I’m flummoxed by a bit of news I just now received over IM from a friend, and just when I was about to start writing this. It’s hit me like a ton of bricks but at this very moment I think the best thing to do is to act normal and hope for the best. Not that there’s a best thing to do in this case anyway. You just go ahead and do it.
I suppose this is a kind of obligatory blog update, considering its been weeks since I greeted Freddie Mercury a happy birthday. I will obligatorily mention how so many things have happened since, and how I’m obligated to say I don’t know where to start. But for the most part I think my attention has been focused on the Kikay Shop. I’ve added new face and body care products from Leyende, and the rest of the products are due for an overhaul as well, with their suppliers coming out with new stuff.
I’ve pretty much laid out how things are gonna go for Kikay Exchange I think. As a matter of fact it was the same way as I planned it out years ago, but I admit I lost my way a bit partly due to getting too involved in the nitty gritty details and partly because I may have lost confidence in my original plans. But, as a testament to the value of planning, the foundations of a good idea are really what carries it onwards. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), the site’s strengths come out, and you find yourself carrying out the plan whether you’re still intent on it or not. It’s sort of like planning and working your ass of to make something work and then, years later saying ‘Wow! It Worked! Who knew?!‘
At any rate the fact that this is all fairly new is not lost to me. I mentioned to someone I was talking about it with that for the most part it’s a ‘seat of my pants’ sort of management, with me going towards directions that I feel are best at any given moment, but still hopefully grounded in the initial ideals I laid out for them. Mom Exchange for example, is turning out to become the parent’s resource I always hoped it would be. And I promise you when I say that ‘I always hoped..’, that I really did hope that years ago when I was thinking about it still. It’s not like I shot a ball in the air on a prayer, it goes in the hoop, and I start claiming that’s exactly how I planned it.
When I started out at Mom Exchange, I felt that the way to make it self-perpetuate was to provide content that local parents (specifically, parents in the Philippines) needed to share. I didn’t want it to become a social club. I didn’t want it to become a forum where everyone had equal voices. I don’t want EBs, meet-ups, parties, or whatever, if it didn’t have anything to do with producing good well-made well-targetted content. I wanted a main person, the editor, writer or an ‘expert’ to speak, and everyone to learn from it. I felt that there were more people out there on the Internet that can be invited to any given event, and that if you really wanna help people, you’re better off serving those on the Internet than those you can get to go to an ‘EB’.
I also felt that kind of content was bursting to get out, and the internet + how I wanted to present it allowed me to better serve that market rather than anything else out there – whether it be an internet forum, a magazine or whatever. Cut to a year later and lo and behold it worked out, and I can’t say enough of how fulfilled I get when I read the messages people leave on it that say how grateful they are.
Occasionally there are people here or there saying how I should move the sites toward a different direction, but due to the fact the sites have reached a fair level of influence, I’ve decided to rely on my gut feel more, considering how it brought the sites to where they are now in the first place. I understand these will occasionally be misunderstood as pride or haughtiness, and I’m sorry if it has, but I feel I need to insist that it’s my way or the highway, and that, at any rate, I’ll end up suffering the brunt of it anyway, should it fail. I’m grateful though, that there are people who care enough to have an opinion to begin with, and I’m glad they share. It’s just that I’m not very good at saying what I find myself ending up saying, which is something like ‘Thanks so much for your opinion, but I think you’re wrong.‘. For the most part, I don’t think people are willing to hear that.
I realize now, after reading above, I wrote this more for the purpose of clearing my thoughts on the nagging matter of where the sites should be going now. After both have matured (both are now a year old), I need to initiate plans I made back then to see it through another year and onwards. After going about it through a year I’ve also matured as well and learned a few new things I’ve more or less talked about above.
First, is that I have to trust my instincts. The plans I had done for these sites were in effect from the very start, so I must not waver if I know what’s good for them. I’m sure something will come along at some point that might make me variate for the good, and I hope I’ll have the wisdom to recognize it when it does. But for now, it’s work as usual, and we forge on.
Second, is that the most stinging issue I’ve faced is criticism or an insistence by people I know who care about the sites to make it go towards a different direction from what I feel is best. I have to deal with this on a case to case basis, and the fact there is no precedent makes it doubly hard. There have been times I have tossed and turned wondering what would’ve happened if I had gone a different way, and there is no shortage of opinions that would support either direction. The best way I feel to deal with this is to stick with what I know, and what I know, again, is to stick with my original plans. Like in the ‘Sound Of Music’, there’s a song that goes ‘I must have done something good’. I know that’s corny and inappropriate, given Maria was singing about finding a love, but I guess its apropos still. Things are working out, and in order to get better I gotta keep my head clear and steer with confidence. There will always be reasons to go this way or that, always reasons why the road up ahead is harder than roads past. But at the end of the day, I’m here because I got myself here, good or bad. It’s been good so far, and I’ll get myself further on tomorrow.