Facebook, Google execs give advice for PH tech entrepreneurs

by Fidea Encarnacion, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 18 2014 04:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2014 12:42 AM

MANILA – Filipino entrepreneurs are encouraged to try and find new ideas for ventures instead of following current business trends in the market today, experts from foreign technology-based companies Google and Facebook said during a symposium held Monday.

During the IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium 2014, Google director of enterprise channel and operations John Mulder said promoting attitudes like sharing information and collaboration with co-workers are crucial in making new ideas. There should be a constant drive to learn something new.

"In Google, there is high degree of sharing information, sharing knowledge, collaboration...the willingness to take risks. There is a healthy disregard of the impossible, and they focus on the customer and what's happening on the marketplace."

"There are a couple of things we put in place in doing something new, doing something crazy. Googlers spend time on something new and not related... to maintain that boom for innovation."

Kal Elmer Sotto, International Growth and Mobile for APAC, Facebook Inc., agrees, saying that identifying the problem is a start toward innovation.

"Innovation is pretty much the heart and DNA of Facebook. [Our address is named] 1 Hacker Way [because] it's the idea that anyone can get out of their routine job [to experience something new.]”

"If we can define the problem, we can start vying for the solution. Identifying the problem is a really good step toward innovation."

Identifying Filipino potential in growing S&T market

Mulder said that the Philippines has great potential for growth, if only the country would capitalize on providing opportunities to people who can help digitize systems and promote "technopreneurship."

"If we're talking about entrepreneurship and innovation...there is a huge opportunity in your country. How can we bring them online? ...How can we digitize the Philippines? "

He broached the idea that the Philippines can be the Silicon Valley of Asia, comparing it to the United States' well-known technology hub.

"We are talking about the Silicon Valley of Asia...Why not be in a new context, why not think that Philippines can be a country that can digitize Asia?"

Sotto said that although there are a lot of engineers and science experts in the Philippines, they are lacking foresight and don't think forward with new ideas.

Most remain to process work on the web, even if the majority have shifted from desktop to mobile. He said that innovators and engineers must think out of the box and be continuously after what's new.

"My plea is that they stop working on the web...and jump ahead. It's going to be about mobile."

The IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium 2014 was an event organized by the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) in partnership with the United States Agency International Development (USAID) which focused on the development of Filipino science and technology experts who can be world-class entrepreneurs.