Joe Wadakathelakal, CEO of

Joe is an entrepreneur in Indonesia keeping up with youth and staying fresh in the highly competitive media marketplace. He’s looking forward to bringing virtual reality to the masses and in the first quarter of this year, we’ll see his new product launch from Stay tuned….
What’s your story?
I was born in India, but before that my parents had already moved to Jakarta. As soon as I was born I moved to Jakarta as well. I stayed here until graduating from high school at which point I moved to California to go to college. After my time in California I worked in finance for 5 years in NYC, mostly in media, private equity and investment banking.  2 years ago I moved back to Indonesia to start my own company. I now run, an online youth content portal which creates content very similar to, but for the Indonesian audience.
What excites you most about your industry?
The speed of creativity in media is unparalleled, and that’s what excites me the most. You need to be creative in order to thrive in any industry, but in media the speed at which creative ideas need to be developed and executed is faster than any other I’ve seen.  Creativity is a core competence for media companies. Companies which don’t have it, die quickly.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Asia. Born in India, raised in Indonesia. JMW personal picBrilio Logo TopFavourite city in Asia for business and why?
The easiest city to do business in Asia is Singapore. The rules are clear and more importantly the rule of law is respected.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Life is a marathon and you need to run your own race, at your own pace.
Who inspires you?
I have two favorites here, one is an historical figure and one is a current figure.
Historical figure: Abraham Lincoln. In my opinion he might be the greatest human who’s lived over the past 4 or 5 centuries. His combination of selflessness, empathy, work ethic and leadership is astounding and inspiring.
Current Figure: Charlie Munger, the lesser known, but probably more intelligent partner of Warren Buffett. Charlie focuses on understanding and developing mental models which you can apply to various situations in life. It’s his secret to “winning” in both business and in life, and the best part is, these models are eminently learnable and applicable for almost anyone.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The Oculus VR will go on sale in Q1 of 2016 (I was under the impression that commercial VR was much further away). I’ve just recently experienced virtual reality, and I think it is going to completely upend the entire digital media landscape. I can’t wait for VR to hit the mass market, and I can’t wait to experiment with it in my business.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would spend less time thinking about the future and focus more closely on the opportunities and experiences at hand.
How do you unwind?
Video games, and a glass or two of whiskey.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
If I’m picking my favorite place to unwind it would have to be Bali. I’ve been traveling there since I was a small child so I know exactly what I’m going to do there and how I’m going to unwind. I don’t need to waste anytime figuring it out. I’m able to enter low power mode as soon as I step off the plane.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Hard Thing about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. Probably the single best practical book on business available at the moment.
Shameless plug for your business:
Brilio is the leading online content destination for the Indonesian youth audience. Come check us out if you want to see the best of the Indonesian web!
How can people connect with you?
E-mail me,

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <>
Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from

About Callum Laing

Leave a Reply