Saturday, September 29, 2007

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Yes, you can join any of those game shows that offer P1 million for grand prize. But, care to know how five of today’s Filipino achievers bagged their first million - through bittersweet lessons at that? Then, MoneySense's “millionaires’ secrets” issue is for you.

Paolo Bediones graces the magazine’s fifth issue, and shares how he became a celebrity TV host and invested his hard-earned money in various ventures, making him one of today’s most promising businessmen.

Other millionaires’ secrets include why Michelle Asence, owner of scents and bath and body line, Zen Zest, continues to concoct her success as an entrepreneur; why Cristina Castillo-Decena continues to turn dilapidated houses into prime real estate properties; how Punongbayan & Araullo’s CEO Greg Navarro climbed the corporate ladder and remains on top, and how Pioneer Life’s branch manager Cynthia Mendoza bagged her plum income and career achievement by making a growing number of Filipinos realize insurance’s importance.

MoneySense – founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience – also packed in this issue tips on how to pick the right mutual fund; five questions you should ask before investing in UITFs, and helpful words on buying art, wines, and suits. Plus, former finance secretary and MoneySense’s chairperson Roberto “Bobby” De Ocampo shares words of wisdom for the soon-to-weds, apt for this “ber” wedding months.

MoneySense is available in over 200 outlets nationwide. To learn more about the magazine, visit www.moneysense.com.ph. For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email info@moneysense.com.ph.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finding that engagement ring

Your Dream Engagement Ring Has a Pear Diamond!


You're personal style is a mix of classic and contemporary, reseved and outgoing.
A pear diamond matches your charming personality - and is perfect to show off.
You've also got an elegant side, which is complemented a tear dropped shaped pear.
It's the perfect mix of Liz Taylor and Jessica Simposon - both wearers of this ring!



With nothing much to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I went to SM Fairview (which is less than 30 minutes from our place) to print stuff I'll be writing about, had my burger fix from Tropical Hut, and had donut and coffee after while reading the stuff I had printed.

After the burger though, I don't know what went with me but I found myself stepping in a jewelry shop and asked about their engagement rings.

Yes, Robin, I asked about engagement rings.

Two nights back, Robin told me again that he hopes to give me a diamond ring for our engagement (we've been talking about this even before he proposed, and asked me one time to look for the ring that I like). But I said to him that I don't really see any need for that, even arguing why it has to be diamond (and even I blamed De Beers for that stereotyping that it should be diamond ring to be given on an engagement).

I even added why is it only women who have to wear something that will signify they're about to be married while men have none? Partly my aversion to jewelry is the fact that I'm not big on any of them, and that I don't, or should I say, didn't, imagine myself will be wearing - on a daily basis at that - something that's precious. Anyway.

Patient as he is to me, Robin says that it has been tradition that a diamond ring is given to the fiancee, and why men don't have something like that is because men are not really into jewelry than women are. He just said that if I don't want diamond, I should let him know what's my preference and that we'll work on finding the "perfect" ring for me once he's here (he'll be here by tomorrow night, and will get to stay until October 4 or 5, as we initially discussed).

Going back to the trip to the jewelry shop, so I asked about the rings - I pointed to a heart-shaped, South African diamond (if I remember right, it was a karat's worth), mounted on a Philippine white gold loop (forgot how many karats though). Obviously, it is pricey, even if the saleslady told me it's 50% off already.

I asked for another ring for its price, but I got a bit distracted with the other salesladies who are glued over a couple. The man, who by looks I think is American, has bought something for "his" Filipina (the salesladies were hushing over her skimpy skirt and a tattooed lower back that's all peeping to us. You know what I mean but sorry to stereotype).

The saleslady attending to me had gone distracted already over them so I said thank you and left the shop. And I'm feeling guilty to look down on that Filipina and think of her as a hooker out to milk money from that foreigner or more rightly, I'm feeling about that for myself, since I'm fiancee to a non-Filipino, despite knowing my worth at that.

But Robin, who has been understanding since, said to me once [when we're discussing what others think of Filipinos getting married to foreigners] that he doesn't think I have to worry what other people think, since my demeanor shows who and what I really am, and he will not have me any other way. Good thing I remembered his words yesterday, and I felt better after.

Then I found myself in another jewelry shop. No foreigner-Filipina couple this time, but I got pissed off with salespersons of Gold Mine because I found them rude and non-accommodating, as they maybe sensed I'm not buying anything (what with my purple top, faded black jeans, and flat sandals outfit - a common ensemble for most mall goers who are not really shopping for anything). But still, I was inquiring and that if I found anything interesting from their shop, Robin and I might consider to get my engagement ring from them, so I feel my getting pissed off with them is justified.

For one, when I asked where among the vast assortment of rings are their engagement rings, I was not attended to immediately, and had to repeat my inquiry, and I guy chewing gum pointed to me a box said, "`yan ho." Is that how they should be dealing with customers, chewing gum at that?

Still confused, since there were rows of rings in that display box, I asked again where exactly, and a lady butted in and curtly replied, "`yung mga may diamond (I'm no good appraising jewelry, not knowing one precious stone from another, so I had to ask). I asked, what type of diamond and are they mounted on white gold or what. The chewing gum guy replied they are Russian diamond.

Then I asked how many karats, the lady again curtly replied "Russian diamond nga." Now the bitchy me couldn't hold back, so I fired, with such firmness but annoyed tone at that, "Narinig ko ho, Russian diamond ang mga `yan, ang tinatanong ko ilang karat?"

The chewing gum guy seemed to be jolted with my bitchiness so he pulled out the ring I first pointed at, and computed its price. Hearing the price, and not being fairly treated at that as an inquiring customer, definitely, we'll not get my engagement ring from them.

As I stepped out of that shop, I thought, maybe I would be well-attended to if I'm that Filipina who was with her foreigner boyfriend (like how the salesladies from the first shop I went into, they attended to the couple while talking about them at the same time).

Ah huh, I'm belittling myself again, and that Filipina I saw. Yes, there's no good at feeling little about yourself, and in a way, being discriminated by your fellow kababayans, while you're still in your own country at that. This nagging thought was just shrugged off when I got my Bavarian filled donut and coffee after I strolled the department store.

As for finding that engagement ring, I guess I'll forget about that for the meantime, or search for that when I'm with my fiance, Robin. Let's see.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wake-up call

Phone calls when I'm in my deepest sleep never fail to wake me up. Bugger.

Anyway, I woke up due to a phone call from a former classmate in two or three classes at UP - she will also be taking the candidacy exams with me (plus another former classmate). She called to ask if I borrowed all the reading materials listed in our review list since most are all out and only to be returned on October 2 (and our exams are on October 9).

Shaken, and still lying on our bed while searching the ceiling for answers as to why I always have to wake up because of a phone call (mostly from work, not that I mind since it's work, but sometimes I do mind, hehehe), I told her, as "normal" as possible (since I didn't want to sound that I just woke up), that I haven't done any library work yet, and the only review I'm having is me seating in on Media Theory and Media, Gender, and Sexuality classes.

She was a bit rattled (understandable), since, if I remember her right (and wasn't that sleepyhead not to comprehend a thing she told me), is that, she hasn't started anything yet, and that, if she can't get any of those readings (they're quite a lot - and they are books, by the way), she might skip taking the exams (only if force majeure that the exams can be canceled - otherwise, we have to take it the following semester - and what a semester will be wasted at that). After, I sent her the number of that another classmate (who I learned just now, have the books we need).

With what she said, I told her one tip I got from my former classmates: don't really focus on the books. As per their experience, mostly current events and related matters are asked in the exams (of course, the theory part is inescapable). Meaning, read the newspapers (preferably highlights from present and going a year back), plus some related current events' readings.

I don't know if what I said relaxed her a bit. But her call was really a wake-up one for me - I really must balance my time from this day up to the exams. I really hope to wear that sablay not later than second semester of 2008 (and of course, there's the engagement and two wedding dates to attend to from now on....)


And my list to do starting tonight:

Work:
Send articles for approval for our content sharing - tonight, September 21

Complete list of those I will be sending complimentary copies of our latest issue - (and prepare them for delivery as well) - tomorrow, September 22

Get InDesign files of latest issue and pick to send for content sharing - September 22

Get cover art of our latest issue and upload to our Web site (plus the sneak peak) - September 22

Get all receipts and endorse (with partial liquidation plus some notes) – not later than Monday, September 24

Follow up schedule for cover story - September 24

Get schedule for another possible personality for cover (if original has no positive feedback yet by Monday) - not later than Monday night, September 24

Check with bank contact for story pitch (email and text that we should have interview not later than September 28) - September 24

Write three short articles needed for the magazine - target for complete submission: Tuesday, September 25

Write two features (those that are banked with me) - target for complete submission: Friday, September 28


Sideline:
Research, scan, print materials about an ad feature I'm doing - tomorrow, September 22

Submit draft of ad feature - not later than morning of Sunday, September 23 (accommodate corrections not later than morning of Monday, September 24)

Submit final ad feature – not later than morning of Monday, September 24


Studies:
Read reports and write reaction papers for M260 - not later than Tuesday, September 25

Read theories, print discussions from e-group, draft questions (if I have) in time for the wrap up class on Wednesday - not later than Wednesday morning, September 26

Scan, print, and submit M260 final paper (and inform professor about it so I can still have my grade in time for the exams) - not later than Friday, September 28


= = = = =
Whew. Just listing all these things to do are overwhelming already - what more of accomplishing them? But I must. All the best for the crammers (like me).

Bugger.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On to the next chapter

Plotting my calendar
Go get my master's degree. On October 9, I will be taking the dreaded comprehensive (it's now called candidacy) exams required for my master's degree (glad I'm able to seat in Media Theory and Media, Gender, and Sexuality classes to refresh myself with all those theories and issues - thanks, Ma'am Betsy).

Wish all of us exam takers good luck - on my end, I hope to pass this since I'm targeting to have my thesis proposal defense (and pass it) by second semester this academic year, and finish (and pass of course) my thesis not later than second semester next academic year, and have, also within that semester, my M.A. in Media Studies major in Journalism and get to wear a sablay (UP's graduation sash).

While reviewing, I'm also completing my papers for the Media, Gender, and Sexuality class I took up last school year (need my grade here to be able to take the candidacy exams).

Bring back the writer in me. Deadline for our November-December issue is on September 30 - hope I submit really on time now. I performed ill the past months, and definitely disappointed myself, as I didn't meet the expectations I set.

I'm still picking up myself, but I'm aiming for the better me now since I don't want to spend my birthday by November still beating myself to death for not meeting my deadlines.

Also, I hope to complete the papers I lack for that registered financial planning course I took from January to March this year. What a waste if I will not be able to find out if I can be that knowledgeable in personal finance. Will do this after the candidacy exams.

I still sometimes think though if I'm really for writing, but considering the opportunities I'm still getting in this field, I feel I'm set for this, it's just a matter of repackaging myself as a journalist that I need to pay attention to now.

Celebrate in Singapore - or Thailand. Either last week of October, first or second week of November (in time for my 27th birthday). This will be my firth birthday out of the country, and my first out of the country trip at that (just read though that about 60 people died when an air craft crashed at Phuket, Thailand)....

But before I can book my tickets, I have to get my passport first. Yes, in all these years (and I've been in media at that), I don't have a passport yet - too lazy to queue and get all those necessary papers. I learned from a travel agency I asked last night regarding their passport assistance service, that application and renewal are on hold on since we're converting to e-passport. Hope this will not take forever. After October 9, I will fully attend to this myself.

Spend Christmas in Australia. That's also in the pipeline - what will be an experience for me at that!

Why all these plans, especially these scheduled trips? Because I'm filling a new calendar in my life - that is, to spend more, quality time with Robin, my husband-to-be.

Becoming Mrs. Robin O.C. Lockwood
I will be wife - to a smart, lovable, handsome, gentleman, caring, admirable Australian ship captain at that.

Last Friday, a former officemate, April, woke me up too early just to get the latest scoop about my love life (as she got a peak from this blog). And she even mentioned it in her post. Here, bully, I will be Mrs. Lockwood.

After thorough discussion, Robin popped up that question last night. "You want to be a part of my life?" He asked. And I said, "yes." I said "yes" to the man I learned to love, learning to love more, and hope to spend the rest of my life with.

And just checked earlier, Robin even blogged about it. And to borrow (and to tweak a bit) Robin's line from his blog, "girls (and gays) eat your hearts out, he's mine!"

Before that Singapore or Thailand and Australia trips materialize, we have to seek my mother's blessings first (on my end, this is crucial - and I'm nervous). I hope, like Robin hopes, that she will agree about this.

I also asked Robin that we will be engaged at least a year, so we can decently prepare for our wedding date (dates actually, probably one in Australia for his family and friends, and here for mine).

So, the next time Robin and I go out, the search for the engagement ring will be on, so he says (ask him how it took him lots to convince me to eventually wear one, hahaha).

I'm excited. I'm nervous. But overall, I'm happy and blessed with this new chapter in my life. Robin and I are more looking forward now to be the best we can be in our respective fields, and more importantly, doing that as we start weaving our lives together.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That special weekend with Robin

(Pardon the following display of mushiness. Thanks.)

Still remembering that time I got to spend with you - still can't believe though that weekend really transpired.

That chicken and pork adobo was surely sumptuous to look and eat, and it's good you said our dish was good.

That long walk from mall to mall was nothing, as I got to walk with you.

That sci-fi horror was not scary at all, when there was you I got to hold hands with and lean my head on (never mind that drunk Yank [as you described] who caught our attention as he entered noisily in the middle of the film).

That Kiwi cheese cake was a novel concept for me, but I enjoyed it as much as you liked your slice.

Those conversations we had - together with my friend - were talks that happened naturally between long-time friends, as if we were just catching up on each other, and not seeing each for the first time at that.

That following Sunday morning was, I knew, would be mushy, me I guess starting it with sending you a bouquet of red roses that I coursed through the concierge.

The artifacts at the San Agustin Museum maybe centuries old, but I had a new look on them, as how you admired those collection of ours.

The international book fair maybe had a small number of exhibitors this year, but I had a great time (although was frustrated at first) as I got to find that rare book title as my gift to you - that you can get a glimpse of how we are through the best literary pieces of the 20th century.

The sunset - I got to re-appreciate it, when you asked where's the best view we could see it (since we're quite far from the Manila Bay area). After we hopped from place to place, I got to relax and to listen more to your stories while we were seating down at that makeshift stage outside the trade hall where the book fair was held.

Stephen King might scared me a lot, but you're there beside me whenever I got surprised every time a scene popped out - and glad you were convinced now that you can't help but just laugh at audiences who have hysterical reactions (screaming and all that) while watching a horror film.

It was a special weekend, although it was first filled with anxiety on my part. I thought that would be the end - I was ill to anticipate for those images of you going right back to the airport and boarding the first aircraft you could get since you would have realized it's not really me that you've like - and learned to love - via long-distance.

But my fears were unfounded and you made me realized that. And today, we're on our second month! Hard to maintain because of the distance, but since you said you're for the third, and you're committed in this, then, I'm also looking forward for more special weekends to spend with you, Robin.


Robin handsome and Lynda cute on our way to the book fair - September 2, 2007


P.S. Robin has a different version of that weekend. But I say my version is more accurate, hahaha.

Article - Making money in fashion

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense


Making money in fashion

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
Last updated 04:26pm (Mla time) 09/10/2007

Styles are changing fast, making your faddish top and skirt and pants in your closet so yesterday. But that does not mean you have to keep on buying the latest in fashion, as not everything new suits an individual’s taste, says Mary Grace Magcamit, 24. As her friend Karla Loja points out: “It’s not practical to splurge much money on clothing with poor quality.”

Grace and Karla have their own women’s line, called Coffee Tops, which had an informal start in September 2005. When they learned of a December bazaar then, they eventually drew a budget and market plan. Grace says, “We didn’t know that it would be a blast and that was the springboard for Coffee Tops,” which is now on its second year. If you want to get into the fashion retail business, here’s what you need to know:


Weigh your priorities.
Despite her entrepreneurial foray, Grace has a full-time job as marketing officer for Lulu Castagnette. But she is certain to mainly design for Coffee Tops, a condition her employer is aware of. “I wouldn’t like my employer to think I’m just working for them to support my business since we’re both in the same industry,” she explains.

Do the dirty work. Since they are still newbies, Grace and Karla are not mindful of doing everything to grow their business. Now, they meet for Coffee Tops after office work and give it all attention on weekends. A per project accountant, who they pay around P7,000, assists them in financial and legal requirements.

Think beyond profit. Getting rich was far from their minds when they started Coffee Tops. “Personally, I want to offer the female market a wide range of comfortable clothing choices,” Grace shares.


Enjoy pecuniary benefits.
Grace cites they spend about P30,000 per bazaar and have yet to recover their P50,000 initial capital. “(But) sincerely, their appreciation and happiness about our clothes are more than enough. If we profit so much, it’s a bonus for us,” she says.

Always think ahead. Don’t deal with present situations and projects only. Set plans, and at least have a good sense of time management, Grace stresses. With these, she is certain to hit their goals for Coffee Tops. “Eventually, we will have our own boutique. And that’s the time we’ll be ambitious and try to generate 400% income in three years,” she shares.

(From the May-June 2007 issue of MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Losing Ace

He was young.

He was a dedicated journalist, devoted to his craft that is sports writing.

His mother's grief was striking. His sisters' sobbing - one tightly clutched in her left arm the college graduation picture of his late brother - was an unbearable sight. Although composed, his father was also mourning his son's death.

He also left his best friends from those days where they were one of those all boys' group. They proved they were different though, that theirs a friendship that will last through time - they were dear buddies to him, as they showed up to yesterday where they stayed for their best friend, and sent him to his final rest.

He left more than a year-old son, who has no idea he lost his father, and a loving wife, whose grieving went from silent tears to impish cries that casted a gloomy cloud over yesterday's sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Christian Ace Pasco, tabloid sports writer, former sports editor of UST-The Varsitarian, and fellow AB Journalism classmate, died of asthma complications. He was 26.

The news of his demise was circulated in a flash. Text messages and a phone call from fellow UST-The Varsitarian alumni flooded Tuesday night. When stories the next days followed about Ace's wake, it was confirmed - that the small man, whose eyes crinkles to slits as he sniggers infectiously, was gone.

Those who know Ace - from UST AB Journalism, UST-The Varsitarian, from his tabloid work, fellow sportswriters - visited him at his wake. Stories - mostly fond memories about Ace - were poured over with crying and wailing.

I believe nothing ill was said against him. All have good words for him. Some, like I, were in denial about his death. When I got the news, memories of him flashed - the last time I got in touch with him was when I asked him for contact details of a sports celebrity we wished to interview. He was quick to reply to say he had none, and sent his regards as well. Over the holidays, he was one of those who sent greetings. That was the last.

Then, in a middle of a call from our college professor Tuesday night, I remembered how Ace thanked me for inviting him to join my graduation dinner at my cousin's house in Antipolo - he probably did not expect that I would be inviting him since we were not that best-of-buddies. Other images of him also flashed before me - those one-of-too-many press work nights we had at UST-The Varsitarian. We heard him catching his breath. Although tired from publication work plus the other tasks we had to fill for our classes, he would still close his pages, slept for a while, and most of the time, would leave for home to get ready for a morning class later. His dedication he definitely brought to his professional life, where he spent about two years pounding the sports' beat.

Some, like I, thought Ace was too young to die. But for those he loved most, they know he lived a full life - he was a good son, a loyal friend, a professional, a loving father and husband - he was all those in such short 26 years of his life. And he may no longer be here, but all the things he left will forever be cherished.

Truly, he's an Ace we're all glad to know.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Article - Learn how to build a tech-based biz from this marketing guy

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense


Learn how to build a tech-based biz from this marketing guy

By Arthur Policarpio
MoneySense
Last updated 09:38am (Mla time) 09/03/2007


(As told to Lynda C. Corpuz)

I wanted to go straight into business. That was really my intention. But I first needed to gain experience in a corporate setting. So I joined a multinational firm to learn working in a context of a successful company, hoping I could apply it in my own firm.

After I finished my Philosophy and Business Management degrees from De La Salle University, I worked for three years for Procter & Gamble managing two of its well-known laundry brands and launched their by-products.

There, I learned the importance of marketing (the firm basically invented modern-day marketing), launching campaigns, and creating brands. I also learned the value of operational excellence. The firm is a well-oiled machine, staffed by the best people – the firm recruits only the best – cum-, magna-, and summa cum laudes. There, I was working with the best and the company took good care of us.

After three years of work, I felt I was at a point of no return. If I stayed with them, I was to be promoted. If I got promoted, the benefits would be rewarding and satisfying. With the comforts of a high-paying job, I would not be able to go into the entrepreneurial setting.

Starting a business
The opportunity came in December 2003 when my best friend Jeremy Obial and I brainstormed about possible business ventures. We zeroed in on the vast opportunity in mobile marketing—an untapped medium at that time. I have a marketing background and Jeremy has a technology background. So we put up Global Wireless Connections (GWC), a Filipino mobile marketing company.

The business was really born out of casual conversations. We did not have a detailed business plan. We just knew millions of Filipinos own mobile phones but no company explored the potentials of the cell phone as marketing tool.

We started out small. Initially, there were just three of us. We eventually got a financial planner, allowing us to invest millions for the infrastructure that will help us connect with the telecom operators. Our first office was in Shaw Boulevard along polluted EDSA, where rats ran around, and sometimes, vendors came to the office to sell anything from food to paintings.

It took a lot of effort to convince companies and advertisers to try mobile marketing. There was no available data that time to backup the effectiveness of our new medium, so we relied on friends and old contacts who we had good relationships with for our first clients.

Without a doubt starting your own business is more difficult than working in a big company. In my previous job, we had all the money in the world. I was handling popular laundry brands and our budget was substantial – I signed cost estimates and invoices that ran in the millions. That was the biggest adjustment – from a setting where we had all the financial resources to a start-up company where we have to make every peso count.

Here, I had to learn a lot of disciplines. Yes, I was exposed to other disciplines like finance and management, but indirectly. When I started GWC, I had to learn finance, operations, HR, and other processes.

But all these paid off when we got our first big break in 2004. It was a text raffle campaign for a men’s body spray of a multinational, which is considered a competitor of my previous company. A friend informed us about the text-based campaign the firm was planning.

Reaping fruits
Almost all of the text-campaigns of that firm’s brands – from deodorants, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, facial care, to cite a few – was and are still handled by GWC. We also did campaigns for an insurance firm, sports wears, fast foods, baby products, energy drink, mobile firms, liquors, etc. Many of our clients are repeat clients. Some of our present campaigns, like the Gatorade Get Into the NBA Promo is now on its third year, proof that the campaign works and generates significant impact on sales of the brand.

We also did international campaigns, one for a money transferring company, which encourages Filipinos and those in Germany and other parts of Europe to send money to the Philippines. There are plans to do similar campaign in other countries.

Although there were previous attempts at mobile marketing, we can proudly say we implemented the most successful mobile marketing campaigns in the country, particularly in terms of sales generation. We are also proud to say that we are the market leader in mobile marketing. The University of Asia and the Pacific recently shared with us results of a three-year study they conducted that shows we had a market share of approximately 46% in 2004, close to 56% in 2005, and close to 50% in 2006. Our closest competitor’s market share was around 10% in 2006.

Now, we are very positive and excited about GWC. I feel mobile marketing is the next big thing in marketing. Almost half of the population owns a cell phone. Advertisers spend around P130 billion on advertising but only a small fraction of it is spent on mobile advertising despite the fact there are 40 million mobile users in the Philippines.

And the biggest tool to convince advertisers is case studies and research. If we can show them there are campaigns that work, and there is data to back them up, and we have the expertise to help them, I think they will be convinced. Text raffle is just one of the popular executions right now. The bigger idea is to come up with a database of consumers’ profiles to be able to communicate with them on a one-to-one basis, something that cannot be done with traditional media.

TV, radio, and print are backed by decades of research – mobile marketing is a new medium, just almost five-years-old. We are in the process of building researches and campaigns to show the strengths of mobile marketing. We are researching in two prongs. One, we are partnering with universities, exploring with research agencies, and asking them to study our successful campaigns. Second, we formed the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines last November, which aims to sponsor more researches in the field.

Applying lessons
Creating a performance-based environment is one thing I got from my previous job. If you do not perform, you are out. It is very gratifying since from a three-man operation, we now have close to 40 people. We do not treat them as employees. We tell them they are part of the business – if the business is good, they have a corresponding share of the profit. Everyone has a share of the company’s success.

Selecting the right people is also another lesson. We are a very young company by design, with employees averaging 26 years old. We wanted to get people who are young, creative, and ambitious.

Creating superior brands and products is another important lesson. The common pitfall of IT-based businesses is they only focus on the technology aspect and fails to recognize the importance of marketing. I guess that is one of our competitive advantages – we know how to sell and market technology.

And all these make my shift from corporate world to entrepreneurship truly rewarding.

From the May-June 2007 issue of MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.

(Questions? Send email to personal_finance@inquirer.net)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Panicky Friday

I think another month passed me by - and I don't think I did something sensible the past month - or the past months. Well, not about my life in general, but an aspect of it (blogged about it during it's worst month - June).

And how I ended the eighth month?

Woke up bloody. As in, menstrual pains suck. But couldn't be bothered since I had to work. So I gulped medication every eight hours or so.

Rattled my brains in the afternoon. With some investment concepts I have very little understanding. Think though I researched enough, equipped myself well, and didn't look and sound that stupid with my interviewee.

Got frozen in the late afternoon. The office AC is old, but it's like an ice factory because it bursts so cold. Had to cut my transcribing once in a while to rub my hands to warm me a bit. Brr.

Was cranky toward the evening. How can I not go cranky if my prospect subject declined to be interviewed - after weeks of pursuing him/her??? They were informed of the deadline way ahead, and only be bothered NOW to inform us that they can't accommodate us. I mean, I've been in this business for quite some time already and I know such thing happens, but when it happens, I really go nuts.

Another source of crankiness earlier was when I learned that the PR of another subject we're pursuing passed us to another PR. Turned out they're not really representing the subject. I mean, if this is the case, they should have bothered to inform us way ahead that's the arrangement so we could have gotten in touch with the right people. In cases like this, I sometimes feel not all in this business are fit here (I also feel it at times, but I know I'm cut for this - braggart me).

Hunger hit me on my way home. I knew I was hungry already before that afternoon interview but had no time to grab a bite. Only had coffee when I got back to the office. After I finished my transcription past 8pm, my tummy was begging me to feed it something. But I didn't heed since all I wanted was to go home. I only grabbed a hotdog sandwich and gulped a 500ml of mineral water once I arrived at my train destination and finished those as we waited for the FX taxi to leave.

Got pissed off with the guard. The crankiness was still on, so when I'm about to take my train ride, queue to get a prepaid card, and queue again for the ride, I got so pissed off with the guard who insisted I opened widely my shoulder bag. I mean, I opened it before my turn to the line, but he was this - how to put it - either really was doing his job - or was just a show off (there are really guys with arms who are like that).

Thing was, my cloth bag, which contained only papers and book didn't cooperate with the situation. The guard couldn't open it as it got tangled in my right arm. He muttered, to paraphrase, "Pinapahirapan pa kasi ang buhay, eh." Sure I annoyed the hell out of those passengers next to me since I stalled the line. But it's me who got annoyed first with the guard's arrogance - or I was just cranky to take that as an arrogance, if he's just doing his job. As far as I remember I didn't mutter anything, but my stilleto stares were enough for him to finish fumbling at my stuff. Or i failed to consider the heightened security we have here now that's why the "extra" measure they're implementing at vital installations like transport terminals. I still got annoyed though.

And my intuition worked tonight. I had to take a jeep, since I didn't make to the FX terminal on my way home (for my second FX ride, that is). But there's this drunk guy who sat beside me, kept fishing things from his pocket, that I somewhat got nervous.

The panic mode set in and although I'm still quite far from home, I got off at a hospital. I had a bad feeling about that guy. I was a hold-up victim twice so I don't want a third time. It took me quite a while to get another jeep ride that finally took me home. While waiting though, I sang and sang to keep myself amused while still on guard at that.

And though I forgot my guardian angel's name, but I prayed that he/she would protect me - as I said earlier, "Please, let me be home safe. I don't think it's my time now to die or what. I still can do a difference in society, you know?" Yeah, that's how I prayed - and convinced my angel to be with me earlier. And my angel - and the Lord - protected me - as well as those who all they wanted was to go home and be with their loved ones.

Although I had a tiring and panicky Friday, my little brother (actually he's taller than I, but he's our youngest), chatted with me a bit, and made lambing, although I'm really annoyed whenever he messes my hair. But still, that somewhat eased my tiredness.

And to see my mommy and middle brother watching TV (as usual) made me OK - at least I know we're all safe here - and together.

And boyfriend Robin was nice enough to tell me via SMS he's trying to get online but to no avail (since we always try to chat before going to sleep, just to catch up). And that seeing this (drum roll, please) tonight made me smiled so wide. Ha! Well, looks like I influenced him on something huh?

I'm OK - for now - and still has writing to do - but blogging these - and the "little things" that made my panicky Friday to a better Friday will serve as reminder, that no matter what bad happens, there's always something better waiting for us all. And we should still be thankful, even for the little things that made our day.

Thank God it's Friday!