Thursday, June 30, 2011

Digital detoxing and a long lunch

Last night I had dinner with my friend X at the Peninsula Manila. He was in the middle of what he calls a "digital detox" so he'd thrown away his mobile phone on purpose. Consequently, when I was running 20 minutes late because of the rains and traffic, I couldn't even text him to say so. But he was pretty relaxed about things, so when I finally walked into the restaurant, he greeted me with a smile. He'd been reading a copy of the latest issue of Travelife Magazine, and he was exactly at the page of my article; so it looked like he'd been keeping himself adequately entertained.


"What's with the digital detox?" I asked him. He shrugged and said: "Too much mental clutter. I realized I was spending too much time on calls and texts, and it was keeping me way too busy." Yup, we'd been communicating by email this whole week, but it was only last night that I realized how serious he was about the detox.

I had to take a few minutes to fathom this as it was poles apart from where I was psychologically. After all, just earlier that same afternoon, I'd just sent my other friend J a BBM saying how happy I was that he'd gotten me on Blackberry -- and now I'm hooked. I can't imagine life without it -- or at least I can't imagine having to deal with Manila traffic without it. I don't care how long it takes me to go from place to place anymore as I can work in the car and email replies to urgent emails in two seconds from wherever in the world I am; and my close friends can always reach me on BBM. So, in this state of mind, you can understand why I can't imagine a life without a mobile phone anymore.


We had other pretty interesting conversations last night. X believes there's big business to be done tapping the BPO market and he has all sorts of really brilliant ideas for capturing this market of young people with lots of spending money. "You can tap this market for making money," he said, "but you can also tap them as an advocacy. This is the future and it'd be great to make them more aware of better values, ways to improve their lives and make smart decisions. This could be a way to help improve the country. We're talking about a future generation of leaders, after all."


Then today I had lunch with M, our second meal together this week since we'd had dinner on the very day I'd arrived from Europe. And technically this was one of my last meals before flying off to Dubai on the weekend. M was also my last dinner the evening before I flew to Europe last June -- so you might say that meeting up before and after a trip is getting to be a habit. So I don't have to tell you when our next dinner's going to be...

In the middle of the morning, he texted: "Let's eat at Goose Station. I'm at a meeting so please get your sec to book us a table." This was the second invitation I'd gotten for The Goose Station this week. What's with guys wanting to eat at The Goose Station all of a sudden, I wondered.

Unfortunately, The Goose Station is only open for dinner so it wasn't a go. I texted him back: "Let's go to Masseto instead." A text came back pretty quickly: "Out of the way today. I don't want to get into Salcedo traffic. Let's go to Aubergine at the Fort."


Aubergine ended up being a nice choice because it was quiet and relaxing. There were few occupied tables and they had a pretty nice four-course business lunch. I wasn't that hungry, but when I saw the menu, I decided to take on the lunch with the works: salad and soup to start, followed by a wagyu ribeye steak and a decadent chocolate cake.

We had a pretty nice three-hour lunch trading business strategies and talking about our version of the good old day days. M, who's CEO of a pretty large outfit, told me: "I'm a very competitive person so I like people who work fast, or else I get bored very easily." I smiled. That could've been me. I replied: "Well, I want everything done yesterday."

It was his turn to smile. "That's my motto, too," he said.

We were basically just talking shop, but it's pretty fun to meet up as all kinds of other topics are interspersed into business. But it was certainly a very nice start to the weekend. And then it was back to work at the office....and off to Dubai tomorrow.

From all of us at Travelife Magazine, have a wonderful weekend -- wherever in the world you'll be.



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