Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication…                                                                                                                                          



Short Notes for August 6

I had a personal discussion with the boss. Had to explain my side of the story on why I was evaluated in a certain way last year. Phew. Work is just a rubber ball. Just a rubber ball.

Uncle Loh spent a night here to start early tomorrow for his son’s UKM commencement.


The Question about United States Dollar

Woke up a bit late (near 7, oops!). Had a session with DeVere. And they suggested me to invest in USD $?


First of all, can somebody explain to me what is United States Dollar backed by? Is it gold? Oil? American economy? I took 3 Economics courses with flying colors and I would really like to know. But don’t tell me to ask Ben Bernanke or Alan Greenspan about it. Heheh.

The Chinese are going, “Yeah, we have plenty of those… and we’re very much secure. Look at what they’re doing to Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan… etc.

Simpler question: what brought the largest firm of independent financial advisors here to Asia in the first place? Is Asia a booming market?

But come to think about it, US Dollar IS indeed the international reserve currency, isn’t it? In fact, majority of US notes are held outside the United States, what an interesting fact that is. And yet America is the one acting like the world police. Ironic? Maybe…

* Hey, maybe that’s what’s driving them to police around the world… taking care of the assets.

Rubbing Salt on the Wound

Maybe it’s just me but that paragraph is way over the line. Whoever came up with that has not gone through some real thinking.

Employees: “Heck, I didn’t know we were going to produce in order to buy seven 60-inch Sony screens for everybody… otherwise I would’ve worked a little harder… to get me some.”

Talk about sensitivity training.


P/S: Remember one of the Chief Ministers who gave away brooms to not-so-clean schools? Yeap, he got the boot out.

False Cappuccino Advertisement in Malaysia

So this is what you see as you approach the counter. (Choose cappuccino on the top right).

And this is what you get.

The things we get away with… in Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh!

Short Notes for June 16

Spare parts discussion. The work was about 70% done and then only you seek controllers & management concurrence? Not the right process. Farewell tea for one of the supervisors who was promoted to a Superintendent. He emphasized the importance of explaining the “why” in order to be more convincing.

Safety system testing

This whole week will be about safety system testing. Invensys Triconex to be exact.

Most of the integrators lead a very simple technical life.

And I had some time to goof off with my Guru, Sir Ui Min. Yeah, I know… I looked fat with the hat. And the camera added 10 pounds some more. Why la you had to bring the camera, Eric? LOL…

Steve Jobs on Salesperson

Here is Steve Jobs’ take on turning around a company and not letting the Sales guy run the show:

Burrows: What can we learn from Apple’s struggle to innovate during the decade before you returned in 1997?

Jobs: You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesn’t add up to much. That’s what was missing at Apple for a while. There were bits and pieces of interesting things floating around, but not that gravitational pull.

People always ask me why did Apple really fail for those years, and it’s easy to blame it on certain people or personalities. Certainly, there was some of that. But there’s a far more insightful way to think about it. Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface (GUI) for almost 10 years. That’s a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly.

But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself?

So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.

Burrows: Is this common in the industry?

Jobs: Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft?

Burrows: Steve Ballmer.

Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And that’s what happened at Apple, as well.

Full interview here.

Street Magic analysis: more preparation required

I have been analyzing some street magic moves. I guess this is the first one that I write about. There are actually more preparation required than what the name suggests: “Street” magic of “Live” magic. The name itself is already tricking you.

It could be easily done if there’s a helper behind the board. The best effect was listening to the Japanese going “yiii! yiii! ” :p You know, that would’ve been a different sound effect in a different culture.

So Cyril came up with so-called hamburger trick. He’d approach the menu board of a burger restaurant, put his hand above a picture of a hamburger that he wanted, and pull out a real hamburger.

Here’s an answer for it but without much explanation. It’s pretty obvious even without any narration.

The menu board opens to the back.

And to answer his critique, he improved the burger trick with supposedly a suspended wall and just a thin layer of menu taped to the wall in front of a live audience. If the wall is thick enough, there is still a way for a small helper to fit in there and hand over the hamburger. Or somebody could just slip to the back of the wall just during that particular burger hand over.

Notice this small piece of paper stuck on the hamburger picture that was chosen. Look closely around 1:40 and 1:41.

And then he went on to show the audience how authentic the burger was – everybody was focusing on the burger. The real trick was to distract people’s attention away from the small piece of paper on the wall, until the other helpers successfully hid away the wall.

Magic or trick is all about misdirection and showmanship. Don’t fall for it. (Call me no fun but be careful with what you see and what you’re led into believing).

Malaysian first Senior Technical Professional advisor

The entire technical department had a High Tea with the lead country manager. Apparently my technical advisor has been recognized as a Senior Technical Professional advisor, the first Malaysian to achieve such honor within the organization.

That’s quite a feat. After 19 years.

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