Written by John Carlo Tria


As I write this and we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, and the Christmas decor starts getting packed away, we are brought back to thoughts of the year that just passed.

Yes, 2020. I know many of you have strong sentiments about the past year. Nonetheless, our experience of a truly memorable year for many reasons will reverberate both in our minds and in the collective cognitive and emotional space we share with everyone we know for the next few months. These experiences compose stories we will tell our children, who will definitely ask us how it was as they study that year in the future.

We are now learning many of the valuable lessons of 2020 that can help us, and our careers, livelihoods, and businesses thrive well into the future, and the new situations it may bring us. Like me, entrepreneurs who admire that chess-inspired Netflix series will realize that we are now playing the middle game, where we are making larger adjustments in our businesses- online shifts, loan renegotiations, work-from-home arrangements, as the economy continues to recover.

What matters – the end game, so to speak, in chess terms – is to find that groove, that mix of adjustments and measures all to sustain our growth over the long term. This also means being mentally and emotionally ready for any new situation, or disruption that may come- and pick up quickly, recalibrate and keep moving forward. Hence the title of this column.

What then can we expect?

For one, doing business online will accelerate further. And I don’t just mean marketing on social media or paying and ordering online through apps. This will include doing deeper dives into the digital economy- from managing supply chains to monitoring staff work flows and managing customer expectations- and not just with nearby customers, but with buyers from around the world. With the emergence of new trade agreements and a higher level of engagement with ASEAN neighbors, more overseas trade will mean more buyers for local products.

More of what was done in the physical office will migrate to the online cloud and viewed from mobile workstations. Meetings will be online, and with the affirmation by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and Commission on Audit (COA) of the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI), digital and electronic signatures can be used for government permits and licenses, enabling more permits, clearances to be secured online. (https://mb.com.ph/2021/01/03/govt-honors-dicts-digital-signatures-for-permits-and-licenses/). Expect more official online transactions.

More schools will offer blended learning options or online modes of education. This, in my view, is for two reasons. One, the need for people to upskill or retool to migrate to the new normal work patterns. You’ve had friends taking short online courses and displaying their diplomas. Many schools will now follow those which have gone before them in offering lifelong learning programs for adults, and TVET type training for equipping employees. Secondly, many parents will seek online education options for their children, especially those who have decided to spend more time at home as homepreneurs doing their own online businesses. More homes will now be an abode for learning and trade.

More on these in the coming weeks.

Cover image by Jermaine Boyles from Pexels.

Article first appeared in the Manila Bulletin website last January 5, 2020.


John Carlo Tria is a management consultant specializing in business development, compliance and project management in the natural resources sector.

He specializes in business development, compliance, and project management in the agricultural, energy, and natural resources industries. He also conducts socio-economic research, education, and awareness campaigns for projects in these industries.

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