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Millennials and the digital world

by Manuel V. Pangilinan | May 18, 2017
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PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan with fellow Prosperity for All Summit panelist Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments Corp., host Rico Hizon, and Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid of Bank Muamalat Berhad, also a panelist.

PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan was a panelist at the “Initiating ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN)” session of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s Prosperity for All Summit on April 28, 2017 at the City of Dreams in Parañaque City. Here are some excerpts from what he shared during the forum:

On millennials, digital technology, and transcendent values

The internet has broken down barriers, and by definition you have to deal with the world. I think it’s important that we know what that world is and we know what the world of the millennials is as well because it’s not my world anymore. It’s their world. It’s a different world, and we as the seniors have to understand what this digital technology is all about. But through it all, what should underpin whatever world might happen — digital or otherwise, in the future — are the values that are transcendent and that will continue to be the bedrock of your business. And that will ensure its continuity over time. Methods will change. The digital world will be here maybe for the next few decades — but who knows beyond that what will happen? So you just have to be ready for it, you have to be open for it, and you have to change. And all of these disruptions that are happening — and they are happening in our business particularly because we’re the cutting edge of technology — is very, very painful. And if you don’t adjust to it or in fact of you don’t promote it, if you don’t disrupt yourselves, somebody else will disrupt your business.

On working abroad

I would say that working abroad is an entirely different experience actually. It’s an entirely different environment, so something quite unfamiliar to you, and so you have to deal with that. I worked in Hong Kong continuously for about 22 years, and the thing about Hong Kong, it’s pretty much a working environment. Apart from being a shopping environment, it has bred a community of some of the best lawyers in the world, some of the best bankers and investment bankers in the world, some of the best accountants in the world, and some of the best financial advisers in the world, so the level of competition there and the demands on you in terms of the standards of excellence that you must deliver are very high.

In all of my conversations mentoring with the youth, I would encourage them to actually— if you have a chance to work abroad, go do it. You’re young enough to fail; you’re young enough to learn to what’s out there. It’s important for you — whether you’re a millennial or not — to know what’s out there in the world because if you’re so engrossed with things that are entirely domestic, you will never know what competition is like in the world.

On how mentorship can help micro, small, and medium enterprises

I think there’s a positive part of it principally by way of sharing how large businesses conduct their businesses and joining the network that Joey Concepcion is conceiving (AMEN) both of the Philippines and in the ASEAN region, so you could travel throughout the country and talk to the entrepreneurs. And the other part of it is leading by example, showing how you conduct your business, what insights in the business or businesses might be possible for them to participate in and some model on how to conduct your business. The abiding lesson we want to show to those who want to emulate what we’re doing is that you can, you can be a profitable enterprise without having to cut corners.

You cannot teach SMEs really what entrepreneurship is all about because by definition it’s already in their DNA. So it’s a question really of just having a relationship with them, sharing your experience and their experience with you so that the spirit and the method of conducting business are shared amongst the business community.

On how PLDT reaches out to microentrepreneurs

There’s a specific unit within the overall enterprise group of PLDT dedicated to the microenterprises and small and medium enterprises, and our goal is really to bring them up to the digital level. At the end of the day, a digital company like PLDT is an enabler of businesses large and small — like giving them the ability to onboard the internet, help them in their software needs by putting their needs on the cloud, giving them the ability to forego CAPEX on servers by giving them services that our data centers provide so they can be digital savvy without having to invest heavily in both talents and in the hardware of the internet. CC:

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