Ep423: Patrick Zulueta – To Achieve Success, Start Failing Now

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Quick take

BIO: Patrick Zulueta is a country pioneer for launching and managing technology brands. He’s helped Cashalo, PayMaya (Mai a), and BPI achieve millions of downloads and users, as well as triple-digit revenue growth in the first two years handling each of these brands.

STORY: Patrick’s worst investment was failing to invest in himself earlier in his career and only started doing so in his 30s.

LEARNING: Failure is an integral part of success, and the earlier you fail, the better. Start testing your ideas as early as possible.


“Open yourself to failures and be willing to accept the risks.”

Patrick Zulueta


Guest profile

Patrick Zulueta is a country pioneer for launching and managing technology brands. He’s helped Cashalo, PayMaya (Mai a), and BPI achieve millions of downloads and users, as well as triple-digit revenue growth in the first two years handling each of these brands.

Since then, he has become a Co-founder and Director for Growth at apper.ph, a tech company that helps businesses adopt new technology and innovation. Their clientele includes some of the country’s top digital companies.

He has over 13 years of experience in marketing strategy, branding, business development, and marketing communications. And Patrick’s mission is to continually empower the underserved via digital transformation.

Worst investment ever

Patrick’s worst investment was not investing in himself early on in his career. Many tech co-founders in Southeast Asia, Silicon Valley, and the greater regions of Europe typically experience success even in the 20s. But Patrick received his success in his early 30s. This is because he didn’t invest in the right mentorship, the right skill set, or trying out a tech startup earlier. He started doing these things when he was already 30.

Lessons learned

  • The only way to learn is by trying it out, failing, and then getting back to it.
  • It’s only when you put yourself out there will you learn and start to succeed.
  • Be willing to accept that failures are essential before success comes, and the earlier you fail, the better.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • You’ve got to start testing your hypotheses and ideas as early as possible.

Actionable advice

Take one idea, whether it’s a good one or a bad one, as long as you strongly believe in it and it’s something that you’re passionate about, go for it.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Patrick’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to continue helping shape the Philippine tech and cloud industry.

Parting words


“Listen to other people’s learnings and failures in investing so you don’t make the same mistakes. You’ll learn and fail forward sooner.”

Patrick Zulueta


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. To join our community go to my worst investment ever.com and receive these five three benefits first, you get the risk reduction checklist I've created from the lessons I've learned from all of my guests. Second, you get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return. Third, you get a 25% discount on all a Stotz Academy courses. Fourth, you get access to our Facebook community to get to know guests and fellow listeners. And finally you get my curated list of the Top 10 podcast episodes. Fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast hosts Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests. Patrick zulueta. Patrick, are you ready to rock rock? I'm ready. Good day, everyone. Yeah, well, let me introduce you to the audience. Patrick Xu The weather is a country pioneer for launching and managing technology brands. He's helped casado pay Maya and BPI achieve millions of downloads, and users as well as triple digit revenue growth. And that's what matters right? In the first two years handling each of these brands. Since then, he has become a co founder and director for growth of apre.ph, a tech company which helps businesses adopt new technology and innovation. their clientele includes some of the country's top digital companies. He has over 13 years experience in marketing, branding, business development, and marketing communication. And ladies and gentlemen, Patrick's mission is to continually empower the underserved via digital transform nation. Patrick, take a minute and tell you further tidbits about your life.

Patrick Zulueta 02:00
Thank you all for Andrew. And thank you, everyone for having me today. It's a pleasure. I've been looking forward to the session. We've been putting it off for the past few months. But finally here. And yes, Dr. Andrews, correct. I'm very passionate about helping not just the Philippines, but Southeast Asia, become a stronger lion, as you would call it in the tech industry. And whether it be on the cloud, whether it be FinTech, whether it be anything that relates to improving the lives of more people in Southeast Asia, that's really what I'm after. And that's really what I've been doing for the past 13 years, launching these tech brands

Andrew Stotz 02:40
exciting. And tell us about apre.ph. What, tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing and how you're doing.

Patrick Zulueta 02:48
Sure. operate.ph is actually a tech consulting firm, which helps companies drive innovation on the cloud, which means basically, we believe that companies, whether it be a tech company, or a digital company, the typically the partner for innovation, whether it's just creating an app, or driving new innovations for high tech products already. And typically, that's what we do, we make sure that we share our expertise, make sure you get the job done in the short span of time, or the shorter span of time. And that's really what we've done with some of the tech companies which we've partnered up with the day.

Andrew Stotz 03:27
And I'm curious, like for a lot of big companies, sometimes they think to themselves, oh, we can do this ourselves. We don't have to hire someone outside, we're going to get some of our staff to do this. And that. Tell me like what it is that you bring to the table that really they're not going to be able to do if they try to do it on their own?

Patrick Zulueta 03:45
Sure. Well, it's really a mindset for innovation. It's a culture for innovation, which companies typically struggle to do when it's just their in house teams, which do it. Typically, when a tech company is trying to drive innovation, they're so busy with their core business solving everyday problems for their customers that they don't get to think outside the box. So somebody from the outside with that type of perspective is able to zone in and say, Okay, this is all we're going to do, we're just going to drive innovation for you. You still need to, of course, assist us and it's a partnership. But at the same time you need somebody who's just focused on that. And that's what some companies fail to realize. And thankfully, some of the partners, which we've worked with such a slow Telecom, g cache, some social media companies, it's like a new team Manila, actually see that this type of a partnership has been very important, especially during the pandemic where people are working from home and it's, you know, very, very difficult for them to zone in on certain tasks. So that's something which I've learned and Philippines has been really challenged. I was just going through the GDP numbers and looking at Philippines relative to other countries in Asia. And it really took a hard hit on sadly, yeah. And

Andrew Stotz 05:06
so I would say that you know, now more than ever, companies need creative ways of trying to survive and take care of their customers. So it's a great time for you to be really helping them to do that. So that's pretty exciting. And well, now it's time to share your worst investment evidence, since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to then tell us your story.

Patrick Zulueta 05:32
Sure, this might be one of the more unique answers that you're going to receive in this podcast. And my worst investment is nothing related to financial management, investing or those types of mistakes. My worst investment was not investing on myself. Early on in my career. As you can see, I've been in the tech industry for the past 13 years. So for a technical founder, that's actually quite long before actually achieving success, a lot of tech co founders in Southeast Asia, Silicon Valley, those in the greater regions, Europe, etc, they typically experienced success even in the 20s, I received my success in my early 30s. And that is because I was not able to invest on the right mentorship, the right skill set. And of course, I did not experience really trying out a tech startup earlier, I started when I was already 30. I tried ecommerce startup. So it's similar to big basket similar to redmart, that some of the people from Singapore might know, happy, fresh, etc. So I started this in the Philippines. And although it was quite successful, I wish I had that experience of learning, failing, growing, and really learning how to run a tech startup earlier in my career. And I noticed that typically, tech startups don't really fly on your first venture. So founders, founders, such as myself, typically get it right, the second or third time around. So for upper, it's my second venture personally. But as you can see, I've other apps and fintechs, which I've helped along the way, I already have helped around six tech brands, right with this type of journey. And I've learned a lot. Of course, birth a lot of money as well, people don't see it, all they see is the success, they see the numbers, that triple digit revenue. First time ever, the tech brand was able to achieve a million downloads in eight months time, etc, etc, those the sexy numbers, they don't see the grind, they don't really see the hustle. And I learned the hard way, I didn't really have people mentoring me. Now, unfortunately, I didn't have LinkedIn to my disposal 13 years ago, 10 years ago, even eight years ago, it wasn't really as big. But now it's easy for anyone who wants to put up a tech company, that the protect brand, just reach out to people such as myself. And that's something that I advocate as well, I advocate learning as well as, of course, being forward, I seen how the tech industry has given me a lot. And it's really made me well fulfilled in terms of creating my legacy, helping other people, I've seen how it has really shifted and changed the lives of a lot of Filipinos and a lot of people in Southeast Asia as well for the regional brands, which I've worked with. So it's very rewarding. So those who reach out to me and ask for coaching mentorship, I readily and openly help them, of course, pro bono in that sense, and I wish I had the opportunity to learn from someone who would guide me. So I wouldn't be making the same mistakes, some mistakes, which I could have avoided, and my learning curve would have been cut by half. So

Andrew Stotz 09:00
today, what do you think if you go back in time? What do you think it was that was holding you back? Was it a lack of confidence? Or the tools weren't there? Or you just didn't dream big enough? Or you didn't take action? What would you say was be the thing that really held you back thinking about some young people right now who are probably in similar shoes?

Patrick Zulueta 09:21
That's a very good question. I would say it was the ability to take risks. I didn't have that at the time. My aggression level four. Well, my aggressiveness for trying to achieve this type of success in the tech industry wasn't as abundant 510 years ago, and if I had the right mentors, the right people guiding me with regards to that, I believe I would have taken more risks, made more investments in terms of trying out new things, right. That's something that wasn't present.

Andrew Stotz 09:57
By then and if you look Look at this whole experience from where you are now, how would you describe the lessons that you learn?

Patrick Zulueta 10:07
Well, all I can say is, it's all about failing forward, there's no way to really learn what is correct. What's the right path? What's the right process, unless you've tried it out, you've, in my, in my industry, we call it the A B testing. It's about testing whether a or b works. And unfortunately, it typically takes money, time and effort, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to be able to see and validate your assumptions. And I've validated so many assumptions. And I've been blessed with working with a lot of talented people, not just here in the Philippines, but people who have worldwide perspectives, people who have graduated from Ivy League schools, people who worked in Silicon Valley, JP Morgan's of the world, the McKinsey's of the world. And I've learned a lot from them in the past few years, it's only when I really put myself out there and really expose myself to these types of experiences, which were and I was able to learn and really caught my learning curve in terms of trying to succeed in the tech industry.

Andrew Stotz 11:16
Let me summarize what I took away from your story. You know, one of the things that you really I guess, the core thing that you really made me think about was, you know, in the world of internet startups, and all of that digital world, the concept of AV testing is, so now it's, it's ingrained in people, you know, you've got to go through those AV tests. You know, when I started my own career, and all that I started my own business, this the pace with which you could test things was a lot slower. Right? Nowadays, you know, you could literally take five different taglines for a business, put them into five different simple little Facebook ads, and send them to a landing page and say, which one of these five works in fact, I just did that for one of the short courses I created, called don't read these 36 books. And I tested five different, you know, ones, and then boom, I saw that that one was definitely the most attractive. And, but also, what I think about I take away is that you have to do a lot of tests. It's not just one, and you've got to go through now we're thinking about AB in terms of like, a Facebook guide, or a social media ad or post is like, but really, everything we're doing in business is kind of a be at least we're a testing, sometimes we're a B testing. But ultimately, it takes time to see the results of that. And so what I'm getting from you, is, if you had started earlier, you could have done more testing, gone to the failures, and like you said, fail Forward, forward. Great, you know, for all the listeners out there, I think that's such a good lesson that, you know, you've got to start testing your hypotheses, you know, your idea, and and then do that testing as early as possible widgets. Anything you would add to that.

Patrick Zulueta 13:12
I will agree with that. And at the same time, I guess, open yourself to these types of failures are the and be willing to accept the risks. Be willing to accept that these types of failures are important before the successes will come in? As I mentioned, people just see the glory and the successes or the good news, the press releases, but they don't see how many times we've pivoted, how many times have had to say up and try to see, okay, this product market fit as we call it in the stream isn't really working, we have to change that entire business model start from scratch, with recently the six months of our development where our runway, but we had the site from scratch, because we really see that it's not working. So those types of challenges will really come. But they really pay off. And the sooner the better. I would say you can start even when you're in your uni days, right? I see some text founders who are starting very, very young. And they're the ones who become successful because they learn and they fail earlier.

Andrew Stotz 14:16
Nope. Wow. Well, based upon what you learn from this experience, and what you continue to learn what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Patrick Zulueta 14:28
Well, I would say, Take one idea whether it's a good one or a bad one. If it's for a tech startup, if it's for a business, if it's for a side, hustle, whatever it if you really strongly believe in it. It's something that you're passionate about, go for it. There's really no margin for error. There's no cap as to what you can learn. And you'll never know when you can really see who you could work with in the future. It might not be for this venture, but for the next venture. You'll get it right you'll get it right there. Not just your idea, but the people you work with, which is also very, very important. So it's my tip, I guess, just go out there and do it. That's something that I wish I knew when I was in my earlier 20s. But again, also to those listeners who are in their 40s 50s 60s. This is a marathon. It's not a race. So if you start later on in your career later on in your journey, it's fine. You know, as I say, some people became billionaires in their 50s or the 60s, that happens, right? So it's not really a rush. But

Andrew Stotz 15:38
it's, I still have a chance something a billion sooner. I believe you're a billionaire ready today. But yes. In my heart, I am a billionaire. Alright, last question, what what's your number one goal for the next 12 months.

Patrick Zulueta 15:54
My number one goal is to continue helping shape the Philippine tech and cloud industry, really trying to see how we can close the gap versus our Southeast Asian counterparts. Sorry if I'm going to encroach on some of the other countries, but we're trying to close in on Vietnam, Thailand, trying to see if we can be as competitive as then in those industries. And thankfully, the pandemic has helped our country a lot. It's hit us badly. But in the tech scene, at least a lot of companies have grown and a lot of people have become more comfortable to use technology. So I see that the Philippines has taken a lot out of this pandemic as well.

Andrew Stotz 16:34
Well, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning my number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener reduce risk and increase return in your life. To achieve this. I created our community at my worst investment ever.com. And I look forward to seeing you there. As we conclude, Patrick, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf Thank you. It's my pleasure. On behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Patrick Zulueta 17:09
Thank you. It's a pleasure being here today. And I agree with Dr. Andrew. It's important that you have the right mentor. And it's important that you listen from other people as well in terms of their learnings, failures in investments, so you don't make the same mistakes and you learn and fail forward sooner. So thank you everyone and hope you stay safe during this very challenging period.

Andrew Stotz 17:31
Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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