The Potato Chip and the Tall Man

I am not really complaining, just thought it was sort of funny and ironic.

One faithful night, I was watching Mega Factories (I think) in National Geographic and this episode was featuring the Frito Lays factory during the fourth of July crunch. They showed how those delectable potato chips are made from the selection of prime potatoes, peeling, cutting, frying, seasoning and packing.

I was impressed by the efficiency of their factory line. I was also drawn to how meticulous their system is to providing just the best chips for the American people. Somewhere during the process, a machine selects chips that have been fried and have some dark spots in it takes it out of the line to prevent it from being packed. The supervisor that was facilitating the tour of the factory picks up a potato chip, round and without any burnt marks, and declares it “a perfect potato chip.” Wow.

This past week, during my hiatus from work, I bought some Lays potato chips for me to consume preferably while watching TV. I open a bag, dig in to the luscious chips, and about the fifth chip I pick from the bag has a burn mark on it. I immediately remember the what I watched in National Geographic about how these are supposed to have been picked out of the line. Needless to say I finished the whole bag (they are still the best commercial potato chips) and saw quite a number of chips with burn marks.

I live in the Philippines. I bought that bag of Chips here in the Philippines. That bag was marked Export . So it seems that what was not acceptable to be sold to Americans (probably to prevent having to throw some otherwise perfect potato chips) were packed for export to other countries. Like the Philippines.

So being the informative fellow that I am, I tell this story to my colleague at work. She responds with “Baliktad eh no? Pag nag-export tayo yung pinakamaganda lang.” (It’s different from us, right? When we export we only send the best quality products.)

What’s funny and ironic about this is that here in the Philippines, when we say export quality (such as mangoes, pineapples, tuna and what-not) are the best of the bunch, picked meticulously in-line with the foreigners preferences. I commend the American thinking that only the best be given to their people while also commend the Philippine attitude of only giving the best quality to other people.

Come to think of it, this can be traced to the Philippines’ affinity to the American culture, that things Imported from them is good for us. Hey, it’s business.

This can be also viewed in terms of Sports. The world’s best basketball league, features stalwarts such as 3-time NBA MVP Lebron James and 2010 FIBA World Basketball MVP Kevin Durant no name a few. But they also have the best players of other countries such as Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Ricky Rubio, and Yi Jianlian (hell even Hamed Haddadi of Iran). Only the best can play in the USA.

But what do all of us do? Players from the USA that weren’t quite good enough to play in the NBA travel overseas because they know that foreign teams would still be ecstatic to have them play for their teams. Some are even naturalized so they can play for that country’s national team. The Philippines is one such country. We have a Marcus Douthit. Former draft pick by the Lakers, decided to Play in Europe, was once again courted by the Lakers but was cut. He played in the D-League and Foreign countries and had a fairly decent if not good career. Now he is an integral part of the Philippines Mens Basketball team.

Every year, the country’s professional basketball league the PBA adds imports to beef-up the rosters of teams and add some flair into the league. This past conference, it was highlighted by the two best imports Denzel Bowles (named best import but has not played in the NBA yet) and Donell Harvey (who was signed by different NBA teams but never really played any significant minutes).

I don’t hate America. I just find it funny that we Filipinos generally embrace the American culture so much that we forget that mostly what we get from them are things (or players) they deemed not good enough for their standards. Be it the Lays potato chips or Marcus Douthit.

I do not own any of the pictures in this post.

Peace 😉

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Eating lunch with one hand?!

Fast food for break fast. Fast food for lunch. And this really was fast food. I was in the store for 3 minutes tops, that was even during lunch time (props for efficiency).

It’s supposed to be bad for you. I know it’s bad for me. But what can I do? I have to eat but I don’t have the luxury of waiting about 30 minutes for my food to be prepared and cooked properly.

Fastfoods appeal to us since we live in a fast-paced world right now. I make reports that have to dig deep into a potential client’s character, capacity, capital, collateral, and condition (the age old 5 c’s of credit) and am expected to bang the report out in at least 2-3 days. Don’t get me started about how these clients demand the approval of their loans from the marketing units.

Thus fast food restaurants (especially those that sell fares that one can eat with one hand) are very viable. In the Philippines the most popular are McDonald’s (Ray Kroc’s multinational legacy) and Jollibee (Tony Tan Caktiong’s conglomorate that some say is the Filipino version of McDonald’s). Yep, we love them burgers.

What I’m eating now for lunch is Jollibee’s hash brown burger. A burger pattie sandwiched between 2 pieces of baked (mind you) hash browns and cheese. It’s bit salty and oily (dreading the saturated fat counter). But it’s filling, and it was given to me fast.

You’re not you when you’re hungry, as the Snickers tag line goes. So for the sake of filling our stomachs with food, we now prefer scrunched burgers over plated hot food. But right now I have to finish my “burger” and get back to work.

(Pardon the position of the picture, still not good at writing here with my BlackBerry)

Peace 😉

The Social Networking

Okay I spent a good chunk of my evening watching a basketball game where my favorite team lost (boo). I bought one of them tea drinks and sat near the bar of a commercial area of one of the tallest buildings along Ayala Ave. As I was walking away, dejected mind you, i couldn’t help but notice that most of the people with me in the area dominating almost all the tables were those dealing in the networking “business”. Yeah, the promise of big money for little investments and inculcating the sense of hard work into people to achieve success. It’s all good for everybody. I just have some thoughts about it.

It’s a hell of a marketing technique, by the company. And a great way to boost their profitability.

Okay, profitability. Almost all (if not all) of these networking companies boast of their high sales. Ding! You instantly think that their product must really be good, I’m gonna be rich with this! That may happen for you, but think about this: the company records sales the point a member signs up to buy their products as part of their conditions to join the organization. Whatever you do with those products, whether you resell them or use for your personal needs does not concern the company’s revenue generation anymore, they already sold you their product, adding to their mammoth revenue. And when you make other people buy their products (also known as “building your network”), then more revenue for the company. But what about the exorbitant earnings of members for every person included in one’s network? Compared to what they’re earning for every sale, doling-out meager percentages in comparison seems an easy enough deal. Which brings me to my original point. This seemingly win-win situation for all parties actually aids the company’s profitability as they get to cut-back on very high marketing/advertising expenses. It’s almost the same mindset as with the BPO’s wherein getting equally or even better results but at a more lower expense. Members do not all earn the same, only a few earn very high. The companies also save on salaries. I’ve been to some of these networking offices and I’ve observed that within those areas, the floors are dominated by members and potential members. You can count how many in there are the actual employees of the company (more on this later). There are more (rent, training, office supplies) but the bottomline is, well they get a better bottomline with ever increasing sales and low expenses. Boom, profitable company! Come join us! We perform well financially!

Marketing strategy? Huh? They pay me! Well, they pay you relatively smaller than what they would have to pay regular sales people on their payroll. Seriously, I have previously mentioned that member’s earnings are not equal. You can apply the typical table of hierarchy, few are at the top, a whole lot are in the bottom. You are presented by a member about the benefits of the product then about the benefits of joining and building your own network, or franchise as some ma put it. Think about this: what you are really doing is selling the company’s products to people so that these people may sell the products to more people. Sell? They pay me! Again, they may pay some for doing all these but let’s face it, not all get to expand their networks. Sometimes it stops with one person who after purchasing the company’s products find it difficult to convince others to follow suit (it can happen that almost all that person knows have already also joined) then the company need not to pay that person anymore plus they’ve already sold their products so boohoo, cha-ching. As a member you work hard to convince others to follow suit, along with this you are told to show people just how good the company’s products really are. Wait, what’s that? Tell people about the company’s products? Ain’t that marketing the company’s products? And the closing deal? “If you wok hard in this business, you can earn a lot” but first you must purchase products! And you have to purchase a lot. Some even require members to keep purchasing for themselves “to be fair to the company” (I’ve been presented this, don’t hate).

When you visit their floor spaces in some swanky buildings in the busines districts (I have been to two in Makati as well as in Ortigas) you marvel at their good decors and high class equipment but get a feeling of crampness. Never mind, the diligent member need not to present to potential members in the confines of the company’s premises. Anywhere can do, the setting is not important to close a deal. This is another strategy of the networking company. They can invest in expensive equipment because they do not need many of these. Their members can take care of it themselves. Walk around some coffee shops, restaurants, hell even fast foods around Makati in the evening and you get to see numerous people talking networking jargon. Some utilize their own laptops, tablets, even smartphones as aids.

I am not a member of any networking company. you may call a sour grape, that’s why i wrote this. But I’ve been to countless presentations for different networking companies just to immerse myself in the machinations of it all and have chosen not to join, well okay I’m kuripot and don’t really want to shell out that much cash. And I don’t really like selling stuff so far. But get this straight, I am not against networking, I am just fascinated and amused about how these companies do their business. I commend those people who have worked hard and are now reaping the benefits of their labor to create their networks. Kudos to all of you! Just be careful about the companies you are going to join. There are some scams after all.  Peace! 😉