December 8, 2015

Star Wars Fever

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that a new Star Wars movies comes out on December 18.

I'm a big Star Wars fan and look forward to watching this latest installment in a few days. Aside from just the box office revenues, the Star Wars franchise has become a HUGE money making machine.


Just the other night, I was in the mall and noticed at least three separate retailers selling Star Wars themed clothes.

November 13, 2015

Valuating Startups

I read news today that Fidelity Investments has marked down the prices of some of the startups it has invested in earlier in the year. Among the big tech unicorns affected were Snapchat, which was priced down by 25%, and Zenefits, which was marked down by 48%. Other companies affected were Blue Bottle Coffee Co., Dataminr, and NJoy.

Table taken from
Valuating private companies is always a tricky proposition. There is no single clear cut way to do it. We were taught in our MBA to look at future cash flows and while that method is normally sound and logical, it rarely does justice to startups who may have very poor cash flow (and no profit) for several years. The lack of sound financial numbers led to the first tech bubble in the 1990's where investor euphoria for anything "internet" led to some crazy valuations.

October 23, 2015

AlDub's Big Moment

If you think AlDub can't get any bigger than they are now you are probably wrong.

Photo credit:

October 15, 2015

Playing the stock market

Photo credit:

It's been a rough few weeks and months for those who like to "play" the stock market. With the volatility in China affecting most of the major markets, it's a good time to discuss some of the basic questions that everyday folks might have.

Question 1: When is it time to sell?

This is a question that in my opinion has no right or wrong answer. The answer basically boils down to your strategy as an investor. The stock market works in such a way that gains and losses are not realized until you give the order to sell. This is called "paper profit" or "paper loss". 

September 29, 2015

The Farm at San Benito

Spent the past weekend at The Farm at San Benito and I am writing here to share our experience. It was our first time to visit so we didn't quite know what to expect. 


The drive up was easy enough via SLEX and Star Tollway. The Farm was about 30 mins from Lipa City. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived how beautiful the grounds of the resort were. The resort itself it tucked away behind some local farms and is situated in what appeared to be a small patch of jungle. Not to worry though, the road to the resort had visible signs to point the way.

Beautifully manicured grounds of The Farm

September 22, 2015

Some Questions After Watching Heneral Luna

I was able to watch Heneral Luna last week and I have had some questions in my mind that I hope some people can help me answer:

September 10, 2015

Instagram, now fully monetized!

An announcement was made on the blog of Instagram yesterday and the post was titled "Instagram: Open to Businesses of All Sizes, Everywhere".

Key points to note in case you don't want to read through the whole post:

Advertising can now be done in a self serve manner.

Similar to Facebook and Google, small businesses can now book directly on the platform. This opens up opportunities for the thousands of small businesses who already use Instagram to gain a wider audience and increase awareness and subsequently sales. It also makes it easier for Instagram to earn revenue from these small businesses.

August 18, 2015

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

Over the weekend, I finished reading the book "The Innovators" by Walter Isaacson. I thought it was an informative and inspiring read. 

The book starts with the story of Ada, Countess of Lovelace and ends with the author's reflections on how her vision has become reality some 150 years later. 

August 10, 2015

Google and Berkshire Hathaway in the news

Two major pieces of news greeted me as I woke up this morning:

  1. Google will restructure and launch a new holding company called Alphabet.
  2. Berkshire Hathaway has acquired Precision, a company that makes aircraft parts for $32.3 billion.
I have long admired both companies as they have very clear game plans which they execute almost flawlessly.

August 5, 2015

Chuck Taylor All Star II has landed

Last week, Converse announced that they are releasing an update to the iconic Chuck Taylor All Star shoe. It's the first update for the shoe in 98 years!

July 27, 2015

Little Sister Steals Toy Review Spotlight

The kids and I did something fun over the weekend. We bought a Star Wars Angry Birds playset that was on sale and filmed it's unboxing. The kids had fun opening the toys while I got to learn a new skill: basic video editing! Check out the video above and let me know what you think in the comments.

July 24, 2015

Amazon is now the largest US retailer

Amazon is now the largest US retailer by market capitalization.  Let's take a moment for that to sink in. Amazon is now more valuable as a company than Walmart. I have written in the past about Amazon (here and here) and I continue to find this company amazing. I think there is great merit in studying and learning from a company that truly knows what it is, where it wants to go and is not afraid to do what it takes to get there, outsiders and shareholders be damned.

July 13, 2015

Business lessons from the DeAndre Jordan debacle

Most NBA fans already know of the flip-flopping drama that happened with the L.A. Clipper's star player DeAndre Jordan. There are plenty of rumors going around the internet about the details of the fateful night which I will not go into here. Instead I will focus some business lesson we can learn from this debacle.

July 6, 2015

Facial Recognition Security Feature

Good news for people who love taking selfies! MasterCard is now testing technology that will allow facial verification for online purchases.

June 27, 2015

Robot cars!


It's in the news that two robot cars had a chance meeting on the road in the US. A while back, my IE group mates and I thought that the topic of robot cars, specifically Google Cars, would make a great final paper for our Business Government and Society class.

Many cars manufacturers have been incorporating computers into our cars for some time now. From computers that track fuel efficiency and temperature to those that can now self-park your car. Many people think that it is this type of incremental innovation that will eventually be the future of robot cars.

June 16, 2015

P&G continues to divest

P&G continues it's strategy to divest slower growth portions of its portfolio with the announcement that Coty has submitted the highest bid for part of P&G's beauty portfolio.

The deal will still have to be finalized but the assets will be spun off into a new company, with P&G still owning some portion of the new company to lessen the tax bill for P&G.

June 8, 2015

Last Day of Summer

And because today is officially the last day of summer for my little boy, this video seems appropriate for the occasion. They have been plugging this special Phineas and Ferb episode on Disney Channel for a few days now and it has been announced that the show is officially ending.

June 3, 2015

Interesting News This Week

As I have been missing in action for two weeks, instead of focusing on just one topic, I have listed below some things that have caught my attention the past few days:

1. FIFA's latest scandal
Somehow FIFA continues to let down millions of football fans by being corrupt and selfish. Good news is that Mr. Blatter has just resigned. Millions of people got their Christmas present early this year. The video by John Oliver above is a must watch in my opinion. This John Oliver guy is funny.

May 19, 2015

Cost Per Hour Pricing Has Arrived

For us in advertising who are used to doing digital plans, two of the most common and overused metrics we look at are impressions and clicks. Many advertisers, to this day, for better or for worse, use these two metrics as key indicators of performance by looking at the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC) as ways to measure the cost efficiency of a particular campaign.

What Other Advertisers Look For

More sophisticated advertisers had graduated beyond these two metrics a while back and started to look for instead for quality over quantity. How exactly does one measure quality you ask? In the digital space, one thing we can look at is the time spent on site after the initial click through. The reason is fairly simple, the more time an individual spends on a particular site is assumed to be indicative of the individuals interest level and as such labeled as a higher quality impression and click. 

May 18, 2015

Dinosaur Juice

Inspired by the Peppa Pig episode where they visit a supermarket and talk about fruit (season 4, episode 45), the kids and I decided to try and replicate the so called "dinosaur juice" that George loved.

May 7, 2015

My thoughts on "Business Adventures"

I finished reading the book "Business Adventures" by John Brooks over the weekend. I found out about this book because it was on Bill Gates' list of his favorite books and incidentally he found out about the book from Warren Buffett which added points in my mind.

Being a big fan of Warren Buffett, I was intrigued immediately and looked for the book in Manila. Unable to find it in local bookstores, I took the opportunity of a family trip to Singapore as a chance to acquire the book there. I was lucky enough to find it but parked it on my reading list until I had more time.

May 3, 2015

SportiKid soft launch

I'm happy to share that we are starting a new business venture. We officially launch in June 2015, but at the moment we are in pre-selling phase and offering 10% discount on any pre-orders made from May 3-15, 2015.

You can check out the Facebook page or the website for more information.  

April 29, 2015

Mayweather-Pacquaio is finally here!

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao with their respective trainers, Floyd Sr and Freddie Roach

I'm already excited to watch the fight! A group of friends and I are watching the fight together as his place. I'm not really a boxing expert, but I am a keen follower of history. And I think this fight, with all the hype and buildup over the years, can be classified as a historic sporting event. Two great hall of fame athletes, battling it out in the ring, a winner take all affair.

April 22, 2015

Facebook news feed: friends over pages

Simplified explanation of Facebook's algorithm by Tech Crunch

Latest news from Tech Crunch talks about how Facebook is changing the configuration of its news feed to prioritize your friends over branded pages. Probably not the best news for brands and branded Facebook pages but completely welcome news for users.

April 16, 2015

Summer Art Classes

My Mom has been teaching art for as long as I can remember. She's one of the most talented people I know. She has regularly conducted art classes at our home to friends and family and every summer she holds classes for kids who are looking to learn how to paint or kids who want to continue to develop their talent and skill.

Summer classes at The Sweet Studio for your kids

I'm happy to share that we will be having special summer classes at The Sweet Studio for kids aged 5-12 years old! My talented sister will be happy to help your children learn the basics of cake pop art, cookie art and cupcake art.

April 14, 2015

The Dabbawalas are in the news!

One very popular case study that I encountered during my MBA studies was that of Mumbai's Dabbawalas ( Over the weekend, news came out on The Financial Times (link here to the article) that Flipkart ( is joining forces with the Dabbawalas to utilize the very impressive and efficient Dabbawala distribution network to distribute packages.

I recall that we studied the Dabbawalas in the following classes: Strategy Implementation, Innovation and Project Management and of course in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management. I don't recall that we had any other case that was discussed as extensively across three different subjects. It goes to show how impressive the accomplishments of the Dabbawallas are in Mumbai.

April 11, 2015

Continuous Professional Learning

News of LinkedIn's $1.5B acquisition of has put a spotlight on professional education and continuous learning. Having just completed my MBA, one of the most comprehensive and most expensive forms of professional education and continuous learning, this is a topic that I have a few thoughts on.

1. I will argue that employees with the most potential will always be hungry to learn more. As a manager, I will shy away from hiring someone who doesn't show a willingness to learn and grow. I am a firm believer that as people grow, the firm grows too.

April 5, 2015

Athens Welcome Pickups

Before traveling to Athens, we looked around for an easy, affordable and convenient way to get from the Athens airport to our hotel in the city center. We found a new type of ride sharing company called Welcome Pickups ( and decided to give them a try. The difference from other ride sharing or taxi booking companies like Uber is that they have some additional services catered specifically to tourists.

    Screenshot of the email summary, with details blurred out

April 2, 2015

Amazon Dash Button

Last April 1, Amazon announced the release of it's latest product called the Amazon Dash button. You can find more information about it here on Amazon's own website. Amazon has essentially taken a big step towards making the "Internet of Things" a reality for many households. It is going to be open to Amazon Prime members and the Dash button will link directly to the member's account via wifi. A simple push of the button will trigger a re-order of the said product.

Below are some of my initial thoughts:
  • Amazon continues to look for new ways to expand its business and continues to show that it is not afraid to try something new or innovative. Even the way the product was launched was innovative. I read a great article here by Ad Week talking about how the launch on April Fool's Day added to hype as people did not know whether to take it seriously or whether it was a joke.

March 27, 2015

Day Trips From Paris

We spent seven days in Paris, enough time to find our way outside of the city to see some of the nearby areas. We managed to visit two Chateau's close by, the very popular one in Versailles, and the less visited one in Fontainebleau.

I am sharing below our experience. Hopefully, you find it helpful and are able to pick up some tips.


We visited Versailles on a Friday, trying to see the Chateau before the weekend crowd arrived and were disappointed to find out that this place is actually almost always filled with visitors. It is filled with visitors for good reason of course: it is beautiful, it is historic and it is an easy commute from Paris.

The commute to Versailles is very simple as it is connected to the RER metro train line. We just purchased our tickets from the ticket window of the nearest Metro station and found our way to the RER line via a series of transfers. To give you an idea of how convenient it is to visit here, the RER line also stops at the heart of the city such as a stop at the Eiffel Tower.

This beautiful site will greet you upon your arrival at the Chateau

March 22, 2015

In Memory of A Friend: Javier Camelo

Last Wednesday, we received the unfortunate news that one of the victims of the terrorist attack in the Bardo Museum in Tunisia was a dear classmate, teammate and friend. It came as a big shock to the IE community as we had just been with Javi a few days before to celebrate our graduation. It was such heart breaking news. You never expect that something so terrible happen to someone you know.

Team photo taken during our Global Immersion Week in Shanghai. Javi is seated on the far left across me.

March 18, 2015

Our First AirBnB Experience

We had our first AirBnB experience in Madrid and below are some of my initial thoughts:
Picture of the street: Jose Ortega y Gasset

  1. We could not have asked for a better host. She was very accommodating prior to the trip, happily answering our questions on the area, how to get from one place to another and check-in details. She also constantly check-up on us and even provided a change in towels and bedsheets mid-way through our stay.

March 15, 2015

Graduation Week

Last Friday, we officially graduated from IE Business School. We had spent the past year and a half working hard to earn our MBA's. I am truly proud to be part if such a great and talented group of people, people who I now consider my friends.

Class photo taken from Anderson Barros

March 2, 2015

Net Neutrality

A few weeks ago, as part of our Business Government and Society class, we were given a case study on Net Neutrality. I must admit, I knew very little about this topic when I first read the case. In the 3 hours we were given to process the case into an action plan, I picked up quite a few points and learned quite a few things.

A few days ago, news came out of the United States that, in effect, protected the idea of net neutrality. This article from BBC lists the highlights and main points of the ruling by the Federal Communications Commission.

From what I gathered while I was reading through the case a few weeks back, there was significant lobbying done by the internet providers to allow them to charge content producers/distributors a fee to send information on either a "fast lane" or "slow lane". Fundamentally, consumers and content producers/distributors were up in arms with what appeared to be an attack on a fundamental right -- the right to access and send information equally. 

February 20, 2015

YouTube finally releases a kid-friendly version

Most kids, my own kids included, spend time consuming YouTube. It's just how kids are today. They are tech savvy and YouTube is their version of regular TV. So, it's just about time that YouTube is finally releasing a kid-friendly version of their popular mobile app.

The kid friendly version will have original content of popular shows like "Sesame Street" as well as content from existing kid-friendly YouTube channels. This is great news for parents like myself who are always worried that their kids might stumble upon content on YouTube that is not kid-friendly.

The app will also have some security features, including a timer to limit the amount of time kids spend on the app. *great idea*

February 18, 2015

MBA Finish Line

There is less than one month to go before I officially end mg MBA experience. We are down to our last class and only two more weeks of VC's and forums. After which, there is one last week in Madrid to defend our final output (a business plan) and then graduation at the end of the week.

It has truly been a roller coaster ride. I am extremely humbled to have had classmates and colleagues who are coming from very varied backgrounds and geographical areas. I have learned so much from all the classes, both from the Professors and from my Classmates.

Link here to countdown

February 9, 2015

Google Glass

A few weeks ago, it was mentioned in class that Google had pulled the plug on it's Google Glass project. A few days ago, I saw this article in BBC and it appears that the project is not entirely dead.

Photo taken from Wikipedia
Apparently, the project is being folded in to the division of Google that handles Nest (under the leadership of Mr Tony Fadell). I think this is a good sign for the project and a clear indication that Google is actually looking at more practical uses for the technology.

February 5, 2015

The latest craze from Korea?

Here is an article from BBC talking about quite possibly the latest internet craze. It's very popular now in Korea and it is common knowledge that Koreans are normally ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.

Lee Chang-hyun
Photo taken from
The craze is called "mukbang" and it involves personalities eating their food in front of a webcam for their followers to view. The follower gets to chat with the personalities live and the personality will respond in real time.

January 22, 2015

Valuating NBA Teams

I read a very interesting article on Forbes listing the NBA's most valuable franchises. The article in itself is an interesting read, not just because it lists the rankings from highest (LA Lakers at $2.6 billion) to lowest (Milwaukee Bucks at $600 million) but also because it gives casual fans an insight into how these valuations are actual computed.

What I've learned in my accounting and finances classes at IE Business School is that valuations are always partly subjective. Merely taking the value of the assets for each team will barely even give you a fraction of what these teams are being valuated at, even for teams that own their own arenas (most of them don't).

January 18, 2015

The Francis Effect

As the Pope wraps up his five day visit to the Philippines today, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of my reflections:

- Pope Francis leads by example. From chosing not to use a bullet proof vehicle to be closer to the people to holding mass in a raincoat in the middle of a storm, Pope Francis is sending us all a message to be humble and down to earth. If he can do it as leader of the Catholic Church, we all can.

January 9, 2015

Amazon's New Rival?

I finished reading Brad Stone's book on Jeff Bezos and Amazon over the Christmas break. The book is entitled "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon". Here is a link to the book if you wish to purchase it (of course I will link to Amazon!).

I enjoyed reading the book a lot and took a lot of mental notes on how Mr. Bezos was able to build Amazon from the ground up. To make the long story short, he was very smart, stubborn, competitive , had a grand vision and simply refused to fail and take no for an answer.

There are several examples in the book that describe the very aggressive pricing tactics Amazon used (with the blessing of Bezos) to either put pressure on a competitor or a supplier. For example, Amazon consciously did not inform publishers that they planned to sell e-books below acquisition cost. Another example is when Amazon forced an upstart competitor ( to sell the company to them by selling diapers on Amazon at a loss.

January 3, 2015

2015 Reading List

Happy New Year!

Over the Christmas holiday I was able to receive some books on my reading list for 2015! While in Singapore, I was also able to buy some books that were not available here like "Business Adventures" by John Brooks, "The Innovators" by Walter Isaacson and "Built To Last" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.