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Tom Peters rant
12 Oct 2005


I read one of your rant papers where you cited the achievements of Singapore and the up-and-coming achievements of countries like Thailand, India, Malaysia, and of course China. Unfortunately, the country I come from -- the Philippines -- which happens to be situated right smack in the middle of this region of HIGH ACHIEVEMENT is missing out on the whole game. And it is because it is still stuck in a cycle of mediocrity and medieval thinking -- that hard work (in contrast with *smart* work) earns the hard bucks.

The Philippines is a top exporter of warm bodies, and you will find many Filipinos working in construction sites in the middle east, Europe and even in Thailand, China, Singapore, and Malaysia. The Philippine economy, to the tune of 10% of the total value it generates, is propped up by the remittances of its overseas workforce. Our natural resources are all but depleted, and our agriculture is dying a slow death as the country is flooded by cheap imported food. The best and brightest of our university grads -- engineers, accountants, business students, etc. -- are being employed to answer phones and serve overseas clients in the numerous CALL CENTRE operations sprouting up all over the country.

I express a whole rant about this in a slide presentation I made available over the web here:

NB: Also available as a downloadable .pdf that can be accessed here:

The slide show available via the above page summarises the whole vision behind our site

Despite Filipinos being tops as workers INDIVIDUALLY, the Philippines itself (the COLLECTIVE) continues to languish in poverty and mediocrity. We are a poignant example of how *hard work* alone does not translate to wealth. Compare our 80+ million strong nation (brawn) with the less than 5 million smart (brains) Singapore city-state, and you will see that it EASILY highlights the point you make about the IDEAS economy, and the power of OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY (everything "works" in Singapore).

And like most people who are trying to push the idea that IDEAS are behind all VALUE that humanity has thus far created, I am extremely frustrated that this otherwise elegant concept cannot be grasped by my people. The Philippines has no brand equity to speak of. There is no Philippines Inc. Our cuisine, for example, is virtually unknown and unmarketable globally. Chinese, Thai, and Indian individuals, by sole virtue of their being Chinese, Thai, and Indian, can set up a restaurant in any corner of the world and can easily command an immediate following (of course at an individual level, like any business undertaking, sustaining the clientele is the rest of the game).

My point is, the very words, "Chinese", "Thai", and "Indian" placed before the word "restaurant" BY ITSELF already ADDS VALUE, just like Picasso (as the unverified story goes), carried around a pen and a doodle pad instead of a credit card or chequebook whenever he went out shopping.

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