Friday, August 03, 2007

Win Your Daily Battles

Concentrate of winning your battle for today. Tomorrow can worry about itself.

Rethinking Your Plot

When you don't know what dialogue to write, it's good to think about the plot again and free flow writing the elements and how the characters interact with one another. Take time to understand more of your characters, their traits and their desires and the world from where they come from.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Difference

A retired engineer was once asked to fix a problem at his former company. The machinery wasn't working and being the expert on it, was recalled to help solve the problem.

He quoted a consultancy price of $50,000.

When he arrived at the factory floor, he listened carefully to the humming of the machine, then took out a piece of chalk and marked an 'X' at one spot. "This is where your problem lies."

The factory engineers duly opened the machine and examined the mechanism where the retired engineer pointed out. And quite correctly, the machine functioned after being fixed.

The managers were however, a bit miffed for paying $50,000 for just a chalk mark and asked the retired engineer to give a detailed breakdown. His invoice was as follows:

1. Chalk mark $ 1
2. Service from years of experience $ 49,999
TOTAL $ 50,000

The lesson learnt is that value doesn't just come from tangible goods or service but from the intangible as well.

Another lesson is that you must always quote a price BEFORE you give consultation.

Which reminds me of another story:

The difference between the runner in a 100m race may only be 0.01s. But the prize money can be as different as $100,000 and $50,000

100% increase in value for only a 0.1% difference in output.

One lesson I think is that we shouldn't try to go for doubling our output to double our pay. We can't. I can't double my pay by doubling my lines of code per day. In fact the number of lines of code I create a day remains constant. It is the quality of code and the years of experience behind it that is important. There is a limit to the number of hours a day we have.

It is increasing our decision making abilities so that making right decisions more often is increased, and thereby our added value increases.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Guess Who This Is?

She has a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwando.

She is an expert player of the Kayageum (Korean Violin) and has released 4 CDs.

She graduated with a Bachelors Degree from Seoul National University.

She knows English, Chinese, Japanese and Ancient Hebrew.

Her father is an elder in her church.

She aspires to be a missionary.

Guess who else is she?

Miss Korea and 2nd Runner up in Ms Universe 2007! (Lee Han-Ui, a.k.a. Honey Lee)
(Jaw drop....)
The following are the possible conclusions suggested by people
1. Everyone is really beautiful.
2. With make up, anything is possible.
3. With money, anything is possible.
I choose option 1. That first picture of her, makes her look like any girl that I've seen on the street. But I think that really everyone is beautiful. It just needs a little coaxing to come out.
C.S. Lewis writes that one day, even the most boring person you think of, will be transformed into a being that you would be tempted to worship at the feet of. Looking at that second picture, I can sure understand why some men would worship at her feet. :)
Mission trip to Korea anyone?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Time To Boast And A Time To Be Humble

There is a time to boast:

1. During job or performance interviews.
2. When you are selling your product.

In short, to win people over to the merits of yourself or your product.

The time to be humble:

1. When you are with your colleagues.
2. When admonishing others.
3. When examining yourself to improve yourself.
4. Before God.

Paradox? Hypocrisy? Or just the right action for the right time? Asian modesty errs on the side of modesty. American philosophy tends to incline more to salesmanship. The Bible says to "consider others better than ourselves."

I think the key is truth with love. During an interview, you shouldn't exaggerate facts until it becomes a lie. Just highlight truth. (Though of course, when an interviewer asks you what is your weakness, I don't think it's a good idea to tell them if you have a problem with flatulence...)

It may be the truth to tell what is right, but if it harms someone else, perhaps some things are better not left said, though it may be true.

The tough thing is to balance both. "Instead, speaking the TRUTH with LOVE, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ." A difficult thing to balance indeed, something that takes experience to learn when and how.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Have you ever seen a Google ad?

Guess not. What about Friendster, or Facebook or MySpace?

None whatsoever. Yet they are all successful.

If your product isn't good to be spread by mouth of word, it ain't good enough to be socially viral.

I think one of the key markers for a new-economy startup is that it must be so good that word-of-mouth recommendation is the one thing that will differentiate the winners from the losers.

If people don't want to recommend it, tweak and reinvent the product until it becomes so good that people will.

Impressing investors is good, and necessary to get initial funding. But the key indicator of your success is whether people like it.

I've been in a couple of startups and seen too much from the Internet bubble days seeing people spend millions of dollars on advertising down the drain.

The new economy's rules are different and so are the marketing methods.