Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Tipping Point - A Review

Publishing this review which I wrote for school because I got good marks for it. I should do this more often.

A Refresher on Gladwell’s Masterpiece

It was a good reunion for me with Malcom Gladwell, one of my key influences in forming my way of thinking about marketing strategy. And the audiobook was a pleasant encounter with him, listening to his concepts and ideas. It has been years since I first discovered this book which had led me to reading some of his subsequent writings – The Outliers and David and Goliath included.

Yet, the concepts of The Tipping Point still brings fresh new connections and resonates so much of the realities in the world of marketing today. And I’ve always liked his style of writing where he reveals his main thesis in hiss first chapter, and then proceeds with the rest of the book, thru case stories and examples to reinforce his thesis with anecdotal evidence, expanding and enriching one’s understanding of these concepts.

And this audiobook seems to be an updated edition of the original work because there were references which I hardly remember from reading it in the past. Or maybe I had never really absorbed it as well on print as with listening to him reading it across 4 hours of a mental journey.

Concepts and Motivators of Influence:
Connectors, Mavens & Salesmen

My biggest takeaway the first time I read The Tipping Point was about the Law of the Few – the power of influence and the kind of influential roles critical to the spread of an idea. If one were to look at the strategies I have done for my clients and the organizations I have worked with, one will find personas describing Connectors, Mavens and/or Salesmenplaying critical roles in the targeting of the marketing strategies I have developed. While a lot of marketing nowadays recognize these key influencers in the success of brands and products, I still find that they tap the wrong motivators for these people. Monetary gain rarely is a sustainable route to tap into the power of influence.

As even Gladwell alludes to, there are intrinsic motivators that match these roles. Connectors find joy in linking people to others and to ideas. Mavens are obsessed with discovery and beam as they are recognized for their discoveries. Salesmen find pleasure in persuasion. Tapping into the power of these kinds of people requires interventions which play into these motivators to truly realize the power they wield.

I can be a mistake also to presume that an individual can only be one of these types. The power of context which Gladwell also discusses applies to how these roles emerge depending on context – the situation of the social exchange, and their specific relationship with those they influence. 

An Appreciation of Network Analysis

It was The Tipping Point and the rise of social media which sparked my interest to study in more depth social network analysis and its profound role in the spread of ideas. There is a Coursera course on Social Network Analysis which takes learners into the math of network effects. Several key models in the course are also mentioned by Gladwell such as the Small World problem, Six Degrees of Separation and the Diffusion Model– interesting models which explain how simple, basic rules govern the emergence of complex patterns of the spread of ideas across social networks. Although Gladwell does not delve into the complex mathematics involved, he does a pretty good job of bringing to life these patters we find in nature and in society.

Key Elements and First Principles of The Tipping Point

Gladwell’s idea of the contagion is a powerful concept which connects marketing to the natural mechanisms of the world as understood by science. To liken a marketing idea to agents of disease, infections and epidemics easily sparks analogies to understand marketing in terms of inoculation, infection and virality. I reckon old buzzwords like “viral marketing” stems from Gladwell’s best-selling book. The Tipping Point was in a way a contagion in itself when it was released to this world.

“Small changes can have big effects” is a mantra I have made my own when planning marketing strategies. One can have the biggest marketing budgets in his disposal, yet may not even make decent impact if not used well. Alternatively, the right small efforts, if done extremely well and with the right conditions can spark phenomenal results. This relates to the Pareto Principle which refers to the top 20% of efforts being responsible for 80% of the effects. Of course, the hardest thing in the world is finding these small opportunities which can make (or break) any intervention one makes.

The idea of the tipping point, for me, conveys a message of trust, hope and perseverance to anyone with the desire to bring about any kind of change in the world – whether it be towards a marketing goal or social good or anything in between. The hardest part of the climb is the beginning up until you reach the tipping point, the point of no return. It is not an easy thing to determine when and how a tipping point will happen, but when it does, an idea takes one a life of its own. Before it happens though, one needs enough trust in the stickiness factor of the contagion, hope that it reaches The Few that will trigger the small changes with big effects, and perseverance in successfully tapping into the power of context.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GrabTaxi | Social Enterprise Takes on Metro Manila -- The New Kontrata

MANILA -- The long-drawn battle between cab drivers and passengers in Metro Manila could soon be over, thanks to the new smartphone app service called GrabTaxi. The social business company has found the solution to ending woes endured for decades by the highly-fragmented taxi industry, with an intuitive cab booking service powered by mobile internet and GPS (global positioning system) technology.

Anthony Tan, 31, founder and creator of GrabTaxi explains, "We learned in [Harvard] business school that it was about creating businesses that made a positive impact in people's lives. Our goal was to create [...] a self-sustaining social enterprise, and that is what GrabTaxi is."

For the passenger, GrabTaxi is about the CONVENIENCE of booking a ride without the pains of waiting in a taxi line or haggling exorbitant rates with opportunistic taxi drivers. It also means SECURITY of having the taxi driver's name and info on record in your mobile, easily shareable on social media. The power to give immediate in-app feedback and complaints about the driver without having to contact the taxi operator or LTFRB is a welcome benefit.

For the cab driver, GrabTaxi means less idle roaming without a passenger in between trips. The mobile app version for drivers also allows them to choose the trips and areas they want to take without harassing hailing commuters. With its live GPS map, GrabTaxi also provides the driver navigation assistance for locations and routes unfamiliar to the driver. Taxi drivers also get the lion's share of the 70 pesos booking fee placed on top of the standard metered fare.

Taxi operators also are considered key stakeholders in this revolutionary trend. GrabTaxi provides a solution to booking operations and trip tracking of their fleet. This allows them to effectively monitor their pool of drivers and their activities because of the real-time GPS tracking data.

I found an article on that has tons of information about GrabTaxi that I don't want to repeat here.

During the press launch, it was evident that aside from wanting to build a viable commercial service in Southeast Asia, the GrabTaxi team really wanted to build a community among taxi drivers and passengers to help revolutionize the taxi industry. Their message was loud and clear: We need everyone's help to make this fly.

Indeed, in Social Business, there needs to be developed a level of TRUST among all stakeholders. GrabTaxi is the enabler of this collaboration between passengers, taxi drivers and fleet operators.  This new kontrata can replace the old shady dealings that has become the norm in the taxi business, and is the cause of our daliy problems. GrabTaxi provides hope that taxis can become a convenient, safe and effective mode of transportation in the busy streets of Metro Manila. But we all have to do our share.

GrabTaxi is available on Android and iOS. Search for GRABTAXI on the Google Play or the Apple App Store. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Scientific-Philosophical Discourse on Intelligent Design -- a.k.a. Pisay Alumni chatting on Facebook

I believe I was half-drunk last Saturday evening when a curious question popped into my head which prompted me to post it on the Pisay (PSHS Alumni) Facebook group.
What happened, albeit the question's inaccuracy and being naive, a surprising discussion on everything including the universe and God's existence followed in a span of a day.
It was so amusing to me that I'm posting it here on my blog. Don't worry if you get lost in the logic. I got lost too. But it felt like i was reading a script of The Big Bang Theory.

To the guys who posted: Pardon me but I'll be revealing your names as is. Tell me if you want them removed:


Friday, June 8, 2012

Being Filipino -- Ang Bagong Harana, Bayo, Freeway x Levi Celerio, Havaianas Filipinas, Corona, Jessica Sanchez and other musings

It's been a while since I wrote post on this blog despite me considering this as my main blog. I was tempted to just write a long status message on Facebook instead since that's where my biggest reach is. But I think what I'm about to write deserves a proper blogpost.

June 2012. A few days from celebrating Philippine Independence Day, and aptly (or maybe intentionally) the Filipino concept of nationalism has been the buzz on the internet the past few weeks. 

Funny how after the season enders of US shows -- Glee, Smash, Games of Thrones, you name it -- marks the beginning of their summer season on the other side of the world, these have left Pinoys on withdrawal mode, scrambling for what to watch and entertain them. It's a new world where we find ways to access American TV shows almost as soon as they're aired -- either on local TV, or via other means. Heck, I even have friends who have figured out how to get Netflix on their TV sets. 

All's good with the globalization of entertainment into people's homes through the internet; but somehow you start feeling detached from local forms of entertainment. I even had my cable subscription cut since all I was using it for was to watch American Idol on Star TV. Now I don't even have access to local channels. Not even ASAP or The Buzz on Sundays. But I don't really mind. I've practically sworn off watching local news and soaps on TV. As long as you're on Facebook most of the day, you catch the filtered local happenings shared online. It is a very different world.

And so, as a Facebook netizen, I was able to somehow follow the Corona case online, even watched the passing of the verdict on livestream, and form my own opinion about the proceedings from what people were sharing online. That's how I keep connected nowadays -- news filtered by word-of-mouth or word-of-mouse (a term we sometimes use to describe online buzz).

Last night, I finally spoke up about the BAYO campaign that has polarized Filipino netizens, but at the same time brought about a new internet meme that's as "campaignable" as the It's More Fun in the Philippines meme. A lot of funny ones are circulating online now, but I particularly like the ones that bring out the underlying issue that have both plagued the campaign, but also has created so much unintentional buzz (even some positive sentiment) for the brand. Kudos to the Pinoys who found the humor and came up with very creative executions. 

And then they issue a public apology which I thought was unwarranted. I've explained enough on my status post last night. They had the guts to come up with such a controversial campaign, but disappointingly succumbed to mob rule. Disappointing that I saw some of my advertising colleagues, some being the same people rooting for the half-Filipina Jessica Sanchez on American Idol turning into self-righteous hypocrites dissing the campaign. Heck, you have foreigners and half-breeds (translation 50% Filipino) heading your agency!
Some PR agencies may recommend such a retraction, but there's a digital marketing lesson to be learned here: Negative buzz from noisy trolls need not count all the time. After a few days of negativity, I was starting to see people come around and find the positive in the campaign. Agree it may have been crafted better, but eventually people started to understand the campaign. The negative knee-jerk reactions shouldn't have been the end of the campaign. But being cowardice about it was not the way to proceed. If the brand had better social sentiment tracking, maybe it would have decided differently. Or maybe the same team who had created the flawed yet buzz-worthy campaign did not have the guts to follow the campaign through. It just reinforced negative Filipino traits we still need to hurdle: crab mentality and hypocrisy.

But enough about that. This week, I was treated to some classic Pinoy entertainment that felt refreshing in this time of globalization. I was able to drop by one of my clients' launch event of their new collection: Freeway x Levi Celerio -- a tribute to the National Artist for Music. Freeway has been paying tribute to our national artists for a couple of years now, and their launch event was one of the classiest press/blogger events I've been fortunate to attend. Pilita Corales singing Levi Celerio songs is something you don't see enough of anymore.

I have more videos from the event on my YouTube channel, although I'm not quite happy about the audio quality of the videos.

Then last night, I was treated again to a wonderful night of Filipino music by the Philippine Opera Company with their Ang Bagong Harana re-run @ the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium @RCBC Plaza. It's also rare to see such talented opera singers doing classic Filipino songs, from traditional folk to 70s-80s Pinoy pop. It was a beautiful stroll down Pinoy memory lane that delivers on its promise on being "a musical journey every Filipino should take." Try to catch this limited run this week.

Even my former client, Havaianas Philippines, has recently launched their yearly Havaianas FIlipinas 2012 collection in time for Philippine Independence Day. Despite being a brand from Brazil, the local distributor, Terry SA, is committed to bringing in that Pinoy twist to the brand. The designs are locally made then produced in Brazil and imported here for sale. Mixed-breed ba, ika mo? Eto, 50% Filipino, 50% Brazilian. And I'm sure this will sell like hotcakes as with their past releases.

So what does it mean to be Filipino today? My humble opinion is that it doesn't matter whether you consider yourself pure-breed or mixed. In fact, we're practically a hybrid of different races, ever since we got colonized by Spain centuries past. Labels are labels, but we don't need to be overly politically-correct.  What makes us Filipino is our inherent talent and creativity -- whether by music, design, fashion or social media memes. Every time a Filipino roots for another, every time we poke fun at our idiosyncrasies, and every time we're able to express ourselves creatively to the world then the Filipino spirit thrives.   

Friday, August 5, 2011

PasikBlogan #5: Ang Karangalan ng Pilipinas sa Social Media

PasikBlogan Challenge #5: A Different Tongue

Blog in a language/dialect that you typically don't blog in.
If you typically blog in English, now blog in Filipino (or your own dialect). Kung karaniwan kang mag-blog sa Filipino, gumamit ka ng Ingles o Cebuano.

Naawatam? Quamo mi paqueman? Anggapo la. Jaaaavid! ;-)


Pinili kong mag-blog tungkol sa pasksang ito dahil sa kanyang pagka-angkop sa itinakdang madlang babasa nito.

Simula nang nailabas ang Google+ ng higit kumulang na ilang linggong nakaraan, ang paglago nito sa 24 milyong gumagamit sa buong mundo ay isang di pangkaraniwang pangyayari, lalo na't kung ikukumpara sa paglago ng Facebook at Twitter na kinailangan ng tatlong taon para maabot ang ganitong estado.

Alam ng marami na nasa listahang Top 10 tayo sa mga bansa na pinakamaraming gumagamit ng Facebook sa buong mundo. Ngunit sa Google+, ang India ang kitang-kitang nangunguna sa mga Third-World na bansa, at sila ang may pangalawang pinakamaraming gumagamit ng Google+ sa ngayon.

Ang aking pangunahing katanungan ay ito: hindi ba nararapat lang na layunin nating mga Pilipino na masali din sa Top 10 na bansang gumagamit ng Google+? 

Ano kaya ang pumipigil sa atin para maabot ito? Dahil ba may-kapit sa atin ang Yahoo at mas malakas ang Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail at YM, kung ikukumpara sa katapat na produkto ng Google sa bansang ito? Dahil ba nahihirapan tayo sa konsepto ng Circles kung ikukumpara sa Friends sa Facebook? Dahil ba mas mahilig tayo mag-Like, tulad ni Lola Techie, at nalilito tayo sa +1?

Bakit? Bakit?

Lola Techie, paki-explain nga po:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Video Chat Revolution is On!

Gone are the days where you had to be in instant messenger clients -- YM, MSN, Skype -- to be able to do P2P (peer-to-peer) video calls. Then there was Userplane which allowed video chat rooms making everything more social.. and leaning towards kinky.

Over the past few days, we've seen the launches of Google+ with Hangout, and just today Facebook's video chat feature developed together with Skype. This brings video chat to a tipping point where it's accessible by virtually anybody on the social network graph right from your web browser.

How will this change social? Here are some of my predictions:

  • Video calls for work meetings & collaboration can become the norm very soon. Does this mean more virtual offices? Less "call-in-sick" excuses?
  • The return of talking: typing words to communicate now becomes secondary; non-verbal communication should be able to enhance conversations
  • Video cam vanity: This is obvious for long-time video chat users, but for the general public, looking good on cam will now be of more importance
  • More fake social network profiles for the indecent uses of video chat. 'Nuff said.
What other kind of social changes do you see happening with the introduction of this technology on this scale? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

NuffNang Breaks

Spread the word!