Scaleup Mindset Blog with Arief Widhiyasa: Level Up Your Talent Game Like Agate International

Agate International is a well-known game development company in Indonesia that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2009. Founded by a group of 18 friends, including the current Vice Chairman and Endeavor Entrepreneur Arief Widhiyasa, the company now employs over 200 employees and has worked with big names in the industry such as Square Enix and Electronic Arts. 

Much of the company’s success can be attributed to Arief’s leadership. With his valuable insights, we’ll explore essential tips for early-stage startups to find and manage talent effectively and develop a strong company culture. By hiring the right people and creating a positive work environment, companies can improve productivity, drive innovation, and foster employee loyalty. Implementing these tips can also help you lay a solid foundation for your startup’s success and compete effectively with established companies in your industry. So, let’s dive in and learn from the best in the industry!

Criteria for Selecting Ideal Talent

At the beginning of a startup’s establishment, the incoming talents should meet four quality ranking criteria, namely integrity, attitude, performance, and skill. These criteria are important because people who have high integrity and a good attitude will be selected so that their work performance can be maximized. Performance and skill aspects can catch up because they can be improved and guided. However, if talents don’t possess high integrity from the very beginning, it’s better not to continue with them.

Attracting Talent Beyond Competitive Salaries

To build a talented team, early-stage startups must establish a pipeline to attract potential candidates. One effective strategy is to provide training programs and collaborate with startup incubators, vocational schools, and universities to identify and recruit top talent. Agate, for example, collaborates with external programs to create startup incubators, such as Agate Academy, and visits vocational schools and universities to recruit top talent. The company also sells the opportunity to create games in Indonesia as a selling point for Agate, despite the perception that games are not a clear career path.


Achieving Goals with Precise Measurement

Agate utilizes Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a precise measurement system, to achieve its goals. OKR measures individual and team progress towards specific objectives through clear and measurable key results that are updated frequently. Unlike traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), OKRs are agile, adaptable, and more transparent, allowing teams to adjust their goals and strategies as needed to achieve better results. By using OKRs, Agate International increases productivity and aligns its teams with the company’s vision and mission.

Establishing a Corporate Culture that Can Be Emulated

Company culture contributes greatly to corporate identity and values. A strong culture can attract better talent and retain that talent. At Agate International, culture is built on three key elements: a meritocracy-based hierarchy where skill is valued over status; core values of positivity, collaboration, excellence, and level-up; and core principles that are agreed upon by the entire team, such as it’s okay to disagree with things as long as there’s a commitment to follow the decision made by the group. This focus on culture has helped Agate create a strong and cohesive team, allowing them to compete as a startup in Indonesia.

In conclusion, finding and retaining the right talent and building a strong company culture are crucial elements for early-stage startups. Agate International, led by Arief Widhiyasa, has shown that with the right approach, startups can overcome these challenges and achieve tremendous success. By using approaches like OKRs to track progress, collaborating with universities and vocational schools to attract the best talent, and emphasizing integrity and attitude when selecting candidates, Agate has grown from just 18 to 200 employees and collaborated with industry giants such as Square Enix and Electronic Arts.

So, what can we learn from Agate’s success? How can we implement these principles in our own startups? Let’s start by focusing on building a strong culture that values skill over status, embraces change and innovation, and encourages a shared sense of purpose and mission. With these principles in mind, we can create startups that not only succeed, but thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn more from Arief Widhiyasa on Scaleup Mindset: The Importance of Talent with Arief Widhiyasa of Agate International. If you want to watch and listen to the full discussion, head over to our YouTube channel, where you can see and hear Arief share his insights and experiences in his own words. If you prefer to listen on-the-go, check out our podcast on Spotify and tune in to the conversation wherever you are. Don’t wait, join the discussion and discover how you too can develop the same mindset for your own business!