10 Key Takeaways on Being Human and an Entrepreneur from TEDxForbesPark


Remember: By the Filipino, For the Filipino.

The eventual shift to entrepreneurship has been on my mind for a while now, and it is also on the minds of the many, I’m sure. Mr. Winston Damarillo, a renowned businessman, has been part of a group that supports young, aspiring Filipino indiepreneurs who aim to build start-ups that ultimately give back to the Filipino community.

One way those entrepreneurs do that is by identifying local industries that seem to be faltering, find ways to innovate within that industry, apply their own personal touch to the business, and recruit from the local workforce.


One example would be the Marikina shoe-making industry. Various startups featuring proudly Marikina-made footwear have recently sprung, and a large part of that growth can be credited to the numerous young entrepeneurs that aim to gradually give life back to the Marikina shoe-making profession. Those startups inspire me to not just think about profit when setting up a business, but to make helping fellow Filipinos a core of the business.


Keep on identifying ‘pain points’.

After Coins.ph’s  Mr. Ron Hose and Bitcoin’s Mr. Lorne Lantz sessions, I found one similarity to the way they started their businesses: they first identified the ‘pain points’ in people’s lives. They created solutions to real life problems.

Mr. Ron Hose immersed himself in far-flung communities in the Philippines and there was little to no way to transfer money between communities or to quickly pay bills. However, most people had phones to use Facebook on, and that’s where he found the opportunity for Coins.ph.

Mr. Lorne Lantz, on the other capitalized on the power and convenience brought upon by Bitcoin and Blockchain to launch financial technology startups to remit money for OFWs without the usual costs attached to it (which is usually a pain, especially when the remittance is pretty big).


Mr. Ron Hose, Co-Founder and CEO of Coins.ph


Mr. Lorne Lantz, Bitcoin Educator and Entrepreneur


Do something you love that makes people happy.


Oftentimes, we hear people say “follow your passion” in life, especially when it comes to putting up a business; but for Mr. Martin Lorenzo, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country, that is not enough. He suggests that, in order to truly put your business into the right trajectory for success, you must also make sure that the business you LOVE doing makes people HAPPY.

I agree with him. Let’s be real: passion can only keep a business going for so long, but if it doesn’t consistently make people happy, then it will be hard to keep up. It is important to stay true to the soul of the business, but it is also important to makes sure that it continuously offers products or services that put a smile on customer’s faces.


Establish the line between work and life.

Having a work-life balance can be pretty challenging for many Filipinos, but Mr. Katsumi Kubota found success in that aspect right here in our country.


Mr. Katsumi Kubota, Chief Operating Officer at Uniqlo Philippines


In Kubota-san’s 54 years of professional experience, he found his happiest work-life state when he transferred to the Philippines. One point for the House of the Philippines!

As the COO of one of the most well-loved retail brands in the country, his schedule must be very tough. Despite that, he dedicates his time to reading books, watching movies, drinking craft beers, and yes, listening to or watching Up Dharma Down.


This is how Kubota-san manages his personal work-life balance.

If a foreign COO can somehow manage his work-life balance; we can, too! It always boils down to planning, dedication, and understanding your physical and #emoshyonal boundaries.

Cultivate the cultural uniqueness of the Philippines.

Ms. Nicole CuUnjieng, a columnist for The Manila Times and a History Department member of Yale University, delivered an academic talk on the history of the Philippines and during that talk, I was reminded of the events in our history that led the country to being characterized, well, as the “Black Sheep of Asia”.


A ‘black sheep’ is used to describe an odd or disreputable member of the group. Come to think of it, yes, our country as compared to our neighboring countries in Asia, is pretty o d d. One example of being “odd” is that the Philippines has the largest Roman Catholic followers, while most neighbors are mostly Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, or Confucianists. In addition, we are pretty much one of the most adept countries in Asia in speaking English.

There are more reasons that made others tag our beloved archipelago as the “Black Sheep of Asia”, and personally, I believe Filipino entrepreneurs must cultivate this. Appreciate how culturally unique the Filipino people are and try to inject it in your businesses. It also serves a double purpose as you will be able to understand the Filipino market on a deeper level, and not just through demographics or technographics.

There you go! Those were some of the worthy ideas that I absorbed from the amazing speakers who spread them at TEDxForbesPark; and as a “sponge”, this is my way of spreading those ideas. Hopefully, you can apply some of them in your personal lives, whether on being a human, an entrepeneur, or both.  Let’s not stop our continuous search for learning, and whenever we learn, let’s not forget to share it with others. Who knows? You might just provide that ‘spark’ that they have been looking for.