Community, Profiles, Taoke (Business)

Jake Go: On eCommerce, Outsourcing, and Teaching

We have seen friends and relatives create new businesses online and use Shopee and Lazada. We have heard stories of online entrepreneurs earning five times more than their paychecks. Prospects and opportunities to start a business are more present than ever before, but while keeping a buoyant business appears easy from afar, you can’t know for sure where or when you will get buyers. Your page may contain well-curated posts; you may spend on PPCs, Google ads, or Meta ads– are they enough? One lesson we can learn during the pandemic is that eCommerce is tipping the scales– and knowing just the basics of online businesses won’t guarantee you a spot in the industry forever.

Jake Go is a Decision Sciences and Innovation professor at De La Salle University, a managing partner at Springboard, and a father. As a tech graduate with an MBA, Jake decidedly planted his feet in the local tech and eCommerce industry.

The Chinoy Mindset

Jake grew up in a typical Chinoy household alongside four siblings. Recounting his childhood, he grew up an “Ahma’s boy” and listened to her stories about his father toiling at an early age to help his Angkong put food on the table. There were also stories about his mother’s stalwart role in the family when times were tough, making him firmly believe that having a supportive partner is critical to success. As he grew older, he made sense of these stories as he applied them to his life and career and dreamed of making a dent in the universe.

Fresh out of college, Jake worked as a developer at a Makati firm and worked eight-to-five until he got tired of the menial routine and joined a startup as an intern (with less pay). At the startup, he pushed himself to learn other facets of running a business that was not exclusive to the tech industry. He shared, “Pretty volatile, really, but I wanted to throw myself into the fire to see if I can manage the stress, develop other skill sets, [and also learn how to do] the networking– despite my introversion.” 

At the tail-end of the internship, he took up his master’s degree at Ateneo Graduate School of Business, which made his parents happy. Jake wanted a formalized take on everything he had learned in the real world and to break free from the “tech guy” label in his circle, especially in his family.

Culminating all of the skills that he learned and the network he gathered at the startup, Springboard came to life. “… we did HR stuff back in that startup, had enough of a network, combined them all – Springboard was born! At Springboard, we do outsourcing – recruitment services, developing, and digital marketing mainly, but we do explore other startup ideas from time to time when we have extra resources.”

A Professor Taoke’s Day

Beyond working on his brainchild Springboard, he is also a lecturer at De La Salle University specializing in eCommerce and technology. He believed that teaching was a way of giving back. “ I wanted to put myself in [my teachers’] shoes and help out the next generation. There were a few who stood out to me and made me who I am today. […] Kids, do your [professors] a favor: listen in class. I was one of those who didn’t, and karma bites back hard!”

As a lecturer and a managing partner at Springboard, his day-to-day may be tedious. He added, “I’m lucky to have a strong team around me– reliable teammates, capable partners, and, most importantly, a supportive, sharp-as-a-new-steak-knife wife.”

His typical day begins with waking up with his kids. While he prepares for the day, his kids “lovingly, oftentimes crazily, go about their shenanigans [and] then dress up for school.” The family members go about their mornings in separate rooms; Jake teaches his online class in one room while his wife and their kids stay in another for school. Afterward, he does general admin work and has lunch. He then travels to Springboard headquarters; the rest of his afternoon is spent on calls, meetings, and other desk jobs. He also tries to code for small projects. “I try to code still, but it’s hard to maintain, to be honest; I mainly code when trying to learn new technologies and building small projects here and there – mostly failed experiments haha. I still try to be consistent, though, and with everything, I think that’s the secret key.”

Outsourcing with Springboard

Jake puts his faith in Filipinos’ work ethic as long as the right people are matched with the right job. “This is why, even with India, Vietnam, and other countries starting to become sector threats, I still believe the Philippines will come out on top. Outsourcing is going to evolve and develop more subsectors, creating specializations. We’ve seen organizations such as IBPAP (The IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines) support sub-organizations such as GDAP (Game Development Association of the Philippines) pushing for more niche verticals. There will be more down the line! Put yourself in a position to leverage by learning a new skill!”

So far, Springboard’s clients are primarily local BPOs, but their client base is diverse in size and industry. They have worked with many industries such as retail, energy, tourism, and government and different MSME classifications– from the smallest businesses (owned by his friends, as Jake wanted to help them through consultations or other services) to major conglomerates and big international agencies through executive search, tech systems, call center ops and support, and digital marketing services.

Digital Marketing for eCommerce Stores

Jake teaches eCommerce classes at DLSU as the subject is his trade. Over the years, he has managed eCommerce accounts that relied on Springboard for all digital marketing and advertising needs. In class, he introduced his students to the basics of digital marketing– from creating brand guidelines, content calendars, and digital marketing plans to utilizing Google ads for marketing campaigns. 

He believes these skills and more are crucial to business growth, and Springboard has the right set of skills to help any business grow. “[Outsourcing] provides [businesses] a team of experts on-demand. You can learn everything on your own, yes, but it takes time. In eCommerce, you want to accelerate your growth, because it’s cutthroat. In our parents’ generation, they were siloed in their respective territories. Now, we have to stave off competition from all angles, [and] on a global scale even. Springboard’s eCommerce team is here to help you navigate through this treacherous terrain.”

When asked what his secret digital marketing weapon is, he says it is his teammates who practice accountability and continuous learning. “[…] it empowers them to perform and provide awesome results to our clients, whether it’s a software factory service, a recruitment task, or a performance marketing push. I don’t hire skill; I hire attitude. A lot of people say this, but only a few can execute it. We, at Springboard, have acquired that instinct over the years.”

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