Turn Your 2013 Resolutions Into Summons

Thinking about your New Year’s resolution may be the first thing that challenges you. Setting a goal tries to keep you abreast of your current capability and capacity. Sharing your plans to your friends excites you.

What really happens is that you think and write the resolutions and goals, then forget about them after a month, or maybe earlier. Why? It’s because you have no total control of your environment – that includes your work or school.

When you talk about growth, challenges must be in the front line. To be challenged, you have to change. Change begins when you listen. I’m sure you have heard a lot of advices. Some are positively exaggerated. Some are negatively emotional as if it’s the end of the world. Some will tell you good to hear stories that will motivate you. Some may come from good speakers who never really experienced what they told you.

In case you want to listen to someone who has already done and will do impart the courage to change and what may motivate you to push and pursue, I thought of practical advices you might want to consider for this year. The factors of time and environment are to be considered. But they do not have to be excuses to unintentionally repeat your previous year. Instead, include them as your summons to fulfill.

Don’t plan for the whole year right away.  Plan for the 1st 6 months. Adjust. Then plan for the next 6 months. You thought that when you start working on your goal in January goes along the way up to the end of the year. The battle of the forces will pull you up and push you down. We have made a lot of pitches to clients in the first 2 months. But which of them will push through? What will be awarded and declined? Your strategy in the 1st quarter of the year may need a lot of adjustments because of unexpected directions from your clients and surprised package from your competitors. Expect that you’re not coursing through the same road. The traffic light is not always green and go.

Travel not only once. Try to travel twice.  A week after I welcomed the New Year with our family, I travelled to Australia to watch the Australian Open 2013 live in Melbourne with my Sydney-based friend Reymund Rillera and his family. We took a long drive from Seven Hills, New South Wales to Melbourne.  This trip is the most awesome! With the unforgettable activities, I was surprised it’s never been such an enjoyable trip. Firstly, I didn’t know that it’s more fun to be in the Australian Open than in the NBA All-Star with its side events, beautiful people and the excitement of the audience that’s different from what you see on TV. I have also tried driving a go-kart in the replica of the Phillip Island F1 circuit that accelerated my adrenaline and hit 54.19 seconds in 1 of the 8 laps. I enjoyed walking in the streets of Melbourne, the free tram ride, the galleries, the beer burger, and a lot more. It was also my second time in Sydney. Surfing in Manly beach and people watching will simply make your day win. Sydney is my kind of place. It is where I can also find my collaborative interests and personality.

Change your behavior. Your intellect doesn’t always guarantee an opportunity.  It may give you a confidence to think you have an advantage. But the reality is, social relationship also rules. No matter how good you think you are, what you build inside and outside your workspace speaks about the difference. In these days, it is predictably given that human behavior changes. However, opportunities unpredictably come regardless of your skills and intelligence. And the secret may come from the personal branding you impressed to the relationship you have developed with others.

Be a breadwinner for a year.  Commit to help your parents or your sibling financially. Support a niece or a nephew in schooling. Sharing your blessing gives you more motivation to pray and ask for more. The goal is not supposedly for your own personal fulfillment only. The more you bless, the more you will be blessed. Try it this year and you will see that you are not only making difference about the life of others. You will also feel the difference in yourself in a more generous way.

Be a living testimony.  Prove your haters wrong by being a living testimony. You often read people’s comments about their workmates, schoolmates, best friends and enemies. Some people don’t admit they’re wrong. Some question other people’s progress in life.  Some are pessimistic. Some are being bullied. Haters and critics exist because someone is more beautiful and/or sexier than them. Just do what is right. Influence them instead. Be beautiful…always. Share your testimony. Make them witnesses until they realize that they have to mind their own business.

Brave into a new adventure. What will thrill you will challenge your intrepidity. I am not only talking about doing the outdoor activities like the sky or bungee jump. A little recourse to yourself to do simple but different decisions and actions can help you find a new outlet. When I joined Sector 9 “Push, Don’t Pollute” skateboard race 5 years ago, I had no idea what I got into. I had a sleepless night before the race. But I was plucky to have finished it. Why don’t you try to change the color of your room? Somehow it may open a new idea to brave into a new adventure.

Forget the diet. Get back to your normal routine. Just increase your physical activity, eat the right food, and get more sleep. Is it flagrant to say that nobody can escape from being fat unless you are sick? Oh I just did. Too much reading of health magazines will surely slenderize you because your hard-earned money will only go to your gym fees, beauty clinics, and diet pills.

Join a club or a new group of hobby.  Buying a car these days is not only about functionality. It is also about the buyer’s personality. When I joined the MINI Car Club Philippines last January 2012, my first objective was to meet and to get to know the owners of MINI cars. It has been a wonderful, colorful and MINIngful fellowship with these new friends of all ages. The very memorable fun runs to Sierra Madre and Quezon (and the Tagaytay experience after the MINImazing) have taken me to discover what my car wanted. The S-Mile race in the Subic International Airport runway was such a different experience. Imagine beating BMW M3 twice?

Help a foundation or give to your church.  Share. Be unselfish. Life must not revolve in your own family only. I’m not saying that you stop selling off your baby by posting her or his photos to different social media sites. Your contribution to a foundation will give a meaning to someone else’s life. You may not need to shout it out but The One who blesses you sees you. If you cannot fly for a church mission, send someone to fly for a mission. In the next 25 months, I commit a very little amount to help in our new church building.

Keep yourself a journal.  People are dependent on technology. I have all the mobile devices that I need loaded with mobile apps like Evernote and Cloud. But nothing beats a personal handwriting. I collect leather journals I buy from Barnes and Noble in California. It is where I write my thoughts and crazy imaginations. It serves as a document of both personal and business ideas. Buy an expensive notebook or journal and you will surely buy an expensive pen to write on it.

Why We Need A New Revolution

Many companies like Facebook are results of disruption. But we need a new revolution. It’s not a war that some lawyers, friends and colleagues think the way it is.

Since U.S. President Obama was first elected, he mentioned several times that he wants manufacturing back to the U.S. We all know that the manufacturing industry is dominated by China. Many will think that it is impossible to pull out all those manufacturing-related jobs, move the plants back to the U.S., and quickly rebuild.

Europe and the U.S. are presently not in the impressive economic situation. Asian nations boast about the rapid development in the economy and infrastructure. It’s a matter of race among the nations. The country that swiftly responds will take advantage. It must hopefully get into the right direction to lead not only its citizens but to strengthen its relationship with the other prime movers in the region.

Today, the economic advantages are felt in Asia. Some tweets I have read that they have never seen America as poor as today. Even Wolfgang Grulke says that in 2020, youth unemployment in Europe will go from 17% in Germany to as high as 60% in Spain. Grulke also says that 50% of American college graduates will not have job unless they are engineers. And their only better option is to become entrepreneurs.

Are these the fall short promises of the free trade and globalization? Are we focusing too much on the covenant made by the digital world and the information age? Is disruption the only solution to start and explore new opportunities?

I’ve read the book Disruption by Jean-Marie Dru a few years ago. It was in those times that I was talking to some people who were also interested to hear about it – that disruption began or first happened in the early 90s. It’s nothing new! Only in the late 90s that I learned how the actual disruption occurred – the Silicon Valley way. A good example is the service of Fedex. Regardless of the situation, your item will surely be delivered to you. Its overnight delivery is a revolutionary idea.

The familiar transformation has been observed from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age. Those are the eras of production and reproduction. Name some successful products and brands from these ages. Then came the Information Age. It’s the generation where we talk about bits, the Internet and digital life. It’s the era of incubation. It is the new age of entrepreneurial thinking.

In the last 10 years or so, the Internet changed the way we live and the way we do business. The way to learn something has become technology-dependent. Hence, one-way focused to many, if I may say.

We have been enjoying the convenience of free space or digital transmission.  We’re now in the generation of many options (but not necessarily many opportunities).

I was one of those who evangelized the future of e-business in the late 90s. Then I was slapped with unjustifiable excuses that doing online business would be far from happening. Perhaps it was true to many old school laidback and reactive entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, it’s promising to the new generation of micro entrepreneurs.

Ten years later, some business advices have become myths. The discussion about all companies will become Internet companies has been differentiated to good-to-better and bad-to-worse.

The good-to-better provides this generation the access in the information of individuals, the transparency of human networks, the opportunity mindset, and the infinite disruptive of collaborating using the digital and mobile applications.

The bad-to-worse becomes a question. Are we producing the same physical value as we used to do during the agricultural and industrial ages?

Therefore, we are physically living in a digital world that needs more than good-to-better provision. It must not only be the result of disruption. We need a new revolution.

Revolution to me is when the mainframe computers that used to be available only in telecom and financial companies have metamorphosed to PC desktop of offices and small companies and then landed in every home with smart clones with the available computer kit. The same thing goes with the old transistor radios to electronic AM/FM hobbyist kit that even the primary level kids could assemble. Others include the expensive telex/telegraph to email, telephone to mobile phone, and analog to digital system.

The birth of Indie music is an example of revolution in the 1980s where the bands like Generation X (Billy Idol), Sex Pistols and other punk bands that were recognized to the success of the British or U.K. Invasion in the music industry. The British maverick Richard Branson who believed and supported some of these bands bravely bet to this era.

The 60s vinyl records were made popular by the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to the 80s vinyl having been sold with collaterals or catalogues and to eventually the sensation of music video or MTV which were available in Betamax tapes. The 90s contributed the extended/remixed versions of your favorite songs became popular yet hard to find and could only be heard in discos, bars and selected FM stations. Today, the MP3 has not been clearly replaced yet.

What’s happening now is a process transformation in business distribution, a new dimension of media and advertising, and redefining to sell. It’s an infrastructure or a virtual medium that helps many industries to become service-oriented. The development is inclined too much on the distribution of information and services. The web or mobile apps enterprises operate with the business model of either to sell the data generated or through advertising. 

The promises of the Information Age may be enough to satisfy the need of the people. Startup ideas can easily be noticed, learned and pitched.  It boosts the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Ideas turned startup turned a company is a product of either revolution or disruption. Jobs are available mostly to the advanced minds only.

The Information Age helps us reveal that life can be transparent and get connected. It provides us the courage to shout and face both the reality and virtual world. We learned how to collaborate and share instantly.

But what’s next after the Information Age?

We need a new revolution that will not limit the opportunities to thinking and pitching. It must create new industries, not only new companies. Those who have crafts will be given the hope to do their jobs locally. The grease monkeys will be motivated again to learn anew. Demand for a new cycle that will couple the Information Age applications and principle with the Industrial Age actions. It can be the fusion of the creative digital and personal manufacturing which we can call the personal digital manufacturing or new industrial-physical revolution.

When will the new revolution begin?

It is already happening.

When I see my teenager niece designing and stitching clothes and bags, I can see a revolution that someday many young people in the next generation will design its own clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories and produce them using a 3D printer.

When I learned that bums and housewives have the new passion to bake, I can see a revolution that in the near future, they will be able to design and bake their own cupcakes, cookies and chocolates by encoding the ingredients, color, size and quantity and 3D print them exactly what they want them to be.

What if you hear that a pregnant woman goes for an ultrasound check up and the result can be seen not only on display or print on paper but can also be replicated on 3D as if it’s the real one?

One time in a coffee shop, my business partner and I asked, “what if Foxconn is already using the advanced 3D printer to produce the body of iPhone?” Somehow it is unbelievably in perfect curve. It means that in the future, we can individually print our own mobile phone body and case and assemble it with the mobile phone kit just like the good old days of electronic and computer kits.

In the 90s, our team in Livewire Productions would take much effort to make real 3D figures we call diorama and present the actual model of event stage or exhibit booth to clients. I call it 3D + 1D. 3D for its physical replica to be fabricated and used for an event. 1D for the sing and dance pitch having allowed the audience to use their imagination. I call it, “physics”. Not far from the reality, the event agencies can already 3D print the stage or booth design based on its specifications. Honestly, 3D design on Keynote or Powerpoint is unsatisfactory if the event suppliers cannot produce the requirement with the exact specification.

Hence, the next revolution will promote personal digital manufacturing. It’s a new cycle that will amalgamate the Information Age and the new Industrial Age. It will also promote the digital manufacturing entrepreneurship.

It may be the answer to the manufacturing that President Obama is talking about. It may be the reason why and how the new concept of research and development is found in India where PhDs, engineers and scientists flock or somewhere else that the U.S. will be the first hand recipient of their ideas and breakthroughs. Or why Foxconn will build plants in the East Coast. It is going back to making a product both on a personal capability.

Since the information age teaches us to become creative and designers, it is in the next revolution to turn creativity into productivity. I mean the ability to make palpable products through digital manufacturing.

“We are all designers now”, said by the former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine Chris Anderson who stepped down to run Robotics to act, move and inspire the next generation.

It will be the generation of more action and production.

Social Media At The Right Time: “The Love for Basketball and The Internet Nuptial”

To start off, social media must conceive with a concept…

We watch the UAAP and the NCAA basketball games. We analyze who the strongest team is in the upcoming season. We talk about the players who are coming in and graduating from the leagues as well as the coaches who are in red alert and have to start looking for options. Without having to consider bias with our alma mater and to be fair to everyone, we also praise the team we hate and the player we know who guns everyone but you can’t hate. It’s how we got the idea of putting all the intrigues and facts on the web.

Instead of the politically correct inbounds pass, I registered the domain name inboundpass.com to intentionally rectify the correct term (instead of correcting the wrong). I knew it would feel awkward to basketball analysts or commentators who are used to saying inbounds pass and may feel guilty that it’s grammatically incorrect. Yes it “was”.

Founded in 2005 by Mike Abasolo, Dave Quitoriano and myself, when Seattle’s Best Coffee in Powerplant Rockwell in Makati used to be our favorite place for breakfast meetings, the most controversial online source of college basketball leagues, Inboundpass, has already been doing the viral even before Facebook and Twitter were felt in the Philippines. From recruiting a photographer who just finished college to convincing the credible writers while we were developing the website, we officiated the wedding of the love for basketball and the Internet in 2006.

It did not become so easy even if we keep innovating and conjuring up the website. The content was just as powerful as it resided in the site. We have done the traditional presentations to potential sponsors and the assertiveness of emailing the old way to justify the worth and value to support our beloved.

Inboundpass turned out as an example, a case, and a testimony to other companies who would like to make their own for their products in a different way until social network was recognized.

We thought that the power of the Internet and technology (i.e. optimization, apps) could alone push this idea turned into a product and business. Then the rich content helped evolved by creating other features including Inboundpass TV. Thanks to all the people behind this kind of marriage.

But along the way, a “third party” is sometimes needed to see the differences and fulfill the progress – living happily ever after. It’s how and when the “social media” covets.

Earlier, we started figuring out using social networks in evangelizing. Furthermore, the dependence on technology strengthens the objective. The data we capture and the analytic tools we use may be technical to understand yet very useful.

But here’s the thing when presented the same concept and objective, most of the (old) clients are intimidated with the technical jargons. Some could hardly figure out the result and its effectiveness. They are also afraid of the cost, instead of braving to look at the cause.

Later on, I began researching about the connection that may be missing in the social media process.

Citing Inboundpass (as an example) to be your window or model to start something online that leads to help you comprehend that your passion for sports like basketball or any interests can be coupled with technology, specifically the Internet.

How to connect your enthusiasm with technology is now easy. But how you would like to send the message across the right audience is challenging. Technology and content are not enough.

There has to have a relationship in between. And it happens at the right time.  The time that the social media effort can be effective in any purpose-driven campaign. Just like what happened to Inboundpass where the people behind have been inspired and promoted. Its contents are provided and sometimes, requested. The infographics assist the basketball analysts. And the presence of social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like can be utilized vis-à-vis the advertisers need to cascade their messages – generally, the social media.

To continue, social media must generate contents and reproduce them with a campaign…

Changing The Mindset

Changing the mindset doesn’t necessarily mean changing the culture. It is a way of re-engineering one’s tacit knowledge and steering his explicit knowledge with a specific purpose.

Wanting to change the world is easy to say but overwhelming to think. An urgent call to change the society challenges the people from different walks of life. Resistance to change is often the response.

It is simple to set goals in the years ahead but most of the time it’s ideal. Hence, it’s an obstacle to implement.

It is pleasant to hear about financial savings presentation. What if all your hard-earned savings are needed to an emergency call like when someone in your family gets sick, or you get a high profile disease? Will you blame it to the government of no healthcare and medical insurance systems for its citizens?

What about financial innovation? In business, technological innovation needs a financial management planning. A country backed by strong research and development activities promises a future to its people. Technology must be seen as an investment, not misquoted as an expense. Therefore, spending in these activities is investing for tomorrow’s anticipation.

I again disagree to whoever says that Filipinos can’t save money because they spend too much on gadgets. This is not true. Not every home has a game console. Not all individuals own smartphones. Very few buy apps from iTunes and I will tell you why today’s idea of funding startup groups is not enough. From a CNN article I’ve read, Filipinos care more about the basic needs and shelter, and that’s just fine to understand. But health and security are also equally important. Health maintenance and insurances are supposed to be tackled too. Utility bills soar like an eagle. Bad example, I paid Meralco P17,900.00++ for my electricity from April to May. As compared to my sister’s bill in the U.S. with centralized aircon at $80.00 max, do you think it is still fun?

For some reasons, I sometimes prefer to travel alone. It validates my theories and analysis on how I see things. I look at every chance in a different perspective. I listen to people who have changed from bad to good status in life. I congratulate those who succeed after migrating from their beloved countries.

My blogs are practical for both impractical and practical people. It is based on my experiences. I may discern what will happen next. I may personally envision what will motivate me today. I don’t put a period in the end right away. I corroborate.

Yet, it is easy for many to sermon, to correct, or to condemn someone without imagining themselves in the same state. It is also easy to quote God and use biblical passages to provoke a war with someone popular who thinks otherwise. One time I realized that if all the contestants in the Q&A portion quote God in their answers, they think they will win because the judges and people will look at them as holy, as if they’re offering a “conscience sheet”.

Mindset, as a set of attitudes, is connected to the culture. Culture begins at home, indoctrinated in church, and can be changed by an outside environment.

On my Twitter wall I said that “change the mindset of the youth from being complacent and contented to being action-oriented and hungry for more challenge” after having an intellectual discussion in Afghan House restaurant in Sunnyvale, California with my classmate and friend who is a good family man and a successful engineer at a company in Silicon Valley.

I began validating my theory by asking him the following questions:

  1. How does a mobile apps development company make money?
  2. Why Apple outsources the development of their products to Asia, particularly China? (Surprisingly, the answer I know   is different from his and I thought mine is just a common explanation.).
  3. Where do the geeks hang out in Silicon Valley?

I’m managing a company that’s into web and mobile apps development. My business partners and I exchange opinions about sports, technology trends, and case studies. I infuse social science and my very own version of business analysis. Being the most traveled and more exposed on winter, spring, summer, and fall, I also breathe about the hip and crappy fashion swags and fads. One time, I also raised the question why Filipino food is not included in the Asian Fusion cuisine. It’s an observation from my tour in New York and in Toronto. Later on, my question was answered. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain.

How does a mobile apps development company make money?

In the U.S., the development companies continue to create and innovate their mobile apps to catch up to the demands of the consumers or users. Classic examples are Angry Birds and Temple Run. After passing the maximum level of the trial version, the serious gamers who look for more challenges buy the upgrades. The gamers have the tendency to find out the next stage ahead will begin to quest for difficulties. The challenge to the apps developers is how to continually excite these gamers and apps users. The pressure to the apps gamers leans on buying more upgrades, which I think a $0.99 or more is not a big issue to a typical American. On the other hand, the stress to the developers is that the gamers learn too fast and the developers have to constantly amuse them.

The same thing goes with the Air Hockey on iPhone, which my former classmate is playing. Once you get addicted, you will look for more challenge. Therefore, you buy the upgrade versions. Imagine the Air Hockey is played by 18 to 25 years-old Americans and at least 75 percent of that bracket buy the upgrade versions. To include the older Air Hockey addicts who have more money to buy, the mobile app developer makes money. A certain percentage goes to Apple as a profit share.

What about in a country where people are addicted only to trial versions of different game apps? They just jump from one hyped game to another and maximize the trial version. The gamers of the same age bracket of this country do not spend (or the worst, settled with the trial version) like these Americans or other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea do. Maybe there’s a fear of the dollar sign.

How can you promote startups and produce local web/technopreneurs if the support from consuming online as an example is weak? How many 18-25 y.o. people from the country use credit cards or buy prepaid iTunes cards? The way to build is available and may be close to reality. But the line to progress is indefinite unless the mindset is changed. It will help open up new opportunities, generate innovation tasks, and tag the country to a world of techno-innovation and entrepreneurialism.

Why Apple outsources the development of their products to Asia, particularly China?

I know what everyone will answer when I ask this question. It’s the default answer of “because China labor is cheap”. Again, the absence of steering and re-engineering the mindset differentiates you from smarter rationale.

On the record, Apple needs more than 230,000 workers in a city to work on the iPhone global demand and the U.S. cannot provide the number of workers including the engineers. So, the manufacturing and development are outsourced to Asia, particularly in China.

Off the record, yes the U.S. cannot provide more than the required number of workers because only few are qualified. Probably, there are more technically skilled professionals in Asia who are qualified for such opportunities. And since the quota for migrant workers has been reduced due the government immigration policy, outsourcing the jobs outside is a solution. You’ll see that the demand outside is more than the availability inside. Education is expensive in the U.S. and taking engineering and science courses also require more time and dedication.

Many times I say that some of the most in-demand jobs in the present did not exist ten or fifteen years ago. If we are aware of the society behavior, business and technology trends, we can help change the mindset of the youth today. They may be taking up courses that will possibly become obsolete in a decade. Whoever will hold responsible of the uncertain future despite the available opportunities, must change their mindset. Many talk too much. Some preach the impractical and unrealistic encouragement. Sugar-coated stories do not reveal breakthroughs. The society needs more action-oriented leaders who believe in raising the standard of lives. The timeline to change the mindset may begin when you move forward while looking from the outside.

And where do the geeks hang out in Silicon Valley?

Of course, not in basketball courts. They hangout in coffee shops, bars and movie houses.

So What Happened?

It’s nothing more amazing than meeting and talking to other people, listening to their opinions and different views, figuring out what’s important to them, and envisaging the dreams they share. Regardless if they’re telling the truth or not, the consequences happen when actions are pursued. Nevertheless, it’s still entertaining!
 
It depends on how you interpret the stories. Sometimes you don’t care about how the narratives start. You just ask, “so what happened”? The good thing about life is the mystery that even if you’re being transparent to others, people still remain oblivious. And what you hold on to for a time is what people would like to steal to know.
 
Being quiet or loud, I think they are the same in different senses. People will still talk about you anyway. How to conquer the situation will help you become more mature in answering your questions why they are like that and not like this. It boils down to the personality and culture. It depends on how you’re brought up, who you grew up with, where you come from and what you believe in. Evidently, the environment where you are at the moment may mold you in certain ways, or otherwise. 
 
As you grow, you become an expert of your hobbies. Some will become part of your system. And as long as you’re able, you’re gonna get into new interests like sports, fashion, gadgets, cars, and other showbiz lifestyle. Those things that you couldn’t afford when you’re still young may change the way you live. 
 
You’re now looking forward. It only depends on how fast you can accelerate. Continue to become a better you. But don’t always assume that you know everything. Seek, ask, rationalize, and decide.
 
Reading the minds of other people is not as easy as reading the books of your favorite author. Don’t feel bad when a friend doesn’t follow what you say. Sometimes he or she doesn’t need your advice. Don’t condemn when that person fails. Instead, make him or her feel that you’re still around. Who knows, he or she might want you to listen otherwise this time.
 
Moving on, the faculty to subvert the character is real. But the integrity weighs more when you know who is in control. Leave it up in the air. Assess yourself. The music will voluntarily balance the harmony. Hold on to His greatness. He will surely bless you. Instead of getting into a conflict, be a good testimony. If people fight you with words and sticks, fight back with strong spirit. The silence of good attitude can reverse the situation. Do it not for yourself. Fulfill it because you’re pleasing Him more than pleasing others. What about the entertaining side? You will hear the familiar stories all over again as you meet and listen to other people, anyway. 
 
Life is amazing! Is it?
 

Started the Year Right with Fun

Started the year right with Prayer and Fasting (“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5). I honestly say that I asked God’s provision for the year ahead. I primarily prayed for the continued guidance of our businesses, excellence in health, and wonderful relationships.

In as early as the 1st week of January, the event industry has been exciting and generous. Our digital projects are promising to step up to the next level — we expand into developing mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

I joined the MINI Car Club Philippines and met the cool and interesting members. It’s really fun and I’m proud to be a member of this elite club. I attended the EB in Gram’s Diner in Fort Bonifacio. Then, for the first time, I joined the Fun Run. I didn’t expect the run to Sierra Madre would be an adventure test, especially to Miaki (that’s my MINI’s name). MINI Cooper cars like the curves. I think I was driving at 80 kph from Sierra Madre down the curves to the town. I’m looking forward to more action in the succeeding months. But I’m more interested in to having more fellowship with the members. Hope to get to know all of them.

Sharing my blessing. The feeling of treating my parents to an out-of-the-country weekend is incomparable. This time we’re more joyful to have traveled with my nieces and nephew. My nephew Ram and Yannah asked me for a very unique Christmas gift — a passport. Wait, it’s a very unusual Christmas request by 12 year-old kids. Together with my two other nieces, Izella and Yovel (their 2nd time in Hong Kong), we stayed for 3 days and 2 nights in Disney Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong. It’s their first winter experience and they were not prepared. Funny, we’re not even in Toronto or in North America and they would wear at least 3 shirts to keep themselves warm.

We met my brother King and his family in Hong Kong Disneyland. I can’t forget King’s youngest, Noelle, calling Goofie ” Hi, Goof” during the photo op. You know the feeling when you see your parents happy. In 2001, they wished their grandchildren would go with them when we visited Disneyland California. This year, their wish came true when they altogether took the “Small World” ride, which is my mother’s favorite.

This year’s San Beda Alumni Basketball League is unforgettable. We just wanted to play. No expectation. Ex-PBA and coach Dindo Pumaren didn’t play because of a more important priority. Ex-PBA, coach and Councilor Gerry Esplana missed the earlier games in the elimination due to injury. With 6 to 8 players from our batch including one of our best varsity players during our time, Mark Mañosca, we came in unprepared. And we thought that’s a miracle if could win. With no legitimate center on the bench, we were like the David in the group. The Jeremy Linsanity trend has reached the league and the opponents never had an idea that the best thing had yet to come. We, as individuals, gave our best. Our batch familiarity and consistency have become more significant in every game. I believe it is what made us win again. It’s a REDemption to our team. Our fifth championship (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2012) since the inception of the alumni basketball league.

Thanks to Kenneth Ang for the support, to Gerry and Mark for sharing the love and passion to play, to Joey Pontejos and Jon Gonzales for playing hard and dedication, to Jem Jerusalem for broadcasting the news to our Facebook group and to his magic basketball why I made 100 pct in the championship game, to Boyet Marcelo’s hidden defensive strategy, Rubyn Cura and Mike Abasolo for making time to complete and helped the team win, and to Chris Conwi for Magnum ice cream (the secret reason why we won) and for requesting his daughter RX93.1 junior jock to congratulate the team and greet me on air as “Fireman” (that’s embarrassing, I think). By the way, it was Gerry Esplana who gave me the monicker, “Fireman”.

Roadmap for 2012: Personal Branding and The S-Curve of Life

For those who are lurkers, artists (and feeling artists), creative (and feeling creative), new startup founders, service providers, crazy ones, rockstars (and wannabe rockstars), confused, lazy to set personal goals, hate new year’s resolutions, rich and not famous, cool professors, afraid to start a new beginning, newly grads, about to get married but no job yet, and stalkers, this roadmap is blogged especially for you.

I have yet to share some of the best things happened to me in 2011. My yearend blog doesn’t say about them. It’s more about a mix of appreciation and gratitude despite a very few uninspired stupefaction.

You might have read my 2010 yearend blog,“Get Wired. Leapfrog. Discard The Crap. Make It Happen in 2011”. And I commend that “it did happen” in 2011. You may end up with the same intuition I had 2 years ago. It may answer some of the questions in your today’s business or personal life.

When I finished reading the book Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki, I was surprised it says about what I uniquely encountered and how I managed to handle the different eccentricities last year. My tweet says, if you’re an entrepreneur, you should start reading the last chapters. Then, go read the beginning afterwards. Through here I confirmed that I made positive decisions in the previous year.

The first thing I did on the very first day of 2012 is to attend the Sunday worship service. As I listened about the meaning of the word “blessed” being preached with its “what”, “how” and “who”, it teaches on how to set a boundary between you and a situation. Thus, you can enchant even if you don’t compromise if you really know the state of happiness and its Source.

I spoke to 3 different people in the last 2 weeks. I never asked about their insight on what will take ahead to different classes of people (particularly Filipinos) as far as the real estate market is concerned. Incidentally, 2 people said almost the same thing that it is easier to sell a property to a low-budget buyer and a high-end prospect, and it’s difficult to sell to the middle-class market. The low-end buyer will settle for what they can afford to immediately own one. The high-end will look for more sophistication of which not all of the developers can provide. But once delighted, convincing them to buy is not a problem. The middle-class will contemplate and usually ends up buying nothing or indecisive. The 3rd person, if I may link, says the poor will become poorer and the rich will become richer. In a nutshell, it explains that the middle class will either advance or regress. Then everything connects to what I wanted to blog and share on this topic.

Looking ahead and ask how will you position yourself in 2012? How did you prepare yourself in 2011 so you can catch up in the coming years?

Since we live in this world with many options, it’s both easy and difficult to start, to manage, and to sustain what you’re into. You will need to figure out how to keep that same discipline that must apply to you. More importantly is how you compose and introduce yourself to the public. Regardless if you’re introvert or extrovert, it doesn’t matter. Make up how you want to be labeled. It plays an essential role in your life.

What I am sharing is not about how to make New Year’s resolutions (I don’t really advise you doing it). Neither it is setting up goals for the year since not all of us are in the same status in life. I may have different views in this. What I would like to impart is a roadmap that will guide you either prepare or change for the better you.

If you haven’t started doing it in the last quarter of the previous year, you better start thinking. Begin asking yourself how would you like to be labeled as what? How will you impress others without releasing false advertising? How will you hold on to succeed without deceiving?

Know Personal Branding

If you’re a sound and lights/technical supplier,
• Dress accordingly most especially during the post mortem meeting with corporate clients. It shows respect. Impress your clients that you’re a professional even if you work in a technical-oriented environment. Make yourself different from your crew. Speak comprehensibly. Don’t talk too much technical. Not everyone can understand you. Not all people are tech-savvy.

If you’re a restaurant/bar/club owner,
• Announce it. Make noise about the latest in your menu. Twit about your chef’s best and highly recommended entrees. Do what Ivan Zalameda of Draft and Opus does like posting on his Twitter their opulent dishes. It makes his followers crave, come and dine-in. Anyone can hire the same good DJs but not all can serve the best and sumptuous food.

If you work in a PR company,
• It’s not yet too late to create a Twitter account and utilize it. Since I joined Twitter on March 26, 2007 (check whendidyoujointwitter.com), I haven’t seen it as powerful as it was last year. Different smartphone brands like HTC, Netphone 701, Nokia N9, iPhone 4S, etc. with client Smart Communications have successfully exploited Twitter advantages. I want to give credit to Jon Herrera (a.k.a. Johnny Verse) for this.

If you’re an IT/Web company owner or professional,
• Be articulate. You don’t need to prove that you’re a geek. It says already through the nature of your job or by looking at your business card. Connect more to the real world. The most innovative company knows what the consumers want and I guess you also desire to own an iPad, iPhone or a MacBook Air.
• Dress and act like a real entrepreneur, if you’re one. At the end of the day, it’s all about a business impression. It’s not just about your skills. It’s more about the personal representation. What you represent will also mirror your company’s culture. Remember that when Steve Jobs was on stage and talked, it personified the whole Apple environment.

If you’re an educator,
• Don’t be too stiff. Try to be cool at once (at least in the undergraduate schools). Mingle. Experience parties and events just to see what’s in the outside world. Be a savoir faire. Use social media to share your knowledge. Your Linkedin account should say something about the real you. Listen to business people, practitioners, and industrialists. Try to talk to a member of a rock band and you can pick up some creative ideas. If you need a second opinion, ask Paul Pajo (a.k.a. Pageman). And if you don’t agree with me, don’t be prejudiced. Sometimes you have to listen to stupid ideas. It’s called Dopeler effect, that is the propensity of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they swiftly come at you.

If you’re a creative professional,
• Don’t announce that you’re burned out with your job. Your colleagues and co-workers probably know about it already.
• Reinvent. Be more creative. Go out of your personal cubicle. You bring ideas out-of-the box and integrate them to what is given. Most of the time you just copy. And you won’t admit it. But please refresh your mind and be open-minded. Don’t settle with the existing system that doesn’t work. Outgrow what you believe in if you’re not helping the company financially. You may listen to other people’s ideas but give them the credit.

Learn The S-Curve

I guess 10 years is not yet too late to commend and thank my professors in University of the Philippines Technology Management Center especially Edison Cruz, Dr. Serafin Talisayon, Dr. Jose Magpantay, and Dra. Elvira Zamora (who was seemed surprised when I came up on stage to receive my award/certificate as a University Scholar). All of them shared the best from different disciplines to course us to a degree in Master of Technology Management (MTM). It’s where I assimilated the various applications of The S-Curve.

Let me educate you first about The S-Curve and why it can also be applied in our lives.

Learning The S-Curve Cycle is simple. By looking at the figure, you will already think that technology life cycle is easy to understand. The question is despite considering the S-Curve, why many companies still fail? Why not all products succeed? The S-Curve doesn’t only apply to technology. It may also apply to your business and career. Try using it in your own personal planning. It will absolutely work.

When I was managing Livewire Productions and Sonorous Professional Sound and Lights in the late 90s, I thought I needed to go to a graduate school but in 2 conditions. First condition, MBA is very common. Thus, it’s not absolutely my choice. Financial analysis turns into financial paralysis when you deal with delinquent accounts even though you’re loaded with MBA financial theories. I wanted a course that will connect technology to business and vice-versa. Second condition, University of the Philippines-Diliman is my only choice next to Stanford University.

Bingo! I found a course that tackles the integration of business and technology. It’s where I learned the importance of social science and helped me boggled my mind with technology forecasting and assessment. Product development and marketing are parts of one of my favorite subjects, Managing Product and Process Innovation. I learned the Financial Management in a smart way. I became more interested in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto Research Center, and Wall Street.

After 10 years since I studied about the connection of social to business and technology from MTM, Steve Jobs confirmed what I learned when he said, “Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing”. It also confirmed that I haven’t gone wrong with the graduate course I took up and finished.

Technology is not just a hardware or software as many thought. Technology is a discipline or principle. It’s like embracing a Zen inspiration. It doesn’t really speak about technical matters. It’s more about business and innovation regardless of the type of industry.

Without the knowledge of The S-Curve yet, the call to give birth to a new cycle is needed. The same knowledge, typical experience and common business problems won’t help you grow enough without profoundly comprehending and acting upon them. In other words, the maturity stage will come. And you need to reinvent to form a new cycle.

Nokia started as a pulp and paper company. Launched the first fancy mobile phones. Once a global leader in the mobile industry that enjoyed the long period of growth and maturity, Nokia might have not anticipated the coming of smartphones. Nokia didn’t immediately reinvent and innovate until it taps the obsolescence stage. It has been outstripped by iPhone, Blackberry and Android-powered phones.

There is a time that you will feel so relax that you wouldn’t want to get out of your comfort zone. Everything is just ok. Money may not be a problem. Business is doing just fine. You settle with your bosses’ complacency in your job. There is also a time that you will feel you have to work harder because of financial needs. Your career may be disoriented. Perhaps you’re a victim of a scam.

Either you bootstrap a new group, start a new career, managing a business along the way, finding yourself lost in a world of reality, getting burned out, or too excited about your new passion, it’s just a repetitive cycle of inventing and reinventing.

Try to imagine yourself as a company and that your knowledge and skills as your product. Exercise and make them grow. Before the maturity comes, observe your surroundings. The competition will never disappear so always be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the opportunities that will come to you. Before the maturity stage, you should already be thinking of what and where to invest next. Last year, I personally positioned myself in what I believe a very good investment. It will measure and determine the favor in the next 4 years. I’m considering it as the beginning of my next S-Curve. Do not let yourself reach the obsolescence stage (maybe a personal synonym of burn-out, stressed, retirement, useless, e.g.) in your life.

Twelve months of 2012 is too short for this cycle. But at least you already have a roadmap. You may be in between those stages (infancy, growth, maturity, and obsolescence). You may be just starting up. But the chance to repeat another cycle in your life, career, and business is already given. Understand which stage you are in the curve. Excite yourself! If you think or feel you’re already in the maturity-obsolescence period, reinvent yourself to create a new life cycle.