AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Home Circle in Megamall

These are clocks available in Homecircle, a new shop in Megamall.

The design of the products in the shop is great and there are only a few. It is something different, not something that you would find in Ikea. But it shows that design differentiates even a commodity product such as a clock.

They also have quite interesting sets of salt and pepper accessories, not too expensive or chairs and sofas - more expensive. Cute products. Take a look. I believe it shows that design is competitive and product differentiating.


Homecircle in Megamall

These are pictures taken from a new shop called Homecircle in Megamall.

(Okay, I am not that good in taking great pictures with a handphone or uploading the pics to Blogger - but I hope you see what I mean)


The myth behind a story: "Forward this mail and you will receive...."

I believe any of us has received one of those mails stating that if you forward this mail to so and so many people, you will receive a blessing, luck in life, or cash.

One of the oldest appears to be the one that says that the recipient of this mail can participate in a Microsoft/ AOL/ Intel beta test. The mail says that "When you forward this email to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two-week time period. For every person that you forward this email to, Microsoft will pay you $245, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243, and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $241."

Of course, no one ever receives money. Another famous one is the one testing your usage of your Hotmail account - and if you don't forward the mail, Microsoft would delete your mailbox. It always seems too good to be true, and there are WebPages to check these urban legends. The article mentions or truthminer, I personally use

Wired Magazine in their newest edition traces the origin of the one legend mentioned above in quite an interesting story, that also touches on the historical origins of those urban legends in general. Nice reading, and next time you get something that sounds too good, check it out before forwarding.

And if you forward it - make sure you delete your name below - otherwise, you lend respect and credibility to the story.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sale in Jaya Jusco

I am not sure if it just me, or if anyone else feels the same, but somehow, the sales assistants and cashier. There is no smile on their faces, and I have the feeling that they are reacting somewhat disturbed the moment you asked them something. I went in there today to buy some clothes for a function tonight and went from booth to booth - Durban, Crocodile, and the other one next to it. In one booth clothes that were clearly different were hanging in a row, but my size wasn't there for the colour I wanted. So my wife ask the one sales assistant doing some paper work on the shelve next to where we stood. She stood up, and said, that all the clothes there would be the same in a tone that indicated, that I was too choosey. But clearly, the material wasn't the same - well, I choose to go to another shop - Metrojaya, since all the other booths didn't have the style I wanted. I bought my cloth there - it is somewhat a lesson on how not to make a sale. It reminds me of my experience on April 3, 2004, when something similar happened (

What I also thought is strange is that despite having a sale, the number of open cashiers were just a few - with long queues waiting to pay.

Anybody has got a similar experience?

But it appears there is no big demand for good service in Malaysia, is there? Yesterday evening, when I went home from the office and had to pass Megamall, there was a huge jam around it - may be it was because of a Friday evening, but may be it was, because there was a sale in Jaya Jusco for membership cardholders - but in fact, it appeared to me that the whole of Malaysia was there. Now, one can say that Jusco appears to do something right, if so many people are coming, but then, to sell products is just an entry ticket to the world of retail, isn't it? It is expected to be able to buy good products in a shop, accompanied by the occasional sale. But what is it that makes a company great? Surely some great sales assistant, some more open cashiers would be a good start. What about a smile, and more assistance? Well, my experience level would certainly increase. And those are just the simple steps, right?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Management lessons from Euro 2004 - Part 6

Germany-Czech Republic = 1:2
I am very tired today, since I watched the game Germany-Czech Republic last night - so please excuse if I don't make too much sense today.

I have to repeat that while the Germans played great football, they again wasted too many chances. Talk about operational efficiency, and product failure. But the Czech did come again, from behind, like turnaround specialists. You need players and employees who can shine through change - when everything falls apart and someone is needed to take the lead, assemble the army and lead through the change. A CEO is a great first help, of course, like Lou Gerstner showed in his turnaround of IBM, 10 years back. The blue chip company was on the edge of being done, break them up into pieces and have standalong units - Lou Gerstner kept it, changed the focus on the customer and changed the culture dramatically. While IBM doesn't grow double-digit, to be a great company, it sure is a strong company, and an entirely different animal in the current stages.

So let's see, where the Czechs end up in the end. May be they go far?


Follow up to my recent posting - Bad air in Kuala Lumpur

Folks, my last entry about the haze in Kuala Lumpur was a bit of a parody but may be I also positioned it way too serious. Nevermind, it is great that it initiated some form of discussion.

I believe that a discussion about pollution in Kuala Lumpur is important and I would be honoured if the Department of Environment or anybody from the Government is reading my blog or any blog, but I am also clear that they don't need to read blogs to find out there is haze - their equipment should be able to handle this much better.

And I wasn't seriously thinking that they read my blog and say, oops, someone is writing about haze, let's publish some results and advise the population to stay inside. I wanted to write the entry in the current form to show the importance of bloggers, but must have hidden the objective too much :)

I there want to repeat that the great thing about blogs is that blogs can report about something before official bodies react to it - and that is what all the blogging is about. Private observations, comments, and reporting - may be in an obscure blog, may be elsewhere.

Have a great day and keep up commenting!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hotspots and bad air - is the Department of Environment (DOE) reading my blog?

The Star and the New Straits Times publish articles today about the deteriorating air quality, two days after I wrote about the haze in KL ( It is now acknowledged that the air quality gets bad, and that elderly people, and those with asthma should stay at home. Commuters are advised to wear masks.

Well, while it sounds arrogant to say they publish something and come out with statements AFTTER reading the blog - that my blog has such influence- , this clearly is the possible strength of blogs - the early publishing and description of statements and situations, to initiate a discussion and to open up channels of communications between those writing blogs, and those reading and commenting on blogs. It is an ongoing learning process, isn't it? Books, TV and newspapers are closed-end stories - basically. Stories are written and published - no constant ongoing discussion. There are efforts to change it, of course - Look at American Idol and the trial to reach out to the public and create customer experiences, and participation. Or the open discussion forums following TV documentaries, but still - blogs are lively, and they can change the world. By simply publishing and describing facts. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Mobile phones – I am with you but I am not really there

Mobile phones are a must nowadays – nearly everyone, at least in the city has one. And they are ringing constantly, and well, one is very often invited to listen to someone else’s personal problems – but this might be a different entry altogether.

But if you look around you will see the following situations: Two friends or acquaintances sitting somewhere and the phone rings. He or she looks at the phone to find out who calls or sends a message. This is followed by a mumbled apology to pick up the phone, read the message – smiles – and responds to it. The other person, if not occupied themselves with responding their own message, would just sit there and stares blankly.

You can think about a lot of different situations – people at the hairdresser – they earlier acknowledged the hairdresser, talked to them, exchanged news from the ‘hood – this is gone. The hairdresser becomes invisible, a doer – no need to talk to anymore.

In a meeting – one person suddenly jumps up and runs out – ignoring the speaker, presenter or whatever. The one who has prepared something (hopefully), which was suppose to be addressed to all in the room. Imagine the feeling, when the decision-maker goes away – excuse me, I gotta take this call. You feel, small, not important, ignored, wasted your time.

Worse – a policeman gives you a ticket – and you answer the phone. So much for lack of respect, and interaction.

Subsequently, there is a loss of communication – we can talk with people away, but we are not with those immediately around us. Our thinking, our interaction is disturbed – image a great brainstorming session, and one just links out. A friend tells you your problem, and when your phone is ringing, you are not there anymore, but somewhere else.

While mobile phones allow us to be reachable anywhere anytime, they also develop into a system that disturbs the immediate interaction between different parties, the face-to-face interchanges, and the direct bonding between different people. So the next time you meet someone, switch off your phone. Can you do this? Be REALLY REALLY with the other person. Concentrated and focused with attention to detail and great contributions. Can do?

Monday, June 21, 2004

Kuala Lumpur is pretty hazy today

Kuala Lumpur is pretty hazy today - I realised that along the Federal Highway, just before the Kerinchi Link, there was a lot of smoke in the air yesterday evening already - this morning, it was still there.

Coming out from the office, the whole city looked like there is a huge forest fire somewhere. However, I couldn't find anything in neither the New Straits Times nor The Star - does anyone know, what is going on?

I remember there was the time in 1997, with the forest fires in Indonesia, that there was a daily reading with warnings in the newspapers - this doesn't happen anymore, since. Does this mean the air is always so bad that it is "dangerous" to publish the ratings? It makes me wonder!!

Okay - today, a day later, I read in the New Straits Times that there are 110 hotspots in Indonesia. Makes sense, so please, don't burn in Malaysia, switch off the engine of your cars, when you wait for someone - all this is responsible for pollution - and do you know, that when you let your car engine run, you just spoil it? Get it dirty?


Just a quick update - cure for mobile phone virus has been found

On June 15, I have written about the first virus that affected mobile phones. An Australian company now says it has found a "cure" for it - However, the article doesn't say, where to get the cure from, and it forgot to mention that Symantec is already offering a similar help - may be you check with your local pharmacy :) - just kidding. But then, it was pretty difficult to get the virus in the first place, wasn't it?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Management lessons from Euro 2004 - Part 5

Germany - Latvia 0 : 0

Well, what is there to say about the game - Germany ran and ran and ran. Shot here and shot there - no real chances, or, may be one or two. Latavia actually had the bigger chances - well, the two or three they had.

what do we say here? It is all about execution. If one is building up something very nicely, and strongly, and than fails to deliver. That is all there is to say - short and painless. Any company story? May be AT & T in the end 1990s, Enron, that failed miserably - but over promised their success, Apple Computers, great and miraculous in innovations - but than doesn't manage to increase its market shares. Are these good examples? Tell me more, if you know better ones.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Management lessons from Euro 2004 - Part 4

Okay - I have not much to say this time, but would like to refer to Totti and the spitting incidence. As far as I could make out from today's New Straits Times, he was caught because of the usage of technology - a thing called player-cam that allows viewers to follow a player of their choice for as long as they want. And the Danish broadcaster DR had their player-cam on Totti and Poulsen, the opponents in the game Italy-Denmark, to just keep the score, and realised the spitting incidence after the game.

Well, there is a comment in the article that Totti got caught because he is famous - and that viewers naturally focus more on him than on less famous players. Wrong - especially when you are famous, you need to behave ethically. No dirty tricks allowed. That is the same for the CEO or the Chairman in a company that is high performing as for a player on the ground - or even for the reader of this blog, even so they might be less famous - may be not - or President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky for that matter. When your company is on the upswing, beating the market, battling competitors, gaining share and customers, than the public eye is on you. The reputation is high, people know you, you are flooded with resumes of aspiring candidates, books and newspaper articles quote your every word - spit in public, curse and swear and the sword comes down, and you might become very alone. True?

Friday, June 18, 2004

Turning the table on Nigerian scammers

I believe we all know the Nigerian 419 scam - so known for a section of the Nigerian legal code - or its newer versions from Iraq and China. Basically, people behind the scam tell you the story that, if you help them to move tremendous riches out of country XYZ, you will get a share from the loot. There are still people falling for the scam, in Malaysia and in other countries.

However an article in today's New York Times (17/6/2004) describes those adventurous souls who turn the table around - under names such as Venus de Milo, Lord Vader and they engage the con men, trying to humiliate them and, more important, waste the grifters' time and resources - some even got money from the scammers!! A chronicle of those activities can be found It is fun to read, but don't try it yourself - these people are dangerous and violent, but the police also said that this helped to develop trails to the scammers.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Question for all readers and bloggers

I am just wondering - We all have great readers and great bloggers. And I would like to thank all of those who actually take the time to provide comments, I really appreciate it.

But I am wondering, honestly, why is there nobody - NOBODY but 1 - who is participating in the little poll? Come on you people out there - check it out - fill it out, tick your choice.

The question is simple:
What is the most important purchase criteria for you:

1.) Quality of product or service
2.) Price of product or service
3.) Aftersale service of product or service
4.) Others

Not difficult - right? So pick your choice. Thanks!!!


Millionaires in Singapore

Wohoo, I didn't know that. The number of Singaporean millionaires defined as owning more than one million Sing-Dollar grew last year to 31,000,a cording to a study by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. Their combined wealth is US$300 billion, grown by 3.4% over 2002. This is 3 times the size of Singapore's GDP.
However, Singaporeans are behind their counterparts in other countries in Asia. The rich in China and Hong Kong have a combined wealth of US$969 billion.

Good hopes for all - Capgemini also predicts that the wealth of the rich in Asia will grow to US$9.3 trillion in 2008 - what means that others will join the ranks


Management lessons from Euro 2004 - Part 3

Greece - Spain 1 : 1
The Greece did it again, upsetting another champion, this time Spain. Well, I wrote already that it is a fresh and disruptive force that always can uproot incumbents - but that often, an incumbent is also able to battle back. So, may be Greece was like the many dot.coms in the late 1990s in the US, of which was said that they would change how markets operate and than, destroy those entrenched. Well, many died - some are still there, like So, do I compare Greece with Amazon? No, not really, but the point I want to make is that they have a strong leadership in Otto Rehagel, also called King Otto. Way back, in the German Bundesliga, he made Werder Bremen to become great. Before him, the team was battled with fears and frequently threatened to be relegated to second league. He changed to Greece, after Bayern Munich, and still, Bremen is a strong team, were just made champion. Rehagel is thus a Level 5 leader, in the terminology of Jim Collins (From Good to Great), someone, who leaves behind a high performing team, that still succeeds after the CEO left. And Rehagel transformed Greece - it might be a matter of time until they get beaten, but may be, they still have an ace or two up the sleeve.

Russia - Spain 0:1
Italy - Denmark 1 : 1
Totti spitting, and threatened to be out of for a couple of games, the Italians blaming everything but themselves for bad performance. Same with the Russians in the earlier game - they basically blamed the heat. Hey - you are paid a ot of money. And well, this is happening to companies going down the hill. Suddenly, everything is bad, and against them. Competition is unfair, the economy is bad, China too strong, terrorist attacks threaten, there are floods and hurricanes and everything - just not the management or even the CEO. A little while later, the company declines some more and ends up bankrupt or so. Here, this is the classic rule of bad management. Instead of rolling up the sleeves and look, what you can do internally as it is manageable, it is easier to blame outside forces.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Great article about Blogs in online version of "Time"

"Meet Joe Blog" is the title and it is quite an interesting read about the background of blogs and their growing significance. Reason given are the total fun part of blogging, the bias of traditional media and the counter-bias of bloggers, with their strength of speed in publishing. Bloggers know something, publish it immediately without channels of approval and off it goes around the world. It is just a pity that the article reports more about the importance of bloggers in the US and doesn't mention its growing significance in Asia, but still - enjoy!

Have fun blogging!


Management lessons from Euro 2004 - Part 2

Germany – Holland 1 : 1 – what does this imply as a management lesson for today’s corporate titans?

Let’s take a look at Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema and how they, in their book on “The Discipline of Market Leaders” published somewhere in the end 1990s, segregated companies into three different categories:

Operational efficiency – supplying customers with low-cost, reliable products or services

Product leadership – producing products and services that deliver best results. These are innovative companies, looking to the next product to maintain their lead.

Customer intimacy – companies that focus on the customer, and understand their needs and tailor a solution

Clearly – Germany basically plays to strategy number one – get the job done, keep on rolling, until you lead and than hold the results.

But they forgot one thing – and fall into the same trap as England. The gave their lead away in the last couple of minutes and lost their leadership position. It is simply not enough to just “get over with it and get it done” - execution and focus to the last minute counts to stay ahead of the game.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

First worm in smartphones discovered

Take care, if you have a smart phone - so far only mobile phones with the Symbion operating system are affected, but may be it is a sign of things to come. ZDNet reports of the first first worm to target smart phones, while saying that the current incarnation of the program poses little threat.


Reaching out: Suitable birthday present for 60 year old

I am reaching out to you, who read this blog - my manager, a Mat Salleh, just turned 60, and I want to buy him a great present that wouldn't bankrupt me. He is here since about 2 years, and has already a lot of stuff.

Who can help me here - any idea?

Keep the ideas coming - and thanks!!


Management lessons from Euro 2004

I am not a football or soccer guy, left the emotional attachment me when I came to Asia. My interest is captured only if it goes international – like the world championship in Korea two years back - which was really really great, or now, the Euro 2004 - but then, it is too late for me to watch.

The feelings reach Asia, and governments in countries like Singapore are worried that productivity will fall over the next, what 2,3 weeks, as people watch football late at night. Pizza delivery is being extended and bars and pubs are opened longer.

But let’s see, if there is something to learn through the championship – let’s start thinking – the management lessons from the football world.

France-England 2:1

England was in front of the game for a long time, and France only won in the last 2 minutes. Learning? Never, ever, let your concentration slip – focus on the task ahead, execute and implement until the job is completed –only than will you be successful

Portugal-Greece 1:2
Portugal was the clear favourite - strong in playing and with the home advantage. Nobody expected Greece to win. But the ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes and if you are complacent, you will be overtaken by reality - displaced. Look around, what is currently happening to Nokia, the presumably unbeatable market leader, or Sony. Both are stumbling, and are displaced by a company, nobody took serious a couple of years back – Samsung. One was once saying that the strongest contender for the championship is not the number two in a ranking – it is the one, nobody thinks about as this one fights outside the box, unconventionally and uses tricks that the leader has not thought about. This happened with Greece - they just played their thing and suddenly were on top of the world - or better, beat Portugal.

What about the rest of the games so far? Any comments from someone?

I will continue to think, and cme up with more throughout the games.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Malaysia is, once again, cracking down on the so called touts at the airport. Touts, for those of you who are not from Malaysia, are those people at the airport that hit on arriving passengers and offer transport services - they are illegal, and sometimes dangerous. Bad things happened - from overcharging passengers to raping them. The Malaysian authorities tried a couple of times to crack down on them - well, it helped for a day or two, and than, those guys were back. Often operating under the "eye of the law".

So when I was "called for duty", to pick up wife and child at the airport last Friday, when they came back from their holidays, I thought that this is a great chance to check the effect of the latest crack-down.

So I parked my car at the arrival hall and went into the arrival hall. At the arrival hall, there are now barriers and some flower pots. Two or three guards standing around, visibly to check on the touts. Of course, they observed me - I amthe foreigner, I am the one, the "bad guys" hit on. I wasn't disturbed this time - but I know the touts are still there. Much fewer in number - laying low. But if you know how to look, and where to look, you see them.

That was my observation - but it was a bad mistake to go to the hall, leaving my car alone outside.

I saw that got a ticket as well, for obstructing the traffic. Hey - I actually obstructed less than others. I was even parked in - there were cars that parked second lane aside of my car. And they didn't get a ticket because their owners were in the car, leaned against it, or just looked cool. Nevermind, only my wife got mad - anyone knows how much it is, to get a ticket for traffic obstruction?


Yakult - a fantastically fast response

Yakult's response - how to use the straw Posted by Hello

This is quite amazing - it must be the fastest turnaround response from any company I had contact with so far. Remember, I send the question to Yakult on Friday evening, around 7.00 PM - and didn't expect a response until, may be Monday, earliest. What I got back are full instructions how to use the straw - nearly immediately.

Okay - and looking at the plastic package now, I can read some instruction -to push the straw down until it goes through the plastic. But it is still to heavy for a kid (even my finger hurts) and well, the letters are very small. A bit awkward for someone with older eyes who is wearing glasses. Yakult promises to produce a leaflet. Which is good - the company is spending money to educate customers but bad, firstly, because it burdens the environment with more rubbish, and it should be natural for a customer to use a product. But still, I like this - that they educate their customers in the prober usage of the plastic. It might not come cheap. To give a cost example - When Federal Express decided to repaint their trucks and only write FedEx on them, the company save US$60 million a year on reduced paint. Little for a big company, but have it or not - it adds up.

Here is the response from Yakult, for those interested:

"Thank you for contacting Yakult. We are pleased to hear that you and
your child enjoy our drink as well as the extendable straw.

With regards to the plastic packaging of the straw, we would like to
share with you the proper way to remove the straw from the packaging.
Kindly view the attached file for detailed instructions.

We are aware that many consumers are not familiar with this method, as
most are used to detaching the straw and the packaging from the bottle
before tearing open the packaging to obtain the straw. We are in the
process of creating a leaflet to illustrate the proper way to use the
extendable straw.

I hope you and your child will continue to enjoy Yakult everyday.
again for your continuous support.

Warm regards, ___"

My response to them

Dear ______,

I am very impressed - it was Friday evening when I sent the post to you and you took the time to respond already. This must be the fastest response time that I ever encountered, congratulations.

I appreciate your effort to educate the customer via a leaflet on how to use the straw - it does not come cheap but to create great customer experience firstly comes at a cost before the reward is reaped via greater loyalty.

There is one issue of worry, so - and please allow me to articulate it - it would be great if Yakult could add on a sentence to the leaflet that people should throw the waste into an appropriate place - not just on the road. While this increases costs, it shows the concern that Yakult would have for the environment.

By the way - I just realised that there are instructions on the current package, but very small - way too small for some old eyes.

But keep it up - your competition is launching similar products, so it is your job to stay ahead of the crowd with great and userfriendly innovations.

Have a great weekend -

Friday, June 11, 2004

The new Yakult

The new Yakult Posted by Hello

It is a great drink - I love it and so does my kid. It has a new straw that actually allows to be extended - so one is able to reach each and every corner of the container, what is great, since before, this was not possible. However, if it is such a great drink why is it so extremely difficult to open the plastic to reach the straw? Even adults have problems - I frequently use my teeth or the scissors. So - great product, but still a way to go to become consumer- and kids friendly.

Let me send a mail to them and see, what they have to say, okay?


E-mail accounts with a lot of space - Adventuremail

Okay, after my recent posting, someone informed me that Adventuremail, offering 2.5 GB, is down. Thank you for the information.

As I said, I am not paid by the companies, and don't have an account with them.

I just find them online, check them and share the knowledge. I believe Google is great because the chances that they are down might be pretty slim. But okay - imagine, everybody gets to them moves rapidly from a Hotmail or a Yahoo to Gmail - could it happen that their server goes down because of the traffic?

And of course, there is a reason, why GMail and Google is a favourite and people are aware of them - they deliver!

By the way, Yahoo also announced during a recent investor's presentation that they would increase the size of their e-mail account, but nothing has changed yet. Will Microsoft follow?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

For a Great Great WoW in Life

Heya - I just realised that this blog came alive 1 year ago - it is the first anniversary today!!! Okay, I had the name a while longer, but today, one year agon, this thing started - I learnt a lot over this one year, but still I am fighting with the settings.

Like, how do I create a second box on the right side, or one box on the left side? Anyone can help??


E-mail accounts with a lot of space

Gmail of Google gives away some more e-mail accounts. But, just to calm down those who drool over the accounts and even go so far as to purchase an account on Ebay or so, be aware that there are other providers that offer similar or even more space - for free as well. One is - it offers 1 GB plus other features - and the other one - with 2.5 GB. So we are in the e-mail wars, and soon, there will be more features coming up to attract users. Greatest advantage of GMail? Its speed, and its search ability. This is a fantastic thing to have. And can you imagine? I offered an account to friends - and they didn't even take up the offer, or better, didn't get back to me!! So far they use Hotmail. So much for ignorance, or is it bliss?

And hey - I am not paid by any of these providers. It is just that I lok around and read, and find and share!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Taxis in Kuala Lumpur

I always dread the time, I am dependent on taxis in Kuala Lumpur. You never know who is driving you, how they are driving and how they communicate. Some just drown you in questions what is still fine, but not, when I am tired. Others just drive in a style that makes me feel like I could throw up any minute – the space to the car in front is just 2 meters, but the driver accelerates as if he is in F1 Sepang, and slams on the break, that I always heavily nod.
One of the worse pieces surrounding taxis is the booking process, especially when you book them for the morning – at a time, when everybody needs to be on time. The word booking actually connotes that someone should come. But even then, and during the call, they tell you that there is no taxi. Or the operator tells you that they will confirm your booking 15 minutes before the official pickup – most of the time, to tell you – “sorry, ya, no taxi available”.
So now I am sitting here at my computer. I know I have to go down on the road, to find a cab – it is 5.30 in the evening, and if I would know that I find one immediately, I could work another 30 minutes or so. But I know that half the taxis are driving by, don’t want to take me, try to overcharge me, take roads, I don’t like, complain, when I have my own will and so on. Gosh – what a great experience, isn’t it?

Monday, June 07, 2004

Farewell to a friend

Last week, a close colleague of mine left the company. Now, this doesn't seem like much nowadays, since the economy improves and a lot of employees find a new job pretty quickly. However this is a bit different. We grew in the company together - I am four years with the company, and he came shortly thereafter. We were one of the few starters in the company, now, the number of employees in the company has increased nearly 5 times - (sounds a lot, but we are standing at about 35 only).

He is a guy, who gave everything for his friends and clients. He worked hard, and dedicated, full of spirit and energy, always with a lot of joy. It was fun to have him around and listen to his stories over lunch, diner, or various coffee chats.

He left, because he felt that he was stressed out. Living in the world of my company means total engagement and delving into job tasks that stretch you very much. Don't be mistaken, work and private life is suppose to be balanced but in a fast growth company, and not enough good staff, people are simply overworked. And he simply couldn't take it anymore, which is okay. He started to see other things in life as more important to his development - which is still defined of helping others - but outside the current environment. Still with the intention to help, he earlier actually wanted to be a counsellor to troubled youth. There are more ideas on his side on how to move forward. A visit to Nepal is on the cards. To spend more time with his family and friends. Basically, to find himself and a new or different balance. To start a new chapter.

Whatsoever, there were tears over the farewell and it is good that people, especially guys, can get emotional. It is sad to see a friend leaving the place next to my cubicle, but it is good to know that he will be growing different branches and may be, hopefully, will become even stronger.

All the best to a great friend!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Benchmarking - as commented by Seth Godin

Seth Godin doesn't like to be called management guru, and he doesn't like consultants too much. However, he is motivating, and thought provoking. Okay - let me copy his newest blog on benchmarking which basically says that it is good to sometimes just let go. I believe in benchmarking and competing against myself. Trying to get better, pushing myself.

There are the smaller and bigger jewels in my life where circumstances were right. Where what I did was fun, the support was there or came in, and everything kept just coming in positively. The things that help to write your resume, those things that you still can talk about 20 years later. Those are the things that I am striving for - which make my life a wow.

But I also know that it is important to be able let go, to know that I cannot get better all the time - gosh, where would I be, if I would always be better than the last time? Probably dead with a heartattack. It is fun to be able to wait for others to catch up and to cross the finishing line together or even behind them. The winning together, the crying for better chances, the hope for a tomorrow. The dream, so to speak. And than, the next time on the start line, you give it all and you win against yourself - that is the great fun.

So here we go:

"The Curse of Great Expectations

I can benchmark everything now.

I can benchmark my morning workout. The rowing machine tells me if today’s workout was a personal best. Even better, I can go online and compare my workout to the efforts of thousands of other people.

On my way to work, I can track my mileage. (My record is 89 mpg). Once there, I can watch the status of my books on Amazon, comparing their sales to every other book published in the English language… and then go check out, where I can track the book’s performance over the last 90 days.

The problem with benchmarking is that nothing but continuous improvement (except maybe spectacular results) satisfies very much. Who wants to know that they will never again be able to beat their personal best rowing time? What entrepreneur wants to embrace the fact that the wait time at her new restaurant franchise is 20% behind the leader—and there’s no obvious way to improve it?

Our interconnected, 500-channel world lets us be picky. We can want a husband who is as tall as that guy, as rich as this guy and as loyal as my brother-in-law. We can ask for an apartment that is in just the right location, with just the right view and just the right rent—and then reject it because the carpeting in the hallway isn’t as nice as the one in the building next door. Monster lets us see 5,000 resumes for every job opening… and imagine that we can find someone with this guy’s education and that woman’s professional experience—who works as cheap as this person and is as local as that one.

In the old days, data was a lot harder to come by. You didn’t know everything about everyone. All the options weren’t right there, laid out in Froogle and compared by We didn’t have reality TV shows where each and every component of a singer’s presentation or a bridal prospect’s shtick were painstakingly compared.

Yes, benchmarking is terrific. Benchmarking is the reason that cars got so much better over the last twenty years. Benchmarking has the inexorable ability to make the mediocre better than average, and it pushes us to always outperform.

But it stresses us out. A benchmarked service business or product (or even a benchmarked relationship) is always under pressure. It’s hard to be number one, and even harder when the universe we choose to compare our options against is, in fact, the entire universe.

Of course, the boomers have this problem even worse (and we’re all boomers, aren’t we? Even if you’re not, we don’t care—it’s all about us). Boomers are getting older. We can benchmark our eyesight, our rowing speed, our memory or even our ability to come up with great ideas at a moment’s notice. As a result, we benchmark ourselves into a funk. We get stressed because we have to acknowledge that nothing is as good as it was.

In addition to the stress, benchmarking against the universe actually encourages us to be mediocre, to be average, to just do what everyone else is doing. The folks who invented the Mini (or the Hummer, for that matter) didn’t benchmark their way to the edges. Comparing themselves to other cars would never have created these fashionable exceptions. What really works is not having everything being up to spec… what works is everything being good enough, and one or two elements of a product or service being AMAZING.

So, I’m officially letting go. I’m going to stop comparing everything to my all time best, to your all time best, to everyone’s all time best. Instead of benchmarking everything, perhaps we win when we accept that the best we can do is the best we can do—and then try to find the guts to do one thing that’s remarkable.

Was this my best blog entry ever, or what?"

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What to do than?

I am currently struggling with one issue time management. Okay, it is easy be said, "plan your time", "focus on high priority tasks, delegate or reject the rest" etc. All sounds good to me.

But what happens, if you plan everything nicely, and according to schedule and than someone pops in between with something of crucial importance to the firm you are working for?

Sure, this happens, if you are a regional resource - people across the region can use you. And sure, they all have something important. And -big problem, if you are resource constraint, for whatever reason - like, you are a cost center, the firm downsized and everybody needs to handle more work etc. Is this then called time management in resource constraint times?


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