Jan 24, 2009

The Folly Of Action Group Meetings


I was the host tonight of a BCBP Action Group Meeting which we hold once every week to different households of each member couple. It is a fellowship community where my wife and I recently joined to worship Christ and commune with other members as well. Yes we had the usual stuff of studying the Bible and of course the personal sharing.

When the sharing started based on the reflections we had on a verse from the Bible, my wife and I had only a little over five minutes to say our part because the other couple took almost an hour to say their piece!

After the session, the host will normally serve food for the guest and we did. Since I am the host, I thought I will have the opportunity to share more and run the group's conversation. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I was almost quiet that evening because their 'chit-chats' never seem to cut and it's difficult getting in between their conversations. I however tried to manage my way twice to get through and start to say my piece. Yes, they stopped and listened for a few seconds then they just smiled back. Immediately after that, they shot back and continued on  as if I did not talk at all or I wasn't there. I was not even asked for my opinion.

Sensing that it was hopeless for me to join their conversation, I just retracted and kept silent the whole night. Now, how is that for a group sharing?!

My advice:

I have only few advices to give to these people and I know it's not that difficult...

  1. that they should listen more than they talk,
  2. give time for others to talk,
  3. and, be kind to the host to run the show - it's their house anyway!

I'd say that this is complete disregard and therefore disrespectful to my authority as a host. I felt that my house was turned into a cheap restaurant and I am the waiter!

With this, I am very,very disappointed. Sorry guys.

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Jan 23, 2009

Half Past Eleven


One day got infuriated by something and someone who isn't worth mentioning about now. These words just came spewing out like a dormant volcano rumbling and throwing rocks of angry words. Nope that volcano hasn't erupted yet, it will soon be and pressure is building up fast.

These I write ...


A self-righteous man is a self-centered one who

thinks of himself as all knowing and blameless in all his

hideous acts.


He who does not accept personal shortcomings

has a very short memory and lives a life as short

as what he can only remember


An agitated man never seeks the

company of peace, but rather digs

himself in the graveyard of loneliness.


A man who claims perfection is

himself living a less-idyllic life.


Anger only reaps resentment. It's perilous

path leads to unfathomable depths of destruction,

loneliness and regret.


A leader with a broken moral  compass,

leads a pack of sheep into a rocky cliff of

what he claims a promise land.


A well guarded thought and tongue is more

respectable than one who speaks

folly and vile words.


When do you say it's over?

When do you say it's enough?

When do you say you can't?

A quiet man never speaks a word about it,

nor moves a hair but

shows when he disappears.


A true man's value can be appreciated

only abundantly when there is

less of him available.


Great destruction can only come from

the least of them all.


A proud man never learns to accept defeat

but when defeat is inevitable, he in turn blames the

world for his miseries.


In the eyes of a proud man, he is blameless

and remains that way until all sight is lost.

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Jan 22, 2009

Initiating an Almost 'Paper-less' Office


I work in a health care insurance industry and in this business, paper works are undeniably enormous and quite unsightly too. Though the initiative of doing 'paper-less' has been floated before, no real plans were laid out and no real participation by the management has been committed.

We all clearly say that doing 'paper-less' provides many potential benefits, and cost is one of them. Whenever people encounters challenges on implementing this program, all of a sudden they withdraw and not talk about it. True enough, it is very challenging - so this is where the fun and excitement begins!

When we talk about a 'paper-less' program, it is synonymous to using a special software to manage all paper works for distribution and storage. There are many softwares (aka Document Management Softwares - DMS) available in the market but many of which are insanely expensive and will surely make you lock-in to their service - that is something we do not want of course.

For several years, I have had the opportunity to work on several different DMS's and I would say there are many good ones out there as there are many bad ones too. One thing to consider as well is the company that makes these software and we wanted to make sure that they will still be there even after two decades of use.

What are the qualities of a good DMS?

A good DMS must atleast have the following properties:

  • Easily accessible: All employees must have a ready access the uploaded documents for retrieval and review so there will be no physical distribution of documents that will eat up their desktops.
  • Sharing: Uploaded documents must have the capability to share it with others based on the privileges provided by the owner of the document.
  • Accountability: This is done in two ways: 1) version control to monitor all changes made by every single user and, 2) document permission to set security restrictions to every document.

GoogleDocs & Spreadsheet - A good way to start.

To give you an idea on how our office is setup, we have 60 plus employees both in our insurance business and medical clinics which are located in other parts of the city. Yes, papers are used a lot so my challenge here is to significantly minimize paper usage as much as possible if it cannot be remove at all. Since we are using GoogleApps platform anyway (thank goodness for that), for our email, calendar and instant messaging service; we might as well maximize all other services like using GoogleDocs & Spreadsheets as our Document Management System (DMS).

Implementation Plan

Sometimes, the only best option to make a plan like this successful is not to give your employees any other option. ;) Really! Believe me it works all the time. Below is my way of implementing an almost 'paper-less' office:

  1. Make a memo to everyone concerned telling them about your plan and when it will be effective. The schedules of training, transition and implementation must be clearly stated to avoid potential conflicts in the future.
  2. Create a simplified guideline and policy regarding this initiative. This will help the transition to paper-less easy for everyone to follow.
  3. Provide training sessions and learning resources. Since most of the things they need to know can be found on the Internet. I provided our employees links to videos and interactive tutorials for them to study. training sessions are provided only if there are some advanced questions to be asked. Doing this saves time and effort on my part.
  4. Remove all MS Office or Open Office applications installed on every desktop. This will ensure that all employees will be forced to use Google Docs and Spreadsheets and that these documents will be saved in Google servers.
  5. Disallow document saving in any local hard drives or USB drives. This ensures better security and protection in cases of theft, calamity or virus attacks.
  6. Provide regular review and feedback sessions to measure success of the project plan.

I have given my staff relatively three(3) weeks for the transition. With that, I think that is ample time for them to adopt to the new system.

How are you implementing yours?

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Jan 18, 2009

Me, My beer and the Sinulog Festival.


Oh yes, it's that time of the year once again where people flock and stroll around the City 'til early morning the following day - the Sinulog Festival. Quite honestly, I have outgrown this event and wanted to stay as far as possible from loud noises and heavy traffic. However, I've got two 'jumpy' kids who are very excited to get a tattoo and watch the street dancing.

So in preparation, we got all our things packed for a sleep over at our office (Jones Avenue) so we won't need to worry about waking-up very early in the morning for the Sinulog.  We also went out for a dinner with a couple who has been my long time buddy since high school and shared a nice chat and laugh with his wife this evening.

I guess, I would probably enjoy Sinulog more if my wife isn't with me all the time. If given the chance, I would probably sit on some small bar and drink, get to know people and have a good and nice chat. Or probably sit on one corner and just watch the parade pass by and enjoy my quite time alone. But then again, it's just me wanting some time off alone sometime.


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Jan 12, 2009

The Troubled Global Economy: "In Greed We Trust"


The year 2008 as many of us are aware, unless you are living in some remote timbuktu, that we are in a very serious global economic crisis. Banks failing and closing down, unprecedented job losses, and fear of uncertain future is slowly becoming a reality. Many says, it stemmed from too many bad loans from the housing and banking industry thus, the credit crunch. To add more insult to injury, Bernie Madof (once called an investment guru) has successfully built the largest Ponzie scheme probably in the entire history of humankind. He made people believe that their money was safe and growing but, wasn't really there.

Fifty billion dollars, all gone by just ONE man!

With this we asked ourselves, how can a very strong economy like the US, likened to titanic in pride, strength and might; be sinking in deep, cold and lonely waters of debt? Haven't they learned from their 1929 experience or do they just have a very short memory? Complex as their economy may be to balance their worksheet, their economy will even become more sour unless people start changing their mindset about themselves - that the world does not revolve around them!

The American economy is built on the capitalist principles of buying and wanting more. For them, the seed of economic growth is not providing the needs, but feeding every individual's urge of wanting more. You wake up everyday and you see endless ads and commercials on the roads, radio, TV, internet and virtually everywhere. Capitalism has successfully found and capitalized one resource that is virtually unlimited in supply, and that is GREED!

And also because of greed, the capitalists invented a tool to suffice their endless wants - credit. People started buying on credit more than what they can pay for and splurging to their hearts desire until more credit is needed. This went on for years until the bubble has finally bursts.

Such misfortune is very embarrassing to many Americans, it simply blows their PRIDE and cannot accept the fact that they are in deep, deep trouble. To save face, they are minting more money out than ever before in the hopes it will stimulate their economy once again. The sad reality is, they are just passing the buck to their children and their grand children so they don't have to worry about it now.

If I am to put a mathematical formula on how we all got into this mess, I would simply expound it into this very simple notation:

                          (Capitalism + Greed) * Pride = Trouble

From this point forward we ask ourselves, where will it stop and when will it end? Is Capitalism the culprit of all these? Is it all the fault of Allan Greenspan? I say, this is all a case of GREED and PRIDE. Since we are all in it together, I guess it is but prudent to "grab the bull by its horns" , accept the consequences and not pass the buck to their children.

This is where I leave my message for you to reflect and understand how we can fix the problem and prevent it in the future. There is no quick and easy fix to this. So we all better brace ourselves for the very rough road ahead and pray to God for forgiveness and comfort.

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