Facebook and other things


Since its inception on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg along with his Harvard roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, Facebook now has 1.55B accounts, reaching heights Friendster and MySpace only dreamed of. After its IPO in February of 2012, it now has a market capitalization of $300B, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the world.

Twitter, launched in July of 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass, now has more than 300 million active users and has a market capitalization of $12.32B since its IPO in 2013.

Even lesser used social media sites like Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ have seen a rise in active participation over the years.


Uses of social media

Social media contains a treasure trove of information if only people knew where to look. Anecdotal details not shown on mainstream media become available to everyone, given enough time and effort to look for them.

Up to the minute reports by people on the scene can be seen on Twitter. Insights into a persons psyche are seen on Tumblr, where anonymity is the name of the game. Professional networks can be developed over LinkedIn. Amateur photographers become instant celebrities on Flickr and Instagram. Not to mention juicy gossip over Facebook.

All these are useful tools in gathering information about people, places, and events that would otherwise be unavailable using mainstream media.

Personal Commitment Statements

On a personal basis, I adhere to the following statements:

  1. Think before you click – liking, sharing, and commenting on posts are sometimes irresistible, but one should always think before clicking that button. Reacting without thinking of the consequences is a good way to get into trouble or, at the very least, look stupid.
  2. Introspection is key – getting angry at someone for doing something that one also does is a good way to be labeled a hypocrite.
  3. No personal information online -keep personal information personal. Whatever is posted online becomes fair game to all and sundry.

The Pirates of Penzance

In a 2014 study sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore, based on a survey of 1,700 IT professionals, government workers, and consumers in 15 markets, revealed that the cost of software piracy to businesses hit $491B. Almost two thirds of this cost, or $315B, was the result of organized crime.


Types of Software Piracy

Software Piracy includes the following:

  • Softlifting: Borrowing and installing a copy of a software application from a colleague.
  • Client-server overuse: Installing more copies of the software than you have licenses for.
  • Hard-disk loading: Installing and selling unauthorized copies of software on refurbished or new computers.
  • Counterfeiting: Duplicating and selling copyrighted programs.
  • Online piracy: Typically involves downloading illegal software from peer-to-peer networks, Internet auction or blog.

The Ethics of Piracy

There are differing views on the ethics of software piracy.

One view states that there is nothing wrong with software piracy based on the concept that information should be free and that piracy is a victimless crime.

The opposite view cites the loss of jobs and the costs of software development as reasons for paying for software, arguing that it is not, after all, a victimless crime, considering the loss of revenues for software companies and the resulting layoffs that occur.

In addition to the latter argument, piracy has the effect of raising the price of legal software, to counteract the losses that developers incur. This, in turn, increases the incidence of piracy, putting the price of legal software beyond the reach of ordinary users.

How to combat piracy

Software developers like Microsoft have enlisted the aid of governments in curbing piracy, emphasizing the need for laws and regulations that make the use of pirated software risky. In response, the Philippines has drafted the Optical Media Act and the Intellectual Property Act and and directed the Optical Media Board and the National Bureau of Investigation to raid and seize pirated software copies.

Another way to combat piracy is to offer a limited trial for the use of software, but this has been defeated by crackers using key generation software that allow users to enter these keys into the software.

Microsoft has tried to combat the threat of piracy by refusing to update its pirated copies of its popular operating system Windows, providing unique security keys to each copy. It has also recently offered its new operating system free of charge to legal owners of its previous software. While these have been successful, it has not altogether curbed software piracy.

However, until software becomes cheap enough or incomes rise high enough that ordinary users can afford legal software, piracy will remain a problem.



Intelligence is important, but education is importanter

Data, on its own, is next to useless. Raw data consists of a bunch of numbers that only the most dedicated mathematician would appreciate. It is not until it is converted into information that data becomes useful. This is where Business Intelligence (BI) Tools come in.

As a tool for decision making, BI Tools gather data culled from several sources and convert it into information that managers can use to make better informed decisions. Depending on the tool and the application, a BI Tool can present information to a manager in an easily recognizable format such as graphs, charts, tables, and other visual representations of data that will serve as guides.

BI Tools come in the form of spreadsheets, reporting and querying software, online analytical processing tools, digital dashboards, data mining, process visualization, data warehousing, and local information systems.

How to encourage use of BI Tools

The age old question of whether to use a carrot or a stick to encourage the use of a new tool applies here.

While using rewards and incentives for using these tools may work, these have proven ineffective in the long run, with managers eschewing modern and unfamiliar technology for gut feel about the industry. Punitive measures, no matter how onerous, have only worked in the short term, with managers ceasing use of BI Tools as soon as upper management eased up on the pressure to use them.

What proved effective in the long run was making managers understand the need for BI Tools to better comprehend and grasp trends and processes in the industry, the ability to see changes in data at a glance, where gut feel and intuition are replaced by objective data and informed decision making. Managers need to understand that in this modern day, it is important to make the right decision at the right time, something that instinct and experience can not provide them.

Online Shopping


The rise of online retailing

While online shopping started in 1979 with Michael Aldrich’s use of Videotex, that later on became known as Redifon’s Office Revolution, it was not until the advent of better and more user friendly browsers and faster internet speeds in the mid to late 2000s that the revolution started.


Ebay started online auctions, connecting sellers and buyers from all across the globe, followed by Alibaba for the massive Chinese market.


Amazon did away with the traditional bricks and mortar way of selling products, eschewing a physical presence for an online footprint that covered more ground than Walmart.


These business models were later copied by electronics seller Lazada and fashion products Zalora, all of which are now billion dollar businesses.


From business to business sales and business to consumer sales, as of 2015, online sales have accounted for 8% of global purchases (http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/perspectives/2015-retail-trends), reaching a record US$80B in revenues for the first quarter of 2015 (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-15/e-commerce-sales-are-surging).

Ease of use and convenience.

Online shopping provides a more convenient way to purchase products aside from physically visiting a brick and mortar store.

For the online retailer, this means a huge savings in the cost and expenses of building, operating, and maintaining a physical presence in several locations.  For the online purchaser, it means a wider range of of products and services to choose from, all from the comfort of their own homes. Online retailers provide an easy way of choosing products and services based on their prices and specifications and payment via electronic means and, for some retailers, cash on delivery.


Merchandise can not be inspected by the purchaser before purchase, thus putting consumers at a higher risk of fraud as compared to personal transactions, not to mention the risk of credit card fraud when paying online with a credit card. This also means that sellers risk fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards or fraudulent repudiation of an online purchase, resulting in additional cost for shipping, handling, and transactions.

While most of these risks have been addressed by SSL encryption and other security measures set forth by the Payment card Industry Data Security Standard, identity theft is still a big problem for online sales.

Third party product testing and verifiers have been used by online sellers to ensure the quality of their products before being shippined. Lazada and other retailers have also allowed inspection prior to acceptance by purchasers to address the issue of defective products.


Products easily bought online

Generic and homogeneous products like books, medicine, and electronics that require no special fitting and customization can be bought more easily online. These are products that can be used immediately and do not need to fit a specific person.

Products one should never buy online

Customized products like articles of clothing that may require personal fitting to determine suitability, short shelf life items like groceries that can no longer be returned, and expensive products like cars that require a test drive should not be purchased online.

While Zalora and a plethora of small independent clothing and fashion sellers sell clothes and other fashion accessories online, there is no guarantee that these will fit the purchaser without a physical fitting prior to purchase.

Making Better IT Decisions

3 Skills


In this digital age, one of the most important investments an organization can make is in Information Technology. Decisions involving what kind of system to put in place and when can sometimes make or break an organization, the right decision catapulting it to greatness and the wrong one causing it to plummet to obscurity. It is not enough for managers to simply rely on the recommendations of IT experts, he should also have a basis for his decisions.
To be effective, every manager  should at least have these three skills in order for him to effectively do his job:


  • Technical Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Conceptual Skills


Technical Skills.
While not every manager is expected to have the technical knowhow to discuss and weigh IT options on his own, nevertheless, he should have at least a general idea  of what the system is supposed to do and what it can actually do so he can decide for himself on whether or not to implement a particular system, to what extent, and when it should be implemented. There are comprehensive and modular ERPs available on the market that could overhaul the entire IT system of an organization or only a small part thereof, depending on the needs of the particular organization and its available funds. A manager needs to be able to understand the technical aspect of these systems in order to make objective decisions.
Analytical Skills.
An effective manager needs to be able to analyze problems and formulate solutions to address these problems. In management, this is defined as the ability to break problems down into parts in order to see relationships or interdependencies. These managers tend to plan well and lead projects successfully by accurately forecasting financial results and develop plans to meet goals and objectives. Seemingly insurmountable problems can be tackled piece by piece, with a person overlooking the whole operation, instead of being met headon. A manager needs to be able to analyze business processes and assess what information technology requirements can be used to solve inadequacies in these processes.
Conceptual Skills.
Managers need to be able to grasp the entire concept, seeing the forest not just the trees. An effective manager needs to be able to see the big picture by seeing the enterprise as a whole, seeing past the myriad parts that make up the entirety, so he can effectively supervise what needs to be done and where, in order to achieve the goals set for the organization.

Should Marcos be allowed burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?

Section 1 of Republic Act 289 states:
“To perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes, and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, there shall be constructed a National Pantheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains.”
There is no argument that the late Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was a former president of the republic of the Philippines. In fact, he was the longest reigning president of this country, holding that position for more than 20 years since 1965, until he was deposed in a popular but bloodless revolution in February of 1986.
However, his qualification to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani stops there.
Ferdinand E. Marcos was neither a hero nor a patriot.
The late president Marcos claimed to have been awarded a total of 33 medals for his courageous actions during World War II, leading a guerilla force known as the “Ang Mga Maharlika” in countless armed clashes, sabotage, and intelligence gathering missions against the occupying Japanese Imperial Army, making him this nation’s most decorated war hero.
However, these claims have never been recognized by the United States Veterans Administration and were later proven fraudulent by researchers John Sharkey of the Washington Post, Jeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley of the New York Times, and historian and scholar Dr. Alfred McCoy. Even the US Army stationed in Pangasinan, where most of his exploits allegedly occurred, denied that they issued any medals to Marcos. Marcos was a mere Civil Affairs officer of the 14th Infantry of the Philippine Army and was never a combatant.
More importantly, the late Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was not one that this generation and generations to come should ever emulate.
His atrocious record of extrajudicial killings, torture, and illegal detentions still haunts this country thirty years after he fled the country in shame. There were 3,257 recorded victims of extrajudicial killings, more than 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 illegally detained for speaking up against his rule. To this day, the mere mention of Martial Law sends shivers down the spine of those old enough to have lived through those dark times, prompting fervent cries of “Never Again!” from souls beaten down by his tyrranical rule.
Martial Law was the darkest time in the history of this nation, where dissent was met with death, protest by torture, and where speaking up meant that you would disappear without a trace. There are still desaparecidos still unfound even after all this time, their families forever wondering about their fates, but mostly resigned to the idea that they are no longer counted as among the living.
His rule also left the country in economic shambles.
From being counted as one of the strongest economies in Asia in the 1970s, the Philippines became its poor relation when Marcos was finally removed from power in 1986. He and his cronies plundered the coffers of the country like no one had before him, taking loot an estimated US$10 billion of the people’s money. The country was left in debt to the tune of $25 billion when he was deposed, leaving future generations to pay for his excesses and those of his cronies.
Allowing the mortal remains of the late Ferdinand Edralin Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would not be beneficial for three reasons:
  1. It would be bad for morale – contrary to the claims that allowing him to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would allow the nation to move on from its past, this will in fact exonerate him from the evils that he has done. Moving on requires that there be a healing of the wounds, forgiveness after an apology, absolution after restitution. His heirs have never admitted to any wrongdoing and not a single one has spent a day in prison.
  2. It would be an insult to those who suffered under his rule – allowing a hero’s  burial to the one ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands tortured and killed during his regime, not to mention the suffering and agony of their families and those families whose sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters are still missing to this day would be the gravest insult.
  3. It would require a rewriting of our history and of the law – a hero’s burial would require the retcon of what Martial Law really was, making of it a benevolent step forward instead of a leap backwards into medieval times where life was cheap and easily extinguished. It would also require the amendment of the law creating the Libingan ng mga Bayani, to allow even those who did evil to be buried there.
Now, more than ever, this country needs heroes; men they can look up to and emulate, men who can make this country’s citizens proud of it once more, men who can lead this nation to greatness, men who fathers and mothers can point to and tell their children “that is what I want you to be when you grow up”, men built of stern moral fiber, incorruptible and with integrity.
And for all he was, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was no hero.