The Unlikely Journey of Our Newly-Minted COO


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 pursuing her. Fingers crossed.

After some waiting, we arranged a meeting. I had a good feeling.

We met in our office and I started giving her the offer.

It then evolved into one of the most bizarre job offers I’ve ever been involved in.

Right there and then, she said yes to my offer…but then she started to tear up! And these weren’t exactly tears of joy. (this was VERY hard to mentally process when it started happening!)

With emotions still very fresh from her very recent personal challenges, she started to emotionally narrate the difficult things she was going through.

I then asked her if she would want to take some days off first before starting immediately as we had planned.

I think the work will do me good,” she replied

I asked if what she was experiencing right now would affect her work.

She told me that she was at “80% of her usual capacity, but that that would be enough.”

After chatting some more, she was effectively telling me that she was accepting this job because it was an immediate offer and that she badly needed the distraction.

Uhm, not really what you want to hear in a job acceptance meeting.

I was trying to be supportive, but I remember that it was at this point that I mentally stepped out of our conversation and thought this job offer might not be such a good thing. I was already thinking of ways on how to stop this train from leaving.

But then, I remember thinking to myself that all of us go through bad days. I was thinking of the very worst days I had and how I would sound like if someone talked to me at that precise point. So…

Fingers crossed.

We started to get to know Kellda in the next few weeks.

Brilliant. Very operational. Great with detail. Dots her I’s and crosses her T’s. Short temper. Explodes.

Soon, there was a nickname going around.


A month or so after she started working with us, I invited her to this retreat the community I belonged, Living Hope, was organizing for young professionals. I thought attending might be good for her. It’s good that she said yes.

Long story short, it was in this retreat that she realized that this God whom she felt so distant from, this God whose existence she started to doubt, was in fact, very real. And did, in fact, love her with such immensity.

It was from this point on that I noticed a difference.

We would talk about her legendary temper, but she now struggled with it. And month after month, I would see improvements in this area.

She had also more bounce in her step. She was just happier.

It showed in the work she was producing, too.

Our company eventually assigned her to handle E-commerce operations, where she just flat-out killed her performance metrics. She transformed her function: our customer service teams did MORE with less people, our fulfillment teams shaved weeks off of their delivery times, our merchant teams added a record number of merchants. Her people, while still being a bit afraid by her, grew to respect and love her. They began to appreciate all that she brought to the table. All this, while learning about tech and how tech platforms work.

I was so excited with her development in the company. But I was also so excited about the person she was becoming month after month.

Then, of course, one day she asks me, “Peter, can I talk to you?” (nothing good ever comes out of this question, nothing)

We met at Figaro in Taipan Place in front of our office. She had a job offer from another company which doubled her pay. (like being in so many startup moments like this before, I struggled to maintain a calm expression while the blood drew from my face)

My mind…raced.

My gut instinct was to just launch into a whole argument why that was such a bad decision and why staying would be best for her.

But I realized that this was her journey we were talking about, not STORM’s, not mine.

I told her, “Pray and discern. Seek out what God wants for you. I will be at peace and will be happy with whatever direction He says you should take.”

Well, I don’t know about happy, but I meant every other word in that statement.

A few days later, she said she was staying. (hoorah!)

(She would also just BAFFLE her headhunter by explaining that she was declining the lucrative job offer because God had told her so. Her headhunter couldn’t properly explain this to her boss, so she asked her boss to call Kellda directly)

Fast forward to the very end of 2016, where I really felt a powerful need for someone to take on the COO role in STORM. While I could do the job, I felt I could do a lot more for the firm by focusing on some of its more strategic, future direction, and let someone else operationally focused handle the day-to-day.

It was an easy decision, not only to me, but to everyone I asked in STORM.

During the second workday of 2017 (yes, first day would have been MUCH more dramatic, but I got sick and I couldn’t make it), we announced that Kellda Centeno would be promoted as the company’s new Chief Operating Officer.

You know, in that picture above when she took the stage I’m usually in…I couldn’t be prouder of someone.

I am incredibly excited. I CANNOT WAIT to see the great impact she will inevitably bring.

What’s the best thing about your job, Peter?

I would always answer that question by saying it’s the sheer learning.

I’m beginning to think something else is better.

There is just tremendous fulfillment I feel when people adopt and share my startup dream, make it their own, open up their lives, and start journeyingwith me.

Are you a manager of people? Are you putting up a startup? Are you scaling and hiring more people?

I think it’s important to remember just what a privilege it is when someone decides to work for or with you.

They are making you, your company, your idea, part of their journey.

It’s important to remember that each person is a blessing God has given us the duty to take care of and nurture — not merely as professionals, but more importantly, as people.

The sooner we realize this, the sooner we see people doing just amazing things.

Why You Should Consider Staying The Course

The following is a guest post from Dino Alcoseba, newly-minted head honcho at the HR startup 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 

photo 2
Despite his Miami Heat losing both the Championship AND Lebron, Dino is still all smiles nowadays 🙂

5 years ago, I was stuck with a dilemma…

I just finished packing 8,000 letters to employees for one of Storm’s clients. It was an implementation of an organizational climate survey, which, a few months earlier, seemed alien to me. I knew absolutely nothing about the consulting environment. I didn’t know how things were supposed to be done. All I knew was, it was my birthday, I was supposed to have a party at my house, and I spent almost 36 hours packing letters to unknown people, asking them to log into an online survey – a letter a large number of them ignored. To make matters worse, the delivery of the letters didn’t even need to be done by that day, as evidenced by the lengthy time it took to reach the intended participants, as I found out a few days after.

That experience made me want to quit.

Up to that time, I didn’t know if I actually was enjoying my work. I didn’t consider myself a creative person (I didn’t know I’d have to create report templates from scratch, someone I never did before). I didn’t like the idea of presenting the same things over and over again (something I did for 2 straight months, presenting the same old results to a different set of people and asking them to validate results, covering around 30 FGD’s and 200 people to meet). I just didn’t see myself as staying here for long. The thing is though, I realized up to that point that I didn’t actually have a career plan for myself. I had ideas about my interests, I knew that enrolling in graduate school would be an option, but that was basically it.

I had made up my mind right then and there to talk to our CEO (Peter), and explain the reasons for my resignation. What followed was a lengthy conversation over instant messenger (Y! Messenger, no less) and culminated in…. me staying.

I am thankful up to this day that I made this decision.

Up to now, I do not know why I decided to stay. Maybe it was the promise of better and brighter things to come. Maybe it was just naiveté on my part. But regardless of what those reasons were, it was my first experience that taught me to stay the course.  

I know it’s not easy looking at the bigger picture when you’re fresh out of college, all brimming with credentials and aching to make a difference. Sometimes, work doesn’t paint that kind of picture, and it’s something we want to feel everyday. If we don’t feel that we’re doing something that matters, we tend to focus on the little things that annoy us, and distract us from the bigger picture. This culminates in unsatisfactory feelings in work, and ultimately, in tendering our 30 day notice and looking for greener pastures. I am not saying this is wrong. There really are companies that make it hard for us to stay, especially if there were inconsistencies between the job that was explained, and the actual job. But sometimes, staying the course, sticking it out for a little more, matters.

This has been especially true for me.

Making a Difference

Fast forward to 2013-2014, where I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of Strata, one of Storm’s sister companies, and just recently in May, been tasked with leading it.

It’s been all a haze, and the months have come and gone so fast. It’s hard to believe that it’s been months, but it’s been equally hard to believe that it’s only been months. The work that we’ve been blessed with has been nothing short of amazing. I cannot believe how and why large corporations and big government agencies continue to trust us with their projects. It must mean that I, along with my amazing team, must be doing something right. This is exciting for Strata because it allows us to 1) use our HR knowledge and expertise (something the team LOVES discussing), and 2) make a huge difference in people’s lives. It allows for transformational change in organisations, but recently more with the government sector, partners we’ve recently begun to start working with (and is a personal preference of mine, and I’ve been an avid listener of AM radio since my 1st day of work). It allows us to see directly how our work contributes to society, and how we can make the Philippines a much better place. This is completely unprecedented, and I am completely dumbfounded that we find ourselves in such a good position.

Never Ending Fears

Being part of a startup is hard. That’s just the truth. Leading it is even harder. The amount of decisions that have to be made on a daily basis range from petty (no more ink! where to buy ink?!), to complicated (how to present certain HR methodologies to the right audience), to downright insane (how, as a 27 year old, to tell much older and more experienced people that they have the wrong methodology). I sometimes feel like I’m in over my head, honestly. There are days when my feelings back in 2009 come haunting me back. . There are still days when I don’t feel like meeting some people. There are days when I just want to put earphones on and listen to my Jesuit-inclined playlist (The Song of Rupert Mayer has become a personal favourite). There are days when I wish for a simpler life, maybe one where I just have a role in a company, and I just have to do the same thing over and over again.

But at the end of every single day, I catch myself. I always find something good to smile about. And that, I find, is what gets me through most days.

Work is hard, but so is everything that is significant and life changing.

I find that with my never-ending fears, there are always reasons to stay the course make a difference in this world, and that’s all that matters.


My Night With Entrepreneurs

One of the things I had promised myself was that I would always say “yes” to entrepreneur speaking engagements whenever I would have the honor of being invited and if my time permitted.

A few weeks ago I was asked by Ateneo MBA students to be one of the speakers for their culminating event, “Night with Entrepreneurs.”

I hesitated in saying yes because the weeks preceding January 1 are always the busiest for STORM – it’s when our current clients renew and when new clients are added.

Not wanting to begin compromising what I promised, and realizing I could make up the work I’d be missing, I said yes.

???????????????????????????????I’m glad I did.


Well, first off, I got to hear and learn a lot from my co-speakers.

Being around mostly tech-related startups, it was a joy hearing entrepreneurs in other fields (for a change):

Dencio Catienza is a dive-instructor-turned entrepreneur, founder of Planet Dive.  It was a thrill hearing about his journey from being a skills teacher into what is essentially a real estate developer and investor. It was great to see how he thought globally, and how he knew his numbers – how big the tourism market is, what exact piece of the pie each  country had, and how we had so much to improve on.

Caroline Cua went next. She founded a company called Tamang Timpla Foods, Inc, concept which was developed straight from the Ateneo SOMBA incubator program. From Somba, her team proceeded to join and win different business plan competitions. It was interesting to hear the story of how she had basically taken the startup leap from college and continues to develop her startup years after graduation, without ever having been an employee. Look, people! It IS possible to make the leap from college! Go get em Carol!

Chris killing it with his talk

Chris Angeles, founder of,  started out by explaining the concepts of his favorite book, The 4-hour Workweek. I think Chris is the best possible example I can think of someone who actually approximates the lifestyle Tim Ferris suggests. Chris employs a Manila-based, fifteen-man startup which sells (nothing but) wristbands (surprisingly, Chris told me their mostly a B2B firm) in the US. They’re killing it. The interesting thing is that Chris developed his startup largely to be free of his operational involvement. He just works 2-3 hours a week. What does he do with most of his time?

Travelling. (and he’s got all the pics to prove it)

Each entrepreneur got a few minutes each to talk about his/her journey, and some of the best lessons they’ve learned.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both the emotional side of things (the journey, the war stories), as well as the intellectual side of things (the business model, the competitive advantages).

Then, it was Q&A time.

Me? I loved the whole thing. Loved it. I think it reminded me of something I’ve known about myself for a while – I’m really a teacher at heart.

Thank you again for the Ateneo Entrepreneurship MBA class (EJ in particular – you were very helpful!), and their esteemed professor Jorge Saguinsin, for inviting me over. Till next time!

Me receiving a plaque from Prof Jorge Saguinsin

(want to meet more entrepreneur-minded folk? Get a slot at JGL’s Open Coffee session this Saturday before they run out!)

Entrepreneurial Thinking Needed in Yolanda Aftermath

Okay, so you’ve given both money and items in kind.

You’ve volunteered your time and helped packed goods.

Chances are though (especially if you’ve seen the gut-wrenching footage), you’re still asking:


Perhaps one thing is to do what this blog advocates.

Be an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is all about problem solving. It’s all about finding new, better ways of doing things in the harshest of conditions.


Yolanda has brought about all sorts of grand problems in the most unimaginable of conditions. Rebuilding – both immediate and in the longer term – will REQUIRE entrepreneurial thinking.

Amidst all the carnage, I see a lot of very inspiring, creative, entrepreneurial problem-solving that is happening.

Like using crowdsourcing here:


Or getting programmers to rapidly develop useful disaster-management apps…

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 12.14.43 AM

Or even big companies doing something fairly unique by relying on their own strengths…

air asia
They’ll actually be flying volunteers into the affected areas for free!

I also see a lot of very inspiring “entrepreneurial” activities on social media: from individuals leading and organizing their own fund drives, to people trying to solve very specific problems (a friend of mine posted an emergency need for a plane/helicopter – she got it 🙂

We need more of these!

Let’s help in all the usual ways – of course. But let’s also dig deep and channel our entrepreneurial sensibilities towards this Grand Canyon of a problem set:

What problem areas aren’t being focused on? What are Blue Ocean solutions? 

How can we maximize our limited resources to achieve the biggest impact?

Which set of people can I help out? Which can I target? 

How can I best help out, calling to mind my own strengths and passions?

How can technology augment current solutions which are being utilized?

What are the long term ramifications? What strategy can I pursue or advocate which best serves the would-be status quo? How can long term solutions be sustainable?

How can jobs be built for the people in the affected areas?

(Be a blessing and share if you think this can be helpful to someone!)

Ah! Open Coffee! (October Edition Postscript)

October open coffee

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, kite-camera artwork (my pick for pitch of the night!), a pitch for Trade School Manila, a government headhunting firm, an observation-based research firm, an inventor pitching wearable air filters, an artwork preservation concept, and many, many more.

The ideas – and the awesome, awesome group feedback that was generated to help them out – are SO much better than how the words above describe them.

You HAVE to have been there. The energy was uncontainable.

Then of course, in something that we should have done from the very first open coffee, around 20 or so of us had awesome lunch after at J-Jay’s Inasal. It was a blast, and we stayed chatting until mid-afternoon.

Lunch was F-U-N!
Lunch was F-U-N!

More pics below! You have to join us next time!

cam basa

I should have been in this picture!
I should have been in this picture!
jovitt trinidad holding court
Our coffee sponsor: audacious pinoy retail startup MASKAPE! (pretty good coffee)
Our coffee sponsor: audacious pinoy retail startup MASKAPE! (pretty good coffee) Thanks NATHANIEL GO and MASKAPE for the LOADS of coffee we got!
Fun after the formal pitches!
Fun after the formal pitches!
Group pic! SMILE!
Group pic! SMILE!

My New Faburrito


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 atesomuchbutIdon’tfeelbloatednomsgnogrease! theownerisachristianwhogives10%ofallproceedstocharityandplayschristianmusicallday! youcanhavesomeofthesedeliciouschipstostartyouoff!

I was intrigued. Howard was quite excited.

Ordering was easy, complete with simple instructions:

1. Pick your dish

2. Choose your meat

3. Add Salsa

4. Add Fillings

5. Finish with Dressing


The Iced Tea

Famished, I got a large steak burrito with mango salsa and a lemongrass-flavored iced tea.

Apart from Howard’s rave reviews, sipping the iced tea was the first inkling I had that this was going to be a different experience.

Upon first sip, my reaction was – tabang! But then I found myself wanting to sip some more. It was refreshing! Best of all, it was bottomless AND you can choose different flavors upon each refill. (oh, wait what’s best of all is that its sugar-free!)

Just Awesome Service

Then, my burrito came. It was good! It wasn’t as – powerful (or greasy) – as some of the other burritos in other places, but it was good stuff.

Then, I noticed something. I noticed the my “large” order wasn’t that much bigger than my friends’ “regular” order. So I mention it nonchalantly to the nearby waiter.

The waiter said something like mine had much more meat inside and stuff.

I told the waiter it wasn’t a problem and proceeded to munch down on my burrito (it WAS a large order – I had trouble finishing it)

Then after a few minutes, the restaurant gave me a genuine pleasant surprise.

They gave me another burrito. 

My half-eaten steak burrito on the left, and the new, complimentary burrito on the right

I was thanking the waiter profusely and said they didn’t have to do that, that I wasn’t really complaining earlier on.

The waiter just smiled and told me it was complimentary. (with a smiling, “large po talaga yon”)

Now THAT was dang good service. It was obvious that the crew was empowered to do what they did. And you know what, that was the type of thing where I TELL ALL MY FRIENDS about it. And you know how word-of-mouth is so powerful for restaurants.

Not only that, but Howard was right – even if I ate SO MUCH that night, I somehow still felt light after eating. (not like, say, how I felt last Saturday night after my family’s dimsum-fest) That’s not a small thing.

Daring to Differ

I love what the owner (Earl Chua, according to a quick Google search) is trying to do here. He’s not trying to please everyone. He’s pieced together a grand vision and he isn’t afraid to let the world know about it.

This statement signage says it all:


Healthy, Christian, Mexican food.

THAT’S how to go after a niche. I love it. He just plunges in, implements his vision vigorously, and puts it on a sign for everyone to see.

What’s the effect?

You FEEL the difference when you visit Faburrito. The iced tea differs. The service differs. The blaring Christian music differs. The lack of grease differs.

If you ARE a part of the targeted audience, then the reaction will be like Howard. You will feel “it gets you” and you tell all your friends (excitedly) about it.

If you AREN’T part of the targeted market? I have a feeling you STILL will feel the differentiation and remember it enough to tell your friends whom you think belong to the audience targeted.


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

The most entrepreneurial animated film you’ll ever see!

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 corporate assembly line

Unsupportive family/friends

Failing many times before succeeding

Raising money

Pitching to investors

How traction makes raising money easier

Virality and how mobile enables it

The value of PR

The value of key partners and alliances

Being the underdog

Racing with the big boys

Leveraging on agility when racing with the big boys

Not giving up

How “good enough” isn’t good enough

The rewards of entrepreneurship

The movie was fun and enjoyable enough by itself. Viewed through entrepreneurial lens, it becomes something much more.

See it soon and tell me what you think!

Dare To Pitch Postscript

group pic

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 gobbled up quickly.

We then invited veteran VC’s Dan Pagulayan, Managing Director of Angeon Advisors, and Nix Nolledo, renowned local tech investor, to hear the pitches and give feedback.

Strict 5 minutes per pitch.

Pitching startups include: NDFY, Doxcheck, Geek Speak, Rumarocket, Realty Check, Wegen, Matchdrobe, Hack Blitz, Gerry Cruz of Angage, and entrepreneur Alex Calero.

Alex Calero does a demo of his gaming concept

I thought there were generally awesome ideas behind each pitch – most pitches endeavored to solve real problems. VC Dan Pagulayan told me he’d want to further talk to 8 out of the 10 pitches presented, and that he’s really excited with the number of quality pitches presented.

Just some further observations on the event:

1) Value in witnessing pitches

As a very opinionated person, it was tough for me to JUST listen to the proceedings, but I gotta say, I learned a whole lot. Each pitch was basically an attempt to solve a specific problem in a specific area in our world: from OPM, recruitment, turbine engines, to geek couture, it was a thrill for me not only to learn about these different pockets from the pitchers, but also listening in on what the VC panel had to say. Horizon-stretching. 

2) We need to practice with the time limit

7 out of the 10 people who pitched had to be cut off at the 5 minute mark. This for me indicates some lack of practice time. Pitchers have to maximize their airtime. In particular, what usually was part of what is cut is the ACTUAL money pitch: how much the startup needs, where it will go, and what’s in it for the investor. (I think these have to be conveyed quickly at the start)

3) Underlining go-to market strategy

Only a couple of pitches actually explained EXACTLY how the money they were trying to raise would be used in penetrating the market. I’ve seen this in particular with very technical founders who dive into the product, and sometimes miss pointing out how the startup would begin making money, and it intends to scale. For any investor, this is probably THE most crucial part – how exactly is this person going to make my money back?

4) Younger people are getting in on it

Current Ateneo student Red Bermejo pitching
Current Ateneo student Red Bermejo pitching

I’ve seen this trend in our JGL open coffee sessions (do sign up now!), where more and more students pitch and participate. 3 of the 10 pitches were given by current students. I think this is an awesome, awesome development, and I hope it continues to trend up.

Glen Macadaeg of NDFY
Glen Macadaeg of NDFY
Lara Santico of Realty Check
Lara Santico of Realty Check

June Open Coffee Postscript – This Just Keeps on Getting Bigger

group shot opencoffee
Record number for June! We can’t fit the pictures anymore!

As usual, everyone had a grand time in the June edition of JGL’s Open Coffee series held at the beautiful 47 East compound last Saturday.

It was a good mix of seasoned startup guys (like Joey Gurango, Ari Bancale, Jojy Azurin, Glenn Santos, David Elefant, Jason De la Rosa, Robert Bernabe, Roxanne Aquino, and so many others), newly-minted startup guys, and newbies.

As per Open Coffee tradition,’s main man Glenn Santos starts things off with some startup news:

As per open coffee tradition,'s main man Glenn Santos starting things out with startup related news...

The first pitch is always kind of crucial. There’s usually a bit of hesitation as to who wants to go first.

Not in the June edition though!

Rick Sindiong gets the ball rolling
Rick Sindiong quickly steps to the plate and gets the ball rolling
Digital media publisher and freelancing advocate Arianne Chantelle
Digital media publisher and freelancing advocate Arianne Chantelle
JGL mainstay Alex Calero pitches
JGL mainstay Alex Calero pitches

An evident trend I really like is the increase of the number of students. In fact, a college freshman,  Kenley went up to pitch a cool university-based idea.

ADMU Freshman Kenley Tan
DLSU student Charles Uy
Blue Consulting’s Byron Raymundo and Karen Medriano

The pitches veered a bit more tech this time. With dashes of finance, retail, and social enterprise ideas/problems thrown into the mix. (Again, I’m amazed at how much information and help is exchanged in these forums.) The variety of ideas was just amazing. We had people pitching procurement e-commerce sites, angel “brokers” asking if anyone wanted 15 million in funding, asking for co-founders in the development of an IT firm targeting rural banks, asking for help for an entry for a US video production contest, a Japanese food retail play, a unique take combining crowdfunding and CSR, Joey Gurango pitching for more startups to join PSIA’s Launchpad program, and so, so much more.

joey gurango
Joey G. pitching PSIA’s awesome program for entrepreneurs
Dino Alcoseba pitching the idea behind
Dino Alcoseba pitching the idea behind

While this time, we had no moments of spontaneous beatboxing or singing, I think the pitch of the day came from Myles Jamito, who got the crowd’s imagination buzzing with samples of 3-D printed items.

Myles Jamito
Myles Jamito inciting a host of 3-D printing ideas from the audience

I CANNOT wait for the July edition!

More pics…

Randy Tan of Lookingfour
Randy Tan of Lookingfour does a pitch
DLSU professor and entrepreneur Ren de los santos pitches
Tim Mislos pitching!
Tim Mislos pitching!
47 East's Zar Castro gets the last say!
47 East’s Zar Castro gets the last say!


Elon Musk’s Must-see Interview and Why You Need To Follow Him

Google “real-life Tony Stark” and the only name you’ll see is ELON MUSK.

Somehow, I think Elon is still under the radar. My wife doesn’t know him. The man on the street won’t know him. He doesn’t have Jobs’s brand.

Yet, I think he’s a much more fascinating entrepreneur than Jobs ever was. (with all the Apple in my house, this is a pretty loaded statement)

Also, I think Elon wins the badass entrepreneurial name battle.

“Elon Musk” > “Steve Jobs”

He DOES sound like someone who would be captain of a martian spacecraft!

If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, watch the fascinating video below from the recent D11 Conference.

(I’m serious, watch it! Don’t skip over to this part until you do!)

So here’s why I love this guy:

1) Not about the money – its about the impact

You know what I find most amazing in this interview? He’s able to talk about “inter-planetary life” in a business conference with a straight face. While Zuckerberg busies himself trying to find new ways to bill us for talking to people already in our network, Musk is not only trying to get rid of our dependence on fossil fuel, but he’s also saving the human race from extinction via the development of interplanetary travel.

With a straight face.

As noted entrepreneur/VC Mark Suster says, “Elon puts all other entrepreneurs to shame.”

The Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S

2) He doesn’t go after the easy thing

Attend ANY entrepreneurial event and what you’ll inevitably find is an avalanche of internet ideas. Musk advises us of the opposite thing: get out of the internet, there are too many people there.

After doing Paypal, what ANYONE would have done (in fact, what most of the “Paypal Mafia” did) is to do even more internet startups.

Instead, Musk went after bigger, more difficult fish.

3) The man has balls

Ok, tell me would you create a startup which would threaten to disrupt the main source of wealth of a plethora of Middle Eastern countries?


Disruption typically makes you enemies – those who want to hold on to the status quo. Musk isn’t afraid of disrupting some of the oldest, most entrenched, wealthiest industries.

That takes chutzpah.

4) Atypical heroes

You can tell a lot about a person by asking who his heroes are. When asked of who his heroes are, we were probably expecting one of the great IT guys, perhaps Jobs or Gates (You could tell the interviewers wanted him to reply this way) Instead, Musk quickly went with Tesla (oh gosh if you haven’t read this yet, please do. Tesla rules!), Einstein, Edison, and Newton.

5) Sheer Diversity 

Let’s chronologically talk about the technology Musk tackled: the first truly universal online payment gateway, electric cars, a space exploration/rockets(it still feels weird to type that), and “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an hockey table.”

How many CEO’s do you see tackle that range of technology?

The truly impressive thing? You just KNOW he immerses himself in the technology and just MAKES himself an expert. We all know LEARNING is a key trait for entrepreneurs , but this is ridiculous.

I want to be an expert in internet payments. Done. Hmmm…electric cars seem really important – I want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I need to be an expert in electric automobiles (which look really good) Done. Space?…

Elon is amazing – the spiritual successor to Steve Jobs and for me, the undisputed occupant of the entrepreneurial Iron Throne. If you are an entrepreneur, you HAVE to follow, learn, and get inspiration from him.

Can’t wait to see what he has for us next.