How God Founded Our Startup


When a new employee starts in STORM, or any of the startups I’m associated with (we’re all in one building), they are treated to something different (especially if they’ve previously worked in corporations before) which happens every three o’clock. We invite the newbie to our conference room, where we read the Gospel for the day, and then everyone gets her turn to say a prayer.

When we celebrate a victory, we quickly remind ourselves that ultimately, it was God who enabled the victory. Yes, we have very talented and intelligent people on our team – but where do all these gifts come from anyway? We cannot and will not take full credit.

On the lower-right corner of our website, you will see Whom we dedicate this company to.

Why am I so obsessed with creating a workplace where culture is defined by faith?

During the company newbie orientation process, I give the talk on our history. A history of a startup is pretty much the history of its founders. When I give this talk, I get quite emotional because it is my life I am sharing. I tell new employees about how truly blessed we were in those early years – about how timing would always be so eerily perfect. The right client when we need it. A founder who backed out, only to become our first (needed) client. The right employee when we need it. Never missing payroll even in those times when we didn’t know where we could get the cash – I consider this nothing short of a miracle.

Soon, I reach the point where I talk about making my great leap in 2008 – from part-time to full-time, from corporate lifer to full-blown entrepreneur.

I made that leap at the MOST inopportune time ever – a full-blown recession, STORM having all sorts of problems, a person borrowing a huge chunk of money from me disappearing (and in doing so, wiping out my funds), a newborn son and a wife to support, our then-largest client alerting us through fax that they were letting go of us in two weeks, an impending 80% salary cut if I went full-time in STORM.

It was a completely idiotic decision.

So why, why, why, did I choose to make that leap when I did?

Discernment – I knew God wanted me to do so.

That’s it.

There was no secret client I was wooing, nor did I have a cash stash somewhere. No ace in the sleeve. Nor did I possess any irrational confidence that I could turn things around. I was wracked with doubt. Logic screamed at me to reconsider. I was not at peace.

(side note: I find that having “peace” with a decision is an overrated discernment element. I find that a lot of times, God talks to us by disturbing us. Oftentimes, when God asks us to grow and expand our horizons, it isn’t peace that is felt. It is disturbance. It is disturbance because when we expand our horizons, we always step out of our comfort zones)

But God was my rock.

So I leapt when He said so. It was truly a leap of Faith.

And ever since that leap, God has remained so faithful.

Not only has STORM been doubling revenues every year since ’08, but I have found what I want to do for the rest of my life: building startups and helping people build startups. I can talk about this topic nonstop for weeks. For the first time in my life, I have voluntarily devoured tons of (non-fiction)books on a topic. You could ask my wife – I have given up radio and I now instead listen to audiobooks and podcasts while driving. I would do this for free – I love this stuff.

I sometimes think of what I do now: the thrill of starting things, the experience of learning something by making decisions and truly being accountable for the ramifications, growing my startup family, work becoming my hobby and vice-versa, being involved in radically different but interesting things, writing and talking to people about something I am truly passionate about, I think of all these and I shudder. I shudder at the thought of how quickly and easily I might have decided to ignore that call to leap. Then I thank God again and again for the inspiration I was given.

I am utterly convinced with my entire being that if God had not intervened, if I had not been sufficiently guided, if I just followed what the world would have had me do, I would not have taken that leap. I would still be in a corporation now – completely uninspired, working for just my salary, totally waiting for Friday just like everyone else. No startups for me. No juangreatleap.

Instead, I had been redeemed.

This month, I met up with two blog readers I haven’t previously been acquainted with who invited me for coffee. Both asked me why I was doing this. Both noticed there weren’t any ads on this site. Both noticed I wasn’t asking for money during the meeting.

This is my answer, guys :) There will never be ads on this site, nor will I be asking for money for “consulting” when I meet people. This part of my life has been Gift. And so, for my part, I will share what I can with those who trust me enough to ask.

In all the ways I can think of, I try to make God the center of my work.

Just simply to give credit where it is due.

(Join the Juangreatleap movement and learn more about startups! Subscribe to the blog now to get the newsletter and join the forum)

Comments

  1. Coffee? :D Seriously, let’s plan something. Though I live and work all the way in Las Pinas/Alabang area, and my day job is pretty hectic at the moment. But I just want to let you know that after reading a few of your posts for the past few weeks, I’m planning to take my first step today. Tonight I’m meeting with 2 guys who I’m hoping share the same passion and future in putting up a startup. A simple sit down and brainstorm, nothing big. But as you have said before, it’s a step. A step in the right direction, no matter how small. When my schedule becomes more free, I’m hoping to sit down and talk with you as well and try and absorb your energy. Kidding aside, I’m hoping to learn more from your experiences. Let’s talk soon. :) Oh and hope you can help pray for my discernment as well. :)

    Thanks,

    Artie

    • Hey Artie,

      Alam mo, that meeting of yours tonight is a BIG step. Almost all the new startups I know have come from that coffee talk. I read somewhere that the no. 1 cause of startup failure is failure to start. That meeting’s a start – and that sort of thing build momentum, which is very important. Just ride that momentum and soon, you’ll be signing SEC papers :)

      Coffee is powerful :)

      Bro, just tell me when you’re in the ortigas area. Usap tayo.

      Will pray for you bro!

  2. Hi Peter,

    Just wanted to let you know that I found this post really beautiful and inspiring. :) Hope to find the same courage and passion that you have. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Kimmy :D

  3. Amen…this touched me. When I do my startup I will also include an explicit agenda to honor God and let the startup be a testimony to His Greatness and Grace :-)

  4. Hi Bro!

    Naiyak ako!

    Your faith and love for God is so inspiring. I’m still a baby in this area. Though I always intend to offer everything to God, from simply offering him my day, to offering him a pitch, etc., I just couldn’t because I always forget to along the course of the day.

    Tomorrow, I shall begin again. I love the Lord so much but oftentimes I forget to show it.

    Be praying for you and your business. You are God’s gift.

    Ps.
    I heard you have a very beautiful wife. Please say hello to her for me

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Tess :)

      The beautiful wife sends her regards!

      • Hello Peter! Happy New Year! I happened to read this JUANGREATLEAP. Truth to tell I am ignorant in these things like blogging. I am just following instructions here…hoping it will reach you. But what attracted me to read on is your name…kilala ko ito. And when I continued to read on…hmm…making God the center of his life. Wow! I like that…Discernment…hmm…searching, finding and following God’s will for you. Go on, Peter! I feel you are doing good. And like your namesake who jumped into the water after putting his shirt on just to follow Christ and was blessed tremendously–may you be blessed, too to put to good use the skills and talents that you have received.

        Blessings!
        Tita Bebs

      • Hi Tita Bebs! It’s so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for reading, stopping by, and your kind words – they are cherished and appreciated. May God always bless you and your family!

  5. Very proud of you! What you do is a tremendous consolation not only for your family, but to many others as well. Galing na na pasok pa rin ang pangkabuhayan mo sa spirituality mo. May God continue to bless you!

  6. Juan,

    Thank God for google. Coffee toast and a quiet time is how my mornings usualy start. My online Bible had server issues so i googled what was on my heart “startups with god”. The disturbance is teaching me how much I need to focus on building up the faith of my wife, and how important her faith is to mine. We are both well versed in the stress and strain of startups (other peoples). When its our house on the line, its a whole new level of disturbance. Its a daily battle to Want to rely on God and want to Lead in taking on doubt, worry, anxiety, that disturbs my wife. When I do, we seldom get to peaceful, but we do get to confident reliance in Gods plan, and we are united. I look forward to the fellowship of like minded folks here to help me be the spirit led husband and father as we impact the world (exodus 17:10-13).

  7. Another powerful post. Thanks for this. Keep on inspiring people.

    Do you really do consultations for free? I also want to take the leap as soon as possible.

    Thanks.

  8. Peter

    Looks like you’ve got a great leap in life. Leadership is jumping high above the crowd, and directing them to where you can clearly see a place of abundance. Otherwise if you’re just elbowing your way in a crowd, at best you’re only being moved. Just stay close to Him and you can lead many others to a good life. Congrats to you and to those with you in juangreatleap.

  9. Ina Ramos says:

    Wow Peter. Just read this now. Heard about your story many times already (from you and from others) and yet it still brings tears to my eyes. Praise GOD! So touching!

    Continue to inspire!!

    – Nana

  10. Hi bro. I just heard about your company from a friend. Yes indeed, GOD really works in a very mysterious ways! May our Lord GOD shower you with tons of good health and continue to bless you even more so you can always be a blessing to others as well!
    Btw, I just registered on your event this coming march 2. I’m very much excited to meet you in person and if time permits, I want to discuss and explore some possible partnership / tie-ups with juangreatleap!

    Warm regards,
    Allan

  11. Tet Sumulong says:

    Inspiring. I stumbled upon your blog because I was just looking up the meaning of “start up.” Now, I just can’t stop reading on because your words are very true and inspiring. Thank you Peter (sir?)!
    Blessings!

    • I’m glad you stumbled upon the blog Tet. Thank you for your encouraging words. My challenge for you: turn inspiration into action! :)

      • Sir! Again, I stumbled upon your reply to my previous comment and by golly! I am truly amazed at how God works in our lives. After one 2 Open Coffees, 1 Pitchcraft event and 1 Startup Saturday, here I am. Acting upon my inspiration. Aspiring to truly pay it forward without asking first “what’s in it for me?” but “will this please you God?” Yep, the start up life can be nerve wracking because there will be times where I would doubt myself again and again but with a great God rallying behind me, ah! Nothing is impossible. After re-reading your blog, I got an answer to my prayer to help me discern who really would like to serve and who would just like to get something in return and even sometimes own what should not be theirs. Ah! Divine intervention. :)
        Thanks sir and God bless!

  12. Ria Espina says:

    Hi Peter!!! Thanks for this wonderful affirmation! I am just so excited to read your posts. I’m particularly encouraged by this article you wrote. I’m actually on the process of a startup. I thought I knew a lot and i’m ready. However, as I’ve been reading and studying, the more I realized I’m not ready at all.

    It would be truly wonderful if you could spare some time. That coffee meeting in Ortigas sounds wonderful. I hope to meet you and learn some more. Thanks. God bless.

    • Hey, I don’t think anyone who’s telling the truth really thought they were ready :) God knows I had a lot of doubts starting out, even up to now.

      Coffee sounds good. How’s your Friday?

  13. Ria Espina says:

    Friday sounds great. Please let me know when and where. Thanks Sir Peter.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] truthful answer: none. Its corny, but I think everything happened to me at exactly the right [...]

  2. [...] How God Founded Our Startup, I talk about how God intervened at this particular point in my [...]

  3. […] Well, it didn’t bother my productivity one bit. I saved a couple of thousand pesos per month as well, which was crucial in my own leap. […]

  4. […] After months of doing this, I finally found partners who were willing to take the leap with me. Then, the project started taking a life on its own. There was momentum (so crucial). Excited, I started finding more and more time to work on my dream. Weekend coffee transformed into weekend planning with my partners. Soon, we would be putting up our share of the money, get SEC-registered, and start. By no means was it smooth sailing after, but I never looked back. Three years after, I took my fated full-time leap. […]

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