Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Ice and Unlimited Rice

When I order vendo-dispensed softdrinks from any fastfood chain, I cant help but make a special request of "no ice". Why? I can't let myself be robbed of 10% of the softdrink contents in exchange for relatively worthless ice. Why not? Because, even without the ice, the drink is really cold enough.

A chinese proverb goes something like this: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Once upon a time I left a fastfood chain with  my empty soda cup with a lot of ice. Much wiser now, I leave with the softdrinks safe in my tummy and "no ice" on the cup.

I have heard this at least twice: Mang Inasal is being considered as a serious threat by Jollibbee. It will not be surprising if this is true as Mang Inasal came out of the blue in 2003 (or green as its brand colors go) to build as many as 263 stores as of today and aiming to have 500 stores by 2012.  (Source: To put Mang Inasal's phenomenal growth in perspective, McDonald's started in 1981 and has over 300 stores ( Jollibbee, the leader, started in 1978 and has over 600 local and 50 international stores (

What's the differentiator? Surprisingly, the battle is not on the chicken but on the "unlimited rice". This "eat all you can offer" on the rice has touched the hearts and stomachs of a lot of Filipinos. So, you dont have to be the best on everything, and perhaps the essential learning here is that you should be at least "unbeatable" on 1 thing.

So, what's your "no ice" (something you can do without) and "unlimited rice" (your competitive advantage which you absolutely can't live without).


Jason J. A. Anasarias said...

My No Ice: Travel. I am peripatetic by nature

My Unlimited Rice: Competitive nature, Mostly a blessing, sometimes a curse. But I can't function without me being so...

Unknown said...

When I worked in advertising as an account executive, I noticed that clients always want to offer so much things in a single product. After every client meeting, I am always trying to de-clutter what they have just briefed us, and find the key or best message that they are really looking for. I remember my boss then would tell me that sometimes what the clients are explicitly saying is not really what is best for the brand. It was my job to find the main objective or goal of the brand, and thus determining what messaging is best to communicate.
Because of this background, I would say that my “unlimited rice” or competitive advantage in my current position is being able to simplify problems to reach management goals. As operations managers, though it is not written in our job descriptions, our main role is really to be problem-fixers, finding solutions to network issues that would lead to positive results. For me, finding solutions would be starting at the root cause or knowing what our main goal really is. I think this is a competitive advantage because it provides a clarity of thinking and an uncluttered, systematized strategy could then easily follow.

My “no ice” or something that I could live without is working overtime or more than what is expected. I believe in having a good work-life balance, and that means being able to leave tasks undone to be finished the next day. I may be a perfectionist in terms of being detail-oriented, but I’m not the type to stay overtime just to be the best at something. I don’t think that pushing myself to my limit is worth more than having a life outside of work. It is better to plan ahead and to try to balance the work load per day or week.

Angel Pujol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angel Pujol said...

My “no ice”, or that thing I wish I could live without, is rocasea. I’ve been dealing with the condition for several years now and it certainly is far from easy. Periodic attacks often prevent me from going to work because my skin would turn red and eventually flare up. Though corticosteroids come in handy, they should be applied with caution as prolonged use could lead to other conditions such as telangiecstacia (broken capillaries). This is the same reason I gave up the only physical activity I know- swimming. Unfortunately, rosacea is a chronic condition, which means I have to deal with it for the rest of my life. For now, all I could do is avoid common triggers such as emotional stress, pollution, alcohol and extreme weather conditions- until a permanent cure hopefully comes along.

Meanwhile, my “unlimited rice” or competitive advantage is the valuable experience I acquired as a Commercial Account Officer. In the banking industry, the demand for Account Officers or AOs is so high that banking institutions resort to pirating out of desperation to grow their loan portfolios. Head-hunters specifically look for AOs who are evidently competent and have at least 5 years of experience in the said field (though I had my own share of “pirating” experience as early as when I was 23 years old). Seven years into account management, I could say I have already developed the knowledge and skills of a competent AO, particularly in the areas of credit evaluation, financial analysis and business development. Experience, indeed, is the best teacher, because it will give you the learnings no amount of classroom lectures can provide.

Unknown said...

My No Ice: Right now, I can't think of any substantial thing that I can definitely live without, aside from bad internet connection. My everyday life mostly relies on internet, for work, school, personal, and social matter. This might seem shallow but I can say that I am dependent on it, so having a bad or no internet at all can be painful.

My Unlimited Rice: I'm a time maximizer. It is my key in keeping my work-school-life balance, I always make sure that I have time to spare for my family, friends, and myself, while not compromising work & school obligations. For me, money can be earned easily, but wasted time with your loved ones is irreplaceable.

Unknown said...

My “No Ice”: I can definitely live without the stress in my work life! The stress is not brought about by my colleagues but, by the unending deadlines we have to meet every day. I believe in “quality, not quantity, of the work” I accomplish so I get stressed when the quantity of work I have to get done overpowers the time I wish I could put into each activity/task I do.

My “Unlimited Rice”: I think my competitive advantage would be the audit experience I gained while working in an established bank wherein most, if not all, their procedures are documented. It helps to come up with recommendations for our audit clients in my current employer company which is in the process of documenting its processes and policies.

Unknown said...

Unlimited Rice:

Working in a financing company for over 7 years now had already thought me on how to deal with different people, different businesses with different financing needs. Indeed handling corporate accounts is demanding. You always have to be on your toes. In business, time is always of the essence. These clients will pressure you and push you so hard just to meet their requirements on time. Because there are lot of competitors outside (banks), clients can easily transfer to another banking institution if they are not satisfied with your service. Having said that, I would believe my competitive skill, (aside from the technical side) would be the ability to deliver the financing needs of the client in a timely manner thus, making sure that their business would not be interrupted by delays.

When I was young, my eldest sister kept on telling me that in this life, the only person you can always depend on is "yourself". While growing, I learned little by little to always stand on my own and try solving my own problem before resorting to other people. Then when its about time that I have the capability to live alone, (right after I got my first job - which by that time, I was getting a minimum wage), I grabbed that opportunity. This means that I have to pay for my house rent, utilities and all other expenses alone while helping my younger brother financially to finish his school. From then on, I have lived the same way. It was so fulfilling and empowering. Not a second I thought I was deprived or unlucky. This is the reality of life. And I will continue to embrace it. Hence, my no ice would be "dependency or being dependent".

Kenneth Sychingping said...

No Ice:
My Ice would be my happy-go-luck/carefree attitude. Similar to Ice, it may look like it has a function at first. You may think it is the Ice that makes the drink cold. In my case, this attitude seemed to have helped me maintain harmonious relationship with others. However, similar to the fact that the drink is already cold either way. I can be friendly and work well with others without having that attitude. In truth, it does more harm than good.

My Unli-Rice would be my critical and analytical way of thinking. I may not be the best student or the best person but this competitive advantage is my "unbeatable" (well, not unbeatable, probably more of hard to beat) thing.

Unknown said...

The concept of "Unlimited Rice" and "No Ice" made me think of the things that can differentiate me from others and the things that exist but I can actually live without.

As for my "No Ice", I can say that I am gullible. I easily trust and believe other people. I can easily be deceived or influenced by people's opinions, sayings and beliefs. For example, when I go shopping, when a salesman approaches me I get easily persuaded by his words and it comes to a point when I don't even need to buy the stuff but it suddenly becomes marketable to me.

My "Unlimited Rice" would be me being a good listener. I think it can be a competitive advantage as I can learn all the concepts, theories and all the abilities in the school or office for example like the others but not all can offer the time to listen to someone who needs to vent out or who seek advice on what approach he/she needs in resolving an issue.

May Bonifacio said...

No Ice: I may have a history of starting something and not finishing it after the good part. What can I attribute to this kind of behavior? Childishness. That youthful attribute where you just can't give enough patience to all the things that you wanted to do. For example, I attended a photography workshop way before an SLR is used as point-and-shoot camera as being done nowadays. If there are like, say, 15 steps on completing the entire program, mastering the meters, learning about composition etc., well, I stopped on session 10. Why? A plethora of childish reasons. And a whole lot of other experiences that I have half a knowledge about. Hopefully now, being in my late 20s, as I seriously imbibe being an adult, facing adult challenges, that I cut this vicious cycle and actually finish my MBA. Well hey, I learned how to drive on my own and finished renovating my place...that should be a good sign.

Unlimited Rice: I am a fast learner (with Math as an exception). In my line of work, we are given very limited time to learn about a new project, payment terms etc. We just go ahead and sell it. So it is very important that there is a strong grasp on how it should be sold given the features of the project, and be fast while we are at it.

Unknown said...

Unlimited Rice. Recently We just had an activity in our office trying to check how effective we manages our time and fortunately based on the results I got the highest! How can it be? I don't render much overtime compare to my officemates? in fact I always try to say no to overtime. Working on a Finance Team doesn't only mean we are working just with numbers and figures it is also about deadlines, various reports and client relationship as well.I always start my day in the office with a plan - prioritize the most importnat tasks, I also use my calendar with regard to deadlines and meetings and when I am working on something I try keep my 'focus' and avoid distractions even saying NO sometimes to the things I know I can't handle. I believes that Managing time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how the work, doing things faster, and relieving stress.

No Ice. Podcasts. It gives me something to listen to in the office or when waiting for stuff to run. Most of them are free all you need to do is to subscribe and the episodes will come to you and you can subscribe to as many as you want into your smart phones.This actually ruins my social attitude it prevents to make friends and talk to people during lunches or break times.

Unknown said...

I think my unlimited rice, or competitive advantage would be the simple recognition of the things I'm not good at, and pushing through with either (a) making the necessary steps to personally fill the gap through whatever means - education, regular exposure, etc, or (b) humbly accepting that some things are just not meant for me (like driving a manual transmission car lol) and moving on. Or delegating the responsibility if the situation allows it :) Like I knew before that corporate presentations were my waterloo, so in my previous job I pushed to get staff training and event hosting responsibilities so that I can overcome stage fright and present myself confidently in front of large audiences.

My no ice, or the thing that I can do without, would be METRO MANILA TRAFFIC. I live in the south and work in Mandaluyong, so it normally takes me 1.5 - 2 hours just to get to the office from my house and vice versa. The distance isn't that far (without traffic, on weekends, I can go one way within 30-45 mins) but congestion and infrastructure is so messed up that I feel like sometimes I'm wasting away my life on the road.

Unknown said...

No Ice: My no ice or something that I could do without would be my tardiness. I think it roots from my bad time management skill. It sometimes affects my work and it has already become a bad habit that I must erase from my life.

Unlimited Rice: My unlimited rice or my competitive advantage would be my passion - passion for life, passion for things I do, and passion even to littlest things. It makes me feel that I have a purpose and it makes me feel more alive. Being a passionate person makes me do more and go out of my way for people, project, etc. This is very useful to my line of work as a seller where giving good service will give you sales but giving exceptional service will give you repeat sales. Also, as a passionate person I always think positively and get more excited than an average person. This is very useful to me as a leader when I motivate people. My outlook infects them with hope and excitement. I can't live without passion. Life would be bland without it.

Unknown said...

My "No Ice" would be Office Politics. There's always that everywhere. We can't avoid it 100%, but we can choose not to take parts in it, I based my work and my assessments of my staff based on performance and results only.

My "Unlimited Rice" would be me as a Yes-man. I have never in my life ever say no to any assignment and/or project/s given to me. Whether it will overwhelm or not later on is another problem to discuss, but I will not back out before even trying my best.