Friday, August 30, 2002

(Web) Working@Home

August 1, 2002, marked my first year of working exclusively on the Web. It marked the first year of being my own boss -- and growing my own little 'Web Empire'.

My bedroom is my office, and I work my own hours. I have no one to report to, and bundy clocks are off-limits in my home. After more than 3 years of commuting from my home in Laguna to my workplace in Ortigas, and then later in Makati, and back, my commute now takes 30-40 seconds -- the time it takes for my modem to get me on the cyberhighway ramp.

I literally work in my pajamas; and most of the time my feet are on a little foot pedal-cum-exerciser, pedaling away while I beat a client's deadline, or I code the foundations of another income-generating site.

But in the beginning... and all stories -- and businesses -- start at the beginning... nothing was easy. The beginning for me was full of challenges; I screwed up more times than I care to count before I finally found my (Web) rhythm.

With less than PhP30,000 in my savings, and 2 credit cards when I started over 12 months ago, I took the biggest leap of my life: deciding to work for myself rather than for someone else. The decision was both a blessing and a curse, but now, a year later, I am convinced it *is* a blessing.

If there ever is a perfect working set-up for me, a writer, it's working at home, on the Web...

Coming up on Tuesday, 03 September: Coffee, Tea, or Hot Domains & Products?

I'm a domain junkie. I like to buy domain names for the sake of owning them. A year ago, I'd buy an average of 2 domains every week. It was hard to stop when I became addicted to online shopping -- particularly to domain shopping sprees. But somewhere between buying my 31st domain and receiving my latest credit card bill in November, I knew I had to take control of my 'addiction'. When I finally made my brain cells function properly again, I began milking my domains for what they're worth. And oh, how I milked them! Two domains are now bringing in a combined $900-$1,200 a month, and no, it isn't because I joined any online MLMs...

Welcome to Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

I'd like to formally welcome Shery Ma Belle Arrieta to W3O. Let her Filipina dotcom story inspire more women to explore doing business online.

Yes, we're getting bigger. I'm hoping that once we have this blog stable with regular writers/contributors, we could already spin off to a regular website. (I wish such a day will happen soon)

Shery's entrepreneurial story brings back great memories to me. I wish I did a little bit later so that my options would have been better and much more flexible. At present, I'm at home most of the time. I only go out when I have a speaking engagement, a meeting with a client, or attend my Saturday class.

Although I must admit that it is quite risky that you don't have a regular income. However, it brings out the best in one person. You become creative on how you do things and get it done in order to survive despite little resources that you have. In this freelance business, if you're flexible and not too picky, you can survive. As you mature, you can create your own opportunities.

In my case, I recently published a monthly DigitalFilipino StatsReport. Similar to my book, it is a self-imposed challenge that I gave to myself. In most of these endeavors, the revenue doesn't come directly from these products but the value-added generated from it. Being invited to speaking circuits, commissioned to do specialized research, writing grant papers, consulting, among others come into play that provides a totally different earning opportunity and offset the cost of my publication.

If you work harder and smarter, you'll earn well. But if you get lazy and foolish with business decisions, you'll pay twice the price of such mistakes. More often than not, we learn these things the hard way as we encounter failures and mistakes along the way. Nevertheless, it makes us all stronger, wiser, and tougher.

This is the New Economy and we just can't give up!

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Introduction to W3O

Hmm.. I know this is kinda awkward for I should have done this introduction right from the start.

The W3O idea started last October 16, 2001 while I was attending the CTIA Wireless event in San Diego, California. I got the chance to listen sit in the Women in Wireless group meeting there and I thought, we should have one like this in the Philippines. However, rather than focusing on wireless, we'd like to interact with the Filipina in general.

I think the timing for this is just right. As more and more women hook up on the Internet everyday, the need to have a venue where one can interact and share their thoughts comfortably is not easy. I've been managing several discussion groups for quite sometime now and most of the active posters are the men. Women, usually, get intimidated by it. Hopefully, with the creation of the W3O list, more women will feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts and concerns online.

Coming up this blog is another story. At first, I thought of having a W3O website. But as the group is still new and uncertain as to how many content contributors will end up having, a blog like this can help us get started. Aside from me, now you're seeing community members like Connie sharing stories about women online.

I tried inviting fellow W3O list members hoping they can also share their thoughts, concerns, and issues in this blog and be a comfortable venue where we can express our ideas online. Well, I hope there'll be more of us here soon.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Monday Girl: Jeth Gool

Full name: Geraldine Gool
Nickname: Jeth
D.O.B.: 26 January 1974
Current location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Academic background: BS Information & Computer Science, St. Paul College Manila (1994)
Occupation: Senior Analyst/Programmer, IBM Solutions Delivery, Inc. (a subsidiary of IBM Phils, Inc)
Interest/Hobbies: photography, music (violin & piano), reading and writing, travel, cooking, PC gaming, performing arts (film & theatre)

There are problems that get pretty annoying for a senior analyst/programmer like Jeth: program bugs that keep on showing up, technical difficulties or limitations, stubborn customers, end-users who are resistant to change, etc. "Systems development is very iterative until you get things right... it's not your regular nine-to-five job. When schedules get critical, we work at an average of 10 hours a day and a lot of activities in my personal life can get set aside so easily."

But despite the hassles, Jeth claims she loves her job. "I love what I do and the challenges it presents. I get to meet different people, learn different business processes, and occasionally I also get to travel to other countries. I love that it allows me to be creative."

Speaking of being creative, this art buff is very much into photography and, if given the chance, would like to shoot for travel, photo,and fashion magazines. "And if I [won't] be doing [those], I'd like to be a restaurateur, or a screen writer, or perhaps a stage actress!" she reveals with a laugh.

Her love for the arts may just snatch her away from the IT world and pursue other goals, but Jeth concludes, "I am still a techie by heart." She says she plans to improve her skills on web development which involves HTML, Java and J2EE; and perhaps other IBM web resources such as WebSphere.

"Eventually I want to manage people and teams. I also intend to finish an MBA programme. If resources permit, I'd like to pursue it in France."

Personal goals? "I hope I can still manage to become a wife and mom. I believe that is still one of the greatest privileges a woman can ever be."

Friday, August 23, 2002

After reading Connie's article about Amy, it made me think about women's attitude towards work. I think when you are still starting and so engrossed with your work, you tend to be more involved, passionate, and sensitive about it. Especially if you've poured a lot of personal time away from yourself and give it to your job.

My personal advice to career woman nowadays is not to take their work too personally. Don't invest on it too much emotionally for it may become hurtful and stressful when things get very unfair. As the old saying goes, "trabaho lang, walang personalan".

I received an email from Rita Barreiro after she read our feature on Women on the Web. She didn't push through with her studies abroad as she has some issues to deal with. But hopes to proceed with her plans next year. Take care girl and hang in there. =)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Monday Girl: Amy Torres

Full name: Amalia Torres
Nickname: Amy
D.O.B.: November 8, 1970
Academic background: BS Computer Science, De La Salle University
Current location: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Systems Integrator, Nestle Australia Ltd.
Interests/Hobbies: Travelling, reading, watching movies and TV, tennis, and talking endlessly with friends about anything and everything.

One of the most memorable experiences Amy has ever had as a female techie was being reprimanded for being too emotional and personal, which the bosses believe is very unbecoming of a manager. But according to the 31-year-old tennis enthusiast, these attributes are among the reasons why women are great at what they do. "We have passion and we are not afraid to show it!" she asserts.

Things are not too bad at her present job so far. As a systems integrator at Nestle Australia Ltd, Amy believes she can do more. "I've had my share of pressure and intrigues up in the corporate ladder. And now I'm enjoying the relaxed view from below."

If Amy weren't involved in the IT industry, she says she'd rather be a correspondent for the Traveller's show of the Discovery Channel. On the matter of personal goals however what she wants is to get married, have kids, and travel the world with them. "If I fail to attain my personal goals I'd move up or much as it allows me to travel."

Friday, August 16, 2002

Meeting Mary Ann Go

Last night, I got the chance to finally meet up with Mary Ann Go, founder of This Filipina founded this matching site after she lost her husband 3 years ago. She told me how hard it is for single people to really enjoy life and the opportunities of finding parters compatible to one person is limited to physical attraction and "chemistry".

There's more to that according to her and matching sites allows singles to look in areas of compatibility. If there's one female entrepreneur worth sitting down, have tiramisu and coffee, Mary Ann Go would be an ideal girl-bonding date for me anytime.

Monday, August 12, 2002

--The Monday Girl--

Beginning Monday next week the w3o blogspot will feature an IT woman who gets ahead of her working week and creates more than a thumbmark in the industry. Take a look at her talent, her passion, and the complex circuitry inside her head. Discover how she hacks life 24/7 and maintains the pace of The Monday Girl.

If you know someone who can be featured in this section, please e-mail Janette or Connie.

See you all next Monday!

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Meeting Pauline Wade

If there's one lady worth meeting in Cebu City, that would be Pauline Wade of University of the Philippines Cebu City. This lady who has heavyweight software development experience at AT&T Bell Labs in the US is now working at UP Cebu. This Filipina is teaching the fine elements and practice in software engineering. Very rare would you find highly intelligent people serving in the academe, giving back their blessings to the community.

I met her in the Software Engineering class (July 29 to August 2) that I attended in Cebu City. I hope to see more interesting women like her.