Common Sense is Uncommon
 
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I always think about life and how can we move the world forward. There are so many ways but I always believe that we must invest in training the next generation up in order to progress as a species.

I have seen and heard many times that there are managers who do not invest in training up their staff and keep intimidating them until they leave. And yet, these people say that their staff sucks and are horrible. However, if you were the one who hired them in the first place, why do you say they suck? Does that mean that you suck as an interviewer? (Note: No one has a 100% track record of hiring but many cases I hear of involve majority of the team)

But anyway, what I am talking about today is whenever we have direct staff or junior team mates, we must take the initiative to coach and guide them. If not, no once will be able to replace you and release you to do something more useful. If we don't encourage and train up juniors, do we have the right to complain that there are no good staff out there? If we don't train anyone up, how will anyone be able to do the job?

So, do reflect on yourself whether you encourage and teach the people you know or do you just pour cold water on them. And are you afraid if one of them replaces you...

Some food for though. 

 

Fail Fast

19/09/2013

 
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It's been a while since I wrote something... been having other things on my mind and I keep forgetting what i wanted to write about anyway...

As i was talking the other day with the FI group, we talked about failing fast. We were discussing it on the context of starting our own company and knowing when it is time to pull the plug. It's not about failing but to know when is not the time to push things through. 

I think this is quite relevant in our daily lives covering everything from fixing the leaking pipe to the light bulbs and to some extent, even our relationships. We must know when it is time to pull the plug and call for help! We can't do everything alone and even if we can, it probably is not good for our mental health. 

Many times in our lives, we will always try to make things work out. We will work harder to complete projects, burning the midnight oil just because we have to. We will tolerate behavior from our colleagues that is detrimental to ourselves and yet we persevere because we are afraid of what may happen. End of the day, we have to learn to let go when the time comes. To fail fast. 

A case in point we were discussing the other day were some start ups that have been around for 2-3 years but nothing major has materialized out of it. The idea when it was founded a few years ago was great but with the world and technology evolving at such a rapid pace, it has now become an OK idea. So is it time to fail? It will always depend on the founder and how much emotional attachment he/she has on the project. And also how much money the person has. 

End of the day, we need to know when it is time to move on. When to look at other things and when to push to complete things. It is a choice we have to learn for ourselves...



 

Focus

03/08/2013

 
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Often I have seen many who are not focused on their job. And when it comes to those who are supposed to lead, it causes much catastrophe to the entire company when they lose focus.

Earlier on I wrote about how your boss contributes 101% to your work and also on how that can make you perform really well, or not at all.

Whenever we work, we all need to focus on the task at hand and also on the bigger picture. Whenever we need to make a decision, we must always remember what is the greater impact of our decisions. It is not just about ourselves and we must always think of doing what is good for the company and also the people who report to us. 

The learning I want to share today is to keep focused on the objective, the impact of it and the tasks required to reach the objective. It is not just about getting things done but getting things done in order to achieve the goal. 

 
 
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Well, I like Johnny Depp. I think he is a great actor, the roles he plays, the way he portrays characters... I just think he is great.

Anyway, my point today is to relax at work and don't be too serious. Try to relax and enjoy yourself at work. :)

I know of a few people who think that I try to be funny while at work... and yes, I do try to be funny. In my experiences, being serious causes everyone else to be serious, making people stressed out and makes others question their actions.

As we should know, our moods are contagious. Whatever mood you are in will affect those around you and so when you are trying to save the world from imminent doom, its time to be serious and focus on that. But when you are not, try to cheer up and relax. What you feel will make your colleagues feel the same way too! 

I remember studying in sociology class years ago, the dominant person (usually me) will influence the people around them. And others will absorb the energy and mood that is emanating from that person. We all will influence and be influenced by those around us and thus cause a change to the social dynamics.  

So, when the world is not ending and no imminent doom in sight, try to relax and get others around you to relax as well. It makes everyone work better as we will not be scared of making a mistake. We will not be wasting time re-reading an email 10x just to be careful. We will not be checking everything over and over again just to be safe.

Just smile, say Hi, make a joke or something. Lighten the mood and I noticed that work gets done faster that way. :)

 
 
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As I ponder to share what I learnt from startup training, I realize I see many similarities in it while working in the many companies I did previously. Today I am going to talk about the fundamental thing of any company. Get shit done!

When working in a company, the difference between a good employee and a bad employee is not how much they do, but how they communicate what they did. In startup life, it doesn't matter how well you can tell what you did, but what did you do. Did you get shit done?

A lot of time is wasted in meetings and meetings and even more meetings to tell others what did you do. Sharing of reports, analytic studies, decision making, making sure everyone is happy and heard. It's important but many times, those who make decisions are not those who need the meetings, but those around you are the ones who do. Much time is wasted validating each others decisions to ensure no mistakes are made.

But then, it is good as you will always know what is happening... right? We all don't have time to read emails because we are all caught up in meetings are more meetings. It does helps us come to a decision when we are not sure but so does a phone call.

Anyway, I would like to share with everyone is to focus on getting your work done first. Reduce your meetings and always have a PAL with you during your meetings. If you don't have a PAL, your meetings are useless. Ensure you know what you are spending your time other than getting shit done.

 
 
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After the FI graduation, a group of us were having a chat on getting stuff done. I have met so many people who have great ideas but most of them are too scared of getting it off the ground and just following through with it.

I do agree that we all must be able to sustain ourselves but I always feel that we burden ourselves with items that the media and marketing companies have ingrained into us... the sports car, the expensive clothes, the watch, the life style. Take that all away and you can do a lot of things!

Anyway, today I want to talk about the tools available to get a MVP, Minimal Viable Product.

So before you begin, you need an idea, then get a domain name for it.

After you have your domain and your free email, you need to start conceptualizing your product, here there are many tools available to you. Some are free but some have nominal prices.

  1. Balsamiq.com
  2. FluidUI.com
  3. Weebly.com
  4. Squarespace.com
  5. Wordpress.com
  6. Numerous shopping carts (shopify, Magento, ECWID etc)
  7. Google Webmaster and Analytic tools
  8. Bizspark.com
  9. aytm.com
  10. prezi.com
  11. piktochart.com

The list I have is not all encompassing, it covers what I have used and what I find interesting to be used. There are many many more tools available and it is great that being able to be used online simplifies 

 
 
I posted this out last year...

I am reminded from many experiences that people often get worked up and go off tangent when they misinterpret words when in a discussion. And often when you are trying to clarify with these people, they often talk about their agenda and will not allow for others to explain to them their mistake.

So have you encountered this before? I am sure each one of us has had a conversation like this before. And how did you handle it?

Personally, I find that this happens to me when the other person is not very technical or uses another language as their primary language. The problem occurs when they interpret the meaning of a common word for something else. And they can’t understand sarcasm.

How to deal with this? Normally I would let them talk until they feel they are right. Then start asking them back what do they mean. In these cases, it will then allow me to understand where did they misinterpret and correct them.

Few rules to follow

  1. Be patient
  2. Don’t get emotional
  3. Explain slowly to them
Hope you don’t hit into similar problems anytime soon but if you do, just let them finish first. And don't try to be a smart ass

 
 
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I wrote this last year on my old site... so deciding to move it here

Everyone only can work at 40% efficiency. The balance of 61% will come from your boss, his support and his motivation. So, your boss actually contributes 101% to your work. From -40% to +61%. It really depends on your boss whether you are motivated to work or not.

Examples... When in a lousy company, you may feel at 0% but your boss motivates you to work. In a good company, but with a lousy boss, you feel like giving 0%. 

But when you are at 20% and your boss is enthusiastic and supports you, you will definitely work much better and when you raise your work to 40%, you will be giving it 101%. You will never be able to give 101% if you boss is not supporting you along the way.

So decide as a boss where on the scale you will sit as your team's performance depends on it.