2013-02-09

Risk on, risk off, repeat ad inifinitum

Rosy up all the pictures you want, to customers, investors, and the public. In risk ops, we're always standing by for a clusterfuck.

First-mover: tai-qi in the park.
New market: commando advance.
Commodified market: knife fight at the bar.
#groan #kickIt

I like a good fist-fight, but it's no fun unless a) we're winning or b) I'm the one responsible for misplacing the fists.

If I go to war, I expect to see blood and guts. My own. Business, done tastefully, is war.

Super straight arrows

Etymology help required! Which came first, the Yiddish "mensch" to describe a straight arrow, or Nietzsche's "ubermensch"?

What I'm curious about, is that while "ubermensch" is often interpreted as "someone of overwhelming virtue / achievement," I've never read a reference from "ubermensch" to the colloquial Yiddish "mensch". I've never lived in Europe, so my exposure to all this is rather limited.

The curation of communities, is the next big thing

Community building is a huge, untapped market.

All the social media technology in the world won't make people more social, if they don't want to see each other in the first place. Whereas, content, as an industry, is static - once generated, content is archivable, copyable, searchable and commodified. Until machine intelligences can provide interactive, conversational assistance, to humans, only other humans can do this.

I'm not talking about the event management industry - events are typically regarded as one-off items. Communities that are inadequately managed turn into conference series, over months and years. You have to be thinking in much longer terms than that, and about the components of human relationships with higher granularity, in order see the monetisable value of curating niche communities, around geographies, around hobbies, around professional specialisations, etc. You have to think in terms of decades-long commitments to small groups of people, and about the commercial value of services that can enrich their lives over such durations.

My folks were pastors, so I tend to see it that way. Who knows, I might even be right.

Agism and citizenship

I find that the level of disagreement I have with someone, over how children should behave, is positively correlated with my disagreement with them, about how adults should behave.

Emotional fallacies

Often I encounter folks, who believe that one cannot deliver superior results in a field, if one does not care deeply about the field.

I have felt and thought long and hard about this from various perspectives, and the best explanation that I can determine is this. These folk are the sort who cannot commit to doing good work, if they do not care about it. That is all - and based on this personality, they do not believe that others can commit to objective standards, without emotional enthusiasm.

As for myself, I like to say that I like my contracts.

Chinese education

On calligraphy in Chinese school: I did five years of that. Always rushed through my homework. Never was taught the point. Too KPI oriented. No art in instruction. Whomever decided that it is possible to learn how to alter a subjective point of view by repetition without other targets... was a moron.

Am I Chinese-educated?

I would say, I have done time.

Subjective fallacies

Many things are "subjective." But I think all of them are subjectively quantifiable. As information technology progresses, they will be come "objectively" quantifiable too.

Schultz: You grow up poor, anyone can get your dreams.
Me: You grow up educated, no one knows WTF you're talking about.

Porn - and my teen brain

TED talk on porn - often I wish that I actually like porn - it might make me feel more like a normal person.

I actually prefer more general sources of novelty - information in general. Hence you find me, under my ideal preference, switching jobs pretty frequently. I figure out operations by watching the activities of people around me and usually have run out of things that they will actually let me do within a few months. Also refer to my academic interests on about.me/jerng and you'll see where my wires got crossed. :P

I was in student / religious leadership roles from the age of 12, and by the time I was 14, I had pretty much gotten bored of people. PEOPLE had ceased to be novel (maybe because I was mostly dealing with 14-year-olds). Working rooms for contacts, doing phone-call-downs to organise events, and talking people through their emotional concerns into a calmer state of mind, were pretty much becoming a routine. So at the time my brain was probably being maximally rewired, from the ages of 15 to 17, I was pretty much focused on learning about the humanities and the arts, as I had been under the impression that that category of information was somewhat lacking in my Malaysian education environment.

Oh, at the same time, though I'd been interested in math and the natural science since an introduction to hypothesis testing at the age of 8, and with related metaphysical ideas such as transcendental idealism (TI).
TI was via Kant's COPR, sufficiently communicated in Sophie's World, which a teacher had recommended when I was 14; later I confirmed that Kant, of course, was merely the first person in the European tradition to document this observation about the systematic limitations of consciousness.
But at the same time that I was making the transition noted in the previous paragraph, I was pretty much fed up with the way the education ministry had structured our syllabi, and consequently with the way that teachers were teaching math and science. Evidently this too has become a long-term interest.

I guess it's great to track down a systematic observation about why I am who I am. :)

Signs of intelligence

I may want to practice the studious avoidance of anything that fails to be self-conscious. No documentation? Fuck off.

Today's epiphany (a good reminder): I need to reduce my association with people who share similar local interests, but not long-term projects, with me. Too much exposure to the excitation of audiences by low-art, in too short a time, seems to make me want to physically hurl.

Special

Go on and tell your kids that they're special.
That's what they told me.
Weird and special are pretty much the same thing though, and it's always been rather obvious.
Hehe.

Making space for thought

Step one: take apart every conscious entity, and remove anything that isn't part of the target thought.

Step two: if anyone imposes themselves upon your consciousness, deal with it as per Step one.

Sometimes I look back at the set of people I entertained, and I feel disgusted with myself. Less is required. I loathe to sum the time I've spent in wasted meetings.

2013-02-08

Dead time

Bored. No manual work to do for a couple of weeks. Making a point to rest rather than diversify. Bored.

Just my luck. $aapl possibly reporting a surprisingly good quarter on the back of India sales. Pity I'm busy / standing by on other projects...

Will mull a little, then attempt to start some programming studies.

Still can't think of an application that I need which would benefit from a C implementation. Retreating to the familiarity of Haskell, for now.

Practice

I lost two years of wages in a business venture last year. Does it hurt? Not much. Nothing surprising - good, farmed, information about how smart I am, i.e. how much my psyche can handle. At least my cash management is awesome. Actually, the amount at stake was quite a small amount - it only seems like a lot because my average wage from working in small / startup operations has been rather low.

Generally, it's practice in risk-taking... I constantly remind myself to take higher risks. Perhaps something I took away from one of those blog posts by Altucher. One might however, argue that the sort of risk he blogs about, and the sort I took, are completely different classes, and are therefore unrelated. But broadly, I'd argue that risk is risk. It's all a matter of time.

I've always been very conscious of my lack of upbringing in commercial traditions, and so I dedicated this post-college period of my life to acquiring an appreciation for business. Whenever I felt that I wasn't learning enough, I sought to take more risk, to increase my rate of mistakes, solely for the purpose of intellectual profit.

Now I'm ready to lose more. Bring it. My appetite is up for a ten-year ante - I have whet an appetite for a decade of risk.

Insurance

Death and dismemberment are merely new adventures. Not for everyone, of course.

Way of the bored

(... and probably, boring.)

Sniff the air. Smell no relevant intelligence. Shift focus to doing good work.

Facilitating discussions: I can tell when I'm getting bored at a meeting, by the time I start ordering alcohol. (When my role is minor.) Pity I won't claim it, haha.

Computing practice

Need to figure out some jackass chimichanga app to work on in Haskell. Or just focus on snippets, perhaps. The latter probably more informative for now.

Then again, Assembler and C remain more generally useful. Drat. Compromises, unresolved. Two blog posts on the case for learning C - nice reminders. Ten years to kill. Time to learn C :P probably will hit payback within a few man days anyway. Haha.

2013-02-07

Merde / Creme

Business is rollin, rollin... one tries to avoid the creme de la merde... in favour of the merde de la creme...

Decade priorities

Priority one. Get some businesses running.

Priority two. Read math.

Priority three. Read macroeconomics.

Priority four. Do a little trading.
workers gotta work... makers gotta make... haters gonna hate... haha. <3

17: do normal shit and get into uni; ->21: get degree and GTFO; ->30 optimise all activities for learning; ->40; optimise for $; in other words, I plan by prioritising a type of activity; I do not plan for any particular outcomes :P


Update 2013-05-27: Haven't even hit 5% of decade and I'm already discombobulated. Not sure if stupid, tired, in a tough environment, or just not up for it. LOL.

2013-02-06

Expensive women

Settling myself into the hospitality industry, meaning potentially no serious money for the next decade. I do think that this means I'm going to have to swear off dating women with expensive tastes. Tsk tsk. Trade offs. Or unlikely scenarios in which I might run into dateable women with expensive tastes, who would date me despite my preference for inexpensive choices. Haha. I'm certainly not going into debt to entertain anyone.

Around the house, I'm moving into a routine to take more cold showers, and to cook with gas instead of electricity whenever it is convenient to do so. This means getting a kettle which whistles when it's hot. It's not that these measures save much money, but they are a good way to keep frugality at the forefront on my mind.

That doesn't mean that I'm dropping my freelance rate however. It's still going to be pretty high (by the Malaysian market) to minimise distractions. $115 for the rest of 2013.

Chores

Long day out. Many chores remain. Need to use more water, and less power - one who spends less than RM20 on electricity gets a full rebate. Paid electricity bill. Washed trash can. Fixed modem (phone) driver on Linux. Updated project tracker for work. Hung the laundry. Phone driver fixed for Windows. We're actually getting somewhere...

Undriven

Within the grand continuum of shitty brain wastage that is driving, I loooove driving with the windows down on cool nights.

Excitation

I have arrived at the point where I can't easily distinguish between the advertising and pornography industries. The audiences are different, but the process of production is the same...

Boo!

Money on a timid person, is a pearl on a pig's snout.

2013-02-04

Tiers of consultation

A common misconception about strategy consulting is that it's about strategy. 95% of the time, it's too late for a "strategy," and one's client really just needs a "tactical," solution.

When it is about strategy, only 10% of the work is figuring out the strategy-to-be-recommended based on hypothesis testing, prior to that, 40% of the team's efforts should be focused on being very, very, sure that they understand the economic conundrum (i.e. decision with opportunity costs)that the "strategy," is supposed to clarify. Following that, the remaining 50% of the team's efforts should be on ensuring that the client understands, is ready, and is able to implement, the bloody strategy. Whether the client is willing is up to them, of course, but the consultant can only claim full professional responsibility, and absolve herself of the err of providing the wrong "solution," if she quantifies away all uncertainty about the client's (i.) understanding, (ii.) ability, and (iii.) readiness (any time-sensitive factors) regarding the solution. (Enumerated for emphasis.)

Related: It's bad enough to hire managers to whip staff who can't self-organise. It's worse by the time you hire consultants to whip management.

Why this brand, not that brand...

When designing a brand that is supposed to make money, brand values must be the result of market research. You don't want to assume a brand value, then gerrymander some data to support it - that's rather how people sell sentiment a.k.a. religious values.

You're here to make money. Act responsibly. Don't pick and brand. Rather, test, then brand.

Dependency begets faithfulness?

I believe in contracts.

Wet enough to sound pretty

Grey, post-rainy, day. Beautiful for driving in the valleys. Delicious sound of pistons drenched in oil. Wet, wet, baby. Got my driver's license renewed. Changed the battery on my phone; had to take it back because they mucked up the antenna connection. Once that was done, a little more peaceful, I explored the nearby highways a little. Mist and low clouds everywhere. Perfect. Back home to make some simple congee.

I'd forgotten how fast cash burns when you eat out. Averaging about RM8.50/meal-out for 1.2 meal-outs/day. That's RM300/month at 30 days/month, and then I still have to cook one meal at home. FTS. On the other hand, it's nice to be in hand-to-mouth mode again. Less concern about financial growth. Just focusing on work.

Some people value the goods that money can buy, putting a bare minimum into the goods that only time can. I'm mostly interested in knowledge, so that's a subset of the time-bought goods. I aim to spend a bare minimum of my time on making money. Or so it seems.

Almost done liquidating my options portfolio. Let's check on that congee...

Modelling

Ah, the fun part... scenario modelling based on under-achievement of targets... got it... now we have a slider to move capital injection, resulting in a immediately visible trade-off between IRR and runway depending on %-achievement of target sales. Woot.

Bored. But happy. (As opposed to bored, and struggling to make it more interesting. :P)

2013-02-03

Meekness

One of the sadder things I've seen in these years: middle-aged trustafarians, trying to prove their sincerity with unnecessarily humility.

You say you're not religious?

Atheism, as a non-belief, cannot be religious. But humanism, human rights, manners, and social mores... sure as fuck count as religiousity.

The adoption of rule of law, monarchy, any consensus towards a governmental (i.e. social) structure that is the underpinning for an economy, capitalism, communism, choose any flavour that you like, any belief that is implemented by your body... that is the definition, of a soul. Its implementation makes you who you are. The belief in the value of other living things, is a religion. Any activity upheld by sentiment, in the absence of further narrative, is religion.

Religion isn't dead, and never was there for anyone to kill. Tsk tsk, these amateur philosophers.

Validation

Wondering if it's time to get accounting qualifications. Or if a prettily branded MBA will do.

(On another note, I don't think my DIY accounting system for personal finances is cutting it anymore :P. The amount of confusion I've got of late... if there's one thing I regret about my recent history, it's bothering to spend those last 15 months with my mom. Well we learn from our mistakes, and I do need to be more careful about whom I give time to, given existing information about them. Moving on then, a quick reminder. Zero-tolerance for charitable entertainment of emotional noises. Parenthood is a fucking self-indulgence ;P and further entertainment of parents just mollycoddles that.)

Mourning

In some sense, I mourn the loss of a Kyle more than the loss of a Swartz.

Kemaman coffee

Ok - after trying long-brewed Kemaman for a couple of weeks, the 10-second brew is indeed prettier, and blends much more easily with milk.