Monthly Archives: April 2014

A good idea for a startup

Here is one idea for someone to do a startup. But first you have to explore what opportunities you can do with the material.

 

From BusinessWorld Philippines

April 27, 2014

PCA eyes geotextile market for Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The region’s coconut industry needs a sure market once it starts commercial production of geotextile.

Ralph S. Hamoy, manager of the Philippine Coconut Authority in the region (PCA-9), said that by the end of the year, the agency will have equipment that can be introduced to local entrepreneurs, to eventually produce geotextile in commercial quantities.

Geotextile made from coconut fiber has environmental and construction industry applications.

However, Mr. Hamoy said that even the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which uses geotextile, has not expressed interest in sourcing it from here and is instead buying from suppliers in Caraga Region.

PCA-9 is currently coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in promoting geotextile, not only to local entrepreneurs but to prospective buyers as well.

“Technology is available; the only problem now is a committed market,” said Mahmud L. Kingking, DoST assistant regional director.

“There should be a strong advocacy for local entrepreneurs to produce coconut fiber,” Mr. Kingking added.

Meanwhile, Celedonia R. Palomar, PCA-9 chief for technical services division, said that theBrontispa longissima or coconut leaf beetle infestation of coconut trees in the region has been contained.

Earlier reports noted that hundreds of hectares of coconut farms in the region have been infested with coconut leaf beetle.

“On the other hand, coconut scale insects [have continued] to infest coconut trees in Basilan since 2009,” Ms. Palomar said.

But, control measures have been adopted by the regional office, she added. “As additional assistance to control pests, PCA-9 has deployed trainees and PCA employees to help the farmers.” — Karel B. Mellanes





Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=PCA eyes geotextile market for Zamboanga&id=86616

The BSP continues to watch local property market

As the Philippine property market continues to grow, the BSP continues to monitor the situation. I wonder where are they in developing a pricing index.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

April 27, 2014

BSP watchful of asset bubbles

MACTAN, CEBU — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) remains watchful of the formation of asset bubbles and is ready to take measures as needed, a senior official said.

“We’ve always said that there is no overstretching in asset prices and that there is no evidence that there is an imbalance in the financial system with respect to the real estate sector and that is still true,” central bank Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo told reporters late on Friday.

“But we should still continue monitoring that … Lending to the real estate sector bears closer monitoring,” he said.

Mr. Guinigundo noted that there were continuing upside risks due to the possibility of increases in food, oil and utility rates, as well as strong liquidity growth.

With interest rates continuing to be at record lows — albeit with “narrower’ room to keep these steady — robust demand has spurred growth in the property sector.

The growth pace of credit channeled to the real estate sector, Mr. Guinigundo noted, has steadily gone up, to around 12% in 2009 and 2010 and about 25% in 2011. As of 2013, he said, this has slowed slightly to 22%.

“Today, while there is no evidence of over stretching of asset prices as far as the real estate sector is concerned, if you will have over 20%, 30%, or 25% growth, it also comes to a point when it becomes risky,” he said.

“That’s why preemptive measures are supposed to be put in place, and we have put in place a number of these measures.”

Real estate credit as a percentage of the economy, added Mr. Guinigundo, has likewise crept up, hitting at 6.1% in 2013 from the 4% recorded in 2010, 4.6% in 2011, and 5.5% in 2012.

“This bears close watching and we are doing that … If the numbers suggest that further monetary policy action is necessary, we will not hesitate and we will adjust accordingly whether it’s the policy rate, the SDA (special deposit account) rate, or take macroprudential measures,” he said.

“If more and more investments are going to the real estate sector, then it is necessary that macroprudential measures have to be put in place,” Mr. Guinigundo noted, adding that such could include bringing down the maximum ceiling on banks’ real estate exposure. —Bettina Faye V. Roc





Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=BSP watchful of asset bubbles&id=86626

Philippine data analysts is the next future supply growth

Since I have started with my online startup I have found the many opportunities available that I can do with the availability of data. And as I intend to based my startup in the Philippines, I can foresee the need to recruit people who would have data analytics as one of their key skills. I hope this initiative will help develop the needed talent for this occupation.

Let’s hope after nurses, seamen, IT specialists, engineers and trademen, the next occupation in great demand from the country will be a data analyst. Now let’s get started.

 

From Businessworld Philippines

 

April 22, 2014

Philippines to become data analytics hub

NINE of the country’s biggest companies formed a consortium yesterday with the aim of making the Philippines a global hub for data analytics.

Analitika — which groups the Bank of the Philippine Islands, ABS-CBN Corp., Smart Communications, Inc., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Sun Life Financial, Inc., SM Retail, Inc., Integrated Micro-electronics, Inc., Manila Electric Co., and International Business Machines (IBM) Philippines — was inaugurated yesterday in Makati City to define, develop, and promote data analytics as an industry.

“It [Analitika] will define and nurture the new professions that will be required by the transformed industries and ensure the needed talent is available,” according to a handout given to reporters yesterday.

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said that the Philippines has “the right mix of ingredients” to allow it to become the global center for data analytics.

The ingredients, he said, are “a vibrant economy, conducive business environment, skilled and quality workforce, supportive and engaged government, and a determined industry.”

“With the confluence of fresh insights and brilliant ideas that Analitika is sure to provide, the Philippines is well-prepared and well-positioned to become the global center for smarter analytics,” he said.

He added that the Philippines could easily increase its market share in a global industry that is valued at $212 billion.

“We’re already two steps ahead. Data analytics is already embedded in the curriculum of some schools here,” he said.

IBM Philippines Country General Manager Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, for her part, said she sees the local business process outsourcing (BPO) industry heading towards data analytics, which requires higher skills and training.

“The BPO industry is good but it is not sustainable. It is only growing 5%,” she said.

Analitika estimates that at least 200,000 analytics jobs will be generated locally within the next five years. — Daryll Edisonn D. Saclag





Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Philippines to become data analytics hub&id=86375

What can the web/mobile app can do to help fight poverty

I wonder how technology and in particular the web and mobile app can help address the needs of those provinces with high poverty rates.  May be give training opportunities so that they can gain employment in the IT sector. Let’s ask the writer.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

April 21, 2014

A map of Philippine poverty (a second look)

THE LATEST poverty report of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), now part of the Philippine Statistical Authority, showed that in 2012, some 25.2% of Filipinos were poor, or 23.7 million people. This meant that they fell below the poverty threshold of about P19,000 to P20,000 per capita per year. Assuming a family size of five, the total income needed to move out of poverty would be P95,000 to P100,000 per family per year.

What about the distribution of the poor? Metro Manila had a poverty incidence of only 3.9% in 2012, or only 461,000 people out of 11.8 million. The “less poor” regions (those with less than 20% poverty) are in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Calabarzon. The rest of the regions and their component provinces have poverty incidence of over 25%.

Are there provinces that can compare with the poverty incidence of Malaysia (less than 10%) or that of Thailand and Vietnam (10% to 20%)?

• The rich provinces. There were eight provinces with less than 10% poverty incidence in 2012. These provinces were, from north to south: Benguet 3.7%, Ilocos Norte 9.9%, Bataan 7.1%, Bulacan 7.3%, Pampanga 7.6%, Cavite 3.4%, Laguna 6.4%, Rizal 6.1%.

I have not done thorough analytics. But most of these provinces have a dominance of non-farm jobs. Benguet is the seat of Baguio City, a vegetable zone but also a tourist area. Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are partly industrialized, and/or partly bedroom communities. In other words, many families have full-time jobs. The eight provinces had a total population of 16.3 million in 2012, or about half the size of Malaysia. These are the “islands of prosperity” in a “sea of poverty.”

• The middle class provinces. There are six provinces belonging to this league with poverty incidence ranging from 10% to 20%. They are: Ilocos Sur 17.3%, La Union 18.5%, Cagayan 19.7%, Tarlac 16.6%, Zambales 16%, and Batangas 19%. The total population of the six provinces: 6.9 million in 2012.

Now, what is so different with Ilocanos that despite their distance from non-farm job opportunities near Manila, they are less poor? Do they rely on highly productive agriculture and foreign remittances? Farms in Ilocos are mostly one hectare or less.

• The poor provinces. All the other 64 provinces have quality of life below their ASEAN peers. The poverty incidence ranges from 20.9% in Nueva Vizcaya to 63.7% in Eastern Samar to 73.8% in Lanao del Sur. The total population of the 64 provinces was about 59 million in 2012, of which 21 million were poor, or 35.5% poverty incidence. In other words, the bottom “64” host some 89% of all poor.

The total poverty incidence of the 64 provinces is higher than Cambodia’s and India’s (22% each) at their respective national poverty lines, Uganda’s 24.5%, Bangladesh’s 31.5% while closer to Ethiopia’s (33%).

This high poverty incidence is a legacy of many administrations. It is also a result of urban-bias in public investments by the ruling elite. It is good news that the present government has moved towards poverty-targeting of poor areas. It has also expanded its conditional cash transfer program.

Sadly, even the so-called agribusiness centers of Davao, Northern Mindanao and Central Mindanao have their share of the poor. Bukidnon had a poverty incidence of 49%, Davao del Norte 33.4%, and South Cotabato 32%. They had a combined population of 3.7 million, of which 1.4 million, or 38%, were poor. This could mean that many are dependent on seasonal agriculture work and less on regular rural enterprise jobs.

There are modern farm systems in these places that provide regular jobs, but they are a minority. There are less than 200,000 hectares of banana, pineapple, sugar and oil palm in the three regions, or less than 10% of total farm land of 2.3 million hectares.

What could be the common denominator of these provinces? They are mostly agriculture and fishery-dependent. They are characterized by small subsistence farms.

Overall farm productivity of rice, corn and coconut is low. There is heavy dependence on the said crops which, at current technology, do not require more labor.

In past decades, little could be said about crop diversification. Few investments have been made in farming and in processing agriculture and fishery products as there is an inadequate supply of raw materials coming from the farms. As a result, there is a shortage of productive non-farm work in rural areas that can absorb excess rural labor.

Rural poverty incidence, according to official data, was about 36.7% for farmers and 41.4% for fishermen in 2009, as compared to 35% and 37%, respectively in 2003. There is no separate poverty incidence measure for coconut farmers, among the largest poverty groups. Not measured is the poverty incidence of millions of landless peasants or those with very small farms. In 2002 (latest census), 40% of the farms were below one hectare, while 20% were below one-half hectare. It is extremely tough to earn a decent income from these small farm sizes. That is why non-farm job creation is imperative.

Unless agriculture and fishery become productive and diversified, and more private and public investments pour in, the 25.2% poverty incidence in 2012 will not budge in 2016. Realistically, agriculture investments have long gestation periods. That is why program focus and management continuity are strategic imperatives.

In addition, the urban bias of public investments must change. The LRT-MRT system reportedly subsidizes the 1.1 million daily riders to the tune of more than P12 billion annually, or P11,000 per person. By contrast, the already enhanced budget for 2014 for the 1.8 million poor fishermen is P4.2 billion or P2,300 per fisherman; and for some 3 million poor coconut farmers/workers, P2 billion, or P700 (National Statistics Office,budgetngbayan.com and National Anti-Poverty Commission). The city governments also receive large internal revenue allotments.

With fiscal space and sound project selection and execution, rural poverty can be licked in time.

(The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines {MAP}. The author is the Chair of the MAP Agribusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and the Executive Director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific. Send feedback to mapsecretariat@gmail.com and rdyster@gmail.com. For previous articles, visitmap.org.ph.)





Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=A map of Philippine poverty (a second look)&id=86289

Helping the Educated Unemployed

In the developed world, the presence of the educated unemployed has been a new development in their labour market post GFC (Global Financial Crisis). In the Philippines, this has been a long standing problem. The following article makes a case that the government should also assist those who had the advantage to get an education but still do not have a job. 

 

From BusinessWorld Philippines

April 15, 2014

College-trained unemployed workers deserve attention too

THE SEVERITY of joblessness in the country should be a grim reminder for policy makers that all’s not well in the economy. One might find comfort that the headline economic numbers are sound — GDP growth is robust, inflation rate is tame, and the peso is stable. Yet, one gets the uneasy feeling that things are not benefiting a great number of Filipinos, that many are left behind in the growth process, and that the situation could easily turn for the worse in the event of a major setback, such as, for example, a damaging earthquake, a killer storm, another Ondoy-like catastrophe, a major civil disturbance in the South, and so on.

For a calamity-prone country like the Philippines, any of the above-mentioned major disasters is highly probable.

A quarter of Filipinos are poor and there appears to be no progress in the government’s war against poverty. This sad state of affairs has been with us since 2003. And at the rate we’re reducing poverty incidence, there is no way we’ll meet our Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitment to halve poverty by 2015.

One of the reasons why we have failed, and continue to fail, to reduce poverty is the economy’s inability to create a lot of decent jobs for its large and fast growing work force.

The initial conditions are working against us. On top of the 3 million unemployed and the 10-plus million underemployed, some 1.2 million new workers join the labor force every year. The underemployed are those who are employed but want to get paid (yes, Angelina, a huge chunk of those employed don’t get paid), want longer hours, or just are unhappy with their present jobs.

But what explains the rapid rise in the work force? Blame it to the Filipinos’ propensity to multiply. Some 2 million Filipinos are born every year. The incremental work force is higher than the population of many small republics.

POOR START, UGLY FUTURE
The incidence of joblessness is highest among the youth. Youth unemployment is estimated at close to 78.1%. In the latest January jobs survey, close to eight of 10 unemployed are either aged 15-24 years (48.2%) or aged 25-34 (29.9%).

High youth unemployment could be a curse. Not being able to find decent jobs after graduating could be frustrating for the idealistic high school or college graduates who are eager to work but are unable to find a job.

Failure to find a suitable job at an early age, after several quarters of job search, could have a negative lasting impact on one’s lifetime income.

CLOSE TO A MILLION COLLEGE TRAINED WORKERS ARE JOBLESS
Among the 2,960,000 million unemployed, close to a million are college-trained (college undergraduates and graduates). From 832,800 college-trained workers who were unemployed in January 2013, the number rose to 982,739 in January 2014, or an increase of 149,939 workers.

After spending a lot of time, money and effort to get a college education, many job-seeking, college-educated workers can’t find a job. Many of these did not receive government help. They persevered on their own blood, sweat and tears.

Under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the government has spent tons of money in the past, is spending P62.6 billion this year, and will continue to spend money to keep children from poor families longer at school. By contrast, the government has no programs for those who have helped themselves get college education, studied diligently without government incentives, and raised their own money to finance their tertiary education.

Both the young, college-trained unemployed workers and the children of poor families deserve government attention. Helping the latter but not the former does not make economic sense.

(The author teaches Economics at the University of the Philippines and is former Secretary of Budget and Management.)

Article location :http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=College trained unemployed workers deserve attention too&id=86152

 

Suggestion on improving crowdfunding in the Philippines

In the Philippines, crowdfunding has the opportunity to fill the need for capital by startups. The writer of this article makes certain suggestions for the government regulator (SEC) to put the needed governance practices to make crowdfunding a safe channel for fundraising for both investor and investee. 

 

From BusinessWorld Philippines

 

April 15, 2014

Crowdfunding Filipino SMEs

YOU have a brilliant business idea, but you do not have the funding. Then there is the investor, wanting to invest in an idea, yet he does not know what.

If only you have a way to meet each other…

You do.

Imagine a portal similar to Kickstarter and SoMoLend. Post your brilliant business idea, pictures showing your prototype, implementation plans, and funding requirements. Offer equity to qualified investors. Then read feedback, answer product queries, and see your first funding pledge.

Crowdfunding… a web-based social capital generation system that allows entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors who have insufficient funds to receive collective funding from a multitude of ambitious investors, who, individually, do not meet the minimum financial requirements of traditional investment channels.

Perfect for your brilliant business idea, the Searching Investor, and thousands of other struggling Small- and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines and ambitious would-be investors.

FILIPINO MOTIVATION
The Philippines is a developing country, and by “developing country” we mean that the highest average educational attainment is below college level.

We always seek foreign investments, but currently too many foreign investments translate into companies that hire only college-level Filipinos. Understandably, foreign investments aim to generate the most profits; in this new economy, when knowledge allows the greatest returns on investment, foreign investments would naturally seek knowledge-based enterprises.

We are now globally ranked second in business process outsourcing, we have talent in programming, and we are a great resource in computer animation, specializations requiring college education.

For the majority of Filipinos, survival means jobs at enterprises that most new foreign investments dare not touch. So we celebrate our SMEs and give them our utmost support, in spirit and policy.

In the International Finance Corporation-World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, through informed policy changes, the Philippines emerged in the top 10 Most Improved for 2012-2013.

So how can we support our SMEs when they need funding to expand?

CROWDFUNDING
For start-ups, especially those based upon novel ideas, equity-based crowdfunding may be most strategic. Students planning to build a company around their class project, a smartphone app that provides data-driven real-time alternate routes to avoid traffic congestions, would attract investors who actually love the app, investors who would be the first customers and endorsers of the product. And why would these investors-turned-customers endorse it? To help friends avoid traffic, save gas, and save time, all while turning a profit.

For established SMEs needing fresh capital to expand or to meet short-term demand, lending-based crowdfunding would be most appropriate. An SME producing lambanog, which is really coconut vodka, gets huge orders from Republiq. Banks may take long to extend a loan, but the sheer mention of Republiq during crowdfunding will definitely draw spirited crowds.

BENEFITS
Crowdfunding portals leverage technology to provide investors not only with historical data on the performance of different industries, but also with up-to-date information on the creditworthiness of registered Filipino SMEs, management composition, and product or service demand; similar to what our Credit Information Corp. (CIC), seeks to provide: independent and reliable credit information. While government entities inevitably take longer to set up, private ones are less hamstrung by red tape and are equally useful. Such information can aid investors in evaluating various project proposals at one time and hasten the process of determining which projects to support and the amounts to invest. Because project plans are presented to a network, natural filtering takes place: only the most promising projects get funded, and those that do immediately receive favorable reviews, and, as we all know, favorable reviews usually translate to better than modest sales. SMEs whose projects do not get the nod of investors immediately get feedback from the community, enabling them to correct mistakes and improve offerings.

CHALLENGES
As crowdfunding fuels the creation of new SMEs and the expansion of existing ones, it facilitates the creation of new jobs and inspires further innovation. However, crowdfunding is relatively new, and can be potentially risky to uninformed investors. Failure in project implementation, unaccountability, and fraud are just some of the dangers facing investors.

In this situation — we wish to seize an opportunity to create wealth but stop in our tracks because of investment apprehensions — what we need are portal standards and crowdfunding regulations. Fortunately, we have a government agency that serves the function of regulating the securities industry — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC must strike a perfect balance between encouraging the flow of local investments to Filipino SMEs and ensuring investor protection.

Recent efforts by the SEC to improve credit acquisition for SMEs resulted in a jump of 40 places (to 86th in a field of 189 economies) for the Philippines on the Getting Credit ranking in the International Finance Corporation-World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. The establishment of the CIC, a public credit database, operating under the SEC and supervised by the Governance Commission for GOCCs and the passing of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, ensures ready and immediate access to credit information. There will be even more improvements this year as the CIC is coming up with a web portal for borrowers to be able to access data from the BAP Credit Bureau and from credit card systems as well. Moreover, the BAP Credit Bureau is coming up with a new system called the Positive Data Sharing System, to be implemented by May, which intends to generates credit information on a daily basis. The data is made available to financial institutions and is accessible online. In addition, the system will include Consumer Loans (Auto Financing and Home Mortgages), a Microfinance Positive Data Sharing System, a Chattel Mortgage Registry System and a Caution Alert System.

However, on the Protecting Investors ranking, the Philippines actually slipped down one notch to 128th.

To standardize the minimum functionalities of crowdfunding portals, the SEC must require stringent certifications. Portals must provide investor education tools, financial calculators, real-time credit ratings of registered Filipino SMEs, and company and management profiles of member SMEs.

To lessen failure risk to prospective crowdfunding investors, the SEC can certify individuals, not through capacity to invest, but through an investor certification test. The portals will allow only certified investors to participate in crowdfunding activities.

To protect crowdfunding investors, the SEC must require that SMEs allow background checks on their officers, provide extensive corporate disclosures, and submit to external auditing. The SEC must create rules on the accountability and liability of SME officers. The SEC must set limits, depending on the size of the project relative to set standards, on the funds that SMEs can attempt to raise through certified portals. In addition, the SEC can also set limits, algorithmically determined from investment history, on the amount that individuals can invest through the portals.

The SEC can create a regulatory framework that leverages web technology. Crowdfunding portals can monitor and report on the activities of entrepreneurs and investors. The portals can also report on community behavior towards SMEs that attempt to secure funding. Thus, the SEC can create a framework that would help both capital generation and investor protection.

We cannot forever rely upon foreign investments; we ourselves must start investing — make the leap of faith that would inspire innovation, encourage best practices, and effect high levels of quality in our products and services.

(The author is an Associate of the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices [ACCRALAW]. She can be contacted at 830-8000 or through e-mail mbgarciamorera@accralaw.com. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This article is for general information and educational purposes only and not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion).

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Crowdfunding Filipino SMEs&id=86153

 

To code or not to code

As I organise for my online startup, the need to code arises. Here’s one article saying I should learn to do this instead of getting a technical co-founder. Maybe I will.

From Anthill

12 April 2014

Why you need to code to code (or doom your tech startup to failure)

Learning to code is starting to become an inevitable reality in not only the push for schools to add to their curriculums, but also the scarce resource of technological jobs around the world.

 

Plus, many within startup industry want to understand coding, to help their businesses search for more innovative ways to learn about code and technology.

In short, learning to code is becoming an extremely important skill.

People all around the world are starting to realise that coding isn’t as “geeky or nerdy” as one may have thought. Many are embracing the code courses offered at Treehouse andCodeAcademy.

There are many great bootcamps out there that cater to people who want to become developers. But, what about people who have founded a tech startup? What is there for startup founders who can’t find a tech co-founder to help build their business? What do you do if you can’t afford to fork out big money just to create a website or app to test the market?

These are all too common questions when someone wants to run a tech startup. The ability to have a clean website is starting to become the major priority in this digital age – perception is everything.

Often, startups hire a contract web developer or freelancer, with the aim to reduce time and be able to say, ‘someone is covering all my technological bases’.

This is a trend that needs to be re-evaluated.

Making any adjustments from slight, to a big re-development of the site, costs big time and big money. And, soon you realise you have very little capital for anything else. Learning code, won’t just save you time and money, but you will also develop a better understanding your product or service and, further enhance your innovative possibilities.

Here are five challenges to your thinking about learning to code for your tech startup.

1. If you don’t understand how technology works how can you expect to be innovative?

Understanding coding and how technology works, allows you to see more possibilities for your idea. In short, this will give you a competitive advantage.

Most tech startups fail due to their founders’ lack of expertise. Some founders appear ignore the importance of knowing about technology and, how apps are built. Most founders assume that these skills can be outsourced to get the job done. While I’m not saying that this shouldn’t be done, I am saying that being one step removed can limit your view of what’s possible.

Think about what you’re building. Could more be done? Could another feature be added to gain a competitive advantage?

If the answers are Yes, then the more you spend paying someone else to test your theories and prototypes, the less capital you will have to really launch your startup.

This, I believe, is the current cycle in where we are stuck as all founders.

Programming is the core skill of the 21st Century. I suggest you try out one of the free programs or, do a part-time course where you can actually build prototypes yourself with the guidance of a great teacher. Negate the need to pay to test every idea you have.

2. If you don’t understand how software is built, you will not get along with technical co-founders or developers

Understanding coding and how software is built helps you communicate effectively with technical co-founders and developers. Yes, it’s that simple.

It astounds me how many people out in the startup ecosystem who are struggling to find a tech co-founder. Surely there can’t be such a shortage of web developers out there not willing to be part of tech startups?

In my personal opinion from what I’ve read and seen, there isn’t. Despite this, why would a developer work with you if you can’t show an understanding of the process, technology and skills they would bring to the table? Plus, many have their own ideas that they can simply build it by themselves. Why do they need a co-founder with an idea? They have their own.

So, if you really need a tech co-founder, here are a few tips on finding one. Attend startup meetups in your local ecosystem. Talk to potential tech co-founders but remember, this is like any social interaction. Don’t get over enthusiastic with your requests to have them join your team. You believe that your tech startup is going to be the next game changer, but you will need to invest time into explaining your vision.

Take it slow. Build a relationship and hopefully an agreement will occur. If you luck out, I suggest doing a course in development. Then, you can create your own minimum viable product (MVP) which is much more likely to get the attention of developers and potential tech co-founders.

3. If you don’t know how to code, you will be ripped off

Being Ripped-off sucks! And, sadly, it happens a lot.

It seems to be on of the inevitable thing that happen not only tech startups, but all startup businesses. I know of stories where thousands upon thousands of dollars has been wasted developing apps and websites. Then, there’s the wasted time and effort.

Often, many founders go into developing their idea being naïve in terms of the technological aspects of their startup.

Before you even speak to a developer, you need to know if your startup is viable. Will it attract customers that become loyal? Will they pay for what you’re offering? Does the investment stack up with a tangible return? These are all questions you must know the answer to before you embark on development.

How do you test you idea before you invest? It all comes back to my favourite method when it comes to building a startup – doing it lean! I can’t stress the importance of validating your tech startup before you pursue the complex and time consuming process of building it. Read The lean startup by Eric Ries. Or, simply just go through his website and gain a better understanding on how to approach the process of building your startup.

However, some founders will continue to make the mistake of building before knowing if the concept is viable. The only way to avoid this is to build, measure and learn. Only then, should you hire someone.

Once you’ve reached this stage, understanding coding will help you know how long something should take to be built. Plus, you will be able to give your requirements to developers in a way that is more likely to get you what you want.

4. If you don’t know how to code, you are at the mercy of the motivation of your technical team

How are you going to keep your tech co-founder or, your development team, motivated? How are you going to make them believe your vision? How are you going to tap into their motivations if you don’t understand what they do?

You need to be able to understand the world from the technology perspective to have common ground and, find ways to inspire your developers. If you don’t understand technology, you can’t do this.

The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future” – Gabe Newell, Co-Founder of Valve.

This is one of my favourite quotes.

Quite simply, knowing how to code means that if you’re tech co-founder bails on you, your startup is not necessarily dead in the water.

Being able to code yourself, at least to get your idea to the MVP stage, should always be a backup plan.

5. If you don’t know how to code, you will be left behind in our technological future

Knowing how to code means that you won’t be one of the people left behind, now that the technological revolution that is upon us. If you think you have such a great business or design skills that you don’t need to know how to code, you’re wrong!

Code is creative. Code is logical. It can make you think outside of the square. It’s like learning another language – it’s becoming universal. Of course, like learning any new skill, at first, it can be difficult. For some, who don’t choose to become full-time developers, it may always be challenging.

However, learning code will not make you think about the technological aspects of your business. Rather, it will make you think about the possibilities of tomorrow.

Now, take a step back. Look on your phone, look on your computer. Ask yourself about how often you use these technologies. The majority of you use these technologies every day. Technology has become a vital part of how we communicate and function in our daily lives. But, the majority of people will not know the question about how these are built.

Don’t be one of them.

Daniel Siepen is the Co-Founder & Marketing Director at The Coder Factory

 

Is the Bubble real or not

Whenever there is a booming market that continues for an extended period it is common to be concerned that a pricing bubble may be developing. Without careful study of the dynamics of the market this can be a real issue. Let’s hope based on the observation of this writer the concerns are not accurate. Furthermore, let’s see whether his suggestions for sustaining the momentum is considered by industry and government.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

Is There a Real Estate Bubble on the Horizon?

According to the laws of physics, when an object that has a higher density than air is propelled upwards, it returns back to earth because the forces of gravity act upon it. This same principle applies to property markets, especially the housing sector. When the prices of homes shoot up (characterized by a period of “irrational exuberance” accompanied by a buying frenzy from misinformed buyers), this further drives the valuations of real property until they reach unsustainable levels, then they decline.

Many economists agree that this is one of the telltale signs of a real estate bubble. However, what they don’t agree on is whether real estate bubbles can be identified and prevented and if they have broader economic repercussions are answered differently by schools of economic thought. But one thing is for sure—unlike a real bubble, a real estate bubble can end not with a pop but with a crash, similar with the one the United States experienced in 2007, which triggered the global financial crisis.

Recognizing when a bubble may occur becomes easier if economists and policy-makers can spot the red flags in the areas of lending, spending, and employment.

Lending

When the number of available home-loan program increases, home ownership increases with it. Although this is not dangerous in itself, it can be a subtle sign of a bubble forming, especially when buyers increase housing obligations while their income remains the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, most borrowers fail to take into consideration certain life occurrences—such as illness, layoffs, and pay cuts—that will affect the good standing of their mortgages.

This is best exemplified by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, which triggered the late 2000s financial crisis. Because of low credit quality, mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures rose, which resulted in the decline of securities backed by said mortgages and the collapse of major financial institutions.

Spending

Market sentiment also is a telltale sign of a bubble forming. When conditions are favorable for lenders (low unemployment, high consumer spending, etc.), home-loan programs abound, and property buyers bask in attractive financing plans to buy condos and upgrade homes. Buyers become plentiful as home equity grows. This is usually described as a seller’s market.

However, a vibrant real estate market is bound to become saturated with mortgage debt, which often leads to the decrease in lending and the number of potential homebuyers. Equity naturally slips and profits from home sales gradually decrease. This is usually regarded as a buyer’s market.

A buyer’s market is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when this continues and prices continue to fall, it more homeowners find themselves suddenly “underwater” (owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth). In worse cases, foreclosures loom.

Employment

A vibrant labor market also typically results in increases in home sales. Banks, especially if they’re profiting from good-standing mortgages, will start to offer more loan products. Employment-related population increases often follow, down payments become more common in real estate purchases, and property values rise. Keen on cashing in on this favorable market condition, real estate developers go through a building binge, expecting that demand will continue indefinitely.

When job fronts level off and unemployment rates increase, a bubble could be in the horizon. Professionals begin moving to favorable markets in search of better jobs, consumer spending decreases, and the market becomes flooded with available properties. This drives property values down, marking the true making of a bubble.

The Philippine Scenario

The Philippines’ newfound economic exuberance is boosting an optimistic sentiment not seen since before the start of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. During the first quarter of this year, for example, GDP grew 7.8 percent, faster even than China’s, compared to the same period a year earlier.

Growing affluence and a newfound appetite for investment are fueling the concept of property investment among Filipinos. There is now a huge demand not only for buy-to-rent properties, but also for lifestyle or vacation homes that double as investment.

Although at the moment the Philippines is not experiencing a real estate boom similar to the one before the 1997 crisis, the country’s residential market is at a longer and sustained cycle, and that most developments, especially medium- and high-rise projects, are heavily concentrated in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

But what’s interesting is that amidst the oversupply in the high-end segment, the Philippines quite ironically is currently experiencing a housing backlog of a staggering 3.9 million units. In fact, statistics show that 22 percent of Filipino families cannot even afford their own home, and at the current of production, the backlog is expected to hit 6.9 million by 2030.

The Philippines’ real estate sector is not exhibiting signs of a bubble yet as economic fundamentals are strong. If anything, risks such as exposure to debt, unchecked high prices, and a slide in our GDP exacerbated by the global financial crisis will result in a market correction rather than a real estate bubble bursting.

What Can Be Done to Sustain the Market’s Momentum?

In order for the industry to survive a sudden downturn, real estate developers need to maintain parity in absolute price and payment terms versus competition. They also need to develop a strong, sustainable brand architecture to be ahead of local competition.

The following criteria are also recommended for new projects: (a) along existing major transport routes; (b) areas with high population and economic growths; (c) limit “initial” project size to 10–30 hectares for mixed-used development; and (d) sound product design strategy.

A focus on the resilient mid-market and core housing developments also makes sense, as it is here where there’s strong demand (and need). In addition, more office portfolio developments on top of the growing BPO market will also prove highly sustainable.

Dispersal is also key. Major cities outside Metro Manila and neighboring provinces should be identified as potential areas for new projects. This comprises a sustainable business model for real estate developers.

In addition, developers must develop a strong sales distribution network, comprising of independent brokers, in-house salespersons, provincial sales contribution, international sales teams, and online or digital sales strategies. Operational efficiency will also contribute to overall profitability.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) must debut soon as its effects will be significant and the strong showing of the country’s bourse will be sustained. REITs will also encourage small players to follow global best practices in real estate investing. If the economy turns sours and no REITS debut, we will see moderate nominal falls (correction) in price points in 2015.

Prof. Enrique Soriano III

An expert in Philippine real estate with more than 25 years’ experience in property development, marketing, and sales management, Prof. Soriano is the Senior Turnaround Advisor for Wong & Bernstein Group, Chair of the Marketing Cluster and Program Director for Real Estate at the ATENEO Graduate School of Business. He is also the Immediate National President of the Association of Marketing Educators of the Philippines.

 

Local talent Global application

Wow. This just confirmed that Filipinos have talent that be of great benefit for global business. I am going to see how I can work with them.

From Ioqal.ph/ 03 03 11

Filipino software developers create online map service for real estate companies

By Anna Valmero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA— Filipino real estate businesses can now map their locations on Google Maps using a free Web application developed locally.

Software developers Lorenzo Dee and Edge Dalmacio created haybol.ph, a real estate location search and mapping tool consolidates over 7,500 housing, school and other establishments mostly found in the Calabarzon area.

Dee, software architect at Orange and Bronze Software Labs Inc., said haybol.ph was integrated under the firm’s technopreneurship incubation program.

The map service has a user-friendly interface that allows users to register and map the exact location of an office, building or property on Google Maps. Photos and a 360-degree virtual tour of the location can also be added.

“We made the app to address the lack of a rich media online map in the Philippines that goes beyond business listing and contact details. Here, we aggregate information about the property on a map and you can see its exact location of the place in relation to other buildings,” Dee said.

Usually, when people locate a building or an area, they look for landmarks to guide them since street names often change. By allowing users to visualize the location of the place using a combination of address, street location and landmarks, users can find a location faster and more efficiently.

The Web app is aimed to introduce web rich map information for Filipinos online to “fast track decision making in buying or leasing buildings or to easily and accurately locate an area,” said Dalmacio, senior software engineer at Orange and Bronze.

In North America, information about when the house was built, the list of owners and floor layout are included in online maps, which has yet to take years to be available in the Philippines.

“Compared to typical classifieds find on print and dailies, the entry on haybol.ph allows user to use the map locator web app to make their businesses visible on Google Maps. Other information such as pictures of the building and ways to contact the owner allows for faster transaction between parties,” Dalmacio said.

Three major banks in the Philippines have partnered with haybol.ph. The website receives 15,000 visits per month.

To prevent junk data, account registration requires an authentic account on Google, Yahoo!, myOpenID, and Windows Live ID as registration email.

The service is offered for free until end of this year and revenues are generated from ads. For 2012, Dalmacio said they are considering other value-added services to gain revenues from the application.

Potential value-add services that can be developed from this map tool includes “heat maps”  that gives you a holistic view of real-estate information on the average lease prices in an area versus others, age of buildings, better routing based on road traffic and congestion, real estate tax compliance, and flood hazard maps.

 

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