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Friday, April 26, 2019

Mongaya: Aldub and startups

WE HAVE been writing about tech startups for some time now. Hundreds of geeks, we wrote in this column and online, will troop this week to Boracay for the annual Geeks on a Beach (Goab) conference that will be the venue for the launch of the Philippine startup roadmap.

Still, many don’t understand what these are and what the Philippine startup community can do to uplift the country economically. Many Filipinos got hooked on the Aldub phenomenon faster.

Yup, I will also be going to Goab 2015 this Aug. 20-21 being part of the advocacy group TechTalks.ph headed by Tina Amper.

Prepared by the DOST in coordination with TechTalks.ph, the roadmap idea was raised during the first Goab conference in 2013.

Today, the roadmap seeks to propel the Philippine economy faster as we enter the Asean Economic Community.

***

Yes, we are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and other cool apps in our smart phones. These began as products of tech startups in Silicon Valley and other startup communities like Skype of Estonia.

Last November, three German tech developers launched the app Dubsmash that became a hit worldwide. This video messaging app for Android and Apple phones that allows users like Maine Mendoza to add soundtracks to videos recorded on their phones.

Mendoza, known today as Yaya Dub in the popular “Aldub” love team with actor Alden Richards, first became popular online because of Dubsmash. Today, millions of Filipinos can’t wait to know if the two will finally meet in the next Eat Bulaga show.

Of course, the Eat Bulaga veterans tweaked the segment to merge old and new media in the very successful fairy tale reality show. It became worthy enough of front page treatment of the top Philippine broadsheet yesterday. The people behind rival noontime shows must be scratching their heads how to recover.

Aldub made me think again about the social media strength of Filipinos worldwide. Imagine, the hashtag #Aldub is trending daily not just in the Philippines but also worldwide. Even Bayan Muna’s Rep. Neri Colmenares realized the Aldub potential in a post last week.

The website HypeStat.com values Dubsmash.com at $370,276.24 at the moment. But with its popularity today, I would not be surprised this figure to grow exponentially.

Recently, the Cebuano developers of the taxi-hailing app MiCab are bracing to take on global competitors Grab Taxi, Easy Taxi and Uber. The success of Aldub made me think of the global potential of Filipino support for Pinoy start-ups and apps.

***

I can understand the polarization online between supporters of BOPK and the former Team Rama (this should better refer to Mayor Mike Rama’s camp than its new long winded name). I am worried that the emotions are drowning out pro-poor advocacy.

Let me cite two posts in Maghisgot Kita’g Politika, Bay last week. One, I expressed support for the plight of Warwick vendors who were treated like common criminals for sidewalk vending. Second, I snapped and posted a picture of a streamer calling attention to the lack a relocation site despite a City Hall declaration that they are preparing something in Barangay Lorega.

During the time of former mayor Tomas Osmeña, I expressed support for the Sto. Niño vendors and urban poor communities confronted by demolition teams. But supporting the vendors and urban poor communities today is branded by an online pro-Rama cabal as being pro-BOPK.

They’d be better off helping City Hall take care of the billions paid last week by the SRP buyers. I say this because the image of being awash with cash attracts people who are “nawong og kwarta.”

***

It seems Mayor Mike Rama’s idol Vice President Jojo Binay is finding it difficult to look for a vice presidential tandem. What is being tossed as a possible Binay-Bongbong Marcos team up will erase the vice president’s record of being an anti-dictatorship fighter. Though several generations of Filipinos now have not suffered under the dictatorship, my generation and those older are still around to remind all about what happened and shout “Never Again!”

The Liberal Party, the other hand, has already lined up a plan B and plan C if the effort to convince Sen. Grace Poe to become the running mate of Secretary Mar Roxas peters out. There are the Mar-Vi and Mar-Len possibilities. Though not as popular as Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, I am more inclined towards Cong. Leni Robredo. Still, Governor Santos-Recto has performed well as governor and without the stain of corruption issues. That should be good.

(@anol_cebu in Twitter)
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