Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bujang Melaka GPS Map

View Bujang Melaka in a larger map

Photo Links: Bujang Melaka (Mei Ru's Multiply)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Choice of Norm

I dream a lot when I was a kid, imagining I am the handsome hero who gets the girl, living the life of character in the movie. Never quite thought of getting rich, thinking more of living happily ever after.

Then again, in most part of my life, I had chosen a normal path which I try so hard nowadays to shrug it away. What is normal? Something most people would choose to do. We go to school, graduate and get a job, get married, have children and hopefully live a happy life ever and after. What if I choose not to be normal? I would skip school and or be a dropout millionaire, or start my own business or don’t work at all, or travel the world, or be a rock star, or leave the world’s material behind and live a bohemian lifestyle.

If life is supposed to be good, with more meaning in it, I shouldn’t spend my life working from 9 to 9 doing something to solve some peculiar business problems or needs which doesn't concerns me (is not creating a cure for cancer or renewable energy). Is there really any meaning in it? Did I work for the purpose or just the salary to sustain my life? The only think I like is the technicality and creation nature of my work, but I totally dislike the process of doing business and the end product. Meaning to say, my whole work package is not very satisfying.

So I decide to make matter into my own hands and leave the norm. I quit my job, start my own business and create my ideal business and work environment, doing something which I like. As I soon realize, no matter how much I like about something, it usually comes together with parts which I don’t quite enjoy. I can still live with it, as this shithole is better than the previous shithole.

Now, how do I get out of shitholes totally? Most would think there is no way to get out of shitholes, or it’s okay to be in shitholes, as there are millions of people who share the same fate as us. I always think that I am special, that I don’t share the same fate as norm (that’s why I try so hard to get out of norm). Practically there are 2 ways: either I live a very simple life which doesn’t require a lot of money (so that I can live by a simple and enjoyable work), or I work really hard to become rich so that I can live a better life later (hopefully not too late).

I really dislike the idea of having to work until 60 for money, yet many are walking that path feeling that it’s a reasonable life. To make a change, there must be awareness and needs (you can’t change if there is no need to change). When we break the norm, we shall be an outcast as well. A dropout, a jobless man, a world traveler, a millionaire, a rock star don’t exactly fit the norm, and people will look at them and treat them differently.

Why would I want to break the norm? I want to create my own life, and live happily ever after. I don’t have to wake up early, get stuck in the jam, or do some useless work because I am told to; and I have the luxury of afternoon nap and going anywhere without taking leave, and sometimes I am still able to enjoy working into the middle of the nights. It might not be perfect, but I am very lucky and a happy man. Yes, I am an outcast, because I break the norm, and still trying to. There must be something to look forward to, knowing to achieve something which I had yet to achieve.

Would you like to break the norm?

Friday, November 20, 2009

What do I know about my life?

It takes me a while to figure out something about my life

I only wanted to work until I don’t have to work anymore. If I have enough passive incomes and cash reserves which could maintain my current lifestyle until I aged 80 or so, I will stop working for money. It is too painful and too much sacrifices had to be made for the sake of making a living or to be rich, and life is too sweet if I have the choice not to do things which I don’t quite enjoy. I had yet to meet someone who would agree with me, others just wanted to do nothing or go the extreme into unknown richness. I know there is a lot more in life besides work and money.

As long as we put our mind to something, there is nothing we could not achieve. This is true unless it contradict with some of our own values. For example, I could achieve to be a top assassin, but that would give me sleepless night; I could get rich by being a con man, but I don’t feel right about it. So it’s about dreaming about something that we would really like to be, not dreaming about getting rich through whatever means. Sometimes I found this to be quite unrealistic, as I had been clouded by all the obstacles and demand of reality. But deep down inside, I still believe it is possible. I can actually be what I choose to be.

Somehow I understand life is not supposed to be for our enjoyment, meaning we are not here on earth to be happy, at least that is not our purpose. Yet I spend so much time and thought to make my life better, which is quite contradicting to this believe. I am here to serve and contribute, and to help others? I haven’t quite figured out this part of life yet. Is like having Children: we all know raising children is not easy and cost a lot of time and money, and sacrifices; yet people still do it. Why? For the continuity of the species and some unknown needs to populate, or to experience a full cycle of life like what our parents had done. Why there is a need for a life partner? Human are not build to live in isolation, and it is better with love and partner, someone to depend and trust on (if life is not better, perhaps she is not what you think she is). Marriage? Just a protocol of human culture.

So what do I need to do? Work smart so that I can maintain a free life, continue to dream and make it come true, and help to populate this world and experience more challenges of life :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All Business is about Selling

Do you agree that business is about selling? It’s logical to think it is true, since you can only generate income if you sell something, be it a product or service.

How to build a successful business? First of all, you need to sell, and be very good at it. Then, you need to have a team of people to help you sell. Not only that, you need to teach them how to sell even more. So it’s all about selling and teaches people how to sell for us.

What if I am not good at selling? Am I doomed to start a business?

If I try to sell Credit Card, Insurance, Unit Trust or MLM Plan, then I would need to be an awesome salesman in order to succeed as I deal directly with the consumer. If I am the master franchisee for a particular product such as Soft Drink or Soap, then I would need to sell my product to dealers, distributors and shop owners, so that they would sell my product. If I sell classified space like Star Classifieds or JobStreet, people actually call me up to buy my things, given that people know and trust my brand.

In terms of selling, I actually have 3 choices
  1. Sell the things to the customer directly
  2. Appoint dealers and distributors to sell my things
  3. Create enough advertising and awareness so that people would actually knock on my door and buy from me

What is Entrepreneur?

Having been an entrepreneur wannabe for the past 10 years or more (I still considered myself self-employed as of now), what do I know about entrepreneur? Who are they and what they are supposed to do?

I try to Google around and found too many un-inspirational official definitions, which are not what I am looking for. I am looking for something with more Ommmph, straight to the heart and make me stand up and say, “Nicely said”.
  1. Entrepreneur sees the opportunity to create new values. The most common things that we walk pass everyday could be the source of wealth.
  2. Entrepreneur dashes into hope, dashing into future and hoping tomorrow would be better.
  3. Entrepreneur is the creative force of economics. Without them, the economy is dead.
  4. Entrepreneur is a risk taker, and could loose it all, and they would do it over and over again.
  5. The first farmer is an Entrepreneur, as he makes city, commerce and civilization possible.
  6. Entrepreneur is determined and never gives up.
  7. Entrepreneur may be poor in money, but they are not poor in ideas and passion.
  8. Entrepreneur is thinker, innovator and doer.
Can you be an entrepreneur? YES. What is stopping you? Money? Opportunity? Risk? Idea? Or Yourself?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Entrepreneuring One More Time

I know that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, because I believe I could do better than the person who employs me. When I enter the world of business, I realized that I am not good in a few things: taking risk and doing sales. I started a zero cost freelance business and didn’t take the initiative to look for more business. I manage to gather a handful of customers, but the business didn’t flourish due to obvious reasons. As time passed by, I realized freelance software development is just a temporary solution. To gain long term financial freedom, I have 2 options: to develop a software product or web media.

I realized there is a lot which I need to learn. Though I had left employment for almost 3 years, but I had fallen into another comfort zone. I had managed to create a decent amount of income, but not enough to gain financial freedom (just like employment, but with more freedom); which means I need to breakthrough to the next level.

Whenever I know I had some weakness or problem, I can choose either to go around the problem or face the problem directly. I know I am not good in sales, so I choose to become a passive freelance software developer; waiting for people to knock on my door, and I don’t advertise or do cold call (which is really bad, some to think of it). Somehow I managed to live by in this delusion, probably people know that I am providing such services and I got repetitive business as well. It’s okay, but not great. Then I thought of another brilliant idea which does not require sales effort, which is web media: to develop a useful and informative website and collect advertising dollar from Google Adsense. I just need to focus on creating the web platform and content, and Google Adsense will help me look for advertiser. It took quite a few mistakes and a few year to make it work (and some money), but it just started to pay off in a small manner. Basically, I avoided doing things I am not good at.

Lately I engaged a few people and realized how a few of them actually become an entrepreneur. Software people like me always start with zero cost, and we provide our services (much like a house contractor). Most people out there are traders, where they bring in products with potential and try to sell it out in the competitive market as fast as possible (high risk high return). How do they succeed? They probably need to be familiar with the industry, so that they know who to sell it and how to sell it. They can try selling cheaper or at lost, just to penetrate the market and get people to start using it. They need to appoint as many dealers and distributors, thus mass email or faxing is required. What ever products you try to sell, there are already existing competitors in the market. The key is how are going to get people interested in your product, most probably by similar capabilities (or better if possible) and a cheaper price. Let’s say a Shell Lubricant is RM 100 per liter, what if I can offer you a lubricant made in Singapore for RM 90? There will always be people looking for similar product with a cheaper price. Once you can penetrate yourself into the market, then you would need to develop your brand name and appoint more reseller to strengthen your position and increase exposure. For most business, you don't need something exceptional and unique, just something useful and affordable. To tell the truth, most people would fail in their business; but, you will never succeed if you didn't do anything.

I realize in order to succeed in business; I need to take risk and do sales (or talk to more people about my idea, product or services). I need a marketing strategy on how to penetrate the market, or even be number one. I start talking to an old friend lately, and he makes an effort to introduce some business to me. Even though I don’t do much of sales, but at least I should talk to more people to increase my exposure (better start calling my old contacts for a drink).

For long term prosperity, I would need to focus more on a flagship software product and web media, and be more aggressive in terms of promotion and sales (telling more people about it). Age of 30 might be a bit too late to relook into the idea of entrepreneurship, as more commitments shall be coming in the next 5 years. Hopefully I had learned all the lessons required, and it’s time put my mind into full swing action one more time.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to make the number one product?

Everyone knows it sucks to be No. 2, as not only No. 1 is at least 100% better than No. 2, no one remember No. 2.

How to create a number one product? According to a pretty "boring" presentation by Joel Spolsky at Business of Software 2008 on being number one:
  1. How to make people happy
  2. Obsess over aesthetics
  3. The Culture Code (or Emotion attachment)

How to make people happy? Rather than the computer or software telling the user what to do, the user should have control on what they want to do. Don’t force them to install updates or restart computer, or go through a wizard of 10 steps. The user needs to feel in control and do exactly what they intend to do. Don't bother them with technical and administrative details.

Obsess over aesthetics.
Basically things need to look super cool and nice. Decoration might be non-functional, but people like it. People don’t pay top dollar for a powerful and ugly car. Your product need to looks much prettier and cooler than the competition.

The Culture Code.
Why is OS X cooler than Windows? Why Ruby had more passion than Python? Why do you feel safer in a truck vs. a sedan, while the truck is higher (less stable, more prone to rollover) and heavier (higher impact and less control)? The product needs to portray a certain feelings, be it simplicity, power or safety.

How do we compete in the market which is already crowded with hundreds or even thousands of similar products? Does the product with the cheapest price or best functionality wins? How do we know which one is actually better? Besides words of mouth, probably the product which looks pretty, simple and happy would win.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I have an idea why most people will not be rich

What do you need in order to be rich? Money? Network? Opportunity? Idea? Hard work? Determination?

How poor are we? I think most of us are poor in mindset. We think of ways to be poor, and don’t dare to do anything to be rich. A friend might ask, “This is a good business idea. Let’s invest xxx dollar into this business and work together.” Most of time the answer will be “I am afraid to loose my money. There are this problem and that problem, and what if there is an earthquake? What if we don’t have sales?” So let’s scrap the business idea and continue working our job. What does that prove? We have all the courage in this world to remain poor, and we don’t have the courage to be rich.

There is no single business idea which is 100% solid. Almost every business would require some investment, is whether we can fork out the money and can we afford to take the risk. Is Old town Kopitiam a solid franchise, and can we fork out RM 500,000 for it? If I take out RM 20,000 of investment, how much can I earned back and how long would it take? Is the brand name reputable, or is the product in demand? Does our product provide value, and do people actually need it? All these are valid questions and concerns, where everyone should ask before venturing into the business.

What if you are satisfied with most the answers and let’s say, and you believe the idea is pretty good and the returns are attractive. What happens now? Will you start the business?

Will you start the business? I think 90% of the people still would not join. Why? Refuse to take risk to start a business, or have no confident that they really can do it. Sales and Marketing, we have to admit most business requires good sales and marketing. What if you do not like to do Sales and Marketing? Does it mean it is very unlikely you will start a business? Even a techie like Bill Gates still have to strike deals with IBM and other partners to make the business a success.

What are the main reasons why we refuse to participate in business? Because we want 99.99% security and refuse to do sales related stuff, and have no confident in ourselves. What does that tell us? We do not have the mindset of a business man; we have been trained and conditioned to take a salary and continue running in the rat race. We don’t know how to operate if we don’t work for others.

Since most people won’t start a business outside their rat race, thus most people have a lesser chance to be rich. Is it a problem of money, network, opportunity, idea, hard work or determination? Not yet. We kill ourselves within our own mind. You fail to give yourself an opportunity to be rich; to live your dream and take control of your life, and to gain freedom. You choose instead to whine against the job, bosses and colleagues.

Who will actually stop you from being rich? You?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Turning Point in Life

The past one month is the most hectic and anxious transition time that I could recall, because I had made a life changing decision to move out of my comfort zone and try something new again.

There had been so many cycles of changes in my life, from part-time working in college to starting a business with partners, and to fulltime freelancing. There had been definitely a lot of challenges and worries, at the same time proud of painting such a colorful experience. It might be difficult during the transition of change, but looking back it’s not that bad after all.

I thought I had gone through a lot and achieved quite a bit, and again I had realized I am still a frog within a well lately. I might have explored a bigger area within the well, and I though the well is the world which I could have; at least I didn’t dream of jumping out of the well.

Change (or revolution) is never easy, but it’s required for progress. If we didn’t make a change, that means we are not improving. We might work for the past 10 years, or are we repeating the same year 10 times. What did we learned or what did we achieved? Does the past 10 years looks and feels the same, or it’s a new and memorable every year?

I realized again that I am too relaxed in my comfort zone, which makes me happy and worries at the same time. I realized I am progressing too slowly, and the world around me is walking to fast. No matter how bad I think I am, there will always be people who are worst than me; no matter how good I think I am, there will always be someone better. Why compare? I am not trying to beat Bill Gates or Warren Buffets, but to achieve and be someone I am happy with: someone with freedom and dream.

Once the frog realized and felt the world beyond the well, then it is not easy to remain within the well anymore. I realized that is so much I can do which I didn’t try or refuse to do; and so much of my life which could be better, once I change my mindset, perception and methods.

The goal and dream of life never changed, just that I found the path to achieve it. I can choose to take the chicken exit, or take the challenge and reach the top. In life and as in hiking, it’s just a mind game. As long as I continue walking no matter how tired I am, I know I’ll reach my destination one way or another, sooner or later.

In the meanwhile, I need to learn and get all the support I can get. Once I realised the speed and achievement other are making, I realised that I can't afford to be comfortable anymore; else I could not be comfortable in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We still have our dream, but we might have lost the courage

I like TED a lot, with a lot of speakers in different subjects, sometime thought provoking, and sometimes just pure fun, and sometimes boring as well. These talks are usually by westerners with a lot of western culture and influence in it, which I am used to due to the Internet. Recently I bumped into a speech by a chinese Malaysian Entrepreneur, though motivational in nature, but the feelings and impact does dwell deep into my heart.

Basically everyone have a dream, a lot might want to be millionaire, and others might want to do what they like most. But is the dream lost among the business of life and financial stress? Did we lost the dream, or we lost the courage to chase for the dream? Will we ever lose our dream? I think we will always have our dream. Those who didn’t try to fulfill it will keep the dream deep inside their heart, and the dream will surface deep in the night when no one is around, with tears flowing down while we hug our pillow. Those who fulfilled their dream will be proud of who they are with no regrets.

To fulfill a dream, we need courage. If you are penniless, can you have a dream? If a waiter say she want to be a millionaire or famous musician, will you laugh at her? There is nothing which makes her incapable of fulfilling her dreams. You can laugh at her, but you can’t stop her; only she can stop herself. I know a girl who once dislike running, but now a Iron Woman, and god knows swim, run and cycle for how many kilometers, and still continue to run until today and be happy about it. Who can stop her? Only herself. Can you be a Iron Man? Only if you put your mind to be one.

The journey to fulfill a dream is accumulative and full of failures. A millionaire today might need years of work, athletes will need years of training. There is no instance success, but there is a way to success which we could decide to take. Why am I not successful today? Because I didn’t do anything to be successful yesterday and the days before. Inaction is our default nature, not doing anything is better as there is assumed to be no risk. When you stop, people overtake you. When we didn’t do anything, we lose out all the opportunity to build the foundation to fulfill our dream. I give up any opportunity for a chance, for a hope. What are we doing? Waiting for something good to fall from sky? Even though good stuff fall from sky, you might not be capable of catching it or even recognize it. Opportunities await those who are ready. What we do today will decide the outcome in the future. No seed no fruit.

Failure is the obstacle to our success. The KFC uncle failed his business pitch for 1009 times and succeeds on the 1010th times at the age of 66. We are sure to fall, but can we stand up and try again is the real question. I started a business venture with a friend and fail miserably because I am not prepared. I try freelance and get back to employment again. I continue my freelance and quit my job for another business idea. That didn’t pick up and I partners with friend to start a company, and that didn’t work as well. Now I am freelancing and building my own web business, which I started to see some light finally, after 8 years of struggle. I realize I didn’t give up (because I don't want to be haunted deep in the night), though there are up and down. I have feelings and I do get sad and demoralized, but I just have to get over it and keep pushing. I can’t say I had succeeded, but it sure is getting better.

God will only help you if you help yourself. Though there are many factors which might contribute to our future success, but the most important thing is to have the courage to do it, and never give up. There will be up and down, just make sure you continue the journey until the end.

At the end, I can only succeed if I believe I can. No one can stop you besides yourself. I need courage in order to find my dream.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dream and Despair

The fact that half of us do not have a dream, and another half can’t fulfill their dream. I think it is a privilege for us to try to fulfill our dream, as many do not even have such opportunity.

I do believe we are the maker of our own fate. Though we can’t control the outcome, and most of the time we can still choose what to do. Yes, there will be difficulty and obstacle, but we can choose to overcome the obstacle or give up before trying. We are not guaranteed success, but we can choose to have that chance or not. We can choose to change, or stay put.

And again, nothing comes easy. After deciding what to do, we need to overcome despair and frustration. We will be tried again and again, fail again and again; to test our will and determination on what we really want to achieve. Some people think this is so hard that they don’t even want to try. To others, as long as there is such opportunity and I can afford to try, I will.

Sometimes we just have these wakes up call and ask ourselves, what we are actually doing besides making a living and earning money. What motivates us to continue? What is waiting for us at the end? What are we looking forward to? What to do when we wake up in the morning, does it feel hopeful or dreaded? It can be difficult and worrisome, but there must be hope that we can overcome it someway or somehow.

I think dream is about what we hope to find at the end, something to look forward to. There must be something in tomorrow besides emptiness.

Despair is the measure of distance from that dream. You feel hopeful when it’s near, and despair when it is far. Despair is the compass to our dream, as you need to overcome them in order to get nearer.

Human are not powered by status and money. We wanted love and satisfaction, to whom and to what we do. Humanity need hope, and it’s good that we do not know when is dooms day; unless we have a way to stop it.

To have a dream, despair will follow, maybe finding love and peace along the way.

Sometimes in life, we just need a bit of inspiration and fun! The Gurren Lagann Way.

  • "Go Beyond The Impossible, and kick reason to the curb! That's the Team Gurren way!"
  • "Don't believe in yourself! Believe in me, who believes in you!"
  • "Who the hell do you think we are?"
  • "My drill is the drill that pierces the heaven!"
  • "If there's a wall in our way, we'll destroy it! If there's no road, we'll pave it with our own hands!"
Basically we worry too much of "if", and got put off by it
  • what if I fail
  • what if I lost all my money
  • what if they don't like it
  • what if tomorrow never comes
What if tommorrow is your day and you will succeed? Isn't that scary, hahaha. The fear of loss is greater than gain, but the thought of I actually made it tomorrow is pretty scary too.

To Achieve a Dream: No magic word or formula, just try many ways to keep the spirit up, expect many failures and numerous tries, and keep moving forward in various speed necessary. As long as we keep doing something and willing to change and adapt. What I fear most is inaction.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Travel?

Travelling is a feeling of leaving all the hassle and buzzes of city behind, walk into a beautiful environment where I can loose myself for weeks.

I like hiking because I just need to focus on moving forward and nothing else. At night, I just need to eat and sleep. And I know I just need to keep walking the next day, it is simple and straightforward. The place is nice and relaxing.

I like travelling to Nepal because everything is so simple and easy, and there is nothing much to worry about. I just have to keep walking, enjoy the view, eat, chit chat and sleep. And I know the next day will be beautiful with surprises.

Places like Bali and Hong Kong is too crowded with people and more costly. I have to think of where to go, what to eat, figure out the transport, queue up, buy things, etc. There are too many people, and too many things to do. Even most places Australia is too civilized, but I am sure there is some hidden adventure. Is not that these place are not nice, but just not as calm or relaxing, but an eye opener to other country and culture. Perhaps visiting these places is more like a Tourist (paying money for comfort), rather than a Traveller (more hardcore, haha).

I like nature (mountains and river) and simple village life (or small town). Someplace I can totally forget about the city and rat race, is almost like going through the ZEN way of life. Relax, Keep Travelling and Enjoy. The next day shall always be beautiful.

My Greatest Enemy is Myself

Personally, there is no need to compare myself with others, as in how well my classmates did in their exams, or how much my colleagues are earning. Basically, everyone had their own personality, strength and potential. Rather than asking why can’t I be as good as others, the more suitable question should be why can’t I fulfill my potential?

Fulfilling my potential (to make the best of what I have or what I can do) is not an easy task. I need to know my personality, talent and passion so that I can choose what kind of profession I should embark on. Introvert seldom make good sales, and some people just can’t sing. It sounded simple, but many people still end up making wrong choices due to lack of information and guidance, or follow the herd mentality. Make sure you know what you are good at, and what do you like to do, and find something which you can make a living. Don’t know what you are good at or have no passion? Open your eyes and ears and keep looking, keep your awareness up and keep thinking of it, then it will come eventually.

After being smart in choosing what I shall do (the easy part), then it comes the hard part of actually working. Working is easy, but working correctly with discipline and keep the passion burning is quite hard. How to keep yourself happy and productive while doing work? If I don’t like the work, I should change the work or myself? This is another life long learning process, to find out what to do, how to do it and how to do it long while still being satisfied.

How do I get up to work feeling enthusiastic, and able to be productive for the entire day? I know working on something we like is good, sometimes we have to work on something we don’t like, but at least we will know what we like to do or not, and perhaps think of someway to handle things we don’t like. We can switch department or work scope, and hire someone to do the dirty job and etc.

Basically we need Passion to keep burning, and Discipline to make sure we persist, and we make adjustment along the way until we are enlighten with the way of ZEN :) No simple answer, keep trying and keep moving.

What if I am not motivated to do it, or just plain lazy? Make sure this state does not prolong for too long, else we shall be doomed for life. The thin line between those who make it, and don't.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Irony Life

I think there is quite a lot of irony in life.

Have you try looking to buy something, where you do a lot of research and shop at various places to get the best bargains. When you finally bought it, something bad happens such as faulty or defective device or unsatisfactory service which totally written off whatever benefit you had gain based on your earlier efforts, or you loose even more.

Have you try to get some convenient by doing things online because you would not want to visit the place because it is far and inconvenient, but at the end you found out you still have to visit the place to get things done.

Have you try so much to save money and reducing your spending, but all the savings is written off due to some mistake or accident.

I personally think the emotional disappointment of such irony is much greater than the actual lost, feel like shouting to upstairs and start asking WHY!

Yes, life is a journey to make us better by going through hardship, sadness, disappoinement and irony.

Shit, Bad Luck and Irony will continue to haunt us through the rest of our life. The good thing is it usually feel very bad only at the moment in time; and we will probably forget about it until life reminds us again the next time, MUAHAHAHA! SHIT!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Easy and Almost Risk-Free Financial Tips

Saving Account
The Bank Saving Interest rate now is about 0.3%, so if you have RM 10K in your bank, you get around RM 30 per year. Too little, but hassle free.

Fixed Deposit
The next best thing is to move this money into Fixed Deposit, which offer around 2% Interest Rate (RM 200 for your RM 10K savings per year). Certain online banking like Maybank2u allows you to put money in FD via online transaction (immediate deposit and withdrawal), so it’s extremely convenient.

Government Bond
Lets say you want more, you can try some Government bond offered by PNB like Sukuk or Merdeka (for Senior Citizen) Bond which offered 5% Returns for 3 years (so you get RM 500 for RM 10K of Investment). You need to be aware the launch date for these bonds and queue up to purchase at PNB or some other local Banks like Maybank. Bear in mind Maybank is really very slow with the ability to process maximum of 10 people per hour per counter (so either queue up early, or goto other bank or branches which are faster). Dividend is paid quarterly (every 3 months), so you are slightly limited on when you can withdraw the money without sacrificing the dividend.

Government Fund / Unit Trust

Let’s say you want more and can take a small risk, you can apply for ASM or ASW 2020 by PNB (is like a Public Unit Trust). Historically the dividend is between 5-8% (RM 800 for RM 10K of Investment assuming dividend yield of 8%), but there is no guaranteed. ASM and ASW looks like a saving account as they give you an Investment Passbook, so you can top up more units at anytime (assuming it is available). The problem is you don’t know when additional unit is available unless you visit the Banks and Post Office everyday or every week. ASW 2020 is the hardest to apply during launch, unless you are a Bumiputera.

You need to queue up early during launch date to grab your share, as it is known to finish up within hours or a few days. Buying these fund require some strategy in place i) queue up damn early like 8am ii) go to some unpopular Post Office or Bank iii) befriend with some officers to place your order earlier and faster. Else, you can check with the banks frequently to see if any units are available (or pay someone to notify you when units are available?).

ASM or ASW 2020 is better than those Unit Trust in the markets due to 2 reasons: i) There is not processing or transaction fee, or yearly administration fee. ii) You will never loose your capital (buy and sell price always fixed at RM 1), is a matter of how much dividend you get.

What Else?
What if you want more? Share Market and Property Investment then, which is out of my scope as it is neither easy nor risk-free.

  • Saving Account: 0.3%
  • Fixed Deposit: 2%, withdrawal every 1 month without sacrificing Interest
  • Government Bond (Sukuk, Merdeka, etc): 5% (up to 3 years), dividend paid every 3 months (The profit payments will be apportioned based on the number of days held)
  • ASN, ASW 2020: 5-8% (No Guaranteed), withdrawal anytime without sacrificing Dividend

Sunday, April 26, 2009

God gave us Freewill

“One of the most previous gift from God to human is Freewill” – City of Angels

It’s nice to be able to decide what to do with our life, but options could be quite daunting at times. But if we don’t like communism, I guess we all like to reserve our rights to choose; whether we could use our right wisely is another matter.

One of the most enjoyable things in life is a worry-free lifestyle. We have a stable job from 9-5, don’t have to work on Saturday and overtime, and we can just relax on weekend and have fun. The thing with human is that sometimes we might not be contented, and we might embark on some kind of “adventure” which will upset this worry-free lifestyle.

Why upset it? Some do it for the sake of money, while others try to find more meaning in life or be driven by our passion. We might take up a part-time courses or part-time job, which is time consuming and taken up most of our free-time, thus making it slightly more “stressful” and less “enjoyable”.

Human is a funny and complicated being. We have this unreasonable thing called “Love”, which we don’t need it and can’t live without it. Then we have “Passion” which might upset a lot of logical things in our life. Of we have “Impulse” which allows us to do something totally unreasonable.

Perhaps the imperfection of human is the thing which makes us perfect. We are partially logical, yet with hidden “surprises” from our creativity and emotions. Some might categorize logical and rule abiding as boring, and why sometimes we admire the “bad boy” image.

I can work hard in my job and earning 5-6K salary and be promoted to manager and earning a maximum salary of 8-12K before retirement. If I am lucky, I might become a regional manager or CEO and earning a comfortable 12-20K per month. But no, I have to start a business because I feel like it and kinda dissatisfied with the company I work for. I have to admit, though most of the time the money is less, but it seems more fun and more meaningful. It could be quite worrisome at times, but I don’t see there is anyway for me to turn back. So this isn’t very logical economical wise, but perhaps on emotional and spiritual satisfaction. Is this the right way? No one can really tell.

To be an artist or an accountant? Most might say accountant because it’s a more stable job and decent income, but an artist is so much more interesting (use you creativity to generate money dude). Maybe it’s just a bit unconventional.

In the end, we are afraid of the unknown, yet our heart will probably point us to the right direction. The right direction doesn’t not mean success; it still depends on how we do it.

We have the freewill to decide what to do. We have a heart to guide us what to do. We have a mind to think how to do it. We have hands to do it. I guess we already have all the right tools :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thinking Back

Thinking back, I do wonder is life simpler or more complicated now? I think it had become simpler, yet I recall it used to be simpler last time with much more going on.

Michelle used to label me as a perfectionist one, but I just rub it off. Perhaps I want a simple (and perfect life) in my own mind? Everyone live happily ever after, and no one will die.

Theoretically, I am supposed to be a very boring person at once glances. Perhaps the most interesting thing about myself is my thoughts, if there are anyone to listen to what I had to said.

Looking back at some past blog entries, it really seems like a long journey with many ups and downs. Last time relationship troubled me the most, now career keep juggling in my mind (and the future as well).

So many people walk pass and leave, sooner I later I would live in isolation. I always thought relationship and marriage is a friendship killer, as we don’t spend as much time with others. Maybe I am just lazy.

I don't really make much new friends, or join new groups. Perhaps I am really a passive and anti-social person. Maybe I should join a new club or something. I do admire Michelle's lifestyle, and I do have a certain level of respect for her determination (though not totally agree with all her actions).

Why? A question which I don’t know how is asking about what or what to answer. Just life and what I had become, for some unknown reasons.

Sorry, my friend :(

I believe I made quite a few mistakes in my life, some I am fully aware of, some I am ignorance of and some, I really don’t know. Though I try to be a good person, but I did have my selfish and emotional moment. Sadly, I can still make mistakes and did something bad (or not so nice).

I think most people want to be a good person: Honest, Trustworthy, Loyal, etc. Too many good attributes to keep track of, and too easy for some not so good attributes to creep in as well. I think I just want to be able to sleep at night, so I try my best to maintain that. Sadly, it isn't perfect either.

Do I believe love in first sight? There might be some good feelings, but not necessary equal love. Is it wrong to choose the right candidate as your potential love one? Logically it is like job hunting, send out more letters and attend a few interviews to find out which company is more suitable for me. Sometimes go for big corporation, sometimes go for good working environment, and sometimes go for passion. This might sound logical, but it might not be “openly” accepted, though I am sure many would try that. Again, I believe Love is achieved through Trial & Error. Does love need to be built up? Yes, it does not fall from sky. Opportunities might fall from sky, but relationship needs to build. Yes, it takes years to build and 1 day to destroy it. Is it alright to reject a love? There is no right way to do this, all ways are wrong.

Human is a complicated being, what you see is not what you get. A lot of time people will hide away their true feelings and behavior, so can’t expect anyone to be an open book. After sometimes, if we are observant enough we will find out what is good or what is bad. Sometimes it might be too late. Though I am not a very good character reader at first, but I do know who the culprit is and who is a friend, eventually. Sometimes, keeping a secret or telling a secret is harder? I think telling a secret is harder.

Misunderstanding is what I fear most (only to people I care of), though some of it is my own doing. Can’t make people love us, can’t stop people hate us as well. Some people do carry some weight it my heart, and it’s sad that some relationship had to abruptly end in such “unfriendly” state. Probably I said something or do something wrong (which I conveniently forgotten, or didn’t mean it), but deep inside I know I didn’t meant it and you are still a good friend in my heart; no matter what I had said or done.

Ego wise, I would give myself excuse that I had done the right thing; but for every right decision, there is a hidden wrong. Opening our heart could be a scary thing to do, but I don't think closing it would be any better as well. No matter what, life is full with a lot of surprises and lessons. No matter what, I just want to say

“Sorry my friend, for what ever I had done to hurt you”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

xxxHolic: How to achieve Happiness

Besides movies, cartoon is my second love, especially Japanese Anime. They good thing about Japanese Anime is sometime they target more mature audience, so with deeper thoughts and more complicated life matters (not just kiddy stuff and happily every after).

xxxHolic caught my attention not so long ago with its attractive artwork and special kind of storyline and plot. Perhaps it is one episode that caught my attention, especially.

I want Happiness? Do I want Sadness? Can there be Happiness without Sadness? I think these are pretty common and logical questions, yet mind boggling.

Let say there is Yin and Yang, so we need both Happiness and Sadness to balance it out (so one cannot exist without the others). If there is no Villain, there shall not be Hero.

What is if it’s a Debt System. If you have too much Happiness, you must pay up with the equal amount of Sadness. Is like people need to work very hard to go through a lot of hardship, before they can enjoy later in life. What if you win a Lottery? Since you still owe the System, perhaps you will be required to pay your debt in the later stage?

Why I am not Happy? Perhaps I had not contributed enough hardship to match up with the level of Happiness which I expected? We know there is not Free Lunch in this world, and we know day dreaming without do any actual work would not get us anywhere. We know lottery winner usually end up with a very miserable life.

So in order to achieve happiness, we need to work hard for it (or suffer for it, so to speak). Remembering nothing is free, so we have to pay for what we want with something. If I want 100K per year, I would need to worker longer and smarter than those who earn 50K per year. If I want to be the next Google or Facebook, they I have to be better or pay a higher price than they did before.

The price to pay is our action, the happiness we hope for is just a dream without action.

Business Idea: Open Resume Project

Though I am not much of a real businessman, but I do like to dwell into some new business idea. Sometimes I might be crazy enough to start off alone without any funding, such as Malaysia Most Wanted. I still think MMW is the best in this circle, though I can be naïve or ignorance at times :)

Online Card, Physical Delivery
About a few years back I think of an online greeting card delivery (not E-Card), where we design custom-made card, print it out and mail it to our clients. Our target audience is people (especially businessman) who are too busy with their daily work yet still need to maintain good PR with their clients, and custom-made delivered card would be more personal and standout among the rest. I still think the idea is pretty good, and Foldees did it pretty well with the funding they got. They get idea for new cards from contest by offering prizes and revenue sharing, which is pretty cool as long as you have money to spend.

Why I didn’t do it myselves? Is the supply problem, where I can’t do design well enough, and I don’t know people who could actually do it and I don’t have money to encourage people to do it for me. So either I get some funding, or I know a lot of friends in the design circle, and I am neither of both. Anyway, I am already busy with MMW and don’t have time to take care of too many babies.

Open Resume Project
Recently Job Street played with a new idea, PitchYourTalent. Basically you pitch your talent (more like a more casual and interesting resume), and people will look for you and offer you job. Sound interesting, where now I have a personal page to flaunt my talents to others (without the need to setup a personal website), and a proper search engine for others to find me (or my talent). The idea is simple and yet refreshing, with a lot more room for improvement. Reminds me of LinkedIn, marketed as some business social network. Any, I think the core of this idea is
  1. a page to show my Skills and Talents
  2. a good search engine to find me
Is like a marketing tool for personals (rather than business). Might it be potential job candidate or a freelancer, is a tool to sell yourself. In some way, it is an Open Resume Project, in similar spirit to Open Directory Project (ODP).

How to make money out of it? I really don’t know that’s why I am not a good businessman nor can I get any funding. The initial idea sounds quite alright, and I am ready to pursuit it further. If possible, I would rather not start this off as another lone ranger project. If you are interested (yes, you who are reading this) to start of another Web 2.0 Social Network thingy about Resume with me, do leave a comment.

I have quite a bit of experience with Web Development and SEO, so I am capable technically. I need someone who share the same passion in entrepreneurship and believe in the same idea that we will be working on, and hopefully someone more business-minded and marketing centric than I am.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spidey and Me

I think we are used to hearing some old people saying, “Nowadays’ young people are so lazy, irresponsible, ungrateful, etc”. I even hear myself saying it now to some younger people due to their lack of sense of responsibility or urgency. I remember the 1st time I heard that sentence, I felt annoyed and just ignore it; either this old man is just mumbling, or I am not in the crowd he is talking about.

I know that human is not perfect, thus I will make mistake and have some weaknesses. Teacher might do something stupid, and parents will make mistake, fact of life (thought we think these people are saint or superman when I was young). But what should we do when we know that we did something wrong? What to do with our weaknesses?

When I was young, there is always someone to correct me (my parents, my teachers, or even my friends). Nowadays no one seems to be there to correct me, unless I am VERY VERY VERY wrong. I can be lazy and I can sleep late, even though I know that I am probably wrong, but there is no one to apprehend me. I can actually escape!

So who will actually stop me? Guilt? The sense of righteousness? The need to be good? Would I prefer someone else to correct me? Do I need a mentor to guide me?

I do really feel strange where there is no one to correct me and I can actually do what I want. I can be so right, yet I can be so wrong. There is no check and balance, and everything is just playing in my mind.

Maybe this part is called growing up, where we take responsibility for our own action. I have more power and freedom, yet it comes with greater responsibility for myself, and the ones I love. Like Spiderman (with great power comes great responsibilities), it requires a bit more understanding of myself, and how to deal with this new power.

For the 1st time, I am afraid with the power given to me to decide on my own life. For better or worse, it will be my own decision. 

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Who to run a software company?

I always believe the owner of a Software Company need to be a programmer (or ex-programmer) in order to understand Software Development and appreciate Programmers' Talent. If it is run by marketing people in suit, I really doubt that they could attract the right talents or develop the right product. I used to make it a point if the person interviewing me has no technical background, I would probably not work for the company (as an interviewer, you would fail to evaluate my skill).

I once try to talk about programmers’ need and how proper software development is done to a CEO, but I think he hears nuts from me: either he thinks the extra cost is not justifiable or what I am talking about is just utter crap. I concluded that he would never understand what software development is all about, besides just employing some people and get the work done.

Even if the owner is a pretty good Techie, we still have to pray that he have good business connections, very good luck, excel in sales and marketing or be very cash rich. No matter how good he maybe in running software company, he still need to be able to charm the market and sell something.

No matter what, I still think a software company is a very fragile business as it needs special kind of people in a special environment. If you try to run it like a factory or be marketing-driven, you will kill creativity. Software Development could be somehow chaotic, an art with a lot of unpredictability, worsen by programmers with special behaviors. If you try to impose too much order and procedures, it will kill productivity and creativity as well. If you cannot manage it, your software will never complete or ship.

Nevertheless, a software company should never be run by marketing people in suit as all the good programmers will be chased away and be seen as rebellious child (rather than a great artist).

An interesting read forwarded by Kenny about How Software Companies Die by Orson Scott Card. Simple and straight to be point, something some people would never understand why.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dream, Dream, Dream

I wanted to write something for quite sometime now, but just couldn’t get my thought together, but what the heck, let the pen (or keyboard) do the writing!

Hmm, what should I start with?

I could talk about dreams, where I wanted to do many things, yet I didn’t have the chance, or didn’t put my heart into it. Generally there are many things I would like to do, sometimes I change my mind after working on it, others just potentially consume so much time that I stop at research stage. There is only so much time and resources, where I can only focus on one or two. I would like to draw art and comic, make a robot, build a game, travel the world … So many dreams, so little time.

Chasing dreams cost time and money, and both are precious to me. Frankly, I did sacrifice a lot of opportunities, time and money to do something which I believe in, yet I am not sure how it word turn out (kinda contradicting). It’s fun and useful, just that may not be economically viable. It’s strange how I lasted until today. Not sure I am dedicated and right in keeping my dreams alive or just plain naïve working around dead corners. Self doubt is the path I must go through.

Besides dreaming, I come to realize more I am not a good businessman. In fact, I am a pretty lousy one. I am shy and don’t dare to approach people, and I really sucks in sales and marketing or even PR. Deep inside I am still a techie enjoying new technology and solving technical problem. Yet, I had chosen the path of self-employment and entrepreneur wannabe. I should have work in some software company earning good money, yet there is something missing. I don’t get to do what I like, yet a lot of time working to earn some money is not actually very enjoyable (yet I try to do something enjoyable yet be able to make some money). I try to work around my weakness most of the time, which I think is the right way to go (is it?).

I think that I am smart, yet I feel I am lacking something. I am good, yet I haven’t actually tasted much “success”. Success is something pretty subjective, but I just wanted some sense of accomplishment, something I am happy and be proud of. I have a void I have to fill, something is missing. Certain feelings and senses.

Life is full of shit, just a matter of perspective how we look at it. We will never have enough time, money or love; just how we utilize what we have. When I get rich … will never actually come if I wait for it. It will happen when everything is in the right proportion. So won’t try won’t know, once tried will know.

Life is full of choices and opportunities, just that it is a bit hard to decide when we are at the cross road. I need quite a lot of convincing to do something, especially another partnership. It is not that I don’t believe in them (a bit though), just that I am not quite sure what to do with them. If you give me 100K, what I am suppose to do with it? If we are supposed to work together, what should we work on, and how? Too bad we are not much of a friend before we are partner, or not. If I were to find a job now, what should I do?

Everything has some potential, which require polishing, and the potential might not be that big, depending on what you do and how you think. I personally think a farmer could feed his whole family, why can’t a Technopreneur wannabe? Still I kinda feel the best way to make a quick buck is not through Technology, but Technology is more interesting.

I always wonder why people don’t take up their dream. Because a dream is a dream, it is uncertain and risky, and it had some hope in it, but nothing to concrete to feel safe about. Is like the wind, take no shape, can’t be captured, yet we know it is there. Like lottery?

Every dream has a start, and probably an end as well (keep we keep dreaming our entire life)? Let’s make 2009 the year to make a dream come through for me, or a few of them :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Game Development Project

For game development hobbyist, how could we start building a game during our free time, get some small funding to cover some cost and eventually be able to sell or market it (even for just USD 0.99 per pop).

Today, there are more visible paths and opportunies, although a great deal of effort is still required and no guarantee of money coming in. What the heck! We do these things for fun and satisfaction (that's why we are called hobbyist), as long as our main job still can afford to pay the bills.

What to do?
  1. Have an Idea and Design the game
  2. Choosing the Platform and Develop the game
  3. Secure some Funding based on out prototype
  4. Market and Sell the game
  5. How to Start?

Idea and Game Design
I want to develop a simple and fun game, addictive but not too time consuming (not another MMORPG which make you fat and louse touch with the real world). I like fun strategy game, not too much useless micro-management (have to be simple) and more automation (let’s focus on the fun stuff). It need to look good (nice simple 2D art, no fancy 3D) and fun to play (targeting casual gamers).

Game Platform and Development
There are quite a number of popular choices if you are developing simple 2D games, such as XNA, Silverlight, Flash, Android, iPhone and etc. We need a good platform for game development, also taking in consideration of the platform’s market size and opportunity to deploy and market it. Flash is the best for web distribution, followed by Silverlight. For online marketplace with paying customer, we have Xbox LIVE Marketplace, Android Market and Apple Store.

Personally I would like to start with XNA, which allowed the game to be played on PC and Xbox. I can tap into the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Distribution and Sales. XNA is a more complete and powerful game development platform, which should save some development time with less restriction. There is a possibility of porting XNA application to Silverlight, thus able to able to tap into Brower’s Game market.

Perhaps after we get some funding, we would port the game to Android and iPhone to more distribution and sales opportunity.

Secure Funding
Life is really tough for game hobbyist if we want to go far or make a few bucks, so perhaps it’s wise to try to secure some funding with a prototype, and showing the number of downloads and players we got so far.

Perhaps we could try CIP Catalyst (RM 50K x 3) or MSC Technopreneur Pre-Seed Fund (RM 150K) to keep us motivated and go further. I think I came across some funding for multimedia creative development.

Market and Sell
There are a few avenues to market the game by providing the game as free downloads on popular game portal, and package is as Silverlight Game to be played in browser.

In order to make money, we would need to tap into online marketplace such as Xbox Live Marketplace, Android Market or Apple Store.

How to start?
We probably need around 3 persons (too much is a havoc in communication) with dedicated role (avoid too much debate on how to do things in minor details, so that we can focus on the big picture) to develop the game on free-time basis, with commitment of at least 6 months.
  1. Game Designer
  2. Developer
  3. Artist / Music
Everyone would be a Beta Tester and Blogger. We find the right person (everyone must like the game) and have dinner-meeting biweekly to keep the ball rolling, setup a website or blog and create awareness and serves as PR tool. Let’s see what happened after 6 months.

There is a Way, but is there a Will?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons

It is about a boy who is born as an old man and get younger by the day.

Basically there are a few things which won’t change much if you live your life forward or backward:
  • You still end up in diaper either way
  • You will loose your memory eventually
  • You will loose the one you love slowly
  • You still get to live a meaningful life: work, travel, love, family, etc
  • You still get to inherit wealth from your parents
  • You come with nothing, and you are gone with nothing.

I think the real focus of the show isn’t about growing from old to young, but just another life told with a more interesting twist. A life of 80 years is fast forwarded in 3 hours, so you will see a lot and experience a lot, knowing there is no eternity and nothing last forever. After all, there is only 80 years (or slightly more, or less).

Fact of life, which we try to deny or take it lightly, else we would have to live like there is no tomorrow, or find there is no point in living since we are going to loose everything in the end. Parents or love ones will eventually leave us (if we don’t leave them first) and youth only have a 20-40 years life span. There is not eternity and everything have a fix amount of time (maybe ten of years), thus it is important for us to do the best with what we have, with the time we have.

Like what I had suspected, life is a journey and fulfillment of dreams (what we really wanted to do). A ship captain still can be an artist even though his father told him he can’t, and ended up as a tattoo artist cum ship captain. A dancer who broke her leg will move on with something else, a family and dance studio perhaps; even if she doesn’t break her leg, there is a short life span for dancer. It doesn’t really matter if others tell that we can’t, or we think we can’t, as long we at least try it before we end our life.

I know becoming a millionaire is difficult, opening a kindergarten is not easy, travel around the world take a lot of courage, trained for Iron Man is tough, reaching the peak of mountains required not giving up; but for the moment think about the thought that we will actually try to do what we wanted to do is already exciting enough. What if we really do it? It will be out of this world. What if we really make it? It would be priceless.

Life is really short, and it’s is flowing away from me slowly. I already felt that there isn’t enough time, but I am glad that I notice it.

I really love movies :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When you think that you are so right that you can’t be wrong, think again.

This bring back memory when I am in Form 3, where an “informer” told the board of Prefect that one of the Prefect cheat in exam. I am on the board, and we kinda interrogated the Prefect and she admitted it. So we have to decide whether to bring this to the Disciplinary Teacher. That time my argument is that since she is guilty, then I should do the right thing which is to turn her in, simple as that. To my surprise, one of the counseling teachers says that it is very normal for student to cheat (and everyone cheated before) and we should settle this issue “out of court”. I still can’t believe a teacher actually told that to a student, though it is quite true. Anyway, that’s not the point.

I was so sure that she is guilty so I am actually doing the right thing. Thinking back now, I don’t think I had done the right thing. First of all, cheating in exam doesn’t even come under the jurisdiction of Prefect. Secondly, I approach the matter from the eye of the law, guilty a charge. But as a person, I don’t think she deserved to be punished; she would be warned and be forgiven (everyone sins, and everyone deserved a pardon). No matter how right I think I am at that point of time, I might not be; I haven’t gain the ability to understand that at that point of time.

Today I had a small heated argument with my brother over some really small and stupid matter. I am supposed to measure something, and he kept saying that’s not the way to measure it and mumble about some alternative way which I don’t get it. I ask him to measure it instead, but he refuses to do so and accuse me of being stubborn for not listening to him. Since I don’t know what is he talking about and he refused to do it, so I have to continue with my way. He got so upset until he refuses to talk to me and cancel our supper session. I was laughing in my heart thinking, “is this really necessary?” Take it light bro; we know it is just a very mundane issue. Perhaps he thinks he is right and I am wrong, and he get angry as I didn’t acknowledge that he is right?

One of the problems with smart and confidence people is that they always think they are right. They pre-judge the opponent as wrong, and probably can’t acknowledge that they are wrong even if they know that they are wrong. I once found it difficult to admit that I am wrong or I made a mistake; I do get defensive sometimes, but I am getting better. Anyway, that’s not the point.

I think he assumes that I (and everyone) understand what he is talking about, and his way is the best; thus he is supposed to be right. I come to learn from my years with my girlfriends and the children I am teaching that not everyone think at the same wavelength as us, or have the same level of intelligent and wisdom as us. We assume everyone knows how to speak and listen, though it holds most of the time, but it is not true all the time. Sometimes we fail to convey the message properly, or people misunderstood what we try to convey, or people just couldn’t understand due to various reasons and limitations. But we always assume other are just like us, so they should understand since we understood what we are talking about (it's soooo simple). So no matter how right my brother think he is, is he really that “right”? Perhaps we need a little bit of humility and patient.

The same thing goes when I break off with my business partner. I supposed everyone think that they are right, including me. We are not able to talk sense into each other, as each of us has our own agenda and interest to protect. I guess we aren’t willing to sacrifice and lack of consideration for others. Everyone is too selfish, and partnership won’t flourish under circumstances.

Sometimes I think in life or business is not how smart we are, but how much wisdom, humility and patient we have.

When I think I am absolutely right and someone else is totally wrong, perhaps I could re-access the situation again. Everything had 2 faces, we might need to see both in order to make a better judgment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 90 minutes SACRED block

I started with a goal, and I need method to achieve my goal. I am sure that I need to be hardworking, so how am I supposed to be hardworking besides psyching my mind?

I remember a small trick which I read sometimes ago on how to keep people focus and avoid procrastination. Basically we need a dedicated block of time (90 minutes of ideal) where we shall not be interrupted. We focus and concentrate on the work or task we are supposed to do, as we shall achieve optimum productivity within this 90 minutes flow. It might take 5-15 minutes to warm up and enter the flow, so if we got disrupted or distracted, then we have to restart again. We take a small break (15-30 minutes) after the 90 minutes working block, and we can do anything besides work.

This 90 minutes block is SACRED:
  • The concentration flow shall not be disrupted
  • Do nothing else but the work I am supposed to do
Normal people work 40 hours per week, with 5 working days that is 8 hours a day. We all know they don’t really work 8 full hours per day due to procrastination, disturbance, wastage and slacking. My target to hit 9 hours of productivity per day, so that is 6 block of 90 minutes per day (9 hours).

Usually people work from 9-5, but that doesn't quite work for me at this stage. I wake up late and work until late at night. People had told me that this might not be a very good habit, but this work best for me at this moment. So let’s try a bit of more unconventional timetable.

Let’s give this a spin for 1 week and let’s see what happens. I am not very optimistic about timetable as I fail to follow them most of the time. In the end, I suspect I need something more flexible with structure and productivity metrics still intact.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Desire for Spontaneous Adventure and the Need for a Systematic Living

I was watching Mamma Mia! and it show the beauty of Greece and the spontaneous adventure they used to have in their life, I wanted that. I like to watch Global Trekker because I wanted to travel and experience a different kind of culture, something out of where I am now.

I thought everyone would like to travel, and why not since it is fun and wonderful? Only 50% of us like to travel, and maybe 30% would like to get nearer to nature and probably 10% would endure travel without luxury or convenience. Just like I though everyone would like to be entrepreneur, and it turns out only 10% of us would like to be one.

Anyway I need something more than a vacation of 4D3N, more than a vacation once every year and something more than a vacation. I want to travel, and I want an adventure. I want to go to an island or mountain or villages, someplace wonderful with lots of green and friendly people and apple on the trees. I need to hear the sound of sea or gentle streams, to feel the wind and gentle sun shine and to sit on wood and rocks. I could walk and walk and walk, and the scenery and feeling would just get better. I want to stay at different places for months, taste different kind of food, see different season and trees, and talk to different people in different language. I want to have on lunch on the roof top with mountains of apple trees on my left, the great ocean on my right, the tall mountains on my back and the beautiful village in front of me. I want a sense of freedom with nature.

I found swimming to be quite difficult for me, and I felt the same when I learn roller-blade and cycling. The ability to move freely in the water without fear seems to have a sense freedom; is like riding endlessly on endless open field. So I need to learn swimming to complement my dream journey.

I desire a Spontaneous Adventure, where I wake up one day and pack my bags and go. Or maybe something not too spontaneous, where I still packs my bags and go. The other part of my brain asks me to work hard, buy a house and built a solid career, business or future; else I could rot on the street without a place to sleep. So I put my desire aside and do my work to build my future.

Is there anything wrong with this? Almost everyone is working for a living, isn’t it? How could we sustain a living without working? A farmer need to work the farm, a writer still need to write, a singer still need to entertain and a banker still need to negotiate. Even millionaires or billionaires still need to work.

Perhaps we are spoilt by these images from the TVs, where this guy just travel and travel and could live by without any money; or this Kung Fu master from ancient China who just know how to fight and still have money to spend. There isn’t an ideal where there is all fun and no work; all the joy without the pain. Is is not that work is all pain, just the adventure sounds sweeter.

So I could still have an adventure if I want it bad enough and I still need to do my work so that I could have a place to stay and feed myself. Would I be happier if I work as a waiter or farmer while travelling? If I can choose, I would prefer travelling and occasionally work for fun.

Just have to remember my desire for an adventure and plan something about it. I once told myself I would have an adventure of my life before I am 30, which is exactly one more year to go. I did visit Annapurna and Chiang Mai, climb Mount Semeru and Mount Kinabalu and did a few trips around Malaysia’s mountain. I am getting closer, perhaps I need determination to really fulfill my dream for at least one time, so that I could have story to tell when I am old and smiling with no regrets. I don't need to travel for years and bump around (perhaps when I retire), but I sure could enjoy travelling for months :)

PS: Added 2009 New Year Resolution -> Backpack Travelling for at least 1 Month, Hopefully 3

Monday, January 26, 2009

TED Review: 10 things to know before you pitch a VC for money

10 things to know before you pitch a VC for money by David S. Rose. I am not sure whether there are 10 things, but there are a few useful hints to bring things into perspective, others are just the basics.

What is the single most important thing VC invests in?
Most of us thought it is the idea, but we know idea is cheap (many people could come up with the same idea) without execution. What execute the idea? PEOPLE. Basically VC looks for people with
  • Integrity
  • Passion – if are you not passionate with what you do, why should people put money in it.
  • Experience - I have done it before.
  • Knowledge – Domain expertise
  • Skill – Technical, Marketing, etc.
  • Leadership – Charisma, Management, etc.
  • Commitment – I’ll be here until the end.
  • Vision – see where this going is.
  • Realism
  • Coachable – ability to listen.
How to convey these without conveying?
Basically grab their attention in the first few minutes, bring them to higher and higher emotional high and make them write a cheque to you before you leave.

How to do a Presentation?
Positive Things to Do
  • We need a logical progression, what to do, how to do and etc.
  • Tell me things I know or understand, something I can relate to.
  • Validators: Something or Someone saying this is good, such as statistic, real-life example, etc.
Negative Things not to do
  • Things I know are not true
  • Things I don't understand
  • Things that made me think
  • Internal Inconsistencies
  • Typos / Errors / Unpreparedness
PowerPoint Tips
  • Good: Short bullet points
  • Better: Just the headline
  • Best: Only Images
What to put in PowerPoint?
Company Logo, Business, Overview, Management Team, Market, Product, Business Model, Strategic Relationship, Competition, Barriers to Entry, Financial Overview, Use of Proceeds, Capital & Valuation

Presentation Tips
  • Use Presenter Mode
  • Remote Control
  • Hand-out More Info
  • Don't read your speech
  • Never look at screen

TED Review: Secret of Success in 8 words, 3 minutes

Richard St. John tell you about Secret of Success in 8 words, 3 minutes. It might be simple and enlightening, or it might be something you already know, but you can’t deny their importance. Perhaps a bit of good examples would help you to understand and believe.
  1. PASSION. I do it for Love, not for money. If you do it for Love, the money comes anyway.
  2. WORK. It's all hard work. Nothing comes easily, but I have a lot of fun (Rupert Murdoch).
  3. GOOD. To be successful put your nose down into something and get damn good at it (Alex Garden). Practice Practice Practice.
  4. FOCUS. Focus on one thing.
  5. PUSH. Push yourself Physically and Mentally, you gotta push push push (David Gallo). Push through shyness and self-doubt. Find someone to push you.
  6. SERVE. Millionaires serve others something of value.
  7. IDEA. Listen, Observe, Be Curious, Ask Questions, Problem Solve, Make Connections. To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. (Marilyn vos Savant)
  8. PERSIST. Persist through Failure and CRAP (Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure). It could take 10 years to succeed. Crash and Learn.
Things that don’t lead to Success: Smart, Looks and Luck.

Friday, January 23, 2009

3 Phases of New Technology

First, it is ridiculed by those ignorant of its potential.

Next, it is subverted by those threatened by its potential.

Finally, it is considered self-evident.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TED Review: What is Happiness?

Kenny sent me (in fact is for Mei Ru) a link to TED: Ideas worth spreading. Basically it talks about interesting ideas which are quite enlightening.

The second video (the 1st one is about less people are dying due to war nowadays) I watched is about “What positive psychology can help you become” by Martin Seligman. His talk is a bit deep and not very clear, but I did manage to catch a few points and draw my conclusion.

Basically, there are 3 type of Happy Life.

Pleasant Life
We make ourselves happy by making ourselves happy, such as buying the PS3 I always wanted, go for an expensive dinner, go for a vacation, pamper ourselves with SPA, get a pet, etc. Or we can do something which we enjoy such as music, painting, dancing, sports, etc, all in the name to make ourselves happy.

Good Life
We use our best strength to make our life better. I am an introvert, so I won’t do Sales and Marketing (that would make me miserable), so I work in the back office and be a good programmer, something which I am good at and I got satisfied doing that. If I am pretty and handsome, perhaps I should try modeling or something which can make good use of my strength and advantage. I would get the attention and satisfaction of achievement, thus make myself happy. It’s an engagement of something, an engagement of being a good wife or husband, a good reporter or a good leader.

Meaningful Life
Still using our strength and advantage, but not for ourselves but something greater than ourselves: for charity, for world peace, for god, etc. If you are a superstar, you could be the spokesperson for charity organization. If you are a good teacher, you could teach poor children for free. If you are good at singing, you could entertain people who need you.

So what is Happiness, or rather Life Satisfaction?

Life Satisfaction = Pleasure + Engagement + Meaningful

It seems like Life Satisfaction had nothing to do with Pleasure at all, so buying a PS3 won’t really make me more satisfied. Meaningful play the biggest role, as it gives the biggest satisfaction knowing that we help others, the communities or the world. Engagement is important as well, knowing that we are good at something and people around less actually appreciate it.

“If you want happiness, do you want misery? If you don’t have misery, how do you know that you are happy?” What is the relation of Misery with Happiness? If you take away all the misery, would you automatically be happy?

Misery (Negative) - Normal (Neutral) - Happiness (Positive)

Would you agree that by taking away misery will only make you feel less miserable (nearer to neutral), but not actually happy? You would still need Engagement and Meaningful purpose to achieve happiness.

I think I always know for the fact that if I keep thinking about myself only (about my work, my happiness), I am not really “good”; basically I am still being “selfish”, or ignorant thinking is okay for everyone to think for themselves. I should think for others, starting with people around me and expand further: in the process giving me the Engagement and Meaning in life eventually.

If I truly believe in this theory (or fact), then I should be thinking about how to make others life less miserable, or how to make them happy. But do I truly believe in it and will try to follow it? Perhaps I am still at the Good Life stage.