Editor’s Sidelines, December 2021: To Boldly Go

This story appears in the December 31, 2021 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia

The cover story on DCI’s Otto Toto Sugiri reveals something about pioneers, that they are often ignored and overlooked in their early days—until they are finally discovered and championed. A pioneer can often toil in obscurity for years before they are lauded for having the foresight to be early in doing something that later becomes popular. That’s the definition of being a trailblazer, going off the beaten path and setting a course for those who come later. 

Sugiri is what’s now called a serial entrepreneur—when the phrase wasn’t yet in vogue—and in tech to boot, also a fashionable label to have. And he accomplished it in Indonesia, a country long overlooked but now one of the darlings of the global investment community. His life’s work is a trifecta of the topical: a serial tech entrepreneur from Indonesia. 

The companies that he has founded or cofounded reads like a checklist of technology’s progress over the decades: first software (think Microsoft), then an internet service provider (think AOL) and finally data centers (think AWS). He’s gone from being little known to appearing on a Forbes Asia cover and a newly minted billionaire—making him a role model for youthful tech entrepreneurs who are hoping their startup will bring them similar success.

There’s a link here to our annual Heroes of Philanthropy list. Those on this list aren’t doing good to hog the spotlight for themselves. Philanthropy by its definition means giving priority to others. The region’s most generous givers are seeking no greater glory than to have the satisfaction of knowing that they made a difference.  

With this final issue of the year, it seems pertinent to end with the feature on Sugiri as part of our Indonesia’s 50 Richest list package and the Heroes of Philanthropy list. As the world reflects on the past 12 months—and what’s ahead in the next 12—it’s good to be reminded of the values inherent in being a pioneer who boldly goes where no one has gone before, and those of altruism, which seeks to make the world a better place. Best wishes to all for a happy, prosperous and safe 2022. 

As always, all comments welcome at editor@forbesasia.com.

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