“Backpacking” trip day 1: pain-ful journey

The day before we’re to leave, i asked God to puff my to-do list because there’s no way i’m carrying computer with me. Out of the blue, Mati complained he’s left ear is painful. Migi has hearing-lose on his right ear so i silently panic! So there, my to-do list was puffed away. The “backpacking trip” has not made me forget about my task list but my kids can. 

So in a way, i’m thankful that i haz proof that i care for my kids over any thing because i seriously doubt myself.

Since it was already evening when mati complaines, i decided to just go to an ER to at least have initial check up. We had 2 ER trips, with one ER denying us because they do NOT have that “flashlight” to check ears but not before the nurse made me feel like a dumb by spelling out EENT to me ( anyway, another story for that). I mean crazy! Even medical students have it, there’s no excuse thwy don’t have 1. I’m not going to name the hospital but it’s the newest in consolacion.
The next ER trip was to north gen hospital. Thankfully, they’re able to do an initial check up. But advise us to go to EENT. I just learned that only Sotto hospital has 24-hour EENT in their ER. So there!
Our boat trip was 2pm, so i let go of the idea that we can still make it that day.
He has indeed rar infection due to colds. 
We’re done a bit early at the clinic so we’re still able to make it on time for our boat to bohol.
We’re going to CDO via bohol and camiguin. I dunno why mark
Made that decision. I guess he just need to use his years of backpacking gear collection.
So the only thing that makes this backpacking trip is our backpacks.
Those bags contain the whole backpacking gear page of amazon.com and rei.com (joke!).

I felt we’re too old to be “backpackers.” I mean there’s no age for that probably, but yeah, whatever.

Delimma: the aktib experiment (raw thoughts)

This has been in my mind lately. And, i want to get it off so i can be “in the moment” in our fake “backpacking trip.” So i’ writing this down, whatever are on top of my head.

There are 2 main things, which i probably write over and over here, why i committed myseld to do this:

* promote a local tech startup product. Coming from the software tech industry, this is natural. Having been around programmers, i have seen deaths of products (involved in few of them). And, i thought, i’ll give this my last try.

* being able to build a sustainable business to support a team (of athletes). I think dole-out support is not sustainable. Anyway, long story short, i think you need to have a business to support a team.

Aug. 2012 – December 2013

Aug. 2012

I’m not sure with the dates, but i think it was after an ultramarathon in Tacloban that I committed myself to work on runroo/aktib, assisting Armie. We started with creating contents. Armie works on multimedia contents, while I was more on written/blog whatever you call it.

Then the aktib race listing started some time along the way. I started encoding the race listing. Then, we had the help of Andrea as intern.

February, 2013

I think this was the time Soybitz got onboard. He manage the race listing, the social media, and I guess generally all sorts of things to do on aktib.

So i guess it took around 1 year and half to do all sorts of content and “relationship building” kind of marketing.

January, 2014.

I could no longer recall how it went when finally we had our first customer to work with – selling their registration online. It was Rose Pharmacy Fun run.

It was funny because some thought that finally i organize a fun run because of “Rose” in the fun run name.

I think we made 20 registrations for that. We charge 50 per registration. But minus the credit card fee charges, we roughly make p10/registration.

So our first business deal — we made maybe P200! 🙂

Wow! This is it! It’s like victory!

IMPULSIVE OPTIMISM

I don’t know what right term to use for it but as they say that startups or entrepreneurship have this crazy faith / optimism that they can make it based on abstract facts.

Like the P200 revenue from the very first deal had made me think that yes, we can probably make even just 10k a month. The 10k is just enough to at least pay a salary of 1 person, which translates to at least 1000 registrations/month.

THE ROAD TO 1000 REGISTRATIONS
…is just so tough! 
I guess coming from the runners’ side at the start of the business, then having not much experience on the “organizers’s side,” as we work along the way with them, a lot of hard realities we just learned:
  • Local Organizers are barely making much from races. How can we make money from a client who is barely making any? (Will do another post for this)
  • Most runners expect races to be free, and to be getting a lot from it.  And, i’m also guilty of this. So again how can we make money from race organizers who are having hard time getting runners to pay them?
  • Truth is PHilippines is not that confident of online payment, or credit card penetration is not that high. Let’s just say that out of 300, only 50 are done online. If you do the math, how can we achieve 1000 online registrations/monthly without breaking our selves?!? 
  • Good news, we probably manage to get that 10k/month income, on a few times, but it was not solely on online registration. We did all kind of magic — selling shirts, visors, MC-ing, offline registrations, booth girls, on top of all the marketing activities we do. In short, Soybitz and I play a role of probably 5+ people just to make a 10k. It feels injustice but can’t complain because i choose to do it.
  • We’re not that experienced. Period. I have previous “experiences” but there were/are a lot of new things. We were/are learning to do some things on the fly.
  • Sometimes, i feel that we take too much than we can handle (that we don’t even know how to do) but i guess it has to do that we need to do it to “earn.”
  • I could go on and on but i’ll probably dedicate different separate posts for each above and more (hope i won’t be lazy).
April, 2014

Just barely over the first quarter of 2014, i raise the red flag of surrender. I told Mark that i can no longer do aktib. I am doing i dunno how many roles just to promote fun runs to stay afloat. We cannot also add people because we have nothing to pay for salary.
It was a circus between soybitz and i! We had help from Mickie but sadly we had to let go of her because we can not even afford ourselves. (That’s another post.)
June, 2014
Not sure w/ dates. We did decision of quitting aktib. But Soybitz rose up to the challenge. He said that he’d try to see how he could salvage it.
So I go along with him. From then on, it was Soybitz and I.
We did great, in a way that Soybitz earned something from it to keep him afloat. Note that i’m not making any, except for all the valuable experience. I’m not complaining but if you want to view it strictly as business, we’re negative. As i mentioned, we’re doing the role of 5 people to earn for 1 person. 
You can say that we are probably not doing it the smart way. Or we should do that or this strategy. But with just the 2 of us juggling different tasks / roles, we just do not have the time to reflect on a new strategy/approach.
Sept. 2014
I guess we got burned out. Doing multiple roles to sell simultaneous successive events is like back-to-back racing — burnout is just bound to happen, quality was definitely suffering. 
As much as we want to give a good fight, but we or maybe I is really operating on an empty fuel tank.  If it’s a race, we had given all what we got, there’s just nothing we can dig on. 
October 2014
I raised my red flag again. I told Soy that he should just focus his time
On creating his own business that better make sense (pls check his chemical-free meat, sarsa suka from pure coconut juice, pure honey at soybitz organic farm in facebool). That he should stop making his world revolve around aktib. 
We think of different things or ways of how to make it more profitable, and they’re not impossible. But but but then it’s going to be yet another experiment thus “money” is not sure. And, one of us cannot just do it for free any more (when you’re trying on an idea, it’s basically free slavery). (Different posts for this)
And honestly racing events is a bit of a fickle kind of business, especially in cebu. There’s definitely a future in it, but you have to wait that cebu’s middle class population will be like metro
Manila. For now, it will be just some sort of on-the-side kind of business, unless you want to invest big money on it. Big investment = (highly means) big returns (definitely, i don’t want to do it because bigger more tasks to do)
—–
So I guess i’m in quite delimma now. Because thankfully, despite shortcomings, we did make a few good relationships with organizers and i still would like to believe with runners/athletes too. I wanted to move on, but i also don’t want to totally let go of it. 
But most of all, is there some thing for me to be “delimma” about in the first place?!? Because at the end of the day, i think what i have is a first world problem. 
Anyhoo, we still have runnilla event, pls do join us. Check http://runnilla.com. It’s probably just one of the remnants i will keep. 
Pahabol: And, the elora supermarket 1st anniversary run, the lapulapu marathon before the year ends.

Plateau

There are those senior people in their field that I met, and was looking forward to learn from them. But unfortunately, (I could say) only 1 out of 5 can give a “senior” experience.

Sometimes, I wonder why this kind of service or that kind of product or that kind of style of doing things is not done locally. Maybe because there’s really no need to “innovate?” Or maybe they innovate but the local market is not receptive of those new things? Or maybe they stop learning? Or maybe they just don’t want to be uncomfortable of doing or introducing new or different things?

I guess for the very smart people, this is probably one of the reason why some work abroad. Or else, they will also plateau.

But I also admire those who persevere of staying here, and trying to force theirselves to go pass beyond the plateau.

(Photo from Cebu Fat Ass Trail Run, check my story at http://aktib.ph!)

Cognitive Dissonance

cognitive is thinking or the mind; and dissonance is inconsistency or conflict. Cognitive dissonance is the psychological conflict from holding two or more incompatible beliefs simultaneously. via Cognitive Dissonance theory.

Last quarter of 2014, I’m mentally agitated because it’s the last quarter of the year, and the:

1.
A. Acquired Futuristic in me (thanks to the husband) is already telling me to make plans and execute them now for the 2015. It’s complicated because I still have a 2014 “work load” to finish, which are some of them are already for 2015.

B. Original Present-ic in me is telling me “what’s your problem? If you’re going to do them, you will still have a boat-load of unfinished tasks. If you’re not going to them, you still have unfinished tasks. What you should do is just quit. Because the world got screwed because of too many people wanting to change it.”

2.
A. Me, myself, and I. I should go for my dreams and goals and whatnot because I need it for my growth, to satisfy my ego, to prove myself(?), or I think this is what will look good on my biography — in the label of changing the world / moving the community forward.

B. Others. Sh*t, I have 3 kids, an ageing mother, and other people to give my time to. Time is running out fast. You will wake up, and then you’ll NOT be included in their “Top 10 Best Memories of My Life.”

I could go on and blah about this, but I have to cut it short because the Future and Present Self is already rolling their eyes pointing to the task list.

———-

I think I did have a lot of learnings this year that I could no longer use my usual scapegoat which is “Ignorance is a bliss.” 

If only I did not know, I would probably not be experiencing a lot of dissonance.

——–

Note: I think “cognitive dissonance” in psychology is more appropriately used on person’s moral compass.

Can photo filters help me become that perfect “soccer mom?”

(Yesterday’s thoughts)
Be careful what you wish for… Be careful what your resolution is. I promise to

make more mistakes

this year.
And, indeed I got it. The mistakes were probably fun, then thrilling, then forgivable, in the earlier quarter of the years. But then now in the last quarter, the bites from reality is now showing as really ugly bruises. I’m feeling so worn out, un-excited. Every thing seems to be so monotonous. 
***
I woke up 5am in the morning, Meg was crying because she had no fable story yet for her assignment. Since the internet line is down, we had to get out of the house to get a strong mobile internet connection so that google can rescue us from this “fable story crisis.” No, I’m not going to rant about my #1stworldproblem of overpriced internet subscription. 
So at 5am-ish, we were sitting on “lantay” outside the house. Meg was browsing for her fable story from the tab. While, I was just staring at the “early morning.” Oh how I miss waking up early to do my runs really early in the morning with just that dewy air around you.
I totally miss NOT being busy. (Every one has a different standard of what is busy so I’m busy based on my standard.)
And, I realized that I have enough of this self-inflicted busy-ness. I want to be able to sleep early without a jumbled task list, wake up early for my runs without a task list waiting, and has still the energy to look forward to long runs on Saturdays. I want to have my time back for making up sari-sari greeny salads in the morning, take a photo of it minus the chorizo on its side, and show it off on worldwideweb. Be that beginner in advanced yoga class. That kind of monotonous life but still i have time to choose photo filters to glamorised it up on my social sites. 
I have a long exciting list of “things” I want to do next year. But I guess I have to review them now. And maybe next year, my resolution will be: make only one good mistake. No scratch it. No more attempt on any thing. 
Maybe I should focus on being that “soccer mom.” Gawd, how i wish that “soccer mom” thing can be achieved by photo filter.