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I’ve been a video/computer gamer ever since I was 5 years old. I can still remember my first game was Karateka. Quite a cool game (at least, it was a very cool game at that time). Since then, my parents have been supplying me (with constant nagging from my side) with countless gaming stuff – from a 286 PC386 PC…the first Nintendo video game….Nintendo Game Boy….Super Genius (some unknown brand)….Super Nintendo….P133 Computer….Pentium II and III computers….and lately (i bought for myself) a Playstation Portable and PC’s World of Warcraft. I’m planning to get Playstation 3 and maybe Nintendo WII in the future. 🙂 Yea, I’m a pretty serious gamer.

Well, I believe most of you people out there are gamers yourselves. And as expected, most gamers would want to be involved in a game development job…including myself.

Game development companies are rare. You have the famous Blizzard, EA, Bioware, the new Obsidian, Square Enix, Sony Entertainment, Irrational, etc… but other than that, the rest are basically unknowns. It’s pretty hard to get into these companies as a game developer since their requirements are pretty high (expected, since they’re the elites in gaming industry). However, you do have smaller game development companies…..like our Malaysia’s GameBrain and Phoenix Studio.

Anyway, let’s get straight to the point. I’ve been thinking about starting something for myself…my own business/company (not anytime soon.. maybe after 2 or 3 years, just to assure my boss in case he’s reading this) and I’ve given some serious thoughts about starting a game development business in Malaysia. However, I realized that it is no longer practical no matter how much I love games.

Think about it if you’re like me, a serious gamer. Do you like to develop games, or you like to actually play games? These are 2 different things. I can tell you, developing a game is very tedious. You need to go into very detailed stuff like stage design…UI design…character design…etc. It’s never easy. If you want, you can try to get your hands on SDK provided by certain games (for example, FEAR, Half-Life 2 or Neverwinter Night). Try creating some custom mods and see whether you enjoy the process. To be honest, I don’t. I’ve tried the Aurora toolset provided by Neverwinter Night…….and it’s a bit too tedious for me. I couldn’t even create a single map.

I gave up.

My passion lies with playing the games (and maybe designing the games), but not developing them.

Furthermore, the gaming industry is one heck of a competitive industry. You’re fighting with the likes to Blizzard and Sony Entertainment….Hideo Kojima…and even Microsoft. How competitive can that be? They got the cash, the budget…and you don’t. A normal game development project costs too much $$ and can take too much time…it’s never easy…and it’s never cheap as stated by EA Montreal boss in this article. Sooner or later, you’ll get eaten up by these companies.

Well, on the bright side (or not-so-bright side), game developers are not really well-paid. So you can possibly hire some good, passionate but cheap game programmers. 🙂 Game programmers talk about passions more than money. It is their burning desire which keeps them in this industry. But…ahem, you won’t want any of your game developers to quit since game developers are quite rare in the market.

Overall, I don’t feel that starting a game development company is practical for me. Maybe it is for you…but it’s definitely not my cup of tea. Try it out, and you might find that it is something meant for you (but do take into consideration the points I’ve stated above). 🙂

Remember, passion is one thing…..but to die of hunger due to your passion, is foolish. Be passionate, and be practical.

In the midst of finding my own passions, I found this interesting article in Entrepreneur.com titled Finding Your Passion.

Hope it helps you as much as (or more than) it helped me.

Why do we want to start our company? Besides being our own boss, is it to earn more $$$ for ourselves? Is a business or a company all about money?

Face the fact, it IS about money but not all of it. People work for other people in order to earn $$. People start their own company, also to earn $$. Money is needed everywhere. This is how our world works today.

However, based on several books I’ve read…..including Built to Last, Good to Great, Success Built to Last, etc….the experts said that a successful company is not all about money. Yes, you need money to run a company…and you need money to make the company profitable, etc. But, it is not the will to earn money that keeps the company going. It is the will power of the management team (or the pioneers) and the core values they’ve implanted in the company’s people…which keeps the business going, stronger than other mediocre companies.

When a management team focuses too much on making a profit for the company, they neglected their long term plan – to build a lasting and successful company. Someone who focuses only on money-making activities, will regard things like Research & Development as nonsense. To be honest, how many successful corporations out there is without a R & D team? You tell me (ahem, since I didn’t do my survey or research on this…so I’ll have to wait for someone to tell me the answer).

Also, having a set of core values for the company is something very important to do. Most companies do not have this since they are focusing only on earning money. But most successful companies have these so-called core values. They know why they existed….maybe to contribute to the society, to help out customers in their businesses, to improve the nation’s infrastructure, to provide cheap and useful medicines for the people, etc. These core values or mission statements are ways to keep everything (you, your board of directors, your partners, your employees, and your company) going. It provides a sense of satisfaction for the people involved in your company’s operations or activities.

If your company does not have these core values or mission statements…..perhaps it’s time to look at them? Chasing after money is not a wrong thing to do….but sooner or later, you’ll realize that you and your company can’t go far by doing that. Don’t neglect money…..but also don’t neglect the more important things around you. Focus on how you can help the others (customers, people in need, society, etc) AND earning money at the same time.

Therefore, it is necessary for your business to have a set of core values….or mission statements to keep everything going. Believe it or not, when you focus on such core values, the money will eventually come to you. I’m not sure about you, but I seriously believe in this because to me, money is not the driving force behind everything.

In Malaysia (and probably in other parts of the world as well), we have a lot of entrepreneur-wannabe individuals who have plan (or plans) to have their own business (or businesses)…including myself. But, what does it take to start a business? Do you need a great idea to start a business? According to the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, you don’t necessary need a great idea to start off. In this post, I’ll look at the pros and cons of starting a business with a great idea.

Many of us want to start our own business. It could be based on a franchise license, a business idea (or business ideas) or it could be based on purely the willpower of the creators. Funny? Ridiculous? Nope, it’s true. Throughout the history, we’ve seen the likes of Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Sony etc. which started off with basically …nothing…not even a good business idea.  The pioneers of these companies started off with one thing in their mind – to create their own company which will be successful in the fields which they are going to venture into. What kind of fields? They have no idea….they used the concept of “trial and error”. None of the above companies (who are few of the most successful companies in our world today) succeeded in creating something in their first try.  They needed some time before finally decided on a field (or fields) which they wanted to concentrate on.

The key point here is that these companies are started by a bunch of “right people” who have the company’s interests in their hearts. What they did was to have brainstorming sessions..again and again and again…on what they could do to be successful. They kept repeating the same thing until they managed to achieve a result which they considered as SUCCESSFUL.

Why do these companies are better without a great idea? Well, if you started off with a great idea…..there’s a possibility that the idea will sell very well…..providing your company a lot of needed $$. It’ll be hard for you to change that idea (thus lacking innovation)….or even let go of it (stubborn and ego will come in). In the end, your company will be sticking to the few business ideas you initially started with……and not adapting to the ever-changing market. Face the fact, no company can be successful without proper change. Your company will be left out.

However, I do understand that in most industries, a great idea is needed to start off a business. You’ll need a great business idea to convince the venture capitalists…the possible investors…the banks, or even your relatives and friends. Without the idea, most people would label you as “foolish” or “immature”. I’m in that situation right now. It’s something inevitable in our world today. Everyone wants to see something concrete and reliable, before they can trust you.

Conclusion, I feel that to start off a successful business, you don’t need a great business idea. You need good people, and commitment to make the business a successful one. It is the process of developing the business which matters, not the single business idea. However, if you can have some great business ideas…and start a business/company based on these ideas with the right people and the right commitment…..and most importantly, stay innovative and not tied down to these ideas…then congratz, I believe you’ve found the correct formula in creating a successful business. 🙂

Again, open to comments. 😀

Recently I came across a very nice article from Work Coach titled “Why British Bosses Want That Banana To Split“. The author talked about whether your boss has the right to tell you exactly how your work desk should look like. To be honest, your boss has the right and authority to tell you how your work desk should look like (he’s the BOSS) but I personally don’t encourage this behavior. Why?

A work desk is something personal which reflects on a person’s characteristics. If your boss told you that your desk should only have a pen holder, your name cards and nothing else…it is like having someone to tell you that you should only keep a pair of shoes outside your house. Isn’t that funny? It’s actually like having someone stepping into your private life….telling you what you should be doing.

True, a work place is always, a work place. You need to follow the rules and regulations set by the HR of your company…or to certain extent, by your boss. It is best to keep a tidy work place. Whatever other stuff you want to place on your work desk should be up to you. When you’re given the freedom to put something personal (and maybe meaningful), you are given the chance to use your creativity…..to make your work desk as suitable and comfortable as possible….provided you don’t abuse this freedom and have moss growing on your desk….or some weird creatures/insects crawling out from your drawers. Other than that, your work desk should always belong to you.

I know there are bosses out there who like to see things they want to see. Some of them are so extreme that they might order you (his employee) to place whatever stuff that they like to see. These bosses, honestly, are not our so-called good employers. No good employers would limit their employees like this.

Take Google for example, their work place is basically like a second home to their employees. This is how they promote creativity because creative ideas normally popped up when someone is feeling comfortable (or feel like at home). Ever notice how some people place all the notes and pictures on their work desk? Some of these are the source of their creativity.

So…if your boss told you to remove all those stuff, what will happen? You’ll be restricted your freedom to roam….your creative thinking will be locked up. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but sadly, I feel that this is true and it is happening in most of the companies.

Remember, you should be given the freedom to roam, to use your creativity…..provided you are within the regulations set by HR or your boss. Your boss should not be telling you what should you put on your desk….well, he should be very busy and not bothering himself with such minor issues right? *grin*.

p/s….sometimes, it depends on your job role as well. If you’re working in a consulting firm, it should be very different that a technical company doing R & D.

p/s….sorry for the disorganized thoughts and points…i’m actually multi-tasking right now. 🙂

What does it mean by job hopping? According to The Free Dictionary, job hopping means “The practice of changing jobs frequently, especially as a means of quick financial gain or career advancement”. Let me ask you all a question, how many of you actually practice this job hopping or used to do that?

I must admit that I’ve changed 4 companies in 2 years of working as an IT developer, but it was not for quick financial gain.

According to Bob Weinstein in his article “Job hopping is OK again“, there are 2 kinds of job hopping – random job hopping which is moving everytime you get a better job offer (the typical quick financial gain job hopping) and strategic job hopping which is taking a new job because it enhances and helps build your career.  

From a company’s perspective, it’s not advisable to hire a job hopper. They would prefer a long serving employee who is willing to contribute a lot to the company and will probably seek retirement in that company. The cost of hiring and retraining someone is sometimes too high. They rather keeping the same person who knows the company inside out, than spending time on training or orientation or maybe, the hiring process itself.

However, from an employee’s perspective, it is a completely different story. As an employee, you should be thinking for your future. Job hopping to a new job which is more suitable and has more prospect might be a good option. Sometimes, it pays to job hop than to stay in a job with no prospect. You’ll be just wasting your time. This happens in many places especially in a not-so-competitive working environment (where you can see a lot of people there seeking early retirement). It’ll take a very big and bold move for you to climb over these experienced people. By the time you managed to climb above this group of people, you would’ve wasted too much time. Worse still, you might not even get pass this hurdle. If you can’t, then there’s no point staying on. Choose a company with better prospect, maybe a better job role, and move on. Remember, only job hop if there’s better job opportunity….something necessary to advance your personal career. Do not consider job hopping as a mean to get quick financial gain. If you really choose to do so, you’ll be chasing after money and not your future.

In the end, job hopping is neither good nor bad. It really depends on situation. From the employers’ perspective, it is definitely a bad thing. From an employee’s perspective however, sometimes job hopping is necessary to advance your career.

Anyway, this is just my opinion. Do feel free to voice out in the comments section below. Hope it helps 😉

Check this article from CIO Insight titled The Future of I.T.: What’s on Tap for 2007 and Beyond. Gives a picture of what to expect in 2007 and beyond.

Nobody likes to change company. You’ll be forced to adapt to a new environment (new company), prepare and attend interview, face different customers, follow different processes or procedures, obey new set of rules and conditions, etc. It’s never easy especially for people who are introvert. However, there are times when situation forces us to change to a new company. In this post, we’ll look at some of the possible reasons which normally cause an employee to change company.

Do note that this post is not meant for people who like to “jump ships” in order to get higher pay in the new job.

  1. Nothing to learn
    • Learning is one of the most important aspects in one’s life. If you find that there’s nothing more to learn in your current company, perhaps it is time to move on.
    • How to know that you’re learning nothing? You’ll realize it after few months of doing the same job over and over again.
    • Do speak to your supervisor before you decide to leave the company. He/she might have different plan for you.
  2. Company has no new projects
    • When a company has no new project for a few months, it is definitely a bad sign.
    • At this moment of time, it is best to voice your concerns to your supervisor or top management. You have the right to know what are their plans.
    • If there’s still no new project…….and you’re sitting there wasting your time, then it is time to move on.
    • If you don’t, I can assure you that the company will think of some ways to make you leave – to minimize cost.
  3. Pay cut
    • Sometimes, when company is not doing well…they need to cut down their expenditure…which include salary cut.
    • A good company will never cut your pay. They’ll only do so when they’re desperate.
    • True, most companies will lay off their employees….but those only happen in big companies. Smaller companies don’t do that. They will only cut your pay. 🙂
  4. Stagnant salary
    • Everyone needs money to survive. It pays to be patience since most companies will test your patience by making your salary stagnant for a while.
    • However, if you are not receiving any rewards (items or monetary)…….after a lot of hard work….and after waiting for a long period of time, then you should give up. Most probably your company does not have the plan to reward you.
    • Prepare to leave when your pay remains the same after 2 years of working for the same company.
    • A company who doesn’t reward you is not worth your time.
  5. Unreasonable supervisors
    • Sometimes, we’ll be put together in a team with a “boss from hell”. This big bully in your team is so powerful that there’s no way you can overturn his rule. You can only obey and follow his outrageous demands……..which are way beyond your scope at times.
    • Try talking to someone higher up. Voice out your concerns and unhappiness. If you’re afraid, do check with your colleagues who are under the same boss. If all of you are sharing the same opinion, then it is time to voice out.
    • Time to move on if there’s really nothing you can do to get out of his grasp.
  6. Unfriendly colleagues
    • Nobody lives alone in the working environment. If your colleagues are unfriendly……and there’s absolutely no way you can mix with them, then it is time for you to move on to another company…or if possible, another team or department.
    • It’s important to have fun while working……..and there won’t be much fun when you are working around unfriendly or even hostile colleagues.
  7. Egoistic top management
    • It is important that your bosses are the people who listen and remember. This way, the employees can voice out their opinions or concerns whenever necessary to these bosses……..and they will think about it.
    • If they’re stubborn and egoistic people who never listen to the opinions of the employees…….then you can either continue to do your work quietly……..or you can move on to another company in search of a management team who is more open-minded.

Leaving a company is never a good thing to do. Some people (like me) would get emotional………..since it’s never easy to get nice and helpful colleagues. To some people, their colleagues are considered part of his/her family. However, there are times when we have to move on ….especially when things are out of our control…or when things are so obvious that we need to consider moving to advance our careers. It’s never easy….but good things never come easy in this world.

Hope it helps.

If anyone of you has other reasons for leaving a company, do post up in the comment section below. I’m facing a bit of writer’s block now. 🙂

Just few weeks ago, I’ve posted an article on “How to avoid being panic during a presentation?”. At that time, I was preparing for a presentation for my team’s brown bag technical discussion. I just finished the presentation a few hours ago and I’ve made a few mistakes in the presentation. Therefore, based on my experience in this presentation, I’ll list down some of the things that everyone should avoid in a presentation.

  1. Avoid stupid jokes
    • The biggest mistake I’ve made in my last presentation was to make a joke which nobody laughs. Everyone was looking at me blankly…….as I was the only person laughing at that time.
    • It’s good to be humourous. It gives people a break from your slides. However, it’s never easy to be a humourous person especially if you are presenting in front of a group of people who do not know you well to understand your jokes.
    • If you can’t joke well, don’t do it. That’s what I’ve learnt. 🙂
  2. Avoid being a beginner in your topic
    • You need to know your topic well. Be an expert if you must. Know the things you’re going to talk inside out.
    • If you don’t, you’ll get bombarded with questions which you can’t answer……and this is not a good thing.
    • If you seriously can’t be an expert in the topic, set a “warning” or “expectation” before you start your presentation. Tell your audiences what to expect, and what not to expect.
  3. Avoid saying things you are not sure
    • It is important to know whatever you are presenting.
    • If you don’t know, just say you don’t know.
    • Don’t ever give false information as someone among the audiences might be an expert in the topic you are presenting.
    • If you’re lucky, you might cheat your way pass……..but if you’re not….. then it’ll give people a feeling that you are BS-ing.

After realizing my mistakes for my last presentation, I was quite disappointed with myself. However, one needs to think positively and move on. I believe that I will not repeat the same mistakes in my next presentation. Hope by sharing the lessons I’ve learnt, I can at least give some insights and ideas to you all on the things one should avoid in a presentation.

Are you interested in franchise? Do you think you’re suitable for franchise business?

Check out this article from Entrepreneur.com for some tips. 🙂

LINK