From tinkering computers and earning five pesos from every Mario Bros. game in their garage, Albert Padin is now the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Symph and the first Google Developer Expert in the Philippines. With his team at Symph, he has worked with Megaworld, 500 Startups, Office of the President of the Philippines, the World Bank, and more.
“I started my first business when I was in grade 5. The landlord who we rented our house from owned a computer school. His stock room was in that house, and there were lots of broken computers. I asked it from him, and he gave it to me because it was all broken. So I opened it all, I swapped the parts, I was trying to figure it out… I was tinkering things. So I was able to make about six computers work. I installed Mario and a few other games in it, set up a neighborhood pricing of five pesos for 30 minutes. That’s basically one peso for every six minutes. I just timed them manually.” — Albert Padin
The tech industry is undoubtedly on the rise now. The market for this sector is so strong that it has encouraged more and more innovations that greatly contribute to society. Because of this, there has also been a stronger demand for people who are passionate about technology, for people who make the great ideas happen.
For individuals like Albert who have the heart for changing the world through technology, he shares his experience and knowledge on how to be successful in this field.
“You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes and those mistakes will take time to learn (from)… so definitely start early.”
The things that actually matter really take time to be learned, so it’s better to start learning now. Your resources may be limited at some point, but don’t let that stop you. Take whatever you have and make the most out of it — use it to change the world.
“Definitely surround yourself with people who have different strengths that are not your strengths, who are better than you in other areas.”
Even Superman has his kryptonite. You may be the master at programming, but you have no idea how to market your offerings. No matter how good you are at something, you could always be bad at some other things. This is where the essence of a team comes into play. Work with people who are strong in areas where you’re not.
Photo on the right by GBG Cebu Google Business Group
“At some points in time, even throughout the whole time, you might always have a stronger passion or you might also have a less passion relative to somebody else. Recognize it’s gonna be a reality, so you don’t have to make that a source of tension.”
From Albert’s experience, many conflicts arise with teams because of comparison in the effort. It’s when you work really hard, but you feel like the others in the group are not exerting as much as you, and it feels unfair, sometimes even infuriating.
“Truth is, you probably have less passion about some other things that people are passionate about. And they respect you as well.”
However, he stresses that people are not necessarily performing badly, they just have a different level of passion at that certain time. This is reality, and you have to accept it to be able to learn to respect the effort that your teammates put in. As Albert puts it, “Truth is, you probably have less passion about some other things that people are passionate about. And they respect you as well.”
“Great things take time, but every day, hit it hard. Don’t hit hard then expect things to change overnight.”
Short term efforts count. Do the best you can every day. But also remember, great things don’t happen in a snap. Learn to wait for your goals to happen. Bill Gates didn’t sleep one night and wake up to being a business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist right away.
“Work hard yeah, but also play hard and party, whatever. Have fun. Don’t overwork people all the time. It’s important to keep the pace where people can manage.”
Working in concentrated and intermittent methods is unsustainable for the business. Don’t overwork or push your team to extremes all the time because they might burn out, and you might burn yourself out too. Always give yourselves time to breathe and enjoy. Lead your team as if you’re going to run the company for a long time because, chances are, you’re going to be in for quite a ride.
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Interview and story by Rachel Lenli Tuhoy, Symph Intern 2017