuable minutes, impact people what I'm listening to in a good way.

From a financial perspective, COVID-19 is one of the challenging aspects for my business. This affects the business, affecting my emotions and way of thinking. We had like 47% slump in sales, which forced me to rethink how we manage the business. That time, and my partner regret many things, but we keep evaluating and finding many opportunities that not many people think of. While COVID-19 becomes an epidemic, we strike that opportunity and we are still disbelieving that we are still surviving until today.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

From the time I began a journey in the tech industry, I knew I had huge interests and vowed to be good at it. If you running a company, most people will say you need to be good at what you're doing, and from that it will become a business. To be a great leader, you need to a good at something that someone will look up to you. Hoping people who look at you have the same vibe and objectives as you are. Set yourself as a part-time mentor for someone else.

After running a business with my partner for 6 months, we somehow overwhelm with our day-to-day tasks. We both do technical work, management, financial, etc. So that's when we came up to hire someone else and delegate our work. The most important thing to start your leadership journey is to trust someone else. Running an organization is like operating your own body, but trusting your limbs, heart, and emotions to someone else who eventually lets the body work properly. And yourself is the brain.

My type of leadership is by example. I will never let someone else do something for me if I have never tried it before. The worst I can do is do something new together make sure I'm involved in it, and be resilient. And the rest is history.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

As of today, if I could split my body then I would. As a decision-maker and still involved in technical work, I feel timeless. Wake up at 7 a.m., isn't always my routine. To start my day, morning prayer comes first. Sipping tea that my wife made for me while checking messages, emails, and calendar. Sorting emails based on priority which helped me a lot to organize task by task.

Before I leave my house, I make time to play with my kids in a nearby park or just for a walk. Even just for 30 minutes, it gives me extra energy to start my day and gives me the purpose to leave the house and come back home.

When it comes to meetings, always comes to mind that I have meetings to "interrupt", not to attend. I'm not a fan of long meetings, make it short and always focus on what I'm doing with my team. Giving my team a morale story and mentorship to boost their motivations, and always gives them a purpose for their presence today.

I always have my lunch in the late afternoon. Chemical reactions in my stomach and the fat digestion process in my pancreas somehow boost my focus and speed. Increasing my brain functions until it goes numb. When most of my tasks are done, lunch in the late afternoon is my self-reward.

A few of my daily routines are to meet people offline. But I always make sure while meeting with someone, there either is someone new or a new topic to discuss. The right time for me to meet people offline is in the early morning or late afternoon before evening. Somehow in this way, I have achieved so much with my tasks today when I get home.

At night after having my dinner, doesn't feel right if I haven't done something before I go to sleep. Like something is missing. So I will open my laptop and check what I have done today, review my team's achievements, set up new tasks for tomorrow, or find new opportunities by surfing the internet until my eyes close.

Kind of a long day, but it feels timeless. And I keep the same routine every day for many years.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

As I recall, to be a great leader you need to be a good disciple. Today I don’t have any mentors to rely on, but I have partners that I can learn from. One of my best skills is listening and understanding the way of thinking of so many people I met, taking a few what’s in it for you, and leaving what is not for you. My best mentor was my late father who was a chief policeman. He was at his prime when an unfortunate event struck him and made him gone forever (maybe peace upon him). But his legacy is still intact with me, and I never forgot what he taught me how to be a great leader.

Back in my university life, my final year was filled with leadership moments. At the time, I was involved in Indonesian Students United (PPI) to held an exhibition for international students in Malaysia. The president appointed me to be his vice president to place me in organizing the event. It was so challenging, in the same year my father passed away which coincided with my final exam. For the love of my country and my future, I was eager to complete both and magically it was a success with the help of the team I had formed. That was my first practical experience as a successful leader. The confidence as a leader had in me ever since.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

My late father had so many books kept in his library, and most of them were biography books. These books are my other source of wisdom, and impact my journey as a leader. Two of the biographies were about President Soekarno, the first Indonesian President. The second one was Chiang Kai-shek, a military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Generalissimo of the National Revolutionary Army. Both figures have the same common and came up from the World War and colonialism era which they fought for their people and founded a new nation. The motivations they had somehow inspired me to be a great leader.

Most of my knowledge and wisdom value mostly from another figure. But some of my wisdom came up from non-biography books I have read. One of the books is Cracking Zone by Prof. Rhenald Kasali, this book is about making progress anytime you can, getting outside of your comfort zone, being willing to do something new, and getting challenged every day. As for technology leadership, I have read so many inspiring books such as The Google Story by David A. Vise, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson, and The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. Those books inspired me to be a technopreneur and leader in the tech industry.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

To the new blood, push yourself to do something more beneficial for everyone. Be resilient and yet persistent. Make sure you are good at something, and keep doing the same thing until the whole world knows you are good at it.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I can mention a few of the great leaders of our time that you might interested in. President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Elon Musk CEO of Tesla, X, and SpaceX. And lastly Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft. These 3 leaders have a unique way to lead organizations and even on a bigger scale. The three figures inspired me to keep innovating and making progress over time.

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