2016-09-04

Yawn 13

Tired. It's that time of day when I'm all out of creativity, and the fight is just a matter of "don't stop punching." Wait, what are we punching? Who is this? Oh no...

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Having trigger warnings is at about the same level of social utility as having disability friendly amenities.

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Step B causes stillbirths. Whodathunk.

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Objectively speaking in retrospect, I should have applied for work at Facebook right of college. Back then I figured it would be too easy for them to dominate their niche. I did not forsee that they would occupy other spaces. I thought they would become a very big, boring company.

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"Hi."
"Oh hey"
"I always see you here."
"Yeah."
I have no idea where we met, but you look familiar. PM.

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Seriously bored. Sprucing up non-events into verbal narratives. Contriving methodical stereotypes to portray to people I have no logistical capability to accompany. Delineating the obvious. Really the slowest year since 1999. Burn, baby, burn...

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Service in Malaysia is still generally shitty. But maybe we will be able to fix it after we get our house in order. Mayyyybe.

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So I was saying to staff: we are building soliders. It will time. If we survive, we will have a staff that turns left when I say left. And right when I say right. In unison. Overall, I encourage everyone to seek happiness, if here that's good. If elsewhere, that is good also. A company is an artificial construct with abstract goals. One must otherwise personally seek happiness, wherever it may be.

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Underslept. But it is time for breakfast and a shift.

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I think the staff find it hard to come terms with the direction of the company's operations. In my head it's something like the Four Seasons designed from the ground-up by Betsey Johnson, soundtracked by Luke Porter and Thelonious Monk with a skew to the Traders' work-ethic, and bring it down to a layman's price-point. We just happen to serve good coffee without making a fuss about it. But no one would believe it's possible. ;P Why? Because it doesn't exist yet, that's all. We move against the shifting tides of the market.

In the future "organic" hospitality is pretty much going to be like marketed the way "organic" food is today. Most people won't have the skill to differentiate between a real human and an artificial human, so the devil will be in the details. Its going to be all regulated, and terminologically certified whatnot. Good luck.

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Scratches head. Checks safety. Safety still on. Scratches head. Strange times. Strange people.

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Concerned with internal security. But advisors have indicated that it is not an opportune time to deescalate privileges. Watching closely.

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Reminding myself that after all, it is a gamble. We write off what is at stake before we invest it.

The popular view is that we do this for the money. And many of us do this for the money, motivated by an urgent sense of need. But I remind myself I have forgiven such needs. I do this for the money, as a game.

What happens next?! I am watching closely. This is so much better than football, or the Olympics, or badminton. This is a real game.

And they ask me to be more like them. But that is not what I set out to be... so as always, eventually we will either settle into an equilibrium, or go our separate ways. And relationships are broken, but such is the nature of bees. Their wings fall, their stings attack the ground, and on and on proceeds the fact of history.

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So as usual, I have been met with giggles for suggesting that as a hospitality business, our benchmark is a five-star hotel, not a hipster cafe. Using Valley language, the unit economics are as follows:

1: The cost of labour in five-star hotels and hipster cafes is roughly the same (in $/staff-hour), at the bottom of the pyramid.

2: So the qualities of service curated by five-star hotels which are often neglected by smaller establishments... that curation is a margin play. Of course this play is executable by smaller players as well. But not all small players focus on QoS - just the so-called boutique firms.

3: The execution of 2. requires much attention to detail, and habit-formation, essentially dog training. (We are all dogs in the Pavlovian sense, from the bellboy to the BOD - we follow mores.) Let's (for elagance) switch from a metaphor of dogs and dog trainers to a metaphor of sheep and sheepdogs. If you have too many sheep from a less preferred culture, then you need more dogs of the preferred culture, in order to administer herding according to the preferred culture. (One dog can herd hundreds of sheep, but at some point the dog is going to be overwhelmed.) This is where thesis 1. comes into question... how many dogs do you need to train, in order to herd all your sheep, and will the total cost of preferred dogs exceed the opportunity cost of letting the sheep just do things their old way?

The answer in my case, right now is: I don't know. I just know that my sheep are all doing it wrong, and my dogs think I am crazy.

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Hope is properly ventured, only with an accompanying expectation of failure. To understand this is key. Many do not. So that too, becomes a daily hurdle.

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Many fires. Catching up on sleep. Such is the nature of work.

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Up for a bit. I wonder how long I can keep this up. The MO for commercial optimisation should proceed until 2022. I wonder if I will make it.

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Clearing my Slack Stars... backed up since 12 months ago. Nevermind Gmail - over a thousand unread emails.

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I just wrote the longest dumbest teambuilding email I've ever had to cough up over a plate of chapfan, twerking two thumbs over a piece of broken glass whatnot. Whatever happens to us, I just hope I remember how to use my knives - I was looking for a video to show a supplier and I found old photos of food, aha! This is as cheery as I ever get when telling people what I think of life in general: "If we are optimistic, cooperation is achievable. (Personally I am of a neutral outlook: I always believe the way forward will be hard, no matter which team chooses to cooperate or not.)" #somuchforgrammarinwhatsapp #oops

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Feeding time. Then more training.

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Listening to foodies talk is cute. I sometimes wonder how I ended up around folks like this. Haha. Well, such is the game.

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When staff ask if I can be more normal, I wonder if they realise it would mean: none of us having the jobs we now have.

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So here's how I think about most people: I assume I don't understand them, then I study them.

Otherwise the article just reminds me of a thought I had about critics of Musk's pessimism regarding AI. I agree that misprogrammed non-free AIs (i.e. misdirected tools) remain a greater threat in the near term, than fully sentient programs. However, I think it's often missed out how we'll probably see a rise in cyborgia ala animals including humans with electronics that make them smarter, potentially letting us have dog-English translators like the ones in Up, long before sentient AI amasses enough power to be a global threat. Fancy talking to a dolphin or an octopus?

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Caught up on sleep. Time to catch up on exercise. Food pending. 9km morning runaround...

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"We can't afford to lose any more people."
"Well it just means that we will fail if we do. Don't panic."
"I'm not panicking."
"Well then we're on the same page. Failure is tolerable."

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It would be foolish for anyone in a middle-classed society to be betting their lives on employment at a young and unstable company. This is why most people don't do that. Dear God, have insurance. If any staff cared more about their livelihood in general, than about the business we are doing, I would try to help them find jobs elsewhere. There's no use being unhappy as we go about work.

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Iron nanoparticles: Oops. Maybe gotta stop running during rush hour, as much fun as that is.

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A literate workforce documents its states of affairs. Otherwise communication is without a point of reference, and it deserves to go in one ear and out the other, not because people tend to forget, but because that is how an office operates. In an office, things are official. If they are not made official, disputes arise, and chaos ensures. That's also why we have laws to govern countries. I suppose.

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Another day another account. YAWWN

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Surprise! We're not dead yet. Back to accounting. I hop it is not a middling day.

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Making our folks practice filtered coffees at 6am. "Making" sounds so hostile, and in this environment may provoke retaliatory comments. So I'll amend that to "prompting," "coaching," "suggesting," and "requesting."

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Some people want you to succeed, but not too much.

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"Building a government is hard."
"It's harder if you're a prick about it."
"Cheer up! It's just a little cafe in the middle of nowhere."
"I need a nap."

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Equitable Sitcomitis - definition: having made the error of reporting on company affairs in such fine detail that investors cannot wait for the next episode, despite plot elements having little bearing on the long-term stability of a business.

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Hurrah. Killed off 50% of our corporate use of Whatsapp. Such a featureless tool.

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There has been so little room for creativity at work, while we sort through disciplinary issues, that I have taken to writing a love story in some other medium. For shame.

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"Sun's rising soon."
"Don't move. Listen for sounds."
"What sounds?"
"Just listen. Do you hear that? A faint squawking."
"What is it?"
"It's the sound of Sudo. Someone is butthurt."
"What do we do?"
"Keep cleaning. It will go away... just look out for anomalies in collegial behaviour."
"Why does it go away?"
"Social Darwinism..."

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Sleep time. All kinds of shift work this weekend :) not much space for business.

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An apt time to get back to work. I foresee a slow, mucky, week in the hole. Life's little experiences.

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While I feel sad for our our stakeholders who work and contribute to the project, it is also in my training to be nonchalant about their concerns which provide no short-term value to the persistence of the business. More sleep, more nonchalance. Less sleep, more noise. Haha.

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Stepping into FOH lead mode. Checking comms channels. I haven't touched marcomms and hiring ops in 1-2 months. Catching up on that now, and given recent activities, doing all the requisite smacking around of runaway items... well... since we have runaway items everywhere, it feels routine. But what's refreshing is having to jump back into operations for this stuff. I'm not sure if I have the time, but work needs to be done anyway. So I guess we gotta.

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Burning Man art: See, I find most of this cute but unoriginal. So it is hard for me to be interested in most people who find originality in parlour tricks and fashionable designs without condescending.

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Hospitality training:
"See this table over here? I don't care that it is dirty. But some customer will walk in, and see two baristas playing in the bar, and they will say, "what a lazy operation," and they will be right. You have to expect customers to be morons. And, it is our job to care for morons, to babysit, so at least one of you needs to pretend to be busy trying to clean that table..."

Only fools "care."

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I hate firing people. But if you say, I am paying you to X and they say, "no X," then I guess we have a redundancy. And we have had a lot already.

I suppose angry people are okay to have around as long as they are following order (not orders). Arguing with orderly people is the baseline of efficiency. Arguing with people is a complete waste of time, if they are disorderly by nature, by sadness, by fatigue, or by anger. But if they are angry and disorderly, then they may be dangerous and should be ejected.

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Graveyard shift! Let's go.

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On unicorns and cockroaches:

"They have seven items on the menu. Full house. He's wondering what he did wrong."
"It's not rocket science. The best menu for a red ocean marketer is small, and fast-changing."
"Why don't you do that?"
"If we survive, that's next quarter's problem. No time to argue about it now. I have a very big cockroach oscillating around a net zero cash position for almost a quarter now. Lol. It would be a big splat."

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Long slow night of cleaning. As I always say, time consuming, but not hard. I don't like to rush into working things the hard way.

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Maintenance of personal effects.

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2200 alarms start going off.

2250 get out of shower, apologise for lateness. Notice that a 2300 meeting has been agreed to on my behalf. Apologise to counterparty, that it will be postponed to 2330.

2310 roll into office late. Tell staff they can leave early if they want. They tell me to take interviews. I say those can wait for the correct time while I put on an apron. Two interviews follow.

0030 staff finally shoo themselves off. Service proceeds with informal assistance from finance intern, and minimal but non-zero confusion.

0200 receive supplies. Supplier asks about my business, I explain my business challenges.

0300 catch up with a friend who is just back in Malaysia, who wants to leave already. She asks about my business, I explain my business challenges.

0500 pause to take a selfie with theatrical props to alleviate boredom. Drink three espressos while rushing around, cleaning.

0830 breakfast. Discover that staff will be missing a conference call. Rearrange schedule, mentally to cover bases. Arrange more interviews. Plan to replace a crippled phone. Memos go out to staff about today's business situation.

0930 arrive at the mall. Find out that it opens in an hour. Take photos to alleviate boredom.

1200 return to base with a RM420 used phone. Begin migrations. Woman in makeup says I should hang out. Man from tech industry pops by to say hi, asks about my business. I explain my business challenges.

1300 After migrations, I drink water while we talk about sadness. Hers, not mine. She asks me to explain my business. I explain my business challenges.

1330 staff tells me a toilet flusher is stuck. I study the toilet flusher. A familiar face appears on the route between the storeroom and the toilet, I get her attention and ask to speak to her later. She once said she was looking. But I have no idea if she will look my way.

1500 after multiple approaches, the flusher is jerry rigged with a string. It is a public holiday. Memos go out to staff about the toilet and missing ashtrays. I talk to her about mutual friends, and ask her to dinner. She is occupied. I meet her friend, who is also cute. She asks about my business, I explain my business challenges. I see a boy cousin outside. I will not remember her friend's name - only the latter her's occupation. I do not remember the former her's name, so I ask. They are preoccupied and I leave, to be less boring. New staff mentions that she has spent 120 minutes on a 15 minute task - I point out that there are infinite such opportunities.

1530 cousin says hi. He asks about my things, I say I have not been this bored since the penultimate year of highschool - when one is waiting not for the end of highschool, but for the beginning of the year that precedes it. Cousin's friend looks at me, she is familiar. I say she is cute, and ask where he found her. Then I head off to rest. I bump into a shareholder, who is happy with a recent month's performance. I point out that monthly investment reports generate noise, which is of little long-term consequence. We will meet at 2000 for a conference call with others.

1630 I make small talk with other women, the former her, and discover that the new phone has excellent speakers.

I am tired of explaining my business.

Forecast:

1800 stop resting. Shower and start prepping for 2000 confcall.

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Fire.

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