Risk Now or Forever Hold Your Peace


The older we get, the more permanent our decisions become.

In high school, the biggest decision we made was probably what school to take (a lot of people I know didn’t have a choice in this matter as well), or perhaps what course to take.

We could then easily shift courses. A lot of people I know even shifted schools.

We also choose who to hang out with. This can change easily as well.

Then one day, we graduate from college.

Then we have to face the next big decision in our lives – what job to take.

Not quite happy with our first job, perhaps we transfer to another firm. It isn’t as easy as changing courses, but this decision is still flexible enough that for a lot of us, we do this several times in our first few years out in the corporate jungle.

By this time, perhaps our relationships deepen as well. Soon enough, we start getting invitations for weddings. One day, we ourselves get married. We often hear of a lot of stories of people getting “cold feet.” This is natural. This decision is permanent, so we take our time. We get anxious.

Meanwhile, our jobs take some sort of pattern. The sum total of our jobs and our experiences becomes our “career.” This is an over-arching decision that is difficult to undo. If we’ve taken on a “marketing” career, then we would think long and hard before deciding to become a programmer. The longer the career, the more difficult a potential career shift becomes. The more the investment, the more difficult it is to let go.

If at one point we realize the career path we’ve taken isn’t quite what fulfills us, this can lead to many a term-crisis.

Then we start having kids.

You’ve heard how this can change everything.

This changes everything.

Suddenly, you literally aren’t living for yourself any longer. Suddenly you’re thinking – I want to send them to good schools! But where will I get the money for tuition? I want to get them HMO coverage! What will happen if I kick the bucket? O gosh, does this mean I have to talk to that pesky life insurance guy? Where will I get the money for insurance payments? Who picks them up from school?! 

It’s a crazy, never-ending cycle of worry and planning and spending.

It’s also extremely fulfilling and a source of profound joy 🙂

At this point however, it’s extremely difficult to carry any form of risk.

Recently, I’ve been talking to a very accomplished friend of mine who’s just above 40. He’s contemplating the jump to entrepreneurship. Our lunches have gone on for about a year now.

In one of our lunches, I asked him, how much will it take to get you to make the leap? How much are your expenses?

With potential startup founders, the salary question isn’t “how much do you want?” but “what’s the least amount you can live with?”

The answer almost made me jump out of my chair.

I know he’s reading this – yeah dude, I almost fell off my chair – but my vast composure powers prevented me from flinching.

I told him, “No startup can accommodate that.” He nodded in slow approval.

In our subsequent talks, this amount became the sum we have in our minds for him to consider a jump. Financially at least, the distance he has to leap has become a Grand Canyon. Whatever startup he cooks up has to pay this amount.

We both acknowledge, however, that this isn’t even the biggest hurdle.

One lunch I was lamenting to him about this other person who was about to take the leap, but didn’t.

He told me:

“You have to give people our age some slack. We don’t think that way.”

I realized he was right. After 15-20 years of corporate, it’s just hard for people to re-imagine a career outside corporate. Even if the desire was there. 

In one of my earlier posts, I noted how a great number of the people I interviewed over the last nearly 20 years I’ve been in HR said “I want to create my own business,” when asked what their long-term plan was.

This just doesn’t happen often. The older we get, the lesser our ability to risk becomes.

Yes, some people get to invest in startups when they get older. But this isn’t a function of getting older. It’s a function of financial success and generating enough money to consider angel investing.The rule of thumb is that as an angel, you invest only 10% of your disposable income. (translation: by-the-book angel investors don’t really risk) Interestingly, a vast majority of angel investors I’ve encountered are ALSO entrepreneurs. Truthfully, I haven’t met anyone who’s a corporate lifer who’s now into angel investing. A number of older corporate folks leverage on experience and go the consulting route. But this route often lacks the ambition and scale of what a modern startup wants to do.  (translation: long corporate careers do not lead to startups)

My advice?

If you are under 35, have no kids yet, and you possess the entrepreneurial fire in the belly. Don’t wait. That fire has a shelf life.


JGL Thursdays Unplugged v1 – So What Happened?

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Last week, we held our very first Thursdays Unplugged in the STORM office in Ortigas.

I was with John, Gelo, and Ethel. We were supposed to be 5 people but the last participant couldn’t make it at the last minute. In retrospect, it was better suited for 4 people – more on this later.

So what happened? 

I had no idea what was going to happen, so it was a bit awkward to start – it seemed too intimate at first. Then I laid the rules – 15 minutes per person, with an ideal 5-minute pitch, and then everyone can supply ideas and advice.

And just like that, we started.

It was pretty cool. Everyone had a very different idea, with each at different stages of the startup process. One was entirely in the idea stage, one had its initial meeting with a potential client scheduled in a few days, and one idea was already contracting employees. I cannot disclose the ideas thrown in the meeting – but it was a fun discussion.

Again, Fate intervened a bit because one person’s other business was in the same value chain as one of the ideas presented – so there was a lot of very concrete advice rendered.

Of course, the discussions went far beyond 15 minutes per person. I guess this was natural, because the startup ideas represented true passions of these individuals. Also, everyone else was eager to help out and suggest stuff, which was pretty nice. I was reminded a bit of the spirit of JGL’s Open Coffee.

What could be improved? 

Some adjustments have to made for this week’s version though:

1) 5 people in the room would have pushed the meeting to 8pm. Last Thursday, we ended at around 7:00 pm already, and I barely made it to dinner. With some rules, I think this could be managed though. This Thursday, we’ll limit the participants to 3.

2) There needs to be some pre-work done so the conversation during the actual session can go deeper. Just 3 questions:

a) What is your idea or problem? Explain in 2-3 short paragraphs.

b) What help or advice would you need?

c) Is there a website or deck we can view? Kindly attach/link.

3) We need to make sure we do not have coffee and chips. They do not mix.

4) There needs to be a timer on the table for guidance.

5) There needs to be an FB group page for follow-ups/updating/further sharing.

Who’s got next?

JC, Jode, and Jerome (ohmigosh!), see you this Thursday! It’s going to be fun!

I can’t make it on August 7, but we’ll have the next one on August 14. All 3 slots still open. Do email me to reserve!


Is Your Price FRAMED Right?

price frame


Before we did a change in business model, our prices in STORM for flexible benefits looked something like this:

0-500 Employees:                   P75,000/month

500-750 Employees:               P120,000/month

750-1000 Employees:             P150,000/month

Then we changed business models in 2013. We started making revenue from our vendors instead. We became an online shop for benefits. Since we did this, we reduced our reliance on the monthly retainer fee. We became a volume-driven company.

More employees, more people buying benefits our store – more revenue.

At a certain threshold, we could give our services for free.

Our pricing then became something like this:

0-250 employees:                  P37,500

250-500 employees:             P27,500

500 and upwards:                  FREE!

I figured, EVERYONE would be ecstatic, right? The big companies would get a chance to radically improve their benefits system for free. The smaller-to-medium sized firms would get a great, great discount! Everyone happy right?

Not exactly.

When I started selling this with the new pricing scheme, I would notice the executives in the smaller-to-midsize firms would wince a bit at their price range.

Wincing?! To prices this much cheaper?! Why?! 

Then they started questions like: “If we increase to 400, do we get to become free as well?”

Boom. That was it.

They framed the lower pricing with the FREE price offered to larger firms.

So no matter how gargantuan my discount was, it would still pale in comparison to FREE.

So the next time I presented to a sub-500 man firm, I just REMOVED the FREE pricing detail offered to larger firms (it wouldn’t apply to them anyway). Instead, I put the new prices side by side with the old prices, all on one side.

No wincing this time.

Same discount, vastly different reaction. The discount was MUCH more appreciated.

HOW you frame your price when you sell your wares will be VASTLY important.

It’s good to note – how are you framing your price right now? Pay attention to the details with which you show your prices.

The right price, seen with the wrong frame, just isn’t right.

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Listening Is The New Reading


I rarely have time to read books anymore.

I used to accumulate sizeable bills on my Kindle doing a book a week, now I don’t even remember the last book I read in print form. My babies, both actual and startup, have been occupying a whole lot of my time. I’ve also re-committed to writing on a particular blog. My weekends I’ve mostly closed off to family.

I do have a LOT of wasted time in traffic.

Living in Antipolo, sometimes I spend a good 2-3 hours a day in the car. 4 on bad days. (Waze sometimes I feel guides me INTO traffic)

It didn’t take me long to put two and two together.

I might have stopped reading, but I haven’t stopped learning.

Now, a huge chunk of the data on my phone is reserved for audio books and downloaded podcasts. My Kindle budget has now been transformed into an Audible budget (the best!).

Here are some very useful tools/resources I’ve found:

1) Audible

This is now one my favorite mobile apps. Buy a book from audible and it instantly loads on your mobile device. It’s also cool that it’s synced across all your devices – you can listen from your phone, stop, and then listen later on your tablet at the exact time you left it on your phone. It’s amazing.

I’m on the $14.95 per month plan, where you can purchase an audio book – ANY BOOK per month. This is a great deal because the books are typically much more expensive than $15. I usually end up buying more credits per month because it’s cheaper.

Do buy any of Gary Vaynerchuk‘s books on audio form – even if you’ve already read the print form! He reads the book himself, adds SO much more material, and delivers his audio performance with such panache.

I’ll soon do a review of some of the great books I’ve “read” over the last 6 months. (aside from The Alliance)

2) Podcasts

Podcasts are so awesome because they are very current (some books miss trends which happen during the gap between the book is finished and when it is published) and a lot of them come in conversation form – which, if the interviewer is semi-decent, can be very compelling to listen to.

Some podcasts I recommend for the entrepreneur-at-heart.

A) This Week In Startups – Jason Calacanis

The first podcast I subscribed to. Jason talks weekly to both successful entrepreneurs/investors and those who are new. He has a very interesting “news panel” format also where a selected group of panelists talk about startup news. If you’re not listening to this, make the Chris Sacca interview you first listen.

B) The Tim Ferriss Show – Tim Ferriss

He of the “4-hour workweek” fame, and perhaps not too many know, is a very very active angel investor. Not all startups, but what Tim does here is he interviews very successful people in different fields and tries to deconstruct what made them successful. Tim also does a lot of  productivity tips as well.

C) Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – Stanford eCorner

Look at that list of guests. It’s a who’s who of the absolute best entepreneurs/investors ever – Zuckerberg, Evan Williams, Ron Conway, Brad Feld, etc…

Cons: 1) is the guest list becoming less impressive? 2) the monologue format is a killer (not awesome, but more of “just kill me now”) for entrepreneurs who aren’t good speakers.

D) The James Altucher Show – James Altucher

My newest find. James is an entrepreneur/investor/author. His podcasts are just…different, as he has a different take on things and it shows in his questions. Guest list is awesome…Mark Cuban, Huffington, and this guy…

E) Seth Godin’s Startup School  – Seth Godin

I’m a huge Seth Godin fan (largely because of his hairstyle), so this was a no-brainer. The podcast is just 15 episodes recorded from his just-one-time weekend startup seminar. He offer a different take from the usual startup science (lean startup, MVP, etc…), which is a bit more marketing driven.

Enjoy! Do let us know if you have your own recommendations!

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Soft vs. Hard Entrepreneurship and What to Prioritize


You can divide all the elements of entrepreneurship into two distinct categories: hard and soft. Here’s what the HARD column can be populated with:

  • Valuation
  • Product-market fit
  • Lean Startup Methodology
  • A-B Testing
  • Seed, Series A, Series B, Series C….
  • Pivot
  • Runway
  • Dilution
  • MVP
  • Growth Hacking Strategies

Here’s what the SOFT column can be populated with:

  • Passion
  • Founder Dynamics
  • Culture
  • Maturity
  • The entrepreneurial spirit
  • Mentors
  • Perseverance
  • Following the heart
  • Following the dream
  • Motivation
  • Taking a leap of faith

Now, ask ANY successful entrepreneur what the reasons are for her success.

Do you think most responses will fall within the HARD category or the SOFT category?


It’s interesting that despite having MOST entrepreneurial educational material out there focusing on the HARD part, it’s the SOFT part which will largely determine your entrepreneurial success.

Here’s another task: ask most ANY startup/early stage investor what factors they closely consider in investing in a startup. Watch those answers fall within the SOFT category.

In fact, I’ve a strong suspicion the first factor isn’t even in my list above – integrity. 

Does that mean the HARD factors are unimportant? Of course not. (I blog about a lot of those here)

It’s the order of priority that’s crucial.

Master the SOFT column first, and then the HARD column becomes that much easier to accomplish.

Inner before outer.

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Why You Should Consider Staying The Course

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 

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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.


Introducing Thursdays Unplugged – And Why I’m Limiting It to 4 People

While I like organizing events like Startups Unplugged or Open Coffee, where I really get my kick is when I go on one-on-one coffee-talks.

In the bigger events or in some of the speaking events I’ve done, I may be able to impart knowledge and help out, but obviously, the learning cannot be customized to the individual. Sure, after the event there can be informal networking and getting to know people, but I don’t really get to KNOW people that much.

This is why I like doing one-on-one coffee-talks.

More than just the startup idea, I get to know the entrepreneur’s story. I get to know his motivations. I get to read body language. I don’t just shoot from the hip and comment on just the idea. I can comment and help out on the journey, which I think is far more valuable.  True enough, I’ve had a number of memorable one-on-ones with certain people.

The problem is, over the past few years, doing these random one-on-one meetings has gotten to be quite challenging, given my schedule and where I live (Antipolo).

So here’s my proposed solution.

I know 2 posts ago I set a 10-man meeting next thursday. It’s pretty evident that it won’t be as intimate as I would like it to be.

Hence, I am reducing it to 4 people (so total in the meeting of 5 including me). I’ll also endeavor to this weekly and make it part of my workweek.

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Perfect for five!

Here are some of the rules:


1) Venue and time

The venue will always be at the STORM Offices (Ortigas Center), at 5:30 pm. I would schedule it later to accommodate those coming from work, but I do want to go home in time for dinner. It would end approximately 6:30-645. There’s ample parking beside our building.

2) Unplugged

No powerpoint decks or demos. Let’s keep it simple and just talk.

3) Send me material

Do email me the idea or the problem at least 3 days before the meeting takes place. Be as concrete and concise as possible. If you have a deck or a website, this is where you should send it.

4) Transparency and Non-disclosure

You will be sharing your idea/situation both with me and the three other people in the room. (Honestly, this should be okay with you. Stealth doesn’t work) However, this doesn’t mean you should go around spreading what the other guy just shared with you – so we will agree that whatever was mentioned in the room, stays in the room.

5) 5 and 10

We have an hour. Let’s do approximately 15 minutes per person. In the first 5 minutes, do tell us about your idea or your problem, and also your journey. Then let’s spend the next 10-15 minutes discussing.

6) Reserving a slot

Let’s do this very simply. Just email me at peter@juangreatleap.com to reserve a slot for a specific Thursday. First-come, first served.

7) Yep, it’s free

Nope, there’s no need for any sort payment. I just really want to help out in my own way (it’s not even sure if I will be able to be relevant and helpful to you). That said, if you feel obliged to bring some snacks for a group of 5, no one’s stopping you 🙂 (coffee will be on me, though). Just tell me what you’re bringing so there won’t be any duplication.

First one is on July 24. This is already fully-booked.

Next one will be on July 31. Two slots left.

Not yet sure if I can arrange one on August 7. I’ll confirm here in the blog.

Excited for the 24th! Will tell you how it goes!




The ONE book you need to read this year

the alliance

I’m a big fan of Reid Hoffman, Linkedin Founder and Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist.

When he released Startup of You, a few years ago, I gobbled it up and came away quite impressed.

He recently released The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age. Naturally, I grabbed a copy. As an HR guy who’s also an entrepreneur, the subtitle piqued my attention even more.

I chose to finish it off yesterday, during my Glenda-imposed house arrest when this tree blocked the only road going out AND took out the electric wires. (yes!)


Now, I’ve read a lot of good books over the last few months. I’ve read a few page-turners (Hatching Twitter can only be described as Game of Thrones for Startups), but I don’t think I’ve read a book this year where I’ve had to pause SO MANY TIMES to imagine how some concepts and ideas could be applied to the companies I’m involved in.

If you manage people, in ANY firm, startup or 100-year institution, this is THE BOOK to read.

The book’s main thesis is that the model of “lifetime employment” so many managers still cling and hope for from their key people has now ben rendered irrelevant and obsolete. Think about your best people – don’t a lot of us manage them by trying to keep them (and hoping they stay) FOREVER in our firm?

The book also argues that the typical people processes we employ – like annual performance reviews – have now been rendered obsolete.

Instead, the authors offer an alternative paradigm – forging alliances with employees. The book urges leaders to tell employees – “help make the company more valuable and we’ll make you more valuable,” and doesn’t force the paradigm that the company’s vision should be only vision she breathes.

What the book does is that they go BEYOND the theoretical, and give very concrete ways The Alliance could be implemented. These guys make an awful lot of sense.

I remember all the key people I’ve lost – in my own startups and in the organisations I ran HR in. I do think this sort of paradigm could have helped a lot. It changes the whole way I look at HR – and coming from someone who has been living and breathing HR for quite awhile now, this is pretty substantial.

If you’re a startup owner or an organisational leader who worries a lot about key employee turnover, managing millennials, and creating great company culture, then grab the book now and start implementing its concepts.


I Forgot I Was On Vocation!


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 Benefits for FREE to large firms, STORM more than doubled its client base and became the country’s flexible benefits leader in 12 short months. A learning junkie, I got to learn how to do two things: a) running an e-commerce firm (something STORM pivoted into with our new model), and b) truly scaling a firm. I am 3/4 into hiring a complete management team using internal revenue. Last week, I was in Cebu setting up operations to expand there. We’re also in the midst of a major fundraiser to fuel our efforts to expand into the region. There isn’t a shortage of interested parties. We will be in another country in a few months. That’s a statement I never thought I’d utter this soon.

Struggling out of the gate in 2013, Strata started 2014 with a risky decision. We decided to let 26-year old Dino Alcoseba, who started in STORM immediately after his graduation, to run EVERYTHING. It was risky because the usual service providers to the HR market are typically led by people decades older than Dino. With STRATA more consulting-heavy than STORM, and with management consultants usually being a lot more seasoned, the risk was real. However, with Dino’s proven record with us of being ultra-dependable, a leader, extremely coachable, entrepreneurial, and someone with a high degree of integrity, I heavily endorsed his appointment.

Dino started the year off landing no less than three 7-figure projects and one 8-figure project for STRATA (with significant help from COO Orvin Hilomen and HR wonder-boy Mico Subosa). In one quarter. He also has raised his game, showing a strategic side of him I’ve never seen, and most importantly, showing a genuine care and interest in the members of the team he was building.

As an entrepreneur, I should be on cloud-nine. But there was something missing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy and feel extremely blessed for all of this. Some part of me WANTS me to be satisfied with this.

However, I felt like Tom Cruise near the end of Jerry Maguire when triumphant Cuba Gooding was surrounded by reporters. I was supposed to feel awesome. It WAS awesome. Still, I felt terribly incomplete.

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It was shocking not to remember after years of mindlessly logging in

“When are you posting again?”

I had been avoiding any talk of Juan Great Leap for months now. It took me 5 tries to remember the right username-password combination to access this WordPress account. I would brush off queries as to when the next blogpost would be, or when the next Open Coffee would be. I would indefinitely postpone requests for a coffee-chat or a Skype session with dozens of people. I would ignore internal moments of inspiration for a new blogpost. I’d ignore all of these, rationalizing it with thoughts like:

“I had done my part”

“It’s now time to concentrate on my own firms.”

“I’ll do it next month.”

“I’m busy with more important things.”

“Why do I need to spend several hours writing a post when it doesn’t make me a centavo?”

But that gnawing feeling would come to haunt me every so often, accentuated by the occasional “when’s JGL coming back?” comment.

That made me think.

What is my purpose for JGL anyway?

Is it a medium to share my thoughts? To network? To better my brand? To help? A medium for a frustrated writer?

I then got around reading this and this, which, reading now, I almost feel comes from a different person.

Juan Great Leap was is the central medium for my vocation.

The reason I felt incomplete as an entrepreneur was precisely because my vocation wasn’t to be just an entrepreneur. It was to help others find their own vocations in this brave, new, fascinating world, where one has a lot more choices than to be a corporate cog.

I felt incomplete because I wasn’t following His plan. The Strata experience exacerbated this incompleteness even more, because seeing Dino finding himself and develop into his own brought such an intense feeling of satisfaction in me.

I think this incompleteness comes to us in many different forms, called by many different names:

“quarter-life crisis”

“mid-life crisis”

“existential angst”

“something is missing”

“why the heck am I not happy?!”

“I feel detached”

I believe God has a plan for all of us. It is a beautiful plan – one where all our talent and faculties are used to the fullest. Where we feel whole.

God tries to give us clues as to what it is. We see glimpses of it in our innermost desires, in our unique gifts and talents. We feel a bit of it when we find ourselves in situations where we can clearly help others with our gifts, where we cease noticing time and find ourselves in the “zone.” It is when we feel not merely happiness, but true, inexplicable joy.

It is when we are doing what God BUILT us to do. So naturally, there is a FELT alignment when we are on the right path, and a FELT misalignment when we are off the path.

Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin call this doing your “art” (as opposed to doing a job). I call it pursuing your vocation.

And I almost let it get away.


Do allow me to start over.

There’s so much I’ve learned in the last 6 months which I absolutely need to share with you. New insights. New paradigms. New strategies.

But let’s start small and simple. Starting small and simple has worked tremendously for me.

First, you can now expect regular updates from hereon. Let me ease into this again.

Second, I want to organize a quick, intimate get-together – largely because I want to meet some people who have recently reached out to me wanting to do a coffee-chat. There are around 5 of them. I’m opening 5 more slots. I just want to meet 10 people in an intimate setting. Criteria: you need to be someone who has a clear startup idea and needs a bit of advice or you need to be a current startup entrepreneur with less than 1 year experience who needs a bit of advice. It also needs to be okay with you to share your idea with the rest of the people invited.

Email me your idea and your background. If things check out, you have the slot. First 5 people to email (and fits the criteria) gets in. Coffee will be on me. I’m thinking of scheduling it next Thursday night, July 24. We can meet at the STORM offices along Julia Vargas.

Let’s do this.