Career Guidance for Today’s Pinoy Tech Graduates

Marc Andreesen’s guide to career planning is interesting:

part 0, part 1, part 2, and part 3

How does it apply to the Philippines situation, which is obviously different from what Andreesen describes? One way would be to look at the future of Web startups in the Philippines. In the original article which I quote, Paul Graham says that there should be a means of fresh graduates to put up startups instead of join existing companies.

I think putting up startups – at least on the technical part for web startups- is easier now. It costs much less to reuse open source components, and get cheap hosting. Now that PayPal Philippines is open for receiving money, it should be easier to build a revenue model. Or, for those who favor the advertising-based model, Google Adsense has been present for a while and it has done well for probloggers. (Yes one could probably be a problogger right out of school, instead of getting a job, but that’s a different story.)

Back when I was starting up in 1994-1995, there wasn’t much of an Internet to speak of, so the opportunity was in putting up access. It may be relatively cheap now, but it was very expensive back then. Much of the cost of providing Internet access was paying a lot for international connectivity. Today, the infrastructure is pretty well set up, and it just takes a Pinoy with a grand idea plus the skills to put up that web startup. Now, to make it big… is another issue that I tackled in my previous post.

I hope the youth of today follow it. For instance, the Ateneo programmers to watch as posted by Dr. Pablo Manalastas. (Aside: This post is heavily focused on programming contests – something I am jealous of because we never had a culture of contests back in my university days. I for one would like to know if I were “among the best.”)

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8 Responses

  1. And it helps that there are entities such as the Brain Gain Network that help in bootstrapping (or at least mentoring) tech entrepreneurs.

    BTW, whatever happened to the Ayala-backed incubation company in UP Diliman?

  2. Yes that helps. They had a bootcamp recently – I wonder how that went?

    About the Ayala-backed company – no idea. The Ayala foundation is involved in the Brain Gain Network somehow. Now this reminds me of the days of the Web “1.0” boom, of iAyala, Ayala Internet Venture Partners, myAyala…

  3. Great series, Migs.

    I still think however, there’s something to be gained from joining a company after college (or even during college). There’s still a disconnect from what they teach you in college and from actually happens in the work world.

    As a (fringe) hanger-on in SV, although they say you can get a ham-sandwich funded in SV it’s quite different if one is thinking of a very niche market. It’s not just sexy to say that you’re going after a minority population even if the numbers holds up. Oh how I wish there are Pinoy VCs in the area which can readily grasp the idea you’re pitching. They (at least the VCs I’ve dealt with) just won’t look at your business plan if you’re not asking for at least $6M. But that’s how it works, at least as a rule and you got to follow it if you want to play.

    As previously commented, the telcos are in a good position to fund start-ups in RP. But you have to break the barrier of exclusivity first which might be non-negotiable for them. But who knows, there are enlightened exec who might champion that idea.

    There’s also the issue of IPs. Patents are also a consideration by the VCs. Some failed start-ups still made money for their investors due to the patents they filed — something that needs to be fixed in RP.

  4. Hi Mark,
    This is not intended to be a series – it’s just a brain dump of what I’ve been thinking over the past weeks.

    Joining a company after college: yeah, I guess so. My career sort of went backwards – I started a company first, then joined another one, later. But all my work experience has been in startups so I cannot offer a complete picture.

    About Pinoy VCs: Perhaps we need more of them. But they need to have the investment money first! Now where would they come from? Valley founding employees that get rich?

    About telcos: I think that was what “ePLDT” was doing a couple of years back, buying/investing in companies, but I am not aware what they are doing. Of course you know the traditional model for a mobile provider which is to deploy apps plus revenue sharing – instead of a direct investment. From my point of view, that is changing.

    About intellectual property: Good point, and something that may be alien (for now!) to Pinoy investors.

  5. off topic. wow new blog theme!

  6. Capital is hard to come by in the Philippines. Most graduates finish school and have to focus on bread and butter issues from day one. This leaves them with less time to muss about start-ups.

    Some people may say there is a VC community in the Philippines. I admire the current effort but I feel that it is simply not enough.

    Check out my post on it here (and the discussion):
    http://hip2b2.yutivo.org/2007/06/01/need-for-venture-capital/

    So even if the infrastructure and technology are easy to come by … can most of today’s graduates afford to live for 1-3 years with no salary?

  7. Andreesen’s article isn’t about the fresh grad doing startups right away. It’s about joining the industry – which includes those type of startups. Of course there’s still greater risk getting employed in a startup.

    For the people getting into startups – I think it would be more like those who work on them in their free time, and earning extra money from the web/blogs, to fund their startup.

    If someone earns dollars in the Philippines through online activities, they can go a longer way in the PH where salaries are cheaper. The quoted burn rates for Facebook, etc. which come up when talking about the size of their investments, are mostly on salary.

  8. […] Career Guidance For Today’s Pinoy Tech Graduates […]

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