JGL’s One Great Leap!


There’s a lot going on now with two of my startups, STORM and STRATA.

People movement, scaling, fire-fighting, creating processes, client meetings, projects, you name it, we’re doing it right now. For STORM specifically, we usually do systems implementation around this time in preparation for the coming year. Plus we’re also renewing with all our current clients. These next few weeks leading up to the first quarter of 2014 will be quite taxing for our team.

I wish there were two of me sometimes.

November marks the 2nd year anniversary of JGL’s first post. While the blog has been growing and our events have been successful. There’s so much that I’ve wanted to do in JGL which we didn’t get to do.

Two of the things we were ABLE to do was launch two projects, two concepts. In lean startup parlance, these were two “experiments.”

Event Poster (Facebook)

The first one was Startups Unplugged. The questions it wanted to answer: can a musical-chairs type of entrepreneurial event attract people?

It did. It attracted 20 of some of the best entrepreneurs in the country.

It also attracted hundreds of people. We filled up a big venue. The event was free. It was paid by sponsors. It made a little bit of money.


The second experiment was Pitchcraft (joint project withy Hybridigm). The questions it wanted to answer: will people pay for to learn entrepreneurial concepts in a classroom-type environment? Can the JGL platform attract enough people for it to be sustainable?

Yep, people paid. That event made almost 6 figures net.

I was supremely excited. The vision for me was getting clearer – JGL was to be primarily an entrepreneurial education and advocacy play. We drew up a lot of plans. A startup “school” with both classroom and online features. Perhaps a startup or two could be incubated in the process.

There was one problem.


Since this was my passion and my “baby,” I was really hesitant in ceding any control or equity (I’ve been burned a lot of times in the past). So everything was on me – veritably doing yet ANOTHER startup, this time by myself, going against a lot of the very things I’ve written in this blog.

Since my time was taken up by my other responsibilities in my other startups, none of the other JGL plans transpired.

This was frustrating.

So the past few days I’ve been pondering and praying.

Do I keep things as is, or do I try to change things? 

Conclusion: I want to go after that vision. And I want to do it more aggressively than before. This will mean changes.

I would need two very crucial (and familiar) things: funding and an entrepreneur.


I’m going to be raising capital. I’m thinking of raising it from 4 individuals, ideally representing 4 very different areas of entrepreneurship. (maybe one from tech, one from social enterprises, etc….). They will also serve as JGL’s advisory board. The capital will go mainly to hiring 1-2 people who will be on the ground and as capital to set up the first few courses. There’s also an online content strategy I want to pursue.

What’s in it for the investor? 

1) First and foremost, you get to help Philippine entrepreneurs. Call me corny, but this for me should be the primary motive of the investor. I won’t partner with anyone who doesn’t share the same passion for the Filipino startup ecosystem and the country as a whole.

2) Second, yes, this will monetize. (see “experiments” above)

3) Third, networking. First crack at getting to know up-and-coming entrepreneurs and startups. I think this is a huge thing. There’s now a growing number of entrepreneurs who have acquired funding from JGL events.

Note: I want this process hopefully done by this year, so JGL can “relaunch” at the start of 2014. I will be approaching investors from my circle as well, but I would like to talk to as many people as possible (as this is VERY important to me, and I want no stone left unturned).


Resident Entrepreneur Needed

So, because of the update above, obviously I would needing someone to help me run JGL. I was thinking of what the official job title should be – GM? Operations Head? Business Manager? CEO?

I thrashed all that and ended up what I thought was the most functional one-word description.


The key elements of what I think an entrepreneur should be are: used to uncertain environments, used to risk, creative problem solver, maabilidad (there is no english translation), and a great sense of urgency.

Because of the nature of JGL, I would ideally love it if you would be: a good writer, used to online content management, can handle events, has charisma.

One thing I’m REALLY going to take a look at: integrity.

Man, I’ve been burned so many times by not screening for this enough. (if you KNOW  you don’t have any integrity, please don’t bother reaching out to me)

So there you go. I thought long and hard about making this public. Obviously I’m going to approach people in my circle (and I have already) for both these needs. But I wanted to make this public here as well so I can cast a wider net. (Stealth sucks.)

Interested in helping out? Send me an email at peter@juangreatleap.com

Let’s do this!

Flipping the Script: My Inspiring Interview with Peter

Peter Cauton, Founder of Juan Great Leap, sharing a father-son moment with his son, Wakeen
Peter Cauton, Founder of Juan Great Leap, sharing a moment with his son, Joaquin

This past Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, I sat down with Peter to experience Startup Saturdays first-hand. Initially, my initial vision for the interview was to ask as many thought-provoking questions as I could to get the insider’s scoop on the person behind Juan Great Leap. I sought to reveal a different side of Peter that showcased him as not just the inspiring founder behind Juan Great Leap, but also as an ordinary fellow.

However, as I was playing back the interview and transcribing his words something really clicked (it sometimes takes me a while to process things), I realized that Peter isn’t ordinary, and that we already know him. He’s already poured out his heart and soul to those that follow Juan Great Leap, and it shows in his honest and compelling answers.

Peter is many things: an entrepreneur, boss, teacher, mentor, husband, father, friend. This interview didn’t reveal any “different” side to Peter. It was simply inspiring. This is the Founder of Juan Great Leap, Peter Paul Cauton.

Juan Great Leap is known for the coffee talks you have with entrepreneurs on Startup Saturdays. What are the most interesting observations from your talks with entrepreneurs?

Peter: Well, there are several things. First, no two entrepreneurs are alike. Each entrepreneur has a compelling a story, with an emphasis on the word compelling. It’s not just that each person has a story, but every entrepreneur’s journey is a compelling one because there’s always a leap that’s involved.

When I get to talk to people, I always make it a point to ask them,

“How did you end up doing this?”

And there’s always a very real story behind it.

Secondly, and this is related to the first, I’ve experienced people really opening up about their stories, and you see how personal it becomes. It’s not just a job. There’s something of themselves that they pour into their venture. It’s a reflection of who they are as a real person and what they’re going through in life. For example, I met with someone who came to me about a problem he’s been having with his dad about inheriting the family business. It was a problem that’s always hung over his head and has been bogging him down in doing things.

Or a person who’s completely torn between his passions and what’s practical – which might sound pretty common.   But this time, I get to hear what his wife is like, and see a picture of his son. I get to hear what his startup idea is. I get to feel his passion directly.  Suddenly, his story is completely personal, unique, and I daresay, beautiful.

What is your opinion on taking the leap based on passion?

Peter: When you’re passionate about something everything else follows much easier. For example, if you have a hobby…let’s say you love following the NBA, you spend time on it, research about it, you know the players…it’s not work for you. You actually create competence from the sheer time and devotion you pour into it. In a sense, you get to learn the business side of it- the intricacies and details- because you spend more time on it…because you love it and it’s not work for you. If you’re passionate about the business and you’re pouring your heart into it, everything flows much faster.

Passion begets time, which begets competence. Without passion, it’s drudgery.

A few months back you met with a group about social enterprise. What interests you most about social enterprise?

Peter: A few weeks ago we were driving along Katipunan we saw a poor family literally living on the island in the middle of the road. Joaquin, my five-year old son, said,

“Dada, they’re having a picnic!”

When you’re exposed to seeing that and you really feel the gap between what you have and what they don’t, you can’t help but feel like something has to be done.

I see a very clear role between entrepreneurship and nation building and poverty alleviation.

When I talk to entrepreneurs, like earlier with Rex, even if it’s a more technical talk, I see a very clear link between entrepreneurship and the development of the country. Social or not, I think all entrepreneurs are crucial to building this country. If we can get more of our people – our very gifted people –  to take those leaps and build great startups, we could dramatically improve the economy and make a positive impact on lives.

What are some of your favorite things about JGL?

Peter: Definitely the diversity. I get to meet and hear the stories of people I wouldn’t otherwise have bumped into working in my other startups. In the community, you have people like Raquel who is doing a startup focused on teaching.  You have people who want to do tech and you who have those who are setting up service-based startups like a yaya academy.

How do you see Juan Great Leap as a Filipino Startup Movement?

Peter: There is a ton of value in letting people know about the tools and resources about doing a great startup. More than that though, I’d like to think that in JGL, there are heavy doses of passion and a certain spirituality mixed in. I’d like to think you can feel this a bit going through some of the posts in the blog. I want to help people find their mojo and place, and usually, finding one means finding the other. The usual result is that you get create something beautiful. Something that’s yours, too.

So it’s not only the technical part, the tools, but also the spirit of starting something that you love and the journey to make a living out of it.

What are you most excited about for 2013?

Peter: Lahat. Meeting more people. Getting to hear more ideas. Helping people out. Doing bigger and more events that touch more people. Setting up some sort of a school because I love teaching. Trying to bridge and connect people.

I love it when I see startups get the right mix of people with the right idea. It’s extremely fulfilling.

What are your top 5 books?

Peter: Very tough question.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– this book got me into reading. Prior to reading Harry Potter, I didn’t read many books. Instead of appreciating books in school, the system of teaching made me hate reading. Rowling started my love affair with reading.

2. Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki- the first “business” book I bought. The book is very irreverent, unlike the business books I read in the past, which were pretty dry and scientific.

3. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries –

4. Tribes by Seth Godin  – Actually, any Godin book post All Marketers Are Liars. I’m a fanboy, and it’s not just the hair style.

5. Bible– It’s a cliché, but I read this book the most, this is the book I often go back to.

If you had the choice to live in the life of any NBA player, who would it be and why? 

Steve Nash because I like the assist. He scores, too, but helps other people on and off the court. This is different from my current favorite player, Kobe.

What inspires you to take the leap everyday?


My own leap was such a profound experience for me. It changed me. I learned not to rely on myself too much. I’ve learned that the best way to make decisions is to truly discern – asking God what He wants for you.

I’m 100% sure that if it were just based on my own desire, I would still be in corporate. I allowed God to lead me to the decisions that have brought me to this place in my life and really, there is no place else I’d rather be.

Are You Ready To Finally Face Your Fulcrum Moment in 2013?

It usually comes down to one thing, doesn’t it?

It could be finally registering your firm. Or perhaps making that site you’ve been working on live.

It could be doing that big talk with a parent to say your heart isn’t in the family business and hasn’t been for awhile.

It could be deciding to resign from corporate. Or to finally using the savings you’ve worked so hard to accumulate.

It could be deciding to pursue funding to aggressively seize an opportunity for an existing startup, typically foregoing comfort and control.

It could be something as deceptively simple as writing someone an email or scheduling a meeting or talking to your boss.

It’s precisely THE ONE action which would push you to start things up, or to push your startup to the next level

I call it the Fulcrum Moment – because once you are able to cross this moment, it invariably, permanently, tilts your fate in a certain direction. It’s life-changing.

My big one was finally leaping from corporate a couple of years ago. Starting this blog was another. I’ve got another big one I want to tackle in 2013.

The Fulcrum Moment. Think of yourself walking on one end of a see-saw. At one point you approach the fulcrum. You hesitate. You just know that crossing over would make you lose balance. But you do so anyway. Then you experience a shift. You are suddenly tilted in a different angle, which also gives you momentum in crossing through to the other side.

But alas, like the proverbial smitten teenager getting tongue-tied asking the girl out, we often find ourselves failing rise to the occasion. We KNOW how potentially awesome the moment can be for us, but we talk ourselves into thinking it is quite rational to delay things. We think of a thousand reasons how it could explode in our faces. We allow ourselves into thinking the negatives outweigh the positives. Why?

Because we perceive this moment to be peppered with risk. 

Let’s get this out of the way: nothing great is ever done without risk. 


This goes double for startups. Think of your entrepreneurial heroes.

Jobs, Zuck, and Gates gave up the traditional college route to pursue their passions.

I think ALL of the renowned Filipino Taipans have great stories of how they started. Every single one of them took massive risks at particular junctures in their careers.

ALL the successful startup owners I know now ALSO have great stories to tell. The stories all become great because the protagonist always faces something uncertain and scary and risky. They faced their Fulcrum Moments head on and lived to tell the tale, ALWAYS for the better. Did they always succeed? No. But that’s part of it. But they persevered. And learned.  The learning which happens is worth much more than the price of admission. It is precisely the learning that leads to success.

So you know what? I’m throwing the gauntlet to start 2013 off.

I challenge you to finally face your Fulcrum Moment. Start the year the best way possible by finally tackling it.

Look at it straight in the eyes. Grab it by the horns.

2013. January.

Conquer it!

For the Young Entrepreneur: Do not Fear the Lingo, Get down with it! (Even more fun with wise friends!)

(Matt Lapid will be regularly posting original articles with me here on JGL, with the perspective of being brand-new entrepreneur. Heres his second article. As usual, please tell us what you think with the content we are pumping out for you. Gracias! – Peter)

“So is it a B2B or B2C…Kasi pwedeng B2C…Pwede rin B2B, but you need to define your niche market and validate…BOOTSTRAP…Looks like you have an MVP!”

This is the lingo that resonates after being with JGL for one week. Initially, I felt like “huh?” all the time.

“What’s a B2B? I never took calculus.”

In spite of my ignorance, I understood that even if I were to attain a tiny bit of knowledge of simple business terms it would give me a deeper understanding of the negotiations being made around me. So I made sure that if I didn’t know a word, I’d jot it down and look it up. That simple act of discovery made all the difference.

As a result, when Peter articulates that tech enterprises can be looked at in terms of both B2B and B2C, I can at least understand that he is saying that their business relationships can be based on a Business to Business or a Business to Consumer interaction. It’s a small feat, but understanding the lingo that’s being used nurtures free-flowing discussion, in which the speaker doesn’t feel confined. In my relatively minimal exposure to entrepreneurship, I’ve observed that the free-flowing, out-of-box thinking is where the best ideas are conceived and the best work is produced. If we do not allow our minds to run free, we will not create our best work.

In addition, if we seek to work efficiently, we must equip ourselves with the right tools to do so. At times, as young and passionate people, we want to do and do out of anxiety, but if we’re doing things on our own without the proper knowledge and guidance, success will be near impossible to attain. There are so many of us who have the passion and allow it to drive us, but that passion will eventually burn out, if we run without an understanding of business.

On a brighter note, there are many seasoned entrepreneurs that would love to teach you. I’m not sure exactly why this is because entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people around, but from what I have inferred it’s a type of pay it forward approach, and perhaps even a little narcissism that goes into play.

Let me explain my hypothesis.

Seasoned entrepreneurs see themselves in us. That entrepreneurial itch that you have is the same type of itch that compels entrepreneurs to move. That passion and tenacity that you possess is the same force that drives entrepreneurs day in and day out. Seasoned entreps can spot that entrepreneurial energy and determination. They see themselves in us young folk, and want to help by sharing their knowledge and experience because it is actually gratifying for them to see us succeed, as so many others have done for them.

For us young and aspiring entrepreneurs let us not fear what we do not know. Let us not act like we have all the answers. Let us be real and learn from one another.

I leave you with this list of common terms I hear on a regular basis, which are simply defined. Taking in consideration that these are the bare bones of rich definitions, let’s spark some discussion and provide some insights! Perhaps, we could even add to the list to gain more knowledge! Anything goes, as we long as we learn together! Do hit the comments!

List of Terms Defined:

1) B2B– Business to Business

2) B2C– Business to Commercial

3) MVP– Minimal Viable Product

4) YTD– Year-to-Date

5) Bootstrap– act of starting your business with the resources you have without any outside funding at all

6) Traction– indicator that tell us if the business has generated revenue

7) Cash Cow-moneymaker but possibly stagnant

8) SRP– Suggested Retail Price

Matt Lapid’s Juan Great Leap – All The Way from California!

Matt Lapid is Juan Great Leap’s official first hire. I first got in touch with him when I opened my email account and got to read his very convincing cover letter. It’s quite apt that the hire happens two days before JGL’s first year anniversary. I thought I found a kindred spirit talking with Matt during the interview process: his passion was very evident, he was a God-fearing person, he had this genuine desire to give back, he writes, and he took this great big leap of faith.  Here’s Matt himself  with his story. – Peter

Hi there! My name is Matt Lapid. I am a Fil-Am, born and raised in the States. I’ve decided to take one great leap by working with Juan Great Leap. Pretty direct approach, right?

So this is my story. I graduated from college in 2010 with a BA in English Lit from UCI. I took a life-changing trip to the Philippines right after I graduated. I only planned to stay a few months to learn Tagalog, but I ended up staying for a whole year to help with Gawad Kalinga’s Center for Social Innovation. Work with GK CSI changed me. It opened my eyes to a Philippines in which change could happen and was happening right before my eyes. It was a total immersion that was a challenging experience for a Fil-Am who was in search of his identity and struggling to integrate into the Philippines, but it made me.

After missing my mom’s 60th birthday and my cousin’s wedding, I finally returned to the States. These were the realities of being away, but in spite of all the things I missed, I came back unlike my former self. I felt changed and made for something else, and it was evident in my first full-time job in the US.

As absurd as it may sound, I ended up working as a personal banker for a financial institution. I felt that I could really help people with a very relevant problem crippling Americans: money. While I was working, I felt a void in my heart. During my seventh month with the organization, they gave me the opportunity to become a licensed banker, in which I’d receive training and a sizable bonus. However, if I were to take that offer I’d have to commit to work with the company for another year. It seemed like an eternity for me. I knew how much a year’s worth of work could do in terms of social impact, and I just couldn’t make a change if I stayed, so I put my two weeks and left.

I ended up doing consultancy work for Human Nature USA, the US arm for Human Nature, a social enterprise that offers natural personal care products to help poor farmers in the Philippines. It seemed like the perfect fit for me. I could live out my dream of helping the Philippines while staying in the US with my family. That sense of purpose drove me, but reality sunk in. I was in a position in which I couldn’t sustain myself, and the passion and purpose that drove me collided with the realities of life. As much as I wanted to make my work with the organization work, it unfortunately didn’t.

So I deeply discerned about what I really wanted and what God was calling me to do, and I realized that the mission never changed. The mission was, and is, to make an impact on the poor in the Philippines through entrepreneurship, and for me that change starts in the Philippines and with Filipinos, not abroad.

But after two failed endeavors in social entrepreneurship, I really questioned a lot of things. Was I really supposed to be a social entrepreneur? After all, I graduated in English. Perhaps, it just wasn’t for me. I was scared to move.

With a friend’s recommendation, I discovered Juan Great Leap. I was immediately mesmerized by the wisdom and spirit this Peter Cauton was illuminating. Reading JGL’s posts gave me a sense of validation in what I was doing and where I was being led.

In his blog, entitled, “The One True Risk I faced in taking the Startup Leap,” Peter notes, “If you have that itch, there is no sense stalling. Take that leap now.” It was plain and simple. I’ve had this crazy itch and I knew it would persist. I was so anxious to move, but I just couldn’t because I was over thinking. JGL’s simple words validated everything for me. The vision was clear and all I needed to do was take that Juan Great Leap.

After reading through JGL’s blog, I immediately sent Peter my application attached with a CV full of crazy conviction, a side of me that I don’t readily share due to fear of rejection. Yet something intuitively told me that I could spill out my heart and soul in this correspondence, and, indeed, Peter replied! After that correspondence, I met Peter via Skype for a couple of hours. We scheduled another followup interview via Skype for the following week, but I booked my ticket a couple of days after. Though the future was still uncertain, I took my first leap in flying to the Philippines without that crippling fear of the unknown.

And now I am here in Manila taking the leap to urgently move for myself and others. It’s a big move but it’s Juan Great Leap that I have to take!

@ LAX airport…getting ready to take my Juan Great Leap!