Monday 30 January 2012

A Month Is About to Pass

We are already at the end of January. For those who celebrated Chinese New Year, they should be back working or running their businesses today. For many of us, one-twelve of the new year will pass. Are we on the right track as far as our commitments and resolutions for 2012 are concern?

Time flies and if we are not committed enough, whatever desire that we have for 2012 will remain hope but never actualised. Perhaps, it is good just take few steps back and analyse how we fare this time around.

One of the challenges faced by many of us is the constraint of time given that we want to do and achieve so many things. Sometimes, we fail to prioritise our efforts and ended up spreading our resources, including our time, resulting in many efforts with not much results.

How do we prioritise? Some will go for the long hanging fruits, some may try to complete to toughest task first. Whatever our approaches are, we must understand how they will influence our big goals for the year. However, if don't care and bother to plan and execute or plans, all this conversation that we have here does not matter.

Just to remind all of us that the clock is ticking, whether we like it or not. Once passed, time could not be regained.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Are PIPA and SOPA really forever stopped?

Fancy your favorite websites suddenly going blank? This could have been possible if the 2 anti-ponline piracy laws were approved. Fortunately, so far, this effort has been suspended. The voting on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) scheduled today was called off by the Leader of the Majority in the American Senate.

Is this really a battle between the old and new economies? We have on one side the movie producers, book publishers and recording companies advocating for the 2 laws and they are opposed by internet-based companies such as Google and Wikipedia. I am sure many of us, Netizens, would like internet to remain as it is, free from many restrictive practices.

While the protection of intellectual property has been the foundation of growth and development for many decades there are movements which believe that we could grow faster if intellectual property is shared without barrier. Most of us are familiar with the term copyright but not many of us have heard about copyleft. Essentially, copyleft is the practice of leaving intellectual property free to be shared. One of the examples of this is the Android project where the phone is developed based on the open source concept. It managed to break the domination of Apple in the smart phone market.

When innovation shifts from proprietary-based to a more network-centric approach, the ability to share intellectual property freely is important. This is to enable more brains to work on a particular discovery rather than relying on a small number of experts in a closed environment. I have written a piece on this few years ago. 

While those who fancy an open and free internet could appear to have won, this could be just the beginning of a larger battle. Given that the US is going to have a presidency election this year (yes, there is no surprise in the US about the date of election) most candidates are positioning themselves to groups of people who could bring them votes. How could we explain the position taken by the US on Iran which could create risk of increasing the price of oil when the American economy is still at the stage of recovery?

Like it or not, the US is still where many internet-based companies are based and any development there would influence the lives of many people around the world. May the force be on the right side of the debate.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Hail the Dragon

Happy New Year to all friends and colleagues who are welcoming the year of the water dragon. I trust this auspicious moment would be the best opportunity to celebrate with family, friends and loved ones.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Winning a Race

I have heard people say that life is a journey. If that is the case it is about going from point A to point B. It could also meant deciding where we want to go and work hard in ensuring we arrive safely. Pushing this point further, some may realize that there are others who are trying to do the same. From a mindset that resources is finite, being at point B as soon as possible could be the next goal. Now we have a race.

How do we win races?

There could be two possible ways, we push ourselves hard so that we could move faster or we could hope that our competitor are not fast enough and therefore would end up second best. Some may event "throw few spanners" towards others so that they are pre-occupied in solving issues which we created for them and don't move fast enough.

If I were to choose between the two options, I would regard those who win on their own merit as better than the other group. To me, winning on one own strength is more respectable than winning based on competitors' weaknesses. I am not sure whether this is shared by others. There are people who consider winning as the most important thing, by hook or by crook as what they would say.

Arriving faster than others does not on its own makes us winners. What if we somehow ended at point C, which was not the our aim. Which this could be a sure loss situation for many some have a solution to it. They just declare that point C is the same as point B and hence, they arrive at the right spot and declare themselves winners. 

Some may run in circles as they are not sure where they are heading. As the saying goes, when you do not know where you are heading, any way will lead you there. Off course we have the option of defining our destination when we are somewhere, as earlier alluded.

Some don't have problem in finding shortcuts to reach the destination ahead of others. If we are driving a car, this could mean by not stopping at traffic lights, going against the traffic and many more "intelligent" options. As long as they are not caught, they would be happy. This could be tempting as who defines success is certainly ourselves. If our upbringing tells us that it does not matter how we achieve what we want then stealing and cheating would be ok as long as we are not caught. If we have too much, doing charity with the ill gotten wealth would also make us recognized. Is this not what Robin Hood did?

Given that people are saying that the world is getting more competitive (i.e. we are in a competition) then winning and losing matters. Is it really so, we have to ask our moral compass, if we have one. Otherwise, we could really get sucked into the competition and may fall into the trap of winning matters more than how we won.

Off course we have another group of people who believe winning is their right irrespective of their performance. They have this delusion because this is the only way for them to achieve something and they were not tuned to compete from small. Well, I am not sure whether the world is willing to stop moving just to allow these people to catch up.

So a race could be won in many ways and it is up to us to determine what is the right way. This calls for guidance. I pray that we are shown the right path and arrive there in the right way.

Monday 2 January 2012

Starting a New Chapter

When a new year arrives, many people would come up with many new resolutions, targets to be achieved during the year. Many want to change for the better and hope for the better. However, most are not clear enough what they mean by change. 

In their book on Blue Ocean Strategy, writers W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne provided some idea on how to change. According to them, change could be defined by identifying:
  • Things that you would do more
  • Things that you would do less
  • Things that you will stop doing; and
  • Things that you will start doing.
By detailing out what change means to you, what needs to be achieved would be clearer.

Many would hope that the new year would be a better year in many respects. Good or bad is relative. Some hope that others would change so that their lives would be better. However, if we rely too much on others, we may not achieve what we desire ourselves. This attitude of collective irresponsibility, where change must be driven by others and never ourselves, would certainly lead us to nowhere. we need to do whatever little things that we could in order to progress. Without the first step a journey would never start. 

A society consists of people, groups of people arranged in many complex relationships. There are formal leaders and there are also informal leaders who could influence many others. If we are interested to have a different year this year, we need to decide whether we need to lead ourselves or allow others to lead us. If we choose the latter, make sure the trust is placed with people who are honest, trustworthy and have high level of integrity. A formal leader need not necessary has all these qualities, especially in circumstances where leadership is determined through popularity.

Many of us will start a new chapter in our lives and I pray that we would end 2012 with great success. Happy New Year 2012.