Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nation's Decline and Rebirth

Think many have always known that even the US suffers from a "special-interest" malady but from where I stand, it is depressing because in the Philippines, public interest has been and always is just an election slogan.

Been late to this great piece of work, "Can America Fail" by Dean Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore in which he lists and discusses the causes of US decline.

Here he lists 3 failures that were the cause of the decline.  

"The first systemic failure America has suffered is groupthink."

"The second systemic failure has been the erosion of the notion of individual responsibility ."

"The third systemic failure of American society is its failure to see how the abuse of American power has created many of the problems the United States now confronts abroad. " 

Curiously, he hasn't touched economic causes too much.  I'm guessing he attributes the 'loss of manufacturing hegemony' to that prevailing American ego enveloped by 'entitlement'.  Clearly without which, America wouldn't be the rich nation that it was before.  And with how things are cheaper everywhere else (and with the manufacturing skill and know-how found equally on foreign shores), innovation is of prime importance to be able to climb back on top again.

And while the US continues to struggle with their less than rosy picture, the Philippines, enjoys it's fair share of offshore contracts that boost the economy with plenty of reasons why companies should keep them here go some place else.

However, it would be in the best interest if our national officials also examine and reflect on Dean Mahbubani's points which are clearly present here which manifests as corruption.   Because if not, then whatever economic gain we get from outsourcing will never be enough to lift the country out of the doldrums.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Of Modern-Day Rizals in our Midst

Every Filipino can certainly learn from Jose Rizal for showing the world that we are certainly capable of brilliance and service at the same time. Yet, heroes don't just have to exist in the past. They can be every bit as alive and successful today leading extraordinary inspirational lives. Thankfully, I get to know and work for one up close.

Lord knows there wasn't so much I wanted to do except take care of Zaki the moment her rare health condition was confirmed. Never had much passion to do anything else, certainly not think about work. But a news story here and a chance encounter there led me to this once in a lifetime opportunity. Knew him a bit back then while attending college. Somehow, appearances aside, there wasn't that much of a change. Until you dig a little further to find some stuff of silicon inside.

There are so many things I can say to describe Winston Damarillo.

Cool young entrepreneur, self-made in Silicon Valley, proudly-Pinoy (and LaSallian), passionately driven by the possibilities of marrying IT with almost anything plus a loving and equally brilliant, wife and kid. Oh and jet-setter, Filipino, WEF-named Young Global Leader and patriotic innovation advocate, too.

Let it also be said that here's a guy who's got plenty of ideas in his head, all going at full speed at the same time yet pragmatically-focused on a successful end result.

He's not just my boss.

Not just my friend.

Come to think of it, maybe he is one of those sort of modern-day Rizals in our midst.

Only this time battling oppression of a worse kind - that which keeps our collective national innovation spirit divided and in inertia while the rest of Asia grows forward.

And for the little things that I can do to help him succeed, those are something too valuable to pass up.

And I know Zaki and wife will understand.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Failure is Innovation's Apprentice

I wish I could put more on paper and talk about why I felt that PhilDev was the event of the year for the country.  Considering the line-up, I'd reckon that this was just like putting up a Filipino All-Star Entrepreneurial and Innovation team free of the political reins.  But, there I was, unexpectedly busy, doing things that were more 'back-end'.  [In any case, I did my part to contribute, however small again and now, that's two PhilDev events in a row with the one in San Francisco as the first one.  All credit goes to Winston Damarillo for giving me that bit part.]

Then again, I missed a lot of the talks and was too tired by the time Mr. Dado Banatao delivered his address.  That was not to say that he didn't exactly light it up because he did! His mere presence there alone provided all of us with the hope and the promise that putting proven innovation systems in place - like an emphasis on science and engineering R&D, the Philippines can also breakthrough out of it's third world rut.

That and among other things like energy efficiency, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation disruptions were the other highlights discussed during the event.  I honestly felt it was too much to take for one day but fully understood that it was the right place to seize the moment and put in everything.

Yet, if there was one point that resonated within - it wasn't the action points or things the country needed to put in place that would take us to the next development level. I'd say that it could be small and trivial but strikes a chord given our unspoken cultural bias against it, nonetheless.  After all, we do a lot of awful things just to save face.  And that goes for this dreamer, too.

And like a mantra, how to counter that is to say to yourself simply, "it's ok to fail".

Will keep that in mind.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

TIME's Best Blogs 2011

Time2011BestBlogs.pdf Download this file

Picked out 5 from TIME's 25 fresh picks of 2011.  Check all 25 and see which one you haven't discovered yet.

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates - As a whole, The Atlantic is always a reader's delight but just want to make sure you don't miss Ta-Nehisi.

Cool Hunting This is indie FastCo Design.  Design serendipity. 

Smitten Kitchen.  Real foodies always try to prepare the food at home themselves.  Push yourself and be one.  Photos alone are pure magic.  

A Hamburger Today.  So you want it simpler?  How about burgers?  But then, there's more hamburgers than your regular fast food variety.  My mouth waters just thinking about the possibilities.

OK Cupid.  Ed Tufte and sexy.  Data to make you blush.  

As parents,  we're suckers for kid learning tips and advice.  Wife found Paul Blogush online and gives us something more to think about and consider about becoming real parent-teachers.
Posted on by friarminor | 1 comment

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seed of Creativity, Seed of Passion

It's great that there's a lot of premium on creativity nowadays but truth is, childhood holds the key.

Creativity is finally getting the recognition it deserves with more businesses discovering that in an almost flat world, it provides the difference between thriving and failing or merely traversing the 'average' highway.  Yet, examine all the advice you can find on creativity as well as read on famous creatives and what you'll notice is the importance of childhood and nurturing that spark that seems to die once we reach adulthood and presented with monetization and metrics.

That being said, isn't it reasonable to invest more in our kid's creative lives if we hope to see not just a better tomorrow but a infinitely better one to find solutions to centuries-old problems.  Sounds like too much to ask in reality but this may be the only way to stop a cycle of a conditioned life - to take the road less travelled.

Check this article on creativity to find your passion.

For today's aspiring entrepreneur, exploring avenues of creativity to find your passion is likely the quickest route to increase your chances of launching a successful business. 

If you're in Singapore this June, schedule a trip to  2011.  We'd love to see you there!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life of Surprises

If there was one thing I miss about buying cds, it's the liner notes.

Been spending the week preparing for the company's anniversary celebration.  By some twisted reasoning, I find myself again part of the team tasked with creating celebration materials and by that we mean videos and other mementos.

Anyway, scatterbrained that I am, I was immediately reminded of the loveliest 'look-back' entry I've read as far as my limited memory now can recall.  Of course, I'm biased but man, the way he wrote the liner notes to the compilation, there's no other way of putting it. 

Like the album title, hope mine can also be a 'life of surprises'.

Liner notes:


How does the song go ? " Memories light corners of my mind. Misty water-coloured memories of the way we were. "*

As we all know, memories can be fabulous liars, and looking back over ten years since we released our first record, "Lions in my garden", I'm not unhappy to see that the day-to-day details of our legendary career have become smudged upon the canvas of time, forming some unbelievable misty water-coloured memories.

Did we really record all the backing tracks to our first album "Swoon" in an afternoon, believing upon its completion one month later that it would rival "Thriller" as a commercial proposition ?

Did we really audition 147 drummers over 5 days only to realise that applicant number one was the man for the job ?

Who was it that spent three expensive days in the Studio with medium Phyllis King in an attempt to record the voice of the late Elvis Presley - only to contact a troubled spirit identifying itself as Colonel Tom, who wanted 35% of any deal we were making ?

Did Johnny Marr appear in R.A.K.´s studio with a cassette player and tape of "William It Was Really Nothing" while we were making "When Love Breaks Down ?" And did we really release that single 5 times within 18 months before it finally became a hit - monopolising the U.K. number one spot for five weeks ?

Was it a dream or did we eavesdrop on Stevie Wonder as he rehearsed his harmonica solo for "Nightingales" - sat beneath a giant painting of Jimi Hendrix in Westworld Studios ? Do we treasure the photograph ?

Did we really not tour for five productive years ? Have we spent months arguing over tiny details, suppressing the bittersweet knowledge that they´re only records, they mean everything and nothing ? And we were really recording in a Los Angeles studio when the famous voice in the world - that a man from Hoboken - asked us if we´d like a slice of pizza on the occasion of his 69th birthday ? Do we remember that or has time rewritten every line ?

Ten years of making records may justify a Best Of, but it´s hard to feel nostalgic when you hope that the best is yet to come. And who knows ? It´s a life of surprises.

Paddy McAloon May '92

* Apologies to Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Johnny Marr with Morrissey created The Smiths and "William It Was Really Nothing" was one their big hits.

That Hoboken man was, of course, doobie-doobie-doo, Frank Sinatra.

Head over to for more info about the band.  Excellent site.