Dear Our Awesome Planet Friends, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! 2018 was brutal in terms of disruptions in the social media capital of the world. Magazines closed, billboard placements dropped by 50% and agencies collapsed as the media playing field transitioned to digital publishing. E-commerce boomed with logistics innovation with more players providing an online solution so that you no longer have to brave the traffic. Entertainment shifted to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube and Gaming, moving away from traditional TV channels. Most of the bloggers we started with in 2005, blogged less, moved to micro-blogging or social media or quit blogging altogether. Our kids future is now being threatened by Chinese economic invasion, bugbog or dignidad bullies and the looming 2022 presidential elections. Amidst all the noise, I learned to focus on what’s important in business and in life. Who are your Friends and Family? I learned painfully that your business partners are not your friends, especially where money is involved. Your friendships don’t flourish automatically if you don’t work and set aside time to meet and build the relationship. Your family loves you no matter what, so they deserve your time. They are the people to build new traditions with. Your friends are those people who you want to become your family because you respect their values and you become a better person with their association. So you have to build this friendship over time by making sure that you meet regularly in the present, share part of your past lives to learn from and build a future together with them in it. Your family deserves your time, and we need to teach our kids the value of family. We have to make sure that we are together during birthdays, special milestone celebrations and, most importantly, Christmas and New Year. Cash Flow vs. ROE (Return on Ego). We had a sort of mid-life crisis this year because I let the temptation of ROE overtake ongoing cashflow in the digital business. We spent too much time on travel that did not return any cash flow, and we neglected building new cash flow to help us survive the digital disruption. At one time, I hated agencies, especially government offices, that didn’t care enough to pay small and business enterprises on time. Cash flow is the lifeblood of a digital enterprise, and now I know why serial entrepreneurs start a new business every time to balance out their cash flow portfolio in order to be ready for any disruption. It’s instagram cool to be sponsored for travel and experiences, but older generations frown upon digital media getting paid. We always promote monetizing on the things one is passionate about, but I also need to learn to balance it out with stories that matter without monetization in mind. Devil is attacking our Marriage and Kids. Did you notice how many Filipino couples are getting separated these days and how our kids are being attacked by the threat of being bullied or even becoming bullies themselves? One of the awesome things about the Philippines are our core family values that are passed on from generation to generation. Our goal is not to become a first world country but with broken family values and a materialistic point of view. I learned that our most valuable asset is our family, but we need to have the first world mindset to continue to learn, to strive for excellence and to build our own businesses. Aside from basic education, we need to teach our kids a new language like Mandarin, a martial arts skill to defend themselves with, and a strong family and friends offline network to protect them from digital evils. Pay it forward through Awesome U. One of my greatest regrets in my 13-year digital entrepreneurship career is that I stopped teaching the Maven Secrets program. I learned that teaching is not only a way to Pay it Forward to the next generation of digital entrepreneurs, but it also forces you to learn, to be accountable and to be two steps ahead of your digital game. I’ve always wanted to launch Awesome U to teach content creation business, information marketing business and digital marketing in the new digital era. Algorithms are changing fast every single month, and you will not learn from teachers sharing case studies that worked in the past. More and more digital practitioners should teach how to know what works and how to future-proof your marketing. There are no experts because every one of us is a newbie in this field every time there is a new channel, a new algorithm or evolving digital community interactions. Gen X Filipino generation—pass or fail? When I started the blog in 2005, I felt the baton being passed to us Gen X’ers by the Filipino Baby Boomer generation that failed to build a better Philippines during their time. Fast forward 2018, I would like to ask our Filipino Generation: did we build a better Philippines for the Gen Y Millennial and Gen Z Filipino generations? Are we ready to surrender and pass the baton to the next generation without being able to build a better nation? There’s a lot of noise in digital media with first-world values distraction and attention-grabbing stories that do not matter. The taipans and big businesses only care about building more wealth and their assets. Are we ready to give up protecting our family values and the future of our kids? Definitely not! We won’t give up without a fight on the digital, economic and family fronts. You have not seen anything yet. 2019 here we come! Live an Awesome Life, Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.P.S. Let me know if you want to share more insights and feedback in the comments.