On Orientations, Ayannah’s Win, and the Grind

Last Friday, we welcomed 18 fresh faces to STORM during our NEO (New Employee Orientation).

Our People Operations team, led by our wonderful Angeli Recella, mounted the whole-day event, where we talk to recent hires about the company, its unique culture, its products, the vision, and its roots.

My usual task on a STORM NEO is handling the History Talk. When we started doing our NEO back around 2009–2010, I decided to talk about every year the company has been in existence since 2005. I even have a name for every year.

So you can guess how freaking long the history talk has become! It’s now a running joke that at some point soon the History talk will take up the whole day.

I stubbornly have resisted attempts to change the format. Why? I can’t get myself to NOT talk about how much of a learning experience EVERY YEAR has been. The high highs and the low lows of an entrepreneurial life. The people Ive met, the problems Ive faced, the wars I’ve gone through. How it has shaped not only me, but the people around me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Last week I had coffee with an entrepreneur friend of mine. The last time I had coffee with him was a couple of years ago when he was just starting.

He tells me he’s now on a “belt tightening” portion of the journey, and he tells me how he’s sacrificing things, big and small, for his startup baby.

I know EXACTLY what he’s going thru.

Two nights ago I had coffee (yep, you can see how powerful this coffee thing is) with a real estate entrepreneur friend. He has a new idea he’s fleshing out. And while we were from different industries, time quickly flew as we exchanged ideas, contacts, and all that hyper-optimism found in entrepreneurs.

I know EXACTLY what sort of excitement he’s feeling.

It’s not about the money. A lot of entrepreneurs always talk about the money, but you can see the real motivation when you look closely.

It’s about having my idea, having my crew, and going to war.

(well, for some its about the money :)

Last week, I was with Ayannah’s Mikko Perez in Cebu for an entrepreneur conference. We were both a bit sick, quite weary from very early morning flights, weary after a long day of networking and presenting, and waiting for our cab rides home (taking a LOOONG time because there was a huge storm going on in Cebu). He was going to catch ANOTHER plane to Singapore for a fintech event.

HOURS later, he was onstage accepting an award for Ayannah as the best startup in the Fintech Finals.

I know EXACTLY what that up and down feels like.

Budding entrepreneurs, vets in the journey, embrace that grind.

I guarantee the difficulties will be exactly what you will say you learned from in a few years.

It’s quite the adventure.

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