Siapa sih yang belum kenal dengan Herman Saksono? Salah satu karyanya yang kini sedang melambung adalah cerpenista.com. Dan pada kesempatan perdana ini, Herman Saksono bersedia meluangkan waktunya untuk kami wawancarai lewat e-mail. Kami sengaja mewawancarai dengan bahasa Inggris supaya saudara-saudara kita yang di luar sana juga bisa mengerti dan menyadari gelegak Web 2.0 di Indonesia. Bagi yang lain, semoga tidak ada yang mengalami kesulitan dalam membaca interview ini.
Who are you and what did you do before, or now?
I’m Herman Saksono. I work for UGM as system analyst for our e-learning environment. I also developed Cerpenista (cerpenista.com ), which is a a collaborative story-writing app.
What was the “klik” that made you create cerpenista?
The whole concept of Cerpenista was conceived in this mailing list called CahAndong.org (a Jogjakarta-based blogger community) on June 19th, 2008. We made this really funny thread which basically a chain of sentences from many people. However, by their nature, mailing-list just doesn’t work for this kind of things, so I decided to write an webapp specially designed for this kind of stuff.
Why do you think it will work?
Easy. We had a great time. Also, I think it has something to do with the fact that us, bloggers, love to write.
How much investment was put into it? in terms of working hours, or funding?
The basic prototype of Cerpenista was built in 4 days. I spent additional 3 days to polish things up. The rest was just casually added. The current incarnation of Cerpenista is 3 months old. I didn’t pour any fund to it, since the only thing needed is a reliable hosting, and my blog (hermansaksono.com ) has enough capacity to host the traffic (before the launch). This is before our partnership with Dagdigdug.
As this is a UCG site, how do you attracts new users?
I don’t think I did anything big to attract new users. On the contrary, I think its the users who lure other users to join the fun. That’s why its very important to make our user comfortable and excited with Cerpenista.
How do you market or promote your service? Any thing you learn, which is a success (or may be a failure)? How’s the result?
I didn’t exactly promote Cerpenista, I just offered my friends at CahAndong to participate in this new collaborative writing thing. After that, some of them wrote about it on their blogs and Cerpenista starts getting more attentions. Then the offer from Dagdigdug came. Dagdigdug is just great. We share this passion to grow responsibly.
After the launch, we put a banner on Dagdigdug as well as spreading press releases to many news outlet. Luckily, our release was picked by okezone.com. They put Cerpenista story on their technology frontpage for a month. Okezone ended up supplying major incoming traffic for a month. So I think anyone who is going to launch a website should consider write compelling release and spreading ‘em like mad.
Any campaign coming up?
We have something else, we currently hold a collaborative story writing contest. This month’s contest will be the first round of other contests ahead. Unfortunately the registration for this month is already closed, but you can read the work-in-progress stories here: cerpenista.com/kontes/cerpen/.
Please subscribe to our blog (cerpenista.dagdigdug.com) if you want to be updated for future contests.
How do you keep current users?
It may sound like a cliche, but like other community websites you just gotta listen to many people as possible. I think the hard part is when you have more users, you gotta listen more, and the old listening-strategy would not work. The listening stretegy must evolve too.
From the beginning until now, how many users or activity stats? Are you happy with it?
Before it was officially launched, CN had about 80 users. Now we have more than 1000 users. I am thrived by the amount of attention this small webapp gets.
Do you have any (secret) weapon to deal with participation saturation?
Nothing secret really, you just gotta make every users feels at home. This is where we gotta invent new things to improve the overall experience.
Any plan to generate revenue soon? If yes, What is your ideal business model?
There are plans, long-term plans, which will be disclosed when it is going to be disclosed.
What’s your biggest fear? Any competitions you see?
My biggest fear is when users no longer feel Cerpenista as their home to write great stuff.
From what we see, your applications should work well in other language, why stick with indonesian?
Cerpenista was a community driven project. I have yet found a community
What’s next after cerpenista? What do you see about Cerpenista in a year or two?
Nothing really pops out of my mind lately. Those kind of things does not pop everyday.