Monday, October 6, 2014

The Hot-pool Session with the English Architect

We planned a “chilling” session. My friends decided to meet up in a hotel where there is a hot pool! We went there even with the heavy rains and threats of flood (flood usually occurs when it rains). Yet everyone is still equally excited to go. So we pushed through with the plan!

Once there, we did not take a stall on dipping ourselves into the hot water of the pool, while we talked and enjoying the hot bath, one of us took notice of a cute baby girl in the pool, tried to talk to the baby and frantically commented “she’s so cute/beautiful” (something like that, don’t know what the exact words were). To our surprise the father of the baby girl responded and that sparked the fruitful conversation!

We allowed him to talk more as we sensed a lot of wisdom is overflowing and he’s got a good sense of humor, so we obliged to listen. True enough, we enjoyed it!

As we were heading home, there were silences all of us thinking, amazed at the information we've amassed and spoiled from that man full of wisdom. So to remind me of those things I've learnt, I am going to try to recall some important insights I got from him.

Investment versus expenses

He’s an architect building English houses in the Philippines. He never intended to do so though, until he was moved and inspired to stay and bring the architecture of his country to our country. He has earned so much experience that he knew what he can do with the houses here. He has a unique style though, he creates the house at his own expense, live on it for a time being when it’s not yet sold, then when someone comes to buy the house, they’ll move out.

In the process of construction, some people told him or commented, that he’s been spending so much on the details of his masterpieces “Mahal man! Aguy!/Naku Ang Mahal!/Oh! Very expensive” Some would say. “Gasto ra kaau/Masyadong magastos/Just too costly.” But he gave us what he usually say: “I never viewed everything as an expense! I look at them as an investment. I am building a house with all the necessary details, regardless of the cost as long as I build the intended purpose. After all, I can sell these houses at much higher prices.”

You see, we often look at the things that we do as “costing” something. That is our perspective. But if we get the value or know how much value we can get from doing it, we would not count the cost. Knowing the value of what you've spent for would liberate you from the poor mindset of getting just what is cheap. Getting the best quality isn't equal to getting just anything in the market. This architect knows the value of what he’s building.

There is an instance he shared that affirms his statement about investment, he was looking for something that would connect two tubes/pipes of the same size, the local worker suggested that they get an old slipper cut it and it would help them connect the two. He refused and said, no! let’s find that what I needed. He was able to find it in one of the local stores, and he happily connected the two tubes/pipes. His worker asked, “sir how much?” he said, “P25.00”, the worker responded, “Oh! Slippers are free!”

Then he said something like this (I did not record the conversation, so I just phrase it closest to his exact words)

"I never mind spending, because I know I’m building a house worth more than a million. So I want the best of every detail, so when people buy what I built, they would see that they get the value of what they paid."

Question: Do you know how much value you will get from what you are doing right now? If you do, then you know cost is not an issue to you. Are you an artist? Are you providing services? Are you doing something that people might not know the value?
I encourage you to just sit down, and look at your creation, your service, your goods, and evaluate. Are you giving the value of the product that you’re clients/customers are paying for? Then consider what investments you would have to make to improve or deliver the best product or craft that you can make.


Such a profound word! But he repeatedly used that when we were conversing. Amazingly he knows the stores in the city, where he could best get the materials he would use. He says, I have a good researcher, but he does his own research too. He knows what he’s doing and would love to explore on things. He said, he would not inadvertently spend his money on something that he might be able to get a lower cost. So he said, he do care to check prices, and it’s good that his wife is a good researcher.

I imagined he is more aware of the hardware stores in the city than most of us. He’s a hands-on developer that pays attention to every detail, and even on costing. I even started to think he’d make a good cost accountant in construction firms than me, because he knows these stores and their pricing and these people in the industry!

I was thinking, this man, an English one, white, knows all these in my city. He’s done quite well in his research, and he could even remember some of the prices or range of prices he makes for each of the investments he’d take.

I was thinking then, “If you found a good investment, that’s good. But check if that investment is priced the best. Meaning, is it pegged the lowest price possible?” There are different prices of the same quality for each product, and the best researcher gets the cheapest with the same quality. Be wise in your investment, do your own research.


I was also amazed at how he commented on the way the houses he’s built and building, addresses the needs of the user/buyer/occupants. He said, every part of the English house he’s made or is making serves a purpose. He said, he doesn't want his client or himself spend a dime on something that wouldn't work or serve a purpose. He commented about some of the developers he knew, who wouldn't bother or care to know whether the houses they built are all functional or does it fall apart after some time? He said, so far, his clients are all satisfied with the houses he’s built for them.

He even took time to recall to us, how he’s served a multi-millionaire mafia man who’s been satisfied with his work for more than 15 years in England. He’s recalled funny stories, but again supports his statement that such man was really satisfied with the houses, clubs, offices he’s built for that man. He was smiling or laughing at some scenery he recounted with us, and yeah, openly said, he’s quite satisfied with the feedback of the works he’s delivered.

(This is exciting, because such principle is applied by my coach friend who's into fitness industry. What an affirmation to what he's upholding in the industry! God and the universe must have planned all these for us to meet this man.)

Application to me: Am I buying things or spending on things that are functional? Or pure aesthetics? Or perhaps you could also ask yourself that question. What do you spend your money for? Is it just for display or does it really serve a purpose? Or perhaps, you have something right now that you didn't maximize the purpose of? Say a smartphone, but you only used it for calls and texts? Have you explored every possible good use of your phone? Your bag, have you discovered every compartment that could serve a purpose? Is everything in your home functional? Or mere decoration and aesthetics? Are you satisfied with the use of what you spent for? If you’re client will have a lot of choices, would you be confident that he’s going back to you again?

These are just some of the insights I got, I am sure my friends also have their take home insights too and there are a lot more… But these are the things I could remember, will try to recall more and add them here later…

I'd love to know what you think of this post:

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