Why the CIO of P&G Quit His Job and Started Our Awesome Planet
When you’re young, you have the liberty to do what you want and make decisions that are affect just you. As you grow older, build a career, and a family, it becomes less and less about you and completely about the family. You take jobs that pay the bills and sacrifice being with at home as much as you might like.
Anton Diaz graduated with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from De La Salle University. His first job out of college was working in the IT department of Proctor & Gamble. Somewhere down the line, he also got married and started building a family. Anton was building his career too, working his way up until he became the Chief Information Officer at P&G.
Cushy job and a growing family, Anton wanted to document the lives of first two sons, Aidan and Joshua. He wanted his children to be able to have something so that they could look back at their upbringing when they were older. Thus, in 2005, Our Awesome Planet was born.
Going online, full time
With the blogging scene being relatively new at the time, Anton’s love for photography and technology fit well with the platform. Eating turned into accounts of the family meals and reviews of the restaurant and what the Diaz family ate. Family trips found their way as written itineraries and happenings; what the family saw, did, and enjoyed.
Three years later, with social media and blogging changing the landscape of information, Anton found himself at a crossroad: stick with P&G or dive into Our Awesome Planet full time? Inspired by a talk by Bo Sanchez, Anton realized that Our Awesome Planet, or OAP, had a more direct impact to his readers.
Timing was once again on his side because in 2009, online and fashion bloggers boomed so creating a career online was a calculated move. It was just a matter of time before already established companies would turn to the world wide web as well. When recounting the move, Anton said, “The feeling was right and it was really about time.”
“When you start an online career, it’s not just about earning money. My wife Rachelle and I had a young family and the shift allowed us to work our days around the kids. We also moved to Laguna because the traffic wasn’t conducive for the family.” At that point, Anton and OAP had been circulating for well over five years. Along with his newly minted full time online career, Anton also taught internet marketing in AIM.
Our awesome planet is for everyone
At it’s core, Our Awesome Planet is an ode, a love letter, to Anton’s now 4 sons and their lives. As a pioneering food and travel blog in the Philippines, it was timing that turned this ode into a following of over 210,000 readers. Today, if you Google any restaurant or place in the country and OAP is bound to come up. “The reason why OAP is successful is because we keep track and discover trends.”
Now over a decade old, OAP works hard to keep up with its readers. “We started in 2005 when the young people then (Gen Xers) were reading the blog. Today, we’re catering to that same core audience of Gen Xers. But we’ve also got the millennials who still read, but also require quick and concise content so in 2015, we started producing video content.” This addition of content was validated by Anton’s sons. While they always enjoyed the blog, when the videos started coming up the boys ate it up and were watching them everyday.
OAP is a lifestyle blog that primarily produces food and travel content. “The blog goes with the family, we don’t do the club scene but maybe when the kids are older, that will be worth exploring,” says Anton with a fatherly laugh, “we do family experiences… We look for the best destinations and food and promote what’s awesome about the place and give our unique family story while there.”
Our Awesome Planet has produced over 2,500 blog posts. From Anton putting up the posts from his living room desk, the OAP has grown to a five piece team. While the blog posts get their own updates as the restaurants are revisited, the team is also re-visiting the travel destinations to create videos for them. “We eat in all the restaurants and bring out originial and experienced content. The goal is really to share the awesomeness.”
Advice for people who want to blog full time
“Get a mentor. Reach out. Unlike us when we started, there wasn’t really anybody in the blogging scene to learn from. We had to look and experiment. Some young bloggers get intimidated by more experienced ones in the field but when Gen Z grows up the competition will double, triple so best get started now. If you reach out, someone will help you because they understand the struggle,” says Anton.
"There's a lot that we try to do. We're not just publishing content at Our Awesome Planet. We want to empower our audience to be heroes in their social circles—to give insights on not only the newest restaurants in the country but the best things to order, which seats have the best view, and how to enhance the dining experience as well. Every barkada, family has that hero."