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. Gokongweiis 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.
What really impressed me about JG was what he said in another speech on the importance of treasuring one's family.
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
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. - JGIt’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