Category Archives: Food For Thought
Elsewhere someone asked me about corporate strategy. Here is my reply:
Maybe with age, I’ve become more cynical but it’s a fact that “the victor writes the history”. True, “sound” strategies have a better chance of success but history is also littered by lots of failures simply because of bad timing and/or the x-factor called “luck”. For example when Alibaba was launched, if suddenly there’s a world war, the world will never know of its “success”. That’s an extreme, but I’m sure you know of some factual “hard luck” stories of some really deserving guys who failed because of some inexplicable misfortune; not because of any flaw in their strategies.
Having said that, I first heard the “Be first, if not be better, otherwise be different” credo at a conference some 30 years ago maybe, presented by the CEO or Marketing Director of the local soft drinks plant here. At that time it sounded so profound to me that I adopted it as my credo too. It certainly sums up neatly what marketing is all about and may still be a good guide. But look where is the local soft drinks plant today?
What may be today’s strategic trend will be tomorrow’s no-no. For example, “conglomerates” was a hot strategic move in the 50-60’s but was discredited in the 70’s. But conglomerates are still thriving in Malaysia even now. So are the conglomerates in Malaysia considered a good strategic corporate structure? The answer is “timing”. Good yesterday, bad today… may be good tomorrow. Eg. Companies like Apple outsource their manufacturing to dedicated EMS (electronic manufacturing services) companies. But then one day the EMS finds itself at the mercy of its big customers. So it creates its own brand, engages in marketing its own products too and in time the cycle begins again.
“Timing” and the x-factor “Luck”. If the Force is not with you, no amount of smart strategies can help you. Maybe it’s a Karma thing after all.
Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea
Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea on a smartphone. Most of the time when we make a spelling mistake on “normal, common” words, the recipient would still be able to make out what we mean, even without the Spelling Correction. However, when we want to use an acronymn, an abbreviation or a foreign word, we do not want the Spell Checker to offer a “correction” and make it without us noticing it. That’s disastrous! If you have ever been caught in an embarrassing or difficult situation because of this, you will know what I mean. Therefore, I make my case for “No Spell Checker” as the default, unlike the present situation where it’s already implemented as the default and very often we don’t even know how to turn it off.
Two cases to illustrate:
1. I typed and sent a URL to a friend by SMS. He kept saying the link doesn’t work. I checked and it worked on my original document. Much later I realised that when I typed the abbreviations GMBO, the not-so-smart-phone kept auto-correcting it to GUMBO. And of course I didn’t realise that at the time.
2. A friend texted me to say that his friend would be calling me. I texted back to ask whether that friend could speak my dialect or English. He replied, “Try hollowness”. Of course, I sent a burst of ???? to him. He then realised that his phone had auto-“corrrected” the dialect “hokkien” to “hollowness”.
I rest my case.
Watch What You Say!
(Attention: Original Author…. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so that due credit can be given for this excellent article. Thanks to Mr. Bugs Tan for highlighting this article.)
Watch what you say!
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded:
THE TONGUE CAN BE YOUR WORSE ENEMY!
Your words, your dreams, and your thoughts have power to create
conditions in your life. What you speak about, you can bring about.
If you keep saying you can’t stand your job, you might lose your job.
If you keep saying you can’t stand your body, your body can become sick.
If you keep saying you can’t stand your car, your car could be stolen
or just stop operating.
If you keep saying you’re broke, guess what? You’ll always be broke.
If you keep saying you can’t trust a man or trust a woman, you will
always find someone in your life to hurt and betray you.
If you keep saying you can’t find a job, you will remain unemployed.
If you keep saying you can’t find someone to love you or believe in
you, your very thought will attract more experiences to confirm your
If you keep talking about a divorce or break up in a relationship, then
you might end up with it.
Turn your thoughts and conversations around to be more positive and
power packed with faith, hope, love and action.
Don’t be afraid to believe that you can have what you want and deserve.
Watch your Thoughts, they become words.
Watch your Words, they become actions
Watch your Actions, they become habits.
Watch your Habits, they become character.
Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny
The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than
you settle for.
When Bad Things Happen To Us
In one episode of “House”, when Dr House was debating with his team on a terminal case, the good doctor scribbled on the board:
According to Dr House, when bad things happen to us, we tend to deny that it could ever happen to us (“It cannot happen to me”). When we realise that it is true, we get very angry over the situation (“How can it happen to me?”). We then enter into the next phase, “Why did it happen to me?”, and get depressed. When we pull ourselves together, we then tend to start bargaining for a way out of the situation. When we finally realise there’s no way out, we eventually accept our fate.
Since then, I discovered that this is the Kuebler-Ross Model (ref: Wikipedia):
The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In no defined sequence, most of these stages occur when a person is faced with the reality of their impending death and applies to survivors of a loved one’s death as well. The hypothesis was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her book On Death and Dying, which was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients. Kübler-Ross was inspired by the lack of curriculum in medical schools that addressed death and dying, so she started a project about death when she became an instructor at the University of Chicago medical school. This evolved into a series of seminars; those interviews, along with her previous research, led to her book. Her work revolutionized how the medical field took care of the terminally ill. Her five stages of grief have now become widely accepted.
Have you ever been in such a situation?
Golden Rule, Silver Rule, What Rule?
With the present (or has it always been like this in Mankind’s history?) chaotic state of the World, we all try to look for Rules that we can live by; that which may bring some sanity to the madness we face everyday.
What follows is largely from the material contained in Carl Sagan’s “The Rules of the Game” in his book “Billions and Billions”.
Most of us can relate to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
However, Confucius debunked the Golden Rule. He asked, “Shall the Masochist inflict pain on his neighbour?” and other similar questions that exposed the weakness of this rule in that it does not take into account human differences.
The Silver Rule, “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you”, is more realistic and among the famous practioners of this Silver Rule were Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The nonviolent civil disobedience based on this rule helped to create significant change in India (Gandhi) and USA (Martin Luther King).
For a world in conflict,