How you can use FEAR as a REVERSE Spider Sense


Fear has been my constant companion all throughout my startup career.

I remember feeling I might be laughed at as I was about to present my idea to potential partners or investors.

I remember that crippling feeling. That extreme doubt I felt when I was about to resign from my fulltime job.

I remember hearing all the “no’s” in this journey, the disheartening voices and fearing they actually might be right.

I remember delaying the first-ever post of Juan Great Leap (JGL) for weeks for fear other people might judge me.

After developing several startups (both successes and utter failures), and the unexpected growth of the JGL audience, you’d think I finally would be free from fear’s clutches.

It’s still there.

I’m still scared things might not work. I’m scared people will laugh. I’m afraid of what other people might think. I’m afraid a new startup idea might flop.

The difference now is, not only have I learned to live it, but I have learned how important it is to EMBRACE IT, especially in today’s business climate.

Let me explain.

relayContinuous Innovation Is Now a REQUIREMENT

The industrial age is dead and dying, along with all its guarantees (being an employee of one firm for life, worry-free retirement, etc…).

Innovation is the new currency.

Innovate or DIE. (RIP: Kodak, the big-label music industry, the dodo, etc…)

Companies know this.

Witness how ALMOST ALL companies have “innovation” as a company value, or how billions are poured into R&D.

This is true for both companies and of people.

For example, programmers now cannot invest too heavily in being an expert in one platform. HR people are finding out that job descriptions are getting obsolete (or at best, very high maintenance) because they change all the time. The best corporate managers are those who are able to maintain excellence despite getting deployed to handle very different things and cope with a diverse set of problems.

So how does one cope in this new dynamic?

Becoming flexible.

How does one THRIVE in this new dynamic?

You HAVE to take risks.

Risks automatically comes with a possible downside. That downside is something we fear. (no fear? then it might not be that much of a risk for you)

You want to THRIVE in this environment? Then you have got to face your fears.

Embracing Fear

Quick story. After our first, well-attended Juan Great Leap conference in Ayala-TBI, we were brainstorming as to what to do next. The safe route would have been to do another keynote / panel discussion affair. But then an idea came to mind: what about a group speed dating activity which involves 20+ entrepreneurs?

We all saw the positive possibilities, BUT…

It had never been done before. It would be a logistics nightmare. There were so many questions. Would people hear one another? What if nobody came – this was something very different, so people might not immediately see its value.

It was either going to be work splendidly, or it would crash and burn. There was little in between.

While we were talking about this. A familiar feeling made itself known to me.


This was the precise point when I knew we HAD to do this group speed dating thing.

spideysenseReverse Spider Sense

Spidey’s spider-sense tells him if he is in any immediate danger (spider sense tingling!). Fear has become something of a reverse spider-sense for me. If it tingles – there is opportunity!

Now, when evaluating opportunities, I LOOK for that fear.

Is the fear in me?

If there is no fear, then it could mean either of 2 things:

1) I am not interested in the opportunity.

Subconsciously, I already know I don’t find (or at that moment I am not finding) the opportunity presented interesting. Perhaps because its not within my realm of expertise, or perhaps I just think it isn’t feasible for me.

Possible scenarios like this would include: someone inviting me to invest in a startup in a field I don’t really understand that much, or listening to a salesperson pitch a product I have no use for.

2) There isn’t a great deal of risk

If there isn’t a risk, then I am not too worried about it. Chances are great the possible returns won’t be so hot, either. I can say yes to the opportunity, but it won’t really keep me up at night imagining the possibilities.

Possible scenarios like this would include: someone wanting to give me a 1% share for a startup in return for monthly advice, or doing maintenance work in the office, or choosing what tiles would suit the office bathroom.

But if there IS fear?

Then I probably would be asking a LOT of questions about it. I would be nodding or shaking my head vigorously. I would be up – a lot of times all night – thinking of the pros and cons.

If there is fear, then I know that my subconscious is HIGHLY considering this course of action. It ALREADY knows if the opportunity in question is internally feasible for me or not. I wouldn’t even feel the fear if it were OUTSIDE my capabilities. (see #1 above) Fear tells me there is a possibility I can pull it off.

I ALSO know that this would be something WELL WORTH doing, or at the very least, worth a much longer consideration time. Fear is a sign that the returns would be awesome.

This could involve pursuing a huge pivot for our firm, or pondering the high cost of a GREAT hire, or asking someone to be key member of the founding team or the board, or doing a sales presentation to the CEO or the MANCOM of a potential huge client (not really a decision, but an opportunity nevertheless), proposing to my wife, saying goodbye to my decade-long HR career, or even me in my room, musing about a potential strategy.

Fear has ceased to become crippling. It has become my friend. It can be your friend too.

Hoooh! My friend, Your Friend…Whatever Peter! I’m miles away from that! I’m afraid to even tell my friends I’m thinking about starting something!

It’s a process (like EVERYTHING worth its while), will NOT come overnight, and there are no shortcuts.

Here are some tips that may help:

1) Surround yourself with healthy risk-takers (don’t know anyone? go to startup events, go to open coffee – LOOK for healthy risk-takers)

2) Fail

In some ways, this might be like swimming. The only way for you to learn is to dive in.

There is one HUGE thing that happens when you fail – YOU REALIZE ITS NOT THAT BAD.

Because of our primitive survival instincts, we pre-programmed to assume the WORST. (OHNO, I will be out on the streets if I fail! I will be the laughingstock of the barkada, nay, the whole country! Woe is me! WOE IS ME!)

It’s not that bad.

Of course, I’m not saying you should DELIBERATELY fail – but try doing things out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you can try starting the thing you’ve always wanted to do but always feared, but do so by…

stairs3. Starting with smaller risks

Start with low-risk items, and gradually proceed with bigger ticket risks.

Got an idea?

Level 1: Do a powerpoint (not so risky)

Level 2: Invite close friends and present your idea (a tad risky)

Level 3: Invite not-so-close friends you think would be an expert on your idea and present (riskier)

At this point, you’re BOUND to get some negative comments / rejection already (this ALREADY could be felt as a huge failure for some people)

Level 4: Recruit a Co-founder. Among the people you’ve talked to, do a formal proposal saying that you are DOING the idea and you NEED their help as a partner (risky)

Hey guess what – you’ve started a startup!

(Know anyone who would appreciate this post? Hit the buttons and share below and share!)

5 Things I’ve Learned from Startups Unplugged

I’ve been trying to push myself to blog Post Startups Unplugged, and share all the instances of serendipity that truly made this miracle happen. However, I thought that it would be more effective if I were to cut to the chase about what I actually learned from it all. Here it goes! These are the 5 things that I’ve learned from Startups Unplugged:

Ask and you shall receive.

I had no shame in asking sponsors to join Startups Unplugged. This is how I usually got in contact with a sponsor:

A kind individual would give me a business card of XYZ individual from XYZ organization, and I’d literally call that person on the spot, even it if was the direct line of the CEO. It might sound too crazy or too bold, but it was a highly effective approach; about 80% of the sponsors that I talked to agreed to sponsoring the event.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that I had a sweet pitch for sponsors because of the incredibly awesome line-up of entrepreneurs that graced us with their presence for Startups Unplugged. The point I’m trying to convey in sharing this experience is to highlight that the simple act of asking makes all the difference in whatever you do. Making that conscious effort to ask is the catalyst to making deals happen.

Set your mind to work with purpose.

As with all startup journeys that start without any capital, it has been a rough and bumpy road. Moreover, as an inexperienced junior entrepreneur, I felt like there were things that I just didn’t think of or understand. I told myself if all else failed in my move to the Philippines, the one thing that I was determined to do was make this event happen. Because I had this mindset, I was able to do things outside of my usual self.

Facebook Ads Work.

On average we would get about 200 views for posts on our FB page. When Peter paid for promotion on FB, the views shot up to as high as 10,000 views. While it’s a big bummer that non-paid posts spark limited visibility, paying a little extra to promote does make a huge difference.

Evenbrite is an awesome tool for event registration! 

I recall getting into a heated discussion with Peter after his recommendation to use Evenbrite for JGL’s Open Coffee. Using a type of registration, in which participants would print-out tickets to attend a coffee chat, just didn’t make sense to me. Eventually, I realized I was wrong about it (Sorry Peter 🙂 )

Eventbrite makes it really easy for event organizers to keep track of attendees. In addition, it allows them to easily communicate with attendees and send attendees updates about the event and post-event activities. Eventbrite is truly a dynamic tool that makes event registration clean, simple, and easy.

Don’t Do it Alone! 

As tempting as it is to play the role of superman, don’t do it!  When there is a strong purpose or cause to what you are doing, people will gravitate towards you. Be open to people’s help and goodwill, and build together!


Justice League by DC Comics
Justice League by DC Comics

Startups Unplugged. Wow.

In a lot of ways, it was like launching a startup.

The concept (sorta-kinda-like group speed dating) had never been done before and it was either going to be AMAZING or a complete, fiery DISASTER. No in-between.

We thought it was a great way of creating better impact with a larger crowd than the usual conference/panel format. It was like holding a candle to a moth. We had to do it.

It now fell on the capable shoulders of Matt Lapid to execute.

So how did it go?

People coming in
People coming in
Prayer, The non-keynote, and instructions

At around 230, we started with a prayer, a sorta keynote (I felt totally unworthy doing a keynote, so I instead just went with some reminders), and then I painstakingly went through with the instructions – which were crucial.

First bell – transition, 5 minutes.

Second bell – settle down, 1 minute

Third bell  – start, 20 minutes

Five rounds of this.

The first bell sounded and people began going around with their maps (which people were also using as checklists).

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 10.25.40 PM

Second bell sounded. People were settled in their chosen areas.

Third bell sounded. No need – people were starting!

And there it was – energy!

I walked around the designated areas. People were nodding heads. Entrepreneurs were passionate.

Odell "I could've gone on for more rounds!" Ramirez of Looloo
Odell “I could’ve gone on for more rounds!” Ramirez of Looloo
Luis Buenaventura of
Luis Buenaventura of
I managed to sneak in one of  Maoi's sessions - she's brilliant! (plus, i think she can do stand-up comedy)
I managed to sneak in one of Maoi’s sessions – she’s brilliant! (plus, i think she can do stand-up comedy)
anna meloto-wilk
Multi-awarded Anna Meloto-Wilk explains her journey with Human Nature

Soon, the second and the third rounds were commencing. I started to allow myself to smile while walking around – we had managed to pull of a unique, amazing event!

It was evident how much people were LEARNING from the format and these marvelous entrepreneurs.

By the fifth round, the entrepreneurs were visibly tired, but incredibly, still just as passionate. It was amazing to see them give so much. EVERY entrepreneur wanted to make each of their answers (even if some of the questions repeated) as unique and as special for the person in front of her asking.

Some immediate reactions from Twitter:

Drei Alquiros ‏Fun and learning a lot here in @juangreatleap ‘s #Startupsunplugged

paula nierras Reaffirming, inspiring, and goosebumps-inducing afternoon c/o@JuanGreatLeap. Thanks and congratulations! #startupsunplugged

Zar Castro  Had a blast. Learned a lot. Thanks @JuanGreatLeap!

Jairuz A ‏ Thanks to @JuanGreatLeap @PeterCauton for organizing a very successful #startupsunplugged event today… See you on the next event!

Renelyn Tan ‏ Amazing event by @juangreatleap this afternoon. Thanks for all the inspiring entrepreneurs who shared their experience.

Yas Coles ‏ Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon: meet startup superstars to get going. Looking forward to more @JuanGreatLeap

Kazumi Shiroma ‏ “Be shameless with failure, be critical when you want to help.” -Reese Fernandez-Ruiz | Well spent Saturday afternoon with@JuanGreatLeap 🙂

Maria Rona Beltran  @JuanGreatLeap learned a lot of building an #entrepreneur attitude and startup stuff last saturday!


For those who attended, let me repeat the most important thing: I hope you not only learned from the experience, but I sincerely pray that you USE whatever motivation and/or information you were able to garner.


Our major sponsors:

Ayala Foundation: Thank you so much to Michi and her team for the beautiful venue, all the logistical help, and introducing us to some of the entreps!

Kickstart: To Minette and her team – for all the help and support! If you have a startup and you need funding, you have GOT to talk to Minette and her team.

Co.lab: Especially Chesa for helping us design the whole event, and for lending us Danella, who agreed to celebrate part of her birthday weekend as one of our awesome 20 entreps!

Velprint: For all your printing needs, be sure to check out the awesome, high quality work which Velprint can provide.

Thank you so much to our minor sponsors as well:

Gonuts Donuts for the awesome pastries!

Starbucks for the perfect cup of coffee (and water) you served (and boy, did it go splendidly with the doughnuts!)

Rocket Concepts for producing ALL the marketing/event collateral we used.

Human Nature for the awesome giveaways!

Stream Engine Studios for the great video introduction of our 20 entreps!

More pics! (for even more pics, check out the facebook page)

justin garrido talks about
justin garrido talks about
Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2riches
Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2riches


Gian Javelona of Orange Apps
Gian Javelona of Orange Apps
The ayala-TBI hallway
Group Shot! So proud of these 20 entreps!
Group Shot! So proud of these 20 entreps!
I dated the guest usher (shown here) after the event.
I dated the guest usher (shown here) after the event.

20 More Tickets Released and Venue Clarifications for Startups Unplugged

Event Poster (Facebook)Three quick things:

1) The event is fully booked again, but we’re releasing about 20 tickets because of people who called to say they can’t make it (thank you so much for the thoughtfulness guys!)

Eventbrite - Juan Great Leap's Startups Unplugged: Get Personal with 20 Startup Founders

2) VENUE: there was some confusion because at some point, the Eventbrite Googlemap was pointing to some place else.

The event will be at the Ayala-TBI office, at the UP-AYALA Technohub along Commonwealth in Diliman, QC. The venue is right beside Figaro where all the restaurants are. You can look at the map here. 

3) Try to be there at 130pm. We are expecting a sizeable crowd, so please try to be at the venue at 130 so we can start asap.

I’m pumped and excited for tomorrow!

The Starstruck Guide to Startups Unplugged

Girl with Stars Over Eyes

I’m starstruck.

Looking at our line-up for Saturday, I am humbled, excited, giddy, honored, and super-thankful all at the same time.

I cannot over-emphasize the fact: Saturday will be a TREMENDOUS LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

You just have to take advantage of this rare opportunity to gain access to some of the most innovative and compelling startup founders in the country today.

There will be a brief keynote, and then the main “group speed dating” activity will transpire.

The rules are simple:

  1. Each entrepreneur will have his own “nook” with 12-15 chairs each. These chairs shall not be moved. 
  2. A first bell will ring to signal the start of the proceedings. You can now go and sit on one of the chairs of your chosen entrepreneur. This is musical-chairs type. If the seats are filled for one entrep, you have to proceed to go to a vacant chair. 
  3. A second bell will ring to signal that people should now ALL be seated and settled down. 
  4. A third bell will ring to signal that the sessions can begin. You are now in arms length to your entrepreneur of choice. SEIZE THE DAY. Ask your questions. 
  5. The bell will ring again to signal that the session has ended and that the next one will begin. You now need to look for your next entrep. 
  6. This will go on for FIVE rounds. 

Two very obvious suggestions then:

  1. PLAN ON WHO TO TALK TO. This will save you time. Plus you only have 6 rounds.
  2. PLAN YOUR QUESTIONS. Without your questions, the whole concept falls on its behind.

Now, here’s my very biased, star-struck, and informal guide to WHY YOU HAVE TO TALK TO EACH ENTREPRENEUR.

Ready? Let’s do it. In no particular order:

1. KAREN YAO is dear friend I had known since my HR days. Karen has had what I would call a very organic journey into entrepreneurship. She’s simply one of the best HR practitioners I know. And of course, when you’re as good in your field as she is in hers, a very obvious choice is to go consulting. She established a great solo consulting career before realizing it’s a great advantage if you build a company around your consulting practice. She founded Congruent Partnerships  in 2010, a company which provides the world-class HR outsourcing services to SME’s. Karen’s taught me some real valuable lessons: that doing great work results in the freedom to CHOOSE who to work with, and that BIG isn’t necessarily always GREAT. 

Those of who who are interested in B2B’s, bootstrapping, transitioning from consulting into running a firm, functional consulting, and anything HR – TALK to Karen!

2. There’s a reason why TEMBONG YAMBAO‘s face was plastered in a big EDSA ad promoting an entrepreneurial event some years back. This guy is an awesome entrepreneur. He’s founded a couple of huge distribution firms already, including Apollo, which I think is the largest independent pharma distribution company in the country. Tembong is one of the most animated and charismatic “let’s do it” guys you’ll ever meet, which sometimes belies his keen entrepreneurial mind.

If you are interested in serial entrepreneurship, retail, “brick and mortar” business, and learning about the art of networking (oh wow, I think Tembong is the best networker I know), then you should talk to this guy. 

3. Babypips is a forex trading website with a GLOBAL audience. ODELL RAMIREZ is one of the guys behind that. Have you heard of the awesome Looloo review app which was recently launched? This guy is also behind that. I had a chance to talk to Odell in a startup event some months ago and he is just an awesome conversation!

Interested in building a startup around an online community? Doing a great mobile app? Serial entrepreneurship? Doing an online training platform? Odell’s the guy to approach!

4. Filipino startup legend JOEY GURANGO needs no introduction. He is not only one of the most decorated startup tech entrepreneurs in the country, but as you will surely find out, also one of the most gracious. Joey has been an early supporter of Juan Great Leap, and we always look forward to hearing his sage wisdom during events. He is a very active supporter of tech startups

Doing a tech startup? Interested in LEAN METHODOLOGY? Want to know how you can market your tech products abroad? Just want to hear plain kick-ass startup wisdom? You can’t go wrong with allotting one of your 6 slots to Joey. 

5. I wrote about NOREEN BAUTISTA a few months back. Fresh off college, she founded EcoIngenuity, wit its flagship brand, Jacinto and Lirio, which creates fashions items from the (pest) water hyacinth. It’s a brilliant idea, which is brilliantly executed by Noreen and her team. Noreen has created a solid distribution for her products, uses great branding strategies, makes a profit, and most importantly helps uplift impoverished communities. Noreen, I find, is also a great young networker and pours herself into her advocacies.

If you are interested in social entrepreneurship, retail, fashion, doing a startup right after college, bootstrapping, networking, and about (very) young people doing startups, talk to Noreen!  

6. I don’t know MARK RUIZ personally, but he’s one of the people I’m really very excited to meet and learn from on Saturday. Mark took the leap from corporate to become one of the most renowned and awarded social entrepreneurs in the country. His firm, Microventures, launched the popular microfinance program Hapinoy back in 2007, helping thousands.

If you are interested in social entreprises, microfinance, business incubation, enacting massive social change, taking the leap from corporate, and even tech stuff, Mark’s your guy. 

7. Of course, Mark gets to marry ANOTHER multi-awarded social entrepreneur in REESE FERNANDEZ-RUIZ. Reese is the President and co-founder of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that has drawn worldwide attention for its eco-ethical approach to style. Reese was one of five inaugural Rolex Young Laureates by the Rolex Foundation in Switzerland for recognition of her work.

If you are interested in social enterprises, retail, style, making waves across different countries, sustainable fashion, and helping communities, be sure to approach Reese!

8. I’d say DAVID CRUZ is one of the most underrated tech entrepreneurs in the country. Heard about the PLDT telpad? One of his firms, Neugent Technologies, made it. The same firm which has has been developing surveillance systems and exporting to more than 40 countries worldwide. A former corporate salesperson turned serial entrepreneur, David has founded other firms engaged in hardware and gaming. Can’t wait to hear this guy’s insights – he founded his first firm when he experienced an epiphany in a visit to Korea – where he saw college kids form tech startup ventures.

If you are interested in serial entrepreneurship, tech (particularly hardware), jumping from corporate, scaling firms, working for big clients, and building global distribution channels, then David’s your guy. 

9. DANELLA YAPTINCHAY is an ex-globetrotter who has found a living in developing startups which cater to startups! Her firms include  startup hangout Co-lab, startup service provider Full Suite, and the recently launched startup publication, Homegrown. You will surely enjoy talking to Danella with her global mindset, in-depth knowledge of the Filipino startup scene, and on-point insights. It’s also her birthday on the 2nd, so be sure to greet her!

If you are interested in: b2b’s, service firms, firms which cater to the SME/startup industry, want to know more about the Philippine startup founder and how they think, co-labbing, and globetrotting, be sure to visit Danella’s nook!

10. I met ESTELLE OSORIO in one of the earlier Startup Saturdays I’ve done. I found someone so open, insightful, and compelling! Another corporate leaper, Estelle went fulltime into her startup, BizWhiz Business Training and Consultancy, back in 2010. Estelle runs and organizes both public and corporate training courses and now has numerous renowned clients who are happy to call her a business partner. Estelle herself is an awesome public speaker and trainer!

If you are interested in: building a b2b business, building a training business, building communities, bootstrapping, training, (very) young people running startups, and public speaking, go talk to ESTELLE!

 11. You have probably seen GIAN SCOTTIE JAVELONA in TV or in an article (I did an article on him months ago – which easily became one of the most popular posts ever) somewhere. Why, you ask? Well, he’s a startup founder (Orange Apps). Oh, and he’s also going to be a senior in College NEXT YEAR. Wow. Great Scott indeed! Go visit his area!

If you are interested in mobile apps, developing a tech startup, and (very, very) young startup founders, this is your guy!

12. Where do I start with NIX NOLLEDO? Nix is one of the most awesome entrepreneurs I’ve ever met (and I’ve met quite a lot). Period. Nix is a serial startup entrepreneur/ investor, having built and invested in numerous highly successful startups like Havoc Digital (responsible for the likes of Pinoy Exchange,, Rappler, and mobile startups like Fluxion and Xurpas – both of which operate on a global scale. Nix is refreshingly down-to-earth and low-key WHILE clearly being a big-idea guy who can see possibilities years down the line. Oh, and Nix is another spectacular networker with an eye for entrepreneurial talent.

If you are interested in: e-commerce, super-serial entrepreneurship, startup funding, tech entrepreneurship, mobile, building global firms, and long-term strategy, then talk to Nix!

13. The multi-awarded MAOI ARROYO is a Filipino trailblazer. Her firm, Hybridigm, is the first biotech consulting firm in the country. Hybridigm has become a game-changing startup incubator, having facilitated over $3.5M in biotech investments, trained over 15,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, and now, raising seed capital for 4 startups and series A funding for 3 companies. I had the privilege of meeting Maoi a few weeks back, and wow, she makes quite the impression with her wit, intelligence, trailblazer outlook, and humor.

If you are interested in: biotech, doing a startup based on the life sciences, startup incubation, startup funding, and R&D, you should go talk to Maoi!

14. We have Human Nature products in our home. My wife raves about them. Human Nature co-founder ANNA MELOTO-WILK  takes a lot of pride in her company’s pro-poor, pro-environment approach, as well as the fact that she has led her company’s growth to around 200 employee in just under 4 years. Anna is another multi-awarded, globally recognized entrepreneur we should all be proud of. She recently got selected as one of DEVEX 40 Under 40 Award for international development leaders.

If you are interested in: retail, brick-and-mortar startups, social entrepreneurship, and scaling fast, talk to Anna!

15. You already met JUSTIN GARRIDO in Matt’s recent post about him. Justin combines his social entrepreneur side with his tech sensibilities in creating the crowdfunding website for local social-impact projects,

 If you are interested in: the crowdfunding concept, social enterprises, e-commerce, and social change, be sure to talk to Justin!

16. LUIS BUENAVENTURA is a cool dude. He has a wide range of interests, is very outspoken, and knows how to tell a story (a talent). He’s also one of those rare programmer/designer hybrids which comes in quite handy in doing startups. Oh, and Luis is also brilliant entrepreneur. He managed to sell his startup Syndeo way back in 2008. He’s now running, a startup which helps non-tech people build awesome websites, and also is a very passionate advocate of tech startups, helping run the tech bootcamp, Hack2Hatch.

If you are interested in: tech startups, design, serial entrepreneurship, the Philippine tech startup scene, bootstrapping, young people doing startups, young people SELLING startups, then Luis is your guy. 

17. MIKE GO is the founder of Trese, a silkscreen printing and sewing enterprise based in GK Blue Eagle Village in Payatas 13. Since its registration in 2011, Trese has produced over 100,000+ items while engaging out-of-school-youth, nanays, and other community members in Payatas 13. He also currently serves as the Social Enterprise Development Head of Human Nature.

If you are interested in: social enterprise, community development, social entreprise incubation, and agriculture-based startups, Mike’s your guy!

18. Raffy Taruc, Kiyo Miura, Miguel Buling & Brett Lim – I first met these guys (well, two of them), early last year. There were still trying to figure out their execution strategy. They did bring beer to the meeting for us to sample. Now, I don’t really fashion myself as some “beer connoisseur,” but they brought some GREAT TASTING beer. I’m happy to say their great beer can now be found in different establishments around town!

If you are interested in: retail, building your own consumable-product from scratch (R&D), food-and beverage startups, bootstrapping, building a distribution channel, and of course, BEER, well, you have to talk to these four. (I’m sure you’ll it will be a fun conversation – guess who the stand-up comic is among the 4)

WHEW! That’s 3-4 hours of writing! But it was worth it!  Do check these guys out on Saturday! They’re going to be there for YOU.

Eventbrite - Juan Great Leap's Startups Unplugged: Get Personal with 20 Startup Founders


Tech Portal, UP-AyalaLand Technohub, Venue for Startups Unplugged
Tech Portal, UP-AyalaLand Technohub, Venue for Startups Unplugged

One of my favorite things about blogging on Juan Great Leap is that I get to document my entrepreneurial journey without much apprehension. The cathartic experience that comes from sharing, as a crazy individual who is just starting in the Philippines, enables me to embrace the fear monster.

From my first Open Coffee to witnessing the art of sharing at living hope, I’m starting to realize why Peter calls Juan Great Leap his gift; there is great reward in giving and sharing for all.

With Startups Unplugged coming up next week, I’d like to share what this event means to me and what I hope to give back to it.

What does Startups Unplugged mean to me? 

Three months ago, I was blurting out ideas to my office mate, Suzie of Searchlight, like a mad scientist at work. I was throwing so many random ideas at her in hopes of finding the right name for this event that would feature an array of entrepreneurs from different fields, and various stages in their personal startup journey. I had to get the name just right to embody what was being communicated to me for its vision.

The idea for the Juan Great Leap event was described to me as a moment that would be much more personal than the typical conference setting. This big event would create a space for attendees to approach entrepreneurs in a more intimate setting, in which they would be encouraged to ask questions to entrepreneurs, and get up, close, and personal with them.

The simplicity of the idea and the intimate space that was being articulated to me triggered imagery from MTV’s Unplugged Sessions, in which artists would get a little more personal with their fans by sharing their music to smaller groups. While the artists still engaged in a performance, they went unplugged- acoustic. The spectacle of the performance was somewhat removed from the presentation of their work to create a moment more raw.

MTV Unplugged 2.0 Episode on November 18, 2001
MTV Unplugged 2.0 Episode on November 18, 2001,
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Now that you know where the inspiration for Startups Unplugged comes from, I’d like to share my own “unplugged” moment in opening up to you about Startups Unplugged.

The metaphor of unplugged tugs at my inner core. As a would-be entrepreneur trying to start up, I know that there’s a lot of pressure for entrepreneurs to present to their audiences in a superhuman fashion.

One personal fear that I am confronted with when I open up to people is knowing that the vulnerabilities that I expose to them may evoke feelings of disbelief and doubt. In contrast, the most vulnerable moments shared can also be the most moving. The movement of the spirit that captures your heart and moves your soul can lead to action, if you allow it to do so.

These are such romantic ideas, I know, and I’m not saying that every moment shared in Startups Unplugged is going to be this deep personal sharing, but think about the possibility of just starting a simple, yet real conversation with leaders and feeders in the startup community.

It’s precisely what I’m attempting to do with you, the reader, in this blog entry. I seek to share a real moment by opening up to you, as so many strangers that I have met -in my strong attempt to get this event off the ground- have done for me. The interactions I have with them keep me moving, in the midst of all the doubt and stumbling blocks that I continue to face.

I’m trying to move you to see Startups Unplugged for what it is to me and what it is for you.

What can Startups Unplugged do for the community?

With the immense support of gracious partners and sponsors, we’re throwing this event for free, as passionate volunteers. I guess that’s why I’m writing in such an airy tone because doing something for free somewhat forces you to realize why you’re being moved as part of  a larger community with a shared goal.

As you witness Startups Unplugged, open your mind to the possibility of where the conversation can take you and the community.

JGL Open Coffee
JGL Open Coffee

For the leaders, the entrepreneurs, in the startup scene, realize the potential in working together, as a startup community, in which you share your gifts and passions. Collaboration will only strengthen you and your enterprise.

For the feeders, everyone else, understand your role in nurturing entrepreneurship for the Philippines and the significance of it to the larger development of this country, for yourself and for Juan.

If you’re unsure of where you fall in the startup community, do not despair. I invite you to participate. It’s a great network to be exposed to. I encourage you to share and be open to receiving. In the end, I’m sure you’ll end up giving too in your own way and own time.

Startups Unplugged means a lot to me. In a way, I see it as my first real contribution in starting up, as an aspiring entrepreneur.

I choose to go unplugged from the start because whether I succeed or fail in this startup journey, I hope that you will learn from my mistakes and successes for every Juan.

Only 100 Seats Left For STARTUPS UNPLUGGED, Register NOW!

Event Poster (Facebook)

100 Seats Remaining

With eight days left till the March 2 event, only around 1oo seats remain. From experience, these seats tend to get gobbled up fast a few days before the actual event – so we advice that you click on the button below NOW and reserve your slot! Eventbrite - Juan Great Leap's Startups Unplugged: Get Personal with 20 Startup Founders

Don’t Flake! 

Also, for those who already have reserved their slots, please don’t flake! We’ve exerted all effort to make this a free event for all those who want to attend, so if you think you already know you cannot make it on the 2nd for some reason, please just reach out and tell us so we can give your slot to someone who can make it! (email us at or

Prepare Your Questions! 

For those going, please don’t forget to prepare your questions! This event is all about sharing experiences in a very comfortable setting – so please take maximum advantage by knowing beforehand WHO to approach and WHAT exactly to ask!

Can’t wait for March 2!

Eventbrite - Juan Great Leap's Startups Unplugged: Get Personal with 20 Startup Founders