Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Of Mavens and the Common Ground

Last week I went to an event hosted by fundsupermart.com called "What & Where to Invest in 2007" . I'm not exactly a "hardcore" investor, as probably most of the attendees were (nor do I have that kind of money to invest anyway.. yet), but I was glad to have met Mr Warren Mira, owner of http://pinoymoneycentral.com/ . He was the dude who posted about the event in the pinoyITdotSG group. We both belong to another yahoo group called philmusicsg, which you've already guessed, is a group for Filipino musicians in Singapore.

I got off work 30mins early so I could get to the venue in time. I did get there in time, only to realize that the event starts about an hour later, after a small buffet just outside the auditorium. There weren't any food yet when I got there, but a line quickly emerged when one of the bee hoon trays landed. Anyway, I walked around looking knowledgeable and all-knowing, getting brochures from the banks represented in the talk. They contain some important looking graphs and pie-charts in it, so I took as much as I can, and nodding my head as I went from one table to the other. I got the act rolling until Allan (also from pinoyIT) arrived. We chitchatted for a while and realized that I really am with the wrong crowd lol. Warren arrived a little late, but I saved a seat for him because I owe him for giving info about the event.

Before any of you starts asking what the hell I was doing there, well, I was just.. curious. It doesn't hurt that I have a tiny tiny tiny.. tiny UITF investment with BDO (Banco De Oro Phils) that I tried exactly a year ago, and today has earned.. (drum rollllllll...)... a whopping... 8%!! Hahaha! Hey, I was just experimentin' man, besides, 8% isn't that bad. Anyway, so now you know. I figured it's time to "expand" my knowledge in the subject, so I went. And Warren was very helpful in introducing to me some new investment vehicles that I have not heard of (or paid attention to) before. He is so helpful in fact, that when I told him I need to read up (again) first before I ask stupid questions, he replied that he's ok with stupid questions. Cool!

Anyway, the point of all this is, he reminds me of a group of people mentioned in "The Tipping Point" . The book refers to them as "Mavens", those who are knowledgeable about a specific expertise, and are willing to help. They don't mind going out of their way, they are just driven by the need to inform and help other people. Warren is in some way like that. He told me his hobby is "to make and grow money." Cool dude. I hope to learn more about investing from him. The good thing is, he's willing to teach and help :) (That reminds me, he's sharing some of his investment books with me, and I in return, to share some of my porn non-fiction books.

"The Tipping Point" is a book by Malcolm Gladwell wherein he refers to a point, that uh.. tips. Joke. Seriously, it refers to a moment or point in which something suddenly gains popularity or common acceptance, as in an "epidemic", in sociological context. He explains that for this epidemic to occur, you need a "Connector", "Maven", and a "Salesman". A Connector is someone who has access to a lot of people, and in effect, has a greater potential to affect a larger audience. The Maven I've described already. The Salesman is someone who has the ability to exert influence, either through persuasion or anything that can make the other person change his view or stance on a particular subject (or product). I highly recommend the book to anyone who just wants a good and informative read. But the reason I mentioned this is because I met a Connector, and Salesman, also last week lol.

I mentioned in my previous post and mentioned "Arman" who lent me his IC to submit to the gadget contest. The rules stated that you need to be a PR or Singaporean to submit to the site. Actually I learned of that contest rule a little late, after I've done my program. So submitting through the site became a problem, it won't accept a FIN number. I called up Arman and he didn't hesitate to give me his IC. I recall his question over a phone conversation after giving me his IC.. "So what's this for again?" to which I replied, "Some contest." He said "Ok." If I were some con artist cum serial killer he's probably in deep shit right now haha. Anyway, when I won the gadget, it was obvious that I need to bring him along in case they try to match the IC with a name. He is part of the "team" that built the gadget after all, so reasoning my way out should not be a problem, in case it becomes a problem. Fortunately it didn't, and I just signed some paper indicating that I received the prize, and we're good. It turns out though, that Arman has a friend inside Microsoft Singapore, and decided to let him know that we're in the building, probably to catch up on some news.

Incidentally, this friend of his is a marketing manager in Microsoft. He took us to Microsoft's pantry, complete with billiards table and a nice view of the harbor. He said he was impressed that I won the contest, and I said thanks. The conversation got more serious, between the three of us, as if some mischievous plan was emerging. He asked me if I want to make big money. I said yes.

Everything after that is.. confidential.

HAHAHA, sorry.

Anyway, this dude has a vision, and you can tell from the tone of his voice that he believes he's on to something big. You can't help but be swayed by it. Do note that I am a very difficult person to sway. Officemates wage wars, gossips, and stuff, left and right, and I go to lunch alone at Expo. My boss tells me to do one thing, I do the other, and try to convince him it's the correct solution. So yeah, getting me to agree with you would be difficult. But since he is a bonafide Salesman (marketing manager), and started with do I want to make big money, he had me. Haha! (That's a lie, I have non-profit dreams for this world of ours, believe me, believe me... you're eyes are getting dizzzzyy). So that's a Salesman for you. And the Connector, hmm, we almost forgot about Arman..

Well, he got me connected to the Microsoft guy, which opened up some possible opportunities. Then I later realized that he was also the one who gave me the contact number to I-Remit, where his wife works, when I needed to remit money to some pension plan insurance thing (shut up, I'm not that old). And he also referred me to Yahoo to check domain and hosting for an upcoming project (ok I'm pushing it, let's just make him a Connector shall we? :P).

So after all this Connector, Maven, and Salesman talk, what's the "epidemic" ? And is there something "tipping" ?

Well, there's no tipping point here. I just mentioned them because these people reminded me of these groups of people mentioned in the book. Haha! So you think you read until here, in vain? I'm afraid so. Unless you find my stories entertaining lol. Oh you poor reader.

How much more can you take?

I remember this guy from the plane, going back to Singapore, who sat next to me. Before we even took off, I knew I wasn't going to get a good sleep. He started off with "Do you work in Singapore?" in Tagalog. I replied, "Yeah". Then he asked, "How much do you make?".

What nerve to ask me how much I'm making. I just replied "Enough I guess."

"Enough is not good enough," he replied.

He has a point, but the way he's approaching the conversation is not getting me on his side, if he is trying. Well it turned out that he was trying. He went on to discuss that he owns many businesses, both in the Philippines and in Singapore, and he can afford to travel back and forth. Why is he telling me this? He was trying to convince me that my IT job is under a hierarchical employer-employee setup, and with that I could never get to that "freedom" status in terms of salary that he is enjoying as a businessman who owns a business. Don't get me wrong, my mom owns a business. My dad owns a business. I dream of doing business in the future too. But at the moment I'm being a very passionate programmer (and musician) who will someday change the world (yeah laugh, suck it up). This guy was giving unsolicited advice, one that I didn't need right now, which is to abandon my work, and start a business instead. He went on to discuss about the books he's read (which I've read as well, those Kiyosaki stuff). From the looks of it, he's consumed by it like a madman. It's time for me to retaliate.

"How old are you?" I asked.

I have this technique of gauging people's real age. You look at their hands. Not in their eyes. Females are most prone to this age-wrinkling hand skin correlation. With guys it's a tougher guess. But you can make a good guess to within five years. My guess was he was 40 something.

"I'm 35."

I highly doubt that. He rolled his eyes and took a good three seconds before he answered.

"Well, I'm 25. Not much time to play around, but I guess a few more years of riskin' might do me some good."

I was actually 26 at that time, my birthday was December.

"I'll try to make a run and do programming like hell, and who knows, I might come up with a product that will sell millions someday. I love what I'm doing right now, and I think you do too. Let's just leave it at that and we'll see when I get to 35. I might regret not taking your advice, but I'd regret more if I don't do what I'm trying to do right now."

"And what is that?" Man this guy's not letting up.

"Uh, programming. There's also this contest I joined that will help me get attention with Microsoft"

At that time I was sure as hell that that contest is not pushing through because of the weak no response. Of course I did win, but the latter didn't happen lol.

"And I also have bands I'm passionate about. I'm hoping someday we'll make it big."

The word "band" got him really interested. It happens that he helped produce concerts for Filipino pop artists and some bands like "Side A". He has seen underground bands make it big, and has followed them all the way to their stardom. But it was a long time ago, and he has abandoned that life. I earned a little respect though when I mentioned I was in a band, because he's very much into it, and he knows the passion people put into it, when you're really into it. He asked if he could listen to one of our tunes, and I played him my undying song called "Undying" by Forgetting Luna. We had common ground.

"You should pursue this band of yours. Can I have your number just in case? I can be of help someday."

The transition from hate to respect is a very puzzling emotion, especially when it happens within two seconds.

The guy never called me, and I forgot to get his number. But I learned one good lesson during that flight, we all have common ground. We just have to spend a little more time than usual with that other person.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


After bitchin' about the gadget contest here and here, something good finally happened.. too good in fact :)

I never thought they'd give in bwahahaha! It's an HP iPAQ rw6828, just as the contest promised. In this case though, it wasn't exactly a contest. Because, uhh, I was the.. uhh.. only contestant? From all of Singapore? Bwahahaha! Loner-geek action at its best! o-o *adjusts imaginary specs*

So yeah, I want to thank my colleagues "Buttercookiez" (designer) and Arman (lent me his IC number so I can submit to the site lol) for helping me. Props to Engr Edwin Sarmiento for replying to my inquiries when I had trouble submitting the gadget to the contest site. And of course, Microsoft Singapore, for hosting such a big event lol.

Anyway, look at this awesome view from Microsoft office's 22nd floor in One Marina Blvd..

High times! ;)

Vista is coming out next week. Please download my gadget here if you're getting Vista. I'll post about my iPaq adventures soon :)

Let's all learn from this experience...

It pays to be a persistent-pain-in-the-ass-geek. Bow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Here's a lousy performance from our company dnd (dinner and drunk) last Friday. There's more, but Mr. Peter Lazy Boy has not encoded the rest of the videos yet. I'll post as soon as he uploads them..

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Kind Patience

*An email from Best of Gadgets..

Dear Chris,

Our apologies for the wait. The Organiser has come to a resolution regarding
the campaign. We will be contacting you again within these few days to
furnish you with more details.

Thank you for your kind patience. Have good day ahead!

best regards,
The "Best of Gadget" Team


Funny I was joking with my boss the other day about this contest, and told him I won't mind if they just give me a Microsoft T-shirt or something, for the effort. He shot back almost immediately..

"You should ask for more than that! A dinner with Bill Gates or something!"

They could give me a Microsoft ballpen for all I care. I just want to put something on my resume man.

Anyway, my kindness and patience can only go so far. Besides, there's another contest giving away Zune here. It involves submitting some freakin' documentation though, so that'll have to wait until I get the inspiration to do documentation. Something tells me there'll be more contests of this sort coming in the next few months. Hmm.

And I'm busy tinkering with maps at the moment. Exciting stuff!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Keeping Up With Technology

With technology moving at a feverish "shrinking" pace, we seem to have forgotten how the "older" generation will cope. Case in point, I saw this uncle in the MRT, texting from his cellphone on one hand, and holding a magnifying glass on the other..

And if that ain't cool enough, I could've sworn his phone was ringing "Tokyo Drift (Fast and Furious)" when he took it out of his bag.

Yes, they're coping very well.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Disturbed Individual

You just gotta love team meetings. It's an opportunity for everyone in the team to be aware of what everybody's doing... yeah... LIKE I CARE!!

Anyway, I always put on that sincere and attentive look during meetings. It helps if you have a pen and notebook, and making it look like you're actually writing down important stuff.

There's ten more pages of these but I won't bore you. But do "psycho-doodle analyze" me if you find anything disturbing.

Dinner and dance tomorrow night. I just wanna get it over with.

"... and live performances by Flooding Backyard" oh you're so gonna regret it.

I just finished reading "Wikinomics". There's no groundbreaking stuff in there. Mostly yada yada. There's this other book I bought that is serving me very well though...

Time for some seriiioouuus actionnnnnnnnnnn bwahahahaha!

Please vote on a domain:


Deeply disturbed and disillusioned,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm a 2 point something

You know those movie ratings indicated by stars, telling you whether it's a good movie or not? Well, I feel like a bad movie..

Windows Live Gallery..

Yes, I'm being cynical again. I envy you so much for not caring :P

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Seryosong post muna..

I have a dilemma. I like the company I'm working for. I didn't intend to like it, but since that is the case now, it has become a problem for me. I am in that usual "money versus nice job" situation. As much as I want to move on to find a new job (with higher salary), I am held back by some stuff that I think would be difficult to find in any other company. Ok that's very subjective, but for me there's a great deal of opportunity here that's too important to ignore. One of which is the opportunity to be in the forefront of technology. Especially one that's taking the heat.

I am currently working for a company that handles a lot of media. The branch I am assigned to has a lot to do with DRM. DRM is a copy protection technology that limits playback of media depending on the license you purchased. If you've been reading some geek news lately (everyone's so hyped with the new iPhone, I'm buying one btw, 2008 bwahaha), DRM is currently taking the heat, Microsoft included. There's too much free stuff out there that it's becoming pointless to implement this aging technology. Though there have been a lot of suggested alternatives, none has really come up to replace DRM as of yet. Even Microsoft is silently (or obviously) dumping DRM, deciding to ignore it in the new Zune player.

Whatever this waging war leads to, it's exciting to be part of it, and see how the company would try to restructure itself whatever the outcome, if it ever happens. Of course it won't be swift (there's some comfort in knowing that haha), but being part of it would be a great deal for me, and my nerdy career.

Another important thing to consider with this company is the opportunity to (potentially) have an effect on a large audience. Since we are part of MediaCorp after all (ok it's just Singapore, but what the hell), it's not very difficult to insert some new creative/innovative software solutions here and there and wait until someone from the hierarchy notices. It's like being in a startup company that isn't really a startup company (did that make sense?). Ok two things with startup companies that immediately springs to mind: 1) Tend to be innovative to be competitive (though we're not really competing, MC is monopoly), 2) Has a lot of room for improvement (this one stands out for our case). I still remember vividly in a company meeting, Mr Mock wants a "YouTube in our phones"; I like bosses who push the envelope. I also remember messing up in some IP filtering software and only then did I realize the scope of what I did - people cannot stream from the Mediacorp online radio stations. It helps if your boss is not crippled with a narrow mind, which thankfully is my case. Anyway, since Vista is around the corner, focusing on a better delivery framework using WPF should be in order. Even MediaCorp would be interested in that.

Last but not the least, nobody seems to care if I come in late in the office hahaha! Ok, people are actually noticing (and it's probably me who's not caring) but I'm just too thick-skinned (and lazy) to come to the office earlier haha. I am delivering in time after all (now THAT is thick-skinned to the max). It's either I love being a renegade, or I hate being professional, or probably both. Whichever the case, if I get fired doing this, I won't regret it haha.

So going back to my dilemma.

Yeah it's still a dilemma. I have a few more months to mull over this. There's no guarantee my contract will be extended anyway. Did I mention I'm contractual? What the hell's my problem???! :P

Oh and if you've read this far, thanks for the time and patience :)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Stuff I Miss

I didn't realize how much I missed home until I went back there last December.

christmas tree..

my mess..

it's still running..

my mess again..

the mirror..

the new U-turn shaped stop light signal, only in the phils..

forgetting luna.. never forgotten..

my mess again..

the sala upstairs, i rarely watch here..

pirated dvds.. there's another layer behind the ones you're seeing..

upstairs, leading to staircase..

looking down..

guest room downstairs, where i watch dvds until the wee hours of the morning..

yo yo beauty..

fender bent a bit, courtesy of some a$$hole along coastal road..

the manger figurines..

our rowdy neighbors..

the terrace, where i read stuff. cool breeze here..

stuff from dubai sent by my cousin..


staircase to my room..


me getting ready for my cousin's wedding..

cavite traffic..

makati traffic..

marie digging on squidballs..

me digging on squidballs..