Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life in 3

Two weeks from now, it will be 2013. Another year.

Though technically, i reached my own annual milestone, 2 months ago, in Oct; my 32nd milestone.


In the past 20 years, i can view my life in cycles of 3-4 years.

1992-1996.. High school life. Life of discovery. Rock-n-Roll. Hip-hop music. I am one of the brightest kid in the worst section at school, section D. This is also the time, i started my interest in computers and electronics. Life is easy.

1996-1999. College life, all about passing exams, and scoring 1.0. Current dream: To be an astronaut. Or, a Robotics engineer at NASA (safer, than piloting them flying bombs called airplanes). I love Physics, Math and Computers -- perfect ingredients for the said dreams. Met and courted my soon-to-be wife for 1 week (yes, like i said, i 10x everything).

1998-2001. Then Internet came to my life. Start of professional, freelancing life. There's an overlap here, since i started working on projects, while still attending college.

This is the time, i started working at Internet Cebu as a sysadmin, started my social media persona, markjeee, at #upcebu IRC chatroom. And also the time, i worked on projects, Cevor, GoCebu, TheBigWap, Inserv. This era culminated with setting up the CleverLearn Office in Cebu, pre-cluding the Bigfoot company here.

2002-2005. The short stint at CleverLearn didn't turn out good for us. So together with Marvis, we set out on our own, and started LearningToGo. The plan is to sell mobile software, based on Palm and Pocket PC platforms, for the education market. We also started a call center business around this time, since we thought it was the business to be "in". And also a blogging business, at the time when blogging and SEO is still taking off.


2005-2008. The market for Palm OS and Pocket PC apps changed, and we were not able to change fast enough.

So, in 2005, i left LearningToGo, and started a small consulting company by myself, which i called Simpleteq (inspired by the 'simple' mantra of Jason Fried from 37s). My first paying project was to customise the payment options of an osCommerce installation for an adult site.

Soon after, i met Harm, and started working on a Diabetes Card product, which is now the main product of Caresharing. Together with Harm's project, we signed on-board the founding team, Franee, Norlan, and Dioni. And also Dory for a very short period.

During this time, we also had other projects, from DWC and a few other personal gigs.

2009-2012. Fortunately, the Caresharing project was successful, we had revenue. I originally envisioned Simpleteq as a small, boutique consulting firm (yes, just like 37s), with only us in the team. So, everyone in the founding team gathered, and agreed to stop Simpleteq, and focus in Caresharing. We can not do it by ourselves.

So we took it to the next level, from a 12k monthly rent, to a 110k a month rent. Yes, that kind of next level.

I would say, this is the stage where startups are tested. We have grown from < 10 people, to almost 40. This is the time where we expanded our presence in Holland, with a new office and a whole new team. A time where we 10x our customers, and also 10x our revenue.

This is also the time, i've started investing time being part of the local community, in 3 areas, computer programming, startups and running.

This is the biggest company i have managed so far. And this is where i am now.


2013-2016. I noticed, i am at a start of a whole new cycle again, and there are also new stuffs to look forward to. So what are they?

Disclaimer: These are forward looking statements, and are my own, and not entirely of my company, but since i managed my company, it might as well be my company's, but i wouldn't say it entirely, since i am not the company. Get it?!


A common theme i noticed is, go global. Personally, i see myself travelling out of the country. Although Caresharing is in a foreign market, in Netherlands, but i feel like it's not yet global enough. So i see taking this company global, to at least one other market.

We are changing our core business model, that will make it easy to take our main product into new markets. We are also building new product lines that is global from the beginning.

I can see myself, going to places, to run, explore, and do business. I can also imagine, expanding the company we are now, into a global team.

Although global, Cebu is still the main base. I don't see myself migrating to a new country. Although acquiring another citizenship is in my mind, but only for technicality purposes, not for living somewhere else.

I know it's unheard of, for a local Cebu startup company to go global. But, why not. We're given an opportunity to do it, so why not take it? Why not?


I can also see myself being more involved in the local startup scene, in a much deeper capacity.

Perhaps, a co-working space?, Or, maybe a seed accelerator program? Who knows, the seeds have been planted, so it's only a matter of watering them, and making sure they get enough sunlight. I know, i'm crazy and delusional to say things like this, but i think all dreams must start somewhere.


Personally, this is probably the most i'm excited about. Ever since when i was young, i always dreamt of going to places far and unknown, at least to me. I can so imagine, running around HK, KK, Nepal, China, Japan, NZ, AU. Though i don't see myself running UTMB or WS100 in this next cycle, but who knows -- it might become a possibility.

At the moment, this is just a personal goal. And just like everything i do, why not make a business around it. I think, as i do more of these endurance stuffs, i might find a new business to do.

Onward and upward

One key take away i have learned, is that, the opportunities in the next cycle, are discovered and started in the previous cycle. When i look at a cycle point, i don't see myself making a pivot, or a u-turn, or a left-turn, but rather, an acceleration.

There you have it, new cycle, new opportunities.

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