December 5, 2016

Lego: Outsourcing vs Insourcing

For this post, I am sharing with you the individual paper that I wrote for my Global Operations and Supply Chain Management class in IE Business School. The instruction from the professor was  "to scan the recent press, to select a news message and prepare a written analysis and interpretation of what had happened".

What follows is the paper on Lego that I wrote. Happy reading!

Who doesn't love Lego?

November 17, 2016

Case Study Analysis: Southfield Packaging

I've decided to share some of the individual work I did to complete my MBA from IE Business School. Below is the paper I submitted for our Human Resource Management class in response to the Harvard Business School Case Study Southfield Packaging.

The Context

Southfield had always differentiated itself by focusing on custom packing and cushioning for its Clients. Because of this, client service has always been a key component of their strategy with their industry leading 60% annual client retention rate, 25% higher than industry average.

The two central characters in the Southfield Packaging case find themselves in a special situation during the time that the case is written. On the surface, it appears that both men are aligned in their goal to do what is best for the growth of the company, however, a gap can be seen between the two men in how they think this can be best achieved.

October 17, 2016

Book Reflection: How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp

A good friend of mine mentioned this book to me last year and I was only able to get a copy of it when I went to London earlier this year.

Purchased from Foyles London
I finally found the time to sit down and read it the past few weeks and I think it's one of the best marketing books I've read so far.

The book is grounded on large amounts of data collected across different markets and different categories across different time periods. The data is analyzed by academics and conclusions are made based on this. Therefore, it makes it very hard to argue with the data and the general conclusions made in the book.

September 8, 2016

NMD score!

I was finally able to score a pair of NMDs for myself. Purchased during the last release back on August 18.

My feedback? Very light on the feet. Looks good worn with both shorts and jeans. Quite possibly the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever worn.

His and Hers NMDs with the wife
What do you think? I think the hype was justified.

August 23, 2016

Book Reflection: Grit by Angela Duckworth

I finished reading this book over the weekend and I'm happy to be finally writing a new blog post after a month long hiatus.

Grit by Angel Duckworth
The first time I heard the concept of Grit was during the Xavier School Parent's Orientation last year. We were shown the TED video of Angela Duckworth and we were told that, as parents, we all need to teach our kids a little grit.

I was immediately interested in the topic and was happy to see that the book was available locally. This book actually jumped my reading list queue! I just had to read it as soon as possible.

Some of my key takeaways:

Talent is NOT everything. Talent can only get you so far. In many studies conducted, talent doesn't necessarily equate to success. We have this misconception that the most successful people got to the top because of pure natural talent. What many people don't see is the countless hours put in, behind the scenes, to help these champions get to the top. This is where grit comes into play. These successful people appear to have an extra gear that keeps pushing them forward, past the pain and failure, and towards their goal. When many people may have quit because things got too hard, these gritty people pushed forward and got more from their talents just because they wanted to.

July 11, 2016

Book Reflection: Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

I must admit, I enjoyed reading this book. A lot. A lot more than I actually expected. Elon Musk may not be the traditional business success story, but I guess that is what makes this such a compelling read.

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
Some of the things I picked up from this book:

Don't be afraid to bet on yourself. Musk is stubborn and unreasonable but he put his money where is mouth is. He bet his entire fortune on himself and he delivered, for himself and for the people who took a bet on him. Many people, myself included, are risk averse and will stick to a given path instead of venturing out and trying to build something big. You think you're talented and have a great idea that will change the world? Work hard, learn more about it than anyone else, and then take a leap.

July 3, 2016

The Power of Limited Stocks Only

I've been obsessed lately with getting a pair of Adidas NMD R1's. The latest colorways were officially released last June 10 and I entered the lottery by Adidas PH to see if I would be lucky enough to win the right to purchase these hot shoes.

My wife also entered the lottery and actually won! 
Adidas NMD R1 in Off White
These shoes aren't cheap, so I'm surprised they sell out so quickly.

June 18, 2016

Case Study Analysis: Zipcar

I've decided to share some of the individual work I did to complete my MBA from IE Business School. Below is the paper I submitted for our Entrepreneurial Management class in response to the Harvard Business School Case Study Zipcar: Refining the Business Model.

Zipcar Company Logo

Throughout my analysis I will refer to data and exhibits from the actual case. Please purchase a copy of it from HBS as I will not be providing copies here due to copyright rules. The analysis and thoughts that follow are mine and are by no means to be considered the correct and only analysis for the case.

Read more of my thoughts after the jump.

June 10, 2016

Book Reflection: Misbehaving by Richard Thaler

I finished reading Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler two weekends ago. It was a relatively easy read considering that many casual readers will be put off by the fact that it is a book about economics. I consider myself firmly in the casual reader camp even if I did survive majoring in Economics many years ago.

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler
The book is written in such a way that Mr Thaler is able to narrate his work (along with the work of other key colleagues and collaborators) in developing the field of behavioral economics without actually getting into the overly technical details. He uses his keen eye for observation and curiosity to identify how humans can behave in ways that go against conventional and widely accepted thinking.

June 3, 2016

Personal Finance Tip: Buying a Car

Buying your first car can be an exhilarating and daunting experience for many. After months of saving, weeks of checking out different car showrooms and online reviews, doing test driving for the finalists, you are now ready to take the plunge and sign on the dotted line. Before you do, here are some "costs" that you may have overlooked:

May 26, 2016

Book Reflection: Quiet by Susan Cain

I've had this book lying around the house since Christmas and only got around to reading it this month. It somehow fell through the cracks but I'm glad I finally found the time to read it. This book was released back in 2012, so many people will already be familiar with it.

Quiet by Susan Cain

I'm an introvert. I think most people who grew up with me know this for a fact. I initially wanted to read this book because of this. I wanted to learn about the different studies and data that are highlighted in the book. I wanted to know if the feelings I have are normal.

The title also got me curious. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking". Is there really much power in silence? Prayerful people will agree but many others will likely disagree. How can one be powerful if one is not talking? My key takeaways after the jump.

May 1, 2016

A Trip to the Dentist with Your Kids

Going to the dentist can be a daunting challenge for parents.

Here are some tips I have picked up after some eventful (think major tantrums and standoffs) and many rather terrific visits to the dentist with my two kids.

Photo taken at our family dentist

April 12, 2016

Fixed wages in the public transportation segment?

It often appears like taxi, jeepney and bus drivers drive for their lives: they weave in and out of traffic changing lanes and they stop in the middle of the road to load and unload passengers; and in many cases this is quite close to the truth. Many public utility drivers are not paid fixed wages but earn only after they have met their daily quota (called boundary) which is paid to the vehicle owner (the capitalist).

The public transport system in the Philippines is a great case study of free market economics gone wrong. In many ways, this free market system works like how any free market system is supposed to work, albeit with some government controls in place. Like many free markets, competition is fierce and barriers to entry are relatively low. Theoretically, this should push prices down (or up) for consumers until the equilibrium between supply and demand is found.

Perpetual traffic congestion and an inefficient public transport system. This is now considered normal by millions of Filipinos in Metro Manila

March 29, 2016

Day trips from London: a visit to Bath

As this was our second time to visit London, my wife and I wanted to explore other places outside the city that would be easily accessible via either bus or train.

We were able to visit Bath, Oxford, Windsor Castle and Greenwich (which is technically still part of London but was further away from the city centre than most other tourist sites). In this post I will talk more about our visit to Bath.

Getting to Bath

Friends and family recommended that we visit Bath so we decided to go on a weekday after some quick research online on how to get there. Travel by train was the quickest (90 mins) and most convenient way to get to Bath from London with trains departing from London Paddington Station every half hour. Since we decided to visit Bath almost on impulse, I must say that the tickets we purchased were somewhat pricey. A friendly tip I would give is to purchase your train tickets well in advance of your visit. 

Paddington Station

March 23, 2016

Easy reading books for travel: Me Before You and Crazy Rich Asians

My wife and I like to bring books when we travel. We like to take the idle time on the plane, train or bus to do some light reading. I don't like to bring the usual business books I've been reading and reflecting about since my MBA. I take the time during the holiday to catch up on some of the more popular fiction titles. It also give my wife and I an opportunity to read the same books (gasp, she is not fond of reading the business books that have caught my fancy lately) and to talk about it afterwards.

For our recent trip to London, we each picked out a book before we left. My wife selected "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes while I picked out "Crazy Rich Asian" by Kevin Kwan.

My wife has good taste in books
I was attracted to the title

February 18, 2016

Book Reflection: The Art of Thinking Clearly

I bought this book, written by Rolf Dobelli, on a whim while browsing in a book store waiting for my wife. The subject matter looked interesting and the praise for the book was convincing. 

Mr Dobelli would have likely detested my purchase decision, since it was rather impulsive and made purely based on praise that was clearly put on the book cover to sell the very same book it praises!

The book is ninety-nine chapters long with each chapter no longer than three pages, making it quite easy to read and consume. Alas, because of this - the bite sized nature of the chapters - it took me much longer to finish reading this book than it would normally take me to read a book of similar length. Maybe because it gave me a false sense of fulfillment completing a few chapters a day when in reality I had read no more than a couple of pages.

February 8, 2016

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!

In the Philippines, Christmas is the big holiday when we all go out to meet with family and friends. There are lots of gatherings and reunions and many take extended holidays. It was only in recent years that CNY was officially celebrated with a public holiday.

For people of Chinese descent, CNY is the biggest holiday of the year. I remember when I was living in Singapore, people would take the entire week off to ensure they had enough time to visit family and friends.

Cheers to everyone celebrating and a prosperous new year to everyone!

January 7, 2016

Internet traffic is about to go bonkers everywhere

Happy New Year!

And yes, in other news, Netflix just announced that it has gone global and is launching its service in 130 countries. #netflixeverywhere