Hitsss : From what I see now, your appearance looks like a rock star. Do you love rock music?
Jenny : Umm, it's probably my outfit and my frizzy hair (laugh), but Shinta knows I love music, but I don’t know about rock music, though. I like pop. I love songs with lyrics that are kind-of romantic. If you go to my Twitter, sometimes I tweet songs and I write a few lines of the lyrics. Usually, a lot of my friends say, “Jenny, these songs are just too heart-breaking.” They are too romantic sometimes. I guess the reason why I love those songs is because a lot of my friends who do know me, they would compare me to a coconut—hard on the outside, but soft and romantic on the inside (laugh). I do believe being both soft and strong is a combination very few have mastered, so I believe I have that trait. But, don’t tell the world about my soft and romantic side. (laugh)
Hitsss : Okay, okay (laugh)
Jenny : Okay (laugh)
Hitsss : If I may, would you share with our readers about your business story from the beginning until now—especially about a special story in it?
Jenny : Well, the special story would be when I met Shinta. We met through an introduction by a journalist from Washington D.C. He's a Caucasian man but he only likes to do stories about Asia Pacific countries. He interviewed Shinta first because Shinta is from Indonesia, and he interviewed me because I am Vietnamese-American. After both stories were published on his independent news platform, BorderlessNewsOnline.com, one day he thought that the two of us should meet. It was two years ago next month: October.
Jenny : IDByte 2015 was in September. So, I didn’t know about that because I didn’t know Shinta then. It wasn't until October of that same year that Shinta flew to San Francisco. So, she read the email introduction and she sent back a reply. She said, “Jenny, I’ll be in San Francisco; would you be around?” So I flew up to San Francisco to meet her because I live in L.A. And ever since then we’ve become not only business partners, but the best of friends. Yeah, I think many people who know and follow us think she and I have known each other for decades. (smile)
Hitsss : So, I heard before from the stage that you began a business at the age of twenty.
Jenny : That is correct. I graduated from the U.S. You would graduate from high school (in America) at either 17 or 18. So, I graduated from high school at around 17. Then I got my bachelor’s degree in just about three years to three-and-a-half years. I think I was 20-21. And then I worked for this company for only a year or something, and then I went independent. Um … but I didn’t launch my first company until I was 25. And I became a self-made millionaire when I was 27—many years ago, but I look 29, right? (laugh)
Hitsss : More like 25. (laugh)
Jenny : Oh wow, 25! (laugh)
Hitsss : Okay, um … I thought you were Indonesian, but you are Vietnamese, yeah?
Jenny : Ever since I've been here in Jakarta, everyone thinks I'm Indonesian because my best friend and business partner is Shinta, and she's Indonesian. But, yes, my dad is Chinese—that’s why my last name is Chinese—and my mom is Vietnamese. But, when people ask me, I would usually say that I am Vietnamese-American—because I already carry my dad's name all over the world—so I want to give credit to my mom, who is Vietnamese. If I would say I’m Chinese-Vietnamese-American, that's just too long. See? So, I chose to just answer that I am Vietnamese-American. It’s to repay my mom.
Hitsss : So, what do you love about Indonesia?
Jenny : Oh, so first of all, what I love about Indonesia is her (pointing to where Shinta W. Dhanuwardoyo was standing). I never, ever thought that I would know anyone from this part of the world besides Vietnam. But you know, strange things happen in the world and I believe in “fate" or "(faith)”. There are two different kinds of “fate (faith)”: f-a-t-e kind of fate. Or f-a-i-t-h kind of faith. I believe in both. So, I believe it was fate that brought Shinta and I together and we have a really close bond. We do argue quite a bit, but we work things out because sometimes in business there is a lot of stress when it comes to decision making. She has her thoughts and I have mine. So, many times we would have to compromise, and we do.
Jenny : Other than Shinta, who taught me to adopt a lot of the Indonesian culture, ever since I've been here in Jakarta I've been eating a lot of Indonesian foods, and I love it! Where I live there are no Indonesian restaurants. So, while I'm here in Jakarta, I wanted to try all kinds of authentic Indonesian foods. After IDByte, Shinta is supposed to take me to a few more restaurants this weekend. She is gonna take me to load me up on lots of Indonesian foods (laugh). I tried some earlier for lunch, like some pastries. And it was really good, actually.
Hitss : So, you want more experience..
Jenny : Yes, yes, yes. I would love to—especially food (laugh). Well, I think it’s because she (Shinta W. Dhanuwardoyo) has tasted Vietnamese foods already—like Pho and the Banh Mi, which is the sandwich—but I have never had any Indonesian foods because there are no restaurants near where I live. So, it’s going to be my first experience.
Jenny : Since I've been here in Jakarta, I've been stuck here at Pacific Place Jakarta to help Shinta. I have not had a chance to go out yet (laugh). So I have not seen the country. But I hoped, you know, maybe this weekend she would take me to—well she was supposed to take me to Bali with some other friends, and we would go together to Bali. But with the volcano, no luck. So I think she has other plans now. I don’t know. It's up to her.
Hitsss : Okay, the last question ...
Jenny : That’s more than three!
Hitsss : (Laugh) Sorry, sorry.
Jenny : That’s fine. That’s okay.
Hitsss : Do you have any tips for our millennial readers?
Jenny : For millennial readers, I would say to take risks. Startups are really hot everywhere now. Be an entrepreneur and launch a business, any business. How I would approach entrepreneurship is to look around you and see problems that are around you. It could be a simple matter to a larger project such as the traffic here in Indonesia. As an entrepreneur, it is the entrepreneur's job to find the solution to those problems. Once you have an idea to solve certain problems, that becomes your startup. Take risks—and when risks are taken with a bit of passion, as a founder/CEO, he or she will get the support needed to expand that idea into a scalable and sustainable business.
Jenny : In order to be successful and wealthy and stand out and powerful, one must take risks. And if one doesn't take risks and chances when one is still young, then when can one take risks? Life only gives us one chance; take that and run with it.
Hitsss : Thank you for your time and this great interview.
Jenny : Well, thank you for being so patient waiting for me. I am grateful for the interview, and please feel free to send your readers to my website, VCNetwork.co, and send an email if any of them has any questions about anything. VCNetwork.co is a joint venture between Shinta and I, so we will certainly help out with anyone who seeks our help. Also, they can visit our tech company, SQEEQEE.com as well and check that out. (smile)
Hitsss : Great. Thank you.