My Year in the Philippines: Reflections On Starting Up and Development

Miarayon, Bukidnon, Philippines

I've been in the Philippines for almost exactly a year now. Oh, what an incredible ride it has been so far. Within the year, I've had so many different experiences from starting things up with JGL to a brief stint at co.lab to being part of the launch of Ashoka Philippines.  Life has been unpredictable. I've been exposed to so many new and different ideas. So many different people. I've gained a sense of belonging in a country that has opened my eyes to the world. The year has really been such a gift and a strong driving force of change for me. I remember the days when I only had one peso in my pocket. I remember the days when I was so desperate for blog content that I would write … [Read more...]

The Software Guru: On Refuting Peter, Premature Startup Culture, and Change for the Next Generation (Part 2 of the Joey Gurango Series )

The Software Guru, Joey Gurango of Gurango Software

In one of his blogposts, Peter, refers to the concept of the Argonaut from the book, Start-up Nation. What are your personal opinions on the contribution of the Argonaut to a Philippine Startup Nation?  Joey: I think the Philippine Startup scene is about 10 years away from being labeled as mature. A lot of my colleagues, maybe including Peter, might say that we’re on the cusp, about four years away from being a mature startup scene, I don’t think so. I actually don’t agree with some of the assumptions  [Peter] is making on the Philippines as a Startup Nation and the impact that you can make on it. For me, it’s almost like saying that the Philippines is a mature democracy, but how far … [Read more...]

Startups Unplugged – A Video Montage

The moment was captured. So real, honest, and simple. It illustrates the warmth and vibrancy of a growing community that supports and is open to collaboration. To all the leaders and feeders in the startup community, may this video fuel your spirits :) … [Read more...]

The Software Guru tells the Real Story: On Startups, Bankruptcy, and Attitude (Part 1 of the Joey Gurango Series)

I remember texting Peter right after my interview with Joey Gurango, which was just days before Startups Unplugged. In my text, I asked Peter about what he thought about posting an uncut version of Joey's interview on JGL. The reason for my suggestion was that after my interview with Joey, I was completely taken aback by the incredible knowledge that he was sharing with me; even though I wasn't a techie, Joey's stories resonated with me and schooled the heck out of me. Everything Joey shared with me just seemed so important, so I wanted to post everything that he said. While I must admit, I've omitted some parts of the conversation to be practical, this is still a very raw version of what … [Read more...]

5 Things I’ve Learned from Startups Unplugged

Justice League by DC Comics

I've been trying to push myself to blog Post Startups Unplugged, and share all the instances of serendipity that truly made this miracle happen. However, I thought that it would be more effective if I were to cut to the chase about what I actually learned from it all. Here it goes! These are the 5 things that I've learned from Startups Unplugged: Ask and you shall receive. I had no shame in asking sponsors to join Startups Unplugged. This is how I usually got in contact with a sponsor: A kind individual would give me a business card of XYZ individual from XYZ organization, and I'd literally call that person on the spot, even it if was the direct line of the CEO. It might sound too crazy … [Read more...]

Startups Unplugged: Get Personal with Justin Garrido of Social Project.PH

Justin Garrido of Social Project.PH

I recently caught up with fellow Fil-Am, Justin Garrido, of Social Project.PH. Justin’s a former director of Aldi Foods in the US and he received his MBA from Melbourne Business School. Now Justin is in the Philippines starting up, Social Project.PH. Justin is definitely a versatile and knowledgeable Argonaut. I always acquire a ton of knowledge from my conversations with him. I am honored to be able to share his story with what we Amboys call real talk. I’d like to introduce you to the passionate, change-maker Justin Garrido of Social Project.PH, one of the awesome startup founders scheduled to speak at Startups Unplugged. What is Social Project.PH?  Justin: Social Project.PH is a … [Read more...]

Start, UNPLUGGED!

MTV Unplugged 2.0 Episode on November 18, 2001

One of my favorite things about blogging on Juan Great Leap is that I get to document my entrepreneurial journey without much apprehension. The cathartic experience that comes from sharing, as a crazy individual who is just starting in the Philippines, enables me to embrace the fear monster. From my first Open Coffee to witnessing the art of sharing at living hope, I'm starting to realize why Peter calls Juan Great Leap his gift; there is great reward in giving and sharing for all. With Startups Unplugged coming up next week, I'd like to share what this event means to me and what I hope to give back to it. What does Startups Unplugged mean to me?  Three months ago, I was blurting … [Read more...]

Secrets to Change: Write Down Your Ideas

Photo Credits: Lisha Angeles

Actions speak louder than words. We can all agree on that, right? Words can simply be thrown around like this "Hello...how...are you? Good. Great." Am I giving you any value with those fillers? No, I don't believe so. Let me get straight to the point. Words lose their value if they don't spark action. Even if you're literate and you treat them as signifiers, words are worthless if you don't act upon what you say. Perhaps, if you have even read some of my blog entries you may have questioned my authenticity, "Is this guy for real?" "What planet did this emo, Am-Boy kid come from?" I question myself too. Will my dreams, hopes, and aspirations actually turn into anything … [Read more...]

The Sounding Board: Be Heard for A Change

Sounding Board

Sharing information about your startup with other groups can be scary. You've put sweat and tears into building your business and sometimes you'd rather not share because others might just tear it down. It takes a lot of trust and confidence to bare your heart and soul to any individual or group. It's understandable, but you have to get passed that apprehension. Seeking advice and counsel is crucial to the success of your business. As proverbs says, "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). The message is clear: seek counsel from a group to prevent the fall. Now the challenge in seeking counsel is finding a group … [Read more...]

To Be or Not To be: 5 Reasons Why I think I need an MBA

In the summer of 2010, I took a visit to Columbia University during a family trip to NYC after college graduation

I loved college. I loved going to lecture and being inspired by the professors. I loved studying at the library, and I even loved taking naps at the library in between classes. I loved attending professor’s office hours to gain new knowledge and perspective. And most of all, I loved being engaged in a vibrant community of like-minded folks composed of young individuals who were hoping to do something in their own special way. I loved the idea of college so much that I aspired to be a professor. That’s what brought to me to the Philippines in the summer of 2010. The plan was that after graduation, I would go to the Philippines to take a one-month Tagalog class to “enhance” my knowledge of … [Read more...]

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