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Change the Game

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This is the year of rebranding. It is February 15 and I’m writing this editorial while waiting for the Toby’s Sports press con to start. They are launching a 2012 RSL badminton racket called Evo and, at this event alone, we received news of two rebrands: Toby’s and RSL’s. What’s going on?

China Business decided to rebrand last year, but it is only now that you are holding the product of a quarter’s worth of rebranding efforts in your hands. A serendipitous confluence of events and people are responsible for this rebrand. And I realized that the best business models are ones that encourage the serendipitous collision of people, ideas, and circumstances.

I have always detested superstition and fatalism. I believe in serendipity but I also believe you should engineer it to serve you. It is only the idiot who entrusts his fate to some vague idea that things will work out, sans hard work, sans passion, sans discipline. I have met many talented losers in my life. (There but for the grace of God go I.)

Passion and discipline invariably trumps mere talent. Go and bury yours and you will wake up a pauper. Fail to rebrand and lose your customer. Communicate the way you did five years ago and you will lose your audience. Be lazy, slack off during work hours, sleep in on a Monday and watch the few days you choose to work 100% turn to nothing.

The construction boom that the Philippines, particularly Metro Manila, is experiencing may be the result of a serendipitous confluence of events. This is what pains—and worries—Filipinos, and those who have beheld the string of missed opportunities that have characterized the Philippine experience since then end of World War II.

The Philippine experience, not just in the construction industry, is marked by outstanding individual efforts, few and far between. It is full of opportunism that sometimes redounds to the greater good. There are bursts of effort and explosions of genius that could probably drag us all to the finish line—if it were not for Vietnam and Cambodia speeding past. By the time the Philippines gets to the finish line it will probably have long been packed up. And moved to Namibia.

The absence of a master plan, where all Filipinos pull in one direction over the long term, is jarring. Are Filipinos, as a people, capable of sustained, disciplined, passionate effort over a long period? I don’t know. But I know of many who are capable of the kind of effort it takes to kick this country into the 21st century. I spoke to many of them (and worked with many of them) while we were rebranding.

You could be one of those people. I could be. The only question is how badly do we want change? We have to want it more than the next guy chipping away at his goal way into the warm Vietnamese night.

Print ed: 03/12


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