Sunday, March 28, 2010

I always get something from trying

I went to TEDx Kuala Lumpur last weekend with the intention of learning something, and also trying to pickup some networking skill (I thought I needed some improvement due to the nature of my work).

After a few networking attempts, I do manage to get 3 business cards which doesn’t quite relate to my line of work. It’s proven again I suck at networking or socializing with stranger; I thought I had improved, but not quite. I spent hours of free time eating, drinking, looking around and wondering what to do next. It’s just uncomfortable and proven not quite my thing, again.

I observe people who are just like my, standing or walking alone with no friends around (it’s not a pleasant sight, and I happens to fall into this category). There will be people who always stick with their friends; and the voice of networking-pro and socialites fill the room as usual; as always, with one or two geeky person who really blend well with others.

Though I fail at my networking, but I don’t think I felt TEDx empty handed. Besides the quite alright speakers and topics, I do realize something: no matter how good I think I am, I am not visible within the local scene (not as good yet). MMW Food could be the top restaurant website in Malaysia, but still many didn’t realize its existence (a handful could have stumble upon it, but its presence or brand name is not felt). Meaning I haven’t made a strong impact as one of the more prominent Malaysia websites.

I tried to compiled is list of prominent websites about Malaysia, and probably ranked at the 24th place, and the top ten spot have at least 500,000 visitors per month. If I wanted to make an impact, I would need to be at least 5 times better than current state before people would recognize

I am a believer most of the things are worth trying, as we always get something in return though we would probably fail trying (I mean my networking attempt). Thus, I need to keep exploring new things, be brave, never give up (in fact, all of us should try more often than escape) and try to pick up a few things in between. Life just need a bit more perseverance.

Why you should support Obama

Obama is someone almost like our MCA ex-president Ong Tee Keat, who try to fight for justice, truth and what’s really good for the people and country (or at least it seems so); the difference is Obama could be more charismatic in getting more political support (and try not getting pushed down while doing good) to make sure all the goodness spoken of is done. It’s not an easy thing to convince the mostly selfish congressman to do something really good for the country; as it also means less money in their wallet. Obama need powerful persuasion and charisma to pull that off; giving these guys even more money will just make it worst. It the time of despair, we need to awaken the conscious (which we believe it doesn’t exist within politicians) of people while there is still time, else we shall all perish.

I am talking about US Health Reform, something that is more critical and difficult to accomplish than our PKFZ scandal. Based on Micheal Moore’s Sicko documentary, US health care is in dire state. There is not such thing as free or low cost government hospital in US (because government hospital or so-called socialized medicine is an evil communism plan). When poor people with no insurance who gotten sick is admitted into the hospital, they shall be sent out from the backdoor; insurance company try not to approve medical claims as more rejection means more profit; US citizen is fleeing to Canada and pretend to be Canadian to get free medical care; US slip to position 37 in world healthcare ranking, one step above Slovenia; the mortality rate is very high with people dying around age of 70.

Why change is so difficult? The entire Healthcare Insurance industry had gotten too rich over the years, and they are buying over the support of congressman. If a congressman vote for the US Health Reform, he would loose his handsome pay. Hilary Clinton once tries to fight for US Health Reform, but she was silenced and bought over (turning to the dark side).

Obama would probably loose a lot of financial and political support for pushing through the US Health Reform (a vote of 219-216). Rich people don’t like the reform as they will have to subsidised the healthcare for the poor. We should look at things at a higher level, or on a humanity basis. If US citizen enjoys better health, it would make happier people which could eventually means bigger consumer market (and workforce) and better economic growth. Besides, the government are polling collective resources to help the your needy countrymen.

Sometimes, no matter how hard it may seem, we just need to do the right things to ensure a better tomorrow (and to stop things from getting worst). In Malaysia, we too need a selfless and charismatic leader to push for a reform.

TEDx Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Needs You

I attended TEDx Kuala Lumpur today (it's yesterday now), and the theme is about What Malaysia Needs?

Peter Nicoll tells us there are quite a number of homeless people on the street (just like what we see on TV about US homeless); Yvonne Fong talks briefly about Neurofibromatosis (she might not talk much due to her condition, but I still have to admire her dedication to make a better life for herself); Surech Kuppusamy about her journey in conquering various death zone (above 8000m) mountaineering experience; Afzal Abdul Rahim (ex-CEO of AIMS, current CEO of TimeDotCom) talks about cheap and fast Internet is not possible in Malaysia (without subsidy) because we miss the opportunity to liberalized and be the regional hub, and we surf too much (90%) foreign content (time for local developers to do something).

Aloha Lavina give us some perspective (pure awareness, concentration, timing) about photography; Urmilah Dass talks about stress (long term stress is bad); Raj Ridvan Singh talk about the need for scientific foundation education (teach us values, love, friendship, etc) as times had changed (what come naturally last time doesn’t work now).

I particularly like the topic by Steve McCoy, where he talks about the need to change our economic model from exploitation of (natural resources, human resources, etc) to restoration (there are many smarter and better ways to solve this problem). In seems to be difficult for the world to change; but we do need to dream of change (Martin Luther King said I have a dream; not I have a problem or solution). What catches my attention most is the following quote, “You should be pessimistic if you understand the data (about global warming, economic crisis, humanity crisis, etc); but it’s human nature to be optimistic”. Time is running short; but we do need to have hope to solve our problem.

Talking about hope, Pete Teo (musician who started 15Malaysia) steals the limelight in the most true to the heart manner. Pete Teo is very sincere, charismatic, talk slowly, slightly quiet and introvert, perhaps inspiring but definitely brave. He touches slightly on Malaysia’s problems such as corruption, abuse of power, education, censorship (his joke on foreigner assumes Malaysia doesn’t fuck based on our film and gay people always repent at the end; and rais yatim is "funny"). Suddenly all hope is lost as he mentioned about Teo Beng Hock death (like it or not, this news does strike fear and lost of hope among citizen of Malaysia – what are the chances of a future father and a man who is going to get married the next day to commit suicide?). At that point in time, it seems like all hope is lost. 1% of Malaysian population had migrated in the last 18 months alone; this is a serious sign of despair. As Malaysian, we can choose to flee or try to make a change. Pete Teo urge everyone to do the least each Malaysian can do for Malaysia. For those who have not register as a voter, please do so immediately; for those who have, please tell your friend and family to do so. We could all cast our vote for a reform, doing our part for a better Malaysia.

I do feel the despair for Malaysia, with too many negative energy, too many problems with too little hope in sight. For example, I think the people believe in Ong Tee Keat and his determination to fight corruption. If he didn’t win the MCA election (which he probably won’t based on fraction support), all hope is lost for MCA as it no longer represent the people’s will (our elected representative put their own short term gain above the people). If we did not achieve true MACC and Judiciary independence; the Government still put their own interest above the people. When the people are fearful of the government, there is something definitely wrong. Government should fear the people. It doest not take a genius or perfectionist to run a government; you just have to make less mistake and have less corruption than the fool next door. PR is not perfect, but it seems to be the lesser of 2 evil (with some leaders of good character still alive; I hope they live longer for the well being and future of Malaysia). And it seems like Badminton is a sports which could unite all walks of life in Malaysia. It's in time of turbulence, which make you feel more patriotic and to care for your country.

Hopefully I won’t be forced to leave the country one day; long live Malaysia :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's wrong with DELL?

It seems like I’m in the roll of complaining about corporation ways of doing business lately, starting with AirAsia, Maxis and now DELL Malaysia.

Personally, I like DELL because if offers good value for money and it allows some level of customization to their hardware.

Lately, Mei Ru bought a CPU (the box, not just the chip) and a monitor (a separate item on promotion) in a single transaction. Somehow, the goods come in 2 separate deliveries at 2 separate days. I’m sure this will increase their cost, and not to mentioned the unnecessary extra carbon footprint. This is not an obscure case, but definitely the norm. I try to order 2 different model of computers in a single transaction a few months ago, and they come at different delivery at different day as well. Not only it’s neither cost-effective nor carbon-efficient, they are causing inconvenience and wasting my time to allocate resources to wait for the box to arrive and collect it.

This is just plan weird, or too much bureaucracy going on that no one bother about saving cost anymore (besides doing retrenchment). First of all, the goods did arrive within 5 days after order being placed (efficient, with no issue of long waiting time), and each delivery is separated only by 1 day. There is no reason why they can’t wait for another day and deliver it together. It could be a stocking or delivery arrangement's limitation, but there is definitely something not right about this.

Another minor issue is Dell’s customization options are really limited nowadays. Most of the time, you can’t customize the CPU and graphics card, and with limited option available for RAM and HD space.

DELL had lost their number 1 spot to HP and Acer, another great company with sound business model going down to waste due to bureaucracy.

The Maxis Corporate Promotion Problem

Not that long ago, I tried to apply for the Maxis Family Plan to include my father as the sub line. But I was told at one of the service center that I can’t do that because I am marked as a corporate account (though I first registered for the line as personal many many years ago). I suspect it got something to do with the corporate promotion I take up in my previous company many years ago, but I had since switch to another package (nothing to do with corporate). Again, I was told to go to KLCC as that is the only place I can apply to being “unmarked” as corporate.

After many months, I finally got a chance to drop by Maxis center in KLCC. I was told I cannot “unmarked” from corporate unless I got a letter from my ex-company. WTF! The phone line is mine, and I no longer work there and neither do I use the previous corporate plan anymore. Why do I have to ask my ex-company on something regarding MY PERSONAL phone line!!! It turns out my ex-company sort of own or “take over” my phone line when I signup for the corporate plan (which I am told nothing of this nature at that point of time). Though my name is still there, but my I/C number is wiped out and the backdoor owner is my ex-company.

After showing my dissatisfaction and raising my voice slightly, the guy said he could help me solve this problem with some kind of re-registration again. Good. At the end, I was told to pay RM 50 for advance payment (I’m fine with this unreasonable inconvenience), and another RM 50 for registration. WTF! I have to pay another RM 50 to claim back my line (which I probably had paid when I first registered my line). I was thinking perhaps it would be better and cheaper just moving to another Telco like Digi or something. Then again, I am too lazy to shop around and just want to get things done.

This got me thinking. If I owe Maxis money for my phone line, will they chase after me or my ex-company? If they are going to chase me for money, why do I need to get my ex-company’s approval to unmarked as corporate? For god’s sake, it’s MY phone line. Again, this is another corporation and procedure bullshit, which defy logical thinking and reasonability. Why so many large corporations have to screw up in big and small ways, or did they intentionally do so just to squeeze more money out of us.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AirAsia 5 Evil Plan to get you to pay more

While I was booking for local flight from Kuala Lumpur (LCCT) to Johor Bahru, I found that AirAsia website had put up multiple checkpoints to get you to pay MORE by DEFAULT. The website is designed in such a way that it's very easy for you to pay between RM5 - RM100 extra for services which you might not need. This time, I do feel they had indeed turned "evil" and no so customer and service centric anymore (no longer quite the people's airline).

Evil Plan 1: Check-in Baggage (RM30 - RM60)
While you are keying in for data for GUEST, they automatically selected 20KG baggage for you which cost RM 30 at each check-in (meaning to say you have to pay RM 60 extra for 2 ways). Please make sure you select regular baggage (RM 20 for 15kg) or no checked bag. There is option for you to pre-order your meal or an comfort kit, luckily it’s not selected by default.

Evil Plan 2: Seat Selection (RM5 - RM25)
They try to get you pay more by selecting a seat (RM 5 for Standard Seat, RM 25 for Hot Seat). Beware at this point, although you selected “Continue without picking a seat”, there you still prompt you a popup message box. If you click “OK”, it will redirect you to the seat selection page without a proper go back link (press the browser’s back button to go back). So, remember to click “Cancel” when the popup appear.

There is a SkyBus service from RM 13 as well, which is not selected by default. So don’t click it unless you plan to take the bus from Sentral.

Evil Plan 3: Insurrance (RM 15)
The insurance is selected by default (RM 15 per person), so you need to read the fine print in order to see the Cancel button on your right, at the fair panel to remove it. Check under the Services and Fee section if there are any unwanted services (you might need to go back to previous pages to remove some of them).

Evil Plan 4: Convinient Fee (RM 20)

Lastly, there is an “Convenient Fee” of RM 20 if you pay by Credit Card or Debit Card. There is no escape for this, and you won’t know until the payment had already been made.

Evil Plan 5: Early Check-in and Boarding (Purchase 2nd ticket at Premium Price)
Usually we are advised to reach the airport 2 hours before flight, but many of us might take this advice lightly. AirAsia is pretty strict now by not allowing you to check-in if you try to check-in less than 1 hour before flight time. Even though you had checked-in, they won’t allow you to board if try to board in less than 30 minutes before flight time. Maybe it’s their way to improve efficiency, or try to get you to pay more to buy more expensive second tickets at last minute.


Personally, I think AirAsia make many unscrupulous attempts into making you pay more for extra services (which you might not need). If you are not careful, you might be tricked into paying between RM5 – RM 100 more.

Too bad other airlines had not been able to catch up with AirAsia pricing, so we would need to find ways to maneuvers around their attempt of putting their hand in our pocket.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Engage in Location-based Application War

Not that long ago, I thought of the idea of Location-based Message Board (LaMB), where people could tag their message / tweet / status at a specific location. LaMB could retrieve location-based information from Wikipedia, Flickr, Google Local Search, Wikimapia, Yelp, TripAdvisor and etc. The idea is cool and useful (and the technology and hardware is available to support such application), and I was so excited about it.

After a few hours of research and googling, I found a handful of competitors doing location-based application: Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Rummble and Flook. It’s common to find a few startups with million dollars funding venturing into the latest buzz; but there is a bigger hidden threat: Google. Google Map itself is slowly (but definitely) expanding its location-based information layers such as Wikipedia, Photo (from Panorama), Webcams, Real Estate, Hotel Prices, Navigation, Bicycle Route, etc. I am sure it’s just a matter of time before there integrate with all the information sources I mentioned above; and eventually with their own location-based messaging plus integration with Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla. In fact, they are probably already doing it with Google Wave.

Under such heavy “threats” from heavy-weight players, where does small application developer stand? How can we carve out a niche in this new yet crowded battlefield?

Integration is the Key to Survival
Google is definitely the main threat here, as I have to be careful in choosing the right technology and approach to avoid being crushed (or become irrelevant) by standing in the way of this Internet Behemoth. In terms of Technology, I think there is a need to embrace Google Maps (duh!), Google Friend Connect and probably Google Wave (Information Collaboration, crucial for crowd-sourcing information and could potentially influence the platform used on Wikipedia and Wikimapia in the future). As part of Information Broadcast and Messaging, there is a need to integrate with Google Buzz, Facebook and Twitter. There are so many technology and platform to integrate with, and we haven’t even starting to build our actual application.

How to make our application useful, unique and avoid being crushed by others easily? We probably need some niche and less than conventional fun factor built in.

Go Local
For starter, we could target local (Malaysia) information. Though the potential market could be smaller, but we might have the best compilation of local information. We might need to compile useful local information such as Travel, Food, Event and Property which might not be widely available yet. We might need to generate this information, thus controlling the source and be the local information provider as well. Global players might be slow to conquer Malaysia (thus giving us some head start), and might not be attentive to be local needs and culture.

Fun Factor
Not only the application needs to be useful, it needs to be fun as well. Some players already integrated some simple games into application such as earning badges, dropping virtual items and promotion to become mayor. Messaging could be addictive is well, but it’s too common and available on multiple platform.

There is an interesting game about Monopoly on Google Map, which is quite interesting and with some good potential (too bad the game got shutdown after a while). Perhaps there is a potential for civilization, risk or tower defense kind of game on Google Map; or an RPG roaming the hidden map on Earth!

Jack of All Trades Symptom
Sometimes we might try to do too much on a single platform. We try to do messaging, information aggregation and game at the same time; and we might end up being average in everything.

I think we should focus with some useful in the beginning, and think of ways to make it fun and engaging eventually.

Our Approach
Do we want to be a mobile application (like Foursquare and Gowalla), or do we prefer to be a location-based information center (like Google Map itself)? Do we wanted to be like a social network (like Facebook), or do we take the path of public information aggregator (like Google search)? At this moment, most location-based player took the path of mobile application (you need to be physically be at the location, authenticated by your mobile device) and thus physical games is possible; and there is a tendency to be more social network-like. For every path chosen, there are bound to be gains and sacrifices (duh!).

I would prefer the path of public information accessible from anywhere and anyhow (either mobile application or notebook at home). The more I try to protect my turf by restricting the user or control the out flowing of information, the less likely I would get public acceptance and prevail in the long run. This is not the age of selfish game, as information could be attained from multiple sources and platform; thus we need to be as widely and easily available as possible.

At the end, we wanted to be the platform to a whole load of location-based information and messages, while making the tool as usable as possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Challenge of Business Ideas

I supposed coming up with random “good” ideas is considered easy, but it’s no enough. In order to turn our idea to support our livelihood, we have a few things to consider.

The number 1 challenge is most ideas already been thought of by someone, and probably already executed. Let’s say I want to build an accounting system or a coffee machine, and there are easily thousands of solutions out there. So how do I persuade others to buy my solution?

I could specialize or target the niche, such as accounting system for hotel, or coffee machine for geek. We could go local as well, providing something in our own language and culture. There are probably fewer competitors there (but still a handful of them), and the pie gotten smaller as well. So I have to evaluate if the pie is big enough for me, and how could I beat these competitors.

We might try to put in a few tweak to make our solution better in terms of performance or user friendliness, but it might not be enough to win customers over with these minor enhancements. We need “revolutionized” certain conventional ways of doing things, creating something fresh and inspiring. For example, Opera introduces Tab Browsing, Add-On (Plug-in) made Firefox popular, and Chrome with its clutter-free Interface and Lightning speed. We need to be more than just another solutions, though the competitor will catch up with these innovations pretty fast.

Cutting-edge Technology
We could introduce some cutting-edge technology into our solutions, such as what Google and Bing is doing with the current search engine war. But not many of us could effort to spend so much money in R&D to gain a competitive edge.

We could always set a lower price, or even give our free version (and charge for premium version). Though price does play a role, but marketing is more important in order to let customers know your solution exist in the first place.

Most of the times, I think the features of the solutions itself is nothing if compared to the marketing effort. I think a lot of accountants would agree UBS accounting software is not the best in the market, but it’s the most widely used and most well known in Malaysia. Even though I could create a better accounting system, I don’t think I could beat UBS without a huge marketing budget. Organic growth is only possible when the competition is non-existent or too weak.

People Connection
Besides marketing, connection is equally important in the sense who do you know (who could help you sell more). Basically I would not create a product if I didn't know someone who could at least help me sell a dozen copy (the quantity depends on the price). We need either a very solid salesperson, or someone who know people around the industry. May the best win may not hold true most of the time, triumphed by the one with more connections.

Late Comer Strategy
Since most of our idea is not really new, thus there are probably many similar solutions already capture most of the market share. We can try to hit it with more marketing effort, but certain solutions are “sticky” and made it hard for their customer to migrate to other platform. How can we steal their market share? How about a feature which could migrate the entire UBS accounting to my accounting system easily?


What ever space we plan to compete in, there shall always be competitors: sometimes they are huge (Google, Microsoft, etc), and sometimes there are ten thousands of them. Very seldom we shall gain the first mover advantage, and being a first mover we could be limited by resources and market idea (and acceptance).

How can we really compete in this harsh environment out there, where we are limited by manpower and money? In such situation, we have to go back to the idea itself. We must be able to solve a problem which haven’t been solved, or solve it better than others. It’s true that bigger company have more brains and financial muscle to do things in a bigger scale; we just have to come up with some nifty which everyone likes (my head is banging hard now).

Now I am banging my head on how my idea could survive the onslaught from my biggest ally and foe: Google Buzz & Google Map.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Aging Malaysian Entrepreneur Wannabe

I should be 30 this year, an age where I should be married with 2 or 3 children running around. I should be a hardworking management level employee of a tech company; leaving my programmer traits behind as it is after all a low level tech job for young people. I didn’t comply to the should be, due to many reasons which is due to passion, believe, coincidence and luck.

Basically I like programming because this skill allows me to turn many ideas into execution, which is very exciting and harbor many opportunities. Currently, I use my skills to work on freelance and turnkey projects in order to make a living, but it kind of getting boring, tedious and not so "stimulating". Basically, creating applications to solve daily business problem isn’t very exciting; but it’s a more “stable” means to generate income. Many years ago I thought of implementing the business model of a typical software product company, where I create a useful business application which I have domain knowledge in, and resell the product many times. The main reason I didn’t do it because I don’t have a strong sales channel to sell more than 10 copies of the same software. And nowadays, maintaining a piece of product for a bunch of clientele seems “no so interesting” 10 years down the road, though I could make a good living if I could make it.

What would I prefer to do? Once in a while, I would come up with some ideas and try to get it to kick start through self funding. I tried self-funded and do-it-alone style, which I get more satisfaction than freelancing on turnkey projects. I manage to get some small success with a small steady income streams, and the implementation is getting more interesting by the day (I get to try out new ideas and enhancements). The thing being a lone ranger is that I must be very careful in picking the domain I am working on, as I must ensure that I have the capacity to implement it, and a property strategy to beat my competitors. So I restricted the ideas which I can work on. And working alone means there isn't anyone to challenge me, and perform a check and balance with me. I could be right, it could be better or I could be a total sucker, and I just wouldn't know.

The problem arises when I wanted to work on a bigger idea, which requires more people and money. I had tried to secure funding before by applying through Cradle and MOSTI, but no luck (perhaps I am no good at this). Another challenge is about setting up a good team, which is even more difficult for my case. For example, Cradle would like to see a more diversified team rather than a bunch of techies, and I have a big headache securing people from different background such as sales, marketing, business development, management, etc.

The other main obstacle is age. It’s not that I am too old to do it (financial burdens had yet to land on me yet), but there are less people around me who are interested. There are very little people who have interest in entrepreneurship, and they even less who are willing to take some risk to work on the idea (basically, there isn't perceived risk in employment). Nowadays, most people don’t even have time (or not willing to spend time) even on part time basis to work on it. I know of 2 pretty talented people but both of them have their own issues and attitude crisis: one think that he is always right, and the other just want to have fun with his work and disregards others and other things. And a few just gone into "retirement" from the business of entrepreneuring.

I have both people and money crisis. All these could be due to the fact that I am not really a social person, as I am shy with networking and lazy to entertain customer beyond basic requirement. As such, my social circle is smaller and I didn’t find opportunities to mingle with people with the same passion as I am: a Technopreneur wannabe. I should really get out more often rather than trying to churn out miracle in front of the computer. I need to find the right people to build my team and get the proper funding and support.

Finally, do I have what it takes to make it? I believe I do, and I am working on the right ideas, just that I haven’t really proven myself to the world. No matter what, I have to safeguard this sacred confidence no matter what others think (it sounds weird, but I need that to keep moving). But I have one problem, that I am not used to playing it BIG. I work alone most of the time, and I am too lazy to manage a whole company (the most I am willing to do is to manage a team). Thus, I need someone to run the company for me, while I work on the product and idea. I just hate accounting and visiting government offices to get the paper work done, or pay bills, salary and etc. I need to find someone who likes to do what I dislike to do, and he should do it better than I could.

Yes, I am aging and time is against me. And with this sudden spark of idea coming up this year, I will be taking a plunge and investing more time and money to make it work. At the same time, I should meet some people to get a feel of the real world out there; to make sure I am not hallucinating.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why are we always so busy?

I still remember the weekends where I am always free and stay at home, and wondering why others are so busy and what are they up to. Perhaps I don’t have much social life, but my schedules are much easier to manage and predict then.

There are some friends in our life who are forever busy with something else, thus we shall not be able to get hold of them for any kind of activity. In the end, we might just give up on them and never bother again.

Due to this “busy-ness”, it makes group activity organizing very tedious and painful. A lot wouldn’t bother to join, and a handful would not make it at the last minute. Perhaps a lot of the married ones (with children) need to spent a lot of time with the family, and running family chores. At the end, we all shall have less time for friendship, and friendship is only within memory with no maintenance (it is happening, and it will happen). There is always something else better to do, but I am not quite sure what it is. Maybe sometimes we are just lazy and prefer not to do anything.

The same “busy-ness” is starting to be applied to me slowly. My schedule is getting less predictable, and there seems to be something on every weekend. But I always wonder what I did during the weekends. I seem to spend a lot less time on camping or even movies, and I vaguely remembering attending some social events like makan-makan and running some errands. Wedding preparations seems to take up some time, or did I just loiter lazily at home?

The problem is, I seem to be busy but I am not quite sure for what reasons. Why I can’t felt “free” anymore or the real “busy-ness” is actually the many things in our mind. There seems like a lot to be done, and yet we haven’t finished it yet. House to be furbished, Wedding to be prepared, Projects to be completed, Dreams to be accomplished, and many more.

I am busy because there are many things on my mind. I am busy because my life involved more people than it used to be. I am busy because I want to escape the “busy-ness".

This is just pure madness.

Why are we always so busy? We finish 1 thing and start 2 others. Life never seems to slow down so remember to push snooze now and then.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Optimized Lazy Man Money Making Guide

A lot of us would like to make more money, but we are lazy in different sense. Some of us prefer money to fall on our lap, many of us would not want to face customers and some would not like to manage employees. How can we make money by going around this laziness? We shall find out soon.

What is the Optimized Lay Man Money Making Guide all about? We shall focus on mechanism to make more money by focusing on the following criteria:
  • We are not risk taker, thus we shall not invest more than RM 10K is any form of business which doesn’t guarantee returns
  • We do not start a business which had a physical present (such as a shop)
  • We do not employ a whole bunch of fulltime employees
  • We avoid dealing with customer directly
  • We focus on liquidity and freedom of time
  • We do not plan to work more than 10 hours per day in long term
  • We do not work on weekends or holidays
  • We avoid troublesome or sticky business

This is challenging, right? This is exactly the path I am going through.

The easiest, comfortable and rick-free way to make money is employment. We don’t have to worry about finding business and customer, we just do what we are paid to do, and we get paid at the end of the month without being affected much by our performance. If the job gets too demanding or stressful, we could always change our job. We can always find an easy job out there, though we might need to sacrifice a bit on the pay. Tips: go for European company which discourage overtime.

Stock Investment
I a lot of people like to invest in stock, because it just involves a few clicks on the computer or a phone call, easy right? For those of us who are not so educated on “stock” matter, we can always invest in Unit Trust based on recommendation by The Edge-Lipper Malaysia Fund Awards, or buy government funded bond/unit trust such as Wawasan 2020, Sukuk, 1Malaysia, etc. Though stock investment is risky, most people still believe they can make more money by buying low and sell high (which they didn’t follow most of the time, or turns out to be too greedy). Unless you are a professional, do invest only in reputable company and buy when it is really low (when everyone is afraid of buying in), and make sure you don’t borrow money to do so (too risky). Else, just stay with Lipper-endorsed or Government Bond / Unit Trust.

BTW, remember to put in your extra cash into Monthly Fixed Deposit (which earn you 2% interest compared to less than 0.2% is Saving Account). Choose a bank which supports online transaction for FD placement, so that we don’t waste your time, petrol and parking fee.

The easiest way is to start a blog and earn advertising dollar from AdSense or Nuffnang. You would need to spend quite a lot of time to do it, and good at writing, but it’s easy (no need to look for customer) and risk-free (ZERO investment). Be ready to write at least 1 article per day for a period of 6 months before earning some decent pocket money. If you are money-centric, do pick on topics with better advertisement return. It helps if you like to take photo and good with Photoshop, and even better if you are a tech geek (LiewCF), have a sense of humor (like Kenny Sia) or you are really pretty / handsome (turn yourself into a web celebrity with your hordes of minions like XiaXue).

When I say “easy”, it doesn’t mean almost everyone can make a decent income out of it. Just easy to start and rick free, and you need to be fairly persistent and disciplined in order to succeed.

Online Shop
They good thing about online business is that you don’t need a shop, thus you don’t have to pay rent, employ staffs and take care of the shops during business hours (and worry about robbery and theft).

The cost of starting an e-commerce website (About RM 1 per day) or blog shop (FREE) is fairly low. The trouble is the sourcing of products, or you can create your own handicraft (which is quite popular nowadays). If you have a passion for craftwork, you should consider online shop as you have a unique and customizable product.

Home-based Data Entry Clerk
Though I am not sure how many genuine home-based data entry job are out there, but part-time data entry clerk for MalaysiaMostWanted (my startup) could potential earn RM 80 - 2,000 per month, though many quit after the 1st week (no more openings are available as of this moment).

Others job seems to promise RM 500 - 10,000 per month. Not sure how true is this, or what need to be done.

Grey-area of lazy man business
  • Freelancing – though freelancing could rope in decent income, but we do need to look for clients. For example 1) Makeup artist: RM 600 per day 2) Photographer / Videographer: RM 800-2000 per day 3) Programmer (not website designer): about RM 600 per day 4) Accountant: About RM 300-600 per client every month, or RM 1200-2000 for yearly account. 5) Feng Shui Consultant: RM 600 – 2000 per house
  • Property Investment – it is nice to have a passive rental income, and we have heard of people profiting RM 20K to 200K from selling their property after a few years. The problem is property maintenance and rental collection could be quite troublesome, and the money invested is quite substantial as well. For first timer, we need to be cautious and educate ourselves.
  • MLM Salesperson / Insurance Agent –the risk is fairly low (compared to other business) and the potential returns could be quite enormous. The downside is we need to look for customers and partners constantly, and there is a need to “maintain” them constantly (a very sticky business).

Lazy man might have to sacrifice a bigger income stream (not necessary always true, if you are really good or passionate about it) in order to exchange for a lazy man lifestyle (less risk with more freedom). With the availability of Internet and Technology, as least we now have more options to make a living of our choice.