Takeaways from TEDxADMU (Part 2)

Text by: Kimmy Baraoidan

The second speaker for this year’s TEDxADMU was Paul Rivera, the founder and CEO of Kalibrr. Kalibrr is a job portal that aims to more accurately match job applicants and employers based mainly on skills. It aims to revolutionize how companies are hiring. Leaving his job at Google, Rivera took a leap of faith, and Kalibrr was born. Rivera saw a gap in the employment process, and he was determined to fill it.

Paul Rivera, founder and CEO of Kalibrr, delivers a talk during TEDxADMU at Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. Photo by: Chris Quintana

Paul Rivera, founder and CEO of Kalibrr, delivers a talk during TEDxADMU at Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. Photo by: Chris Quintana

Rivera exudes confidence. I felt it even from afar. I was sitting on the opposite side of the stage from where he was standing. He was serious about business and he definitely knew what he was talking about. He shared his ups and downs as an entrepreneur and highlighted the importance of hard work. “Hard work manufactures opportunities,” he said.

Ten years ago, I became part of a pioneer team at a Makati-based BPO company that was tasked to do general transcription for clients in the U.S. A client would send us an audio or video recording. The file could be a dictation, an interview, a conference call, a focus group discussion, a radio show, a television show, or a movie. We would listen to it and type everything that was being said into a Word document.

I lasted three years. The team was downsizing, and I made my exit before the boat sunk. I figured I could do this on my own as a freelancer since I already know the ins and outs of the business. After all, I was one of the pioneers who built this from scratch. The hard part was getting clients of my own. Eventually I found a few regulars, and one in particular was a U.S.-based online magazine/resource for anything vintage and antique.

I worked my ass off, typing away day and night on my computer, trying to get all the transcripts done at an acceptable turnaround time without sacrificing quality. I have built a good relationship with this particular client, and a couple of years later they invited me to visit their office in San Francisco, California for two to three weeks, all expenses paid. I was ecstatic! I have never been outside of Asia, and I was so grateful for this opportunity. However, I got denied at the U.S. Embassy when I applied for a visa. But that’s a different story. The point is all my hard work paid off and it opened a new door.

“Get on a plane whenever someone offers you a ticket,” was another gold nugget that Rivera had given the TEDxADMU audience. Like I mentioned earlier, I was given a free ticket to the U.S. but the trip did not push through due to unforeseen circumstances. I think this should not be taken just literally. This may also refer to opportunities in general.

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