September 30, 2014


So my son loves watching toy reviews, and in particular, loves watching toy reviews done by Evan. Apparently, Evan's channel on YouTube, EvanTUBEHD is so popular that he earns $1.3 million a year! He's eight years old folks.

This is pretty amazing. A great mix of fantastic content, lovable personality, great timing and quite frankly, a very sharp business sense.

User generated content has been around for quite some time now and Evan has found the perfect niche. Who knew kids loved to watch toy reviews right? This is a behavior that certainly didn't exist when I was a kid. But it's great to see Evan (and most likely his parents) identify this new behavior and be able to capitalize on it.

September 28, 2014

Smartphone Use During Meetings

An article from Dr Travis Bradberry which was posted on LinkedIn was shared with me in which he talks about "why successful never bring smartphones into meetings".

I must say, I couldn't agree more with the points he makes. As much as possible, I try to refrain from checking my mobile phone and using my laptop (or tablet) when I am in a meeting. I actually learned this the hard way earlier in my career when I was called out by the Managing Director of the company to stop using my phone while he was speaking. Yikes!

September 23, 2014

Come Visit the Philippines

The Philippines is indeed a very beautiful country.

Manila Traffic

Much has been said about how bad the traffic situation is in Manila. Having first hand experience myself, I can say that it gets pretty frustrating.

Being stuck in traffic is not only a waste of natural resources (think of all the fossil fuels being burned and the air pollution being created) but also a waste of human resources. So many productive workers waste so much time each and every day commuting to and from work. The problem is very real and it will not go away anytime soon. There is a very really and urgent need to come up with a concrete plan of action (short-term, medium-term and long-term) and the backbone and political clout to implement this plan of action properly.

September 21, 2014

Back to (Virtual) School

Over the weekend, the first official classes for the third period of my Global MBA at IE Business School kicked off. I often get asked how it is to take a distance-learning/blended/online format.

Here are my thoughts on this unique and innovative format:
1. It requires a lot of self discipline. In a face-to-face format, the professor is in front of you and can easily see you doze off or chat with your peers. In our video conferences, we're at home and cannot be seen by the professor unless we are asked to turn on our video. The same self discipline is required when studying and doing the required school work. Most of my classmates (myself included) are still employed full time so we need to squeeze in the studying at night and during the weekends.

September 19, 2014

Changes to Facebook's News Feed Once Again

Latest news from Facebook's newsroom is that the mysterious algorithm that determines what we see on our news feed is being adjusted once again to show more timely stories from friends and pages.

Unlike other social networking sites like Twitter and Instagram, Facebook's news feed algorithm has always been a mystery to casual users and business users. While Twitter and Instagram follow a purely time-based algorithm, you see what has been most recently posted, Facebook's vast database of users and the vast amount of information they share on the platform doesn't make it that simple for arguably the world's most popular social network.

September 17, 2014

GIW Shanghai: Stepping Stones

Probably the most enriching experience of the Global Immersion Week in Shanghai was the NGO experience with Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones ( is an NGO that goes to migrant schools to teach children English.

Our students doing their pre-class eye exercises

September 16, 2014

Travelling to China

Photo taken during our trip to Guilin in 2011
While it was not my first time to travel to China, it was for several of my IE Business School colleagues and classmates. Below are some tips for first-time travelers to China:

  • Visa - for citizens of most countries, travel to China will require a visa. The requirements to apply for a visa actually vary from country to country. For example, for Filipinos who are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you will be required to submit an NBI clearance. Some more information on this can be found here.
  • Language - Unlike in Hong Kong, regular people in China (even in Shanghai) will speak very little English. Almost 100% of taxi drivers will not speak English. They will also not recognize or be able to read our characters (just as we are unable to read their's). In most instances, it is good to have key addresses written down in Chinese (like your hotel address) and to have the hotel concierge write down the address of your destination to be shown to the cab. If possible, also have the hotel staff speak to the driver before hand in case the driver needs to be given some directions.

September 15, 2014

GIW Shanghai: Company Visits

A major part of the Global Immersion Week are the scheduled company visits. I know that every GIW is slightly different, and for our trip we went to visit three kinds of companies.

Our first visit was to the Nokia factory in Shanghai. It was interesting to see how a Western company operates in China and how the plant fits into the new strategy and identity that Nokia has taken. As many people know, Nokia the consumer mobile handset company has been sold to Microsoft. Nokia now exists mainly as a producer of network systems and deals with corporate entities like mobile networks instead of end consumers like you and I.

September 14, 2014

Global Immersion Week: Shanghai

I just spent the past 8 days in Shanghai attending IE Business School's Global Immersion Week. The program is an optional part of the Global Management module I'm scheduled to participate in to wrap up the last third of my MBA program and I must say that the experience was well worth the price of admission.

September 4, 2014

What's Next for Gilas?

Photo from

Now that the FIBA World Cup journey has ended for Gilas, I am curious to see what happens next for the Philippine national men's basketball program. Going into the tournament, it was clear that the goal was to play competitive basketball against higher ranked teams (check!) and to win at least one game (check again!). Thus, it can be concluded that this was a successful outing for the national team and the men's basketball program.

If there were still any doubters, I think it can now safety be said that we have one of the strongest teams in Asia. Looking at the three teams from Asia that qualified for the tournament, we can say that we outperformed both Korea and Iran. Korea went win-less while Iran lost by an average margin on 19.25 points compared with Philippines loss margin of just 5.75 points. Iran also scored on average just 68.8 points while allowing opponents to score 81.2 points compared with Philippines which scored 76.7 points while allowing 80.8 points. Of course Philippines, Iran and Korea each faced a different set of opponents, so a direct comparison of just pure averages should be taken with a grain of salt.

W-ORD Channel 7 News With John Oliver & Cookie Monster

John Oliver + Cookie Monster. Need I say more? This is too funny. I would not mind watching this with my kids if it were a real show.

September 3, 2014

How Secure is the Cloud?

The recent attack on celebrity iCloud accounts has brought to the forefront the on-going debate on security of storing data online. According to the Apple's press release (link here), the attack was a "very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions" and not a particular breach of security of Apple's iCloud platform.

This type of very high profile security breach does not help build the case for companies and individuals to shift more of their own data from onsite servers and hard drives to the cloud and offsite servers. 

Many companies have started this shift using platforms such as Google Drive or Drop Box. Sometimes the cost savings generated are just too great that companies are willing to overlook the apparent risks involved. For smaller companies, the security provided by third party providers might even be better than the security they currently have. Also, as more companies become more global and look to be able to shift information quickly across teams, working and storing data on the cloud is very important.

September 1, 2014

Philippines the Tech Tiger?

I found an article from BBC with commentary on whether the Philippines can become Asia's "next tech tiger". It's dated May 30 so it's been some time since it was written and I'm surprised that such a positive article did not get more exposure on social media. We all know how we love to share news and commentary (whether positive or negative for that matter) written by foreign news outlets.

Link here to the original article from BBC

It's a shame that not more people are aware of the developing tech start-up scene in the Philippines. I myself only had my eyes open when I attended a IE Business School Masterclass held in Manila a few weeks back. The speaker, Liz Fleming, who is the associate director of the IE Venture Lab, spoke positively about how she was surprised to find a healthy start-up scene in Manila.