Saturday, August 05, 2006

Work, Time and Value Added

Perhaps we have a misconception about compensation and work done...

Let's say we get paid $2000 and we put in 8 hours of work daily.

Suppose we then get paid $4000 in another job. Do we then put in 16 hours of work a day? Do we expect ourselves to put in 16 hours a day?

However, sometimes in a workplace this happens, but not with us, but with perception of others.

The reason for this is equity theory.

I get X for doing 8 hours of work. But Mr. Expat gets 3X for doing 8 hours or even less amount of work. So in our minds we feel that there is inequity or unfairness.

Which leads to this conclusion, our salary isn't really "fair". You and I are also products and services. We sell our services to a company according to a price negotiated and agreed upon.

Your price is based on perception of value.

Price is always about value, or should I say perception of value. Because value is only a concept.

One person's piece of junk is another's priceless artifact.

Therefore the only way we can increase our salary is to increase our value or should I say perception of value.

Value is merely a concept, it cannot be held, it cannot be touched, it is intangible, it is abstract, existing only in the mind.

People pay for value.

Gold is valuable only because it is perceived to be valuable. It is useful no doubt. As a conductor, as plating, etc. However most gold isn't used. It's hoarded, bought and sold but never used.

Isn't it interesting that a lot our existence and work now revolves around abstract concepts? Something imaginary perhaps? Are we chasing illusions in our lives?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Skill Is...

Skill isn't just learning how to use an instrument, it's the meta-knowledge, the creativity and the feel in intuitively knowing when to use a certain feature or command.

It's when you instinctively know what is the right thing to do or to say or to where to move or who to talk to or what you must do.

In music, learning just the chords of a guitar and what notes each string plays when plucked doesn't make you skilled.

In IT for example, a lot of "programmers" call themselves programmers just because they know what commands do what in a programming language or operating system. But a skilled programmer is one who knows how to blend them all in to create a work of art.

In management, just because you know what privileges and power a manager can do doesn't make you a manager. It's when you know what to do and when to do it that makes you a manager.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

There are no borders in this world anymore...

The world is a small place.

I'm currently working in Kuala Lumpur with Finnish and Filipino colleagues.

I read a couple of pages of "The Creative Class". The world's talent goes to where the hubs of talent are. They are not restricted by nationalistic borders.

They go to where the money is.

I see economies of countries not really linked to the physical boundaries of their borders but to the prosperity of their cities.

Even within the USA, we see competition between cities. Boeing deciding to shift their headquarters to Chicago from Seattle for Instance.

I believe that it isn't just national policies that will be the major factor in prosperity. It will be in the development of vibrant cities. Cities that become a hub and meeting place of the creative class, the people who will be the movers and shakers of the millennium. These are the people who are the ones who created unique added value.

In a time when labour is being commoditized and the world is shrinking, it isn't just natural resources that are the advantage. It is those brains that control these resources that are the ones generating added value. Hollywood movies, computer games, software are all products that are made out of thin-air. It is the imagination and talent that fuels this new age of intellectual property.

Therefore, these people are the movable resources in the world. They are valuable resources that are not locked in like oil in the ground, or gold deep in the earth.

The valuable resources now are people. And they are mobile.

Like bees attracted to flowers, countries and cities must build and provide fertile environments to attract these people.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm Tired of Eating...

Having the option to eat almost anything you want isn't such a great deal that you think.

After 3 months, I'm tired of eating. Steaks, buffets, ice-cream, pasta, nasi lemak and all that doesn't seem to bring me a lot of pleasure.

In fact, if I could I wouldn't want to eat for an entire month. Unfortunately, without food I will die. :)