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

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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

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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...]

Advent Thoughts On a Hospital Couch

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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...]

Release Your Inner Kraken: The Folly of Hidden Talents

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For as far as I can remember, I've always loved writing. I enjoyed paragraph writing in grade school. There was always a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I felt a paragraph was complete, when I felt every word I used was the right one. It was simultaneously art and science for me. This love for word construction continued throughout my high school and college stints. Writing assignments wouldn't feel like homework. I would volunteer for writing tasks across my different subjects, projects, and the clubs I belonged to. In my first year after graduation, I taught english for a year in my alma mater and loved every minute of it. Then I went corporate. Suddenly, my love … [Read more...]

Why You Should Consider Staying The Course

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The following is a guest post from Dino Alcoseba, newly-minted head honcho at the HR startup Strata.ph. I've known Dino for five years now and I've seen him develop since coming in as a fresh graduate working for STORM in 2008. Here, he shares about staying the course. I can remember the events Dino describes below (that YM Conversation!), and its a bit jarring to hear what exactly he felt.  Considering the state of young employee turnover not only in startups, but for the entire industry, I think what Dino writes here is pretty important to consider.  - Peter  5 years ago, I was stuck with a dilemma... I just finished packing 8,000 letters to employees for one of Storm’s clients. … [Read more...]

I Forgot I Was On Vocation!

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The past few months have been some of the most rewarding for me as an entrepreneur. At the start of 2013, we made a crucial decision to split STORM Consulting, my startup baby, into two, distinct, laser-focused firms: STORM Rewards was going to focus on flexible benefits. I was going to lead the efforts as its CEO. STRATA was going to focus on HR competency frameworks. The big difference here was that I really wanted to source an independent management team to lead Strata - I didn't want to be involved in the day-to-day operations. In hindsight, it proved to be a very pivotal decision. (yep, focus is everything) Armed with a new business model which allowed it to offer Flexible … [Read more...]

The Rise of the Free Agent Era and 5 Strategies to Survive It, Part 2

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(This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Part one can be found here.) 3) Build Free Agent Skills So what sort of skills are highly useful in this free-agent era? Skills which maximize your ability to be independent - skills which can allow you to be highly mobile and flexible. Here are three really strategic ones you can work on: a) Learn How To Learn Real Fast Two common realities of the free agent era: there's always something new to learn, and you have to learn it fast. If you learn things fast, then you can work in vuitually any condition and won't be a victim of obsolescense. Adapt and live. So don't get married to a skill set (especially technical ones, which … [Read more...]

The Compass, The Anchor, and The Propeller

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When we moved into our new office, we were in a momentary quandary about what to do with a good-sized room that was right smack in the middle of the layout. We could turn it into another meeting room - you could never have enough of those. Or perhaps a designated interview room? Incubate a startup idea (or two)? (such a temptation!) Then, it hit Pao and I at the same time - we just HAVE to turn it into a prayer room. It's obviously not the bottom line-friendly alternative, but knowing our history, it just made too much sense to put a prayer room in the middle of the office. This was our little way of honoring the God who has been so faithful to us and our journey. Prayer … [Read more...]

Fathers and Sons

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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...]