2016-12-24

Why We Give Gifts

To one, on a birthday:

Of course, no one gives gifts because they have to. Over the years you have, at times, been a comforting presence, making me feel safe and cared for during periods of stress. Someone to hold me and tell me that things will be okay - that is nice to have. Most times of course, you don't want to be in that role. But I have in mind the times that you have played that role. So the gift, as with most interactions between us, is an appreciation of things past. I know that you enjoy eating. It is just food. Please have a good time with it. :)

//

This just makes me want to write similar notes to other people.

//

To one:

Being with you, is unreal. Because my memories of being with you start so many years ago. With spaces of years between memories.

//

To another:

Thank you for holding me, when I didn't know what to say about us.

And it's totally cool that you never want to talk about... things we felt but didn't essay. I remember those things, in celebration. Always.

2016-12-23

Yawn 19

Advice to a younger self:
Math and economics first, then banking, computer science afterwards, and cognitive science last.

/

(Whiteboard discussion.)
1. The customer is expected to be dumb.
2. The staff is expected to be brutal.
-
Intern rubs off "dumb," writes "stubborn." I get a different pen and write "(dumb as shit)." Intern erases it.
-
"Seriously? These are primary school games. I see you've left your shoes on the floor. I guess I'll take one now."
"I was very violent in primary school."
"Here, have your shoe back."

/

Every waking hour for six months presents a question of when to put the operation out of its misery. A strange life experience, indeed. To be the conscience of an organisation, that is more important than to be its science. And sadly I find that I must be both.

/

"You look like my husband."
"I am not your husband."
"I know."
"Oops."

/

Perhaps I should help staff to set up a union, later. It is a formal structure that can provide solidarity, identity, and collective bargaining power, which is distinct from the company. :) But for that I think we are going to first need a staff that is not freelance...

/

Get dressed. Go out. Drink water. Go back to bed.

/

A bit more rest, then back to the fires.

/

Sentience, privilege: check, check. Breath: still inhibited. Next sprint: 11 hours, ETE 0100hours. Probability of long term success intuited, given short term states of affairs: below 50%. Work today shall be focused on keeping dP/dDay above 0.

/

Movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain movethemountain...

/
As it turns out... the only baristas around here who make top-band (25% premium) either have an accounting qualification, or can keep books.

/

Time for a run.

/

"Elle": There is SO MUCH IKEA STUFF in this film. (I've memorised a good chunk of the inventory while setting up the current project.) Well tempered, well done. Reminds me of many stable people I've known, a refreshing set of memories amidst the weekly dramaturgy of team hacking. People whom it seems I can't afford, sadly. I wish I had more time to study the people I love. If I did, I'm sure some would hate me less, given that the cause are an obvious lack of attention to their details. But my time is split between work and women. And people on both teams get a bad deal due to my deficiencies. C'est la vie. Work remains the priority.

/

Fires!

/

FOH: unavailability received
FOH: new recruitment
Corp: work outstanding, delegation assigned
Kitchen: unavailability received
Kitchen: insert self, understudy, and prepare to recruit self
-
I am looking forward a time when I'm on the receiving end of the notifications, only.

/

Next thirty days could be another hell hole, or a lot of progress. Lay low, sleep tight. I reserve some sympathies for people who plan their lives around festivals. For me, every day provides equal opportunities for the celebration of work.

/

Sentience, privilege: check, check. Breath: variance reduced with more somatic exercise having resulted in improved subconscious control. Still not ideal. Corporate responsibilities: engage interview, then return to quantification of kitchen operation. Go go go...

/

"Sir, we found a cook."
"Is he alive?"
"Warm."
"Bring him to me."

/

I have faith in the inconsequentiality of hope. On this Christmas day let us drink, to the form of work, regardless of a work's contemplable function. With or without hope, professionalism is the superficiality of trying to get a thing done. It may be strategically motivated by individual greed, or by society's strategic interests. (Sometimes, those are made the same.) Let all the merry mercenaries drink, hi ho, to the mantras of our guild. We are contractors. We are bullets. And the market is a gun. Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho.

/
Sentience, privilege: check, check, check. Corporate role: engaging interviewee, observing workforce, chores, then back to bed before training. Breath: autopilot deteriorated, needs conscious work.

/

"We can't have (demographic profile) as staff. It will affect the customers."
"The demands of our customers are pretty low. We barely have any business, as it is. My requirements are higher."
"Service quality will be jeopardised. It's currently good."
"Service quality's pretty bad already without (demographic profile) staff, given the amount of quitting displayed - moreover stress levels are currently 30% of target."
"You know what customers expect."
"Here, have a look at our menu - this is not the sort of shop that tries to give customers what they expect. (Xenophobes) won't be welcome here."

/

Contain all potatoeness. Contain, contain...

/

Teaching staff to be shameless, to be violent, to ask for trouble, is very difficult - for most people around here, it is something that they have been trained to avoid for years. It is just as difficult to teach people to be calm, practiced, composed, capable of hypothetical discussion, strategic in intent, transparent in communication, etc. So individual surgery of thought is required to obtain target results. Which is why I always presumed we would have to do a lot of farming into order to find such talents, instead of trying to build them. But without finding them, we will have to try and build them out of what is available - piecemeal repair of individual weaknesses.

/

Managed to give away two suit jackets to some our temp staff. Whee.

/
Eh? Still alive. Back to work, then.

/

Sometimes I hate being an overeducated ponce. But the gig is not yet over, so on with it.

/
Heading into the final sprint of a 30-hour day. :) It's a fine, productive, day, but we will have to wait and see if the quality of the following iterations justifies the risks taken in this one.

/
Eww. Watches are like suits. Cheap tricks, no matter what the price.

/

As much as I hate to do it, it's time to make middle-management dummy proof.

/

Back to the fires.

/

Staff: blame blame blame
Me: #protip... always forgive, never forget; no bad feels, plenty of retribution.

/

Time for god damn rehearsal.

/

Done with rehearsal. Made pancakes

/

So now I play the role of giving away decade-old clothing, to staff, "because collared shirts fit aprons better, and we shouldn't afford uniforms," and I have direct reports who are smarter than me, who are young enough to be my children, and I spend all my waking hours between work and women, wherein both domains of business are managed as a portfolio of risky assets, and where some elements of each domain love me because I am kind, and other elements hate me because I am foolish, and so, this is apparently my chosen implementation of grown-upness. Haha

/

Time to get bored.

/

It turns out that customers love to yank the pull switch on the antique lamps. We must install antique pull switches everywhere...

/

11:15pm, 31 December 2016 - we now have our first mises document. LOL

/
1
I have nearly no appreciation for people who live in moments. I like to live my past, and my future, pretty much in daily review.

/

"Here's your Aeropress."
"That's it?"
" It's just coffee, mate. What were you expecting, a spiritual experience? Must be in the wrong cafe..."

/

2016: thus ends the most boring year of my life since 1999. I'm not sure how to compare them exactly, so it's a probabilistic comparison, really.

/

. Too many 30 hour days  in  a  week. (Correction, it was a 30 hour day, followed by a 15 hour day, followed by a 22 hour day, which is probably why I can't intuit arithmetic anymore. :P)

/

End notes 1 Jan


/

Close to bed time.

/

Sentience up. Privilege check. Active oxygenation up. Check inboxes. Preparing to wash, suit up, and return to the fire station. On adventures such as this, you don't know how or where it will end. This is my third study of this magnitude. The first was to understand the structure of consciousness and knowledge, the second was to understand the structure of commerce, and here is the third - it is a deployment of a commercial nature.

/

(On the Halal birthday cake requirement.)

Most Malaysians angry at McDonalds are idiots. This is not a question of the People vs. McDonalds. This is a question of the People vs. JAKIM. Frame your arguments properly, you parochial asswipes...

/

It's always fun to try and tease out if someone is (a) incompetent or (b) malicious. In the short term, failure for either reason is nearly equivalent... in the long run, you're punting on different risk profiles.

/

In between sleeps.

/

With regards to doing work that actually requires brainpower... sometimes I feel as if the great wave of AI is coming, and I am just for it to wipe out the crowds on the beach before I crawl out of my bunker. Not a strategy.

/

Cat runs into cafe, gets trapped, panics, climbs on the bar, and meows to high hell. We take her back outside.
"She's cute."
"Cute. And illegal. Just like a prostitute."
*sigh*

/

An American girlfriend in 2003 was explaining to me what a hipster was. That was when hipsters were... hipsters. Checking out the mainstream hit post 2009...

/

Helping staff with time management:

"D wants to return for training later today (S's shift starts at 4:30pm... it is up to D what time he comes back in). It takes D 5 minutes to walk home, 3 hours to prep for bed, and 7 hours to sleep, and 1 hour from waking to reach Sudo.

PLAN:
Since D needs to reach Sudo at

7:00am Thursday, he will aim
6:00am Thursday wake up
11:00pm Wednesday sleep
8:00pm Wednesday reach home
7:30pm Wednesday leave Sudo
4PM-5:30PM Wednesday reach Sudo... and PRACTICE MAKING PANCAKES... until D is confident that he can make pancakes by himself at 7am Thursday.

It takes about 10 minutes to make one set of pancakes. In one hour that means D can practice six times...

S will help him today.

7am Thursday, D, we will see you back at your station.

Good luck!"

/

The idiosyncrasies of running a restaurant designed for people who care more about work, than about food...

/

Fire.

Note the absence of an exclaimation mark.

/

Sandbagging. 80% probability assigned to key node failure in one critical backend microservice (business function), by 1700 hours. HA asset deployed on standby to backstop given service with immediate failover, followed by a hand-off to an as-yet-undeveloped process for decentralised delivery of said service over the next seven weeks. Various LA assets deployed on standby as worker nodes. Brace. Brace. Standing by for secondary phenomena: cascade failure through frontend server network due to shared morale resources. New assets warming up. Brace. Brace. Brace...

Sigh. Why can't we all just do business and stop caring about it?

/

Doing work is rarely hard. Getting others to do it without actively manipulating their sense of pleasure and pain - well, now we're raising demons.

/

Up for... 17 hours, most of which was spent picking up work I delegated which was dropped. Oh well... soon, perhaps a bit of my own work.

/

Spot on forecast. Now we see what happens.

/

In 2009/2010, on a rather stressful assignment, I managed to lose about a TB of my own personal data, and the backup copy (by repeating the short-circuit action that fried the first copy). This week, I managed not to lose anything so drastic (and coincidentally I found some other data that I thought I had lost more recently)... all while on a job that's relatively more exciting than that 2010 job. Perhaps it means that my training in dealing with stress has improved. I still remember taking $20,000 and basically lighting it on fire... on a slow burn over 3 months in 2012, to see if I could deal with it.

I may be stronger now, but I still feel weak. More training required. It may never end.

/

Sounds like a 40-hour day. LOLsplat

/

There's an amazing almost-heritage era building in PJ old town, two storeys plus a rooftop, RM7k asking. No ground floor. Beautiful windows. Someone rich should open a nice club there.

/

"We pursued trivia when we could have pursued this important thing."
"This isn't actually an important thing."
"Then why are we making a big deal about it?"
"Because it's something we're paying you to do."

Such is the nature of professional discipline. Endless trivia. Endless.

/

Up 24 hours, ops shift, compliance ass covering, accounting and talent management chores, and about to start a second ops shift now with major muscle group cramps, palpitations (maybe thyroxine), and what was my wife's name again? Karoshi, that'a'girl... we're gonna fuck hard when all this is over. Meanwhile prep is ice cream, a double cheeseburger, and a double fillet o fish.

/

On shift reflection: I need to start engineering the emotional attachments of our staff.

Attachment to superficial aesthetics is OFF brand.
Attachment to social bonds is OFF brand.

Attachment to economics may be ON brand.
Attachment to speed may be ON brand.
Attachment to knowledge may be ON brand.
Attachment to the destruction of common standards, if deemed inefficient may be ON brand.

I need to think more about this plumbing. Yes, I'm inside all your heads, because that's the only place that matters.

/

It's gonna take another eight years to make enough money for me to get back to math. I wonder what sort of math will be popular in eight years. Probably, the same old thing. But popular usage dictates marketability.

/

Well that was an interesting day. First I wake up after fifteen hours of sleep (don't bother wondering what happened the day before). Wash, dress up, figure I'm going to get some desk work done.

Calendar Day 1

11:30pm. Walk into office, ask the barmaid "are you OK, today?" She says, "I am, but I won't be if no one turns up for the next shift which starts in half an hour." I say, "I'll be right back after I eat." Then I take-away McDs. Whoops, guess I'm on shift. So I'm running the bar, floor, and housekeeping, for the next eight hours or so. Fumble fumble fumble.

Calendar Day 2

7:00am. Hope hope hope. New cook turns up. "Hey mate! Are you ready to make pancakes?" He says, "I'm not confident." I say, "OK, how about we let you train in the front of house instead?" He says, "I want to go home." We do some planning, and I arrange for him to come back at 5:00pm for an hour of confidence building pancake frying exercises under the supervision of a senior cook.

So now I'm going to get some desk work done, right?

10:00am. City council turns up. "You're being fined for not renewing your business license." Bum bum bummed. It's the second business day of the year - this item was discussed with an officer two months or more ago when we got the warning letter to renew by the last day of the previous year. "OK," I say, "I know who's paying the fine."

1:00pm. By now I've paid all the fines and licenses, and informed said officer that they will bear the cost of the fine, $28, to be deducted from their monthly fee. Officer explodes, and blames a trainee (paid $1.11/hour). "The trainee failed, but it's not the trainee's fault because the trainee... is a trainee," I say. Officer objects again and calls for a meeting IRL. I start making calls and line up the fail-overs. Brace brace brace.

5:30pm. Fail-overs activated. Officer has gone bye-bye with explicit avoidance of any handover. Update case files, send out memos, check on the muppet in the kitchen who's just gotten back for training. Great. Settled - now I can go get some sleep right? Wrong. We now have a cook lined up for a 10:00pm interview.

8:00pm. I've gotten something to eat, and I've someone managed to land another interviewee. Also it turns out that the 11:00pm shift this evening is also vacant... so after making some calls, waving goodbye to the muppet (he'll need his beauty sleep before trying again at 7:00am tomorrow), giving two interviews, and entertaining an industry colleague who had a question on licensing compliance... I hit up McDs and get two ice cream cones, a double cheeseburger, and a double Filet O Fish. Tank tank tank.

11:00pm. Back on shift. It's a quiet night, and I get a lot done. Send out memos.

Calendar Day 3

5:30am. Frantic lady runs past the shop. Turns out the vice dens on our left AND right were robbed by seven local blokes on motorcycles with katanas. Again - the last time it was some solo dipshit with a pistol. Send out more memos.

7:00am. Muppet is back. We have pancakes! Hurrah. Standing by for 11:00am meeting with an external accountant, the mother of one our staff - we're looking for a little consultation before closing the books for the first year.

Hope it's not longer than a 40 hour day. Geez.

/

21 hours sleep is probably a new non-sick-time record.

/

Back to the fires.

/

Everyone says it's hard, but seriously, simply trying not to be a cunt about it goes a long way. Lol

/

Late night, the sad pixies come out, mope, and stay. And if you speak too many words too quickly, they simply disappear, leaving drinks untouched.

/

Bored. Insufficiently rested, and insufficiently entertained. So enforced rest. Next meeting at 2pm.

/

Not even remotely happy about what we have achieved. However, it remains my job to tell you that we are pursuing a unique target (beneficial to mankind; viable subject to good fortune, good design, and good discipline), to enable opportunities for stakeholders, and to mercilessly dispose of obstacles to the given. No authenticity is present here - I have been prejudiced for most of my life to classify commercial activities as tedious and boring. I do jobs because they are so defined - because that is the right thing to do. Do you find this confusing? I do not find it highly determinate, but that I do not find confusing - it is just the probablistic future of a complex enterprise. Alas, not many of my peers are comfortable with such uncertainty.

/

Having a dreadful inclination to redesign the Ms. MY Twin Tower costume... holy shit on a platform.

/

Still alive. Hmm. Time to get ready for work.

/

I miss trading to a certain degree. But it is also predictable in its own way.

/

Time to become a baking nerd -_-

/

Only 22 hours up, today. Averaging shorter days. Lol

/

Sentience, privilege: check, check. First points of concern are the belligerents in our company. Second point of concern is remembering how to socialise them. Along the way, one recalls the interface to the part of the brain that recognises speech. Aha, module loaded... I am remembering how to think in words again. That was the first few minutes of consciousness today.

More memories loaded. SWOT analysis of business: more weaknesses and threats than strengths, non-trivial threats located internally (technically then, these are weaknesses). In theory, this is starting to resemble a suicide mission, since in theory I have little else to do with my time (go ahead, pitch me), and therefore the likely outcome is that this project will be allowed to absorb my resource stream indefinitely. Meta-tactical reflection kicks in, and the risk management department revisits the option of liquidating the asset, and moving to other projects. Indecisive, so we remain on-track for complicated endeavours. Thus goes the first hour of my day.

My eyes start to close from current efforts. Actively managed oxygenation begins.

/

Second sleep fairly productive. More REM, hormonal balance has skewed somatic data hitting conscious memory more to pleasure than pain - kinesthetic latency way lower, probably due to higher SNR in conscious memory. Now if only I had lab quality data on all of this, at the bloodwork level. I'm wondering about sugar levels. In any event, that was 18 hours down less a couple spent in conscious rumination. Off to find out how much trouble I'm in.
- one missed routine: a monthly investor call
- four to six missed phone calls
- a dozen or two messages on three platforms

Are we dead yet? Updates shortly. Perhaps after breakfast.

/

- no emergencies
- kitchen schedule updated
- monthly pay rates updated
- next month's pay rate update proposed
- housekeeping coaching for kitchen
- new staff scheduling for front of house
- feedback from accounting consultant consumed
- architectural changes (in progress)
- meeting for delegations of new work (dates drafted)
- cheque requests (pending)
- baking studies (on hold)

/

Toilet sink multimedia installation, phase 2, deployed as test. Now, you may or may not hear voices, and you may or may not experience blurry vision while washing your hands.

/

TIL: icing sugar - emergency construction - use a coffee grinder.

/

Time for McDonalds.

/

Consumer watch: Teluk Cempedak is like Archie's suburbia. The gaggles of hijabsters at McDonalds are in full red lip on six inch platforms waddling about trying to figure out where to put their trays. At 1AM.

Oh well. Small town beach. In a small town country.

/

After a whole week and a half of 18 to 33 hour days, my "weekend" began with a 22 hour day, punctuated by a five hour roadtrip to a posh hotel room that my fussiest partner so-far would have tolerated. Second roadtrip in 18 months, the last one being in June to a tube hotel behind CSHH. What a way to burn money - at least a fancy office for 36 hours may stimulate the brain a little. Of course I brought work; all I do with my life in these years is work, and women. A dry life. But no one is ever satisfied with what they are given. Women need time and money, and I have hardly any of each.

/

I'm awake! I didn't oversleep my morning meeting! This is only a big deal because oversleeping meetings is probably my pet peeve in terms of personal development - the sort of thing I want to get from 95% to 100% at. Spent the first few minutes of the day waiting for the alarm to go off, then boiled water, added 2g of instant coffee, 5g of creamer, and 5g of sugar (same sachets we use at the cafe - no upgrade whatsoever there). Now prepping for my morning call with staff. We need to discuss the scope of delegation for a barman who has a few extra hours for new responsibilities this year.

/

Just did my first conf call with cafe staff. This is a proud moment - we're almost behaving like a proper company. Granted it took 16 minutes to iron out the IT ergonomics... that seems usual, however, for folks who have not done this before.

/

Kuantan looks like a good development opportunity if you have a fifteen year appetite. Infrastructure, industry, surf, local traffic, decent Internet access, good realestate prices.

/

Back to the fires. Looks like I can catch the business day if I start driving now.

/

4:34 engine up
8:43 touch down
Three stops, including a snack, and a breakfast.

/

1. electrical wire trunking repairs
2. plaster ceiling repairs
3.wall tile repairs

Training staff. Just call me Hwa Chu Kang...

/

2am trainings, and wonderings about these economics. Make no mistake, we remain in what is pretty much a warzone. It's just trenches, day in, day out...

/

Given current technology trends, a very rich, careful, and lucky individual may expect to scrape into the 120 year zone, athletically well into their nineties. For the poor, in dangerous areas, with less good fortune, life expectancy is of course much lower. Even if you punt somewhere in the middle, I am about half done with my time on earth. Most days, for over a decade, I have wondered how the end will be. It is probable that it will be lonely - becoming "normal" is not interesting, and mutually interesting people are hard to find. So what does one do with all this time? One seeks to be productive. That is the nature of killing time on earth, for one who is not easily excited by plebian ambitions.

/

EOW: chores. Return now to the land of slowpokes. Let's see how many we can turn into quickerpokes. How much poking will this require? Food, caffeine, and not enough sleep shall fuel this - it may, or may not, be done. It is late. A day must begin. Just as any other day...

/

RM20 gets 2+ double filet o fish 15 hours a day. My understanding is that decent salmon sashimi is available at a similar rate. Now to figure out who's got the best price optimisation.

Fat Fish
Top Catch
Uokatsu
Maiu

This is a protein quality optimisation, as salmon is hardly the strongest in flavour among fish.

/

Ok. How about a food truck that sells only salmon sashimi, soy sauce, wasabi, espresso, and water. No milk, rice, or sugar. We'll call it Rafsaks.

At the same time a sister brand called Sweetie, that is exactly the same, but with the full carb spread.

/

Groan. It is late. Enough poetry. To work. It is a day with numerous business networking and logistical improvement targets.

/

Came to a cafe tradefair for a friend's competition performance... and it's running on Malaysian time. Omg so late lol.

/

More rest required, in order to do more work.

/

Back to work!

/

Kajang maintenance run.

/

Maintenance on a little flat I bought to force myself to invest in illiquid assets: hmm. Not such a great deal - let's pay this off and sell it once the property gains taxes are minimised.

/

In defense of B-type personalities. ;) I've always identified with the slackers. Competition is almost always something I consider to be beneath me. And it generally seems more appealling to aim far enough ahead of the curve to be deemed irrelevant to local preferences (one localises simply to feed). It's a good life, if winning and losing don't get to you, when the reactions to lost loves is "hm, ok," and so on and so forth. You can encourage A-types to be calmer, and less reactive, but their natural inclination will always be to do MORE... as a result of deep-set inadequacies.

/

Unit up. Chores, for three hours, then down for six, then up again.

/

Me: "When are you coming by the cafe next to talk shit with me and grace us with your pretty face?"
Staff: "..."
Me: "Wait. That was for a customer!"

/

Yesterday we had a senior staff who could not decide if a brownie should be served or not. Maybe we need to introduce mandatory trolley problems during the interview process... hmm...

/

Let's get pretentious.
||
|| The Sudo Brew at Damansara Jaya
|| coffee · brunch · dessert · pastry
|| #weworkharder · 24-7-365 · 50 mbps WiFi
||

/

Food then bed. Let's try this again...

/

"Sales have dropped. Do we have a marketing plan?"
"Sales have dropped because operations are not stable. The marketing plan is to stabilise operations."

And as much as this kind of competition bores the living fuck out of me, a business must have targets, and this is my job, so our target is to exceed to some extent Starbucks, then McDonalds, then the Traders, then the Mandarin. The tracking error is going to be huge, but at least the benchmark is useful. Lol. The first point of interest being that you can aim to take millennial and younger mindshare if you drive carefully, because the old brands will not typically swerve off boomers and X-ers quickly. They'll hole up on margin plays, but we can still go for value.

/

The first hour after regaining consciousness may involve reloading of outstanding issues into conscious memory. I am beginning to observe how it may be emotionally stifling if one is unprepared for the cognitive load.

Take for example, the very small business that I work at, where I am directly involved in the coordination and training of three teams, and the actual operations of two of these three. Every business function, across supply chain management, quality assurance, creative, communication, accounting, finance, compliance, and facilities maintenance, has operational fires (small company, much work, not so much manpower). Each of twenty staff brings their own unique set of cultural expectations, abrasive habits, personal fears, lackadaisical or violent tendencies, absence of knowledge or vocabulary, and a resulting statistical threat to process that must be put back on the radar if I am to be ready for work on a daily basis. The data cube looks something like (business functions, threats and opportunities, resources).

That's a lot of details. If I fail to properly recollect these, I fail to be prepared - if I experience an effusive emotional reaction during the daily loading operation, that could be classified as depression or mania, so I am understanding how people end up that way. Nothing really new, it's just my turn to be doing the rigmarole... that's what it is to do business. Call it poor-dad-thinking or just realism, perhaps, but the narrations don't particularly alter the underlying states of affairs.

Over and above the recollection of fires on a daily basis, there are of course opportunities that be exploited such as individual capabilities for learning. Where I get of differently from many managers perhaps is that I do not regard volatile happiness in staff as a strength. All unplanned volatility is a weakness.

Commerce is so boring. But if I did not engage with it, I would not consider its study complete. Also, if I did not engage with commerce, it would seem that I did not make the most of available opportunities during my waking hours on this earth, before returning to a defuse state of dust.

/

Can we get the guys at PivotalTracker to build a 3D version with a Minority Report UI? Because I already do all that in my head...

Reflections on Being in the Industry

So a "bro" popped in for a chat, and we covered this much. (The conversation, before I wrote some reflections on it.)

Bruh: Here's an idea that we can collaborate on. It'll take zero investment - that's only a small lie.

Me: If you want to handle merchandising for us, that could be fun. But we need a third party for credit or investment. Merchandising: not furniture (maybe later).

Bruh: I know a guy who's good for handling the delivery of cups, mugs, brewers, etc. With logo printings.

Me: We don't need merch for coffee geeks. It's possible but the market is too jammed. I prefer general lifestyle merchandise, ergo apparel. Not conclusive. I would open a shop next door purely selling clothes but, we're not ready. The F&B talent pipeline is not stable.

Bruh: Now would you want to have capex when you can run a business without money upfront?

Me: Accountants: our talent pipeline isn't stable.

Bruh: F&B is not meant to be stable. *laughs out loud* You need to be constantly investing in research and development unless franchising is your goal.

Me: I'm mostly focused on building an army. So I occupy myself with whatever it takes until that fails. As to what that's for, the opposite of franchising: management services.

Bruh: Turnkey service solutions? My thoughts exactly!

Me: Well, there's not enough talent here. So the viability hypothesis remains unproven.

Bruh: Have you considered head hunting?

Me: Nope. Dude, we train MYR5/hour folks to do bookkeeping. We have a salary scale that is uncompetitive with fresh graduate recruitment programs all over. We're just digging for gold in the dirt. Lol

Bruh: It's got to be difficult maintaining or creating talents with that rate of pay, frankly.

Me: Lots of dirt. Not a lot of gold. But more than zero.

Bruh: Jesus Christ.

Me: The GM is paid 3.5k net, that is less than the fresh graduate starting package at Anderson Consulting, a tier-two/three outsourcing firm lol

Bruh: Rather than comparing your scale to AC, consider the Jobstreet average instead.

Me: I have met AC talent and have not been impressed. So far it looks like better value to train school leavers to keep books and build pivot tables from scratch. But this approach may be soon discredited. We shall see.

Bruh: It sounds like you'll be spinning around on square-one with no plans for retention.

Me: I have only more learning opportunities to offer. Everything else is boring. It is F&B :)

Bruh: How about you break some rules?

Me: People are in F&B for fun. I picked it because it is predictable. Then I break it, because we can tell that the breakages will be predictable. So typical F&B staff will not be happy that things are breaking. If the company completely breaks before we find the right people, then it's a day. If not, it will just be a constant process of distilling the target attributes from the market. Lol? Here's a simple way to read it: F&B (as an industry) is lacking in innovation, and therefore does not attract the sort of profits (and therefore talent) that technology (as an industry) attracts. So if we begin by investing available capital in increasing innovation in F&B, we potentially grow faster and kill all the small players at some point in the future. I am just investing my time, as a superior talent. I don't have anything else to do with my time!

Bruh: I see now that your disasters are synthetic.

M: Disasters are how you interpret events. Without interpretation, stuff just happens, who cares, really?

So following the writing down of it, I get some time to revisit the initial tangential thoughts that occurred to me during the conversation itself. Maybe a few other thoughts too.
Well clearly, all year it's just a question of whether I should choose to understand the objective state of this business, from the point of view of (1) imposter syndrome, (2) schizophrenia, or (3) psychopathy. Since I have at least a minimal understanding of what each one entails, I can't actually know which of the above is the most accurate model. Each model takes into consideration (a) objective states of affairs (b) perceptions and computations which are subconscious in the subject, and (c) perceptions and computations which are conscious in the subject.

Let's call the default psychological appreciation of (a, b, c) the (0) point of view, simply that this remains a business that has not yet collapsed, which nevertheless teeters on the brink thereof. In the (0)-th view, stabilising the business at all cost is not a priority, rather, reaching for innovation while risking financial ruin appears to be the status quo. This can plainly be called bad management, if we assume that the mandate of management is to stabilise the business at all cost. Under that assumption, however, it would not be such bad management if the current risk of financial ruin are consciously being over-stated; it would nevertheless be proven to be bad management if the business actually encounters financial ruin. But setting the mandate has been left largely to myself, which is part of why I generally strive to establish a system with clearer check and balance mechanisms by building middle-management roles wherever I can.

Again, from the (0)-th point of view, let's ask if the gamble on managing talent at arm's length with periodic correction by baseball bat is a good gamble, or a bad one. I really don't know. It doesn't seem like I have the time to micro-manage all of three departments, when some departments at times have zero other staff whereupon I must operationalise their roles by myself, and when all departments at most times have no reliable middle-management layer. We've been shooting from the hip, from nearly to day-1. History begins there with the resignation of two out of three operating partners prior to the opening of the establishment; I'm not going to blame them - they had to put up with me, after all.

Clearly F&B doesn't scale as well as technology, on average, but the most scalable companies in F&B have some non-trivial degree of scale, which allows those companies to command non-trivial shares of market, and non-trivial improvements in talent pools from the industry baseline. I'm not actually sure that it's worth working for. But it is the job at hand. So on with the job, for now.

Maybe the silly explanation is that I'm just being too activist about aesthetic properties: the error of being overly artistic, whereas the medium that typically gets hacked around here is organisational form and movement.

2016-12-20

Economics of Feminism (2016? Again?)

On the subject that (a) women are expected to be more aggressive in the workplace, and (b) this works against them "due to patriarchal structures."

1.
Actually competent and aggressive - you need both, and I regularly have to smack down both genders for having one and lacking the other.

2.
Now then when you add into the equation the documented physiological/psychological data on women being more self-deprecating, more receptive to criticism, more sensitive (for better or for worse) to physical stimuli, more empathic to other mammals (lending itself to more group-oriented, less individual-oriented behaviours), (and to a significant degree I believe you can find interesting datasets on neural and endocrinal activation differences across genders (or is it sexes, really)... which for the purpose of discussion we can refer to as the four or five or six Fs) then you begin to have model of structures which show how the female personality is more susceptible to feelings of low self-esteem, gaslighting, snowflakey behaviour. Interestingly, if we compound this with the built-in differential of testosterone's effect on musculoskeletal structures, deepening of vocal tonality, etc., the female sex has a built-in harder time assuming any power pose in a herd (as predisposed by the biology of the species, not so much the culture... I'm racking my memory to find an example of falsetto being a culturally acknowledged sign of alpha dominance) - anecdotally relevant are the self-discovery stories of F2M transsexuals on testosterone supplementation who find that they have easier access to herd domination as a result of more masculine visual and aural appearances.

Le sigh. Long fuzzy story short: I (currently) believe that equal access to political clout requires affirmative action in the form of informal cultural and or formal organisational efforts to build confidence in women, and to help women project their dominance in groups.

Where the altRight/ angry males get off is saying that affirmative action is economically significant. Where the left/ feminism makes a misstep is if ever it denies that affirmative action is required to counter biological predispositions. What feminism needs to work on in this conversation, is in proving with data-driven economic studies... that the gross benefit (of affirmative action in combating biological predispositions towards political inequality between sexes - ignoring gender for a minute, we can get back to that) outweighs the gross cost. And if you frame it that way, we get back on the roadmap to science, instead of simply rolling our eyes at Breitbart... :P

3.
"Is womanhood an element in the category of sex, or in the category of gender?" Weak dichotomy, is an answer. (Looked it up, after making a few comments elsewhere on the economics of feminism.) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/

2016-12-18

Elucidation

(In response to a question about what a Facebook post means.)

Got back to a computer... it would have taken too long to type on mobile.

"Back to the fires." - I now return to the office to address problems which are the constituents of my work.

"Non-falsification of the success hypothesis" - Is roughly equivalent to saying "Proving that this business has been a successful investment." Every business enterprise is entered into upon certain assumptions. One of those assumptions is that there will be an actual increase of the real (as opposed to nominal) value of the balance sheet of the enterprise, that will be returned to investors as real gains on their capital, before the enterprise is destroyed. This assumption is demonstrably true if the real value of the balance sheet increases, and if such capital is returned to investors such that they receive real returns on the investment of their capital, before the business is destroyed. The assumption is demonstrably false if the business is destroyed before investors receive real returns on their capital. [This may sound like a scientific approach, but because the hypothesis applies only to a particular enterprise at a particularly point in time, and as the hypothesis is not meant to be generalisable to other similar entities, therefore the inquiry into this hypothesis cannot be regarded as science. All science requires falsifiable hypothesis testing, but not all hypothesis testing falls within the domain of science. "The hypothesis is too specific to be regarded as a scientific endeavour."]

"will depend on sheer resilience to repetition of predictable actions," - We are building a business that relies heavily on the presence of warm bodies to execute documentation (e.g. accounting), and operations in general (the superset of accounting, which includes other business activities). It is often the case that these warm bodies fail to deliver on requirements. The continuous manufacture, repair, and replacement of these warm bodies is in and of itself, a rather predictable process. However, it must be repeated many times until the enterprises reaches demonstration of the enterprise as a successful investment.

"at quality." - It is not sufficient to simply repeat predictable actions in any approximate fashion. It is instead needful to repeat predictable actions with specific degrees of accuracy, otherwise they cannot be considered to have been repeated at all.

So this is why I generally don't bother explaining what I mean when people say that they don't understand what I'm talking about.

2016-11-29

Political Views may be Controversial

On this.

This is precisely why it could be less dangerous to vote for him, than some people believe :P

And the in the comments:

/

X: we shall see 4 years later.

me: I'm not even sure if he'll survive till March... I remain interested to see what actually happen.

/

People (have) die(d). I'm not betting that it won't happen. So I acknowledge the potential consequences, but I disagree with you about whether it is the right or wrong thing to do.

I'm with the camp that believes that Trump is not personally, himself, ideologically driven. So I don't see his campaign rhetoric as reflective of his personal beliefs.

Sure, he may encourage a lot of violence and death. But it is not the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is when he ceases to be a businessman, and starts to act on ideological beliefs which are identical to those of the people whose violent actions have been encouraged by his campaign rhetoric.

Updated: as I remember there have been hate crime deaths since the election. As to whether the rate of hate crime deaths has risen since, I don't know, but the rate of hate crimes certainly has. This does NOT, in my view, mean that the election result was one that I'd have strongly opposed. Lightly opposed with some consideration, perhaps.

/

Well I'm the kind of guy who would vote UMNO... I think we really are different in the amount of facism we're willing to tolerate.

Mostly, I remain on the fence. I'm really distasteful to humanists that way. Never been sure if it's the right thing to do... but definitely sure that I have to live with it...

/

Anyway, we already agree that hate crimes are up. I would agree that the Trump administration is toxic. We disagree about the pros and cons of voting the Trump administration into office.

Let's talk about the TA for a second. Trump's transition team, potential cabinet picks, and overall staff leadership is well documented for sounding off alarm bells on all the points you mentioned. A few queer options like Matthis just make it more interesting. (I mean queer in the old brit sense, of course.)

I would strongly entertain the (well known) hypothesis that Bannon dominates the narrative, and therefore may be setting up the leadership placements behind the scenes. I'll be watching it closely.

2016-11-28

I Miss Working with Probability

Poor man's risk managment model:

Opportunities for failure, OF: the number of attempts an intruder can make in your period of concern.

Value at risk, VAR: the worst case scenario cost is usually obliteration of the operation.

Probability of Failure per OF, PFO: the probability of failure per OF.

... do the math.

By having strict laws, we reduce PFO to zero, nullifying the expected loss over the entire period.

When PFO is larger than zero, because OF is usually quite high for electronic attempts, the probability of losing VAR may be higher than intuited.

Also to be precise you'd have a whole matrix of these terms... for different kinds of failure. And the contingencies.

Ok, I just made that all up, but I'm sure the professional risk managers must have a more documented way of modeling this lol

2016-11-27

Yawn 18

What are the chances this is scripted: Trump gets his 15 (+) weeks of fame, then bails, or is forced out by EC, ending in an alt-GOP POTUS.

/

Liberals believe in moral authority; Conservatives believe in it too; those of us who do not, have no where to turn. Beware the future king.

/

On the bright side, PEOTUS now provides exemplary public examples of negging, pozzing, and gaslighting, to teachers of DATDA.

/

To seek peace at all costs is folly. #notahumanist

/

So many people I meet, are comfortable with navigating peace. But when it comes to navigating war, holyshitballs, the game is taut.

/

Conversations should be preceded by an agreement on the intended outcome; or they may proceed at cross purposes. Ok for entertainment.

/

Dreaming of a world where no one expects to be cared for. A better world than this.

/

The computer scientists' gripe about voting irregularities has nothing to do with computer science. Amirite? Not checked.

/


Regret is fueled by desire. Address desire, and there are no regrets.

/

Tiny tangled little bug, caught in veins and arrhythmic smut; now cross your heart and let it fly, spread your legs, and hope to die.

/


Consciousness: check
Vitals: 55%
Privilege: check
Status: brain wakes me up after three hours to let me know I have energy to worry again

/

Not healing fast enough.

/

You hate being subtweeted. And your inner ENFP is showing.

/

I got 99 problem and quite a few are bitchy af

/

Consciousness, check. Vitals, check. Privilege, check. 50 notifications, unchecked. Time for a shower, then to figure out what I can make the world do for me today.

/

Passed the point where we seem to have enough demand for internships... such that we can drop the price to near zero... I hope this keeps up.

/


It's a bit disheartening to hear staff talk about potential hires as being hired on account of their sexual attractiveness... when the candidate's pitch is: free/cheap labour, competent communication, quantitative literacy, and an inherent motivation of gaining experience over cash remuneration.

It undermines the integrity of our workforce, and it is furthermore insulting to all the sexy people that we do not make offers to.

LOL

Addendum: actually the main concern may be that we're giving the people whom we DO hire a false sense of sexual presentability/ legitimacy/ capital. Ew. Ew. Ew...

I've been sitting here in abject disgust, staring at the screen for a full 20 minutes wondering what kind of team I'm working with.

/

Workflows jammed up. Break time. More staffhours required.

/

An empty day, with little stimulus from society, staff, or social circles. Work plods along.

/

Maybe I need to begin every day with a reminder to myself to put, front and centre, the tuple of [ current project, optimise for cash exit until 2023 ], lest I forget the only reason I have for being here at all.

/

When it gets down to thinking about why I am tired, I wonder if things would be different if I wasn't the only trusted trainer/executive for all of: accounting, finance, IT, KM, construction, visual design, copywriting, brand ownership, public relations, investor relations, advertising, coffee quality, the doneness of meat, company culture, regulatory compliance, and variance control.

This is the only poverty I have ever known: to be unable to afford enough intelligence. Now either I work harder to be able to afford more, or I wallow in disgust at every conversation. So, I must work harder.

Which is also why the #workharder meme was inserted into the company culture. If one is not motivated by disgust at the absence of work, nothing can truly motivate one to work.

/

Office hours approach. Time for the twice daily commute from the precipice of my mattress to the precipice of doom.

/

Every time I have to tell a senior staff member, "behave or get out," I remind myself that we were already damned five months ago, so it's just picking circles of hell at this point. :P

/

Time to play, "smack the whiner." Much work to do.

/

Shit. Subsecond to reflective memory transfer latency is still too high. Suspected cause: low frequency of using the former outside wage work, due to write-access getting locked down during work, and not getting unlocked quickly enough when I exit daily wage work.

/

Time to unfuck all the bad habits that we can manage.
- Juicy chicken flesh, not hard.
- Crispy bacon, not limp.
- With hot items: melting ice cream, not hard.
- As a topping: drippy espresso, not gushy.
- Chunky mushrooms, not sliced.
- Dripped sauces, not drowning.

/

staff messaging group:]
Chica: baby, take yo top off
Chica: omg. fml. Wrong group. Ignore me, i'm drunk.
Dude: i volunteer as tribute
CEO: KEEP THOSE ON
Baws: y'all do a Magic Mike skit, i can put it on corp iG...

/

It would be nice to go home to physics one day.

/

Consciousness: check;
Vitals: check; may need to raise ambient temperature - wasting too much energy staying warm;
Privilege: check;
Cctv: check;
Sales: check;
Cash flow: can't do much about it, so delegating;
-
Pause for general reflection. Of course, as I have for nearly two decades, I can wax poetic about having a dream where I live among clever and reasonable people. But I almost never kid myself that it is possible. So, I must remain focused on improving the circumstances within my immediate control.

/

You can tell who's sensitive to what domain of activity by what they consider to be a problem. Difficult ingredients, difficult people, difficult game theoretic landscapes, these are all trivial problems - but whom chooses to engage in conversations on what, that tells you about the speaker.

/

Adapted from a friend's post.)

To pass more Turing tests, a synthete must have: model of human body. Software equivalent of endocrinal reactions, emotion, and other subconscious activity. Information structures equivalent to memory hierarchy in human mind. Limited but non-zero metaprogramming capability (consciousness).

Consciousness is not a state. It is a state machine. Probably of the infinite variety.

/

16 hours down.
Up to...
Kick kitchen projects.
Kick accounts.
Play security guard.
...

/

10pm
- Check doneness of meat.
- Check fermentation of coffee.
- Calibrate ad-spend.
- Standby during abnormal shift handovers.
- Pump toilet. (fail)
- Snake toilet. (fail)
- Close all toilets.
- Shower.

2am
- Tabao lunch for folks.
- Write recipes.
- Register assets in accounting system.
- erm... well, let's see if we're on target with this by 6am...

10am
- Didn't get to accounting.
- But did get bank errands done.
- And found yellow mustard powder.
- Sent diagram and plumbing RFQ to contractor.

/

Hmm. Facebook is most of the social life I have this year. But if I keep talking only about politics, I may have no friends left. LOL

/

It takes a stupid amount of memory for a non-foodie to write recipes. -_- It's a good thing I can still build recipes from memories of food already consumed... I guess it's a bit like playing music by ear (which I have far less ability to do).

/

Oh bother.
Yet another way to run out of cash.

/

Dreaming of a world where no one expects to be cared for. A better world than this.

/

Consciousness: check
Vitals: 50%
Appointments: till 9pm

/

FIRE

/

Revolving doors in the company at the bottom of the pyramid:
- Interview: customer (A) joins as cook; immediately recommends another (B) cook;
- Interview: customer (C) joins as front of house agent; his friend applies for a generalist position (D);
- Financial Management Intern: quits (E)
- D gets thrown into the FMP program

All in six hours.
SIGH

- E proposes to stay on.
- B is hired to replace A in a month.

All in 24 hours.
LOL

/

I appear to have 120 minute event on my calendar to taste five salad sauces. This is both strange, and likely to be disappointing.

/

Consciousness: check
Vitals: 40%
Privilege: check
Anticipated schedule: salad dressings, miscellaneous trainings, sleep.
Anticipated error: high

/

Very disoriented.
Very comfortable.
Probably not a good thing.

/

All individuals are temporary.
We are functions in a stream.

/

Accountant #8

/

I wish I had ambitions. Absent of those, I do have a job. Let's focus on that instead.

/

Deploy. Click click click. Training for five hours. May crash.

/

Hulk look at accounts. Hulk see mess. Hulk smash mess.

/

Sentience: check
Vitals: 65%
Privilege: check
Concierge: online
Kitchen: new asset activation - first 36 hours are promising;
Corp: new asset activation - first 8 hours are promising, but much volatility anticipated over the next 14 days of handover from asset#7 to asset#8;
Weather: wet. Very, very, wet.

/

Summary gamble: this project is more profitable in the long run than love and life in a developed nation. Yet to be disproved, but nearly always there. Hehe.

/

Spending a few minutes to calibrate the mapping of my visual and auditory recognition to my sense of space.

/

You know what, "2 Rows" would be a great title for a book. Part 1: the first row would be able people's desire for social relationships, and Part 2: the second row would be about reciprocity.

Now if only I had Kierkegaard's trust fund....

/

End notes for Nov27 1pm

/

Sentience: check
Vitals: 70% (yay)
Current: numerous errands and a full training day for accountant8

/

Accounts: training day derailed by housekeeping issues;
Office housekeeping: toilets unclogged;
Residential housekeeping: toilet worm population explosion; getting a contractor to build a wall; (technically, I'm not sure if these are worms);

/

"You look unusually morose."
"Come over here, I'll tell you why."
"Ok."
"Closer."
"Right."
"Because you're over there."



"You look grumpier than usual."
"I'm not supposed to say anything."
"Why?"
"Come closer."
"Why?"
"Because I missed you."
"Aw. Ok. Bye."

And the sad truth is that she will only see me for as long as she is running from someone else. When she finds a home, there will be no abiding by the hours of visitation. No more dreams in common space. No more readings. Half drunk orders dying on a stool. She's gone before the ice melts.

And that is how you kill time. Writing parodies of sentimental episodes. And calling them thus, this is how you lose her.

/

I like the temporary chef we have. It's possible to have this kind of conversation. (Excerpts from my side only.)

[On the subject of having more, or fewer multipli-used ingredients.]

Sure. I mean, in the future having a hundred [fundamentally different] dishes is great. But remember that the illusion of choice is useful also in branding/product marketing.

Many customers for example, won't care that an arrabiata and marinara are similar. FOH's job is to explain it's toms with or without chilli (people who really know what the difference is, would be dying here).

Shampoo companies for example, will sell a "luxury", "value", "sporty", and "womens" range... all different brands, but next to each other on the shelf. And 85% of the chemical base is the same stock.

So the mutation of a few ingredients into many menu items must be deployed, in one way or another... unless we have a long term chef to lead us into the specialty foods direction ;)

We are a convenience store brand, like 7-11, or McDonalds, or Sbux for now.

[...]

For discussion's sake... well in the pleb market... unfortunately for the real super tasters... it would appear that the conversion to sales depends more on (from top to bottom):

I. Instagrammability (your 5 [apperance] )
II. Superficial value (your 4 [quantity] divided by your 3 [price])
III. Real value (your 1 [quality] divided by your 3 [price])
IV. Variety (your 2; people go to X shop to eat the 1 thing they remember or crave, e.g. Ansel's cronut... some dumbf*** salt e** croissant, etc.) :)

I think I have to place my bets on "the market is not as smart as we are". But I would welcome a snobbier direction for the shop, if we had the long-term talent to sustain it. You wanna sign on for a coupla years ?

/

The author is either playing devil's advocate, or clickbaiter. I disagree on three points at least:
1. Retail is a channel, not a division of the firm; it's only a division within the sales and marketing function of the firm.
2. Watches are not PRIMARILY a growth market; they are primarily a luxury goods segment of the lifestyle industry; the growth market is programmable fashion / cars / architecture / furniture.
3. Consumer products: Macs - raising computing power is an easy problem, raising usability is a hard problem; monitors, routers - designing semiconductors is a hard problem (the firm has gradually insourced it), designing form factors for uni-dimensional product lines with very diminished marginal returns on innovation is an easy problem (the firm has gradually outsourced this); you can probably bet that R&D is working to figure out what happens in a post-router, post-monitor, world (paradigm shifts / genre-breaking functions, what have you) - one wonders if they'll have less to show for it, than MSFT.
-
Locally, at Sudo, we set up with two siloes ("divisional") organised in an upstream/downstream formation, and a corporate services layer ("functional"). As such, the siloes were meant to be vertically integrated teams, but the first iteration of leadership in the siloes completely failed to cooperate with the other team, which left the central team constantly fire-fighting to bridge comms. We're still working towards completion of a second iteration, and right now we have slightly tighter integration across the company as corporate services has buffed up a bit more, and started to manhandle the other two teams. I suppose, we still need more talent. The lack of which is the main reason we fail. Blame the key person, and absence of more effective key persons. ;)

/

Forensics: there are those days when you just go "akaun in, apa lanjiao..."

/

Dreading the thought of having to line up bookkeeping trainees #9, #10, #11, etc. but the prospect of having no internal staff who can read and write accounts is even more horrifying.

If we don't fix the accounting function, I don't see us having time to train folks to fix product and marketing, and then there is no upside, and we get stuck in maintenance mode perpetually.

Or we burn out. Lol

/

Sentience: check
Privilege: check
Vitals: 68%
Current business focus: training staff in financial literacy.

/

And when we cease to be competitive, we die. Such is the homeostasis of businesses.

/

Time for a due-d expedition.

/

The term of the day is:
Potato Outbreak

/

The loyalty issue is a straw man - everyone hires people whom they have had a demonstrable ability to work with. The experience issue is also a straw man - people who value experience over theoretical expertise are typically just bad at theory.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that this post is anything more than a casual observation that eggs the subject. If I did, this would present another straw man.

/

Incredibly unproductive and unhappy year. The only thing to look forward to being the possibility of either improvement or termination. Bored witless, but that is not a reason to stop going to work. Work remains undone.

/

Hari ini Dalam Sejarah Sudo! Episod 395... dalam episod yang lepas, kuasa-kuasa FOH telah mencapai kemerdekaan daripada penceroboh puak dapur... tetapi, keamanan ini tidak tertahan. Kini, FOH telah menghantar ajen khas untuk mencari relik aiskrim dari kuil peti sejuk di perdalaman negara puak dapur, dan beginilah bermulanya pertembungan terkini antara askar-askar kedua-dua pihak ini...

/

Well good morning, first fire of the day. Third ordering screw up in seven weeks and RM70 cost of goods to be written off. And staff making fun it. Haha. I can only say "thank you for trying, you are the best we have." The absurdity for me is that it's a 15-120 minute recipe fix if I DIY, and a seven week failure if I delegate. 😂😂 I will try again. It is ultimately all my fault. (Backstory: 10Oct, previous chef was out. Prior to that, management team [excluding myself] had been assigned to focus on managing previous chef for 3 months. Result of three months, previous chef quit, and since then most of management has also made plans to move on. And we're still hiring.) Round, and around it goes...

/

Now that I'm dressed,
what's the second fire of the day?

/

Sick. But, time for a spot of work.

/

I just realised that we have better uptime than McDonalds' 24-7 outlets.

/

Team7
Consolidating

/

Assets inbound.
Gotta plan their week by Monday.

/

Sentience: check
Privilege: check
Vitals: 70%
Enforced washing, grooming, feeding, and desk work... chores, chores, chores... :) Still at that point in crisis managment where I don't know if the body will heal harder, and less sensitive to local noise, or if it cascades into long-term weakness on stress related systemic injury. In any event, the nature of the game is that we pit the backlog of work against the frailty of sum bodies in the project. Lol

/

On viewing our cafe, a chap said, "very authentic!"
-
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I wish life were really that simple. What has been built here is a tediously crafted air of originality, for the purpose of clawing up the ladder of top-of-mind in the heads of fifty thousand consumers.

As we grow the portfolio to a hundred shops, such curation must keep pace: to the effect that each item of design, in every shop *appears* to have been generated by the individualistic angst of some individual, or team, whereas it is *merely* the result of a program which exceeds the expectations for emulation of authenticity that consumers place upon producers of services such as ours. By way of discipline, we can wrest greater empathy from the masses, than all independent artists whose value propositions hinge upon their personalities: we synthesise personality from sand.

That is the only interesting way to go about consumer marketing, if you really view the human spirit as a trivial sort of thing.

And the our daily chore is to corral a writhing mass of opposition in the minds of our collaborators.

Perhaps if you adjust the definition of authenticity to mean, "strategically curated design patterns, successfully marketed," then yes, we could be authentic... I suppose.

/

Sentience: check
Privilege: check
Vitals: 75%
Diet: seems to be taking after Warren Buffet, of late
Footwear: ready for roughshod running.
Must make self ready for war. Engaging. Pew pew pew.

/

I used to ask a monthly wage of RM15k, but with the MYRUSD at this stage, that's less than the nominal starting basic salary of my classmates in 2005. Lol.

Maybe I'll just stick myself here and make coffee for the next ten years, I don't know...

... I think one heuristic is to benchmark demands against the currency the bidder earns in. But I should probably double MYR demands to avoid bad jobs at this rate. Sic.

Although I tend to reboot my demands at the starting rate for fresh graduates, when I enter new fields: I rarely know what is the best gamble about these things, because at the end of the day, it's not very important to me.

Games, games, games...

/

My business plan for my 20s was executed well. The plan for my 30s has been boring AF for most of 2016. Perhaps I should start planning the 40s.

But the last time I planned to work on something which seemed like a hard problem at the onset, from 18-40, I got done in three years.

Planning doesn't always work out.

/

Sunday morning!
Fires in short-term memory: five
Fires addressed:
one (1005)
two (1022)

/

Reviewing project management tools to find the best one for a restaurant.

/

New recruit briefing:

"Omg why u sound like a robot'

"This is the standard you have to aspire to. We can't move fast until everyone works efficiently. Barely moving at 1-shop pace. How to do 100 shops? LOL"

"100? HAHAHAHAHA"

"You know I don't really care about this business if we do less than that ;)"

/

Um... I think we've mispriced something.

/

Training two new staff at once, to read and write accounts. Click click click.

/

Last Tango in Paris : This is romantic? But actually, it reminds me of a number of corny mannerisms I've come across in other people. Perhaps... they were inspired by this. Then again, much of art is a celebration of human weakness.

/

Sentience, privilege: check, check
Vitals: 77% check
Risk this week: running too broad instead of too deep, again.

/

Minimal carb day. Good. Kinethesia on point, for a good 30% of office hours. Taking a nap. Hopefully a bit more work later. Recalibrating an underdeveloped coffee.

/

Those who feel pain at the thought of death are weak. But we can, and must work together. Otherwise commerce will fail us.

/

"One makes the most of misgivings."
\"Optimistic. How unlike you."
"You just didn't notice."
\"Suuuuuure. Tell that to your status updates."
"I will. Just watch. But your tummy's had the benefit of my optimism in the past ;)"
\"I know. That should happen more often."
"I no longer have an empty kitchen."
\"And now I'm hungry."
"I don't suppose it would help if I told you to imagine yourself being fed."
\"😒"
"One makes the most of misgivings ... ;)"
|
I was reading an article on how girls decide that guys are trying too hard. Come on - my whole year's been a process of intentionally trying less hard at various things work-related, and compensating for it with hyperbolic exertions elsewhere. Case in point...

/

One definition of maturity is "ability to delay gratification." It is interesting to note, that we can infer this quality from a staff's demonstrations of empathy, or failure thereof.

/

Sentience, privilege, check, check.
Vitals, 65%.
Work is rising into second gear this week, with the addition of 2xstaff for 2xweeks.

/

1. It is a joy to clean up after gross incompetence. (Fortunately the quantity of GI is limited, and with a temporarily expanded team, we're mopping up a lot of shit in one business day.)

2. Incompetence should be the norm in an organisation... otherwise it's probably setting its standards too low...

/

One executive committed till end-June.
One executive committed till end-February.
One executive to decide on commitments in six business days.
It's good to know that we're not stalling right now, even if we may be stalled in the very near future.

/

I find it is convenient to be able to segregate time so that one can switch states of mind between:
1. reflection: creativity / blue-skying / worrying / hypothesis formation
2. tactical ops: non-reflective / completely reactionary / improvisational work
3. droll ops: non-reactionary / pre-meditated / hypothesis testing / discipline-oriented work

/

Snippets of today's conversations. Modified.
.
I: Do you want to check out the other coffee shops?
17yo staff: NO!
I: I guess your first time was horrible.
.
I: Sorry, just having another stupid conversation.
26yo staff: What's new?
I: Just trying to be polite, and not stating the facts as-is in an alienating fashion.
.
Customer: Thanks for setting this place up.
I: And what do you do for a living?
Customer: I'm a motivational speaker.
I: Jesus, Joan, and Jefferies, great job, mate!
.
Ex-staff: So people joining and leaving F&B teams... this seems to be the norm. It's holding us back too. What are we doing wrong as an industry?
I: Expecting people to stay might be the first mistake. I expected to be in perpetual-training mode.
.
Woman I have never held: You're like a mentor.
I: That's slightly embarrassing, I feel like I'm taking advantage of you.
Woman whose voice I do not recall: Speaking of advantages, I get emotional support.
I: Given the abstractness of text, I wonder if your emotions will be equally supported before and after we meet.
Woman I had barely met: Give and take.
I: Love is a fine business to be in.

/

A dreaded time has come.
Time to get up and eat.

/

2016 challenges:
* Training RM5/hour staff to deliver a full set of accounts, monthly, and forward cash flow forecasts on a daily resolution, daily.
* Making three shifts per day recalibrate specialty coffee to their taste, including temperature and pressure-profiled free variables. Logging data.
* Getting hot food service to run 24-7.
* Trying not to run out of cash.
* Trying to get enough food, sleep, and physical stimulation to maximise mental performance.
* Getting people to talk to each other reasonably without treating them all as mutts.

/

BOGH-LOGH-NIAGH

/

People with small egos are difficult to work with. They will perpetually drag others down to their shitty little bastions of inadequacy. But that's always just half the opportunity.

/

Sentience privilege check check. Vitals 70%. One executive candidate dropped out of probation. Now we are three. Much to do, much to do...

/

Concerned. But there is only one way forward... because it's been designed that way. Rinse, and repeat!

- acquire talent
- assign a task, create an opportunity for failure
- assign a routine, create a routine opportunity for failure
- look for failures, as silent failures proliferate
- identify failure, illustrate correct behaviour
- negotiate incentives for correct behaviour
- when the marginal cost of negotiating incentives exceeds the marginal benefit of correct behaviour, eject talent, unless a less immediate benefit is on the cards

/

I wonder to what degree... having the audience name our business "Sudo" has led me to brand talent management as an Ubermensch program

/

Never enough time to think through everything. Keep working, or close shop.

/

The only way to understand someone else is to become someone else.

/

Do you know hard it is to read all these ops alerts on a phone while trying to get a girl off with your other hand!? Well I don't either. :P

/

Pundits anticipate Trump's Weapons of Mass Annoyance (POTUS can text you any time)

/

Y'know... if @realDonaldTrump grows out his beard and starts to own that chin, he would be the first POTUS in a while... to look like Santa.

/

Manually triggered oxytocin rush. Haven't played that card in a while. What other meditations should I remember?

Isn't it interesting that an emotion, such as trust, can be brought into the present, from memory?

Taste is for the weak. Strength is demonstrated by the wilful. Hahah.

“Never hate your enemies, it affects your judgment.” -- Michael Corleone, Book III


2016: Trump in the White House, earthquakes errwhere. Somebody's gotta be callin the book of Revelations on this shit


/


end notes Dec 11

/

Today's fire count:
Kitchen: 2
Corp: multiple
Front of House: ongoing embers

/

"Does this look okay?"
"Make it look more pretentious."
"..."
"Business is business. Go to the back of the house, throw up, then do it."

/

Water the fires, water the fires, dum dee dum.

/

"Your mandate is to build towards 100-200% redundancy."
"We can't afford redundancy."
"We need redundancy because people here are daft, and like to walk off jobs... now we can't afford negative redundancy. Let me summarise it for you:
(1) (unit) talent here is cheap
(2) (unit) talent here is disposable
(3) ... because (unit) talent here is just not that great, so...
(4) ... we need a lot of it (units)."
-
Don't get me wrong. I'd sure like to hire a restaurant manager who can keep books, handle procurement, and train the front-of-house to (run their station AND to manage the kitchen as a supplier), but... given what the market offers we're just going to have to build this capability out of whatever walks in the door. :) Or we shutter.

/

Perhaps the only real challenge I wake up to daily, is the belief that we can turn muppets into megalodons.

/

Short-term memory data-source integration... under recalibration. I think a lot of productivity leakage may be due to having ignored this.

/

A few daily gambles:
1.
Resource allocation for the curation of mental health, to optimise for getting more work done, versus the cries of mediocre fucks telling me when to work less because they actually believe we are at an acceptable state of quality.
2.
Doing things at quality, with unit bus number, versus doing things sub-par but with investment in redundancy.

/

"They only do what the boss tells them."
"Not really. Look, you put a nobody in there who tells them she's in charge, and they jump. They're not sure if the threat is real - but they're sure that it's imminent. The moderately effective whips don't have to be good politicians, in order to be good field marshalls. In fact, now that you make me think about it... what our talent pool lacks is individuals with the propensity to play alpha male/female games... to raise their voices and order others around. Most do not. Most of those that do, overreach, and start picking fights with the actual alpha, and then get booted out. Our best talents are the ones with the capability to play alpha games, in a fully self-conscious fashion, while being diplomatic in conversation, and politically astute about their alliances."
"So much for leadership?"
"This seems to be a realistic definition of leadership."

/

I am working hard to remove the romance from lifestyle products. It may be an uphill battle, but it given that the competitive advantage I emphasise is a high quantum of work per unit of cost, then it seems internally coherent. Let us see if the hypothesis fails. That is daily work...

/

Thankful for: For random conversations to take my mind off food and menu design.

/

I guess many people would intuit that synesthesia is an arbitrary association of two completely different sensory data structures. But if you're appreciating consciousness at the lowest level of abstraction, then all higher level abstractions are deconstructable to uni-dimensional signals anyway. #oldschool

/

"Hi"
*punches to her core*
"Don't, I'm wet."
"Do you need a jacket?"
"No, I'm going to change."
*changes*
"Tada"
"Pretty."
"Don't say that."
"I'm shallow."
-
And frankly, one does and says less, as a point of safety.

/

Modes anticipated today:
- IT repair
- accounting and finance coach
- kitchen project management
- marketing communications design
- staff scheduling delegation
- water rationing plumbing execution

Not really ready. Getting ready for a lot of memory swaps on a slow disk. Executing modes. Anticipated rate of failure: dangerously high.

/

Epic boredom. But first, routine feeding, then back to menu design.

/

"French fries are a great idea."
"Yup."
"Put them on the menu."
"Do it yourself, and don't forget the rest of the supply chain from ordering, to recipe, production training, and service training."
"But french fries are great."
"Here's twenty bucks - go buy yourself some french fries, and quit bugging me about new products unless you're delivering an entire product's supply chain."

/

Enforced food, sleep, not working ideally. Need to enforce more kinesthesia. Breathe control needs to be revisited. Perhaps running too.

/

Standing by for deployment on Operation PPR: Payroll Potato Rescue

/

"You look awkward. No, you always look awkward."
"Do you ever get bored by the people around you?"
"Uhuh."
"Is it annoying?"
"Maybe."
"Would you make a point to stay close to those boring people, studying their structures, for days, to see if they could be more interesting?"
"Err..."
"This is like the tenth year for me."
"Ok."

/

On complaints that Trump is not normal: Bunch of idiots. "Normal," is not a reason (to respect anything). Lol

/

"This place isn't very photogenic."
"It's designed to look like a hardware store, or warzone, I suppose. Don't want staff coming to work thinking it's a place to chill."
"Doesn't that make it hard to sell?"
"Yup. Forces staff to work without handicaps."
"And if you don't make it?"
"Next project. But if we get a bulletproof team, we can flip a switch and go all cookie-cutter idyllic Scandinavian Instagrammable whatnot. But the idea of allowing that sort of weakness into the organisation before the staff solidifies is just horrifying."

/

Don't poke the bear. (Someone in Ankara just did that, and we were wondering what exactly the FSB is going to do next - popcorn.) If you see a Donald, however, do poke it. Poke it hard, the results are amusing! (Now I feel like a bully.)

/

I think I'm out of practice at telling my mother to go away. Tsk tsk. She had been trained well. My training must be slipping - this is a stupidly busy year.

/

In case anyone's still wondering why I'm spending a month on visual design work while the company teeters on the brink of ruin: it appears to be the case that I have time for aesthetic design work about once per year. Last year the setup of the company involved marque, signboard, amd furniture design, and a core visual language for interior architecture. The intention was to postpone fine tuning until operations stabilise. Operations have never been stable, and I must anticipate that they will not be stablised in the next year, either. Meanwhile, in the absence of a budget for a creative director, there has been a need for a manifesto of sensual identity: a branding bible for art (we already have one for copy). Without one, every marketing hack and artist comes along with their own sense of what can, and cannot work for the brand. So this menu puts a placeholder on the table: a unifying document which captures how Sudo Brew as a restaurant is supposed to look, taste, smell, and even sound (if you can read music, you may find clues hidden here and there). It tells the reader how drinks may be served. It tells you how loud to speak, and hiw loud to scream (only if you read colour). Let's hope this works to hold the base, in terms of the creative direction of staff for 2017. I expect to be busy in operations, meanwhile.

/

Samantha Bee said it best: "I'm not a pessimist, I'm a catastrophist."

/

Non-compliance rears its ugly head. Hopefully we won't have to burn more crops. LOL

/

On India flights possibly being fined for having empty sewerage tanks upon landing:

Hostess1: "Hey did anyone take a shit?"
Hostess2: "Er, oh no. Mike..."
Steward1: "Ok, ok... hold up. BRB."
Hostess1: "Hurry up, they're boarding!"

/

Negligence! No.
Negligee! Maybe.

/

We are in the strange place of having staff who are too nice. Gansta is on-brand. I actually say "you have to go full-gangster," when I interview new FOH staff.

/

How to quit a job on your first day:

1. You can quit in protest, on your first day, and it is a cleaner cut. The emotional attachments between you and them have not yet deepened. You can make it clear that "this is not what I expected, it was not told to me that these responsibilities would be part of the role, so I must withdraw interest."

1.1. If you wish to offer 1-2 weeks of work (paid or unpaid, your offer, your call) to give them more time to find a replacement, that would be nice. They may reject your offer, and you're out ASAP. They may accept, and be annoying on a day to day basis - in which case you would tell them you are stopping immediately because they made the deal worse, despite your good intentions. Or they may not even pay you in spite.

2. If you are masochistic or wish to indulge in moral fantasies, or guilt tripping, then sure, without incentive, continue as planned. :)

2.1. You may raise concerns above, with a warning that you would like to quit in the future, unless certain circumstances change by a certain time.

/

"My grandfather used to run GuangDong for the KuoMinTang..."
"... so yo're Kylo Ren?"
"Sadly."
Shoutout to @emokyloren

/

Not enough hours, not enough days. But still not yet dead. So I guess we'll make the most of it.

/

Sentience, privilege: check, check. Breath: stuttered - many interruptive thoughts. Errands: first, feeding time, second, stock up on cheap protein supplements, third, address interruptive thoughts, fourth, maybe get some exercise.

/

Sometimes I can't believe how much pop-culture I ingest in order to achieve target functionality in this industry.

2016-11-21

Civil Society?

Oh Maria. All my prose in quotes. Not fact-checked, mostly rhetorical.

I don't know who you are, I don't know what you do. But if you can't handle four weeks of solitary confinement in a windowless cell... you just haven't been practicing. Not that you would be expected to be in practice... but if you were an opposition leader in a facist country, surely you would have thought to be prepared for such a short stay?

Comment chats:
I hope this doesn't turn into a dildo in the supreme court omg Malaysia please don't go there.

Then the feedback came in, of course from the bleeding hearts.

So to provide a less cryptic response, I think the primary intention of the post to cause discomfort has been fulfilled.

Aside from that, I find the response telling about what you care about, so it is informative to me. I do not care about many of the concerns that you express. So I think we are each successful in standing on each other's work here...

... you as an activist, who wishes to change the world, and I as an observer, who is interested in watching it whether it changes or not... (I do find it amusing, to think about the divergences of our separate ethical positions in very dry terms, but I will avoid going there in chat unless you really need more distractions from your work, which I doubt).

/

Each must follow their calling.

/

I suppose you're free to filter your friends based on their agreement and empathy with your being; and I'm free to filter my friends based on whether they are simply interesting or not (for inherent amusement, or in a commercial sense).

/

I think it's tough for both sides - and I say that with complete honesty. But one does not pretend to care for what one does not care about... (And one does not befriend what one does not trust... so I may lose friends, I guess.)

... so if my privilege is that I'm middle-class, a freeloader, and that I live in a pseudo-facist-democracy where activists want to roll themselves up to the war on achieving fair and free elections... I'm really just taking the position that you know, as Magneto says, in chess the pawns go first. I'm going to wear my privilege on my sleeve here. At the same time I'm going to say that my activist friends (whom I regard as such, even if they don't regard me as such) deserve full credit for being war fighters in this theatre.

I myself find it a tad boring - so that's not my theatre. I DO like to say, call me when there's a real war. Give me a gun. But that may be fanciful thinking - and I may be overpromising. But it may be the case that's who I really am. I don't like peaceful protests - I like quick results. Usually those are accompanied via large boxes of money, or explosives.

DISCLAIMER: Neither of which I have in my possession at this time.

/

And taking this to its necessary conclusions: look, by the LETTER OF THE LAW, it is in fact folks like me whom they should be putting under investigation, and locking up. But they do not - they go pick on the avowedly non-violent opposition leaders instead (if you have a facist government, civil society and democracy are DE FACTO opposition).

What does this tell us about my country? Potential threats and criminals walk freely, while the innocents are prosecuted. But this is HOW WE HAVE BEEN FOR DECADES.

Sigh. The irony of it all - that people do not realise it.

/

[New trends will come.]

no lah... civil society has been struggling for decades. It will be up and down, but it does not stop. The government would be on track to turning over to the Opposition already if not for Najib being more violent in his actions than Mahathir. So N is doing the right thing in his interests. But soon it may be that the party will devour him - or will it? Rules for rulers at play (the video - you saw it?). Textbook. He is doing well for himself - long he may rule. I don't mean that it is my preference - just an observation.

/

[Hypocrisy.]

- for some it refers to those who desire change but do nothing about it (to avoid clouding the waters, I typically phrase my position as "ok fine, stay this way, I'm not going to do much about it under my current circumstances")
- for some it refers to those who believe that MARCHING will achieve their goals, while being unwilling to take up arms against the objects of their discontent
- for some it refers to people who say "status quo!" but vote Opposition, and vice versa

/

[Optimism.]

Well you saw the 2008 election results - I figured those were on-track. Would have needed 1-2 more elections to actually turn over.

Now they're going to be a bit off-track... since the new gods have a tendency to invoke "sudden death" on individuals - which is what I expect to see more of in the months to come.

"Back in my day, son, they would lock you up and call you a faggot. Then put on a t-shirt and attend your vigil. These days, they just kill you."

2016-11-20

Letters

To a writer at the Atlantic, who invited comments.

I tweeted about this earlier:

1. Where did Pence's tickets come from? The VP-elect does not simply attend a venue of artistic expression hosted by those *widely known to be his political enemies (or at least, folks whose cultures have been actively disenfranchised by his past policy-making)*. Was it not an act of solidarity for him to even bother reaching out to attend in the first place? Was it an invitation by a third party, a personal effort, or that of a professional PR team?

2. The same questions about who's Tweeting the Donald's reaction should be immediately asked. Is it the Donald himself, Parscale & co., or some other strategic *sic* advisors?

Those questions invite answers that are fundamental to untwisting the post-ness of the truth about these matters. As Trump's career plays up the degree of irony expected to be the new normal in American public discourse, English majors may suddenly have found their commerciability - in having been trained to rationalise and decipher wads of narrative that are neither written to be read literally, nor inviting of singular interpretation. In simpler terms: it would be DELIGHTFUL to see publications such as yours laying out the narrative space, delineating in simple terms the meanings of all public appearances by these newly elected leaders.

Non-American citizen here - I run a coffeeshop in Malaysia, but have lived in Kentucky and Maine for almost five years. Hope I'm not commenting completely out of context.

Thank you for smoking.

2016-11-12

Enforced Reflection

This really is a bit of making myself sit down on a bench outside the office, to talk to myself via a keyboard. I don't have much of a verbal thought process. Typically I can process information a lot faster as images and sounds, and with operations upon those, rather than semantic operations and symbolic reasoning. What little internal monologue I had over various years in the past, has dwindled to a dull hum over the past few months, given that I do not speak aloud about many things at the office (conversation almost always revolves around the mundanities of increasing discipline in our little coffee shop's operations), I am almost never anywhere but the office, and that I do not read very broadly outside of the bedtime readings that adorn my social media feeds.

I conjure up in my mind the main considerations I have had at work: there isn't much use in writing more about cyclic rotations of talent at this point - I'm not exactly writing a manual for how to juggle different business functions implementing a strange business model (perhaps I should start blogging about work). As previously noted, I've spent a good amount of time this year just trying to help staff talk to each other. So well now, less of that, that's work for wages.

Outside of wages, I suppose I remain affected by the non-presence of various muses, whether they remain conscious of my existence or not. I suppose I'm impersonal about many things in the most disgusting ways - sometimes I consider a set of people, recognise a pattern that they have in general, and simply decide that I like that about all of them. Some are geographically nearer, some farther. Some speak, some do not. Some hide, some do not. Some I feel closer to than my biological family. But these cares are indeterminate in the long run.

It is late. I must continue this exercise later.

[Intermission consists of cleaning out two curbside trash cans, and then eating a breakfast of roast pork, and then listening to a colleague who works in video production talk about films.]

Someone offers to read what ends up being written. I don't really have anything to say to myself. Perhaps, I just need to increase SNS stimulation further, never mind the semantics.

So strangely enough, the day ends with a movie. Perhaps that is a refresher in social cues, since I mostly do not fraternise with staff or customers.