To Dream is Human, After All

Most of us have two lives, the one we live and the unlived life within us. — Steven Pressfield I had the skeleton ready for a more technical post on startup growth. I was going to spend some time this weekend giving it more flesh. Then I saw La La Land late Saturday night. It’s THE perfect movie for dreamers, entrepreneurs, and heck, any professional. It’s a story about your fidelity to your calling, about how we need to nourish our dreams, and the fragility of it all. Yes, there is a romance between the lead characters, but I think the more important romance to consider in the movie is the romance between the lead characters and their own individual dreams. The movie struck … [Read more...]

The Unlikely Journey of Our Newly-Minted COO

9581ec0a-6040-49d6-a9d2-037552e089be

We’ve all been through those moments in life when everything seems to be falling apart. That was where Kellda was when I first met her two years ago. You wouldn’t know it through my interview process with her. A former Unilever achiever and fastfood startup founder, she was introduced by a mutual entrepreneur friend. She was in-between jobs. Kellda dazzled us in the recruitment process with her intelligence, strong will and demeanor. Even if she had no prior exposure to tech, she was obviously eager to learn more about our industry. I wanted to woo her into joining our company as one of our product heads. Soon, I gave her an offer. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She had bigger brands … [Read more...]

From Startup to Scale in 3 Escalating Leaps

s00f6-w_oq8-joshua-earle

Years ago when I graduated, I had no special commendations. My grades were slightly above-average. Flunked one or two, if I remember right. I have no MBA. No special connections. I was raised in a middle-income family, where I contributed a portion of my earnings as a breadwinner along with my brother. I never got the chance to work abroad. I started my professional career out as a high school English teacher, and then entered corporate life as an HR Officer. I remember slowly going up the corporate ladder. The frustration of it. The ups and downs. The multiple crises, quarter-life and otherwise. You know. I remember refusing to have my dreams slowly snuffed out by reality though. I … [Read more...]

What Happened When We Killed Timekeeping and Attendance

timepiece

One of the great perks of being an entrepreneur is having complete control over time. From the time we founded STORM, Pao and I have always worked with a completely flexible schedule. Actual sms messages: Dude, coffee shop muna ako this morning. or Had a late night, will work from home today or Won't be in the office this afternoon We never had to be worried that the other person is slacking off. We'll even tell one another if we need a break to slack off. This is because we trust one another. In the end, I know Pao cares about the firm and will work his tail off for its objectives. I know that goes both ways. This never became a rule for our employees though. We followed a … [Read more...]

The LEGO Theory of Job Fulfillment

lego

  Who doesn't love Lego? When I was a kid, Lego was my ultimate, favorite toy. After I would unbox a set, I would first try to build it as designed. But this wasn't the fun part yet! This is sort of the boring requirement. After some time, these new pieces would gradually fall into my BIG PAIL of Lego blocks. Playtime commenced when I would pour the pieces on the floor - one big mess. Then, I would just...create. Cars, knights on steeds, robots with several points of articulation, you name it, I built it. Fun! Decades after, Lego is bigger than ever. People buy the stuff in droves (even if it hurts the pocket) - fuelled especially by licensing everything cool. (Marvel … [Read more...]

Been Awhile, JGL

entrepreneur-593378_1280

After 8 months, I had all sorts of ideas on what my "first" post will be like. Some long, drawn out 5-parter on what I've learned all this time, perhaps? Some Michael Jordan "I'm back" one-liner? I was even mulling just hammering out a regular post and pretend the 8-month gap never happened. I had all sorts of ideas. Of course it came down to me just opening good old Wordpress and suddenly just typing. And here it is. When Peter? I would get asked around a lot "when are you writing again?" or "when is the next open coffee?" And I would just smile and apologize. I did have the perfect excuse. It has been a busy year. STORM went through a huge fundraiser. We … [Read more...]

Advent Thoughts On a Hospital Couch

FullSizeRender (1)

My wife has been in labor in the delivery room for the past 8 hours. We are eagerly expecting our fourth child. I can hear Typhoon Ruby's din just outside the window almost seamlessly combine with the whir of the air-conditioning unit. I write this helplessly alone on a leather couch at St. Luke's hospital, waiting for the signal to come in and hold my wife's hand as she goes through the final birth stages. But not yet. I sit here, sleep-deprived, waiting and praying. It is Advent after all, I muse. Yesterday, here in the hospital, I had a call with my business partner Paolo regarding my startup baby, STORM. As big as 2014 has been for us, the call greatly suggests that 2015 will … [Read more...]

What Is Your Fearlessness Quotient?

jump

At work, when we talk about hiring (which we talk about A LOT nowadays), I usually tell my co-managers that I am very interested in hiring "entrepreneurial-minded" people. Then I'd get often asked: What does that mean? That's a question I've been mulling about for ages. What exactly is it? How do you evaluate if someone has it? How do you know if someone has the potential to have it? There are so many theories on what entrepreneurship is. Here's one of mine. I think, when you distill it, when you boil entrepreneurship down to its basest levels, entrepreneurship is all about fearlessness. Entrepreneurs just conquer fear. Innovation, a word long synonymous with … [Read more...]

15 Slots Available For STORM’S Private Recruitment Cocktails Tomorrow

storm logo

STORM is scaling fast. Founded in January 2013 (a spinoff from my original HR startup, STORM Consulting), STORM is bent on transforming the way companies manage benefits. I'm fairly confident STORM has been among the fastest growing local startups across these last 2 years, revenue-wise. We've been blessed. In 2013, we proved our new business model could work - an entirely new way for companies to manage their benefits. In 2014, we started growing fast. Very fast. We've quadrupled both 2013 revenue AND 2013 manpower. We're set to AT LEAST quadruple revenue again in 2015. There are no signs of slowing down. In fact, it's looking like things will go even faster. The most … [Read more...]

Big Picture? No, Look at the BIGGER Picture

big picture

These past few months have been crazy in STORM. We started the 2014 with about 16 employees. We're ending the year with around 50 employees and 60 more job openings. After 5-6 years hovering at around 10-15 employees, we're now scaling at an unprecedented level. It's been all sorts of crazy, but its been fun. It's a riveting challenge to see just how far we can push this. This sudden shift in scale started when we realized two years ago that, "Hey, we can be more than a niche player in the industry - we could help EVERYONE out with flexible benefits." We widened the aperture. Stepping Back for a Wider View Every once in awhile I would talk to an entrepreneur about ideas or … [Read more...]