I’m writing this as the final minutes of my birthday tick away. I’m trying to assess how I feel. On most birthdays, I feel sentimental, nostalgic, and often existential. Tonight though, I feel blessed that more than anything else, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I just feel compelled now to pump out this list of people I need to thank on my 37th year of existence. My own little public shout-out for the people who’ve meant so much to me. Hope its not too care-bear sappy! Here we go:
- Mama, papa, thank you for your unconditional love and support. In having kids of my own, I’m now beginning to understand what sort of love and dedication you showered upon me. Thank you the struggles you went through in raising us siblings and in making ends meet. Thank you for raising me the way you did. Being entrepreneurs yourselves, I think it’s where I got the gene. You also gave me male pattern baldness. This helps in branding, somehow. Also helps me get remembered by village guards when I enter villages without the right stickers.
- My brother Gian, thank you for your friendship and unwavering dedication to the family. You are one person I know I can count on unconditionally. Too bad our legendary NBA 2K battles are looking like a thing of the past – I know it’s there where you like learning about humility.
- One very familiar topic you will find in this blog is on finding the right co-founders. What a huge favor from God that the timing was just right when Paolo said yes 7 years ago in forming STORM with me. Pao, thank you believing all these years. It’s amazing to think about what we’ve shared – crazy-bad hires, “dude, we need to put money in the bank again” moments, part-time/full-time dynamic, finding our faith, finding our wives, the thrill of landing massive deals (and losing them), body-weight fluctuations, and now five office movements! 7 years seems like a long time, but you know what? I really feel we’re just getting warmed up!
- To the naysayers – thank you for helping motivate me (no really). It’s crazy that I remember all the lines in verbatim:
Why would he pick to do that if he has a stable job?
I wouldn’t invest in that idea.
Companies would never decide to go for flexible benefits.
- To all the people who work with me in the companies I’m engaged in – it’s an honor to work for you and with you. Dino, Suzy, Yana, Gino, Paulo, Patrick, Eljane, Aimon, Bien, Lincong, John, Jhe, Kris – you have no idea how much I appreciate all the hard work and effort. Let’s kick some serious behind, eh?
- To all people I’m incubating ideas and startups with – thank you for your passion, ideas, and creativity! More than anything, thank you for believing and trusting me.
- To my Living Hope community – my friends, thank you for being family. Thank you for always inspiring me and being my safe place. Thank you for constantly guiding me towards the right perspective. You are my spiritual compass and support. Thank you for keeping me sane.
- To my three children. One day soon you will be old enough to read this. Thank you for letting me feel a new, profound sense of joy I’ve never felt before. You hold my hopes and dreams. I love you and will always be there for you.
- To my wife Pauline – thank you for being my rock. Thank you for always standing by me, for being patient with me, and for bringing me closer to God. Thank you for holding my hand, crying with me, singing with me, watching our kids with me, and being with me. You are my best friend and my idol (except for physical activities, grocery shopping, and restaurant ordering), my wife and my life. Thank you.
- To my Almighty Father – I am unapologetically Yours. You have given me everything: all I can do, all I have, all I love. I can never thank you enough. Thank you for loving me so completely. May all I do be always in accordance to Your will.