July 2013 Open Coffee Postscript

There was a moment during the actual pitching proper last Saturday's Open Coffee event that I looked at Matt and AR of JGL and said, "I love this...I love it!" It was one of the many times when someone in the audience had the the RIGHT contact or the RIGHT information and then just generously offers it to the pitcher who needs it. This encapsulates the whole point of Juan Great Leap: collaboration and learning. The JGL Open Coffee format pushes this to another level: there is no "sage on the stage" or a central source of information. It's just entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-minded people helping one another out. As usual, last Saturday was very, very different from every other Open … [Read more...]

Fathers and Sons

Exactly 6 years ago, I was in Cardinal Santos hospital feeling an overwhelming mixture of happiness, fear, and  excitement. You see, for the first time, I was holding my son in my arms. And there was something else I was feeling. As I beheld my son, I felt an unmistakable tug of the heart. It was the first time we met face-to-face, but never did I feel such an intense feeling of love for another person. He was mine.  Then I had a quick realization. I quickly looked for my dad. Finding him, I gave him a hug and said, "happy birthday!" It was also his birthday after all. I then extended the hug a bit. You see, it was also the first time in my life I realized … [Read more...]

Avoid the Joneses, They Will Anchor You to Mediocrity

Aside from my work in STORM and Juan Great Leap, I "incubate" firms. It's really just a passion of mine to look for the right ideas, find the right people to pursue them, and then try to build something from nothing. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn't. So, if you can imagine, a big part of this hobby of mine is constant "founder-hunting." There are a great many challenges to "founder-hunting." (I've covered quite a bit of this in this blog.) Illustrated here is another fairly typical one: Peter: "So...everything sounds good! This is the % equity you'll be entitled to as Founding CEO. As for salary, obviously the startup can't afford your current salary, but we can still … [Read more...]

Why TURBO is (surprisingly) the most entrepreneurial movie you’ll see in years

I watched TURBO last night with my family. The wifey liked it. The kids LOVED it.  Unbeknownst to them, I was loving it a little more than I probably should. Why? Turbo is easily the greatest entrepreneurial animated movie I have ever seen!!!  (now that's a sentence I'd never, ever thought about writing in this blog) At the risk of spoiling the movie by detailing how exactly it achieved this, let me just enumerate several entrepreneurial themes that I managed to observe in the movie. There were SO many.  To wit (when you do watch the movie, do see if you can tick some of these off - most are pretty obvious): A "crazy" one dreaming of a big thing The desire to leave the … [Read more...]

Last Call for July Open Coffee – 27 slots left!

Posting the last call for this Saturday's Open Coffee event at the 47 East compound! Do register here now and grab the remaining slots before we close registration. What I've observed is, the larger the crowd, the more valuable the process becomes. When someone pitches a large crowd, there is almost always someone who has a very intimate level of information that's extremely useful for the one pitching. The larger the crowd, the more chances someone finds another person who's the perfect collaboration partner (I've seen this happen multiple times) So...let's make this one the BIGGEST ever! If you haven't been to our previous open coffee events, do let this Saturday be your … [Read more...]

Dare To Pitch Postscript

Last Saturday, Juan Great Leap and Hybridigm held Dare To Pitch at the STORM headquarters in Ortigas Center. It was a pitching forum where we invited startups to pitch to VC's. No winners, no prizes. We just wanted deserving entrepreneurs to have a venue where they could pitch to institutional investors. At best, they could get funded, at worst, they WILL get valuable experience, feedback, and contacts. The event was actually a non-public post-event, where ready attendees of the pitching seminar Pitchcraft could volunteer to do an ACTUAL pitch. There were a few audience slots which we opened up to the JGL subscriber base (there are benefits of becoming a subscriber!),  which were … [Read more...]

On Sexy Vs. Urgent, Not Playing the Field Enough, and Why You Mustn’t Roll Like Rick

We've heard it from so many pundits and experts already (including me): there is SO MUCH opportunity now, the time to do a startup is now, blah blah blah. I do agree with this, obviously. Wholeheartedly. Just compared to this same time last year, I've seen so many  entrants, foreign and local, angel and VC, wanting to splurge their investment money on new ideas. This is why I squirm around a lot. I see a lot of opportunity lost - good people pitching blah ideas. (Incredibly, I'm starting to see blah ideas get some funding, but that's another topic) I know that perhaps this is part of the learning process, but c'mon ANOTHER e-commerce site with no defensible niche? A whole startup … [Read more...]

6 Essential Rules on How To Deliver Kickass Customer Service (part 2 of 2)

(The second of a two-part series on AWESOME CUSTOMER SERVICE, part one can be found here) Before we proceed to rules 4, 5, and 6, let's do some definition of terms first. There are two types of culture in a given organization: there is the EXPRESSED culture, and there is the ACTUAL culture.  The expressed culture is what you see on Mission-Vision-Values statements or in organization "credos." It is the culture that companies WANT their companies to be defined by. The actual culture is, obviously, what your organization is really like. To hardcore HR practitioners, the technical terms are actually "presumed" vs. "actual" HR. But I think "expressed" is a bit more descriptive than … [Read more...]

JULY OPEN COFFEE on the 27th!

Can you feel it in the air? It's that time of month again! Here's a pic of what happened last time! We could barely fit the screen! Do join us for the next JGL Open Coffee on July 27, Saturday. We'll be doing it again at the beautiful 47 East Co-working facility at 47 Esteban Abada, Loyola Heights, QC. Remember, the more we are, the more value the resulting networking and learning creates, the more chances cross-industry idea pollenation happens. Do invite more awesome people to go with you! Do reserve your slots HERE, now! Don't forget to bring P100 for the coffee and snacks. Seeya! (Know someone who would especially benefit from attending Open Coffee? Hit the share … [Read more...]

6 Essential Rules on How to Deliver Kickass Customer Service (Part 1 of 2)

Much of my opinions here are based on my own journey in helping build STORM's customer service function. (This is obviously a work in progress) Since STORM services thousands of employees across a growing number of firms, we had to make sure from the onset we were making the right choices as far as customer service is concerned. Here's what I've been learning on how to build truly differentiated customer service. As a startup or an SME (versus my experience in my previous life in HR of bigger firms), you will have a much greater chance of building a culture that's TRULY centered on customer service. First 3 rules below, next 3 up in the next post! 1) At the very beginning, DECIDE … [Read more...]