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  • Writer's pictureAce Gapuz

Oh, happy days! Oh, hectic days!

Hola! Checking back in to give you guys a rundown on what's been up with my life. I haven't written a single thing for the entire April and I suppose I owe this blog an update.

It's been a hectic April for me, what with numerous commitments including, but not limited to:

  • a startup incubation program that Blogapalooza has been accepted to (I've been attending classes in their Makati office twice a week since April commenced),

  • helping good friends of mine coordinate and put up an event in BGC on a whim (it was our company's first attempt in putting up a bazaar; I thought it would be a good learning experience for our team and we almost won't have to spend for anything),

  • iterating and improving our company pitch deck to finally -- *fingers crossed* -- get some investor funding (pray for and with us!),

  • searching for the best tech partners and developers for our product, Buzzin,

  • planning for connecteD, this year's Blogapalooza event, and

  • a couple of meetings that have been significantly reduced, thanks to an extremely helpful technology known as video calls. *wink

Anyway, I'd like to tell you more about these amazing things and events that transpired during the past month and maybe some key learnings and insights I had.

Let's start with Cerebro Labs. Cerebro Labs is a tech business incubator and accelerator for pre-seed and early stage startups across all verticals. Basically, they're searching for startups to invest in and become part of their portfolio of companies. A couple of months ago, they sent out invitations for startups to apply to the first run of their startup incubation program. Hundreds of startups across the ASEAN region applied to get in, and Blogapalooza was lucky enough to be selected as part of the top ten (or, according to Janina San Miguel, the "tough ten" -- chos).

The "tough ten"! Haha
Cerebro Labs Batch 1: Admit, Blogapalooza, Container Living, Eight Media, Eve, HiGi Energy, Kalusugan Konek, Lexmeet, Omnibus, Spign

All ten startups are part of the first batch of Cerebro's incubation program, and so almost everything is served to us on a silver platter -- a great and colorful workspace with extremely fast WiFi, wonderful mentors that have been so generous with their time and talent, and free food every time (hehe). This one's an enthusiastic and very young batch; I think more than half of the group are younger than me.

I was very lucky to be given the chance to have a sit-down meeting with the CEO, Jay Abaya -- not once, but twice already! I've come to gain a couple of really helpful insights in running successful businesses from Sir Jay, but the one that really stuck with me is this: Even if you firmly believe that your startup is valuable, or that it derives real value from intangibles that it has or has built over the years, you still have to be able to illustrate how this is important and what makes it worthful to an investor that's not familiar with your vertical. (Heavy, huh.)

Basically, he's just saying that while we believe that influencer marketing has so much potential to grow exponentially in the coming years and given the leverage and advantage that Blogapalooza has gained over our seven years of existence, I still have the responsibility to show people who know nothing about influencer marketing why this is a field worth venturing into; i.e., What makes it so important? What is the current reality and how will our solution be able to improve that -- explained in very, very simple terms that a grade schooler will understand. Why should investors put their money in that? Realistically, how are returns going to be?

I can go on and on, but for now, I can only say that I am extremely grateful to be able to access mentorship from wiser, more experienced businessmen. I've always been craving for guidance and having our wonderful mentors from Cerebro Labs makes the twice-a-week travel (or should I say, "luwas") from QC to Makati worth it. :)


Proceeding with the story with Adulting Starter Pack, an event that was made possible through the collaboration of The After Six Club, LinkedIn Local, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, Magnus Eventus, and Blogapalooza, of course. It was a refreshing experience to be able to work on a project with people whom I haven't had the experience of working with yet. Of course there's been some adjustments on my part with regard to handling other people's way of management, their time and skills, their level of experience, and a couple of other factors that come into play in putting up an event intended for the general public.

It was a three-part event: the main program (organized by The After Six Club), a job fair (organized by Magnus Eventus), and a bazaar (organized by Blogapalooza). I'd say it was quite a huge challenge for me, because for some time now, I haven't done a project where I wasn't the leader. For the Adulting Starter Pack event, I was an ordinary team mate. I didn't feel responsible in leading or heading the big group, and so I shifted my focus on just making sure that our part of the event is well done.

But what I learned is that as one big event or project, even if there are three small groups involved and focused on their own thing, the responsibility has to be shared as if there's only one big group, and everyone has to really be invested and feel accountable for outcomes that the one big event will have. Even with my seven years of experience in corporate events and (after some four years in doing personal events before that), putting up that bazaar was hell -- I'm telling you! Very lucky that I had my team mate, Zandy, by my side -- I don't know how I would've done it without her!

Every team mate had our own share of shortcomings and misgivings, although the best learning that I had is that organizing an event, especially one that's given only a two-month lead time, takes real team alignment, consistent updating, coherence of facts when communicating, and a true bayanihan spirit that's willing to heed to a team mate's call when needed. I can only be grateful that it's done, and that everyone learned a thing or two about one another's work ethics, I hope.

Me and Bianca G, on stage

Also, best thing about the event is that I was given the chance to share the stage with my super long time idol, Bianca Gonzalez-Intal! *kilig


Anyway, my Meditation class is in 30 minutes and I gotta run! I'll share more stories in my Facebook and personal Instagram account instead (I have a work Instagram account, haha). Follow me and let's talk about our life learnings too! I also crave to learn from you.



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