Jumping into Podcasting

It’s been over a week since I last posted here. Part of it was just taking a quick break after pushing to write every day for 30 days after not writing much if at all for years. There was also a couple of holidays after my birthday so took the time to unwind a bit.

But, I actually wrote quite a bit in preparing to record a podcast that I’ve been wanting to do for A-Game, our sports recovery brand. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I really love listening to podcasts and I’ve talked to Ellen for so long about doing my own eventually. So towards my birthday, I decided it was time to just start it, ready or not.

With A-Game, we have 33 elite athletes that serve as our brand ambassadors. We’ve worked with most of them since we launched the brand last year and it’s good because we have a strong roster of athletes across different sports and fields. With that, it also gives us a good starting point on potential interviewees for the show. Several of them though are either on their offseason break or vacation, while some are competing so it was very fortunate that we were able to get Don Velasco to squeeze us in his busy schedule to record our inaugural podcast.

There’s a bit of anxiety for me given that the team also discussed having a video component to it so we can also upload the episodes on Youtube or Facebook. I’m not comfortable being on camera so I kept thinking of ways not to do the video which was funny because I was the one who suggested it in the first place lol. But on a practical side, having the video is very useful so I just had to suck it up and do it.

I was very nervous the day before and early yesterday morning while waiting for Don to arrive. As they say, if you don’t get nervous doing something, you’re probably not doing that challenges you. I’ve always enjoyed talking to people one on one and learning from them, hearing their stories, picking their brains. But doing it in front of a camera and recording is in uncharted territory for me.

Doing the prep work definitely helped calm my nerves. I had over 30 questions prepared and visualised the interview unfolding over an hour which was our target. I thought at the very least we had to get to 40 minutes if it felt dragging at any point. Once we got started, the nerves were gone and things went pretty smoothy (I think) considering it was our first time doing it. Surprisingly, the hour flew by and didn’t feel long at all. I think we could have gone for at least another half hour but I wanted to be respectful of his time so I had to cut it at the hour mark. Don was a natural and we’ll definitely look to have him back down the line.

It was great to get the first episode done and out of the way. It was certainly a big load off my shoulders and my headspace. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so checking it off the bucket list officially once we launch the podcast for real in a couple of weeks. Many thanks to my wife Ellen for her encouragement. Every time I tell her about wanting to do it, she’ll always answer with ok go start it tomorrow or next week already lol. And shout out to our team in Antidote as well – Mariell, Astrid and Carina, for their work in prepping and shooting the episode.

Watch our for the launch of the Bring Your A-Game Podcast in a couple of weeks!




Day 30 of 30 – 33

Today marks my 33rd birthday so Happy Birthday to me!

For today, I wanted to just have a lunch and movie date with Ellen. We rarely get to have time for ourselves between being parents and the work we do so times like today are really precious.

First, our nieces dropped by the condo to surprise me with a giant canister of Maltesers from their trip to Subic. And if anyone knows me, I’m not that much into sweets but I cannot say no to Maltesers lol. Then we dropped them and Elian off at my mother-in-laws so we can go have lunch where we don’t have to worry about the food being baby-friendly. So we headed to Mendokoro Ramenba in Salcedo where we were the first customers for the day. And good thing too as the place got packed immediately after with still a long waiting line by the time we finished.

Next we watched Thor: Ragnarok in Powerplant Mall. It was our first movie date in months so it was nice to enjoy a good fun movie and eat movie food like we often did back then. We were also going to be buying some books in Fully Booked since they have a special discount for birthday celebrants but some of the books we wanted were not in that branch so we planned to just go to the branch in Greenhills the day after.

Then for dinner, we took all the kids to Shakey’s where I’ve been wanting to try the Scallop Pizza. They launched this earlier this year but I kept forgetting to order it until they removed it from the menu already to my deep regret (don’t judge, I love scallops and pizza lol). So, when they brought it back this month, it was automatic for me to want to eat there. Verdict: I liked the pizza but maybe not as much as my go-to pizzas in Shakey’s which are the Hi-Protein Supreme and Garlic Cheese. The Scallop pizza was nice but it did have this oily aftertaste that maybe means it’s not meant to be combined. Still good to have tried it though!

The branch we went too had a Fun Zone with some arcade games so they kids were excited but mainly for the machine where you can try to pick a stuffed toy with a claw. I managed to get a couple for Elian and Sui while not having the same luck for the 3 older kids much to their (and my) dismay lol.

All in all, it was a simple fun day which was exactly how I wanted to celebrate this year. And to end the day, I wanted to list down 3 things I’m particularly grateful for this year:

  1. Being married to Ellen for 5 years and having Elian in our lives.
  2. Having things to look forward to whether it’s a trip or a couple of brands we’re working on launching before the year ends.
  3. And finally, to finally (hopefully) figuring out what was causing my neck pain and tension headaches since last year. I’ll write about this more in a separate post but spoiler alert: it was the impacted wisdom teeth!

That’s it! Until next year! Cheers!

30-day Challenge

Day 29 of 30 – My Go-To Music for Focus

When I really need laser focus at work, I put on my headphones or earphones, launch Spotify and listen to The Glitch Mob. I never thought I’d be into EDM but ever since I discovered The Glitch Mob on the soundtrack of one of my favorite TV shows Person of Interest, I’ve been hooked. In an episode of the show, they used Fortune Days in a scene showing the main characters going through the same scenario over and over again as the Machine simulating the right moves for them to make for the best possible outcome.

I checked the show playlist on Spotify right after and found the song and since then, have been listening to the band for those times I need to hunker down and get something done. Of course, from time to time, I put on other playlists and artists depending on the mood but The Glitch Mob never fails to get my energy up and my creative juices flowing, that’s why it’s my go-to music for focus.

You can check them out for yourself in Spotify, I particularly like Fortune Days, Warrior Concerto, and We Can Make The World Stop.


30-day Challenge

Day 28 of 30 – Why Antidote Stopped Working with Clients

When I started Antidote back in 2008, the business model I developed was to work with clients on a monthly retainer basis to provide brand consultancy, strategy, and design. Now, I mentioned previously that one of the things I no longer wanted to do was to do client servicing, mainly because I felt that there was little control on my part in terms of how the ideas I come up with and deliver to them are actually executed. So it wasn’t the ideal setup but I also felt at that point that I was not ready with the skills needed to create my own brands.

With the goal of creating as many brands as possible, I thought creating brands for clients was an acceptable compromise. I’d be able to create several brands, while also learning the other aspects of building a business around the brand. It’s almost like getting paid to take an MBA because I did learn a lot from pretty much all the clients I worked with for about 4 years. The diversity of the businesses  I worked with in both product categories and business models really broadened my perspective and helped prepare me for what was to come.

Now, there were certainly several challenges in doing the work. Several of my clients are not so familiar with marketing, let alone branding so the process of educating them while on a tight deadline to develop concepts or plans for them was very difficult. Also, since most of my clients are SME’s run by families, I’ve often had to play the role of mediator between family members (both of which are my clients technically), both regarding the work and even regarding personal matters. There are days full of frustration, but as long as I was learning something, I was ok with “eating shit” as Garyvee would say.

However, what drove me to make a crucial change in Antidote is realising that for whatever reason, unfortunately, my clients are not aligned to the mission of Antidote to create brands that can reach other countries from the Philippines. It’s not for lack of trying that’s for sure. I kept preaching the importance of branding for the country, and that they’ll also make money doing this even if it takes a bit longer to get establish things. Most of them though paid lip service to that, worked on the new brand (but not at the full expression of the concept due to other considerations. And I can’t really blame them for their mindset of maximising their opportunities selling to the masses here. At the end of the day, it’s their business and their right to do as they please.

On the same token, Antidote’s mission is my mission. All the work I was doing was going to be for naught if none of those brands are inching their way to accomplishing the WHY of the company. Antidote was growing too in terms of monthly clients and billings at that time so the decision to pivot away from working with clients was not done lightly. But for me, maybe it was naive or idealistic, but I can’t give my best while also sacrificing my own goals. It just didn’t make sense anymore.

By 2012, I started informing our clients about this shift and that we won’t be renewing or extending our contracts with them past the end of the year or when their contracts expired whichever comes first. We’ve also launched Lagu at the start of the year in order to start transitioning us to creating and building our own brands. Some of our clients understood it, while some didn’t agree it was the right idea. It was also hard having to turn down several inquiries from potential new clients especially since we were getting inquiries primarily due to the work we’ve done already and referrals from our past clients.

But, aside from that, the decision actually energised myself and the team. In the years that followed, we’ve created more brands like Early Bird Breakfast Club in 2013, Spud Buds in 2014, and A-Game in 2016, and several more in the pipeline. Don’t get me wrong, things are still hard and managing our own brands comes with its own set of challenges. We’ve made mistakes along the way and stumbled from time to time. At the end of the day, what matters is that everything is on our hands whether we succeed or failed, achieving Antidote’ mission is completely up to us.

30-day Challenge

Day 27 of 30 – Happy Halloween 2017

This is the 3rd time we’ve celebrated Halloween since we moved to the new office. The team did a good job decorating the office and preparing for a belated Mooncake dice game for the kids. we started by having the kids do trick or treating in the condo then later on at the office where they approached each person in Antidote (Antidoter? Antidotean? Lol) and got a pack of treats.

Then finally we had them play the dice game where more treats awaited those who are lucky enough to get the right roll of the set of dice. It was the first time we did this in the office so I had to guide every turn and check on each result to announce if someone won a prize. It was quite fun for the kids and perhaps we can do it for the team next year too. Elian was more focused on eating the very first snack he won as well as sampling the snacks that the other kids won. Sometimes I wonder where he got his voracious appetite lol.

Kudos to the members of the team who dressed up in costumes as well. We promised them a prize for best costume but forgot to award anyone haha. We’ll do it next week for sure.

Given that my birthday is practically on Halloween, I think we’ll make it a point to really go all out in celebrating it better. Ellen did a great job dressing up Elian as Jon Snow though with his hair and how cheerful he is, he looks more like Sam Tarly. Next year we both have to be in costume too. And I’ll be challenging the team to really transform the office into a haunted house which should be nice given we have two floors to work with.

All in all it was a great way to end the work week and give the kids a fun afternoon and a load of treats!

30-day Challenge

Day 25 of 30 – Aerosmith, My Favorite Band of All Time

Back in the early 90s when I was in grade school, I got introduced to rock and heavy metal music by some of my close friends. I was instantly hooked as I listened to cassette tapes (remember those?) of some of the best rock bands from Guns N Roses, Metallica, AC/DC, KISS, and so many others, including of course Aerosmith.

I loved everything about the band and found myself collecting their albums, singing their songs, and learning all I can about them especially Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Their music videos were legendary too. One of my best friends, William, had a VHS (remember those too?) of the making of the videos from their album Big Ones. The video for Crazy was one of the most memorable with my then celebrity crushes Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler both featured in the video. Alicia was also in Amazing (still my favorite song ever) and Cryin’ with that iconic bridge jumping scene that ends with Alicia flipping the bird.

There are so many great songs (that I still listen to on repeat on Spotify regularly) but here are my top 10 of all time:

  1. Amazing
  2. Livin’ On The Edge
  3. Crazy
  4. Dream On
  5. Cryin’
  6. Blind Man
  7. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
  8. Angel
  9. Walk This Way
  10. Dude (Looks Like a Lady)