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Jakarta Post

Yoris Sebastian: Taking creativity to a whole new level

  • Novia D. Rulistia

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 23, 2013   /  12:35 pm
Yoris Sebastian: Taking creativity to a whole new level

JP/Novia D. Rulistia Yoris Sebastian never thinks of himself as an expert on inventiveness, but his addiction to creativity has made him a top creative agent, full of fresh ideas.

A lot of people and companies turn to him for input, advice and suggestions when they need a breakthrough.

'€œI like thinking creatively because that allows me to do something innovative. I always try to think out of the box but execute inside the box, so even you'€™re different you still can be meaningful,'€ Yoris said.

Looking back at his younger times, the 40-year-old entrepreneur never imagined getting involved in the creative industry since he only ever thought of himself as an average boy.

'€œUsually, it'€™s a naughty kid or someone who has a high IQ who tends to be creative. When I looked at my old photos, I realized that I was just an average boy; never got 100 score for a subject, a crybaby, and not that naughty,'€ he said.

But in high school, Yoris often took part in school events by joining the committee.

'€œI can say that my time in high school, my involvement in events in Pangudi Luhur, was the blueprint of my career path. I always enjoyed seeing myself doing creative things,'€ he said.

In college, he worked for Hai magazine and his creative mind was nurtured. As a journalist he was obliged to be creative. After four years at Hai he moved to one of the most famous restaurant chains in the world, the Hard Rock Café.

'€œIt was not just that I saw Hard Rock as a multinational company, but I couldn'€™t be a permanent employee in many places while still studying, but I could at Hard Rock under, certain conditions,'€ he said.

Thanks to his fresh ideas, Yoris'€™ career path went uphill fast. His '€œI like Monday'€ program became
the buzz in town, organizing a music event on Monday when most organizers chose to hold them on weekends.

His idea did not only draw public attention, but also caught the eyes of the arbiters of good taste when he received several awards for his program.

'€œI got many marketing, CEO and other business awards. But it was not until 2006 that I officially started to intentionally think of creativity as an industry,'€ the university dropout said.

In 2006, he won the Young Creative Entrepreneur of The Year Award in the United Kingdom, organized by British Council with his Project Goliath, a music venture where Goliath could also take advantage of many Davids.

With his experience working at all levels of employment, coupled with the confidence from winning the awards, he arrived at the moment when he decided to build his own company and be a consultant. So in 2007, he built OMG (Oh My Goodness), a creative consultancy.

'€œIt was quite a dilemma when I wanted to be a consultant and resign from Hard Rock. And like I always do, I turned to my boss for advice,'€ he said.

Yoris was told by his mentor that to be a great consultant, he needed to have a regular, secure income so he would not become a consultant who would say yes to any project even those he considered awful.

So he opened a spa and several other businesses from which he earned the money to pay for his daily life.

'€œOMG is a small company, it'€™s my experiment and I want to be creative with my own company too,'€ he said.

In OMG, he only employs a handful of employees, but he nurtures them carefully. And unlike other companies, goes with minimal marketing options. The result: coordinated and focused outcomes for his clients.

'€œWe don'€™t have brochures, we don'€™t even have website. But our clients know they can rely on us,'€ he said.

There have been many temptations to make the company bigger, but, so far, he has refused to do so.

'€œI enjoy working with my own system, so I start small and I stay small,'€ said Yoris who loves traveling and playing PlayStation.

Having achieved many triumphs, Yoris felt the urge to share his recipes with others so he put all of the steps he has taken in books.

His first book, Oh My Goodness: Buku Pintar Creative Junkies, was written in 2007, but published three years later.

He admitted that his intention of writing a book at first was to get money to support the company, but he soon realized that the royalties were too small.

'€œThe money I got from the book was not much compared to company'€™s profits, so I thought of it only as a means of sharing. What I didn'€™t expect was the feeling I had when I knew that the book can actually inspired people to succeed by being creative,'€ he said.

Yoris added the success stories of those who read his first book, and released an updated version of Oh My Goodness: Buku Pintar Creative Junkies.

Early this year, he published 101 Creative Notes, a book that features a lot of pictures and illustrations that tells readers about the steps to becoming creative. He also shares his experience through seminars and workshops and is often a juror for creative competitions.

'€œI'€™ve seen so many creative talents here, and we'€™re getting better every year. Unfortunately, those young talents receive little support, ieven from their parents, because creativity needs collaboration to grow,'€ he said.

His life path was not something he planned when since was a kid. He has accomplished the many goals, but he understands that he cannot win everything.  

'€œI don'€™t have many targets, but so far, the only target I failed to achieve was to get married when I was 25. But you win something, you lose something,'€ said the father of 5-month-old daughter.

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