Lack of Policies or Lack of Execution?

Courtesy of Google Images

Another corruption and graft related issue has surfaced in the Philippines.  According to Inquirer.net, there are officials who allegedly directed their pork barrel funds to bogus NGOs so as to pocket their assets.

This is a bit frustrating, especially since this gives NGOs more negative publicity.  Yes, perhaps there may be some organizations who are merely tax shields or are indeed “ghosts” that suck the funds out of the tax-funded pork barrels for the personal gain of those in power.  But the true NGOs suffer from this as well; those who pursue social good with integrity and sacrifice.  Perhaps social enterprises may suffer from these kinds of things as well as this may destroy reputations of organizations that pursue the common good.

On to the topic of this blog post, is it about the lack of policies or the lack of execution?

According to my professors in DLSU, the Philippines have good laws related to preventing corruption.  However, there is indeed a lack of implementation – a lack of execution.

I think it is time that the public be the one to execute the law through public demand, or public pressure.  If we can find a way to utilize, harness, organize or even systematize the People Power phenomenon, then we can be the watchdogs of corruption.  The dawn of this digital era amplified with smartphones capable of using social media, cameras and digital recorders can serve as the country’s CCTV in looking out for undesirable actions from those in power.

Perhaps there should be pressure for every organization to be transparent.  If we can harness the all-seeing eye of this becoming increasingly digital world, then we can demand transparency from all kinds of organizations.  This will make covering the tracks of corruption harder.  This will put pressure to those in power to really invest in projects that contribute to the common good.

Let the mass media news always show a regular update on transparency reports from officials.  Let social media news websites raise discussions and fora related to these kinds of issues.

For far too long we have been searching for the medium by which we can amplify our eyes.  We have wished for Superman-like x-ray vision to determine proofs of corruption looming behind those promises of those in power.  Let us use the power of our digital era and be the ones to execute our policies.

Proving Believers Right

I stumbled upon Seth Godin’s blog and he posted something about proving skeptics wrong.

For basketball fans, one might be accustomed to superstars having the mentality to prove doubters wrong – people are motivated by those who disbelieve and bash them.

As you read Seth’s blog, you will notice that he used to keep track of the skeptics, the doubters. But then he stopped, perhaps having this insight:

Why focus on proving skeptics wrong when there are true believers worth spending a greater time on?

Seth continues to state that these believers would even be the evangelizers that will spread your word and thus, it is more productive to focus on them.

I know for a fact that proving others wrong, especially the pesky doubters or even the cheapest of haters is such a very powerful motivator. I have sometimes used it in sports when playing basketball (just as how MJ and Kobe used them), and sometimes it leads to one having that sudden burst of energy. In the vernacular, I think it’s translated as “gigil”.

But come to think of it.

What then, after we prove doubters and haters wrong?

What then if one gets vindication, redemption, or even revenge?

As Seth advocates in his blog post, is it not more appropriate to prove the fans and true believers right? For those who kept the faith?

Instead of playing the ruthless god who punishes non-believers by sending them to hell, let us emulate the Christian God who focuses on rewarding the faithful and bringing the believers to heaven.

Somehow, things are more worth the time, energy, and passion.

Sure, proving doubters wrong is satisfying. But nothing compares to the euphoria of proving one’s believers right and exulting one’s success with his loved ones.

Copy Paste

image

Artists will always begin with a blank canvas; and if Murphy’s law, even in its most little ways of messing with an individual, distorts one’s creative juices then say hello to disaster.

How can an artist innovate when it is downright challenging to invent new things? Can someone really sustain being original all the freaking time?

Painting creative, innovative things to a canvas does not need  extreme originality. At least that’s what some business authors want to say.

No, it’s not finding something to plagiarize. No, it’s not about copy pasting entire ideas and what have you and claim it as an obra maestra.

It’s like doing a paper – finding a passage or quote so compelling that it begs to NOT be paraphrased. It begs to be copy pasted. But take note – only a passage or quote, and the proper source must still be cited.

What I am talking about is perhaps what Kim and Maugborne (Blue Ocean Strategy) advocated as looking across different industries to borrow certain elements that can be implemented to another industry as an innovation. Example would be the subscription model adamant in publications being implemented by software industries as service – like Google Apps subscriptions.

Perhaps it is also what Seth Godin advocated in his manifesto (Bootstrapper’s Bible) about copying business models from another industry and applying it to your own.

Copy pasting, when armed with savvy for creating synthesis of seemingly disconnect industries leading to the birth of a New Truth leads to innovation.

Then, somehow, the blank canvas will then come to life. No amount of Murphy’s Law can now mess with one’s innovative juices. Everything that goes wrong will go wrong, but everything that goes wrong is an opportunity to innovate.

Carousel (Bamboo Acoustic Cover)

This song emits a feeling of liberation, of a journey to one’s home.  The voice of the song exclaims on how excited he is to go back to his roots, and live life anew.  Here is a take on Bamboo’s latest single from No Water No Moon repackaged version entitled “Carousel”.  You can visit the original version here.

Picture perfect
Starting to hold on
To these new eyes
My (my) worlds drawn out in crayon
All the lives we come across
We shine a light to see our own

Remember back to every story told
Who you were
Before the rush hour
Carousel
Dared to see the world
With your own two eyes
So you’ve made mistakes
Now who’s wide awake
It’s a tidal wave

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

Words come alive
In the story of our time
Let’s all quit pretending
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

I am home

Hit a wall
But there ain’t no shutting this door
We’re gonna live
Keep faith
We gonna soar soar soar
To a higher ground
We charge to claim our own

Remember back to every story told
Who you were
Before the rush hour
Carousel
Dare to see the world with your own two eyes
Yeah you’ve made mistakes
Now who’s wide awake
It’s a tidal wave

Hello world
Forget what’s the play
But we’re gonna look to shake this rust away

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

‘Cause I’m just gonna live my life
Pick up the pieces
Of what’s been left behind
Bring back the memories
Of that special time
No doubt
No fear
No question I know what’s gotten me here
My sweet escape
Hello long goodbyes

I am

Our worlds collide
Become one in the starlight
Forget perfect endings
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

Words come alive
In the story of our time
Let’s all quit pretending
Let’s dare and live for the day
Today
Today’s like no other

I am home

Remember who you are
Remember who you are
I am, I am, I am
Home

Our words come alive
In the story of our time
Between wish and the waiting
Let’s dare and live for the day

 

Leap of Faith

Status quo
Strangling one’s neck
Preventing destiny cards to be drawn from one’s deck

Leap of faith
May be all that it takes
To greet the dawn of a new life waiting

No, it’s not safe
No, some things one must forsake

The road of kings is a road of thorns
To traverse the latter, not everyone was borne
Would you rather regrets be the cause of mourn
When fate is knocking excitedly at your door?

Take the leap of faith
Take plunge and fail
Then rise up and define your fate
Awaiting is the most yearned holy grail

Social VS Societal: Which is Which?

Social VS Societal

I write this post not to give answers, but rather, to ask necessary questions.  This is borne out of the simultaneous growth of two revolutionizing ideas:

Social Entrepreneurship and Digital Entrepreneurship.

As a student of business, one will encounter jargon that may be confusing at times.  Just a test, try defining these terms:

Social Entrepreneurship.

Social Marketing.

Social Business.

Social Media Marketing.

If one tries to find definitions to these terms, then they will know if one truly does his research that there seems to be… different answers.  To better illustrate, I would like to zone in on one particular word: SOCIAL.

Earlier, the term “social” referred to mostly anything to do with society.  For example, a generally accepted definition of social entrepreneurship is using business principles in solving society’s problems.  As the marketing guru Philip Kotler expounded on, social marketing is then using the principles of marketing to positively change behavior.  This spectrum may be summarized as the societal point of view.

However, the dawn of social media, blogs, and the Internet gave birth to a new meaning of being social – being connected to society.  Go to your favorite bookstores and you will see books with titles such as “Social Business”, “Social Marketing”, etc., which are entirely different from Kotler’s definition and how he uses the word social.

This raises a very important question: shouldn’t there be a clearing up of jargon?  If left unchecked, there may be miscommunication and unfortunate repercussions in the business and education sector.

Should we use different, more precise terms such as “societal marketing”, “societal entrepreneurship” – replacing the vague “social” with the term “societal”?

Or should we accept that there can be two uses for technical jargon?  The problem with this lies in advancing research and further studies.  This affects communication and even searching, for people might find the wrong information they need.

Some have equated Internet with instant information.  But information not organized is as destructive as a lethal weapon, for it destroys and misleads the thinking mind – hampering possible exponential growth in research and communications.

 

For the Sake of It

 

For The Sake of It

 

It seems that we find ourselves always searching for reasons.  Searching for meanings, for answers, for deeper purpose.  We judge and get judged based on the rationale behind what we do and what we say.

As the world keeps on evolving, somehow we place arbitrary measures on what’s supposed to be the reasons behind anything, even everything.  We yearn for logical explanations, and perhaps rightfully so.  If not logical, we yearn for the understandable… perhaps fathomable reasons that are easier to believe.

When a child dreams, “Gusto kong maging pintor!  I want to be a painter,” mom and dad struggle to find words that are easier to digest, but nonetheless means, “Anak walang pera diyan! Child, there’s no money there!”  As if doing something that just cannot earn money is a mortal sin on its own.  Yes, Child may not be as great as Picasso nor Juan Luna.  Yes, Child may not even a certain hint of talent for the arts, for the painting.

But what if he just wants to do it? For the sake of doing it?  What if the benefit of doing something is not governed by monetary or other measurable rewards?

When one is robbed the right to do something for the sake of just doing, it’s as if something essential is taken away as well.  The pureness of the action – the essence of every single little thing done.  When one does something not because he is bored, yet not also because he is required and he just wants to do it, say hello to magic.

Doing something for the sake of it means the action and the doer somehow becomes one.

When one wants to study a graduate degree not because he wants to open more career opportunities, but because he just wants to do so, then the act of learning and being the student becomes pure.  They seem to become one.

When one doodles for the sake of doodling, the art and the artist become one.  Nevermind the judgement of beauty or anything related with aesthetics.  That’s supposed to come after everything.

Fortunate is someone who is driven to do for the sake of doing, yet finds deeper meaning behind it.  Even luckier is when this judging world clamors for the doer to do it.

Somehow, drive, passion, and the world’s expectations serve as the fire that sets aflame the pureness of the fuel – something done for the sake of doing.  When the fuel is as pure as it gets, it is easier to set ablaze.

 

 

From the Youth of the Land

Courtesy of Google Images

 

This was the oration piece of Theodore Ablaza back in our high school days.  He was the lead author, while I provided some insights.  We hope you enjoy!


From the Youth of the Land

I speak from the youth of the land; of the youth which Jose Rizal said to be the hope of this nation and as the voice of the youth speaks, a query – a query so fundamental yet direct to the heart – is asked: How does one define the value of honesty? Is it through the actions that we think can change the world or just through the petty dictionary that secludes and boxes our ideal minds? We are the masterpieces of God’s infinite wisdom and we don’t have the right to do less than what He expects of us.

Honesty begins with the letter H, which stands for humans and ends with Y, for you and me. Isn’t it a coincidence that this happened? Maybe the One above knows why. This is commonly known as a virtue so easy to say, yet, so hard to follow. This is what drives you to be the best man the world has known. This is what pushes you to give back what is not yours or even to say even the smallest of truths. This is what defines your character made in the image and likeness of God.

In the desert there are so many traps. All the roads look the same that sometimes the wrong roads look real because of realistic illusions in this world. There are always two roads to choose from: the road of the kings, which is the path of thorns, but give you the glorifying success and the normal road, which gives you comfort, but leaves you just that, a mediocre person able to find the treasure and the fulfillment of your purpose in life.

Our culture is rich. Yes, very enriched with influences coming from both the east and west. But sadly, the road our culture adapted is more of the easy one, in short, a dishonest one. Maybe, we took the one more traveled by. The one that contained false truths and glittering objects that are not really gold.

Weak. Our country before surely began as a nation pure and clean and fresh. Sick. As the years go and time travels, we become worse and our lives are like patients on the hospital bed waiting for medicines. There are times when we tire ourselves of doing good and it seems that we can’t do anything good already. Are we so injured that we can’t stand on the grounds of truth? We are on the verge of becoming dead people. Death and destruction are not far away. Will we wait for our lungs to be burned with those smokes of dirty works? The road which we started will continue moving if we don’t do some u-turning as soon as possible.

Sometimes, we say some things best, when we say nothing at all. Ironic it may seem but action truly does work more effectively than the words we play with and those that exit the dirty mouth of men. Again, we go back to the point, honesty is what drives us…to not cheat during examinations; to give back the right change to the person manning the sari-sari store;

Honesty is telling where you are when your mom or dad calls to ask where you are at that moment; admitting that you’ve committed small, much more, larger misdeeds; Picking-up a lost item and returning it to the owner; Being as transparent to everyone as possible; Standing up for what is true and never for the wrong. Always keep in mind to be honest even if others are not; even if others will not; even if others cannot.

Right now, we are already doing something to improve the country’s status on dishonesty somehow. We are addressing the issue and making it our advocacy. The earth where we live in, is such a small world. We can make our voices heard, I’m pretty sure. News and important advocacies spread out easily to all people except for those who really intend not to hear it. On the other hand, we should remember that to become the ideal nation we all dream to have requires a team effort. We can’t change the country using I. We can only improve if we use…us.

Honesty is the key to our success as a nation for progress. Those who are not enlightened by the limitless possibilities of this world end up being puppets of their own fears but those who become their very own alchemist in their sense. One somehow finds a way to transmute lead to gold and find the essence of his life. That is what it means to choose the road of the kings – to go against your own fears and mediocrities and be the best you can to find the philosopher’s stone within your disposal and somehow, just somehow, turn yourself into the greatest creature God had ever created.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter if you choose the wrong road which is full of traps and dishonesty because if you fail, the Consuming Fire from the Almighty God will envelop your entire being and as you fall to the ashes and then rise again, and all of your flames of passion burning again for a phoenix is destined to be greater than before without words and thoughts, just plain actions. And after you’re reborn, you’ll somehow find the way the way of the kings for it is stated that as long as you knock the doors will be opened for you and all of the universe will conspire to grant you that one wish – to be the best individual and the best nation which is once again new, and fresh and enlightened.

And Finally the Phoenix Rises

Courtesy of Google Images
Courtesy of Google Images

 

This post was originally made by Ms. Joyce Andaya at http://wisdomusings.blogspot.com.  I am reposting this so that everyone may be able to read this wonderful and inspiring piece by the former Lourdes School Quezon City Principal.  Much respect, ma’am.

 


And finally the phoenix rises…is reborn…

A thousand times beautiful, majestic, awesome…

Just when the painful stab of defeat is in the offing, the fat lady sings…destroying the sweet song of the siren.

Dragons slain, nemesis felled, rivals humbled.

And the sweetest victory of all?

Going the distance, proving others wrong, relying on one’s wit and strength,

and yes,

possessing purple hearts to fight a good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

That’s called regaining one’s footing.

That’s called slaying your demons.

That’s called defying the gods.

That’s simply called conquering oneself.

Isn’t this what they call the sweet psalm of victory?

Only those who risk going too far can find out how far they can go.

 


A Marketing Chicken-and-Egg Question

Which comes first: the target market, or the product?

 

Target market comes first

Business and economic schools have taught that a product satisfies an unmet need, demand, or want in a particular target market.   Based from this, perhaps one can presuppose that the target market (which must be small enough to conquer but big enough to profit) exists first and that a product that can profitably satisfy the unmet demand comes second.

So I ask, is it possible for the product to exist first before the target market is identified?  A scenario I can think of is when a product is able to awaken a “dormant demand”.

 

Product comes first

I think that tablets are the personification of “dormant demands”.  At surface level, it seems that laptops and cell/smartphones are enough to consume media.  I remember reading an internet article questioning the existence and release of the first iPad.  Back then, I agreed – what’s gonna be the use of a tablet, when laptops are more powerful and smartphones are more portable?

Fast forward today, tablets are a category of their own. Though laptops and smartphones seemingly addressed existing demands of power and portability already, the emergence of tablets seemed to awaken the dormant demand for the perfect hybrid or middle ground of the two demands.  In fact, Samsung is even pioneering the “phablet” category.  If tablets are middle grounds of laptops and phones, then tablets are more astounding – they are the middle grounds of phones and tablets!

Did the people expressly clamor for such hybrids or middle grounds to exist?  Did the existence of tablets create the demand, or did people demand tablets?

 

So, what now?

This is when we can see how business and marketing cannot be solely described as “sciences”.  There are art, intuition, and powerful gut feelings involved.  A product can be perhaps created without a particular target segment in mind.  The basis of creating such a product may be an uncanny knowledge of how consumers, or even humans in general think and feel.  Such a product is based on a general insight, a general yet penetrating understanding of people’s demands before they even expressly and consciously know it.

In such cases when products seemingly come first, what I can think of is a product utilizing a market-driving strategy – awakening a “dormant demand” through addressing an overlooked need.  Perhaps the new product is a rejuvenated old product that inspires people to use it in a new and refreshing way (new usage).  Perhaps it is indeed a new product born out of finding the middle ground between two existing products, such as laptops and smartphones.

I do not know and cannot conclusively tell whether target market identification comes first before creating a product or vice versa.  I acknowledge my limitations as still a young student of business and marketing eager to test theories and knowledge in real life.