Prove your humanity

Grok Magazine sits down with Esther Kurniawan, a second-year student who is currently pursuing a major in Digital and Social Media, as we begin to learn more about the establishment of her growing company, ADA Digital Production, followed by any other achievements she’s made in the digital and social media field.

To start things off, we ask Esther when she first started showing an interest in digital and social media, and if it was something that she wanted to pursue right off the bat. “I first showed an interest in social media at a very young age – around eight to nine years old – but that was not the factor which helped kick-start my interest in building a platform.” With this being clarified, she goes on to explain that she always wanted to pursue a career in the creative arts industry, and later developed the idea of incorporating business and entertainment.

“While growing up, I began to master a variety of subjects which stemmed from the creative arts industry such as playing music, writing, designing, speaking various languages, singing, dancing and much more.” 

Knowing well that a career in the social and digital media industry can often come with its challenges, we inquire her about the initial reaction she received from family and friends after telling them about her ambitions. “They did not understand the concept of it, and they honestly thought that I wanted to be a photographer, social media influencer, or something along those lines. The most common reaction I’d receive would be “that’s nice” or “how do you get money from doing that?”” She admits. “There are multiple reactions, but my favourite ones would have to be “what do you actually do?” or “that must be good money, right? A lot of famous people must come to you.””

Image Credit: ADA Digital Production

Wanting to learn more about the establishment of her company, ADA Digital Production, we question Esther on when she first decided to create ADA, followed by whether it was an individual or collaborative effort. “I first decided to start my own business at sixteen, but didn’t do anything until eighteen because I was in a more stable place mentally, physically and financially by then.” She says. 

“I started ADA with my friend, Anushka, who helped me as my PA and PR. In addition, I received some extra help from my other friend, Aurel, who assisted me with designing content and editing. I am also beyond grateful for Sarah Seibert, the current chairwoman of ADA – and who has been my mentor and guardian angel since I was in fifth-grade – as she’s put a lot of energy and support into this production.” 

Remaining on the topic, we ask Esther about the origin behind her company’s name and what ADA Digital Production strives for. “The name “ADA” is an Indonesian root-word. It doesn’t mean anything in particular – just existing or being – and is used in everyday sentences. It’s a word that can stand on its own.” Having mentioned this, she then describes the purpose of her business and what she hopes to achieve with it. “ADA Digital Production is a brand and digital platform that was created on the 26th of July 2020 in Indonesia. It was built to inform, educate, entertain and inspire Millennials, Gen Z and the growing Gen Alpha.” She illustrates. “ADA’s teaching is based on western education, but the platform is Indonesian patent. I intend to have it expand globally, and not just remain within its roots.”

Image Credit: ADA Digital Production

Since Esther is both the founder and creative director of ADA, we ask her if she’s in charge of anything else behind her business. “I am in charge of everything inside the production and all the external research we do.” She confirms. “Since I am the creative director, I have to approve every design, content, influencers, and media partnerships. It’s work that takes days and hours, communicating with the right people, and making sure that their tasks are delegated well enough for them to balance their education and other commitments with their workload.”

Upon finding out how much work goes into running a business, we inquire Esther about the most enjoyable and most difficult aspects of developing ADA. “The most enjoyable part of building and creating a production is seeing the final product, and seeing my audience enjoy the final product. Seeing your vision come to life is everything, as you get to see people enjoy the form of art that you put out into the world.” She conveys. 

“The hardest part would have to be balancing all of my responsibilities, while also maintaining the slogan “work with love and humility”. I often lose sight of why I am doing all of this, but I always remind myself that working is also serving other people to meet their points of needs and weaknesses, and that nobody’s perfect. The job cannot work by itself without the help of people.” 

Nearing the end of our discussion, we question Esther about what she plans to do after she finishes her degree. “I want to work in the marketing and social media industry, while also gaining more work experience in Australia or America. After a few years, I’m keen to go back to Indonesia so that I can expand, develop and improve ADA – and since that’s where the business is based, I plan to rebuild and hopefully strengthen the brand through my new acquired knowledge.” 

Image Credit: Miracle Markus

As we reach the end of our interview, Grok Magazine asks Esther if she has any advice for Curtin University students who may be interested in creating their own business or working in the digital and social media field. “Academic achievements are not and never will be your only road to success. Your attitude, character and work ethic is what gets you places. Yes, you still need to work hard in your studies, but the effort, delegation and energy that you put into it is very important.” She advises.

“Learning is an ongoing process, so learn not to be stubborn and be open to everything, regardless of your disagreements with people, places and things, as it will benefit you someday. And most importantly, stay humble in everything you do and validate other people. You are the main character of your own story, but that doesn’t mean you are the main character in others.” 

If you want to learn more about ADA Digital Production, feel free to check out their Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Spotify podcasts. You can also support Esther by following her on Instagram (@estherkurniawan).