JGL Thursdays Unplugged v1 – So What Happened?

photo (1)

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!


Special Yolanda-edition JGL OPEN COFFEE to be served on NOV. 30

October open coffee

Juan Great Leap will be holding its NOVEMBER EDITION of OPEN COFFEE on November 30, 2013.


Just for this edition of Open Coffee, we shall be slightly increasing the entrance fee to P200 (we usually charge P100 for venue and simple snacks). The extra cash shall be given to Yolanda typhoon victims. You may give more than the P100 extra if you wish to do so of course!

While of course, you may pitch ANY IDEA under the sun if you want, we also highly encourage people to pitch new ideas on how to further help out the Yolanda victims. We’ve seen ideas be funded in Open Coffee before, so why not get your Yolanda idea out there for possible support?

There are limited slots, so I advise clicking HERE now to reserve your seats.

Still not familiar with Open Coffee? You can check out these posts to learn more about the awesomeness that is Open Coffee 🙂

See you on the 30th!

The Wait Is Over! JGL OPEN COFFEE IS NOW BREWING! Reserve your slot now!



By far, the most common question my mailbox has received is:

When is the next open coffee?


How come we didn’t have open coffee last month?

People, I’m so sorry for the delay, as I’ve been sorting out some stuff. I know we’ve now missed two months of open coffee.

Let me begin making up for it by announcing that we’re now good to go for the next Open Coffee this October! (woohooo!)



WHEN: October 5, 2013, 9:30 am

WHERE: 3rd Floor Function Hall, Centerpoint Building, Garnett cor. Julia Vargas Streets, Ortigas Center, Pasig

Registration: Do register HERE to grab a slot. 

Gate Fee: Kindly bring P100 for simple coffee and snacks

You know, just to make up missing the last 2 months, LET’S MAKE THIS THE BIGGEST OPEN COFFEE YET! 

Don’t hesitate in inviting all entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-at-heart that you know of! The more we are, the more value the event generates for all participants.

What happens at the JGL OPEN COFFEE again?

For those new to this monthly gathering, the format of OPEN COFFEE is pretty unique – volunteers will have a strict 2 minutes to make a pitch. A pitch could be ANYTHING – validating business idea, a call for advice, a call to partner, a recruitment pitch, a call to network, etc…

(Well, anything EXCEPT doing a hard sell of an existing product or service).

Then the fun starts, as people just chime in and help the entrepreneur pitching.

The LEARNING and NETWORKING that happens in these events are awesome, facilitating new clients for current startups, people finding co-founders, and even new startups being formed. I do know I’

Postscripts of past OPEN COFFEE gatherings can be found here, here, and here.

So sign up now!

This is going to be awesome.

JGL's July Open Coffee

July Open Coffee at 47 East

group shot opencoffee

June Open Coffee at 47 East

May Open Coffee

May Open Coffee at 47 East

April Edition at Bo's Coffee
April Edition at Bo’s Coffee
March Edition
March Edition at 47 East
February Edition
February Edition at Bo’s Coffee
November 2012 Open Coffee

 Very first OPEN COFFEE at the BRIGGY

July 2013 Open Coffee Postscript

JGL's July Open Coffee
JGL’s July Open Coffee

There was a moment during the actual pitching proper last Saturday’s Open Coffee event that I looked at Matt and AR of JGL and said, “I love this…I love it!”

It was one of the many times when someone in the audience had the the RIGHT contact or the RIGHT information and then just generously offers it to the pitcher who needs it.

This encapsulates the whole point of Juan Great Leap: collaboration and learning. The JGL Open Coffee format pushes this to another level: there is no “sage on the stage” or a central source of information. It’s just entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-minded people helping one another out.

As usual, last Saturday was very, very different from every other Open Coffee event we’ve had. The pitches were very varied.

Mano Abello got the “first pitch” honors and started the ball rolling.

mano abello

Animator/entrepreneur Dennis Sebastian shows off his awesome animation short and asks for collaboration on marketing original Filipino content:

dennis Sebastian

In a very peculiar sequence of events, we then get three people pitch different travel-related ideas back-to-back-to-back.

Tim’s second Open Coffee pitch
gerard cruz
17-year old Gerard Cruz making his travel app pitch
matt lapid
JGL’s very own Matt Lapid pitching his tourist video idea

Then, we get our very first 4-people pitch when the folks at Minda-Now! make their pitch and collect feedback for their awesome idea/advocacy.

Wasn’t sure here at first if we would give them 2 minutes as a group or two minutes each. Ended up doing one minute each.

Next we had dessert entrepreneur Christian elicit a lot of feedback from fellow-restauranteurs in the audience.

note to future food entreps: bring samples 🙂

In another back-to-back, Florence and Barney close the pitching proper by pitching their social enterprises

Florence of Route 63, a travel-related social enterprise
Florence of Route 63, a travel-related social enterprise
Barney pitches his learning-based social enterprise, TEAM
Barney pitches his learning-based social enterprise, TEAM

Finally, we had Zar Castro of talk about the awesome 47 East site.



Here’s one interesting observation from last Saturday: It’s becoming a family affair!

Take a look at this pic.

family affair

That’s THREE father and son pairs in Open Coffee. I think this is very interesting and stems from two factors. One, I think there’s a felt need for entrepreneurial parents to expose their children to entrepreneurship and startups. A big number of entrepreneurs I know feel that our traditional learning institutions don’t exactly give the right “real world” exposure to entrepreneurship and startups. So parents feel that they need to strongly “supplement” their children’s learning.

The other factor is that there are more and more young people getting interested in startups. The three teenagers here weren’t dragged in kicking and screaming. They WANTED to go. (In fact, one of them pitched) In fact, maybe a fifth of the people who went to this one were students. That’s awesome.

I’m ALREADY excited for the next one.

Last Call for July Open Coffee – 27 slots left!

last call

Posting the last call for this Saturday’s Open Coffee event at the 47 East compound!

Do register here now and grab the remaining slots before we close registration.

What I’ve observed is, the larger the crowd, the more valuable the process becomes. When someone pitches a large crowd, there is almost always someone who has a very intimate level of information that’s extremely useful for the one pitching. The larger the crowd, the more chances someone finds another person who’s the perfect collaboration partner (I’ve seen this happen multiple times)

So…let’s make this one the BIGGEST ever!

If you haven’t been to our previous open coffee events, do let this Saturday be your first!

See you all on Saturday!

75 now confirmed for OPEN COFFEE. Register NOW to grab the last slots!

last call

Looks like we’ll be having our biggest open coffee yet! 75 people now confirmed! We have to cap the attendees to a manageable level (too many people doesn’t work for the format used).

We’ll be closing off registration at 100 slots. Do register HERE now to quickly reserve your slot. (I suggest doing it NOW)

I’m excited to see everyone this Saturday, 9:30 am at the magnificent 47 East compound!

May Open Coffee Is Now Brewing! Sign up now!



WHEN: 930am-12:00 noon, Saturday, May 18, 2013

WHERE: 47 East Co-working Compound (47 Esteban Abada, Loyola Heights, QC)

Inviting ALL entrepreneurial-minded people: young or old, newbie or veteran to join this month’s edition of OPEN COFFEE.

This event has been outdoing itself every month we have it, so I’m pretty excited to see what this month’s version will  offer.

Don’t you miss it! Sign up here now!

Here’s how the last one went…

Open Coffee Postscript

open coffee april

I had another awesome time last Saturday morning at the April Edition of Open Coffee. Here are some of my thoughts and observations on now holding four of these formatted mixers.

1)  The Sharing Continues to Amaze Me

My colleague AR told me that she plans to write a thesis about how the growing Filipino entrepreneurial community is debunking the notion of Filipino crab mentality. You can see this is in action in Open Coffee. In the pitches, you will see people will share business plans, ideas, and plans to people they do not know. (and unlike in “formal” pitching venues, there is no “prize” save for the learning. What’s magical is that the audience reciprocates – sharing their own insight, personal experience, and contacts to the one pitching. (You gotta see it if you haven’t yet.)

2) Get Ready for Sheer Variety


I think this is what makes the Juan Great Leap audience a bit different from other startup communities. Just on this version of Open Coffee alone, we had pitches for: a customer service consulting firm for front-liners, an essential oil which increases productivity, a crowdfunding site for volunteers, a published book targeting young entrepreneurs, a lactation consulting play on social media, a do-it-yourself online explainer video maker, a bazaar a unique social interaction app, and a consulting firm for boutique hotels.  For someone with my need for different stimulus, this is like a kid in a Toys R’ Us.

Long story short, it’s also tremendous learning.

3) For the Most Part, the Pitching Needs Work

The 2-minute limit presents a nice quandary for presenters:

How do I get my point across effectively in two minutes?

Theoretically, pitchers are then forced to be ultra-EFFICIENT, cutting less-important details for the MOST important details.

I’m not so sure this is what happens though, as most people prematurely wrap up their pitch when the two minutes are up.

I think there can be VAST improvement over how most of us present their pitches. Pitching is a crucial part of the startup life. Entrepreneurs need to be effective pitchmen for so many different, crucial things – recruitment, raising money, sales, marketing, partnerships,etc…

This is something we need to improve. (more on this soon)

4) The Platform Needs To Be a “Safe Place”

In the March 47 East Open Coffee, student Christian Go hitched with me going home. He told me he almost didn’t pitch, because he thought the first pitcher was sort of attacked. (basically people said the idea wasn’t too good)

Remembering what Christian shared, I started this Open Coffee by underlining two things. I told people that: a) they have to be extra-conscious of HOW they give their comments, and b) that ALL comments have to have some semblance of being CONSTRUCTIVE.

The resulting pitch rounds and feedback-giving were super. I think people took the two things to heart.

I do realize that there are some people who prefer the Western-style “tell it as it is in my face” method. But this is the Philippines after all, a reminder makes all the difference.

5) Bigger and Bigger

open coffee full house

I commented on the JGL FB page that OPEN COFFEE getting too big for the venue. The March Open Coffee had 40+ participants. This April version had 50+.

From an idea I wasn’t sure would pan out,

(would people share? what if no one wants to be the first to pitch? would people give useful feedback)

I think it’s safe to call Open Coffee a success after 4 iterations.

Onwards to bigger and better versions. Thank you so much to everyone who keep on making it so!

matt lapid profile pic
Naks! Matt Lapid profile pic!

More pics here! 

(For those who are new to Open Coffee, it happens MONTHLY, with the next one coming out mid-to-late May. Stay tuned!)


Typically, most of the slots for open coffee get scooped up 2-3 days prior to the event. This time, half of the slots are already filled, with a full 10 days before the event. So if you want to attend, don’t walk, RUN to fill this form up. Remember, the April OPEN COFFEE event will happen at Bo’s Coffee at Bonifacio High Street at 9:30 am on the 27th. See you there!




WHEN: Saturday, April 27, 930 AM

WHERE: Bo’s Coffee, Bonifacio High Street

HOW MUCH: Just buy a cup of coffee as a form of thanks to Bo’s for hosting us

For those who missed the last Open Coffee (which included this part), you just HAVE to join us for the next one! As usual, the level of generosity, idea-sharing, energy, learning and overall do-goodery are expected to be at awesome levels.

For the reservations for this one, I’m going back to Googledocs, as it seems to have a lower flaker rate and we can ask for more information from you (to help us improve JGL content).

Do reserve a seat NOW by clicking HERE. Limited seats.