Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Taking a step back to move forward

This beautiful castle seems like a dream to me

First find a dream, then find a plan to achieve the dream. And then, just go all out to execute the plan and persist. One day, the reward will come...........

Two weeks ago, I decided to quit my job to make a swift turn in my career. Yesterday, I was at the junction, deciding which path I wanted to take next. The pressure was overwhelming. After all, this is going to be a great turning point for my career track of 8 years. These days will have impact on my whole career life and even my life, so to speak.

So, I finally decided. Despite being so blurry today until I was dozing off several times during work due to only 3-hours sleep last night, the decision was not hard to make. In fact, I know the answer has been there all the while in my heart. And one great Director from a great company said in my recent interview, I need to "follow my heart". And that's important.

There are few things that this new job is actually a few steps backward for me. Well, thanks to my current boss (even though I seldom appreciate that) , I was given a lot of opportunities in my current company. Sometimes, more than I could handle. But this new job offers me more chance in other area like pre-sales and learning on how to start my own business - which is my ultimate goal.

A great person told me this. I should not be working for other people. I should be my own boss one day. So, do not just look at short-term gain. Do not work for the money. Let the money work for me. After all, another great Director from another great company told me this - I am not being offered just a job, but a career.

Well, for the past couples of weeks, I have met 3 very successful people who definitely know what to say at the right time. It is like the phrases are their trademark or something. And I have to admit, I was enticed entirely, like an ant to the pool of sweet.

However, I got a fair taste of bitterness also. I was said to be a bit wishy-washy for not being bold enough to take the new challenge and trying to play safe by having backup plans. Totally right! Also, I was also given enlightenment not to appear to be so ambitious as sometimes that will work against me. Again, true also.

Well, at the top of the chart of my discouraging list, my current boss make a bet that I would come crawling back to the company to beg for a job after 3 months. Of course, the begging and the crawling part maybe a bit overstating. But the rest is true.

And so, that is me on the verge of some nervous breakdown because everyone try to impart some influences on me. And my futile attempt to please everyone ended up with more burden on my shoulder. Maybe I need to heed the advice from a great mentor - think of myself and my family first. When I am great, I can do a lot more for other people.

Well, so now I am taking a step back to move forward. And I definitely have my eyes set on the future. There will be no backup plans for I will not go back to where I used to be. And definitely, I will get myself busy with my new job even though there are speculation that pre-sales job will be very free. Well, these are roughly going to be my new responsibilities:

1. To manage end to end development of R & D department for testing and improvements of solution.

2. To assist in presales activities for solution for both local and international clients.

3. To manage all project planning and implementation progress to ensure timely and smooth delivery to the clients.

4. responsible for the technical development and designing of solutions.

5. to manage the technical team for Research & Development, implementation and solution delivery for existing and new solutions.

6. To plan and manage visitations to client for a better understanding of the client's requirement for solutions.

7. Willing to learn and accept new skills and knowledge for the improvements of work requirement and imparting of skill-sets to subordinates.

Well , if these responsibilities are considered not time-demanding, I would have already been a very successful and efficient person. But I still had a long way to go.

And there are a lot of reading to catch up and a lot of things to learn and teach to others.

Underwater world

If you like this picture, you need to consider scuba diving. A diving course cost about RM700 and that is definitely worth it considering you are entering another world.

It is maybe more fun than having a Second Life , which I cannot understand why it becomes so popular. Well, take note of its mantra then - Your world, your imagination !

Despite the lack of understanding, I am definitely impressed. I become more impressed when I started to see how the virtual world is having a great impact on the real world . In fact, I just found out people are using it to get a real life job in addition to paying good money to buy stuffs in the virtual world. Well, I have to say - everything is possible these days. Every products have potential to change the life of millions.

Technical Pre-sales vs. Product Management

The World Is Your Stage - Technical Pre-sales

Pre-sales is a dynamic group of technical specialists based out of regional field offices who go into action when Microsoft launches a product. These are the stage performers of the IT world: immensely capable, adaptable, confident, excellent communicators who are equally cool in front of large crowds and intimate groups. Pre-sales technology specialists work closely with
Microsoft Sales to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Microsoft products.

This is not for "heads-down" types; this is a job for those who love people and technology. It means getting pumped about dynamic new products in an infectious way, while at the same time knowing the IT business as a whole in order to speak authoritatively.

Your Strategy Can Make Big Things Happen - Product Management

In an industry that moves at lightning speed, it takes individuals with equal amounts of skill and enthusiasm to create and sustain momentum for great software.

That's the charge of Product Management at Microsoft. Each year Microsoft invests billions of dollars in research and development to explore technologies that will positively impact businesses, education, and everyday life. Product Managers help chart the course of those new products and services as they emerge. They work with the development team to determine product functionality, strategize product positioning, and drive the product launch. After introduction, the Product Management team monitors customer and partner response to the products and refines product strategy to ensure the best possible user experience.

As a Product Manager, you have the freedom to run your own business and the resources to make a global impact. The ideal candidate possesses excellent marketing and business analysis skills, well-developed strategic thinking, and the ability to communicate and coordinate with a variety of product development, marketing, sales, and business development teams.

From Microsoft Website

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Mend Broken Relationship

Recently, I have a request from a person who hope to mend our broken relationship. Well, to let you know my point later in this post, I first have to say that the person is the one who brought the damage to the relationship in the first place.

However, he wants to do it his ways, i.e. determining which day and who should or should not join the meeting. I did not feel comfortable with some of the arrangements and I voiced out some suggestions.

However, he insisted his way is the best to achieve the objectives and other ways will make things useless.

I got a bit frustrated and I told him this "When u go fishing, what you put on the bait? Do you put the food u like - chocolate, cakes? No, you put worms , which obviously u do not like...".

"In this case, when your objectives are to mend our broken relationship. Do u think it is better to try to do it my way since u r the one initiating it?"

Well, if you read the book "How to win friends and influence people" (which I always strongly recommend to all my friends) , you will know the fishing bait story is from that book. And it is a perfect illustration on doing what other wants and not what you want, when you want to get something from the other person.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Google Bought Feedburner

Although this news is 3 months old and I cannot believe I missed this out, I am compelled to post this to marvel at the power of enterpreneurship.

Yes, Google bought FeedBurner for speculated $100 million. But the story I wanted to highlight here is not focusing on Google, but rather on FeedBurner. Barely after 3 years since it was started, it had reached a level of recognition enough to grab Google's attention.

So, I do believe in great innovation. And I do believe when you create something great, it will not take too long before people start to recognize the potential of the product.

FeedBurner, founded by four serial entrepreneurs in February 2004, has been on the leading edge of a second-wave Internet boom with the popularity of blogs, commercial newsfeeds and podcasts. FeedBurner developed tools to enable writers, publishers and broadcasters to capitalize on the boom with advertising, tapping the power of RSS, short for Really Simple Syndication, a technology standard for publishing regular updates to Web-based content.

FeedBurner provides a suite of Web-based services to help publishers -- from one-person operations on up to major media companies -- with tools to manage all aspects of content syndication via blogs and podcasts. The services simplify the tracking of circulation and delivering content to the right place in the right format. Advertisers use FeedBurner to buy space in the new media, providing a new revenue stream for the content creators.

FeedBurner's customers -- 431,171 publishers as of Wednesday -- include Reuters, USA Today, Newsweek, Wired, Fast Company, Inc., Geffen Records, CNET UK, IDG publications (CIO, PC World, Computerworld, Mac World), Ziff Davis publications (PC magazine, eWeek), Smartmoney, Marriott, Amazon (podcast), Yahoo! (corporate blogs), eBay (corporate blogs), Castrol Syntec, Christian Science Monitor and Indy500.

Costolo and three other consultants -- Steve Olechowski, Eric Lunt and Matt Shobe -- left Andersen Consulting in Chicago in 1996 to start Digital Knowledge Assets, a maker of software that enabled users to publish and share their thoughts on the Internet. The software foreshadowed today's blogging craze. They sold the startup in 1998. FeedBurner was their third company.

Like Google, FeedBurner is known for its
innovation and playful spirit. Costolo said in an interview last year the company knocks out new features every six weeks. "We also conduct regular hackathons where the engineering team knocks out a bunch of services in one day," he said.

This is what I hope for when we started Agile Methodology in our company. We are making progress but still need a lot of effort to build the culture to promote innovation and playful spirit. I guess I cannot see these days since I am leaving.

This is the announcement made by FeedBurner on their website:

Nice Adventure - How I wish I can have one like this

I come across this very nice adventure of a guy who is traveling on his bike across US and Europe. Wish I can have a journey like that. I cannot help but taking some of his best photo to upload here. Looks like a heaven to me.

I particularly like the last photo. I probably will want to sit there a whole day.

Well, I guess this is another reason why I want to change job. To see more of the world. :)

Change all the design again?

Joey said in his post - "I suddenly took a look at the new web design they've done for us, which I've been approving every step of the way, and didn't like it any more, so I told them we had to start over."

I shared this post with a great designer and she said "Unless everyone sees the same picture. It is hard to even imagine the tiniest bit of enthusiasm everyone is able to squeeze when the whole thing has to be changed."

Very true.

I replied that is the role of a leader, that is to let the whole team know and agree on the direction together. Hardly anyone can do that, especially if it involves changing the whole thing of something people put weeks of efforts into. It is always between too much or too little, too complex or too simple. And the key is BALANCE.

I particularly like the 'sesame seeds' story in the post :

In one of Gerald Weinberg's books, probably The Secrets of Consulting, there's the apocryphal story of the giant multinational hamburger chain where some bright MBA figured out that eliminating just three sesame seeds from a sesame-seed bun would be completely unnoticeable by anyone yet would save the company $126,000 per year. So they do it, and time passes, and another bushy-tailed MBA comes along, and does another study, and concludes that removing another five sesame seeds wouldn't hurt either, and would save even more money, and so on and so forth, every year or two, the new management trainee looking for ways to save money proposes removing a sesame seed or two, until eventually, they're shipping hamburger buns with exactly three sesame seeds artfully arranged in a triangle, and nobody buys their hamburgers any more.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

My struggle

Just want to draw something with my Wacom tablet purchased quite sometimes ago. Not too bad, yeah? :)


Quote from Wikipedia:

Presales will become a key competitive differentiator for the demand-driven economy.

Presales is the activity that qualifies in or out a prospect. Such an engagement with a prospect starts from the first point of interaction until an outcome has been reached. These interactions can be started through a variety of engagement triggers such as direct marketing, email and SMS campaigns, interactive advertising, online ads, portals and online billing.

A positive presales outcome is the generation of a warm lead or the trigger of a transactional event. However, the highest value of presales interactions is to understand why a positive outcome has not been reached. The aggregation of these interactional patterns can show the emergence of unmet and latent demand.

Presales is a relevant method for when there is a multiplying of choices for the prospect to consider. The diversity of pathways leading to different outcomes can be significant for complex products and services or when engaging with cross-sell and up-sell interactions.

I hope I know more in this area. But I don't. I think presales is part of the product management process. Even product management have different meanings and approach for different companies.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Country Financial Management

I am getting more serious in my financial management lately due to the huge spending needed to renovate and complete my house for the Home-Sweet-Home project

In addition to that, I noticed a lot of people are turning to unit trust and financial planning as their career choices. I think I know why - I strongly believe the country and all the people need better financial planning. This is proved by the recent increase of cases where people lost couples and hundreds of thousands to millions of their saving to some scams. Amazingly, at the country level, we are also noticing some overspending. Some of the spending left me with big question marks. I cannot seem to understand why the spending cannot be avoided or managed properly. I am still very inept in economy and financial management but I hope to learn more.

Here are the summary from the national news:

RM100 million were spent by the government for our 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations this year.
RM 3.8 were spent per person considering we have population of 26 million people.
RM38 million were spent in 2006 on the same thing.
RM35 million were spent in 2005 on the same thing.

RM300,000 were spent by Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (Mardi) for overseas trips and non-project related expenses without approval.

RM 8 Billion was the increased amount in annual operation cost for the recent raise in salary for all civil servants. The salary raise was equivalent to
4 months bonus being paid out to each employees. ( I will be very happy if my company can pay me that kind of bonus)

RM100mil was sponsored by Russian for sending 2 Malaysians to space in return for the Malaysia's purchase of its military assets. Meaning the Russian is getting much more profit from the arrangement. Or should I say, Malaysia had spent much more on the military assets.

RM78,000 over 15 months were spent by Langkawi Development Board (Lada) to repair and maintain houses that were unsold under its public housing project
RM110,000 more are needed to rehabilitate and maintain the houses before the houses can be sold.
RM 32 million fell short of estimation for the project returns.

RM8.39 millions were the amount the Government paid more than the market price for the 13 items purchased.
RM1.24mil were paid more to one supplier than the other for identical engineering equipment
RM224.94 was the price paid to buy a set of screwdrivers valued at the market price of RM 32.80
RM10,700 was paid for a set of technical book valued at market price of RM417

RM154,200 was lost in July due to theft cases for Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB)
RM124,000 was lost in June
RM78,000 in August

RM290.12mil were spent to set up the department’s Customs Information System (CIS) from 1998 to 2004 but the system had not been used efficiently as the software is deemed not user-friendly. The software is still using DOS and not Windows.
RM340.27mil in tax arrears was not tracked efficiently because the earlier RM290.12mil software was not used properly.

50 to 80 cents per kilo was paid by Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) to buy back oversupplied fruits . 40 sen to 50 cents per kilo is the current market price. So, even with the oversupply, the farmers could still earn MORE profits.

I really do love management in general because:
1. There are huge difference between managing greatly and managing poorly.
2. But no one really know how to measure it- are RM 4 too little amount to count?
3. Little can mean BIG - RM4 per person become 100 million in total.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

I am the Lame Duck Leader now

So, I am being labeled the lame duck leader now. This is the first time I heard this phrase. :).

It is perfectly fine to understand , but if you are being called one right up to your face (in my case, is yahoo messenger) , I guessed it hurt even a little. But not bad, at least I learned something new today.

Adding salt to injury, some of the things I was doing at the past is "meaningless" now. So, there is "no point continuing doing". Again, I can perfectly understand this also, but it again hurts to really heard them.

Let's say you have a really stupid subordinate. If u call him "stupid" or "not clever" or "intelligence-challenged" or "academically challenged" or "slow to understand" or just simply "worthless", I guess it will mean the same for him. It still hurts.

The best way to get your message across? I am not a master in this also. But, I do know when we give feedback, we focus on specific behavioral change. Being stupid is NOT the behavior. Not being able to understand the requirements is the behavior, for example . And the objective will be to get the person to understand the requirements.

So, instead of saying you are stupid, just tell your subordinate this - "You do not seem to understand the requirements which is critical to the success of the project, anything you can do differently?"
Offer to help also, if needed.

So, if you have the impulsive nature to call people "stupid", "not hardworking", or even "lame-duck", please think twice.

I prefer being called a cute duck if it is necessary for me to be a duck. :)

Blogging during lunch again.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Need for Change

Thinking differently can help change behaviour and lead to better results.

can change behaviour MORE and lead to even better results.

[Those that] handle the challenge of change well, can prosper greatly. Handle it poorly, and you put yourself and others at risk.

~From the book 'Our Iceberg is Melting'

Saturday, 1 September 2007

7 tips from Dilbert to survive in your workplace

If you want to survive in your workplace, these are the 7 most important tips you need to learn from Dilbert.

1. Do not let your boss call the meeting first
You need to always call for meeting first even though you do not know anything or what actions to take. It is OK that nothing come up in the meeting and everyone is rambling in non-existing direction.

If you do not need to plan anything before calling for a meeting, that will save you more time to surf net and have longer lunch right? Besides, you can always log your time as "brainstorming to come out with great ideas and actions". And, no action need to be taken at all.

If you let your boss call the meeting before you, this will happen:

Let me start today's meeting by accusing you all for being lazy and stupid.

Oh, I am so going to like this meeting. Can we get some dough nuts first you continue to hammer and kick our butts?

2. Answering your boss email is utmost important.
Check your email in every 10 minutes to monitor any emails from your boss. If you receive any email from him, quickly reply within 10 seconds with the message "Noted." - even if you do not know what he is talking about or if you do not intend to do anything about it.

None of you answer the email I sent out 10 minutes ago. That's unacceptable. I can issue warning letter for this kind of conduct.

Let's see, if we spend most of our times monitoring and answering your email every 10 minutes, we will only have 40% time left to do the work of our primary responsibilities.

First of all, waiting and answering my email is your PRIMARY responsibility. Second, if you think I care about your problems, you are dreaming. You can always cut down your bathroom breaks, lunch times and work like on weekends!

3. As you can see, your boss do not care about your problem.
So, shut up and solve the problems yourself. Anyway, if you tell also, your boss won't understand what you are talking about. So, don't waste neither your time or her time.

4. Your boss thinks everything is very easy to do.
That's why you find at most of the time, your boss is very demanding. Actually he IS NOT. He is being very reasonable because the tasks he asks to do are mostly very easy. He can even get some mentally retarded people to do it. So, if you do not want to lose your job to some mentally retarded people (sorry, I am not discriminating against mentally retarded people. I am sure they are very competitive now.), you get your ass down to do it. Just hope that your boss will forget about it after that. If not, be patient and wait for maximum of 10 years, I am sure he definitely will.

Our company has a new strategy. Since our last solution is not selling very well, we want to build a SIMPLE robot that can help humans in any possible way- doing house chores, massaging, shopping, or even the point of having sex with the owner.

That is like super project. When do we need to start?

I NEED it DONE in 3 minutes. I will go out and have one big fat lunch now. Come and see me after lunch to show me the working robot. I will personally test it out for you.

5. If you cannot do your job, your boss can always seek external help.

Dilbert, I have hired contractors from India for this project . From now on, pass all the works to them and free up yourself. This project is very urgent and need to be completed asap.

But I have almost 90% done with the project. I only need 2 more days to complete the project. If I pass to them, I need to explain everything from the beginning to them. That will takes me a week.

I already hired them. So, just do what I tell you.

6. Of course, you always need to do what you are told to do without arguing.
Do not even tell your boss he is wrong even if he is, which is most of the time. Just pray that he will get into his sense one day and realize he is wrong. (maybe after some project failures or people leaving.)

7. Always go to talk to your boss even though you can handle most of the things yourself.
Your boss probably has more experience than you to deal with problems so most probably she can really come out with some good solutions.
Contradict to tip #3, even if you do not actually have a problem, it is advisable to come out with a problem so that your boss can help. That will make her own the project. Otherwise, she can always say "I am not aware of the problem" if there is any problem with the project.

If she cannot come up with the solutions (you need to find problems that you know she can solve in the first place), give her some hints but always make her think she comes up with the solution by herself only.

We have a big problem with the project. A component of the program is delayed and the program need the component to run.

Then, make the program do not need the component to run.

Hope you enjoy this silly posting. Of course, I am just joking about all this. LOL.

My review and reflection for The Garden of Words

I just watched this short animation work from Makoto Shinkai. I had previously watched his grand hit 'Your Name' and absolutely fel...