I Became a CEO Twice (Number 19 on my Definitive List of Things I'm Thankful For)

Thursday, May 23, 2024

I never dreamed of managing a business at the highest level. The first instance was with my work friends, who decided to break away from the company where we worked. We worked for an Internet Service Provider, and I was the webmaster. We saw the potential of developing websites for prospective clients instead of being handed projects from the company. This was during the dot-com era, when every business and organization wanted a website but only a few owned one. And so we formed a company that did just that, offering website development to clients. I resigned from the tech company and took on the role of CEO. I didn't ask for it. It was more because there were only a few of us, and I was the logical choice. 

Contract signing with Yehey! for content partnership

The title and role made me feel like I was the top guy and head of the company, but it was really my first time assuming this role, and I was just getting my feet wet. Honestly, it was all a learning experience. I realized that I enjoyed the tech side of it—coding, programming, and creating websites for clients to showcase as their digital properties. What I didn't enjoy were the legal, accounting, and sales sides of the business. We did have other colleagues who were designated to manage these, but since I was both a co-owner and CEO, I had to be involved in each of these aspects and decision making. That's what took out the passion for what I enjoyed doing. The company lasted for close to three years. We weren't able to sustain the business long enough to make a profit. 

I decided to take a break from owning and managing a business and hone my craft in web development. During this time, I merged my passion for music with my knack for writing and maintaining a website. In the following years, I was able to grow the website to become one of the most popular Philippine music web sites during its time. At this point, I determined that the next step in the website's growth would be to incorporate a business component. And so I turned it into a business, adding an e-commerce and advertising platform. Having first-hand experience in previously managing a business, I was more confident in running this and making it a successful and profitable business.

2004 version of my website

The website was massive, with thousands of pages, fresh news, daily updates, and a ton of historical information. I was surprised that, because of its popularity and size, some thought I was managing a huge team. In reality, there were only three employees, me included, as well as a large number of contributors, supporters, volunteers, and fans of the site. I didn't just form a business. I formed an online community of music-loving people. This was what made it unique and fun. 

Regrettably, technology was rapidly transforming the internet and the webosphere. The business and website needed to evolve to keep up with the times. Even before I established the company, I was aware of the necessity for change. Regrettably, a significant portion of this required additional financial investment, which I lacked. So I let it be, and the company eventually downgraded to a non-profit website once again. 

If asked if I would want to assume the role of CEO again in the future, I'd rather participate in a company in a different manner. I simply don't feel the CEO title and status align with my personality.

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