One thing leads to another

With age and experience comes understanding,
With understanding comes the knowledge that somethings must never be pursued,
With the knowledge that somethings are not meant to be comes deep regrets,
With deep regrets comes profound sadness,
With profound sadness comes great emotional depth,
With great emotional depth comes great inspiration,
With great inspiration comes superb motivation to acquire more understanding and experience.

These set of relationships is non-sense. I think it is time to go to asleep and stop brooding on what Ern expressed to me.

“Since the age of twenty, I have not been happy” that was what she said to me the other day. She choose to embrace this understanding in contrast to Orlando who choose to avoid it.

“I choose to surround myself with people, so that I don’t have to think. Too much thoughts, I cannot stand it” Orlando’s way of life.

Good night my friends.

Progressing onwards to 2011 and beyond

So phase 1 of my plan for this coming 5 years is almost complete. Come September next month, I will proceed to the Silicon Valley in the United States to attend the Techcrunch convention. During this trip I hope to understand what actually goes in the mind of those people there so as to find some clues as to how I should go about phase 2 of my plan.  In the midst of this, I will also take a well deserved break.

Usually at these cross roads  the story of the boy in the book “The Alchemist” come to mind. “Do I stick with what is already safe and known or do I discard whatever material safety I have acquired thus far and set sail instead into unchartered waters. ” This is the one and only question I deliberate upon at these cross roads.

Past occasions of such deliberations always ended the same. With fear in my heart, I cast all I previously acquired to the winds and set sail for the unknown anyway. Some call it a leap of faith or others call it pure simple stupidity. Whichever way you see it, to me it ultimately makes life truly worth living. Fortune favours the bold!

After United States, thank my lucky stars, me and Luke will step into Abu Dhabi to see how life is like in the land of a thousand splendid suns.

In the year 2011, I will fully focus myself on the next phase of my pet project. If done properly and with the proper applications of the knowledge gained and soon to be gain, I should have no problems financing it for the next 5 years to see it achieve the level of growth I have in mind.

The future I envisioned is yet to come, but I can feel that it is just right around the corner just waiting to happen.

Curiosity and interest driven approach towards open source Joomla 1.5 technology and a backward shift

Recently my actions has been driven more by curiosity and interest than monetary purposes. I just splashed USD99 on this Joomla 1.5 component called the JomSocial. At first sight after having it installed on one of my instances, it looks rather promising. I will over the next few days during the weekends go through the documentations of JomSocial to explore the various features they have. Also I will try to see what cross features they have available with other more established Joomla 1.5 components.

The main difference between working on an interest driven project and a monetary driven project is that of the heart and the soul.

In the latter, there is always someone breathing down your neck, crazy deadlines to meet, the need to manage customer expectations so that interest of stakeholders are not compromised. high blood pressure often results. The downside risk is significant in the event of mismanagement in terms of additional cost incurred due to scope creeping by clients or misinterpretion by the technical team.  The upside rewards and capped. Do your job well or totally screw it up, the budget made available by the client is still the same. Haha, like Garis once said ” get bought, get used, and get discarded just like a bloody condom!”

In the former, I am free to explore any possibilities I can envision and things are pretty much dictated by my imagination with no strict deadlines whateverso. I can choose either to rise to great heights or crash and burn, all for the sake of fun and adventure, without the need to be answerable to anyone. The downside risk is ultimately determined by me (time and money), while the upside potential is remains hitherto undiscovered!

Also in terms of the long run, when we are looking at buidling up the volume of passive income, the former is the area to look at. Already a few of my sites are generating income of a comfortable level. Once it hits critical mass, I will do away with the latter option of selling my time to others for the sake of building their sites.

Taking one more step backwards, I am now spending less time ultilizing the skill set I acquired in university (that of programming and software architecturing) and more time ultilizing the skill set I acquired while I was back in junior college (that of reading financial statements and analyzing GDPs). Surprisingly the staff at the various banks have been very helpful in providing me with the information I need. I am also spending more time now receiving instructions from my dad on a daily basis for another skill set I have been thinking of acquiring for a while now. It seems he does know me very well and started imparting all the knowledge he acquired over the years in this field before I even asked! More than that, it seems I have already crossed path with the people of whom knowledge I need.

Talking about the alignment of stars!

Tactics that salesman uses all the time that totally annoys me

Normal salesman always attempt to appeal to the emotive side of my decision making process (which I leave at home while at work) when I specifically instruct them to come present and just stick with the technical details.

The most recent one just took place this evening. Dad had bought some policy on my behalf years ago and since he is now planning his retirement he was hoping that I took over the financing of this policy. I asked him for the details however he had no idea what it was, thus it happened that we arranged for the insurance agent to come present herself.

Question number one what is my ROI?

Huh? ROI?

Yes. The interest rate per year for this account?

Oh. Sorry but due to regulations by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, we are not allowed to guarantee any interest yearly rates. However, this funds has been performing quite well and will definitely continue to perform well till your age of 55.

Ok then. What kind of portfolio is this fund used for maintaining?

Loans and financing of business operations, stocks and bonds.

Ok then.

I smiled at the back of my mind thinking “so basically the shit that is happening back room is masked from us and we are presented instead with a number that is written on paper.”

One experience like which got me into some really serious shit last year was more than enough. I have no inclinations to repeat that shit again.

I continued pounding the figures away on my excel sheet while she tried to distract me from my excel sheet.

Viola, I got the figures I wanted and it didn’t seem all that good to me. I finally focused my entire attention on her.

But your dad bought this for you, it is a gift from him. You should treat this as a gift and accept it, continue financing it.

Oh yeah, I replied once again smiling merrily,  my dad is a good person. I respect him for that.

She smiled back too, thinking she finally managed to re-secure the deal once again.

So how do I close this account?

She got shocked. Why?

It is just 3% per year barely even enough to cover our inflation rate, I can get more somewhere else.

Ok then, maybe you should return this gift to your dad.

Yes I must.

Suddenly she focused her entire attention on my dad and brought out this new stack of paper about some new scheme which my dad so happened to qualify for.

“Mr Teh….”

“Thanks for your advice. I will consider it. My son should keep this funds for it.”

“Nope, dad buy your long dream about boat. You are retired now. ”

End of scenario…..

Start of next scenario…..

More capable salesman will come forth with a more logical looking proposal.

And here we have with us a product that will guarantee you lose your fats in no time. Here on this banner is one of our success stories. This person lost 19kg in 6 months out of which 70% are fat.

Wow. I am so impressed. He does look better after that. But wait what happened to that other 30%?

The salesman was momentarily caught off guard.


Oh man. 19kg * 30% =  5.7kg of something else that is not constituted by fats. Muscle mass? That is a lot of muscles too lose in just 6 months. Are you sure this drug of yours is safe.

End of next scenario…..

More capable salesman are like the 3 accursed witches in William Shakespear’s McBeth. They always tell the truth. Their truths are always so logical too. However it is just half truths.

What you know, won’t kill you
What you know you don’t know, might kill you
What you don’t know you don’t know, that will definitely kill you!  (the black swan)

Thankfully most cases presented by capable salesman fall into the 2nd group (What you know you don’t know, might kill you) if you bother to spend time to sort through the whole logic of things.

I thank my stars for the instructions I have received thus far as well as for the instructions I have yet received through all the people I met and yet to meet. Each of them bring to me in their own ways some really valuable teachings whether they are consciously aware of it or not. It is always there right in front of your eyes if you just bother to spend time to put the pieces together.

Life is great and always an adventure!

taking a leap of faith

Johnson my cousin once told me during our drinking session that faith is a very important element in any business venture. You can always go about gathering as much information as you can, do as much research as you want, at the end of the day there will always exist a gap between what you already know and where you want to be.

Within a few days after taking a leap of faith and testing out this new methodology for my operations, the problem I am pondering over now has shifted from “where to look for quality human resource” to “how to more effectively collaborate and communicate with the available human resources“.

Already I am having some semi-concrete notions of how to segregate work and minimize the turn around time for each development project that comes through the pipeline.

The problem of work segregation inevitably lead me to recall one particular module I took during my days in the National University of Singapore. Every week I would attend a lecture pertaining to the subject called Discrete Mathematics and each time after the 2 hour lecture, I would feel totally drained out mentally.

One of the problems posed by the professor during one of these lectures was the issue of countability. There are infinite numbers between 0 to 10, but there are finite number of integers between 0 to 10.

Suppose given a range of problems, and each problem is metaphorically represented by the numbers that exist between 0 to 1, there will then be no end to the amount of solutions required to solve all the problems between 0 to 10.

Suppose metaphorically speaking if we are able to impose units in terms of integers on this range of problems between 0 to 10, we could effectively solve all the problems within this range by supplying in 11 solutions.

Out of the metaphorically realm and back into this real world, suppose we are able to take any programming question and segregate it into discrete units, in this instance we will thus be able to count the number of solutions we will potentially require to solve this programming question.

If the above assumption is true (which actually is if you take each unit to represent a use case scenario) and further assuming there are unlimited human resources available (or some what close to unlimited) then we will theoretically be able to engage each unit of human resource to one use case. Suppose there exist not dependencies between any use cases, this would mean that a programming problem of a 1000 use cases could in actual fact be solved within the period required to solve just one use case.

Theoretically speaking, this seems to be a sound and workable solution, however I am now still keeping my fingers crossed. Who knows what kind of exception might happen in this system which I have thus far envisioned in my mind and am slowly weaving into reality.

taking the plunge into cloud sourcing

I have been considering a possibility for the longest time now but neither had the opportunity nor the inclination to test out its feasibility. However due to the recent resource constrains faced coupled with the fast turn around time required, I am thus left in need for alternatives to what is currently available at hand.

Today, just for the sake of testing out the feasibility of this method, I decided to take a simple stand alone use case from amongst one of my clients’ many requirements and throw it to the cloud to see what I get. Surprisingly response I received thus far were extremely positive. I managed to take a look at some of the portfolios made available by my would be suppliers and was pretty impressed by some of their work.

I will leave it to bake for a few more days while I get the design out from Talia (another great graphics designer which I believe I will enjoy working with in the long run) and have it approved by the client. Meanwhile, as I have discussed with Steven the other day, I should really start focusing my efforts on how to get my message across to the other end of the communications channel effectively to facilitate an international outsourcing operation.

Perhaps once the design is out and approved by the client, I will subscribe to this service that has been so frequently used by my counter parts in India. I believe whilst it will result in fixed monthly subscription bills, the cost should be marginal compared to the potential cost savings I will received in the long run.

Taking a step back and enjoying the space

Suddenly, it felt as though the world around me is spinning at a faster and faster pace. Strangely, I felt increasingly detached to all these occurrences happening around me.

No longer is my cat able to stir any sense of annoyance in me when he cries out loud to be let out in the middle of the night. No longer do I get annoyed when my train of thought gets disrupted when some one around attempts to get my attention while I am in the midst of work. Perhaps what truly changed in me was the  sudden disappearance of this mysterious sense of mission that had been prodding me along for the past two years.

In retrospection, it was truly curious how it came about.

This afternoon, I took for myself a break while in the midst of drafting up a report of my findings from my survey of the staff nurses in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I sat for 30 mintues in front of my Clavinova keyboard doodling away enjoying the disharmonic notes that were coming forth from the keyboards.

I unconsciously recalled of a time back in New Zealand, then I was sitting in the studio staring out of the window into the streets above under the gloomy skies.

I was suddenly affected by a tinge of sadness. What happened to those people from back then. It was like our paths diverged somewhere along the way and never ever crossed again, with the exception of a few.

Mansu finally got himself into Singapore for a business trip. We were out drinking last night. It felt as though it was just last week when I parted with him in Seoul. How strange the concept of time can be sometimes.

Suddenly I started laughing to myself, I remembered one phrase I plucked off hand from somewhere in the cosmos and threw to the crowd during one of my conversations.

“How do you relieve your stress? ” some one ever asked me then.

“Just start relaxing and some one else will start feeling the stress instead” I replied.

We laughed not because it was nonsense but because, as with all jokes that are ever really humorous,  it carries a grain of truth in it.

Stress is truly something perceived and an illusion like life itself.  Try as we might, the earth will still hurtle through the universe at break speed with us on it. Try as we might, it is still inevitable we continue falling through this abyss called life.

Many calls to action, but most of them a waste of effort. It is for the best to just respond to those that really matter.

Lately I started harboring deeply this notion that to work is to devote time to art and inspiration. To devote effort for monetary profits or out of fear is in essence not truly work, it falls more under the category of slavery a laborious task indeed.

If my interpretations are sound and correct, wouldn’t it be true then that there are more slaves than free man amongst us human nowadays. Nice! Modern as it may seem we are once again in the feudal age.

A very familiar prose

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

After many years, I can finally across the above again, this time while reading through the book Dune by Frank Herbert at page 6. The first time I did so was when I went sky diving in New Zealand. There is really great truth to be found in this 8 sentences. Even Sun Tze ever spoke about it, though in another form, popularly known as Sun Tze’s death ground theory.

Take away all the gimmicks that has been flooding the time and space of our age and the underlying wisdom remains unchanged through the ages.  In a sense, as a species though we might have made advancement in terms of science and technology, we did not really progress in terms of other arena.

Then again the advancement in terms of science and technology is much debateable, historians has made findings that hinted at the existance of technologically advanced civilisations that existed prior to ours.

Maybe we have been and will always be doomed to go around in this meaningless cycle. Well at least if there is any consolation to be had from this time and age, we could at least be happy with the fact that unlike those who past before us, we have the ipod and blackberry to keep us entertained while the merry go round continues.

Huge influx of opportunites and the hidden opportunity cost

Suddenly I experienced a surge in the amount of opportunities coming my way these few weeks. Being faithful to the teachings in the topic of Economy during my times in the commerce faculty back in Junior college and in the stream of electronic commerce  back while I was doing my honours in the university, I understood and felt strongly the other side of the equation.

Opportunity cost!

Opportunity cost is defined as the lost incurred when you forego the next best alternative in the process of deciding on one of the available opportunities.

Let me talk in layman terms for your better understanding. Suppose one day you decide to spend 5 hours of your time reading a book in the library instead of spending those 5 hours sitting by the beach and reading the same book. The opportunity cost to you in this situation is the joy you feel when you sit by the beach. In this scenario, the cost is hard to quantify.

Let me illustrate for you a better example which I will draw from a real life situation.

Client A approaches me presenting before me a deal that could potentially make $4000. It requires an upfront investment of my real time of 80 hours. (as opposed to virtual time – aka asynchronous delay or some one else’s time) There exist 2% chance of complications happening. (this we will define as risk)

Client B approaches me at the same time presenting me another deal that could potentially make $10,000. It requires an upfront investment of my real time of 300 hours. (as opposed to virtual time – aka asynchronous delay or some one else’s time) There exist 10% chance of complications happening. (this we will define as risk)

As both clients came to me at the same time in need of my real time immediately, I am now faced with a situation whereby I will need to choose one and forego the other. To a normal person, he would very likely choose the deal that offers $10,000. However on closer inspection, the second deal is not actually a very good deal as compared to the other.

Let me work out the mathetics

Total likely incurrable man hours for deal A – 80 hours X 1.02 = 82 hours
Total revenue receivable $4000
Actual hourly rate for real time sold = $48.5

Total likely incurrable man hours for deal B – 300 X 1.05 = 315 hours
Total revenue receivable $10,000
Actual hourly rate for real time sold = $31.75

Some might explain that the lower rate justifies for the large sum of potential revenue receiveable in deal A. Ok then lets do the math for the other part of the equation still left invisible.

Given this active period in the market, the percentage of closing more deals simlar to A in nature is around 60%. Translated into hours it would be estimated at  (315-82 hours) * 0.60 = 140 hours

Appling the prevailings rates in deal A to this equation, I will get 140hours X 48.5 = $6,790

So if I choose to take up deal A and forego deal B, below are the mathematics:

I will have saved [315 – (140+82 )] 93 hours of my precious time and still potentially make [$10,790 – $10,000] $790 more.

Also since, I have a few channels which I could devote my time to build up recurring  income, this 93 hours extra time available at my disposal could thus be used to expose myself to the effects of the positive black swan, with zero opportunity cost incurred by me. So basically, the net comparison will be as per below :

[$10,790 +++ versus $10,000 nett]

Actually the equation that brought me to the conclusion of never getting myself employed into a full time job and a fix salary per month is almost similar to this. Get employed with a fix salary of $3000 per month and the possible financial situation you will be facing for the next 12 months will likely be

($3,000 X 12 ) = $36, 000 —

  • The minus sign is just in case your boss decides to fire your ass before the year ends.
  • also your maximum potential income has been capped at $36,000

Go about living life as a free bird

$0+++ = ???

  • Don’t worry God is kind
  • you normally won’t die from what you already, it is usually what you don’t know that will kill you.
  • You know what is your base but your upper boundary has no limits!

Life is great live free!!!!!

I will kill 75 Singapore Dogs and they will die on the 17th of May

Social loathing is a proven phenomena that happens when lots  of people get together. What is social loathing? A simple example is this.

If one person exerts an effort 5 newton of work is done
If another person exerts an equal amount of effort 4 newton of work gets done

Logically speaking if both people were to work together to exert their effort, it is not possible to achieve 9 newton of effort. The output will likely range around 6 to 7 newton of effort.

Another example, if a lady were to fall in a deserted area where there is only one other person around, the chances of this person coming forth to provide aid is 75% and the chances of this fallen person receiving aid is 75%.

However if a lady were to fall in a crowded area where there are hundreds of other people around, the chances each person will come forth to provide aid will be 5% (majority assumes that someone else will step forth) and the chances of this fallen person receiving aid is actually lower than 75%.

A few days ago I received a message from Kirk stating that twenty or more dogs will be put to sleep on the 13th of May 2010 if no one step forth to adopt them by then. The reason of their death is because the owner of the pet shop they were kept at decided to run off due to financial difficulties . These dogs were left to fend for themselves, it was simply not possible. The only option thus was for them to all be put to sleep if no one came to adopt them by the 13th of May 2010.

This situation fitted perfectly with the illustration provided by the analogy of the lady falling in the middle of the shopping mall. The owner who should have a 75% chance of feeling responsible fled the scene thereby creating a situation where there is only us people who will only have an average of 5% chance of feeling responsible on the scene.

After I received the message from Kirk, I did a logical calculation. It was simply not possible for me to adopt a dog without causing a major commotion at home. The chances of me actually taking action to adopt a dog is thus 5% if not lesser. I instead forwarded this message to some of my friends. However the forwarding of this message is beside the point. From a moral point of view it does not in any way alleviate the sense of guilt I should be feeling thus.

The main point I am driving at is that we are all potentially very selfish and cruel at heart. Let me state the most optimal premise where this inherent selfishness and cruelty in us will most likely show.

  • When the living  being who is to be the receiptient of the pain, torture and potential lost of life is far removed from all of us.
  • When the relationship between the act of causing pain and suffering on this unfortunate recipient and the resultant pain and suffering felt by this unfortunate recipient is vague and far removed
  • When the person enforcing the pain and suffering has more pressing and urgent matters to attend to, such as appeasing the demands of an authoritative figure. (your boss or client perhaps? :P)

The perfect proof for the validity my argument is the Milgram experiment an experiment conducting shortly after the end of world war 2 to find out how was it possible that so many Jewish were exterminated by the Nazi’s and no one involved bothered to step up and do something about it.

Back to my argument, speaking from a practical point of view,  I should just do what I did, simply forwarding the message on and assume someone else will come forth and adopt the dogs. The responsibility is not mine anyway it is too troublesome to save a life.

However from a moral point of view, I did what I did with the deep down knowledge that I will be cursed for even ever harbouring the thought that something material could be worth even more than precious life itself, even worst acting upon it without a second thought.

I am going to hell. Hell cant be that bad a place. If there is any consolation at all it is at least filled with drugs sex and alcohol. And also see all of you there too. We are all Nazi’s at heart. Hail Hitler for that! Alright people hurl me your verbal abuses and send me hate letters if you will.I will gladly accept them, even laughing merrily when I read them.

However if you are seriously not convinced by my lame argument about how great hell is and would really like to stay out of that horrible place with a special seat all reserved for you by the devil himself , then please Pasir Ris Pet Farm Kennel 9 and save as much dogs as you can.