Friday, June 29, 2007


Rice and Chips - A New Mindset for Filipino Entrepreneurs

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 11:24 AM
Comments: 1


Entrepreneur's Pains

The "Great Disconnect". That is how I describe the relationship between technology entrepreneurs like us and the capital market. Entrepreneurs engaged in value creations are left to sweating in the sun compared to those businessmen involved in quick profit and instant wealth (but less value according to me) enterprises such as real estate and construction, trading and gaming, etc.

The technology entrepreneurs are at the bottom of the pecking order and frowned upon their visionary business ideas. Inspite of that fact, those entrepreneurs continuously maintain their businesses even if lead to postponing the roll-out of their innovative business creations.

Cultural Bias

Because of the cultural bias against the risky business proposals of technology entrepereneurs, most of them tap the capital market in USA. And they made good. What is left is for the Philippines is the backdoor business process components, giving away the intellectual property creations of brilliant Filipinos to foreign countries. One example is the Filipino initiated Gluecode which was developed in the Philippines, funded and IPed in US and later sold to IBM .

Silicon Valley

But it is not so in so far as Silicon Valley is concerned. The Silicon Valley's business model is to develop and nurture technology startups. Still in its pioneering stage in the Philippines, Dennis Posadas, Filipino wrote a book about it.

Enter "Rice and Chips".

The book explains how Asian countries are using the Silicon Valley model to develop technology startups. Dennis enumerates the unwritten rules of innovation that have worked in Silicon Valley since the 1930s based on the works of scholars and other seminal works on technology entrepreneurship. Using these concepts as a benchmark. Dennis points out similarities and differences between Silicon Valley and Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea. He discusses concepts like proximity, Schumpeter's creative destruction, intellectual property, the importance of universities, publications and patents, and the role of stock markets in encouraging venture capital.

Dennis, The Author

Dennis Posadas, has worked as chip equipment development engineer, technology/business analyst and venture capital scout with one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world. Dennis received his BS Electrical Engineering degree from the University of the Philippines in 1991, was a sponsored Fellow of the Advanced Study Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Advanced Educational Services. He is presently a consultant to the UP-Ayala TechnoPark Business Incubation in UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

A much sought speaker on technology entrepreneurship, Dennis' schedule is quite full sharing his insights to students, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.

(Source : Rice and Chips : Technopreneurship and Innovation in Asia, Dennis Posadas

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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Creative Visualization For Entrepreneurs

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:13 PM
Comments: 0


Starting a business from scratch was not an easy job, really! Having been employed for almost two decades, thinking of running my own business was cool, but not it implementing it. Amidst all the internal resistance to move forward of becoming an entrepreneur, suddenly it happened - GSI was created! Creativity, an unseen force intervened.

Lacking a formal education and absence of a mentor to become an entrepreneur, I read "Entrepreneurship : A Contemporary Approach" by Donald F. Kuratko and Richard M. Hodgetts. The book was written to structure and illustrate the discipline of entrepreneurship in a manner that is unique and creative as entrepreneurship itself. In table from the book showed that in 1934, Schumpeter described an entrepreneur :"Innovation; Initiative". Then in 1978, Timmons' described them as : "drive/self confidence; goal oriented; moderate risk taker; focus of control; creativity/innovation".

The book profiles entrepreneurs as being creative and innovative. Creativity was thought to be as an exclusively inherited trait. However an expanding school of thought believes that creativity can be learned. In new ventures there often is a collective creativity that emerges from the joint efforts of the founders and team members and produces unique goods and services.

Long before entrepreneurship option was considered, I bought a book in Singapore entitled "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. It has been my textbook in learning how to visualize an image hours before a photo session and later the discipline of creative visualization was applied in conceptualizing business models for GSI.

Visualization, or creative visualization as it is sometimes referred to,
uses mental imagery to obtain an objective. The snapshot or a vivid mental picture of the desired thing is held firmly focused in the mind as if it had already happened.

The technique has been widely used in various fields such as the arts, sports, business, alternative medicine, religious practices, psychotherapy, psychical research, the mystical and occult arts, and self-improvement.

Creative visualization also is known by other terms such as "positive thinking," "positive imagery," "dynamic imaging," "creating imaging," "imaging," and so on.

The author, Shakti Gawain has been pioneering the field of personal development for over twenty-five years, she has been a best-selling author and internationally renowned teacher of consciousness. Shakti has facilitated thousands of individuals in developing greater awareness, balance and wholeness in their lives.

The book, which helped launch a movement, has been successfully used in the fields of health, education, business, sports, and creative arts for many years. Shakti explains how to use mental imagery and affirmations to produce positive changes in one’s life. The book contains meditations and exercises that are aimed at helping the reader or practitioner channel energies in good directions, strengthen self-esteem, improve overall health, and experience deep relaxation.

Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. There is nothing at all new, strange, or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute in fact. It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.

In the past, many of us have used our power of creative visualization in a relatively unconscious way. Because of our own deep-seated negative concepts about life, we have automatically and unconsciously expected and imagined lack, limitation, difficulties, and problems to be our lot in life. To one degree or another that is what we have created for ourselves. And that has to change thorugh creative visualization.

Next week, our innovation team at GSI will be undergoing internal training on creative visualization to prepare them to a new business model of the company. With some advice from Dennis Posadas and insights from his book "Rice and Chips" our innovation driven team, QUbTEk Labs, will be launched today and is on the road for a journey to global technopreneurship.

Finally, Oprah Winfrey shares the positive result of visualization - “I do believe, and I have seen in my own life, that Creative Visualization works.”

(Source :

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


On Resignations - Times are Changing

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 11:01 PM
Comments: 1


Wikipedia wrote of Bob Dylan " (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician, and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. Much of Dylan's most recognized work dates from the 1960s, when he became an informal documentarian and a reluctant figurehead of American unrest. A number of his songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems of the anti-war and civil rights movements. "

Raising concern about the proliferation of unprofessional IT workers, I am singing "The Times They Are a-Changin" :

The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

About two decades ago, Information Technology (IT) or Electronic or Data Processing (EDP) as it was called before, were composed of computer experts very dedicated to deliver a completed and quality program or system.

Then, an entry level programmer has to undergo a battery of test which include the dreaded Programmers Aptitude Test (PAT) aside from the usual IQ and Psychological exams. This rigorous selection process resulted to getting the cream of the crop. Therefore, their dedication to work.

Now, for such flaky reasons such as better opportunities, further study , etc. - IT staff resign. And what do they make of their tasks, projects and
deliverables? Well, they just don't care if the project/s they left behind turned to chaos.

Why would some suddenly resign? More often than not, the real reasons behind (irrevocable!!!) resignations are : audit of failing programs, missing documentations, and misrepresentations of project progress and losing face with their peers due to non-performance.

And what happens to the project? Of course, the company has to do a lot of fire fighting, debugging and damage control. What about the resigned staff? Oh, very easily they have moved to next job. (Most companies do not even require that the staff they hired are cleared from the previous company.)

So, what made it very easy to get a new job? During our era, everybody in the EDP industry knows everybody. From
Cobol, RPG, Fortran shops, the industry knew who were the top guns and the tweets as well. Today, the industry only knows what they read in the submitted resume or CV - and not the person.

But, some resigned staff are not so lucky. One government employee moonlighted as a programmer in an IT company,
then went AWOL, leaving an important foreign funded project hanging in the air. Today, the long arm of the law has caught up with him. He is found guilty of reneging his contract and now being ask to pay damages. Poor guy, he is blaming his lawyer for the misfortune. He should have realized some lawyers are law twisters and breakers. I know that for sure. Another IT worker who has been a certified trouble maker is still lucky - but maybe not for long. She is now with another private IT firm and given this worker's IT record - for sure she will end up in jail sooner than she thought - as disclosed by her former co-workers.

So, how do we put a stop to this mayhem? Simple. The industry associations such as PCS and
PSIA lobby for the professionalism of the IT practice in the Philippines. Assuming that the applicants are technically capable, hiring companies must conduct due diligence on their attitude for work, respect for team members, integrity and honesty.

Meanwhile, I would rather continue singing
"The Times They Are a-Changin" :

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

(picture from Wikipedia)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Page One of Discipline to Learn (D2L)

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 12:27 AM
Comments: 0


Albert Einstein, Time Magazine's Man of the Century and a German born American Physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity said, "I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

Well, school year 2007-2008 has just started. Some kids are lucky to have attended the first day of school with all fees fully paid, new uniforms, signature bags and fat allowance.

Some are not as lucky. They are either attending the classes on promissory notes or totally shut out from school. They became the out of school youth.

Soon, assignments become a daily activity and exams, too. Students will surely have a tough time focusing on their school work because of the many distractions inside and outside of the school. There are many of them - cell phones, Nintendo, online games (aka computer activity), TV ( as usual) and junk food.

It is therefore a challenge now on how to create a proper environment for the kids to study and learn.

What must parents like us do to ensure that our children are able to make the most of their
school work? Or, how do we make the out of school youth productive in our homes and communities?

With this scenario, there is a compelling reason for me to start writing and sharing my own experiences in making kids like school and indulge in creative activities.

Today, I have written the first of the many pages or posts of "Discipline To Learn" which I may shorten to D2L . This blog are for parents, teachers, tutors, guardians and concerned Pinoys who may wish to develop a program of creating an environment to read and learn.

The D2L is not just a destination for success but a journey towards a fulfilled life for
our kids. D2L is not a text book of information but importantly my own practical experiences, interviews from academically successful persons and observations from a helicopter view on how kids "love to learn".

D2L is the roadmap for the journey. It ensures kids are fit to learn.

I hope that this D2L initiative be a starting community for learning. I am encouraging readers to share your insights and experiences on this subject matter.

(Discipline To Learn (D2L) 2007 is a copyright of E. Ricalde)

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Thursday, June 7, 2007


Rice Eaten by Somebody Else

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:53 PM
Comments: 0


Incredible! I got from Google a very famous Pilipino quotation aired very often over a late afternoon program on a local radio station in the 60s.

I am not sure about the history of the quotation, but it became the lyrics of a Pilipino song. The quotation goes like this :

"Ako ang nagtanim, ang nagbayo at nagsaing, saka nang maluto'y iba ang kumain." (Pilipino version)

"I planted, pounded with a pestle, cooked the rice but was eaten by
somebody else" (English version)

This quotation reminded me of a tragedy - "we conceptualized, presented, designed, developed" - but was snatched in broad daylight - just like that!

Yes, equally incredible. Only in the Philippines.

(picture from
DAS0054 Corbis Royalty Free Photograph)

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My First Day At Brunei Shell Petroleum

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 6:56 PM
Comments: 0


Indeed, it was a long process of saying goodbye to each other. Living together in one roof for twenty seven years with my parents and siblings and seeing our relatives during fiestas and Christmas season every year, - parting was a very difficult situation to manage. We are all gathered at our gate for a longer time before we finally drove to the airport. With me were Tiyo Garding
driving the car, Tatay, Nanay and Jaime.

On board an old Philippine Airlines BAC One-Eleven flight to Bandar Seri Begawan Airport in Brunei, I left Manila as an OCW (Overseas Contract Worker) on that fateful Wednesday, July 29, 1981 - and have been an OCW for eight years till 1988.

Last night, I reminisced that day while I watching the movie "The Queen". There was a flashback of Lady Diana's wedding day which reminded me of a night at Brunei Shell Guest House near Panaga Club. Being my first day at Brunei Shell, I was welcomed by Lucio Cruz and Bobby Gonzales (Filipino FIC22 officemates), Conal Higgo (FIC Head), and Hubert Bol (Fic22 Head). Our animated discussions were interrupted by the TV coverage of royal wedding.

BBC News published this wedding day of 29 July 1981:
Charles and Diana marry

Crowds of 600,000 people filled the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.

The couple were married at St Paul's Cathedral before an invited congregation of 3,500 and an
estimated global TV audience of 750 million - making it the most popular programme ever broadcast.

Conal gave me a pot of flowering cactus plant and apologized for his dirty hands because he was busy during the day spray painting his son's bicycle.

Oh, I could still remember the smell of Brunei as we disembarked from the plane, the aircon at the Panaga Guest house and the plant Conal gave me.

A strange place .... strange people and to top it off .... a strange wedding -
made my first day in Brunei.

("The Queen" from Wikipedia, "The Wedding" from BBC News)

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Not So Cold December - Blame Climate Change

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 10:00 PM
Comments: 2


Last December, we experienced a warm holiday season after many centuries of cold northeast breeze. We went to bed without the thick blankets but with the electric fans whirling at top speed to provide cool air in our bedrooms. Well, blame it to climate change. And blame USA for causing climate change being the biggest contributor of CO2 and other green-house gas in the atmosphere.

Fifteen years ago, Makati to UP Diliman was a very cold place to travel during the months of December to early February. I had to wear a thick jacket while traveling in a red JD bus from Buendia to UP. And at 6PM, I have to wear the jacket again.

The classrooms did not have electric fans nor aircon. The northeast wind brings the smell of holiday season and some students doning turtle neck shirts.

Summer of this year was unusually hot. My indoor plants which has been very healthy since I bought them three years ago were wittled due to very hot weather.

Now, this unusual hot climate is a global phenomenon. In an article at, United Nations Environment Protection warned over global ice loss. The summary of the findings showed:

  • "Hundreds of millions of livelihoods will be affected by declining snow and ice cover as a result of global warming,
  • The risks facing people included losing access to drinking water, and rising sea levels,
  • Melting glaciers in Asia's mountains could affect an estimated 40% of the world's population, who rely on ice melt for crop irrigation and drinking water."

UN Warning Over Global Ice Loss
BBC News

Monday 04 June 2007

Hundreds of millions of livelihoods will be affected by declining snow and ice cover as a result of global warming, a UN report has warned.

The risks facing people included losing access to drinking water, and rising sea levels, the study concluded.

The findings were published by the UN's Environment Programme (Unep).

Unep chief Achim Steiner said the report showed that time was running out for political leaders to reach a global agreement on curbing emissions.

Mr Steiner made his call for action at the launch of the UN Global Outlook for Ice and Snow report, which was being held in Tromso, Norway.

"The report underlines that the fate of the world's snowy and icy places in a climatically challenged world should be cause for concern in every ministry, boardroom and living room across the world," he said.

"The missing link is universal political action. Today's report should empower the public to take their leaders to task [and] should empower them to ask how much hotter it has to get before we act."

"Feedback" Fears

The study warns of a range of threats that could destabilise ecosystems around the world, with potentially devastating consequences for hundreds of millions of people.

Melting glaciers in Asia's mountains could affect an estimated 40% of the world's population, who rely on ice melt for crop irrigation and drinking water.

It added that rising temperatures were already resulting in the thawing of permafrost in places such as Siberia. This was leading to the release into the atmosphere of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The fate of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which hold almost all of the planet's freshwater ice, needed to be better understood, the UN publication urged.

It said that if emissions of greenhouse gases continued unabated, the massive ice sheets were likely to become unstable as the world continued to warm.

Without taking measures to mitigate sea level rise, an estimated 145 million people, primarily in Asia, would be exposed to the risk of flooding.

The UN said that the International Polar Year, a 24-month global scientific study of the polar regions, would help shed light on how climate change is altering the ice dynamics in these regions.

The authors also warned that less ice and snow cover was leading to more of the Sun's energy being absorbed by the land and the sea, rather than being reflected back into space.

They said this "positive feedback" could accelerate global warming and result in more abrupt shifts in the climate.

Norway's Environment Minister, Helen Bjoernoey, said the comprehensive study into the state of the world's snow and ice presented a bleak prognosis.

"To me, it is particularly alarming to realise climate change can be a reinforcing process - global warming results in further global warming," the minister observed.

"As documented in the report, melting of snow and ice will in itself have severe consequences on nature and society."


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Monday, June 4, 2007


The Sky Is Blue - Lessons from GE 202

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 6:39 PM
Comments: 1


On a clear day, the sky is blue.

Every afternoon, it was customary that we would report the weather as we observed the sky from the window of our Grade V Section 1 classroom of the the Rafael Palma Elementary School, located at the corner of Vito Cruz and Zobel Roxas.

In 1965, we have a clear view of the western sky from the vantage point of our room at the second floor. So, we had reports on the type of clouds, direction of wind, temperature and breezy or humid. For the whole school year June to April, we were able to report cirrus and towering cumulus clouds during summer, dark skies with threatening nimbo-cumulus clouds during early June and July and totally dark skies during the storm season months of August to September. And of course, the overcast skies of December and cool weather of the Christmas Season that extended well up to Valentines day.

But we never explained why the sky was blue on a cloudless day. It was just blue, that's it. Almost three decades later, an answer arrived when I went back to school for graduate study.

At our MS Remote Sensing class in July 1994 , GE 202 - Introduction to Remote Sensing, conducted by Professor Ping Lopez of the Department of Geodetic Engineering at UP Diliman, he explained just as why on a clear day the sky is blue. From there on I liked the subject because it was so close to of one of my favorite activities - Photography. Only it discussed the science of light, reflection, absorption and dispersion among other subject matters. Obviously there was no composition.

The sky is blue due to Rayleigh Scattering. This occurs for atmospheric particles that are 0.1 times smaller than the radiation wavelength. Mathematically, scattering is inversely proportional to the wavelength raised to the 4th power. So, the sky is BLUE because the blue wavelength are scattered more than the longer wavelength of red.

I got that correct in my exam! The blue book showed it all.

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A Retreat Turned to Poetry Writing

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 1:23 PM
Comments: 0


Upon the invitation of Noel and Angge Soriano, I attended the retreat at Eliazo Hall, Ateneo de Manila University during the Holy Week of April 1995. While some of the participants stayed in, I did not.

Instead, I passed by UP Diliman, visited the Chapel of the Risen Lord and meditated near the Main Library. An excellent place to reflect, UP campus then was almost deserted except for some Ikot jeepneys.

In effect, it was two retreats in one. On the last day of the retreat, a Saturday April 15, 1995, while meditating and preparing for the evening mass at Eliazo Hall, I wrote a poem. My first.

To God, My Father

In silen
I turned to my inner self
There was nothing but emptiness;
I looked deeper still

And saw nothing but darkness.

But as I continued gazing
At the void
I saw myself mirrored
In stillness.
Before me was a child
In a frightening wilderness.

And lo, a ball of fire
Appeared in blinding brightness
That seared me with the
Truth of consciousness.

It was then that I
Communed with you, my Divine Highness,
My Highest Self
Reverberating in peacefulness.
At last, in this silence
My quest for everlasting life begins.

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  • "MaSci to GSI" is a compendium of experiences from childhood to present. M2G shares my insights and knowledge on education, hard work, integrity, honesty, creativity, transparency, and aspiration of a Filipino. M2G maps my journeys and adventures as a boy, student, dreamer and entrepreneur.
My Photo
Location: Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Efren, President/CEO of GSI, is an experienced public speaker and an avid tennis player, photographer, a beginner classical guitarist. He was the former Chairman of Philippine Geomatics Association (PhilGeo) and is an active member of other IT associations. He has a diploma in Strategic Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific, units in MS Remote Sensing in UP Diliman, BS Geodetic Engineering at UP Diliman and an alumni of Manila Science High School.







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