Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

The Jeepney

October 28, 2010 4 comments

Who is the king of the Filipino road?  The answer is simple: the jeepney.  This famous mode of transportation was created after World War II, from the old Willys Jeep.  We Filipinos, being so creative, decided that it would be a waste to throw these used vehicles away, so we remodeled them, fashioned them according to our tastes, and out came the jeepney in all its glory and borloloys.  From something that was used during tough war years, we managed to create something practical for peaceful times.

Today, the jeepney is the most common means of public conveyance. Altough it is a symbol of the Filipino’s creativity and adaptability, it is also a symbol of rudeness and boorishness. Look left and you see a jeepney disgorging its passengers in the middle of the street.  Look right and you see a jeepney beating the redlight.  It is undeniable that the jeepney is a big contributor to the worsening traffic situation in the metropolis, and for this reason, there have been a lot of government efforts to get jeepneys off the road, or at least reduce their numbers.

But nobody can really trash the jeepney.  It is part of the Filipino heritage, and to the common-folk, an indispensable element of everyday living.  Filipinos don’t walk.  Filipinos ride.  Everybody needs the jeepney to get places.

And so it’s 5:30 am.  You wake up, do your morning rituals and leave the house after a cup of coffee.  You don’t have a car; what do you do?  You don’t want a taxi.  The thirty-peso flag-down rate and two pesos and fifty centavos per kilometer will surely strain your budget.

You opt for the good old Pinoy public transport and walk to the jeepney’s sakayan.  It is nearly full, and so you end up crouching your way through the narrow aisle, up front, a passenger away from the driver’s seat.  In an eighteen-seater where each side sits nine, that’s a long way indeed.

A man outside who seems to have forgotten to take a shower shouts at the top of his raspy voice, “O! Dalawa pa! Dalawa pa! Kabilaan ho yan! Konting kembot lang po.  Dalawa pa.  Aaaa – UP, UP, UPUPUPUPUPUPUPUPUP! (O!  Two more!  Two more!  One on each side!  Just move your hips a little.  Two more. Aaaa – UP, UP, UPUPUPUPUPUPUPUPUP!)” 

While you wonder how you will manage to give space for another two, a woman boards with a large palanggana of tilapia, probably to be transported to the nearby talipapa.

The magnificent odor of wet fish fills your senses.

After the last passenger boards, and two men content themselves with sabit, the driver hands a few coins to the man who had forgotten to shower and the jeepney pulls away.

As you speed over the uneven pavement, the driver turns on the radio, and loud dance music assaults the entire vehicle.  You wince.  The bass is pounding like hell, and you feel your heart thumping so hard it’s about to jump out of your rib cage.  The beginnings of a migraine throb at your temples.

You don’t feel like paying this deaf freak at the wheel, but being the good citizen that you are, you do.  You sigh and pick out seven pesos from your purse.

“Bayad po,” you say and watch as the coins travel from one hand to another until they reach the driver.

“Bayad po.”

You receive the fare of the guy two seats beside you and pass it on.

“Bayad po.”

Pass it on.

“Bayad po.”

“Bayad po.”

“Bayad po.”

You find it queer how all their fares always manage to end up with you.  Your arms start to get weary because of the relay of coins and bills.  Finally, to your relief, everyone is paid.  You settle back in you cramped space and breathe in the polluted air of Tandang Sora.  That and the odor of the man sitting beside you whose arm is raised to the bar above him.  You realize that by the time you reach your destination, you may be dead of suffocation.

You heave a long, slow sigh, stopping the urge to sneeze.  It isn’t even 10:00am and you’re already feeling tired and itchy.  You now begin to regret and wonder why you didn’t just take a cab.

Little do you know that you’re about to realize why.

Twenty minutes through the trip and the jeepney is still cramped.  You feel like you are all sardines in an unopened can, until finally, finally, one of the passengers calls out, “Para.”

The vehicle stops in the middle of the road.  To your great rejoicing, the woman with the palanggana of fish alights.  One of the two men who are hanging from the rear makes a move to occupy the recently emptied spot, when an old woman comes walking towards the jeepney.

“O, paraanin niyo si Lola (O, give way to Granny),” you hear the driver say.

The passengers hurry to give her space.  The two men move out of the way, one completely junking the idea of sitting down.  Instead, he offers his place to Lola.

You smile. Well then, you think that we Filipinos are not hopeless, after all.

“Bayad po,” comes the creaky voice of the old woman.

You give her a warm smile and you reach out to take her fare, the weariness of your arm gone.  Now you are in the mood to take everybody’s payment.  You realize that it gives you a sense of well-being.

After seeing such display of kindness, you come to the conclusion that though the jeepney is oftentimes uncomfortable, it brings out the best in Filipinos.  Within that little space you become witness to our culture’s respect for the elderly.  There, you feel the old bayanihan virtue in the passing of fares.  There, you experience trust and honesty, knowing that your money will reach the driver in spite of changing hands.

In the jeepney, nobody cares who you are.  There are no class distinctions.  It’s just you, the other passengers, the driver, and an old vehicle.  You meet a lot of courteous people who assist you when you board and disembark.  These are the people who don’t mind when you fall asleep beside them and your head lolls on their shoulders.  They just give you a tap to wake you up, and smile when you apologize.

Then you realize that the jeepney is one of the best things that happened to the Philippines. Forget politics, forget economics – you have your jeepney. You know that for as long as you have it, the Filipino spirit will live on.

You start to enjoy your trip. The smelly man beside you even puts his arm down.  Surprisingly, your headache lessens.  You breathe in the polluted air of Metro Manila, caring less about dying from suffocation or asthma.  You have learned something new and valuable today.  You aren’t hailing a taxi or buying a car anytime soon.  You are going to ride the jeepney, and you are going to ride it until kingdom come.


Of Childhood and the Sony Cassette Walkman

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I was one of those happy 80’s kids who got a Sony Cassette Walkman for Christmas.  Mine was painted red-and-black and had nice earphones.  I took great care of it — I never used the rewind function to play a tape from the very beginning.  Instead, I took out a ballpen, stuck it into one of the holes and spun it around.  It was always slung on my belt and it made my shorts sag from its weight.  Riding a rented bike within Quezon City Circle, I sang with Lumiere the verses of “Be Our Guest” at the top of my lungs on Sunday afternoons.

But decades have passed and technology has evolved into smaller, faster and more efficient machines.  Now Sony Japan has ceased production of the iconic Cassette Walkman, and though Chinese manufactures will still be producing units for the US and UK markets, I sense the beginning on an era’s end.

The news has made me slightly nostalgic.  I love how music has become more portable and accessible, but the idea of the Cassette Walkman’s slow demise is a reminder that this truly is the Digital Age, where people want everything right here and right now.  Life is unimaginably fast-paced — sometimes  frighteningly so — and it makes me sad that my children will never experience how to rewind a tape with a ball point pen.  It’s the same kind of sadness knowing that kids today would prefer games on their PSPs instead of going out and playing endless rounds of patintero.

The world of my childhood is something that children today can never experience.  I wanted and expected so much less back then; I was happy with recording songs from the radio and playing my mix tapes on my Walkman.  I hated how sometimes it ate the ribbon of my tapes, but there’s nothing like unraveling the mess with ballpen-spinning.  It’s a long goodbye to a bygone era, and though the lot of us now carry around MP3 players, it’s nice to look back and remember what the Cassette Walkman symbolized — a revolution in music, and a generation of simple creativity.

4 Lessons for Social Media Marketers by Samir Balwani

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s an old but great article from Mashable.

Samir Balwani is an emerging technology strategist at Morpheus Media, a firm specializing in Social Marketing, SEM, and SEO. You can follow him on Twitter @samirbalwani and get his newsletter.

Too many marketers these days confuse what social media is. They don’t understand the difference between the evolution of marketing and what simply works right now. Social media is not just Facebook, Twitter, or even blogging. Instead of thinking about the platform, you have to think about the foundation that makes it effective.

The disconnect occurs when deciding on a social media plan. Telling someone to create a “Facebook strategy” or that they should “leverage Twitter” doesn’t always make sense. Instead of creating a plan around the goals of the campaign some marketers allow the platforms available to dictate the strategy.

So what are fundamentals? There are a number of lessons to be learned, and many come from experience, but here are four that I keep top of mind.

1. Always listen

Far too many brands get so excited about social media that they just jump right in. They don’t take the time to see what’s going on before engaging.

These brands are similar to the guy at a party that yells about his awesome TV while everyone else is talking about cars.

Comcast does an amazing job of listening. Their team monitors Twitter for any mentions of the brand and quickly responds to the consumer. Micro-blogging allows them to continually keep track of what is occurring in their space and offers them a platform to respond.

Social media takes time, patience, and vigilance to see and understand what your consumers are talking about. If you do it right, your consumers will embrace you instead of ignoring you.


2. The brand is public


Whether you like it or not, your brand is in the social sphere, but are you? No longer do you have full control over your marketing message, or what people see.Consider the latest Dominoes fiasco. Two employees and a video camera damaged a multi-million dollar brand. Consumers don’t differentiate between, employees, customer service, and the brand.

Recognizing that fact and being prepared to act can save you from a potentially embarrassing turn of events.


3. Don’t forget a personality


Ever had a friend with no personality? What makes you think a consumer will interact with a corporate brand with no personality?Find a way to humanize your company, empower enthusiastic employees to speak for you. Let your consumers get to know what makes your brand special.

My favorite brand personality is Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. His humor and style of writing builds the Zappos community, one friend at a time. However, the Zappos personality doesn’t end there. Each employee of the company, as well as their policies, convey how important every customer is and how dedicated they are to building a real relationship.

Invite your customers to join in the company culture, and show off your personality. The average person is so tired of marketers that having an honest ‘friend’ is a breath of fresh air. Use that trust to build a relationship, loyalty, and a connection.


4. Creativity wins


A marketer with an understanding of social media and the need for engagement online tends to think outside the box. They don’t see Facebook or blogging, instead they see vessels for a conversation. Because of that mindset they’re poised to be creative with their social strategy.

One of the best examples of creativity is the Burger King “Sacrifice a Friend” application. The campaign encouraged users to delete 10 Facebook friends and get a free Whopper. It was fun, controversial, and a great idea. Consumers were excited about it, and it generated a huge amount of buzz. In the end, over 233,906 friends were sacrificed.

As more people fight for a shortening attention span, being creative and thinking of new ways to connect online is a necessity for social media marketing. Being fun and exciting motivates consumers to talk and interact, and although being first does not always guarantee success, it sure helps.

The more prevalent social media grows, the more likely a brand is to copy what someone else has already done. In social media, past successes don’t guarantee future results. That’s why it’s so important to understand the fundamentals, so you can take a strategy and evolve it for your specific brand. 

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