An Open Letter to Philippine University Deans and Leaders

students

(My friend, please read through this. If you agree with its content and find it important, stop being passive - don't hesitate and SPREAD where you feel is necessary. Post it on your Facebook account, Tweet it, comment on it - agreeing or disagreeing, email it to directly to University Leaders in your network, or print it out and send it to their office, then perhaps tell them what you think about it. Let's not wait for other people to do it, nor think that "this isn't my problem," because in some way, it is  -  peter) Dear University Deans, Leaders, and Administrators, If a young, impressionable Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg were studying in your institution right now, would he be … [Read more...]

The Destructive Power of “Not Yet”

procrastinate

Around three years ago, I had a coffee talk with an entrepreneurial fellow named Randy (not his real name, rhymes though). Randy was a mobile applications programmer working for a large telco. He was carefully explaining to me about his idea for a mobile application/mobile service which I thought was just super - first in the local market, clear user value proposition, clear monetization strategy, low investment costs.  I had a lot of questions, but he gave thoughtful answers - it was obvious he gave a lot of thought to his idea. Typically, I got really excited and told him he should start working on the code immediately. I reasoned he didn't need to resign, but that he could work on the … [Read more...]

The only shoe that will fit perfectly is yours

if-the-shoe-fits

Each individual is unique. From our fingerprints, our view of the world, our biases, our histories - we are each truly unique. Our uniqueness extends to what exactly satisfies us at work. Some of us prefer sales, some research, some human resources, some supply chain management, some finance, some technology. Some of us prefer to work at night, some mid-afternoon, some are morning folk. Some of us prefer working with people, while some prefer to work alone, for some "it depends." Some of crave simplicity, while others desire sophistication. Some of us get a thrill out of talking to someone new everyday, while some of us want to a correspond with more an intimate set of … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 3 of 3

bigger-isn-t-better-lg

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. You can find part 1 here, and part 2 here. 7) Bigger is better Last year we were up to around 15-16 people. This year, while we've lessened our headcount to around 10-11 people,  we're set to double last year's revenue level. Guess which situation I'm happier with? Early on, it was always an assumption of mine that the successful companies are the bigger companies - bigger headcount, bigger operations. So expansion was one thing I was conscious about. I also remember the saying that you MAKE room for an A-player in your firm even if there's isn't exactly an urgent opening. This was until I experienced needing to fight to meet payroll. This … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 2 of 3

Yup, it's for dummies.

(The following post is the second of a 3 part series. You can find part one over here) 4) Business Plans Are Important What 4 years of college business teaching hammered in me was that I needed to create a business plan for my startup. I needed to put everything in writing and project my financials - on a short-term, medium term, and longterm basis. So during our first foray, we spent several days crafting an 80+ page business plan, crammed with a boatload of projections and analysis. We had a five-year sales forecast with assumptions on pricing, costs, and market. We had complete projected financial statements across those five years. It was a nice plan. It was something you could … [Read more...]

9 Startup Myths Part 1 of 3

Nope, you don't need it.

For the next three days, I'll be talking about 3 assumptions I discovered were completely wrong as I went through the startup process: 1) You need a ton of money to start Back in 2005, we were rejected by 2-3 investors before we said, "The heck with it, let's just pool our own money and start." My initial cash-out as an owner was P30,000.00. Far cry from the hundreds of thousands we thought we needed. It turns out it was enough. Nowadays, you could start firms with even less, as the cost barriers continue to fall. Last Thursday, I had a productive brainstorming session with an old friend of mine who was in the printing/publishing business. I suggested, "Why don't you try … [Read more...]

What’s The First Rule of Startups? There Are No Rules!

No Rules

Early this year at STORM, we began building a competency framework for use in the company.  This is one of the tools large firms use to align everything towards their vision. The logic was, as we got bigger, we would need these structures to guide us. Building a framework like this is massive work, and our HR guy, Dino, was assigned to work on quarterbacking the project. Around two months ago, we were laying the finishing touches on the framework. We had our core competencies (behaviors everyone in the company should follow), and were finishing with the functional (behaviors everyone in a specific function/department should follow) ones. Then, I recalled the "big" employee handbook … [Read more...]

Start@Starbucks!

starbucks-hand

Start-bucks Coffee. My first startup, STORM Consulting, started as an idea in 2005, I talked about it with around 10 people - all potential co-owners I targeted - mostly in Starbucks. I then narrowed the field down from ten to two people and began building the foundation of the firm with my two new partners. A recent startup, StreamEngine, (site is still in beta) which is launching this January, started when I talked to potential partners - mostly in Starbucks (some in Seattle's Best). A chunk of my time now I'm currently using by  talking to different people regarding different ideas - all in coffee places and dining areas in the metro, 30-60 minutes each, mostly after … [Read more...]

Get Off The Corporate Assembly Line!

Inspiration-point

Do you remember the last time you did truly great work? I bet your output was made possible because you were fired up and inspired, and you threw your entire being into the project. I bet you thought about the project during non-work hours, in fact, I bet you had trouble sleeping because your mind was so buzzed thinking about possibilities regarding your project. It was work which was consuming, inspiring, and meaningful. There was a point to it. It was work you believed in. Now, how long ago was it when you felt this way? A lot of my friends in the corporate world haven't felt this way for a long time. Oh, they might feel this way for the first few months of a new job, but when … [Read more...]

Dare to be Different…like Tita Moning

tita-moning

I still remember my first visit to LaCocina de Tita Moning when my wife took me there around five years ago. Vividly. Why? It was such an experience. A few days before our planned dinner, Pauline asked me what I wanted to order, which I found a little weird. Uhm...so can't we just order from the menu when we're there, just like every other restaurant? Apparently not. This restaurant does not accept walk-ins. You have to call them a full 24 hours before your planned meal to preorder your food. Oh, and there's not much to choose from. There are only 12 set menus, so you just choose once. That's it. These items alone made them different from 99.9 percent of the food places I … [Read more...]

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