Luqman Sungkar is the co-founder and CTO of Flip, an Indonesian payments platform that enables individuals and businesses to access fair, low-cost financial transactions from anywhere to anyone.
Flip’s a Series B company that got backing from Tencent and other institutional investors.
👋🏼 How would you explain your job to someone outside tech?
My 2 friends and I created Flip to build fair financial services for everyone.
We started by enabling people to do interbank transfers at a cheaper cost (even free!), and we continue to grow from there.
Right now, we are not only serving personal users but also businesses to support their business transactions, like sending and accepting money. I am in the engineering team, doing everything I can to support my team in creating the product to deliver that value to our users.
🧐 What's something about you or your job that would surprise us?
Flip is my very first job after graduation. When I build Flip, I invite my college friends to join to build Flip together. So, right now some people in Flip's engineering team are actually my college friends. It’s fun because it feels like I’m just continuing my college life.
🏆 What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Flip is my very first career, so definitely I would mention the highlight of my work here. The highlight was when I was appointed as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the team started to grow together.
I have been in an Individual Contributor (IC) role before that, that’s actually what I love to do, and still have a lot to learn.
Being a CTO is a completely different role. You are now not only dealing with technical challenges, but also people, organizations, processes, and others. But despite all of the challenges, I’m now surrounded by a lot of awesome people in my team, and I really learned a lot. This amount of learning I might not get otherwise.
🔍 What's a startup trend or space you're watching this year?
Definitely Artificial Intelligence (AI). The advancement and ease of access to AI has really sprouted a lot of interesting startup ideas.
People now start to understand what AI is capable of and utilize it as a supporting tool to make good ideas become awesome ideas.
💼 What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
Seeing the current advancement in AI tech, the entry barrier for someone to create a tech product becomes lower. It’s easy now to just ask AI to generate some code to do something. However, I strongly suggest everyone start out as a software engineer, to still learn and understand the fundamentals. AI can be a great sidekick for you, but you still need to understand what it is doing.
If you also want to start building your own product, try to avoid the HDD (Hype Driven Development).
In this era of the rapidly growing tech industry, it’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing or doing anything that is currently in the hype. But you should first focus on what value you want to deliver to your customers, and tech decisions should follow.
🗣 What's one thing you can keep talking about for hours?
How things work! I have always been curious about how everything works and the clever design behind them.
This can include things like machinery, mechanics, electronics, computers, and even sometimes nature, physics, and mathematics.
🎥 What's your favorite movie/TV show?
For movies, it’s the Back to the Future trilogy. I don’t know how many times I have rewatched those movies. If it’s a TV show, my recent favorite is Better Call Saul.
🍨 What's your go-to ice cream flavor?
I rarely eat ice cream, usually I have traditional Indonesian dessert like Es Doger or Es Podeng.
But if it’s ice cream, usually I go with strawberry or chocolate.
FYI. We've edited this interview for clarity.
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