mGa KuRo-KuRo Ni Ka UrO

Monday, February 27, 2006

Insights from An Extraordinary Man

The other day someone sent me an email containing this very inspiring speech of John Gokongwei he made in Ateneo a few years back. Actually, yung speech niyang yon ang nag-inspire naman sa akin para sulatin ang previous two posts ko.

Kapuri-puri ang buhay na pinagdaanan ni JG dahil nanggaling siya sa pagiging mahirap at ngayo'y one of the most successful businessmen in our country. Sabi ni J.G. nagumpisa lang daw siya sa pagtinda-tinda sa palengke.

I would load my bicycle with soap, thread, and candles, and then bike to neighboring towns to sell my goods. On market days, I would rent a stall, lay out the goods from the bike, and make about 20 pesos a day, enough for me to survive and to buy even more goods for next time. - JG

Hindi instant success ang business ni JG. Nagumpisa siya sa maliit at unti-unti niyang pinalaki ito. However, it was only after he got a break that his company really made it big time. His break was in the form of an UTANG, a loan. Kaya nga nasabi ko sa past post ko “borrowing money to generate more money” ang secret to success.

I needed capital. That was not easy. I was 30, had no big company success to back me up, and I didn't know any bankers.

Thankfully, Dr. Albino Sycip, then chairman of China Bank, and DK Chiong, then president, gave me a clean loan of P500,000 to start my business. He would be asked later why he did that and he said something about knowing a good man when he saw one. (Maybe he knew something I didn't.) Anyway, from there Universal Corn Products, the predecessor of Universal Robina Corporation, was born. - JG

Mr. Gokongwei is indeed a very remarkable man; whose life we can get lots of inspiration from. The way he tackled and emerged triumphant against mighty competition is truly inspiring.

Remember the story of David and Goliath? Every industry has its Goliath. But every David knows that all giants have their weaknesses. Every weakness is an opportunity.

… But I chose to live my life unafraid even during times when I WAS afraid. I discovered that opportunities don't find you;/ you find your opportunities. - JG

What really impressed me about JG was what he said in another speech on the importance of treasuring one's family.
And never forget your families! Your parents denied themselves many things to send you here. They could have traveled around the world a couple of times with the money they set aside for your education, and your social life, and your comforts. Remember them -- and thank them. When you have families of your own, you must be home with them for at least one meal everyday. I did that while I was building my company. Now, with all my six children married, I ask that we spend every Sunday lunch together, when everything under the sun is discussed. As it is with business, so it is with family. There are no short cuts for building either one. - JG

It’s funny because when I was growing up I did have a contempt against people in business. My image of them is that of vultures and crocs (buwaya) out there to take advantage of the masses in their quest for profits and more profits. Tumatanda na talaga ako, because my perspective on business has totally turned around. Like JG in his last words to his audience, I now advocate more Pinoys to go into entrepreneurship.

I hope that many of you in this room will some day choose to be entrepreneurs. Choose to be entrepreneur because then YOU create value. Choose to be an entrepreneur because the products, services, and jobs you create then become the lifeblood of our nation. But most of all, choose to be an entrepreneur because then you desire a life of adventure, endless challenge, and the opportunity to be your BEST SELF. - JG


  • well defined.

    the best in raising capital is the 1 plus 1 = 2 rather than 1 times 1 = 1.

    in all my business ventures i always started with a dollar. once there are a lot of dollars raised or saved, money attracts money.

    many filipino businesses abroad dies because they mainly focus on the filipino markets rather than the local populace in my case the french canadians, the english canadians and the growing immigrants from all over the world.

    i am sure in JB's case he forgot to mention the assets he had accumulated to back up the 500 k loan or the guarantor that secured the loan. or perhaps the best business plan, however the secret of JB's success was finding a bank to give him the loan. the art of the deal.

    the money generated as a capital is sustained by increasing money earned, if one can make it in 2 years with a surplus to pay oneself in equivalence of a minimum wage, it's a start.

    thanks for the interesting subject matter ka uro. a million starts with a few cents. one dollar at a time.

    By Blogger Air Milikay, at 11:01 AM, February 27, 2006  

  • agree with you AirM especially with what you said about money attracting money and focusing not only on the pinoy market.

    marami ng mga successful pinoys all over the world. the problem i could see is that most are successful only as employees of big companies. i think the next challenge will be to be successful OWNING a company, becoming an entrepreneur.

    By Blogger Ka Uro, at 12:02 PM, February 27, 2006  

  • okay magnegosyo, huwag lang tatapak sa ibang tao sa maling paraan at gagawa ng masama. i am sorry ka uro, maganda man lumalabas ang istorya niya, kilala naman siya sa mga circles dito na garapal na negosyante. ang istorya, madaling gawing maganda pero di naman complete---only the good side. mag-ingat.

    By Anonymous banjan, at 1:02 PM, February 27, 2006  

  • banjan,
    thanks for the warning. actually wala akong ibang alam tungkol kay gokongwei kundi ang nabasa ko sa speech niya. tulad ng lahat ng tao, may mabuti at may masama. lalo na siguro kapag businessman ka.

    i'm pretty sure JG is no saint kaya tularan na lang natin ang mabuti at iwaksi ang masama.

    By Blogger Ka Uro, at 1:50 PM, February 27, 2006  

  • ku,
    mukhang panay ang basa mo ng "how to get rich" books ngayon ah... ano ba bago mong libro?

    have u heard of the rumour that gokongwei's now have investments here in middle earth... galing 'no... i think we all could learn from these kind of people.

    By Blogger KiwiNoy, at 5:13 PM, February 27, 2006  

  • very well said..kakainspire tlga mga ganyan, kaso kun iisipin prang di tlga ganon kadali eh, ewan ko ba?!

    By Anonymous pobs, at 8:03 AM, February 28, 2006  

  • inspiring talaga!

    By Blogger lojika, at 8:59 PM, February 28, 2006  

  • Verrry inspiring indeed!
    I also got a copy of his message to students of ateneo. Galing nga!

    Yung success story mo kailan mo ipa-publish?

    By Blogger Flex J!, at 10:40 PM, February 28, 2006  

  • Nice post Ka Uro, inspiring nga ang kwento... kaya nag research ako.

    Sa "The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth" - a book written by Richard Evans, may mga pointers sya kung pano yumaman.

    Lesson One - Decide to Be Wealthy
    Lesson Two - Take Responsibility for Your Money
    1. Know How Much Money You Have
    2. Know Where Your Money Comes From
    3. Know Where Your Money Is Going
    4. Know What Your Money Is Doing
    Lesson Three - Keep a Portion of Everything You Earn
    Lesson Four - Win in the Margins
    Lesson Five - Give Back

    I'm glad to say that I made a significant progress in attaining this goal. I am now past lesson one! Yehey!

    By Blogger Ka Elyong, at 6:53 AM, March 03, 2006  

  • kiwinoy,
    di ko alam yung rumour na yan a. ano? makibakas tayo sa kanya?

    opkors mahirap din. dahil kung madali lahat ng tao mayaman na sana. pero no guts no glory ika nga. kaya natin ito!


    flex j,
    ipa-publish ko kapag bayad na ang mga utang ko. baka sa year 2020.

    ka elyong,
    mabuti ka pa naka lesson 1 ka na. ako pinagiisipan ko pa kung gusto ko ngang yumaman. at the momemnt, kuntento na ako kung mabayaran ko mortgage ko.

    By Blogger Ka Uro, at 10:15 AM, March 03, 2006  

  • I guess the traits and mindset of JG are usually common to succesfull businessmen evrywhere (Bill Gates,Sorros, Steve Job,etc..)

    His childhood experience of doing business is somewhat similar to Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway.

    By Anonymous myepinoy, at 7:46 AM, March 04, 2006  

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