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I have this idea of integrating work and games together. I’ve told some people about it. 1/10 said it’s interesting. Another 1/10 told me to go for whatever i believe in. 2/10 said i’m crazy and 6/10 just said that it’s impossible.

They actually made me believe that it’s impossible until i found this article in Entrepreneur.com. Apparently, there’s someone in the US who is researching on the same thing.

So my dear readers, do you think this is a good idea? I know it’s not going to be easy especially to some people who are anti-games.

Here’s the link.

Are You Game?

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I often hear people saying “Stop daydreaming, Alvin!”, “Please concentrate in my class!” or things like “…*PIAK*”…the story of the flying chalk……

..ah well, those were the days…of me sleeping and daydreaming in the class.

Most adults would tell their children to stop daydreaming and face the real world. I do agree, AND disagree. One should always be brave enough to dream…..but make sure you don’t just DREAM, you should also take the necessary steps in making your dream a reality.

Recently, I’ve entered the 2007 Animax Award.  It’s an anime story writing competition. Actually, I really like this kind of competition because it promotes creativity and innovation among the younger generation. I’ve submitted one story for the Asia Pacific region (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia) and someone called me that I’ve won the competition. *grin grin* Hmm, quite a big surprise for me since I feel my story was quite crappy. 😛 Anyway, I haven’t obtain any proof (besides the e-mail and phone call)….so, we’ll wait then. 🙂

To be honest, I really enjoy doing creative stuff. To dream…to imagine…….to fantasize (in a good and positive way), is always good. You can think of the impossible, think of the unimaginable (to some people), to think of anything. Your imagination is the biggest free world you can ever get. Use it.

Leonardo Da Vinci daydreamed and imagined a lot……he imagined things like helicopter during his time. If you were to think like him during that period of time…..and went on to tell people the things you imagined, people will think you’re a madman. He’s not a madman. He’s a genius. 🙂

So, don’t be afraid to dream and to imagine. Without dreams and imaginations, we human are just an empty vessel. 

Here’s an interesting article from Entrepreneur.com.

Do check it out when you have time 🙂

I think it’s a MUST READ for all entrepreneurs-wannabe.

Countdown to Startup

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” which I am sure some of you here have heard of it before. It’s a very good book with a lot of valid points on the businesses of today. A must read, if you’re very much into business and management stuff.

In the early part of the book, it talks about the 3 kinds of things businesses focus to create – things which enable us to go to work, things to help us at work, and things that we like to do after work.

Example of things which enable us to go to work is the car industry. Ford revolutionized this industry with its T model which enabled thousands of not-so-rich families to own their own car (though Ford is trying hard to survive in a battle against the likes of Toyota and Honda). Besides car industry, you can try to think of ways to create new values in any of the transportation section – public transports, light-weight transportations, or things that people can use while going to work such as mp3 player.

The things which help us at work should be quite obvious – anything related to the business. Computers, photocopiers, printers, projectors, telephones, etc etc etc. The list goes on and on and on….. and everyday, we’ll see at least few new items being added to that never-ending list. As long as the product can help to improve the business values – efficiency, quality, etc – then it can be considered a good product in this category.

The final category will be the things we do after work. I personally believe that this will be the place where most money is spent….and the target customers will be the majority of the world’s population. Why? Everyone needs to do something to relax or enjoy themselves after work…..the bosses, the leaders, managers, and even the normal low-income workers. As the competition in the corporate world becomes more and more competitive, workload will increase as well together with the amount of stress generated by these workloads. The higher the amount of stress, the more people will try to escape from it and “seek help” from this world of entertainment and relaxation. That is why the movie, music and gaming (including casinos) industry are earning big bucks now.

This post has briefly touched on the 3 categories which you should look into if you are planning to start something (a product, or even a company). I’ll talk about these 3 categories again (more in depth) in the near future.

Hope it helps. 🙂

Since the time we (human beings) stepped into this world, there have been countless new inventions created by us. From cooking equipments to hunting equipments. From something which enables us to move faster (wheels) to something which enable us to fly in the sky. To have a new invention is always the dream of any entrepreneur……and perhaps any businessman who wanted to open up new market based on this new invention.

However, to invent something is not necessarily profitable. When you start a business, you want to be selling something which is profitable and which other people want. You won’t want to spend years and years of efforts…..to invent something which made you feel proud….but something which nobody wants or knows how to use.

Therefore, before you plan to start working on the design of your new invention, think of a few things. Ask yourself few questions such as:

  • What’s the purpose of your invention?
  • Who are the possible users/consumers/customers?
  • Do you think this invention is useful to them?
  • The cost of inventing this, is it too high for the invention to be feasible for the users?
  • Are there any other existing products which work like your invention?
  • Or is there already an alternative out there for your invention which has not even materialize?
  • Is the learning curve of your invention, too high for the current users?

There are other questions which you can use…but based on the above, i think you’ll have a brief idea of what to ask yourself.

To invent something new takes a lot of efforts and time…..which is precious. In this era, time = money…and the more time you spend on some “inventions“…the riskier it becomes. Maybe someone else will be able to come out with something similar while you’re “inventing” something halfway through.

Therefore…only invent when there’s really a need. Otherwise, try to look at existing ideas and be innovative. Change the way things work currently….create new business values for the existing ideas. By doing this, I believe you’ll be able to come out with something which can serve a similar purpose as your initial “invention”.

Remember, don’t reinvent the wheel. Improvise it. Add a motor…or a way to move the wheel faster and then sell this newly modified idea.

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. 🙂

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.

Do you think you have a brilliant business idea? The next Youtube or Google? Do you think your business idea is good enough to make a big hit in the industry? If yes, how sure are you?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to demotivate you or anything. I always support people to have creative thinking – to come out with creative and innovative ideas. That’s how we came across things like Google, IPod, LCD TV, GPS, etc.  Without such ideas, life is boring. 🙂

However, a good business idea might not be a successful one. I’ve a creative friend who once told me it’s good to sell “Goreng Pisang” or fried banana in Singapore. True, it’s easy to earn money since the cost is low and there are very few such stalls in Singapore. The total revenue should be high for a single stall but that’s it. You need to increase the number of stalls….expanding your business and stuff. When I asked him whether he likes to eat or prepare “goreng pisang”….he said NO. My question to you is…do you think the business idea is still feasible?

Yes, it is…but it won’t be successful since the person carrying out the business idea is not passionate enough. Without passion, the business won’t last long – the best it could do is to pass the first few hurdles/setbacks.

If you really have a business idea which is good enough to make an impact, do your research first. Make sure you are 100% committed in making your business idea a working and successful business.  It must be something you are passionate about. 🙂 Do some research on it, or so-called market survey. Try out few different routes to market your idea and study the feedbacks. You can find something similar in my previous post “What are your passions?“.

The key point here is…….a business idea is useless (even though feasible) if you are not passionate or not fully committed to it. If you are committed, even a normal business idea can be made into something innovative and becomes a big hit in the market. Remember…nobody expects Youtube or a plain site like Google to be such a big hit today. Those are innovative business ideas…..but behind them, are the commitments of their passionate builders.

p/s…if you are pretty sure your idea is a good one, do take some time to read up this article in Entrepreneur.com.

Being innovative and creative are not easy. You’ll need ample of space to let your imagination runs wild, to think of the impossible, the new, the strange…and make all these things work and materialize !
That’s not a problem, IF (a big if) you’re working for yourself. Working for yourself, you have no attachments…no restrictions….no rules and no boundaries. You are like living in your own world (provided you have enough financial support to survive), thinking and developing your ideas.

Let’s have a scenario here….let’s say you’re working in a big company as the division head for the company’s main Research & Development division. Your company has all the usual stuff a big company should have – processes, procedures, policies, forms, paperworks…etc. In order for you to test out an idea, you need to go through process A, by filling up form B, and prepare paperworks consisting of > 100 pages……and after all these things have finished, you need to wait for your department’s director to approve…and finally, you need to present to your CIO, CTO, CEO (all the big shots).

Do you seriously think that you (as a creative thinker who promotes creativity and innovation in your work) can handle all these processes, procedures, policies? If yes, congratulations…you’re a genius. The late management guru, Peter F. Drucker mentioned that it was quite impossible to do so (in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

The solution? Separate the innovation part of the business into smaller groups or divisions. If your company is a large corporation, start a subsidary. Separate your core business processes from this small team. Leave them be. Let them do whatever they want…as long as it is within a predefined scope. Never pester your creative thinkers with all these fussy stuff. You’ll just slow down their research.

Hope this helps 😀