At SM Aura Samsung Hall last Saturday (May 28, 2016), a packed audience listened attentively to speakers of a personal finance conference called iCON 2016 for one whole day. Oftentimes, attendees have difficulties in remaining focused after the first two hours of a conference. In this conference, most seats in the spacious Samsung Hall were still occupied the whole afternoon on a Saturday. The speakers were not only knowledgeable about their topics, but they were also very good at engaging a live audience.


On Foundations of Investment Planning

Mr. Marvin Germostock market expert, speaker and author of “Stock Smarts” (photo above), gave the audience important advice on choosing the right investment vehicles, such as whether one should invest in real estate, stocks, mutual fund or other financial products. The main point that he wanted the audience to take home was, we must know our own needs, earning capability and personality before deciding on an investment vehicle and investment strategy. This is indeed a very important point for new investors, who may be persuaded by product sellers to get into a promising but unsuitable product. Some people may have a need to access cash often, and this would mean more liquid investment products like stocks, while others can afford to sock away some money for a longer time and therefore can choose less liquid investment like real estate. Some people have the temperament to monitor a listed company's growth and stock performance, while others prefer to let others invest for them. These are all factors that affect the investment product choice.

While these tips are not new, the delivery was very engaging, and were more likely to have lodged in the minds of the audience.   Mr. Germo is a very energetic speaker. During his presentation, he often stepped forward when he wanted to accentuate a point, or strolled from one side of the stage to another to make sure that he engaged everyone in the audience.


On Essentials of Business

Mr. Dodong Cacanando is a successful and experienced entrepreneur in agricultural businesses. He is the owner of Moriah Farms Inc. and HA-Moriyah, Inc. He also had his fair share of service in the corporate industry as he was the former executive of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Philippines. He generously shared his experience in starting new business lines and in dealing with adversities. He compared starting and doing business with the ways of a plant and assured that anybody can succeed in any business as long as the proper steps are taken. According to him, just like a plant, a business venture must first take time to take root. The basic infrastructure must be established to obtain stability and to ensure ease in the succeeding steps in doing business. Second, a business must build resiliency, in that one must be aware of the presence of challenges and be creative enough to turn these into opportunities. He gave an example using his lettuce business. He had a big client for his lettuce, but when his competitor invested more heavily in the production, he lost the client. He then switched to use the lettuce as feed for his farm animals. 

Third, a business must be able to continually regenerate. Cacanando strongly believed that a business owner must "create new capabilities from old skills" so that the business will keep on evolving. Last but not the least, one must eliminate waste by creating new value from them. A business owner must be on the lookout for possible leakages and threats in the organization, and create a useful product from it so that nothing is wasted. Again, creativity is vital in this essential step in doing business. 


Business owner Mr. Dodong Cacanando discussing the third essential concept in doing business.


On Achieving Abundance that Matters

Another speaker, Mr. Rex Mendoza, is a seasoned stock broker and investor, and CEO of Rampver Strategic Advisors. Some of his advice, such as one should not follow the suggestion to reduce one's wants in order to achieve happiness, might not be agreed by everyone, but he had good explanations. He urged the audience to aim higher, so as to have the capacity to do more good. He challenged the notion that people should strive for work–life balance, as he believed one should aim to have it all. He suggested that if we work on what we enjoy doing, then work is life and life is work, and family could be brought in to work life by, say, inviting them to a seminar like this, as he had done. 


The last speaker, Mr. Rex Mendoza, is also one of the Directors of Globe Telecom.


Mr. Mendoza was another very engaging, and at times entertaining speaker. The audience was often seen bursting into laughter when he used an anecdote to elaborate on a point.

iCON 2016 was a great conference as the audience not only got educated, but got very entertained at the same time.

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