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.