This quote from Elon Musk is a favorite of Michael Cubos’, and it must have inspired him as he journeyed to become an entrepreneur—owner of eight companies—despite not finishing college. He is a 2016 top Cebuano awardee and currently overall chairman of Cebu Business Month (CBM) of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) for both 2020 and 2021.
Cubos comes from Davao, the eldest of seven children in a financially challenged family. Despite working two part-time jobs and being a Dean’s Lister, he could not finish his course of choice, Mass Communication, at the University of Mindanao.
In an email interview, we get to learn more about Cubos’ journey.
SunStar LIVE! (LIVE!): When and why did you come to Cebu?
Michael Cubos (MC): I came here to look for work. I applied in MEPZ as a production operator and other various jobs. I got hired as a telemarketer for Unionbank Credit Cards, followed by HSBC, Standard Chartered and sold various stuff over the phone. These experiences gave me confidence to apply as call center agent in Sykes Asia Inc.
When I applied at Sykes, I didn’t pass the interview. So I spent the next six months in self-study, then I applied again and eventually passed. That’s how my career in BPO started.
LIVE!: Over the years, you have set up your own eight companies. What are they?
MC: I set them up along the way, definitely not all at once. Opportunities came at the most unexpected times and cases and it just happened. These companies are Overcode, which offers web and mobile software; Springbox, which is more on software design, user experience and branding; Performance360, which is BPO related; Avengers, which is more on innovative real-world technology platforms like delivery, ride-hailing, among others; RideHero, which is a commuter app that aims to make public transport free for the Filipinos; Aguila Delivery, which is for logistics; Media Company, which is focused on community and online news; Monarchs Esports, which is to develop, promote and advocate for esports in Cebu and the Philippines; and MC Consulting, which is purely for business consulting, tech, monitoring, innovation and strategies.
LIVE!: You are co-founder and past president of Cebu Innovation Council. What does it do?
MC: The aim of the Cebu Innovation Council is to represent the grassroots and industry homegrown technology companies in Cebu in collaboration with the business community, government agencies and tech groups.
LIVE!: You have many advocacies. What are they and how do you find time for them?
MC: It’s very hard to balance my schedule most especially if I don’t control the appointment. I’ve got to juggle and be efficient with my time. My advocacies are divided into the following: CCCI-related; industry-related like the BPO; Innovation and Technology; Passion and Charity. For the Chamber, it is advocating the empowerment of Cebu businesses to digitize and transform through technology and adopting new business models in their plans, especially the MSMEs (micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises).
This also involves the ICT Training for the Solo Mothers, which we started with the Cebu Chamber a few years back. I have so many projects under Cebu Business Month as well as advocating the tourism, Entrepreneurship, ICT-BPM and digital creative industries.
The advocacies relating to my main industry which is BPO is mainly to promote sustainability in our industry. I have free call center training to bridge the gap between displaced workers and the BPO companies. I also promote online freelancing and creating our own Filipino-owned homegrown BPO companies.
On the technology and innovation side, I create, develop, and donate technologies for the government to use without charge. By introducing technology and to help the government in time of need, we all collectively benefit.
About Esports, I’m a gamer myself but not that hardcore anymore. My hands are betraying me already. My hands are slow and my mind can’t beat the young kids anymore. I play casually mostly smartphone simple and highly competitive games. I used to play Clash of Clans a lot, Pokemon Go, Angry Birds. Now I play Mobile Legends, PUGB, COD and RPG games.
LIVE!: Which of your companies do you consider most important?
MC: I think the most important is the BPO one. This is the industry where I started my career seriously. This is where I met my wife (Sherrylyn Munez with whom he has four children: Bluebake, Sophia, Scarlet and Sebastian). This is my first business. Basically, this is the industry that feeds me. That’s why I am very passionate about advocating its sustainability for its future.
LIVE!: How do you find time for your sports activities?
MC: At first, I just wanted to lose weight until I became addicted to running sometime around 2012. I forced myself to join races to really kick myself out and train several times a week and during the weekend. I eventually joined a triathlon sometime around 2014 and fell in love with the sport. Even during my busy schedule, I would always train on the weekend to prepare for the yearly Ironman 70.2. I enjoy cycling the most, followed by running, and then swimming. I always think that if I don’t take care of my body, eventually my body will fail. I need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to support my family.
Michael Cubos is a truly talented and extraordinary multi-faceted and achieving person because, as Elon Musk aptly put it, he decided to be extraordinary.