Ng: Geek lessons-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I AM currently attending the Geeks on a Beach conference in Boracay. This was organized by Techtalks.ph headed by Tina Amper. There are lots of press people also covering various aspects of the conference, so I will just enumerate some of the things I have learned. I will skip many parts of the program, as these may be reported by other people.
Tina is a Filipina-American who went to the United States and worked there for a few years. Last year, she decided to return to the Philippines and do something for her country. This is a worthwhile endeavor and she is using her contacts to create the Silicon Valley model in the country.
The conference was attended by over 300 people, with close to 100 of them expats. Many of them came from Silicon Valley and many of them are her contacts.
Many of the others are also part of the Brain Gain Network. This is a grassroots organization that was created by Filipino-Americans in the United States, the main task of which is to encourage Filipinos to return home to the Philippines to create enterprise and assist in country development.
These include Alvin Gendrano, who used to work for Microsoft Redmond, and is now the developer evangelist of Microsoft Philippines, Earl Valencia, who used to work in the United States, and is now the president of venture capital investment corporation Ideaspace Inc., and Paco Sandejas, who came back to the Philippines after getting a PHd and now heads Narra Ventures, a VC company.
I found the conference quite helpful and I would like to share some insights. First, of course, is a worthy goal. The Philippines is now one of the top three destinations for business process outsourcing, but this is mainly a place where top global companies outsource to.
Many of the companies are still owned by foreign entities. The main goal is to create a lot of technological entrepreneurs and startups. Wouldn’t it be nice, mused one of the organizers and sponsors, if other than being a top contact center, the Philippines could also be the hub for tech startups?
There is also another worthwhile endeavor that was shared by Deputy Director of ICT of the Department of Science and Techology, Mon Ibrahim. So far, he said there are now 800,000 jobs provided by the BPO sector, 73 percent of them (or over 550,000) are in Metro Manila, while only about 27 percent are in the provinces (that’s about 200,000).
The goal is to see if this can grow to 1.3 million or 1.5 million, with 60% of them in Metro Manila, and 40% in other areas, in the next three years. If we can do that, then that means we can hit our goal of employing over 600,000 BPO professionals outside of Metro Manila.
Here are some other insights I got from the speakers:
a.) In Silicon Valley, there is an unsexy conference. Not all things are about Facebook or Apple or whatever is cool. There are many businesses you can get into that may not be sexy, but can make money.
b.) If Filipinos want to succeed, we need to sacrifice more, be more aggressive and work harder. One of the speakers said Filipinos put too much stress on relatioships, their family and their leisure to become successful in business. He said he visited a startup in China, and found 30% of the people were in their desk sleeping -- they spent time in the office for the whole week to finish a project. Do we have similar takes of sacrifice here in Philippine offices?
c.) If you are looking for a business to get into, don’t fall in love with the technology. Fall in love with the opportunity - the unserved need first.
d.) If you want to increase innovation, you have to lower the cost of failure.
e.) When you are pitching to investors, do so in such a way that your presentation makes their greed overcome their fear so and they will invest in your company.
So far, it was great learning and I will try to share more in my next column.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2013.