about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Was at the Asian Strategic Marketing Convention at the PICC the other day as a required event for MARKCU1. I thought it would be boring, but it was actually pretty interesting.
We had some great speakers. One of them was Pacita Juan, one of the entrepreneurial seven founders of the Figaro coffee shop chain. She talked with passion about focusing on something which one loves, and it just so happened that hers involved coffee. She and her friends loved it so much that they made a business out of it and it's still thriving. She told us that we should look for business partners not because of the cash they can contribute, but because of their talents and specialization. We should take care of our franchisees, she adds, and we should also love the business enough to do all the hard menial work.
Then there was Roland Benzon of Chikka, a solutions provider for cellular phone networks. Kinky voice and innuendo aside (this guy is hilarious and ought to be a voice talent for an animated movie), he pointed out that simply having the best technology won't necessarily win you customers right away. How to get culture to work for you is crucial. In our case Chikka managed to get a hold of how the Philippines became the SMS capital of the world, studied it and applied marketing plans based on that.
And then Philippine Marketing Association president Jos Ortega of BBDO Guerrero Ortega (an ad agency) showed us parts of the Gunn Report DVD, basically a compilation of the 100 best advertisements in a given year. The Chiclets and Axe ads were absolute hoots and they were really well made.
Quite an enriching experience despite the cheesy music and atmosphere. I don't regret going there despite getting into so many near-accidents along the way.

On impulse I went into the Honda Makati showroom and test-drove the GD1 Jazz last Tuesday as I didn't have any class that day.

To be perfectly honest I felt as if I didn't spend all that much time with the likeable little car. All the test-drive allowed me was one trip around some boring village roads around the dealership which were totally unrepresentative of what the car would typically face in the hands of its owner. Because of the brevity of the test I couldn't see for myself how good the acceleration of the car was.

Steering felt a bit weird because of the electric assistance (instead of hydraulic on my car and most others) but it's accurate enough for me to attempt parking the Jazz backwards. Clutch and brake pedals were too close and the fluid-type clutch itself was mushy and a bit hard to judge. However the gearbox is slick and the engine is torquey enough to forgive mistakes in upshifting (how unlike a Honda engine). It won't beat my D15B-powered SX8 City, but for a car that'll make 15-20 km/L, it's very good.

I just wish I had at least two more trips to confirm how it gets going under full acceleration.

This month's HCP EB was something special.

President Juno Ongteco managed to get hold of the local distributor of Johnnie Walker Black Label and arranged for a short course on Scotch whiskey appreciation after the EB proper. Basically that meant we got free drinks (5 varieties of Scotch whiskey per head!) and free food courtesy of the bar East of St. Louis at the Fort.

We had former actor-turned-interior-designer Jaime Garchitorena as host and he taught us a brief history of the Johnnie Walker heritage (JW Black is actually a blend of 40 or so single-malt whiskeys that's 200 years old). He then tuned us in on how to appreciate and taste whiskey. We looked for the "legs" (viscosity), "nose" (smell), character, palate and finish (3 phases of taste) of a brandy using a champagne glass, and noted how different single-malt Scotch whiskeys differ. Some taste heavy and dark like smoke, some taste light as fresh fruit, others taste creamy and delicate while still others taste of rich fruit (we tested each one). Being a 40-some blend, JW Black had a little bit of everything.

I don't drink very often, but it was cool to know all of this information and I didn't realize how much nuances there were to drinking Scotch whiskey. One thing's for sure: no matter how delicate the taste, Scotch whiskey definitely has a strong kick. Even with mere sipping at the 5 champagne glasses in front of me, I was beginning to feel tipsy by the time we finally got to sample and judge JW Black.

After that we got our share of finger foods. Some of us left early, like myself. I just stayed long enough to get the tipsiness out of my head. I certainly wouldn't want to receive a face full of windshield because of driving under the influence of ethanol consumption.

It was a nice drive home, unlike the rest of the damned traffic-ridden week. I took the wet, sweeping Heritage Memorial road out of the Fort and drove at a consistent 80-100 km/h around the gentle bends leading to C5 and to the SLEX.

If only everyday driving was that pleasurable.

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