Archive for April, 2007

Twitter: Works For Me
April 28, 2007

Why I twit? I find it hard to keep up with my serious blogging. The path from draft post to published article is just too long. At any given time, I have four to five draft ideas waiting to be completed.

Does this compromise my blogging? If I follow Rico’s manifesto on why he will never use Twitter, then I won’t be verbose. But unlike him, I fail in publishing a steady stream of content. I have no lack of ideas, but lack the time to give them attention. Twitting gets the ideas out: like open source, release early and release often.

For the rest of Rico’s reasons: I’m not a very private person (but I can’t/don’t want to blog about a lot of work stuff.) I don’t think the commitment and update issues are important for me. Perhaps they are for probloggers like him. Come to think of it, blogging is writing as a performance art.

Speaking of probloggers, master problogger Abraham reminds us about the biggest problem. Going on the record for something you may regret. I hope I skip that problem and think before I twit.

For local Twitting, this could be the killer app for Mobile IM with an Operator Community (say, like Globe’s instant messenger).

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Will Google Ever Buy a Philippine Company?
April 21, 2007

Let’s say you did start a startup in the Philippines. Would Google buy you out? How about Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, or eBay (like Stumbleupon?)

Or would Google & Company ever buy into a local company? I thought that when a Google executive came over it was for some deal. No go there.

I hope this happens soon, to put a locally educated Pinoy in Google.

Can you suggest any candidates for acquisition?

Not Not Not Starting a Startup
April 14, 2007

Paul Graham wrote a new thought-provoking essay. Why to Not Not Start a Startup. Yes, a double negative. He’s coming from a venture company that invests in startups. It’s a long read but do take some time out to go through it.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to take his advice, I can’t do it at the moment. I’m not not not starting a startup.

Know nothing about business – Unfortunately this is not true in the Philippines.

Paul says, “I get a fair amount of flak for telling founders just to make something great and not worry too much about making money. And yet all the empirical evidence points that way: pretty much 100% of startups that make something popular manage to make money from it.” We know that the opportunity to do this are limited: for software products, nobody wants to pay for software and if you want to sell it abroad, payment options are limited. The same e-commerce limitations for for websites.

He continues, “And acquirers tell me privately that revenue is not what they buy startups for, but their strategic value. Which means, because they made something people want.” Acquirers or venture investors/capitalists in the Philippines are also few and far between. I don’t know the nature or scope of their activities today. How about selling your company to foreign companies? I’m sure there are a lot of legal issues there that a couple of Pinoy geeks in a garage couldn’t handle.

Conclusion: You need to know about business because you’re going to run the whole thing yourself. No exit strategy. I don’t have experience there. I’m not even sure whether I have the interest.

The Independently wealthy reason is an interesting contrast. In Paul Graham’s world, having reached wealth would be a reason not work. But in the Philippines, where startups have to fund themselves and there is no angel investor community to be found, it’s the independently wealthy (or, those who have wealthy parents/relatives) who can join the startup game. Even if I got started and put up a one-man team, I don’t have the cash to live for months while building the product.

Finally, No idea. I’ve had lots of ideas that are doable solo, but have no commercial viability. I have lots of ideas now, and am working on them, but they need a team to execute and money to fund and test the market. These, I get from employment. Product development is expensive. I guess one reason I have a job is that the ideas I can potentially produce something for the stakeholders.

I think having no idea is a reason why a number of people work on solo outsourced jobs as freelancers. The idea and the direction come from abroad, and the local folks implement it. They can earn this way due to the salary differences between the Philippines and the hiring country. But, they don’t get the multiplier effect that a successful product brings – after the initial R&D, they can sell additional copies of the software product, or get additional users for the web service.

To put this in context, here’s a TechCrunch interview with Paul Graham. I would also like the congratulate the Ernst & Young Philippine Entrepreneurs of the Year – they overcame these obstacles.

Quality and the Software Developer MBA
April 12, 2007

MBA for Software Developers. Sounds like an oxymoron. Most software developers would probably consider a MBA only if they are in or moving to a management role, changing careers, or starting up their own business.

Why this topic? No, I’m not taking a MBA (yet?) It’s because I’m studying Software Quality as part of my job in a software development shop. I read discussion on Lean Software Development, based on Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen (Continuous Improvement). Even if this method is not in use, the principles still apply.

Quality code comes from quality people, the proper application of their skills, with quality tools and processes. People need to be hired and trained. Tools may need to be bought. Processes learned and trained – how are these paid for? From the increased profits of a quality product delivered on schedule and ahead of the competition.

Of course, Leadership is necessary for the developer. Both people leadership and thought leadership. An MBA is not required for this.

Why no Pinoys in Google or Tech Startups?
April 7, 2007

More thinking.

I don’t know of any Philippines-educated Filipino in Google or other tech startups. It’s either Fil-ams born and raised in the US, or in the rarer case, Pinoys who attended university or graduate school abroad.

Pinoys I know or hear about who join the exodus don’t get to these hot companies.

Do we lack the means, the skills, the attitude or the exposure? (The Imperial Equation)

Philippine Blog Awards – the Aftermath
April 7, 2007

Whew. That sure was one … interesting week after the Blog Awards. Nevertheless, I’m glad I set aside a small amount and sponsored it. (It’s a bit funny to hear my name mentioned at the Awards, though. What I get for not having a cute witty name for this blog.)

I’m also happy I spent some time in judging the entries.

So who did I give the highest scores, and who did I want to win? Sorry, it’s unbloggable. Here’s the famous Sorsi, demonstrating how to say “it’s unbloggable”: