Sunday, July 24, 2011

Raggae Raggae the Dragon Slayer

Put some music in my food for me, and give me some Ragae Ragae source
Hot Ragae Ragae Source

It's so nice, I had to named it twice, I called it Ragae Ragae source
Hor Ragae Ragae Source

It's sad to see that the judges from the retail and marketing background didn't see the potential, while the guys from Technology background supported the idea. I guess there is no single most delicious source in the world (no one said his sauce is good, or bad), but the branding of Jamaica, Raggae Music and Hot BBQ source seems to be an interesting combo.

So 2 dragons invest in someone who can't count really well, probably don't know much about big business, who can write and sing pretty catchy tune, and make decent sauce. Sometimes it is difficult to break it down and analyse it to back our "correct" judgement, but rather it "feels" right.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Start Now. No funding needed

I still remember the days where I was so excited about the idea of government giving free money through Cradle, MDEC Pre-seed Fund and MOSTI fund; and I scramble to come up with some ideas and gather a team with lost touch friends. I tried three times over a period of 2 years, but I didn’t make it. On the surface, I did blame their “secrecy”, “biasness” and “incompetence”; yet perhaps I fail to write proposal which appeal to VC.

Start Now. No funding needed. from Derek Sivers on Vimeo.

Somehow, I decided that I could start something small without needing any funding; since I can't knock the idea off my head. I am a programmer, so I can absorb most of the development cost. I can do simple design and graphics, and I learn about SEO. By the way, I was trying to develop a property website. I took me about a few months to get the website running and feeding in data, and it didn’t quite take off.

The project was put in cold storage for about a year while I embark on something else, then I feel the urge to restart the whole thing again. I focus on food and restaurant this time, using a new framework. I made a few mistakes with the property website, where I develop my own framework (which was fun, but a nightmare to maintain). By using an open source framework, I can focus on developing features for the website rather than enhancing the framework. I put up some courage to employ people (burning my own money) to help me with the boring but important task, which is content building. I used to do it myself, but I felt it’s better to delegate these tasks to others, while I focus on enhancing the website’s features and performance.

Now, I have a monthly burning rate (paying others) and I am working for free (no income yet). But I feel it’s necessary to raise the stake in order to prove once and for all, either my idea will sink or swim with no regrets. I manage to break even after 12 months (discounting my own salary), and we are doing reasonably well after 4 years. Somehow, I started from a timid entrepreneur wannabe who are afraid to spend money to fund my own idea, and later it become natural to invest in my own idea. The good thing about spending our own money is that we run a very “lean” operation with no big overheads; I observe some well-funded competitors sank within a year or two (can’t keep up with the burn rate).

Recently I am tempted to aim for the ICON2 fund, why? Speed. The problem with a lean startup is that we are extremely careful and try to spend as little money as possible, thus the growth rate could be fairly slow. If I could at least double the expenditure, then I could shorten the time to build a successful product. At the same time, we have more luxury to experiment with various ideas, rather than doing things “safely” which hinder innovation and breakthrough. I think I had gain some maturity and success to move into second gear. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms

Perhaps it's time to upgrade our educational system :)

  • The route to education marginalizes what you think are important
  • Why would we want to lower the standard of Education (so that more kids could pass?)
  • Many brilliant people think they are not smart (they don't do well academically)
  • Modern Epidemic: ADHD (being medicated from being distracted from boring staff at school towards Internet, iPhone, 100+ TV channels). We are getting our children through education by anaesthetising them (shut off their senses); we should be waking them up to what is inside of themselves!
  • Education System is modeled after the Industrialism: Ringing bells, Separate facilities, specialize into separate subjects, Educate children by batches (age). Kids have different levels of competency at different subjects, perhaps study better at nights than day, or learn better in smaller groups or individually. We are doing standardization, while we should go the opposite direction.
  • Divergent Thinking: essential capacity to creativity; the ability to see lots of possible answers to a questions. Kindergarden student scored 98% to be genius in Divergent Thinking, and their capability deteriorate as they aged. Why are they not getting better? We educate them, telling there is only 1 answer and it's at the back of the book (and don't look). 
  • We have to think differently of human capacity
  • Great learning happens in group, and collaboration is the stuff of growth.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anyone for Parti Kebebasan Internet?

With the recent “hotness” of Bersih 2.0 and promising sign rallies (and objection to suppression tactics), and politics are suddenly “sexy” again with lots of “gossips a.k.a conspiracy theory a.k.a insider news” flying around, and the battle had gotten more interesting as the opposition actually had a chance (though the hope fluctuate quite dramatically), with dissatisfaction, disappointment and fear of the people rising rapidly, perhaps this is the best time to setup a Political Party and be a Politician?

If I am a politician, what should I champion? Since I can’t fake it very well, so I have to champion something dear to my heart, which is Technology and Internet. On the bright side, Malaysian has the most Facebook friends, everyone loves their iPhone and iPad (and perhaps some Android fans), we still love our local blog celebrities and we get non-government propaganda news from the Internet (newspaper and TV no longer have the balls). There is still a lot to fight for, such as The Censorship of Internet is getting out of hands with disregard to MSC’s Bill Of Guarantee of No Internet Censorship, such as censorship of RPK’s blog, TMNet blocking of Pirate Bay and other file sharing sites (a knife cannot be deemed illegal just because it can be used for killing), and of cause freedom of expression (at least on the Internet front), plus we all hope for better quality of Internet services. On a more drastic front, perhaps we should learn from Pirate Party to defend our rights for free software, games, movie and music (since most of us love it; and we pay when we can afford it, or when it’s worth it); and also to prevent the Government from spying or wiretapping our online activities.

Source: JDS

There is no better time to be an “Online” politician, as the Internet dramatically lowers the cost of running a campaign and increase exposure. First of all, we don’t have to apply for a police permit for Ceramah, as we can do a webcast (later archive it on YouTube) and people can send comments or ask questions by SMS, twittering, facebooking, etc.; and you can have millions of viewers and supporters without causing a Chaos. Secondly, your political party is a Facebook-like page, where everyone one who likes you automatically become your member (no form filling), and can proudly claim with proof that your party is 100,000 strong (of fans). You can do your party EGM and voting your Committee online so it doesn’t interrupt your member’s busy life and schedule, which is great! Then we will have the usual blog to let voters know us better (it’s virtually impossible to know your representative is like or what is he doing to help without a blog) and a Facebook page (or a more organize Q & A website or complaint tracking) for interactions (know the people through Facebook, better reach and time saving as compared to on the field tour).

Our Online Party is not meant to solve every problem or serve the need of every Rakyat (as each Rakyat have different needs and priority, which shall be served better by others), but we can become really good at what we do: champion our rights for good quality Technology and Internet. We fight for Internet Freedom and No Censorship, we fight for access to free Music, Movie, Software and Games, we lobby for better and cheaper broadband, and we vow for an Open Party (transparency in all our donation received, spending, etc.) and protect your online voice from richer bully who threatens to sue you for 100 million by setting a legal fund like EFF, and of cause the abolishment of ISA that try to instill fear into every citizen (the Government should fear the people, not the other way round). We shall focus on Urban area with high Internet penetration for competitive advantage. The whole point? To garner enough votes to form a better government with others of similar ideal.

So what do we need to make this work? A lot of courage and passion to make things better, a great speaker (ala Steve Jobs or Obama) and some cash to burn, plus the strength to withstand bureaucracy, threat, slander, betrayal and corruption; and pray very hard we don’t turn to the dark side after all these troubles, and doesn't end up a political prisoner.

If the government can preemptively arrest people for "illegal" protest and gathering, and they already behave such under the lenses and public scrutiny; what will happened to those who are captured? Who will defend them? Given the "power" you see in this video and online media, won't you think online media is the next frontier the government will try to crack down?

Anyone for Parti Kebebasan Internet?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A meaningful life, anyone?

I guess I wanted a meaningful and fruitful life, yet I cannot ignore the fact that I am still in the rat race having to make time to make money for a living. What is meaningful? Doing something I really wanted to what, whatever it is.

Once I thought I wanted to be a freelancer (as compared to be an employee), as I wanted more control and making a living purely based on my own capabilities (as compared to feeling disappointed with others and companies). It was quite challenging and interesting in the beginning, but it sort of got bored and gotten fed-up with certain aspect of it.
Then I wanted to switched from pure freelancer to a web entrepreneur (building online services and databases which people require), which seems more fun, have a greater impact with better sustainability. I do really like it most of the time, but certain aspect of the work is quite boring and cause procrastination (as in right now). I felt it is a right balance between my interest and making a living.

Lately, I tend to skew the balance towards my interest rather than making a living. Psychologically we do indeed want to do something fun and interesting, but the logical and worrisome mind will be still thinking about making a living. Of cause the ideal situation would be that we have enough dough for a comfortable living, thus we can focus on your interest and meaning in life, rather than making a living. Again, my balance is temporary disrupted by my inner desire to do something “better”; so it’s of utmost importance that I get out of the rat race as soon as possible to achieve happiness, freedom and meaning (thus the luxury to do whatever the f*** I want, bypassing my worrisome mind). Or, if I can convince myself forget about making a living (which seems impossible due to my Chinese gene).

So how much is enough (can't be too abstract, right?)? I am not a financial expert, but perhaps achieving semi-passive RM10K monthly income or RM 1 million in cash in the next 5 years? Sound far-fetched? Perhaps, but it’s meant to be difficult but achievable; else everyone would have done it. Making a good income but with no freedom and time is equally meaningless.

As for the rewards, what do I really want to do?
  • Develop a semi-passive business to sustain my comfortable living
  • To develop a game which I would enjoy the most
  • To travel and experience life in foreign places up to a year
  • Take up some art & craft as hobby
  • Perhaps to start an urban gardening business
It’s all started with a dream :)