Obla Series: Jay Watan, Internet Entrepreneur

JAY WITH KIDS IN BONTOC, MT. PROVINCE

And so we now begin our Obla Series with a feature on Jay Watan, a Manila-based Information Technology (IT) entrepreneur who traces his roots from Tadian, Mt. Province.

As we stated in our introduction to this series, our aim here is to feature Igorots/iCordilleras who are doing interesting jobs or jobs that most of us are not familiar with because they are not as common as, say, teaching or nursing or farming or news reporting. In doing this, our hope is that kids who are wondering about what to study, or what field to pursue, or what to do with their lives will somehow be exposed to the different options out there and that they would find some living examples of people who have done or are doing what they would like to do in the future.

Of course, this series is not only for the kids but for all of us. Who knows, some of you might be thinking of making a career shift and are on the lookout for something interesting to do. If such is the case, wouldn’t it be good to read about the things that some of our kailiyans are doing?

Now, here’s our email interview with Jay Watan of bayanwebhost.com. Thanks Jay for graciously answering our questions.

How did you start your web hosting and web design business ?
Before I got involved in the hosting business, I started a team composed mainly of a few of my friends and contacts. It is a group that specializes in accounting software and ERP software implementation while we work with our respective employers. I created a site which is my first ever site in geocities www.geocities.com/peterpunc or www.team-peopleware.cjb.net. (But up to now, I was not able to update said sites).

Then I started to wonder why some sites looks terrific. So I began reading a lot about it in the Internet. I learned to use content management systems (CMS) open source software and began to understand Linux, Apache, mysql, php or LAMP and a lot more and got interested in open source software. Later I realized that it is a good addition to my existing services. In May 2004 I bought the first ever domain name which I had in mind which is bayanwebhost.com and started to offer hosting and domain services to my contacts, friends and small business clients.

For people like me who are clueless about web hosting could you describe to us how it works?

Let’s have wikipedia answer this. A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to provide their own websites accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Webhosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center, called colocation.

How did you learn the skills necessary for this business?
I read a lot about hosting and I tried a lot of open source software specially open source CMS. You will find a lot of open source CMS in www.sourceforge.net and, of course, my interest in IT gives me the drive to learn the necessary skills.

What were the challenges involved in starting your business?
Like the usual challenges for starting IT entrepreneurs, you will find it hard to promote your services to small businesses that are not yet open to Internet marketing as they do not understand the advantages of having an online presence.

Now, what about the present challenges?
One of the challenges of this kind of business is how to respond promptly to your client’s questions related to their hosting subscription. So there must be a means for them to contact you in any way possible or convenient like mobile phones, instant messengers, emails etc. Of course you should be very patient when they ask a lot about web maintenance and design which is not a scope of their subscription anymore.

On the other hand, what are the good things about having a business like this?
Having a good starting point with an IT business opens more opportunities to other business that pops up everyday in the internet. You have now the advantage of first hand information while everybody is just starting to learn or know about it.

What would be your most rewarding experience in doing this business? As a struggling IT entrepreneur, I am happy to know that some of my clients were able to extend their helping hands in helping others. Like the www.phildeaf.org, their sports activities were renewed and revived because of the help of their website. And like www.mountainprovince.net which was able to help a child have a good smile when she grows up.

What kind of clients have you worked with so far? What are the challenges in working with them? What are the rewards?
From small businesses, schools, college school, religious organization, club, horse owner’s association. Every client has different needs so you must understand what they are doing and their needs. The reward is that they will stay with your service as long as you will give them proper support.

Would you say that web hosting and web designing is already a saturated market. Or is there still room for others who would like to go into the business?
There are lots of companies who offer this kind of service but e-commerce has not yet fulfilled its potential or filled the need out there. They say that e-commerce is a multi-billion dollar business so better get started as early as possible.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to establish a business like yours?
Well, know their interest and of course you should have a good knowledge about the business they are planning to build.

What skills should that person learn before he gets into the business?
For me, customer service is very important one.

Now, let’s talk about some personal stuff. Where are you from in the Cordilleras?
My grandfather and grandmother on my father side are from Tadian, Mountain Provice. I was born and raised in Cauayan City, Isabela.

How do you maintain your roots to the Cordilleras considering that you are now based in Manila?
I joined Internet communities of Cordilleras and I maintain a constant contact online with friends up there in Cordilleras.

NOTE: If you know of someone doing something interesting or something that not a lot of us are familiar with, and who would be willing to answer questions related to his/her work or business, then do drop us a line in the comments section or through email about that person and how we can get in touch with him/her. Thanks a lot.

RELATED POST: Bus Conversations and Introduction to Obla: The Series. PHOTO CREDIT: Jay Watan at bayanwebhost.com.

2 thoughts on “Obla Series: Jay Watan, Internet Entrepreneur”

  1. Cheap web hosting companies also have computer security professionals that will keep your customer’s and your business private information secure and safe. In the World Wide Web is all kind of different things going on. They will also provide technical support. A quality web hosting company has reliable support staff available to answer all your questions immediately and to your fully satisfaction. Investing your money in a reliable hosting company will help you to succeed in the World Wide Web, start making serious money and enjoy financial freedom.

  2. Hi Bill,

    Glad to see your blog entry about our webhosting services is still here. We have outgrown bayanwebhost.com but still our customers since we started are still with us. We are now Hostingphil.com It’s just amazing, we will be 4 years in this service.

    Planning to see the upcoming Lang-ay next month.

    Best regards and all the best.

    Jerson

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