Our parent company, Netccentric, is now on its 10th year!
As part of its celebration, we’re taking a deeper look at how social media has shaped and changed the lives of the people who live through it everyday. Nuffnang PH Country Manager, Abe Olandres, shares his #WeLiveSocial journey. Read about his extensive blogging and social media experience as he tell us about the beginnings of YugaTech.com.
Indeed, #WeLiveSocial everyday. What is your journey? Share your stories with us by tagging #WeLiveSocial.
A journey very few had dared: A look back at the beginnings of YugaTech
After 15 years, I think it can be said that my entire career has evolved completely around blogging and social media.
While the term blogs and social media might not be that popular back then, the foundations of online publishing and social networking are already in play. Aside from LiveJournal and forums, sites like Friendster really solidified the potential of social media as a force of change and movement.
My interest with the Internet started during my college days. I was taking up Chemistry and Computer Engineering back then and the Internet has just started in the Philippines.
Abe Olandres is the Country Manager of Nuffnang Philippines and founder of YugaTech.com, top technology blog in the Philippines.
Image Source: YugaTech.com
So when I graduated, I instantly looked for a job that’s related to the Internet instead of pursuing Chemistry or working for multi-national companies like Intel. I didn’t have enough knowledge about making websites and fixing networks, but since you can find almost anything on the Internet, I learned how to start.
I have always thought that the Internet had huge potential, if only everyone can get on it. At that time, access to the Internet in the Philippines was very expensive. If you can’t afford an unlimited 56K dial-up account at home, you’ll have to settle with PHP25 per hour on the nearest Internet café.
I would buy load cards worth 10 hours for PHP100 (around $2.00) and log on to my dial-up account for only 1 hour each day, opening up all the pages that I needed to read or tutorials I follow then log-off to save on cost. The rest of the evenings are spent reading up and learning everything that I could off the Internet.
I put up my own website, signed up for every forums and looked for paid opportunities from the classified ads section of the weekly Buy & Sell newspaper at 7-Eleven. But it was thru a PinoyExchange.com that I got my first gig to build a database site for an international organization. I didn’t actually built the website myself. I sub-contracted it to one of my colleagues in the office while I act as the project manager.
That was the time I realized the true potential of social networking and the Internet.
It got me hooked. Later that year, I quit my day job and focused on looking for projects on the Internet, while also cooking up my own websites.
The succeeding years were a mixed of highs and lows – I’d survive doing online projects for 6 months to a year only to run out of money and end up finding another day job, then quit when I have enough funds to sustain doing freelance works. This cycle repeated itself three times.
In between jobs, I would teach myself web design with Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I even used the office printer to print out 500 pages of the PHP manual that I can read while on my bus ride from Ortigas to Bacoor where I live, then fire up my Pentium 3 PC at home and try to run a LAMP sever from my bedroom so I can learn how to program for the web. In the process, I managed to create a web portal, a text-based lyrics search engine, and a blog CMS (even before the days of WordPress). I documented all these learnings and created a tutorial that I sold for $25 per CD. I only sold 1 copy – that was one of my most fulfilling moments.
It was only in 2005 that decided to quit my day job for the last time and focus on my Internet dreams.
I barely had enough savings to survive one and a half months of rent and food money. If this last attempt did not pan out, I’d be forced to quit on this dream, pack up and go back home to the province.
I’ve been following several blogs around that time but the one that I’ve been fervently reading is ProBlogger.net by Darren Rowse. His blog post on “The House the Blogging Bought” gave me the courage and motivation to pursue the same path.
Cracked open the piggy bank and saved up on everything that I could. No more TV to save on electricity bills. Bought 2nd hand books at Makati Cinema Square so I have something to pass the time while resting or just before going to sleep. Slept most of the day and woke up late in the afternoon so I can catch the 1am to 7am free dial-up access from ISP Bonanza. First meal of the day was banana que and Mountain Dew at 3pm and the next meal is tapsilog and Mountain Dew around midnight (yeah I love the Dew). That’s my Php60 daily meal budget.
With all the experience, knowledge and guts I had left, I soldiered on. My blog, my networks on social media, the forums I frequent and the friends and contacts I met online through the years were all the help that I had. I worked 18 hours a day but who’s counting anyway? I only had 6 weeks.
Image Source: YugaTech.com
That was 10 years ago. Yet, those 6 weeks are too vivid to forget. Today, I have a team of 8 people working with me to continue growing the site I was working on since 2002. I got everything that I hoped for and some more. It was a combination of passion, perseverance, great timing and a lot of hard work. Maybe, luck was also on my side.
Nuffnang Team at Blogopolis 2016
Abe with Nuffies and Bloggerati Talents
The Internet and social media has paved the way for stories like mine to be told with humility and pride. Being in Nuffnang Philippines allows me to witness more that have followed, maybe even surpassed this path. And each story is still worth telling. This one’s mine.