2017-06-02

Yawn 26

This period has been rather busy for me, and I fear that many of these thoughts are not coherent.

May 9 to June 2 Start

Like I said, these days there little I despise more than rudderless individuals looking for a leader or group to identify with. I've run into many. They stink, and it rubs off on me.

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Found a couple of OEM suppliers for our upcoming range of wellness products. Anyone who wants to help me run this business, PM.

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By the numbers: Why do you suppose we function 24-7? Lol. Most hospitality industry RoA sucks. Utilisation sucks. And then they worry about red ocean marketing.

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I see the MYR crunch has finally hit IKEA.

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MMA and wushu drama: This is exactly why the butthurt are effing mental. A non-competitive system of movements is not martial, it is dance.

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I am about to destroy 70% of the chairs in the cafe... and turn them into stools. I also need to build prototype benches from concrete and wood, and I need to destroy some brick walls. Who's up for some exercise?

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Maybe I should just make the goddamn banquettes out of PVC piping...

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I don't like breaking heads, but every so often, a little refresher is required. (company) is designed to be completely impersonal to the customer. The customers who come here because of relationships with the staff are the wrong customers in the long run, and the staff who think their relationships matter have lost the plot. I will tolerate the deviance, but I am not complying with these interests at the level of policy, since that is counterdirectional to the design of the company.
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Commerce is boring. Finding other people who find it boring... ah, that's harder. I am generally disinterested in being a disciplinarian, however, it appears to be the only approach that works in the short run.
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I suppose this is what it is to be working alone, mostly. But generally I do not find it productive to dwell on that while there is still work to be done.
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Also wondering if it is a good month to terminate the entire staff and start anew. Hmm. Not a day goes by without the availability of that option, but on some days the opportunity cost approaches a trough.

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It's a good day when we're trying to get blends to taste NOT like a Colombia.

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"Why do front-of-house staff get a worse deal than kitchen staff?"
"First of all, it's not an apples to apples comparison, so good luck making sense of it. Secondly, front-of-house staff are more easily replaceable, so the nature economics is that with higher supply, and similar demand, the price is lower."
"Prepare to be on shift again."
"Well, on-call for two years already, so no difference from my point of view. Also that means we'll start hiring freshies again. Whee. Also if it doesn't work, we simply reduce hours to 12 or 6 as planned."
"That is a deviation from why the company was founded."
"The company was founded to make money. If you want to work on strategy, sign up for a three year job. Lol."

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"The milk is still weird."
"If it is weird next week, switch to brandX."
"Can you recommend some brands for me to check out."
"You can check out brands in documentY. And you are switching to brandX, that was the answer, not a question. This operation is 19 months old, and the work on milk evaluation has already been done."

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Facing grave uncertainty about the quality and future of our operation. Let me try and eat my way out of this. :P

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"Human beings are designed for relationships. If your business model goes against human nature... it might not be a good idea?"
"But that's precisely why men go to war. Because the world is not enough."

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I'm glad I don't distract myself with Mother's day.

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Puttanesca

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Breakfast. Met with merchandising supplier. Kitchen coaching. Sales coaching. Furniture calculations. Lunch. Purchase of gift. Delivery of gift. More food. Out of whey protein. Bought whey protein. Read up on creatine supplementation and cognitive effects. Bought creatine monohydrate. Coached coffee. Consumed whey and creatine doses. Watched a movie. Networking. Ran a few loops interspersed with walking. 177bpm peak measurement. Wash. Water. Sleep. Networking. Just did taxes. So happy. Breakfast. Chores.

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Just took apart and reassembled a power socket. Shy of termination, next time we just do our own wiring too.

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How do I get the shortest (cheapest) possible consultation with an ENT specialist to check for ear blockage / hearing loss?

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If Tesla never converges on the ATP currency, something's missing.

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Power socket design appears to be horribly unrepairable. This should not continue.

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Overworked, replaceable, but not always burnt out. Lol

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Built, debugged, deployed, and costed, three table prototypes. ✌🏼

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Enforced hacking.

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How hard is acting normal (10 is hardest)? I would say my experience is 3/10. It's just way too easy, because the rules are predictable. On another note... I have the contrapositive pedagogical experience at my office, where I keep trying to train timid people to be recalcitrant business people. Can't win, bub.

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Experimental design in statistics and that ESP drama: I miss college. Now the glaringly obvious problems have mainstream recognition. Hehe

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Guys, guys, once they mass produce bacteria that eats plastic, you know plastic will never be able to do the job it used to...

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Back to work. I am one with the potatoes...

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Michelle Yeoh trailer: Anyone else bugged by the lousy editing? "I think it's about time / we talked about you," which makes me wonder if it was an issue with accents :p

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Back to work.

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Well, for those of us who picked early retirement from the rat race (I didn't even take college application very seriously), there's always a question of whether FOMO ought to be cultivated or addressed rationally: rational life usually resulting in uncommon adventures.

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Reminded in recent conversation. My portfolio of social relationships is optimised so that I am generally: collegial, and indulgent on stylistic issues, only with people with whom I am in an either commercial, or sexual, relationship. I am not fond of friends and family in general. If I like some individual, I try make them either commercial or sexual in relation to myself, otherwise I actively deprioritise the allocation of my resources to our relationship. In the same way, I deprioritise investments in stylistic affairs in all sense modalities, unless they are linked to the optimisation targets above. You only have so many opportunities in life. We each pick a strategy for optimising utility, and that function differs for everyone. This isn't to say the game has always been played this way. It just happens to be how it is played right now.

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I wonder how many people remember being 8 or 9 years old, and training for a target to be hit between 16 and 18 years old. I wonder, if I'm the only one that stopped caring along the way, because the way about this became too easy, too predictable. It's a queer mode of thought upon reflection: you are Xyo, training for a 2Xyo target. At some point you're 3Xyo, and thinking about the X-2X period. Now I'm roughly 4X and thinking about the X-3X period, and wondering about causality and determinism between choices I made at X and 2X, and their impact on the 2X-3X period. Hmm.

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Weak. More diligence required.

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I hate telling customers that a section is closed. I really, really hate telling tall, well-dressed, pretty, female, anglophones that a section is closed. #havinganablistclassistsexistcapitalistmoment

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Taking a break from solo-ing hardware, to cleaning up accounts... we have more haywire...

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Rest insufficient. Physical project postponed.

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It's a day for remembering that I'm definitely a demotivating influence upon impressionable younger people who have great material ambitions, because I lack those ambitions. I should keep to myself, and cause less friction, when interacting with them. Hehe. I miss you, belle.

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Discussion today; we shouldn't ban laptops - but we need to ban books and other forms of paper strewn on tables.

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Today I happened to sit next to the contemporary equivalent of the 90210-crowd at the cafe, and I remember this exact cadre from 20 years ago. Didn't think much of them at that time. Seems I figured out how to get them to pay my bills...

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Sudden death will be a welcome reprieve. But that's purely hypothetical ;)

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Loyalty needs a definition. Otherwise it sounds like a disease.

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"Can you do X for the staff party tomorrow?"
"When is it? There was no announcement."
"There's another group for organising it, as you requested."
"But how are the people in the main group going to know that there is another group? Let me shoot off a quick pointer from the main group to the other group. Done."
"Just saying, it was organised a week ago."
"But the questions you are asking me should have been settled a week ago. I'll try to accommodate ex-ops requests at the last minute, but they will have very low priority... good luck, have fun. Let me know if you need more $. :P"
"Is the charcoal still in the storeroom?"
"When did we put charcoal in the storeroom? Let me check. I see an ice kacang machine. Do you want bingsu?"
"Where do we buy charcoal?"
"Wait. Let me check my manual on how to organise a BBQ, brb..."
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OMG BBQ indeed.

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Can you skirt the entire cheap-sale-regulation by having "off-season-premiums" instead?

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"Why does the coffee taste different today?"
"The taste is up to the person on duty."
"Everything constantly changes! How will your kids get it right!"
"Right is relative to who's on duty. ;) "
"Sighhhhhhhh. Inconsistency kills me."
"But we're designed to be inconsistent."
"Cries. I guess it makes for interesting exploration."
"It's for the betterment of the staff, and the differentiation of the product.
"Your staff probably does not see it as betterment. Though it would work if the coffee remains tasty. Though I suppose that would depend on the consumer: different tastes. Hmm, but I guess that's why most cafe use the safe option of having a balanced cup."
"Balance depends on who drinks it. 😉 I expect to have consistently competent baristas. They can decide what goes out, and they have to deal with the explanations of the calibration. We lock down a lot of other things, like the dosing, and the service format. If we wanted the coffee to taste the same always, we would parameterise everything, and hire dumber people."
"But isn't staffing quite difficult?"
"Yes, we're already moving in the direction above - given the unavailability of talent, we're increasing focus on retail products and decreasing focus on services."
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Because if we don't have enough people to provide to third-parties every service that we consume, at least we can provide to third-parties every product that we consume. LOL.

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Started keeping a physical journal for exercise. Feeling old :P

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Quantifying people is not hard. Explaining to them how they are so is usually harder, as it requires a lot of cultural baggage to be addressed. Every conversation I get into with a warm body, I am looking for their fight or flight response on a scale of one to ten... their friend or fuck response likewise... their rate of reaction to sensory stimuli in various modalities, timbre, amplitude, melody, rhythm, colour, shape, warmth, cold, pain, pressure, vibration... their levels of reward, in terms of chemical pleasures upon cognition of certain concepts, or pain, fear, loathing, depression upon facing confusion, memory overload, et cetera, et cetera. It took a hundred years from the invention of the automobile to the time when drivers would be automated... probably it will be only twenty or so years from the invention of latte art to the automation of the free-pouring latte robot. I wonder, if I was more driven by material ambition, instead of being the sort of person who mostly waits for life to end, what it would be like to build these machines. (Tech: plainly exists already.) But given that I rarely hunger for such trivia, seeing its eventual occurrence​ as inevitable, I suppose I will spend most of my life watching people instead of modifying them.

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Looking forward to a weekend of paperwork.

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If I don't have time to manage my dating search funnel, can I pay someone to manage it for me? Given the quantity and quality of technological development in the field of hookups, love, sex, and networking... surely the matchmaking profession should be more viable than ever before? Or is this just waiting for a company to commoditise the metaservice? Concierge, anyone?
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Tangent: do you want to outsource your relationship search management? What would you pay in cash, for what quality of result? Go crazy.

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I consider commerce to be a subset of my social life. I prioritise commercial work above other aspects of social life. So I work with a priority stack of ( asocial life > ( commerce > lovers > friends > family ) ). So while I run my life that way, I generally need to keep in mind that others do not, as I attempt to construct/curate a business organisation. Of course, this would be turned an interesting way by the onset of kids, who would probably fall somewhere between commercial and sexual commitments. Lol.

(This is definitely incoherent.)

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Tired. Still underserved by colleagues. More work required.

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Out of shape. More work required everywhere. Still not healing fast enough.

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(forum comment)

Ok, can we geek out a bit on flavour profiles? Here is my subjective experience on cb+gas.

1. Cold vs. hot. The cooling operation... reduces aeration thereby reducing aroma, increases mouthfeel (because of oil viscosity?), thereby muting weak flavours and smells in general and enhancing tastes and tactile effects like astringency due to reduced nose and increased tongue contact.

In order to match these physical effects... the coffee needs to be brewed with a more pronounced sweetness, otherwise other tastes may dominate (least favourite: cold, sour, aromaless water).

2. General gassing: improved aeration, and changes mouthfeel, tastebud contact, and sounds. Helps to mitigate some of the effects in (1.), But won't save a cold coffee with weak aromatics.

3. Carbon dioxide bubbles. These drop the pH (add sourness)... and so any coffee using this needs to be extra basic (bitter) to compensate in taste. The rough mouthfeel due to large bubbles evolving on skin also needs to be balanced with a thicker viscosity of the initial brew. The side effects of CO2 are much more pronounced than the general effects from gassing...

3. Nitrogen bubbles. pH neutral, and has smaller than CO2. So has fewer distracting side effects...

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This is insightful, given my existing study of the system.

"The absolute level of cardiac vagal activity or vagal tone appears to result from the excitatory drive from peripheral baroreceptors. In animals, cardiac vagal activity disappears at very low pressures or if the afferent nerves are cut." - Wikipedia

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Back to work. What shall we do, today? All the necessary things.

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"Hi, I have X for sale."
"How much are your Xs?"
"Let's meet to discuss it, I can bring samples."
"You may bring samples. But I only need prices."
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[A day later.]
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[After an hour of shooting the shit. Blah, blah, blah.]
"I wouldn't want to waste your time. We're not ready to buy anything. I'm looking for prices."
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[Half a day later.]
"Here are the MOQs."
"Thanks for your time. I can't use MOQs without prices. Good day."
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Sometimes, I wonder whether it is my English, or my polity which gets me nowhere.

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Day 702. Perpetual devastation numbs the mind against the dawn of another day of mediocrity. The job continues. No sign of keenest talent anywhere. So we shall potter along with what has crept out of the woodwork. I still despise those looking for inspiration from their surroundings. But I must condescend and make the keenest effort to engage with each and every person, as that is the project's definition - to be commercial.

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So if the company's still chugging along in a year, I may have found the time to build this amount of food prep into my schedule, and in another year maybe we can sell it. Haha

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No, really. I wish all our staff would stop bothering me with things they cared about that I didn't ask them to do. Half of my time is spent encouraging people who don't quit fast enough, to make up their minds.

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"There is crying in the factory."
"Emotional turmoil?
"Suspicions of guilt, and distrust between individuals."
"Is it affecting the quality of their work?"
"Not quite. Some remain committed."
"Allow them to focus on their mistakes. If they can live with themselves, they will be useful. If they cry, let them cry. If it affects their work, shoot them."


May 9 to June 2 End

2017-05-19

CRM on Dissatisfaction with Reduced Seating Quality

Dear sir. Changes to the establishment are not meant to be a slight against individual customers. Your contributions as an individual customer have been vast and immeasurable. However, the nature of the business has required tactical changes to occur. Over the past sixteen months, a key concern has been the shortage of floor space. Numerous attempts have been made to coach staff in the aggressive policing of space efficiency - by and large, these attempts have failed. The business has now resorted to modifying the architecture of the space so that it will require less aggression from staff. We have anticipated that this may cause a severe change in clientele - in fact, modifying furniture sizes is a key macroarchitectural lever in the control of sitting time in restaurants and cafes. As much as we regret to do so, and with significant risk to the accelerated closure of the establishment, we have to accept that brands, which are people, change. And when people change, their relationships change, sometimes becoming stagnant, and other times moving on. We wish you the best of times as a patron of comfortable places, wherever you may find them. The quality of your work at any location will probably take you there.

2017-05-13

Human Metrics

Many here are not comfy with numbers, or managing people by numbers. But it would be good to hear some feedback from those who are comfy.

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We run a bar and restaurant fully on independent contractors paid above federal minimum wage (RM4.81/hr). We start green front-of-house (FOH) recruits at RM5/hr, and aim to get them to solo the bar + floor + housekeeping, at which point they get RM8/hr, with an additional RM2/hr if they are soloing. I recently provided our FOH scheduler with the following target metrics:

:one:
A FOH crew at x should be able to deliver normal service quality on a shift that generates 12x the cost of FOH labour in gross sales. For example, an RM8/hr freelance soloing get RM10/hr, and in a 7 hour shift, 12x gross sales means RM840. And a full day of RM8/hr pairs working together should expect to handle RM3840 without stress. In the past we have run RM6k days with more staff.

:two:
Sales will be volatile, and for example, the middle shift can expect most of their sales to be generated in the final 60 minutes before the night team turns up. A single RM8/hr staff should expect to handle rushes of up to RM350/hour purely in bar sales. The figure is double if you mix in 60% kitchen sales, as production does not occur in FOH.

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How about you? What sort of quantitative expectations/ limits/ budgets do you have of your teams?