‘Highlighting the Excellence’ of this country… and other fluffery

The Boobery describes itself as “the premier website highlighting Philippine startups and tech scene”. With 123 likes so far, I bet it isn’t pursuing promotion on Facebook and growing its likes “organically”.

Some people have been in the Philippines for a couple of months or years, and they think they’ve got the country figured out well enough to think that it’s a good idea to venture in the Pinoy boonies with a back-pack full of positivism.

Perhaps the vein of the idea of “highlighting excellence” lies wedged in the stock-pile of junked or aborted promotional campaigns for the country that could have worked IF ONLY the rest of the country just cooperated with the sales pitch.

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Of course, you have to highlight the good or the excellent when you’re narrowly focused on just marketing the country or some aspects of it to unsuspecting (naive) foreigners.  Or selling some manner of training course on marketing.

Marketing IS all about highlighting excellence, because, otherwise, highlighting the mediocre or the downright awful won’t make you a successful marketer.

That’s a no-brainer, really.  In fact, it’s one of the first things you’ll come across in ANY book on marketing.

Having read pretty much every single marketing book there was during college (not that my reading was THAT extensive) and having read a couple of marketing books touted to be THE best seller these days, I can pretty much say that there’s no really new way to market something.

Even “social media marketing” isn’t ‘new’ as far as marketing is concerned.  (Hah! “New.”  If there is any word that has been deceptively employed more times than any one can remember, it’s the word “New”.)

First of all, marketing IS a SOCIAL behavior.  Secondly, MEDIA is something we’ve had since the time of the first petroglyphs or maybe even before that.  Har har har!

What stupid idiot enrolls in a social media marketing seminar workshop to learn about marketing?

If you really want to learn about “how to market using social media”, make sure that you are thoroughly grounded on marketing theories FIRST and get some marketing experience too.  Get the whole kaboodle of marketing knowledge and don’t short change yourself  into buying a one-trick pony.

Social Media is JUST another form of marketing communications and if you don’t know enough about marketing, you won’t be able to use this marketing communication tool effectively.

The thing is, if you asked a Social Media Marketer what ROI (Return On Investment) you should expect, the answer won’t be straight forward at all.  So, people taking up Social Media Marketing seminars should probably ditch the question and just fork over their money calmly because that is essentially what you’re going to do.  People who jump into the latest bandwagon marketing hucksterism really deserve to have their money taken from them.

If you want to learn about marketing through Social Media, it’s no mystery at all and you can get it DIRECTLY from the social media sites, check out this link to a page on Facebook and this link for Twitter.  It’s ALL THERE and for the moment, forget about the so-called magic of “social media influencers” until you get an understanding of basic theories that govern social behavior.

If you want to learn about Word Of Mouth Marketing, try taking up “salesmanship” first and take a job as a salesman with a good mentor.

The bad thing is, really, the hucksters manage to get government agencies to hire them and it does well to heed the lesson from the fiasco that was “It’s More Fun In The Philippines” Campaign:

The presumption of some “consultants” to apply their quack “expertise” to engineer a “social media” campaign finds another victim in the Department of Tourism. It’s no different from the way the new new “online journalist” clique Rappler.com foisted upon a bemused Net community the notion that they are a “social news network” without clarifying precisely what the phrase actually means.

Perhaps the architects of the next brainwave of a campaign that hopes to involve “social media” should instead hire a barkada of 17-year-olds looking to make some summer holiday money. Their fees are likely to be more reasonable than that of old farts that write “35 years of experience in advertising” on their resume.

Which brings me to the rather odd idea of getting a European to talk about social media — it’s just plain BOOBERY to me.

41 Replies to “‘Highlighting the Excellence’ of this country… and other fluffery”

    1. Yup. I was just too lazy to check the link settings.

      But what does that really do?

      I’d think it may artificially extend the time is a person is on the site, looks good on stats but it might not at all signify what it ought to signify which is:

      Time on site = person supposedly reading the article = lower bounce rate.

      Looks like Analytics voodoo to me. Why bother.

      Moreover, if I did do that, the new TAB (not window, as it says on the link insertion panel) would cover the page which was first opened. Which means, if the reader opens the link, he ain’t reading your page anymore.

      Besides, if the reader is really interested in reading one, he’ll click the back button.

      But, yes, do explain more about this Online Marketing 101 on making links open in a new window. I want to enlightened.

      1. Mr. Farol, there is only one issue with your blog post: I do not provide nor sell social media marketing services. I also do not care about Google analytics either. In brief you have trolled yourself.

        1. Just found this site, and it seems to make sense:


          Why not open links in a new window?
          Here are my top five usability reasons why you should beware of opening links in a new window:

          Unless you warn them, web users are likely to expect the new page to load in the current window. Unexpected surprises can be fun, but not when you’re browsing the web.
          Using a new browser window resets the back button in that window. The back button is the second most used navigation function (after following hyperlinks) (source: useit.com) so resetting it is a big no no.
          Opening a new browser window can be disorientating for very novice web users and for those who are visually impaired. They might not realise that a new window has opened and might struggle switching between windows.
          Using a new browser window is a little disrespectful to web users. If they want a new window, they’ll ask for one. Don’t force a new window upon users unless there’s a very good reason to do so.
          Using new browser windows can make an already cluttered taskbar, even more cluttered and difficult to use. We’ve all spent ages hunting through the taskbar, looking for the window we want. Don’t make this even harder by increasing the number of windows to look through.

  1. I totally agree on most part about social media.

    However, “the premier website highlighting Philippine startups and tech scene”.

    Until somebody starts writing more about us startups REGULARLY, I personally think it’s safe to say that Franky’s blog is currently what he claims to be. Besides, He personally goes to events, meetups, hosts a podcast and talks to the community. Do that, then I’ll believe you more than Franky. The visible presence he’s doing to support the startup community is more important than how much X likes he has on facebook.

    Lastly, Nobody gave a shit about us few months ago and it’s shameful that somebody outside has to start writing sincerely about us instead of our own people, so I don’t think it’s BOOBERY but rather an opportunity.

    1. Er… Did I say anything against Start-ups?

      I don’t really care if you don’t believe me and if you say Franky’s doing a great job, then he must be — because you say so.

      And by the way, here’s a pretty good definition of the word premiere:


      1. First in status or importance; principal or chief: an architect of premier rank.
      2. First to occur or exist; earliest.

      I’d say, that based on your comment, you’re referring to the website using the second definition.

      And really, as far as “niche strategy” is concerned, it’s a good one.

      It’s seems like good way to get a captive market and a good strategy for growing a network.

      It’s an old hat trick couched in “social media jargon”.

      1. Actually Jon, I think there are a lot of exceptional Filipino programmers and I am surprised you haven’t mentioned Gregory Galgana or LLoyd Manglapus. These guys worked on NASA’s Mars rover. Check out this link: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/275056/scitech/science/pinoy-project-manager-at-nasa-at-the-front-of-space-exploration

        Personally, I am working with five other programmers in a current project involving an app that can make it easier to make sense of all of the data from social media and search engines.

        The thing is, most of the pretty good programmers I know are actually working as employees of a company.

        I haven’t come across any one yet who established a company of their own and are earning revenues from successful software products they developed themselves and are patented under their names. (Perhaps you can tell me about such Filipino programmers.)

        I think, you would agree, that such a case — if there would be one — would be excellent. Right?

        Winning contests are great, they can indicate potential.

        So if at all we’re going to “highlight excellence”, let’s highlight real world excellence.

        1. Yes I’ve heard about them, and they’re awesome. Sadly they’re not in the Philippines, I wish they were.

          And yes I know very well that there are tons of examples of excellence in software development in the trenches of small and large companies — mostly BPOs — in the country. I live in those trenches. A lot of them are awesome but will remain unknown for the rest of their lives because, well, they don’t get out of their trenches.

          There’s the rub — how do we find out what these people are doing if nobody’s teling us about it? Many times the most exceptional IT employees of companies would be closely guarded secrets of employers, the better to keep IT recruiters away from them in a local industry fraught with employment piracy. This is probably the reason this is one of the few local industries that pay six digit salaries for people who have less than 10 years experience.

          This culture is more akin to the US east coast (e.g., Wall Street companies whose software developers — who they call quants — are well protected by their banker/hedge fund employers) than the west coast/Bay area, which to a certain extent celebritizes (is there such a word?) its software developers and software companies.

          These competitions and hackathons and startup events may appear as an artificial stage to demonstrate any sort of excellence, but they’re there for the purpose of “leveling-up” an industry that has too long slaved away in the backrooms of big corporations. Which is a pity because the opportunities in the worldwide stage are enormous.

          The prizes and mentorship that the winners receive from both foreign and local entities are crucial if we are to take this industry to a level that was unsurpassed by the Philippine manufacturing industry (e.g., from being outsourced OEM/parts manufacturers and raw material providers to being actual product innovators).

          Excellence and premiere may be contentious words but truth of the matter is they are allowed to exist outside of corporate monoliths and NASA. theBobbery has been consistent in finding examples of such (as well as finding examples of fluffery, fraud, and drama) but it’s no rah-rah Rappler and if Franky’s only fault is calling his own site premiere, I don’t think that merits a GRP article.

          Not unless “begging to differ” now means “putting every Filipino down for putting every Filipino down’s sake”. I don’t think that’s what benign0 stands up for.

        2. I agree with Paul. There is excellence amongst Filipinos within the anonymous cubicles in big corporations where, one can argue, any measure of excellence you achieve there automatically becomes the property of your employer.

          We may get an A for effort, but the real medals and tangible rewards are given to those who actually deliver results.

          It’s kinda like the difference between musicians who are winners of reality talent shows like American Idol and those who earned their stripes — and mega-fortunes — making a name for themselves in the hard slog of the touring circuits. Winning a contest does not guarantee success in the real competitive world where talent alone will not cut it.

        3. Setting things aright isn’t necessarily a put down, so don’t let your bleeding heart get the better of you.

          I’m quite sure these contests have a place in the scheme of things and promoting Filipino start-ups may actually pave the way for a Filipino Software or Website Giant to emerge.

          But starting is starting, isn’t it? Filipinos have a tradition of excellence when it comes to starting things.

          We were, after all, the first democracy in Asia. One of the first to institute public education in Asia. There are claims we were the first to come up with a “bloodless revolution”… You probably know the rest.

          However, what really defines excellence is not how well some things start but where it ends up.

          As for your idea that I was finding fault in “The Bobbery”, no fault was really stated here or anywhere.

          I simply stated captioned a screen cap with information that was found on thebobbery’s Facebook Page and if you find that somewhat insulting, let me point out that I wasn’t the one who wrote the description.

          You can choose to get your underwear in a twist with this exercise of splitting hairs over a definition of ‘premiere’.

          It’s a free country man!

        4. Oh, by the way Jon. There are actually IT entrepreneurs in the Philippines who service huge corporations in the US, UK and other parts of the world.

          They’re flush with money but really can’t “highlight their excellence” because of the Non-Disclosure Agreement they signed.

          It’s really the “yet to achieve something truly excellent” that have to beat their drums. The ones who are already “excellent” keep quiet because they’re too busy figuring out which part of Europe to tour for a couple of months.

        5. That’s precisely how difficult it is to highlight “real world excellence” — NDAs and all.

          I’m curious then why it’s a bad thing to promote the things we *can* publicize? The thing with consumer tech is that marketing and publicity is crucial in their own success — which is why TechCrunch/Gizmodo/Mashable are deemed necessary in Silicon Valley.

        6. Well Jon, publicizing what you *can* ain’t at all bad and if it makes it easier for start-ups to get more funding for projects that may turn out to be a big deal later, I am all for it.

          If thebobbery actually becomes the TechCrunch/Gizmodo/Mashable of a Philippine equivalent of a Silicon Valley, no one would have to “highlight excellence” because “excellence” would be pretty obvious.

          And seriously, I literally CANNOT wait for this to happen.

    1. Which reminds me of a classmate of mine in a programming class who claims that he had been hired as a “software installation expert”.

      I remember how he bragged about installing two versions of Windows 3.1 on the same drive.

      Smart guy. He now raises tilapia in Iloilo.

    2. Well, if Mr. Franky proves to be doing right, good for him. And there’s a much juicier target in the quote in the article, the real charlatans, I might say.

  2. Why don’t you write about more interesting things. I’m sure anyone can give this excellence a true GRP spin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20066890

    Why we celebrate, and highlight, winners of contests is that amount of money could be sufficient for them to form a company and get started with their own full-time projects. Whether that is as a service provider or as an indie startup doesn’t really matter.
    What is more important is that they will not end up as corporate drones.

    As for excellence and premier, that mainly refers to the fact that a majority of projects are not dealt with on tB. We do not write about everything, only about what is actually good stuff. Hence why we don’t write about Get Real Philippines. But thanks for the clicks nevertheless.

    And happy to have put Firefox on auto reload every 30″ yesterday to contribute to your ego, Paul.

  3. Paul,

    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

    A Diamond has brilliance due to the cuts, the various facets that allow more light to reflect.

    Much in the same way the wisdom of crowds works, many perspectives all different allow for intelligence. Paul, your attack was childish and worse= you are going after the Man in the Arena.

    It is so easy to tear down, but how about building up?

    Let us Challenge each other here… I want a coffee (or cold San Miguel) with you two, and lets map out ideas to collectively foster growth and development in the Philippines(Jon you are included).

    We have enough people telling us how bad things are, and tearing at each other, it is time we start preaching how things CAN be.


    Kevin Leversee

    1. I don’t know why… at all… you, Jon and Franky choose to frame this discussion as someone tearing somebody else down.

      Are your egos THAT fragile?

      And puh-leez, was there at all a veiled threat in your comment? That is pitiful.

  4. Interesting thoughts, full of emotions. A little sad that it does not bring a clear solution to mnc needs.
    The negative bashing turned me off a little. Every professional does his best, or so am i convinced.
    I would less bash the industry professional than try to spread constructive solutions that would bring up the country s professionalism 🙂
    Agree on a few points in your article though. The approach is not perfect, and would gain at being amended. It is less about social media marketing, than marketing in a world that is (also) social 🙂

  5. The problem with Franky is that if he’s the one criticizing in tB, it’s all good and fun. But if it’s his turn to be criticized, then all hell breaks loose.

    Just imagine the damage he has contributed in the start-up community by making tabloid stories in tB, pitting one start-up with another. Publishing stories without getting the side of both parties is just outright unprofessional and does not deserve any praise.

    These are people’s lives and career that are involved and he’s having fun throwing unsubstantiated stories around.

    If that’s what makes a premiere site that highlights the excellence in the Philippine start-up scene, then I think he’s doing more damage than help.

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