Saturday, January 31, 2009

The resolution



history is studied so that we may learn. It is time to go back to school for most of us.

"For the most part, expanding the market base will not be an easy task. Therefore it will employ a lot of sacrifices, a lot of trials and tribulations and finally a short-term negative effect for us because we should factor-in the possibility of mistakes, blunders and bubus along the way. But the ultimate bottom line should be to become pro-active and not reactive to a situation. Two years ago, we apprehended that the Korean market is a dying market because it is changing its behavioral pattern. Did we choose to address the situation? We did not. And here we are with less time and even lesser resources to deal with it."

"But once again, I would like to reiterate that I hope that our opinions will not be taken against us so that we could move in with greater ease. I hope that we will not be judged as harsh simply because we do not share the same opinion as with the Chairman’s “trusted” people."

......... excerpts from my marketing report April 25, 2008

So I guess the problem is, as it always was, is that we never move forward because there is no resolution to the problems we face. Most of my managers are very much intimidated by our existing market… a market that has made us into what we are now. But I always say, like all things, good or bad, the end always come.

Like any other business, the dependence on a single market segment is always bad. The market segment dies, the business dies with it. Any company therefore needs to be “market flexible” in order to sustain operations and therefore sustain its existence.

In our case, our dependence on one market segment ultimately brought us to this state of “emergency” as the chairman calls it.

The bottom line, despite the fact that the market segment grew with a positive 8.7% growth rate in 2007, our market share shrunk by 11.5%, there must be something wrong with that. Market flexibility is one thing, protecting and sustaining a supposedly “captured” market is another. Somebody apparently did not do his job.

If this market needs protection, then so be it. I am apparently thought of by my staff as a person with a “dangerous mind”, perhaps given that I think out of the box. But then again, that is why I am vice president… because I refuse to be complacent and play things safe. Danger is nice, calculated danger is better.

So I decided to make a compromise. A subtle war between old school and new, between complacence and risk-taking, I met with the chairman earlier and discussed a new proposal to break the marketing team in half. Develop a competitive spirit between the two teams and see who comes home with the bacon. Outputs shall be judged in a six month period in terms of increase in percentage from identified cluster market segments…

Two of my staff said that it might be misconstrued as a declaration of “war” and might put a strain on internal relationships. I agree, but then again I am in that state of mind. I simply was too amiable to everyone for the past years and too worried about being sensitive to others’ feelings. But the price of which will have to be suffered by this organization, so therefore there is only two paths to choose from, and I choose to take the path less taken.

The chairman said yes.

What I was expecting…




As luck or fate would have it, two members of the marketing were down yesterday. One just went through surgery, the other for an emergency. Although one of my staff just arrived from overseas the night before and I had the chance for a briefing before we had the marketing seminar meeting.

I am quite apprehensive of his arrival knowing his personality type so I forewarned him of the things to come… and sure enough, there we were…

The minute my marketing consultant started interviewing him about his marketing background, or lack of it, he sets off with the reply, “before I answer you, I have to know who you are and what you do”. Sort of like “what gives you the right to ask about who I am”? I just simply retorted that he will have to trust the vice president’s decision on this one.

Honestly speaking, if I’d have it my way, I’d keep the marketing team under wraps and simply propose a face-off between the factional sides and be judged ultimately with results. But then again, that would probably break the chairman’s heart. But then again, that may be the only recourse we have left to save what we still have.

Monday, January 26, 2009

BATTLE WEARY


When enough is not enough…

Working in a Korean company is both easy and difficult, much like the fact that I am both lucky and cursed.

Five years ago, upon my promotion as Executive General Manager, things all of a sudden changed for me as an executive of this company. My first out-of-town trip as EGM allowed me a glimpse of the difference between being a manager and an executive when our branch manager who incidentally three months prior treated me without much respect, personally fetched me at the airport to congratulate me on my promotion.

A year later, I would once again be promoted, this time to Vice President upon the announcement of the outgoing President’s resignation. The year that would follow would be the glory years both for me and this company. I had the almost total leeway of developing and implementing programs that probably helped in stabilizing what we used to have… and what we are now steadily losing.

A year of self-sufficiency and stability for us as a company, and a year of impending chaos for the corporation, made my life too sophisticated as the corporation expanded into businesses that is not within the core competencies of the people involved. Ultimately, the series of “bad” investments will compromise the financial and structural integrity of this organization.

As things went from good to bad, the position I hold eventually turns more significant as the primary damage control officer. This significance is of course interpreted as power, and most likely a threat… and every “bungled up” executives’ nightmare.

Yes, I must admit, that intelligence and significance is relative. Perhaps my significance is attributed by the fact that… well, you know where I am getting at. I’m a short guy, but I’m a giant among midgets and I rather feel uncomfortable by this fact.

My one year of independence as an executive did not last very long as I was pitted since then with counterparts… Korean counterparts to be exact whose tactic was primarily to strip me of my people’s loyalties by buying them off and creating conflicts left and right. Those were the hard times.

Eventually as eventualities would go, I am still here and they are not. Like most other things, sustainability and consistency are the keys to a successful career. Feigning intelligence, concern and value is very hard for one who is not genuinely equipped with such.

And in all these battles the last four years of my career, it is not I alone that suffered and is in possession of battle scars. It is the organization, it is the company and it is the business. I thought that last year’s hoax would have been the final episode of such useless and unnecessary battles… I thought that I have finally earned my rank with finality. Apparently, I am wrong.

I really do not want to waste my time in something as petty as position wars… I have proven myself more than enough and I am where I am because of what I’ve accomplished, not because I am Korean. But I am nevertheless challenged and will take this on wherever it takes me, if only to be able to work efficiently for the sustenance of this organization… without hindrance, without opposition and without the irrelevant concerns.

Note: A year ago, or to be exact 364 days ago, I wrote a blog rant detailing a gripe that made my head spin. http://casieplanet.blogspot.com/2008/01/we-are-at-it-again.html I can't believe ... as the title suggests, i'm at it again.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The RISK that is worth taking…


Marketing, marketing, marketing….

It is the headache that “somebody” in this office deserves. But it has to be somebody with enough competence to actually make a marketing plan and supervise the execution. It won’t be me! And it certainly is not anyone in this office since no one here has the competence for it. So, I did the next best thing. I hired a marketing consultant who shall attempt… I repeat, shall attempt to teach our people a thing or two about marketing. That is a very daunting task.
So despite the fact that the Chairman has not formally approved of this hiring, I went on ahead and did the hiring anyway since time is of the essence. Anyway, what’s a percentage of my salary as consultancy fee if it will mean a possible additional lease on the jobs of our significant employees? It’s a new year, so I guess that I’d better shift my attention from gripes to action and with finality see things through… but this is going to be a challenge.
Last week, I’ve set an interview for the marketing team members with the consultant and as I have earlier posted in this blog, it was quite amusing. I already know that not one of us has the competency for this tasking assignment but all that we were looking for were the potentials. And the potentials were? Not much actually, but since we’ve weathered every single storm over the last seven years, from time to time rose to the occasion and clashed head-on with every single challenge despite our inadequacies, I still believe that there is hope… but only if we work hard enough. Or if all of us admit and recognize that we need help.
So on we went to the workshop seminar phase. Elementary, I thought. But yes we were elementary in this field and we were just getting what we deserved. To top it of, it was a bunch of stubborn, spoiled and irresponsible elementary children. My so-called marketing director did not pass his assignment for the day and failed to wear the proper business attire. So did my Chinese marketing manager. It was as I had expected a sham in the making.
I must admit, I was quite pissed off. I have a swollen left foot due to an aggravated wound playing golf and I was wearing slippers for two days but I came in that day with a suit and torturous shoes. Ok, so there was nothing immediate that I could do about it but bear… uuhhh sssaaaahhh!!!
But then I kept remembering that I’m personally paying for this seminar…. My hard-earned always-never-enough salary… ooohhhh sssahhh!!!
I wish that I could spill more beans but I think that I’ve said enough. I’ve just written a memo for the marketing team, had a meeting with them and the other managers, discussed with a friend about it, and now the ill-feeling has subsided enough and has become tolerable… for the meantime.
The chicharon is good and so is the puto seko beside me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

split screen study

I'm just dying for a new music video but I don't have much time lately... so since I've made about three versions of this maroon 5 cover, i figured that it'll make a good split screen study when i do make that new video. In the line up is vertical horizon's "you're a god" and "everything you want".


video

employee migration…

Over the last seven years of this company, managing employee turn over has always been a problem for all managers. As most management articles would say, the frequency of turn over is reflective of management adequacy so much like the number of failing marks in a classroom is reflective of a teacher’s competence.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve fired ten performers from the company for posing nude in an internet adult site and some of them were hired by a competitor. I guess that it is true that one man’s loss is another man’s gain. This company has made them competent performers and now another company is reaping the proficiency of their performance. However, I am quite sure that I will be looking at this in hindsight and I will be saying that the decision is correct and is only reflective of the over all package of this company’s wholesome family entertainment image. I guess that it is much more like one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Given this hard economic times, I fully sympathize with employees who desire better opportunities and grabs at it for the sake of extra income. Who doesn’t want extra income anyway? I’ve not had a salary increase in the last year and a half and I can only gripe about it in my blogs. But I suppose that I am lucky that my options remain wider as compared to most.

My former technical director is now production supervisor in a cruise ship. He arrived in Manila last October and has left for another contract yesterday. His text message bidding me farewell is a much welcomed affirmation that I was at least a good boss and a good friend.

Three other performers are rumored to be on the path of migration to greener pastures. That’s not new… it has always been the case that top performers will always look at expanding their horizons much like all of us. Eventually, they either make it or not. Eventually, like prodigal children they will either return to us or not. Bottom line is that this company is a very good stepping stone towards a more lustrous career in the industry and that it should not be taken against them.

Over the last seven years, I’ve seen people come and go… bid farewell only to return… lost forever… lead a happy and productive life outside of this company or gripe everlasting, amen. And as they come and go or stay, they have become part of this theatre’s institutional memory and their contribution is sacred for me.

Knowing how we’ve contributed to the betterment of individual lives should be in itself a reward and that in itself already guarantees that this institution shall remain… or if we do perish, at least the reputation as a good training venue shall, I hope, remain.

The other bottom line is that no matter what happens, we always weather the storm anyway and we endure… Times are hard indeed. If people choose to stay or go, the ultimate decision will be theirs.


the 2008 company anniversary outing in calamba, laguna

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amazing cebu christmas party in 2007

Monday, January 19, 2009

a chance for redemption



As I worked on the golf pictures taken earlier in the day for this blog, my assistant engineering director rushed into my office to report that somebody has been caught by our security personnel attempting to move a large amount of copper wires out of the building. When I asked who it was, he mentioned the name of one of our employees, our stockroom custodian.

Earlier in the week, I signed a memorandum for this employee in reference to him being caught smoking inside the stockroom during working hours. Last year, amidst the general conclusion from among my staff that he may be involved in all the theft of copper wires in the building, I had him called in to my office to answer to the allegations. I told him that all the circumstantial evidences were in place and that we just needed to catch him red handed to conclude the investigation. And that because I had him called in meant that I am still giving him the benefit of the doubt and therefore a fresh start to terminate any of his “activities” assuming that he was in on the case.

Two weeks ago, my assistant engineering director and my security officer found copper wires neatly folded and “skinned” at the basement level of the building, ready for sale at any junk shop in the area. The security logbook places him at the scene but we still needed definite proof that it was him. A surveillance plan was presented to me and it was put into action immediately and hence this result.

I made judgment that he should be turned over to the PNP station and appropriate charges be filed…

It was a rather “easy” decision… rectification was offered despite the lack of remorse from his part. I assumed him innocent given the lack of evidence and a new leaf was turned for him to change his ways, and yet?

As I was playing screen golf with one of my staff, my driver approached me to say that the suspect’s wife was there to have a word with me. I partially hesitated because men will always have that inherent disadvantage over women when they start shedding tears in front of us. So despite my hesitation, I had her called in…

She said her piece, which was quite simple, please forgive my husband, please consider my child. That being said, I also said my piece. I gave him a chance for redemption…, he stole from this family where he is also part of… and that he should have thought of you and your child before committing the crime.

Update:

As of this writing, I have been notified that the inquest papers were already prepared by the city prosecutor’s office. Recommended bail is Php40k. his termination letter will be received and signed behind bars.

so far, we have prosecuted three men for copper wire thefts at the manila film center... if ever, this will be the fourth

i hope that junk shop operators who buy these goods can be held equally liable for these crimes as they encourage the offense under the anti-fencing law. prosecution of which is relatively low as compared to the number of prosecuted wire thieves

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inspection Golf @ royal northwoods


from left to right; chaddy kang (reservations manager), johnny jun (finance director), casie villarosa (vice president) and jay an (sales and marketing director)






the company will be sponsoring a golf tournament this february so chaddy had the task of looking for a suitable venue for the competition. it was also an opportunity for us to play in a golf club we've never played in so off we went to san rafael, bulacan for a round of golf. the usual minimal sleep, maximum drink applies since we had to depart manila quite early.

jay an had the best score and did about seven pars while the three of us failed to break a hundred... i had two pars and a gazillion double pars! chaddy's shoes gave way... i thought my secretary forgot my cap and shades so john bought me a new nike cap! (thank you, john!) jay an probably did well since he is currently broken hearted, hehehe. Oh, and according to john, i could change my nickname to 1/5... and only us would know the real meaning. It essentially meant that on a par3, 1 on, 5 putts. mwahahaha!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Breaking the Ice



A couple of weeks ago, I was visited by a former staff of mine who seemingly has transformed herself from someone obscure to one who seems to have reinvented herself as a marketing specialist. It is perhaps fate that makes these things happen considering that I am in the midst of this marketing dilemma and I may have already given up on the issue all together.

Although I was a bit skeptical about it, since I have been burned a zillion times by people pretending to be who they are not, I have personally decided that a possible chance for rectification may be in the offing and it is an opportunity and a risk worth taking.

I had the opportunity of having a long chat with her and as usual, I felt awkwardly stupid having to defend the past actions or more appropriately inactions of this organization. But for those readers of this blog, well… you’ve seen my gripes.

Today, is the day that I’ve set for the screening interview for people within the organization to be with the marketing team. I’m sitting here right now and listening to the process and I’m practically ear to ear in smile with what I’m hearing…

I guess that it is high time that we’ve done this. Familiarity I suppose breeds contempt so I have become ineffective in the playing field… a new cat on the other hand I suppose can skin a rat. No problem.

This activity is not sanctioned by the company, not yet anyway, as I wanted to take the risk by myself, much like all the management seminars I initiated in 2002 onwards.

That was my core competency, but since this is marketing and as I have told my former staff earlier, I am more interested in spending than earning and that makes me a terrible marketing guy. So alas! This might be the break that this company is waiting for… or so I hope.

The results will ultimately decide on whether or not this decision is correct. Is it worth the risk? – of course. If it fails… well, what I heard today is already well worth it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back in Manila

Nobody told me that the air carrier I was taking had a minor incident last Sunday at the Caticlan Airport... my staff told me about it a few minutes before I boarded my car for the domestic terminal.

The domestic terminal in Manila looked a bit abandoned when I got there, and we were like four passengers on the plane. But I do like the new plane as compared to the run-down planes of Asian Spirit where the cabin would fill up with mist and fog before take off. The new plane was actually comfortable but relatively "shaky" as compared with SeaAir planes.

When I got there, i was quite happy that Sez and Jimmy and the kids were already adjusted to the island life and everything seems to be fine. We only had a few moments spent talking and it was mostly pleasant. I had a chance to see some of my friends and managed to grab a few sojus and san miguels with them and i promised them that my return trip would be a bit longer of a stay.
Anyway, my mission in Boracay was accomplished, and I'm back in Manila.




I took these pictures around September 2008. Our first trip together to the island before deciding that they would be settling there to take care of our restaurant business.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Off to Boracay

I hate this overnight business trips that won't even allow me to see many of my friends from the island. As usual, I tried my best not to fall asleep today so that I'll have the need to sleep at this time... and since I've dosed off at 7pm, here I am wide awake and hungry at 12. I'll try to sleep a little more in a while but that doesn't look feasible with the Brave One just starting in HBO...

This trip I guess represents, I guess with half the finality, closure of my personal business interests in the island and it somehow saddens me given that I've developed friendships there as well as the fond memories of my long stay there a year and a half ago.

However, it also means that we can breath for the meantime and recollect ourselves... and maybe someday, a return to the beautiful Island Paradise of Boracay would be fitting... or maybe, I'd b in another beautiful beach one day soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A NEW TOY!

Finally, with much begging, my wife finally gives in and decides to give me a substantial-enough holiday gift after years of the usual golf shirt, shoes and small blings. it's the yamaha dd65, a drum kit which i intend to use as a more expressive source of music direct to a hard disk recording set up. of course the main studio is already wired for it but most of the time i work alone and the need to have an audio engineer to work with in the control room simply isn't always feasible. we decided to try it our live to check the sound quality of the box and it fared pretty well. eugene barona did the bass while gil montano was on the dd65... i let them listen to vertical horizon's you're a god and we played it for the demo. my wife took the video.

Anyway, my main office studio set up is almost finally done. I've also recently purchased a samson C03 condenser microphone which works well in the main studio with the berringer mixer but i unortunately still need to buy a phantom power supply for it to work with my small fostex mixer.

This is the current desktop set-up intended for music arranging, composition and video editing. I'll soon be making a new company theme music and a matching music video as soon as i organize the band together.




the YAMAHA DD65

you're a god (vertical horizon impromptu cover jam)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Golf Day @ Sherwood

my boss and i planned for a golf day to put to the test our acquired skills we picked up in "screen golf". of course, we were proven wrong since we didn't play any better, hehe. Riviera was fully booked, we went to the air force golf club and there were 185 registered players, the navy golf club had a 2 hour waiting time for a tee off, i called intramuros and there was a junior's golf tournament, we were on our way to east ridge when we got a call that sherwood wasn't crowded... it was a good game over all and we had fun except that we finished while the sun was almost set.