Thursday, July 28, 2005

iBlog Mini: Blogging Gloriagate Forum

On August 4, 2005, from 9 am to 12 noon at the UP College of Law, UP-ISP will be holding an iBlog Mini entitled: “Blogging Gloriagate” as part of iBlog’s discussion series that intends to document the impact of blogging in Philippine society.

About the forum

The Philippine blogging scene was taken by storm as the Gloriagate scandal erupted. Freedom of expression to vent issues and share perspectives paved the way for alternative sources of information.

Even as government issued a ban on media outfits from playing the Gloriagate tape, PCIJ fearlessly posted it online and gave access to thousands of Internet users. Media blogs like Sun.Star offered consolidated articles through blog that allowed its worldwide Filipino readers to give a reaction to the issue at hand. News Reporter Jove Francisco tags readers along, through his blog, in his coverage of the issue. Columnists such as Manuel L. Quezon III and Connie Veneracion offered insightful analysis as well. These organizations and personalities have become truly influential in the blogosphere today.

8:30 - 9:00 Registration / Morning Snacks
9:00 - 9:30 Opening remarks; Bloggers introduction
9:30 - 10:00 Introduction to Blogging Gloriagate (Atty. JJ Disini)
10:00 - 10:30 Blogging Gloriagate: The PCIJ Experience
10:30 - 11:00 Blogging Gloriagate: A Personal Journey (Manuel L. Quezon III)
11:00 - 11:30 Open Forum
12:00 Closing

Snacks and unlimited coffee will be served. As seats are very limited, you are requested to register ahead.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Choices I Make

We are always in conflict with ourselves. After doing a lot of thinking in the night as to the things that we be doing, sometimes, it doesn't get followed as intended to. These lapses are conflicts within ourselves that we had to overcome. In Stephen Covey's "The 8th Habit," he talked about the need for strengthening our spiritual intelligence. With the mindset of reporting to our Maker on a regular basis, it sets as a guide as to how we deal with others and recognize when we sin.

Over the weekend, I finally got hold of an old book that was given to me in one of my speaking engagements. It is Max Lucado's "Grace for the Moment." I have so much books that I haven't read yet. At first, I will feel bad but realized that the right time just usually comes. Perhaps with God's intervention too.

The first part of the book tackled the choices Max Lucado makes daily in his dealings, to constantly remind him. In this blog post, I'll do the same and pattern much of it to Lucado's Each Day.

The Choices I Make

I'm rushing this morning to get ready for the day. There'll be decisions to make and deadlines to be met. I control my own choices, decisions, and will let the following constantly remind me of what humility, courage, and wisdom is all about in everything I do.

I Choose Love
No occassion justifies hatred and bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I Choose Joy
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical...the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to serve God.

I Choose Peace
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I Choose Patience
I will overlook the inconvenience of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him/her to do so. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I Choose Kindness
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich and powerful, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I Choose Goodness
I will go without a peso than take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I Choose Faithfulness
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My family will not question my love. My family will never fear that I will not come home.

I Choose Gentleness
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I Choose Self-Control
I am a spiritual being...
After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced and taught only by God.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek God's grace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Mission Statement

After so much reflection for the past months, I have finally thought of what my mission statement should be. For those of you who are contemplating about your personal mission statement, I hope this one will provide you some guidance and inspiration as well.

My journey is about making e-commerce, ICT, and Internet a reality to all Filipinos. I shall do this by performing advocacy work through speaking engagements, training, writing, research, and policy development.

I shall be indefatiguable and tirelessly generate ideas to support my mission and help like-minded individuals in achieving this.

I will do all important tasks at hand with full perseverance, fairness, and determination.

I will conduct my work that are within my true principles and fair in God's eyes.

I will listen emphatically at all times and share my opinion only after I fully listened.

I will be understanding in the best way I can and determined in getting the right things done.

For the personal side, it is about family being more important than anything else. Be a good friend and be forgiving to those that have caused harm. There was a time that I've put my advocacy and friends above anything else. As things start crumbling, due to politics and shallow friendships, I realized what should be more important and who my real friends are.

Monday, July 18, 2005

From Fox to Hedgehog

In Jim Collin's Good to Great book, the hedgehog concept strucked me. Hedgehog organizations are known for their consistency, knowing the "one big thing" and stick to it. They leave the competition behind for behaving like foxes - known for being crafty, cunning creatures that knows a lot of things but lack consistency.

To be a hedgehog organization, its people must understand and agree what they can be best at and not be best at, assessing the wants. Knowing what you can be best at and focusing yourself to it can serve as a a basis of your organization's hedgehog concept. You may not be the best in that area right now but can undertake projects and activities to reach that goal. For as long as the organization and the right team members share the same deep passion, then you're on the right track.

As you identified your can be best potential, analyzing your economic engine is important as well. You need to figure the one denominator (profit per x) that has the biggest impact. It can be profit per employee, per customer, per area, per brand, per local population, among others.

Once your hedgehog concept is established, you can implement and monitor through an active council composed of various members of the organization. This is equivalent to your 360 degrees feedback process that allows you to shape your implementation process to meet your end goal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

High Tech Start Up in Cebu City

My blog post about Level 5 Leadership elicited a great sharing from Lawrence Hughes of InfoWeapons ( He shared how the book "High Tech Start Up," (HTSU) written by John Nesheim benefited his companies.

Lawrence patterned CipherTrust (CT), based in the US, after the template for a Silicon Valley style company found in HTSU, now in second edition. CT grew 3200% in the first 4 years (based on market capitalization - 0.15 to 4.87 per share).

Today, Lawrence is based in Cebu City and started a software development company a few years back - InfoWeapons (IWC). He used HTSU again in creating IWC and it's working again. According to Lawrence, "We just got validation of our technology and market direction by demoing our secure DNS appliance to a big company in Washington DC (company name deliberately removed for confidentiality). They loved every aspect of it and ordered the first two high-end units."

"This may be a first in terms of a world class product being created from scratch in the Philippines and getting that kind of sale. The guy in charge there said it was amazing that the two most innovative companies in IPv6 were both small, and neither was US based."

HTSU was written after Nesheim interviewed folks at 17 of the most successful Silicon Valley companies, for all the details of how they started, their funding, their stock plans, compensation plans, marketing plans, etc. It's all laid out there in the book. "The magic of Silicon Valley (SV) was not the real estate, or being in California. It was the new and remarkably powerful business model. That model works in Atlanta (CipherTrust) and appears to be working just as well in Cebu for IWC," Lawrence explained.

"One of the key aspects of that model is the aggressive Incentive Stock Options for employees. That leads to unprecedented loyalty and motivation. You give up 10% of the company to the employees, but the size of the pie is about 10 times larger. All employees (not just top management) become co-owners, and stand to profit more than with any other model. That's what made it possible for me to help launch CipherTrust."

"There are other aspects of the SV model, but that one alone is enough to make an enormous difference. We had a lot of fun getting our ISOs through the Philippines SEC. Every Friday evening, the group does a week end review. I'll lay odds you've never seen anything like it unless you've visited real SV companies.

I really do want for others in Philippines to emulate what we're doing. IWC is a proof by existence that it can be done here, given capital."

Nesheim has just released a new book, essential to anyone pursuing venture capital, called "The Power of Unfair Advantage - How to Create It, Build It and Use It to Maximum Effect". Lawrence said that this is as good as HTSU.

For newbies, he also recommends Hernando Desoto's "The Mystery of Capital," to understand the problems capitalism faces here, and exactly what to do about it. The book author spent years in Manila exploring exactly what the problems were. He is an award winning economist from Peru (just happens to be named after the famous Spanish Explorer).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Downside of Charisma

In Good to Great, Jim Collins cited that most Level 5 heads lead with questions, rather than answers. They admit what they don't know and engage themselves with their right people in rigorous debates. At the end of it, what is agreed upon gets fully supported by the people in the bus. This openness allowed a full 360 degrees feedback in place, allowing leaders (navigators) to update their strategy and actions (flight plan) as necessary. This is where the truth is heard by default. Brutal facts are laid down and analyze regularly, without blame and coercion.

Celebrity CEOs, on the other hand, are show horse, full of charisma. On the downside, these are the people who come in with an agenda in mind, with team members who'll just likely concur and hardly ask questions. They are not used to feedback and rarely take effort to act on them. Team members tend to worry first about their celebrity CEO mood before raising any concern, than organizational urgency. If this is happening to you, then that is bad.

However, it is not too late. Celebrity CEOs should strive to have a feedback process in place in order to check regularly what is happening on the ground. How people and markets are reacting. This is where surveys can play an important role as well. As the people around you start recognizing how genuinely emphatic you've begun, the more you'll receive feedback directly.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Level 5 Leadership

For those of you who got the chance to read the 8th Habit, I highly urge you to get a copy of the book, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. He is the author of the popular book - "Built to Last."

According to the author, this book is a must read prior Built to Last in order to find out what does it take to be good to great. Once greatness is achieved, push to make it lasting.

For the companies that were featured from being good to great, there's one thing common about them. Their leaders exhibited Level 5 leadership. This is where the figurehead of the organization has great humility and professional will. They are ambitious in achieving the goals of the company first, not themselves. They set up their successors for even greater victory in the next generation.

They are not your usual celebrity CEO. Level 5 leaders are modest, self-effacing, and understated. They are diligent and work like a plow horse rather than a show horse. They attribute success to factors other than themselves but take full responsibility when things turn poorly.

The level 5 leadership values totally jives with the 8th Habit. It focuses on finding the right people and empower them, rather than write lofty visions then find people to do the work.

This is where I realized that when things don't go well as planned, it is not just the program, but also having the wrong people in the bus.

Indeed, the age of wisdom requires us to unlearn a lot of things. However, one can say that wisdom is realized when humility and courage are combined in getting the work done.

Note that the more we know, the more we don't know. Because as our wisdom increase, the more we become sensitive about the things we don't know. Therefore giving us humility and courage to accept such. Reach out to others for help in getting things done.

If we want the organizations that we serve turn from good to great, we must have the 7 Habits and 8th habit instilled in us to achieve Level 5 leadership. As we mature and reach that level, what is best for the organization, customers, employees, than what's in it for our personal interest shall matter most.

Related post:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Stick to due process

I started lobbying in 1998. It was tediuos but it paid off as the laws we pushed for were passed in 1999 (Y2K Law) and 2000 (E-Commerce Law). One unforgettable moment was the signing of the E-Commerce Law (June 14, 2000) by former President Joseph Estrada.

After the signing, I was called by Senator Magsaysay and introduced to the President with kind words about the work we've put in for the law. He greeted me and said, "ok yang ginagawa niyo." The President invited us for a group picture-taking session after former DTI Secretary (now Senator) Mar Roxas introduced Paco Sandejas.

Afterwards, the President tapped my shoulder and said, "Tuloy niyo yang ginagawa niyo. Kung may kailangan pang batas, i-sige niyo lang." I never took that event seriously and saw it as a usual nice PR coming from a public official.

The Erap scandal came in later and there was increasing pressure for the Philippine Internet Commerce Society then to take a position and follow what other IT organizations have done, asking him to step down from office. I refused and got a lot of bashing from my own mailing list.

My reasons were very practical and principled to my mind. I have lobbied for laws and experienced working in the bureaucratic Congress system. I believe in its due process and have the highest faith that Congress will get through this, no matter what biases they may have in the beginning.

It is the challenge among lobbyists, industry, and individuals to push for their agenda, to influence opinion and mindset among these people. Each one of us, guilty or not, is entitled to that due process of law.

As we all know, the impeachment process failed due to impatience by certain legislators and sectors, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo rose to power. A few months after, she became the chairman of the now-defunct Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (ITECC).

I was head of the ITECC legal cluster and attended a Malacang 7 a.m. meeting one time then, chaired by PGMA. As I was giving an update on what we've done and the challenges we're facing, she interrupted twice and disrespected me. It is not what she said but how she said it. Raising her eyebrows and twisting her hands while speaking, questioning about the process we're following. I'm almost tempted then to tell her that things will move fast if she is the one who gives the instruction, simply because she's the President. In our case, we have to work in the system and know that we can't impose to our allies in government, but work in a collaborative, friendly, and professional relationship. Good thing before reaching that point, former DTI Secretary Mar Roxas changed the topic.

After that meeting, I knew then that I can't serve ITECC any no longer if PGMA thought that all of us in that meeting are desperate to meet or work with her at 7 am in the morning, swallow her arrogance, and allow her to belittle the volunteer work we're doing.

That is the time I realized that my encounter with former President Estrada, during the E-Commerce Law's signing, was worth remembering.

I must say that ITECC went down the hill in PGMA's time and CICT today is stepping on a lot of various government agency's mandate/charter, without due regard to existing laws such as the E-Commerce Law. It created a confusion or status quo that derailed the law's implementation. It is bad.

Given the scandals PGMA is facing today, the temptation is high to just call for her resignation or have her ejected from office. However, there's a great need to set our feelings aside and let due process take place. As concern citizens, what we can do is ensure that no one will manipulate it as it turns to be a battle for conscience, hearts, and minds.

To PGMA's credit, I'm amazed as to how she has mastered the 48 Laws of Power. If you haven't read it, get a copy of that book and you'll see what I mean.

Let due process take place so that we can mature as a country and build our faith in the system that we are all responsible for, whether we are part of EDSA 1 and 2 or not. (I'm not)

By going through this pain can real changes and reform take place. Hopefully, subjecting ourselves to this will allow us to have a wise electorate in the future and more consciencious politicians. It may also lead to the 3rd alternative, where what is best for the country shall be agreed upon by all.