Saturday, December 7, 2019

Judging your judgments

How can one be able to judge his own judgment?
Will he be able to judge his own judgment prior to the result(s) manifesting?
How are the judgments being judged?
How we will be able to gauge the judgment of others judging your judgment?
Why judge in the first place?
Why not?

These are the question I'm pondering as a leader but more of which as a person. I know I am not alone in this particular circumstance of reflecting (self-introspecting) from past actions which led to a positive/negative opposite reaction(s).

This particular writing is not intended for everyone but for those who get lost every time they step into the void of emptiness caused by the confusion of finding one's purpose and meaning, which questions one's existence and journey or even life in general. These are my opinions about these topics and my answers reflect a view that I call my own. I hope that by reading my thoughts and getting a glimpse of these matters (from my perspective) will help you better understand one's action. As it did help me.

Why not?
By nature, humans judge every aspect of life. From what they see, to what they hear, to what they smell, to what they touch, and taste. This is essential for our survival and this is something we can hardly remove from our DNA. By not judging the things around you, you're making yourself handicap to possibilities and breakthroughs. By not judging the elements on the life you're living, you're making yourself blinded of vulnerabilities. By not judging, your exploration of life won't make sense.

Why judge in the first place?
Because the world is fair and just like dreaming, judging is free. The only way for you to know how you and your surrounding is doing is by judging. Questioning for the sake of knowing is already a form of judgment -- as you won't even bother questioning about a thing, a person or a particular happening if you didn't have initial findings out of your judgment on those areas.

How are you able to gauge the judgment of others judging your judgment?
By gauge, I mean measure. A personal practice I adapt for measuring other people's judgment (might it be towards my judgments or towards something else) is categorized into 3 key disciplines (1) Believability on the lines of reasoning, (2) The concept or the patterns of thoughts each reason is modeled from, (3) 3rd-party stories that are ethical and well related to the topic being discussed. If these 3 main grounds are met, to me, assessing one's judgment towards my own judgment and others is now easy.

How are the judgments being judged? 
This is sacred as we all have our own metrics. This is something I cannot talk more as it might sound so righteous when people misunderstand and misinterpret my lines. To me, I judge it based on (1) Credibility, who gave the judgment and who was it given to, (2) Corresponding punishment/reward when the judgment was given, (3) Objective Evidence, (4) Rational, and (5) Humane.

Will one be able to judge his own judgment prior to the result(s) manifesting?
There is what we call probability. However, the probability falls on something that's not true nor false. Until that future time comes, no one can say that the projected "probability"  is true or not. This question is still on my list of topics to research. I haven't found the right amount of knowledge to be able to answer this for now.

How can one be able to judge his own judgment? 
Just like the question before this, I believe this is something personal. Something that could differ from every individual. I will leave this question hanging as it's only you who will be able to answer this for yourself.

A thing I keep in mind in times of judgment is that everyone is dwelling on its own interpretation of the happening. Each one will always claim that the correct reality is the one they are presenting (in which most of the time, bias). Remember, when people fight reality, they lose. As reality should be embraced but not limited to one's reality, as each one has his own.

Judging will only go wrong when you share your judgment to others without being asked to do so (as this will now become what we call gossip). That is why, to some, they stick on the line "only God can judge me".

If you happen to have some thoughts about these questions, email me at I'll be happy to know what's your take on each.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Heading to a straight path isn't always the fastest

When you work in a startup, change is inevitable. Processes get revamped from time to time. Product and platform roadmaps get revisited every now and then. And speed will always be in the center of everything.

Sometimes when you don't see the big picture, it's hard to comprehend and imagine the ripple effect. However, if you trust the process and data, you know things will fold in accordance with the actions you have taken for a given situation. Most people think that following a straight path is the fastest, some even think that this "straight path" exists and so it is the one true way to run a company.

The goal of a startup is to reach the north star the fastest way possible -- which is to be able to close the next round of funding. If that straight path exists for every startup to follow, there will be a lot of startups who could have attained growth and are now profitable. However, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success and so it is just right to say that there is no straight path at all.

Science and math can show you that heading to a straight path isn't always the fastest, though it might be the most convenient. However, as a startup, convenience is not something we should consider -- especially knowing that our life-span is limited and survivability is at stake. Speed is king! Speed trumps it all!

Now, the problem with speed is that not everyone can cope up with the rest. As a leader, what should you do? And how should you go about it?

Quick note: I am no expert when it comes to startups. I am no expert when it comes to management and leadership. However, I would like to share these notes that I have to everyone who's reading this post in the hopes that it'll help you and your team be more successful.

Mindset is everything
As the saying goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go with a team". Installing the same understanding to your people saves you from being questioned on every decision you'll be making. Giving people the idea of how startups work, what to keep in mind, and what to focus on will make people realize what roles to play for the plans to work.

Communication brings alignment
People argue about not having the proper structure to be able to execute things well, this is a common complain you'll hear when you're in the startup world. This is why we have to communicate well. The point is to make sure we loop-in everyone especially who are going to be involved in projects, initiatives, changes and etc. Without observing proper communication, people will judge every action based on how they perceive it.

Constant reminders
The only way to improve is to measure how we've performed month to month, week per week, day by day. In the midst of hustling and grinding, people sometimes get lost and get off track. Reminders will serve as everyone's daily fuel -- on top of their personal motivations and inspirations. Don't let people forget what your mission is all about and how your brand is different from the rest.

So far, I've been enjoying the ride I'm having with Onerent. Still, there are many things needed to be done -- and that makes it more exciting.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

From leading a platoon, to an army

I was not ready for this, yet, I still said yes.

Lately, I have been entrusted by management a task that is very crucial in the company's betterment and survival. It's something I didn't ask for, though, it's something everyone else has wanted. It was said that my leadership style and approach is what people in the company can capitalize on. And it's time to have a broader audience for it, management highlighted.

Thinking about the role and scope, I can't help but ask myself -- "what will you do now?". Seeking answers for the past weeks is not so productive, I got lost. Maybe because weeks is a little bit short when we talk about the time in realizing the uncertainties and the unknowns on my current position. Maybe the next folds will manifest in the next quarter or even in the next year, who knows.

As a reminder to myself, I created this methodology that I could always go to every time I get lost. I call this The Lost Framework.

When you're in the state of leading yourself, it is expected that you'll get lost along the way more frequently. And it's normal! trust me, it is. The framework I am adapting for myself is mainly focused on communication -- it requires one to talk. Problems and issues get solved most of the time when it's discussed and talked about. The key is for you to know who to talk to and what questions you should ask.

In leading a large body of individuals that are striving for excellence and pride, I am counting on what Sun Tzu said in his book, The Art of War. A section of that book gives the reader an idea as to what mindset is all about, though, one should comprehend where to strike the balance.

Traits of a losing General:
  • Recklessness, which leads to destruction
  • Cowardness, which leads to capture 
  • Hasty temper, which could be provoked by insults
  • A  delicacy of honor, which is sensitive to shame
  • Over solicited solitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble

The hard thing about being a leader is the fact that your judgment is always tested, every now and then. One should have a  mental model and thought process in order to come-up of his perspective of both the problem and the solution. This is a real struggle for most, especially those who are new to the position. I always consider what Peter Drucker said about management, "Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things". It helped me weigh things out and decide which path to go for any given situation.

As your people look up to you, keep in mind that in a world where you can be anything, be humble.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

AWS Summit 2019 - The Singapore Experience

What a privilege it is to be a speaker for the AWS Summit Singapore 2019. It was an honor to speak in a large crowd, what an experience!

2:45pm | Rebuilding Onerent Platform, AWS All the Way!

It's my first time to visit Singapore and like any other stories about the great country, it stood to its promise. Clean! Safe! Innovative!

There's no doubt that businesses are eyeing to put-up a headquarters in Singapore. It's a state of the art tech-hub. The government is properly serving the people. The people living in the country is disciplined. Additionally, the tax rate is low! What else could you ask?

While touring for 4 days, I get a chance to step foot to AWS Singapore Headquarter. A once in a lifetime opportunity any AWS Enthusiast could hope for.

AWS APAC Leaders (Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines)

During some nights, I get the chance to see and witness the light and fountain show on the other side of the Marina Bay Sands. It was so magnificent, especially when you see the vibrant colors in-person!

Marina Bay Sands, Light Show

To wrap it all up! I've added another ID on my list. More to come, I hope! I wonder what's next?

  • 2017 - AWS Community Day, South Korea (Gangnam-gu District)
  • 2018 - AWS Community Day, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • 2019 - AWS Summit Singapore, Singapore (Expo)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Technical Leadership - Your Approach Matters

This writeup is not for those who don't want to do their part to be able to understand and grasp the knowledge. Leadership is not about what you know from reading, it's what you've experience that counts.

I remember the first time I joined the management circle, I was clueless about how I may drive the team to execute the tasks and accomplish the deliverables. Being the new kid in town, it took me a while to mix and match the leadership approach I know to the environment I was at. It wasn't easy! In every experimentation, someone has to pay the price -- either you as the leader or your people, sometimes it's both parties that have to deal with the consequences.

As I grow more people and one-by-one lift them up to the world of leadership, it's important that as early as now, they are introduced to the type of leadership available for them to embrace. Know that I am not here to tell people what to choose but instead, let them think which one works best for them, in the current environment they're at.

Before explaining the quadrants, as a little assignment to those who are reading this article -- can you tell me why too much on one side is bad? (See image 1.0)

image 1.0

The quadrants:
  • Autonomy - It's the fact that your people are doing things themselves without even you telling them to do it.
  • Order - It's the fact that your people know who are allowed to call the shots. Commanding your men to do things as required -- but not limited to the leader.
  • Authority - It's the fact that your people will only honor your words and won't take any tasks without your approval.
  • Control - It's the fact that your people fully depends on you and won't have the option to say what they have in mind.

The approach:

By just looking at the images, one should be able to comprehend the difference between the four approaches. It's better for me not to explain (spoonfeed) this to you, as I believe that exploring the in-depth answers to your questions, by yourself -- will lead you to more question that will somehow give you total satisfaction, once answers attained.

NOTE: I'm just here to give directions, not instructions. And trust me, it's more fulfilling when you find the answers yourself.

CLUE: In the images below, can you tell which one is Aristocracy, Bureaucracy, Micromanagement, and Democracy? Aside from the four types, you have to be aware that not all combination will work -- discover it yourself, why.

Type A

Type B

Type C

Type D

The bonus notes:
If you're working in the tech industry and is surrounded by a group of engineers, creatives, innovators, and leaders -- most likely you'll end up giving them the "free will" to do their job. As what the late Steve Jobs said: "We didn't hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do".

I'm not telling you that democracy is what you should go for, but in most cases, that is the approach that works best for a performing team. From the time I've been leading people, there are two things I keep in mind when thinking about work; (1) people love to be able to express themselves on what they do, so they value freedom the most and (2) people like to be trusted, so they value freedom the most.

Hope these notes will give you a sense of direction as you go along on your leadership journey. If you haven't read my blog about "measuring leadership", I suggest you check it out!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Measuring Leadership

It took me some time to realize how I made significance to the team as someone who's leading from behind. For a person who actively monitors and tracks daily performance, being unable to see my own progress is something unacceptable -- especially if no numbers are able to back up my claim (that I'm doing well on my job).

When you are in the leadership role, sometimes, the things you do don't always add up to the numbers. Sometimes, your routine is more into making sure everyone, being a part of a bigger machine is working harmoniously along with the rest. While searching for some key metrics I could set for myself, I bump into some realization that somewhat opened my eyes as to how and where to set the numbers.

The following details are primarily based on my personal opinion. If you find it useful, use it. If you don't agree to what I'm saying, let me know (email me at

  • Good deeds should be credited to the team, mistakes, on the other hand, should be accounted to the leader. You might ask why? You have to understand that each one of your men is paid to work on things, their objective is to do it well. You as the leader is paid to make sure mistakes are avoided as much as possible. Being able to foresee what waits ahead for the team is one of the key abilities a leader should have, being able to tell the team what to prepare for is a  great asset of a leader. The more mistake the team incurred -- the more you should ask yourself why (as the number of mistakes progresses, the poorer your performance becomes). Possibilities are:
    • Instruction might not be clear enough to be understood. No proper training. No proper on-boarding or at least not given enough time to fully grasp the scope of work.
    • Lack of resources. Miscalculation of project estimates.
    • Assigning incapable people to the scope. Misjudgment of the workload and workforce.
    • Loopholes on the hiring process. Not a real culture/skill fit.
NOTE: Don't count how many things you've done well, that's what you're paid to do. Instead count the mistakes you've made and see if it resonates your pay grade.

  • Attrition rate matters, everyone is a resource. What about this? If the people that once served your team suddenly leaves, regardless of the reason, you might start asking yourself why (as the number of people leaving your leadership, the weaker you are as a leader). Possibilities are:
    • There's something wrong with them not being able to cope-up with your leadership approach. Or the other way around, where you as the leader, not being able to hone people the way that suits them.
    • You ended people's contract because of poor performance. Now the question is, have you trained them and helped them improve? Is your training approach effective? Were there any follow-ups being made after the training? Have you constantly reminding every individual you've coached?
NOTE: Don't just count the people you've on-boarded. Make sure those individuals stay, hopefully for a long time.

  • Less dependent, more trust, makes more leaders. How so? When you grow people, you teach them all the things they need to know in order for them to do well in their job. Not only limited to doing their scope, as much as possible, you as the leader also have to add more work on their plate if you can spot that the individual is capable of doing such. The less dependent your people becomes, the more you give them room for growth. The more they make decisions themselves, the more trust you build with them. The more you do this, the more leaders you have. If people can't decide and speak for themselves, then, probably -- there's something wrong and you might ask yourself why (as the more people dependent to you, the less effective you are in developing people). Possibilities are:
    • You are too insecure that one day, someone from the team will replace you as soon as they know how to do things (way better than you do).
    • You are too afraid that one day, someone might surpass your knowledge
    • You feel like the information you have is too vital for your survivability, thus, you hoard it to yourself.
NOTE: Don't just count the number of people you have on your team, also see if they are able to do things themselves and empowered to do things as necessary.

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. The more leaders you produce, the successful you are in your role.

As you step into the circle of leadership, you need to remind yourself that -- everything is no longer about you. You are no longer the best agent, coder, system admin, engineer or marketer. You are now a servant of the people that you're tasked to grow. Understand the meaning of leadership and you shall see yourself -- feeling the fulfillment every end of the day.

Sharpen-the-Axe Session, Boji talking about Building Mental Models

Saturday, January 26, 2019

An Instrumental Part of Onerent's Culture

Last year, the company committed to doubling the number of engineers in the Philippine office with a  focus on aiming for a faster performance that will help meet the demands from our investors and stakeholders, optimizing the time in addressing technical debts and being able to work on more initiatives as the idea comes by. While we are all excited for the tremendous growth, making sure that efficiency and collaboration are well-observed in the larger set of crew -- is something we need to add emphasis.

For 2019, we've rolled out a new way of spending the last Friday of the month for everyone in Engineering! It's called DND or Digital Nomadic Day.

So what is DND?
DND is a theme day with a twist. Rather than spending time in the office, the entire Engineering team will invade other places and have all activities be hosted in there. And guess what? The theme of the 1st DND is a Hackathon. Sounds exciting, right?


When we give out the instructions for the criteria of judging, we didn't narrow down the team's option in selecting which problem(s) they have to tackle but instead, we gave them the ability to really think of a problem themselves. We were surprised by what each team came up.

The Grinders, whose members are Kevin (Software Architect), Joy (Salesforce Team Lead) and Loren (Salesforce Developer) came up with a platform that aims to solve parking and traffic jams, named Parkie.

TEAM: The Grinders

Humble Kids, whose members are Jethro (Software Engineer), Diom (Software Engineer) and Elmer (Salesforce Developer) crafted an application that bridges people who are looking for work and those who need something to be done. The application Gotto primarily aims to solve the issue of unemployment.

TEAM: Humble Kids

Lord of the Flies, whose members are Sonito (Software Engineer), Boji (Software Engineer) and Emman (Salesforce Developer) targets the problem about waste management. The approach they introduced utilizes technology to better monitor waste collection and segregation, keeping the world a better and cleaner place. Receptacles is what they call it.

TEAM: Lord of the Flies

Geek Freaks, whose members are Kris (Software Engineer), Wilfred (Software Engineer) and Julian (VP of Engineering) came up with an app that helps people have proper education about different cultures in different regions around the globe. The Fit-In technology basically uses a speech to text mechanism that utilizes machine learning that scores the word you've said (based on how appropriate it is for a location).

TEAM: Geek Freaks


While each idea is great, it's always important to have another pair of eyes look into the plans and see what are the things that could be improved, nailing down loopholes and making sure the idea is future proof. Our very own CTO, Rico, spent the whole day with the team, guiding each one to survive the pitching round.

Humble Kids ft. Rico (CTO)

Lord of the Flies ft. Rico (CTO)

The Grinders ft. Rico (CTO)

Geek Freaks ft. Rico (CTO)


The pitching round is very crucial as everyone's work is optimum and so we asked our good friends from Product's team to decide who's making it to the top. Special thanks for Marx and Shannen (Growth's UX/UI Designer) for being there with us, making the hard decision on selecting the winner.

Criteria of Judgement:

  • Social Impact - 25%
  • Execution - 25%
  • Customer Viability - 25%
  • Business Model - 25%

Hackathon Winner:

  • Lord of the Flies with their platform Receptacles.

The Grinder, Parkie

Lord of the Flies, Receptacles

Geek Freaks, Fit-In

Humble Kids, Gotto


It was a long day, too many things have been prepared -- but it was all worth it. Everyone had the chance to showcase their talent and had the chance to show off their entrepreneurial side.

As the event organizer, I've learned that:

  • People are generally great in their own way and uniquely equal at some point.
  • One's idea could be more polished if a team is working on it.
  • Teamwork is essential in any group activity, especially when dealing with limited time.
  • Everyone will step-up when they need to.