Diego Jose Ramos – From Silicon Valley to Manila
Last updated August 15, 2019
Today Derek is joined by Diego Jose Ramos and they will discuss about the tech industry scene in the Philippines and how it compares to the west.
- Today Derek is joined by Diego Jose Ramos. Derek has known Diego for a few years now and he is widely known within the Manila tech community. His nickname is The Wizard.
- Diego’s conduit to the tech industry is; he is a tech recruiter or headhunter which he started in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley then he moved to Manila for local recruiting.
- According to Diego, the tech scene in the Philippines is still in the infancy stage compared to the U.S. and other startup scenes.
- Derek said that the tech scene in the Philippines is not that mature yet partly because there is not the same safety net like in the U.S.
- The Philippines is a great launching pad for outsourcing and startups because this is the only English speaking country in Southeast Asia.
- The Philippines recently changed their education system. They are now following the K to 12 system which is similar to the U.S. type of education.
- According to Diego, there is great tech talent in the Philippines. They just need the right mix of tech talent, business acumen and of course, more support.
- There are massive opportunities in the Philippines in terms of startups and outsourcing because of the cultural alignment and their grasp of the English language.
- Before very commonly in outsourcing, people don’t want to be generalists, they prefer a defined job or role. However, nowadays tech people are getting more aware of the need for this.
- There are now lesser barriers in terms of education. Filipinos can now learn exactly what people are learning in Silicon Valley. It’s all accessible now. It’s cheap if not free.
Hi, my name is Derek Gallimore and this is the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is episode 36 and today I’m joined by Diego Jose Ramos. Diego, I have known for a few years now and he is widely known within the Manila tech community. His actually, his nickname is ‘The Wizard’. And I think that’s because he gets stuff done. Now, Diego, I enjoy chatting to Diego. He’s very connected but he’s sort of intimately involved with the tech startup scene. So today we have a talk about everything tech. I am exploring this with Diego. I mean a lot of it sounds like a Philippine domestic kind of context. But what I want our listeners to really take away from this is the burgeoning tech scene that’s out there in the Philippines and of course as that deepens and you know there’s better skilled people out there than, that’s a huge opportunity for all of you sitting out there in the West because there’s a huge labor pool and still you know it’s super, super affordable.
So, it’s a really exciting episode. And again, I think it’s worth saying to think outside of the box in terms of how you could utilize the opportunities over here and you know if you do then there’s really a huge amount of opportunities that can be taken advantage of. So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy this episode. If you want any of the show notes then please go to our website which is outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode36.
Diego: 0h, thanks, Derek. That was an awesome introduction. Yes, I would like to speak about it a little bit but just to backtrack a little bit. Derek, I started technical recruiting before I even started our own startup so you know my background is highly Corporate from cosmetic, pharmaceutical and health care industries. Then my conduit to the tech industry here is being a tech recruiter or headhunter which I started in then in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley then I moved to Manila for local recruiting. I think that’s where I found the need between hiring a developer locally for Instagram from the U.S. who’s on payroll and our local scene doesn’t have really an HR support for those kinds of companies that’s why we launched horsepower.ph for that. And afterwards we just did a new business building idea. That’s why I came up with medicaltourism.ph.
Derek: Yeah fantastic. And when did you just remind me again when did you return to the Philippines from?
Derek: And so, tell me then how has the, since then the tech scene evolved and, and changed in that time.
Diego: Yeah. Derek at that time even until now I think we’re still on infancy stage compared to other startup scenes compared to the U.S. and Europe. I think we’re getting there because I think there’s a lot of reasons aside from Internet infrastructure. I think the type of founders we have here right now so if I put it in we’re currently having like about for Series startup company to have a demographic of 30 percent foreigners, foreign owned startups locally here and 70 percent about Filipino and only about 40 percent of them are actually funded. But the dynamics of a startup here. It’s like somebody actually leading the fund for funding. We don’t have much innovative or sophisticated like business angels here in locally except from a traditional entrepreneur or traditional investor from shipping or finance or banking. Taking a look on technology. So, I think this is the one, these are the people that actually pushes the industry now.
Derek: Right. Right. And but I mean I witnessed a budding startup community and Seat Stars this weekend there was a Hackathon last week and it seems that the community is certainly blossoming but maybe it’s not quite mature yet. Would you suggest that it’s partly because most people need to work here and there’s not the same safety net maybe as in the U.S. So, there isn’t the kind of liberal approach where people can kind of wing it with a startup a couple of years. Do you think that has an aspect?
Diego: Right. Yeah yes. Derek. Actually, the fact that example like Angel Hack came into the Philippines for the first time in 2013. And you also mentioned Seat Stars coming over to the Philippines again for the third time. I think this is a good indicator that we have the most the top-notch founders here and ideas and businesses coming, arising from this country. It’s just that there are just a few that you could just identify as what they can say as far as a growth stage startups and unicorn.
Diego: Not that much in other countries but we are solid. I think there are a lot of people in the industry now that just holding on together and pushing our act as a catalyst and pushing the industry further. The fact that these companies like Angel Hack. So, really the purpose of Angel is looking for developers in a certain city that could be brought to Silicon Valley and pitch to the mass developer network as well. Seat Stars world is looking for inspiring founders with innovative ideas that can launch in emerging markets. I think the fact that they are here now and a lot more, our company was a winner for a company called 1 7 7 6 ventures we won in Manila and we won also in Tokyo and we pitched also in D.C. I think there are Series B funding for. They are venture building company for startups that are launched in highly dense government country. That’s a government that has a dense policy against you know against innovation.
Derek: Right. Yeah.
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Diego: I think we’re there now. I think we’re also a great launching pad for outsourcing and startups because I think this is the only English speaking country in Asia
Diego: In Southeast Asia
Derek: Yeah there’s massive opportunity for the Philippines.
Diego: Yeah, massive
Derek: When you combine the sort of alignment in terms of culture in the English speaking. And then also I mean we were talking the other day and there is now less and less barriers to education to the kids in the Philippines learning exactly what the kids are learning in Silicon Valley because it’s all online. It’s all so accessible. It’s cheap if not free. So, there’s really less and less barriers to somewhere like Manila which would previously be left in the shadows.
Diego: Yes, that’s right Derek. I think we even recently changed our education system. If you’re familiar with the K to 12 where it now it’s similar to the U.S. type of education where they extend the grade school level and the mid and high school. So, they have like 12 tiers now in that area before they get to college. And it just makes sure that even they get to university or college level. I think they have enough knowledge as compared to as before. I think we have gone that and of course we live now we have a, the Philippines we have about thirty-eight point two mobile penetration Internet users and 38 million Internet users. I think that points out now to a better like country for, to launch a startup and to outsource services as well.
Derek: Yeah. And in terms of so there is obviously some eager people to start startups here and also as you say expats doing the same. What is the technical capability within the Philippines compared to somewhere like the U.S. Because you know you do actually need a depth of skill base to support the dreams of founders to turn it your own.
Diego: Right. So we’ll talk about tech talent here. So earlier I have a question from some Seat Stars World team where they have great candidates for CTO and since I have been working on the field yes, we have great talent here. The differences within here and Silicon Valley, the CTO here is really concerned as very tech that doesn’t, that doesn’t have the vision to launch a company. Unlike in other countries where there’s a combination of tech talent and business acumen.
Diego: At the same time. I think that has. We still have to cross that bridge between tech talent and say being political savvy in business.
Derek: And so that’s interesting because very commonly in outsourcing I’ve realized that people don’t want to be generalists so much. They want a very clear defined job and role. And so, if that’s the same with the techies here. Does that mean though that they are actually happy just being the executor being the techie guy that builds it out without necessarily needing to come up with the dreams and the ideas? Are they quite happy in a sort of CTO position?
Diego: You are correct currently. Derek you’re, I think but it’s not valid anymore I think in the next few years I think right now I think we developed now this awareness of the other great tech talent that may not entertain being an entrepreneur but then again, they just don’t know how where to jump and how to jump because of that lack of support in ecosystem where we don’t have much business angels or VCs supporting our industry. But the drive and the wanting is right there. I’ve seen a lot of talent who started as a CTO or BP for engineering they just jump out to become entrepreneurs. I think we’re on the on that stage now. But that wasn’t true years ago.
Derek: Right. And you say this of angel investors and funding.
Derek: I know of people out there that are happy to fund it. Is it there’s no one really with cash wanting to spend. Or is it just that there’s not the ecosystem matching up people with money with people with ideas kind of thing.
Diego: That’s true. I think the second statement is a better picture of what’s going on now. I think there’s no matching table that can. For that to happen. I’ll give an example Derek because this is a reference to mergers and acquisitions experience that I have in putting in or selling a company. I think the founders here don’t just don’t know how to talk in the level of the investors. I think there’s a big gap there in between because as the founder articulate the vision of the company they cannot have the jargon of investor coming in from Singapore or Hong Kong and how they speak in that particular area and that there’s a big gap. I think there should be people putting them together and smoothing the deal with them to understand each other. I think that’s the only mark that I can think of that doesn’t really match currently in the country but slowly we’re getting there.
Derek: Fantastic. Thank you, Diego. We’ll have you back again shortly to discuss other aspects. But that was really fantastic. And for anyone that wants to get in touch with you how can they get in touch and put all the details in show notes or.
Okay. Hope you enjoyed that and I’m sure you learned a lot about the Manila’s startup scene. So, if you want any of the show notes, if you want to get in touch with Diego go to our website that is at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode36. And if you want to ask anything if you want to get in touch please drop us an email. Ask us anything ideally about outsourcing but we will get back to you. Okay so drop us an e-mail at [email protected]