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Sundry Events
by Joe Rivera (Word Document)


What is special about The Design People to be the subject of this article? Three reasons. First, it was featured by the Los Angeles Journal as one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in 2007 in California and by Inc.Com as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America. Second, three young entrepreneurs set up this company some five years ago, two of them Filipinos who were batch mates in Maria Montessori Pasay and Ateneo de Manila University.

Third, and for which reason I took interest in writing about this company, it is expanding at a time when other companies are moving back. The company is hiring more web designers in their LA headquarters and production office in the Philippines. Donald Lim, President of Yehey, told me that the company is indeed hiring much to his and his colleagues’ surprise. The company recently moved to a fancy building along E. Walnut Avenue in Los Angeles taking two huge floors which the interior designer generously outfitted with impressive office gears in between elaborate open spaces.

The Design People, Inc. started with a five-man team holding office in a small run-down studio (conveniently converted to a sleeping area after office hours) which was just a jump away from the famous Sta. Monica beach. Judging from where they started and as recounted by Luigi Amante, one of two Filipino owners and son of Ning and Vic Amante, the three entrepreneurs wanted to work and get the chance to surf and play volleyball anytime. Growth was phenomenal year on year. It is a website design company focused on developing a professional image for businesses of all sizes whether just starting out on the Web or those seeking to improve their existing website (see www.thedesignpeople.com).

 From when it started in 2003 to 2007 when it was voted as one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in California and up until the meltdown begun, The Design People, Inc. provided web design to real estate companies in a booming market. The company, no doubt, was hit by the credit crunch. Luigi, an electrical engineering graduate of Cal Poly in Pomona, himself said so. Instead of retreating, however, these three go-getting entrepreneurs decided to expand, not in a ‘blink’ but using the old-fashioned ritual of management decision making. That is what makes this company and these entrepreneurs good case study materials.

The management philosophy of moving forward instead of moving back in a recession is not new. In 1983, right after Ninoy Aquino was felled by a gunman, the economy took a nose dive and the mighty dollar became scarce. The government allowed dollar remittances only to companies that earned dollars of an equivalent or greater amount. Glaxo, instead of cutting back its operations in the Philippines, decided to support local operations by shipping products to the country without any expectation of short term dollar payment. Shortly after that, Glaxo became the biggest pharmaceutical company. Fast growing companies, like Jollibee and Mcdonald’s never relented and kept pushing for growth. The same thing happened after the 1997 crisis. Growth oriented companies like SM and other retail companies just kept pushing for bigger market shares.



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