The Philippines could be Asia’s next tech tiger. When my dear wife & I visited the Philippines nearly two years ago, we spent most of the time with Jean’s delightful family and touring around. I was impressed at the scale of building work. I saw architecturally interesting, clean bright looking buildings being erected, mainly apartments & offices. I could see so much potential in the Philippines, it is a growing SE Asian economy. Their use and development of IT is as good as any developed country.
If the infamous and exposed corrupt (Napoles et al) Pork Barrel PDAF budget systems are corrected soon, this potential would be unleashed to improve the economy to benefit the hard-working & innovative Filipino people. The IT industry is growing in the Philippines and cyber hubs are growing. This is no surprise, as I find Filipinos are natural engineers and problem solvers. Many are electronic , hardware engineers, computer coders, programmers who enjoy embracing technology. However those who have the skills tend to migrate to more prosperous countries, which have better infrastructure.
The internet infrastructure in the Philippines needs drastic improvement. Only the ‘social surfing elite’ having decent connection speeds. This severely hampers those who need faster broadband speeds needed to develop cyber innovation and therefore generate income to the nation.
Below is an interesting BBC news item about the Philippines emergence in technology.
“The Philippines may have the fastest-growing economy in South East Asia but it also has the slowest internet in the region. Despite this, some think they have spotted an opportunity that could turn the country into Asia’s next tech tiger. Aurora Almendral met some of the true believers. On paper, the Philippines has all the ingredients of an emerging tech tiger: a fast-growing middle class with money to spend; a 100-million strong, largely English-speaking, population addicted to social media; plus low labour and operating costs.
But go anywhere on the islands and you’ll notice frustrated faces on many of those with a handheld device in their palm.
Internet speeds are atrocious – a measly 3.6 megabits per second (Mbps), well below the regional average of 12.4 Mbps. Never mind the US average of 22.3 or near neighbour Singapore with 61 Mbps.
“We see the Philippines as a good testing market”
Peter FabianInternet entrepreneur
Coverage is patchy at best for mobile. Venture outside of the cities and you might as well be in the 1990s.
In the words of Peter Fabian, a recently arrived tech entrepreneur, to any seasoned Silicon Valley investor the Philippines looks like “the end of the world. For years, the Philippines lagged behind the rest of South East Asia, and entrepreneurs looking for the next tech hub overlooked the country for other nearby booming economies, like Thailand and Singapore. But, says Mr Fabian: “We see the Philippines as a good testing market.” After researching emerging markets across the globe, he decided on the Philippines for his start-up, which aims to use big data to build a credit card company aimed at the middle class who are not customers of traditional banks. Furthermore, there are a lot of unexplored opportunities and, with few experienced tech entrepreneurs around, not much competition. Mr Fabian was also attracted to the fact that, as a former US colony, the country shares many US institutions and has a similar culture, making the Philippines feel very familiar.
More than 60% of Filipinos have smartphones.
“The attitude towards foreigners is very welcoming, which cannot be said of a lot of people in Asia,” says Mr Fabian. The Philippine start-up scene is small, but people are starting to trickle in. Some are adapting Western products to the local market, like fast fashion ecommerce, daily deals sites or taxi service apps. Others, like Ron Hose, a Silicon Valley-bred, Manila-based entrepreneur and investor, are looking at solutions to more local challenges.
There are a second set of problems that are unique to emerging markets that companies and entrepreneurs in developing countries are not really building products for,” he says. “An entrepreneur sitting in an office in Silicon Valley,” Mr Hose says, “is not thinking about the problems of a Filipino who is sitting in a Jeepney [local taxi] for an hour and a half a day to go to work, or whose home gets flooded 10 times a year during typhoons.” Mr Hose’s company, Coins.ph, provides financial services for people without bank accounts. He says that while each country is unique, there are big fundamental problems that are common across emerging markets, such as lack of access to education or the fact that people are unbanked. “If you solve one of these needs, then the market is larger than any one of these countries. If you can solve banking for people in the Philippines, you can solve it for 500 million people in South East Asia,” he says.
Richard Eldridge is another tech entrepreneur based in Manila. He co-founded Lenddo, an on-line loan company that wants to help consumers use their social media activity to develop creditworthiness, giving them access to financial services. He has been working in the Philippines since 2001, and has had a front row seat for the Philippines’ economic growth.
Ron Hose believes his on-line site will be a breakthrough service for the middle classes in emerging markets
He previously ran a large outsourcing company, and found that many of his employees – the very middle classes he seeks to serve – kept asking him for loans. “It fascinated me that they were coming to me and not going to a bank and getting loans,” Mr Eldridge says. He left the multinational in 2011 to start Lenddo with New York-based chief executive Jeff Stewart. The Philippines remains Lenddo’s home base and largest market but in the past year it has expanded to Mexico and Colombia and is looking at 30 other emerging countries.
Local problems, local solutions
While foreigners have made a mark in the Philippine start-up sector, most entrepreneurs are locals, solving local problems. Norris Jay Perez was a programmer for a small company before he struck out on his own in 2009. For four years he tried and failed at 10 different start-up ideas before coming up with Apptivate, a platform that allows smartphone users without credit cards to buy apps. He had the idea when he wanted to buy an app for his second-hand smartphone but could not because he did not have a credit card. Nearly 60% of Filipinos own a smartphone, computer or tablet, significantly higher than comparable emerging markets such as India, Vietnam or Indonesia. Mr Perez says that only 3% use Apptivate and he believes he is tapping into a large market with plenty of room to grow. However, spotty mobile coverage and slow internet speeds are hampering adoption. Mr Perez admits he spends time fielding emails from Apptivate customers, frustrated because slow and patchy mobile internet connections kept them from downloading apps they had already paid for.
Limited local talent
The situation has attracted the ire of Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, who requested a Senate investigation to find out the cause of slow internet speeds in the Philippines and how it was affecting the ease of doing business. “Lack of good internet is going to slow down economic growth in the Philippines, that I know for sure,” says Ron Hose of Coins.ph. But he adds: “It’s not going to slow down tech entrepreneurs.” He thinks the bigger issues are an underdeveloped funding infrastructure and a lack of tech talent. “The good ones have left for Singapore or Hong Kong. It makes it hard for tech entrepreneurs to operate here,” he says. Lenddo solves its talent shortfall by outsourcing the most complex data engineering work to New York, while hiring the rest of its team locally. For now, the Philippine tech industry is for true believers, willing to build not just a business, but an industry from the ground up.“
There was an old man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!—
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.”
I’ts Movember – No Shave Month
Yes, it is that time of year again. It’s Movember.
Movember is when Men and also some women raise awareness to cancer, particularly to testicular and prostate cancer, by abstaining from shaving. This is a charity-based organisation which originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 with 30 men to start with. To date, Movember is global and has managed to accumulate more than $299Million in funds.
Movember has few rules to observe to join in.
You must register first at Movember.Com. Once registered, you must start the first of November fully and utterly clean-shaven.
For the entire month of November, each “Mo Bro” must grow and groom a moustache. Yes, Movember is not just about growing facial hair. It is about control, and grooming as well. No hair jungle here.
No joining your moustache with your sideburns, that’s considered a beard. (Beard growing is probably another organisation.)
No joining the handlebars to your chin, that’s a goatee. (Again Goatee has some association accorded it somewhere. LOL)
The last rule and the most important one in No Shave November is, each man must conduct himself like a true gentleman.
Once again, David Cameron was vindicated for his impassioned comment that the UK invented most things worth inventing , when the Russians were reported to dismiss Britain as a small island whose views can be ignored.
We have the Shreddies Pants, Take that!!!
Flatulent Fashionitas 😉
Here it is, the savior of many a marriage, of relationship and untold embarassing moments. The Shreddies Pants contain Zorflex, apparently used in chemical warfare suits, the Loughborough based maker confirms that the knickers can filter odours 200 times stronger than the average emission.
Duvet will smell of white linen…. Just wear that knickers in bed!
🙂 🙂 😉
Just pop in a few pairs in that Christmas goodie bag for the other half!!! 😉
Using chemical warfare technology, these new briefs, shorties and boxers camouflage bodily odors that make intimacy difficult for people with digestive disorders like IBS and Crohn’s disease.
Monday, October 21, 2013, 12:59 PM
REX USA/Shreddies Ltd/Rex/REX USA/Shreddies Ltd/Rex
Models show of the new flatulence-filtering undies.
A healthcare underwear company has designed a range of briefs and boxers which use chemical warfare technology to filter unwanted gas.
The hi-tech pants, created by Shreddies Ltd. based in Leicestershire, England, feature a highly absorptive carbon cloth back panel which traps and neutralizes flatulence odors.
The thin and flexible cloth, which contains Zorflex — the same activated carbon material used in chemical warfare suits — is reactivated simply by washing the pants.
Shreddies say through extensive testing the carbon cloth could filter odors 200 times the strength of the average flatus emission.
The award-winning healthcare product is particularly useful for sufferers of digestive disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s disease, Colitis and food intolerances.
REX USA/Shreddies Ltd/Rex/REX USA/Shreddies Ltd/Rex
Don’t believe the claims? Test the odorless undies yourself with a sniff.
Suitable for men and women the underwear comes in a range of styles and is designed to fit more snugly than conventional underwear.
Women can buy Shreddies in briefs, high-leg briefs or shorties, while men can purchase support boxers, adjustable support boxers, hipsters and briefs.
It has even been reported that soccer player Frank Lampard has worn the underwear, so there is no need to be embarrassed buying them.
In the last few months Shreddies has signed up to sell their product in 11 UK retailers including Fenwicks and Bentalls.
A spokesperson at Shreddies Ltd. said: “Although Shreddies has got cheeky with the new campaign, to many people they still remain very much a healthcare product and have helped so many cope with conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s and food intolerances. But the bottom line is that Shreddies are for everyone, after all, it’s something we all do.
“Flatulence seriously affects millions of people every day and since 2008 Shreddies has been helping those affected increase their quality of life. We have found the answer to help alleviate the most obvious symptom of flatulence…the odors.”
To get a litre (liter) of light, an innovative project took place in the village of Sitio, Maligaya in San Vicente, San Pedro Laguna, Philippines. The houses there are built very close together often without windows and with corrugated galvanised iron roofs. This means that the homes are dark even during daylight hours as there are no apertures for light to get in. The people are generally too poor to afford electricity especially all day as well as night. An innovative way was found to provide light in homes during the day. Enter ‘Sola Demi; a man with a mission to bring light and scatter the darkness during the day. Sola collects empty lite(liter) plastic bottles, fills them with clear water and bleach which helps keep the water clear for years.
He drills holes in the roof and installs the full bottles so they partly protrude above and under the roof like a light bulb.
The bottles catch and refracts sunlight illuminating the rooms below like a bright electric bulb.
No other power is needed but the bright sun light. Whilst these bottle bulbs only work when the sun is up, they are still effective and it means home dwellers can have light to see by during the day in their gloomy rooms. This method is much cheaper and easier than installing windows in the roof. Additionally, the water and bleach in the bottle refract the sun light all around the room much more effectively than a window would!
Below is a video demonstrating this clever use of every day materials. Well Done ‘Solar Demi’! 🙂
(This blog is still a work in progress, very much so!)
There have been so many things in my lifetime, the last 51 years, which were new innovation, exciting brands, bric-a-brac that we can’t do without but only for them all to end up in the “Dodo Land” where the dinosaurs had gone to have eternal rest too!
In my teens, I used to love going records shopping with my sister, Marilou. Nowadays, more often than not, the record that you can get is criminal for shop lifting. LOL
Anyway my sister and I would save some of our allowance and then pool them together at the end of the week and head to Pritil market, where there was a good record shop. I remember buying the soundtrack album of Sgt Lonely Heart’s Club Band movie. My sister and I were really pleased with our purchase, we played and played it till the cows come home and as loud as our record player can manage.
An album is also called a long-playing album or LP or 33 as it has a has 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. Playing an album at a faster speed would make the singer sound like he was on Helium. That was really
The singles were then also called 45s for having 45 revolutions per minute. Again if played slow, it sounds funereal. But would not do that to Leif Garrett. Leif was “Made for Dancing.” He was such a dish, a total eye candy. He was mine, Marilou. 🙂
My father had a collection of the in-between records, the 78 rpm. They were mainly waltz, polkas, brass bands which he collected while he was in Guam We used to love listening to waltz from the 78 rpm. The sale or the need for the 78rpm was already obsolete long before Marilou and I started buying our vinyls for our turntable.
A bit of a DiD you know?
The phonograph or gramophone was invented by that great visionary, Thomas Edison in 1877. Mind you at that time there were some devices that had been invented prior to a phonograph. They can record sounds. But Edison’s version was the first to record and then reproduce the sounds afterwards.
This is how it worked according to Wikipedia:
“The recordings played on such a device generally consist of wavy lines that are either scratched, engraved, or grooved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As the cylinder or disc rotates, a stylus or needle traces the wavy lines and vibrates to reproduce the recorded sound waves.”
Vinyls were slowly being paced out when the cassette player and cassette tapes came. I remember the first cassette tape I bought was of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My Lolo (Grandfather) asked me why he has not heard us playing Thriller. He then gave me money to buy the album/tape. He was the sweetest, kindest man and I love him with all my heart!!! I still miss my Lolo.
We had a snazzy cassette player my late Father (the most intelligent man I know) brought back from Saudi Arabia. It was all silvery with so much buttons that would delight any button and knob fetishist! 😉 With the high-end cassette recorder, my Father also brought home tonnes of ABBA (what is it with men and ABBA?!!!), Dr Hook and gasp 😉 James Last and His orchestra tapes. LOL Probably the reason why my Lolo said to get some Thriller! LOL
I can’t fail also to mention that the tape recorder meant the end for a weekend lie-in in the Philippines. As soon as 7:oo am my brother, Jonathan, would play his tapes of Queen. He absolutely adored the band and would play Bohemian Rhapsody at maximum volume over and over.
If we moaned about this antic, he would play Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen
I am so glad the cassette did not last long as it was a traumatic experience to see your favourite tape turned into a mushy mess of reels being spewed by the voracious tape hungry recorder.
It was a red letter day when the compact disc player was intoduced to the market. I was already here in London when we got a CD player. Peter and I were very happy with our new sound system. It was said then that the CD was indestructible. It would last forever and a day. But of course this was old propaganda, wishful thinking. A year after the CD player was bought, the laser reader went and some of my treasured CD started to loop.