S05E09: Nino Mouton, Founder of Playbook, Indonesia

I was so scared when I was interested in digital. I was so scared because I did not know how to start because everybody was saying that, oh, when you are in a digital business, you have to know how to code or you have to be a programmer. I took online courses about programming, but I told myself that this is not what I want to do because if I wanted to be a programmer, then I would need 12 years to become a good one.

nino mouton

Today’s episode is with an Indonesian entrepreneur, Nino Mouton who lives in Singapore.

A mother of two girls and former editor-in-chief of Indonesia’s Cosmopolitan magazine, Nino is the founder of Playbook, an education tech startup. Originally from Jogjakarta, Indonesia, Nino is a content strategist turned education tech warrior who wants to reinvent education for the young people of Indonesia. 

nino mouton playbook indonesia online education
Nino says, ”I am always inspired by people who have original ideas, and that they believe in them.” 

Playbook is not her first business although she launched this startup not too long ago. Her first business was an online marketplace business and she learnt some hard lessons and refined her original idea into this business. 

As an app, Nino’s Playbook offers soft skills training in micro-learning segments. Nino and her team are presently focused on the Indonesian market with micro-learning lessons served in the Indonesian language or Bahasa Indonesia. 

Whenever I saw another startup doing the same thing as me, it was like, wow, a competitor! After that, I learnt that actual competition is good. There’s a myth that you have to be the only person or the only company that sells that product. Actually, that’s not correct because if we are the only ones selling [it], we don’t know whether the market is ready for what we are selling.

Nino admitted that she made the terrible mistake of launching her business in two countries in two different languages in the beginning. Content creation by itself was challenging and made even more so when she had to create content in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

She took the lessons from the mistake to niche down into her Indonesian market with her present startup. She now caters to the Indonesian market – a youth demographic to prepare them for the emerging job market in the area of communications, decision-making and more. 

As a tech startup founder, Nino talks about how she used to panic when users found bugs in her app and she said she wished she stopped hesitating a lot more and started putting her product out to the world quicker.

She debunks the myth of needing to know how to code as a tech startup founder – everyone told her that she needed to learn so she even took coding classes! In the end, she realized that she wanted to be a business person, not a programmer.

​​I waited too long because I did not know whether we should launch or not. And then when I launched [it], it was a little bit too late. I should have launched earlier and then done all the experiments like refining the product and everything. 

Interestingly, Nino never had any experience in the startup world except that she was working for one. In the early years of her career, she found herself drawn to fashion, advertising and communication. 

She calls herself the auntie of the startup world as she has two handicaps – she’s female and in her 40s. In the youthful startup world, she is an anomaly but one that she takes in her stride and she now wears her “handicaps” with pride! 

She believes that “The worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself. It’s the negative thoughts in your head that hold you back, nothing else.”

Nino’s favourite author is Paulo Coelho while her favourite songs are from what she calls “old music” from Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam and Linkin Park. Woody Allen or John Malkovich movies are her favourites. 

“​​I always try to be grateful for everything that happened to me, so for me, every little step is a milestone. Life has given me so many interesting experiences and opportunities such as becoming the editor-in-chief for Cosmopolitan Magazine in my early 30s, and the opportunity to live in three different countries which successfully make my life more meaningful. And I am proud of my ability to speak multiple languages fluently.” 

Nino is a graduate of ​​the University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia with a degree in French Literature and Linguistics and a master’s degree in Communications from Universite de Nancy 2, France. 

Connect with her: 


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