On Scaling, the Recent SOFTCON, and the Wonder of Technology

flexproducts

Recently, I took a picture of the weekly FLEXIBLE BENEFIT products we received in our office and now had to deliver to our clients: There were hundreds of items ordered in a span of a few days. It was the very first time I've seen this many orders made in our system. We had to find a room to keep all the items secure. The problems we're facing in STORM now are very different from what we've faced over the last few years. Before, we would just be consumed mostly by sales and developing the technology further. (and you know, startup stuff like "where the hell do we get the money for next month's payroll?!") Now, while the above-mentioned things are still supremely important, we … [Read more...]

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...]

JGL’s One Great Leap!

Entrepreneur

There's a lot going on now with two of my startups, STORM and STRATA. People movement, scaling, fire-fighting, creating processes, client meetings, projects, you name it, we're doing it right now. For STORM specifically, we usually do systems implementation around this time in preparation for the coming year. Plus we're also renewing with all our current clients. These next few weeks leading up to the first quarter of 2014 will be quite taxing for our team. I wish there were two of me sometimes. November marks the 2nd year anniversary of JGL's first post. While the blog has been growing and our events have been successful. There's so much that I've wanted to do in JGL which we … [Read more...]

Why Sales Isn’t Always King (when to say no to sales)

fallen king

Our Brief Fling With Payroll More than a few years ago, when STORM was finding out first hand that we still needed to educate the market about flexible benefits, we were scrambling on ways on how to generate more sales. I had an idea. "Let's offer payroll!" My several justifications were many: to be known as both a compensation AND benefits services company, "payroll wasn't rocket science", and the idea that we could just use the current system we developed internally to run it. Because there were many competitors, we couldn't put quite a big enough margin per sale. So I figured, we could make up for it with a bit of volume. Our minimum price was around P15-20K per month for a … [Read more...]

Ah! Open Coffee! (October Edition Postscript)

Group pic! SMILE!

I have to admit, I was worried about the 2-month absence of Open Coffee. Would we lose momentum?  Would people still go?  Will the pitches be just as good?  It turns out, my fears were unfounded. I thought October Open Coffee was super! For starters, after the 2 months, it was great to see the holdovers / familiar faces (around 20 or so, you know who you are) who keep on coming back. You practically feel like family. Next, I thought, we just had the MOST DIVERSE SET OF PITCHES we've ever had. And if you've been to Open Coffee before and heard the pitches, you'd know this is saying a lot. Let's see.... We had an OFW-children's support group, a fashion data aggregator, … [Read more...]

Why Startups ARE For Everyone, part 2

everyone

(Part one of this series can be found here) In part 1, I talk about how the combination of how EVERYONE having something special to offer and the current technology infrastructure now enable ANYONE to build her own startup. So the question is: why isn't everyone rushing to do so? Here are 3 factors why: 1) The Information Gap The first reason is simply ignorance. We live in a society where our school systems still (by and large) marshall us and train us for the corporate and factory environment. For a typical college graduate, her primary (and chances are, only) professional concern after graduation is "to get a job." The thought of pursuing her own thing and standing … [Read more...]

Last Call for October OPEN COFFEE!

last call

Last 23 slots for OPEN COFFEE! Since we're holding the event in a slightly smaller venue than our usual 47 EAST, we're limiting the slots to around 80 people. As of 5pm today, 57 people have already confirmed, so I advise clicking here to reserve your slot now before they run out. You can REGISTER HERE.  See you at Centerpoint Ortigas on Saturday! … [Read more...]

Why Startups ARE For Everyone, part 1

freedom

"Startups aren't for everyone." I've written this considerably in this blog. (very prominently here) We've also heard it uttered by every other entrepreneur, it seems, right? "Entrepreneur you say? Well, ho ho ho! You have to have a unique skill set: a combination of cast-iron will, uber-magnetic charisma, the ability to laugh in fear's face, and space-age technical skills. Oh, and you need to be stupendously lucky." (I guess in a way, talk like this validates what we've done and makes us feel good about ourselves a bit) Lately, however, I'm starting to feel differently. I think startups are for everyone.  Before you hurl tomatoes at me (especially existing entrepreneurs :), … [Read more...]

My New Faburrito

faburrito1

Every Tuesday night, my prayer group would choose a restaurant around the Eastwood/Ortigas area to eat in. Last week, we chose this Mexican place called Faburrito, located at the Robinson's Supermarket area in Eastwood. Ever the entrepreneur, the first thing I thought was, "bad location, little traffic." This particular branch (I understand there's another one at the Columns, Makati), was at the edge of a corridor, with very little natural traffic. My friend Howard, who already finished his meal, began raving like a madman as soon as I arrived: Peterit'ssogoodanddifferenthere, theiringredientsareallnatural, theiceteaislightrefillableandyoucanchangeflavors! I … [Read more...]

The Wait Is Over! JGL OPEN COFFEE IS NOW BREWING! Reserve your slot now!

finally

FInally! By far, the most common question my mailbox has received is: When is the next open coffee? and How come we didn't have open coffee last month? People, I'm so sorry for the delay, as I've been sorting out some stuff. I know we've now missed two months of open coffee. Let me begin making up for it by announcing that we're now good to go for the next Open Coffee this October! (woohooo!) EVENT DETAILS: WHAT: JGL OCTOBER OPEN COFFEE!!! WHEN: October 5, 2013, 9:30 am WHERE: 3rd Floor Function Hall, Centerpoint Building, Garnett cor. Julia Vargas Streets, Ortigas Center, Pasig Registration: Do register HERE to grab a slot.  Gate Fee: Kindly bring P100 for simple coffee and … [Read more...]

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