An interesting and perhaps useful observation

My revenue from Google adsense has suddenly fallen to a record low despite the same quantity of click throughs per day.  At first I thought it was to do with something I did and I thus went to study the data available in Google analytics. All data available shows that things were still pretty much unchanged within the sites I am maintaining.

I was puzzled. I was speculating if some advertisers managed to identify low paying keywords for their adwords campaign. I studied the advertisements on display. They were still pretty much the usual ones. I remained baffled.

Over the period of the past two week similar signs started showing up in other non related areas.

Dad commented that the stock market was experiencing diarrhea for reasons unknown. This was after slowly recovering from beginning of the year. Stock prices were falling all over again.

The volume of sales lead over various channels started to slow down after somewhat peaking from two weeks back. Potential leads that have yet to  enter into closing stage of the sale started becoming hesitant too.

A few days ago, the real cause of things finally reveal itself. The European economy was facing finanical problems within three countries that were in the peripheral regions of the union. Last reported, it seemed that Germany the main power house within Europe was in the process of being adversely affected. All these tell tale signs that were happening before were in fact somewhat related. They were symptoms for the next wave of financial crisis that will be spreading around again.

Nassim Taleb, said in his book the Black Swan that thanks to the vast improvements of our communication systems (internet being one of them), we are now experiencing increased levels of connectedness between different regions of the world. As such we are becoming more susceptible to the black swan phenomenon.

The above statement translates to mean that there has been an increase in the occurrences of  unforeseeable events, per unit time of late as compared to the last century, which affected the world on an extremely large magnitude in terms of repercussion.

The way I see it is that all these events (e.g. European financial crisis, Layman brothers collapse) are like the coming into existence of new strains of formidable viruses of the non biological kind. The effects you see (severe drop in stock market prices) are symptoms. The communications channels (internet, television, newspapers) we have available at our disposal are the like vectors that spread the effects around.

While our communication systems are advanced, they are not altogether perfect. Effects take time to spread still. So if its possible for you to plant a tracker somewhere further up the communications channels, you will get better data faster and make more informed decisions. Thus far it seems out of the various channels for communication available, trackers related to the internet channel seems to be the most sensitive of the lot.

Spring Singapore – LETAS grant ceases thus brings an end to the Gold Rush

With effect from 1 Feb 2010, Spring Singapore ceases supporting the Letas Grant . Instead the a new more stringent grant called the Infocomm@SME – Integrated Incentives for SME Infocomm Adoption was setup to help SMEs for computerize their operations.

This new grant limits funding of IT projects to more specific areas such as the following:

Types Of Project Support Level Qualifying Costs Packaged solutions* pre-qualified by IDA for:

• Finance/ Accounting
• Human Resources/ Payroll Up to 50% of qualifying cost, capped at S$1,500 per packaged solution • Software
• Consultancy Services
• Training Customised solutions

E.g. Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning Up to 50% of qualifying costs, capped at S$10,000 per SME Consultancy services Advanced customised solutions that requires extensive development efforts and business re-engineering

E.g. Supply Chain Management Up to 50% of qualifying costs

(Grant amount is determined based on a case-by-case basis) • Manpower-related costs
• Consultancy services
• Hardware/ software

With effect of this new more stringent critieria I foresee that most newly sprung up IT companies surviving just on grants provided by the government to help companies build up web sites will slowly but surely evaporate from the market leaving only those that have in the midst of this gold rush found a strategic foothold in the  market.

I foresaw this coming when Garis tried to persuade me into setting up an IT company with him and a recently retrenched IT sales staff. The sales staff who was so confidant during the initial meetup session with us, suddenly disappear after researching that the grant she was going for had dried out. Then again I was not really inclined towards the whole engagement in the first place.

First and foremost Garis was trying to target a part of the IT market that had little to no barrier to entry and relatively low profit margins. 5 web pages for $2000-$2500 sales price. While it might sound lucrative up front. On further calculation it was a really bad deal.

Profit per person would be approximately 1/3 of the sales price  hence around $600++ for me per site. However  based on my previous experience I will likely have to spend up to 4 man days ($400 per day are my usual rates) for each site. This was inclusive of the back and forth liaising process with each clients which Garis and the potential sales girl had already declared a lack of interest in being involved in.

Garis was also having the idea that we would each only draw out a small sum per month as salary which will cut further more into my potential return in each deal. To top it all up, Garis was of the opinion that I should stop engaging clients independently and just concentrate fully on this venture, if not direct these clients to obtain service from this venture.

Directing of clients to this venture was not a feasible option. What my clients required of me was more than just simple 5 page websites. Most of what was required by them were comprehensive e-commerce solutions or backend operations systems. To have done as Garis intended would have meant to commit corporate suicide by introducing 2 redundant free riders to the process as well as complicating the picture.

Also based on information gleaned while furthering the conversation between us, I realized the sales girl was only confidant  in bringing  3 to 4 projects per month and at the  same time not really experienced in the pre-sales of systems more complicated that 5 pages web sites.

After the discussion amongst the three of us, I begged to be excluded from the partnership. As to do so was to incur huge potential loses on my side.

This new scheme that Enterprise One will be finalizing in March 2010 seems to be very promising as the barrier to entry for creating the mentioned systems are high in contrast to the creation of 5 pages websites. I will meanwhile look forward to what Enterprise One has to say.

Exceptions to the case – How to be a skeptic in this superfically optimistic world.

Recently I realised i have become more and more a skeptic instead of the optimist I used to be. Back in the old days, I do just take into consideration the actual path of how things should be and assume the reality would go along those ideal paths. Yup I have failed quite a few times because of these assumption of mine. Idealist be damned.

Nowadays, presented with an idea no matter how bright or beautiful it seems on first sight, I would unconciously test out the concept mentally to check for exceptional scenarios that would cause the whole downfall of things. Thereafter contemplate on tactics on how to resolve these scenarios should they occur. In the event of a lack of resolution put it on hold and come back to it at a much later time. Progress along the path seems slower now than it used to be.

Being a skeptic is indeed a painstaking task and not a role of brain lazy people.


Seriously I am feeling so stuck recently. I am neither advance nor retreat. Advancing in the path ahead means betraying my own beliefs about the way, retreating backwards means betraying my own integrity.

I am stuck so badly stuck. If there were an enemy without I would have been able to easily solve this problem by conquering him. However the enemy seems to be no where and everywhere at the sametime. How does one attempt at fighting such an enemy like this?

I need to find him. That is what I will need to do. There is nothing like being stuck helplessly unable to identify the enemy while taing continous onslaughts from god knows where.

I finally arrive along East Coast Beach. I dumped my bag and jumped right into the sea. I couldn’t take it anymore.

There I stayed alone, floating in the sea, bobbing along with the tide, staring out at the vast open waters. Evening was coming. The sun was setting. There were no other sounds except the occasional crashing of waves on the white sandy beach. I felt so free all of a sudden. Life is supposed to be like this. Then I suddenly recalled!

My greatest love mother nature, I have neglected you for so long being distracted with all these meaningless urban life. Please forgive me.

Slowly I crawled back to shore, all wet. Now I have to think of a way to dry myself with neither towel nor a change of clothes.

In Transit

Depiction of Lady Fortuna
Depiction of Lady Fortuna

Lady Fortuna

It would have been really easy had all three elements, the mind, the heart and the soul been after the same thing. Apparently it seems not the case, these past few weeks. It was a time of trial indeed.

The mind says for money and security, the heart says to go for love, while the soul says all the prior are not important, the quest for the truth ever beckons.

Here I stand stuck at the fork of the road in my journey. While most parts of the journey prior to this were clear and simple as the path in which the soul demanded, the heart and mind both concurred; this once was different. They each beckoned their own way.

I stand here at this junction examining all three paths, they all looked equally promising while at the same time seemingly disastrous. No amount of foresight I have seem to allow me the ability of sight to penetrate this fog of destiny.

Perhaps none of all three paths is the one, the true path lies hidden still. I could only wait and be patient meanwhile, before Fortuna deals me another card from her Deck of Fates which brings me to the true path.

Wait I shall then.