Sunday, 30 October 2011

MacGyver




As a teenager, I was a huge fan of the TV show, MacGyver, starring Richard Dean Anderson. The character MacGyver was a former Special Forces agent who worked for a think tank organization called the Phoenix Foundation. MacGyver was hired to solve problems that no one else was capable of solving, and he used his vast knowledge of science (mainly chemistry) to come up with novel solutions to the problems he faced, most of which were life threatening.

The real appeal of this show was not a broad-shouldered hero figure, bearing weapons of personal destruction, who rescued an attractive woman in distress every week. Possibly the most entertaining aspect of MacGyver was the intrigue and mystery in each episode: how will MacGyver solve the next problem using little more than his trademark Swiss Army knife, a paperclip and a candy bar? In the pilot episode, MacGyver used a chocolate bar to seal an acid leak and the lens from a pair of binoculars to redirect a laser beam. Although some of his solutions might seem improbable, they do demonstrate the value of creative problem solving.

MacGyver was a hero figure for me at an impressionable age, who led me to believe that there are always alternatives and always more than one solution to a problem. One did not always need to approach a problem from the front (or attack an enemy's front line). In a very real sense, MacGyver taught me to think laterally as a young man, and I wholly embraced the concept, adopting this way of thinking. As an accountant, I found that this form of thinking- which at the time I referred to as creative problem solving-helped me to solve problems.

MacGyver used intelligence, a vast knowledge of science and lateral thinking to earn himself a reputation as the man to call when a difficult problem arises. Likewise, if you learn to use your intelligence, your vast knowledge and a heavy dose of lateral thinking, you may earn your own reputation and be surprised by the difficult problems you are able to overcome.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Fight Back To School

“And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”- Steve Jobs, Commencement address (June 12, 2005)
 
Recently I read in a local news about actor and director Rashidi Ishak, 39, who was among thousands of students graduated at Universiti Putra Malaysia's (UPM) 35th convocation ceremony.

The news stated, It’s took Rashidi 13 semesters to successfully obtain a Bachelor Degree in Communications via executive programme as he enrol as a part time student.

Rashidi success reminded me the story of Steven Spielberg completed his bachelor's degree in 2002, after 33 years he dropped out to start his film career.

Steven Spielberg may be one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood history, a self-made billionaire with Oscars, but for the last three decades he has cherished the one thing that eluded him -- a college degree.

The legendary director enrolled at the university's Long Beach campus in 1965 but left the school three years later to pursue what he hoped would be a successful professional career in filmmaking. The following year his 22-minute short film, was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival, which led to his becoming the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.

He sealed his fame with Jaws and went on to direct ET, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan amongst a galaxy of other hits. His Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park series have broken box office records.

He already has five honorary doctorates, one of it bestowed upon him by Yale University but what he really wanted was a humble bachelor's degree.

Why?

He said his parents were the motivation behind his wish to graduate and wanted to accomplish this for many years as a 'thank you' to his parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career.

With all the success Spielberg was still determined to demonstrate his regard for college education by completing his degree. The time he put into completing his degree now when he is extraordinarily successful sends a very important message to young people. His return to school is a strong statement about the value of a university education. 

Note:- I am an "old dog"... You cannot teach an old dog with new tricks...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Shangri La :-Gross National Happiness Economy


Recent Malaysia Budget 2012 is basically a continuation of the practice over the past few years; Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to boost help for the poor to cushion the impact of inflation by promising it'll reduce the impact of rising costs on Malaysians.

The generosity of the Government reminds me of Bhutan, gross national happiness (GNH). In Bhutan, the economic challenge is not growth in gross national product, but in gross national happiness (GNH).

Bhutan's rugged geography fostered the rise of a hardy population of farmers and herdsmen, and helped to foster a strong Buddhist culture, closely connected in history with Tibet. The population is sparse, roughly 700,000 people on a territory the size of The Netherlands, with agricultural communities nestled in deep valleys and a few herdsmen in the high mountains.

Bhutan's economy of agriculture and monastic life remained self-sufficient, poor, and isolated until recent decades, when a series of remarkable monarchs began to guide the country towards technological modernisation (roads, power, modern healthcare and education), international trade (notably with neighbouring India) and political democracy.

Part of Bhutan's GNH revolves around meeting basic needs: improved healthcare, reduced maternal and child mortality, greater educational attainment and better infrastructure, especially electricity, water and sanitation.

This focus on material improvement aimed at meeting basic needs makes sense for a country at Bhutan's relatively low income level. For the world's poorest countries, their biggest and most compelling challenge is to meet citizens' basic needs.

Bhutan has many things going its way. It will be able to increase exports of clean, run-of-the-river hydropower to India, thereby earning foreign exchange in a manner that is sustainable and that can fill government coffers to fund education, health care, and infrastructure.

The country is also intent on ensuring that the benefits of growth reach all, regardless of region or income. The key for Bhutan is to regard GNH as an enduring quest, rather than as a simple checklist.

How about Malaysia?

Malaysia too adapted to gross national happiness in their budget allocation since it is a people-friendly budget, which is to look after the people's welfare. However, something is still missing in the completely people-friendly and politically correct budget. I feel that Budget 2012 fails to address and solve core national issues.

Malaysia is a country whose public policies are those that reward inclusion. We promise free education and universal health coverage and we subsidise a number of important goods. I think we in right track, however I believe it’s important for the government to create opportunity where none had existed before and to help those who otherwise cannot help themselves.

Patently,  Malaysia’s national budget every year are the permanent dole system that the civil service has since become, the welfare state system enjoyed by a privileged few from womb to tomb, the subsidy syndrome, the dependency syndrome. It is a “Spoon Fed” budget.

The formula of spending more and more stimulus measures to boost the economy could no longer work. The budget presentation is like injecting a booster. This means every time a booster is injected, like a drug; people start to crave more and more until they cannot stop. When government don't give, People start doing violent things. If you put it in the way of not giving the drug to the person who has been addicted to it, you would see the strange behaviour of a subject involved.

When the administrative expenses keep increasing, the management cost will increase year by year after pay rise for civil servants. How could the national economy prosper when management cost is compressing the cost of development?

We have to relook at the Budget snapshots and ask whether if it will help people in long term. There's absolutely none that addresses the reforms and provides outlines of long term problem solving.

Despite having the potential to become an economic powerhouse, Malaysia would face overwhelming challenges if the country did not upgrade human capital as well as strengthen governance and institutional capacity.

Firstly, it does not carry out the direction and principles of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), which is set to turn the country into a high-income economy. How are we going to achieve the goal if only assistance is given to reduce burden without trying to solve the root cause.

The government should adopt the concept of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

And I hope these plans are well enough promoted so that all people will understand the opportunities before them. As for those who still want to be given fish, I suggest that they go on a diet.

Note: - Thinking staying in Shangri La Hotel in pursue of Happyness

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Last Lecture - Tuesday with Jobs

Steve Jobs, the visionary in the black turtleneck who co-founded Apple passed away at the age of 56.

Those are the plain and simple words that signal the end of a life, but clearly not the end of an ordinary life. This is a man who not only built a legacy, Steve Jobs was once known as the man who saved Apple from financial ruin, but his legacy goes far beyond that; he will be remembered as one of the rare few people who changed the world.

Many obituaries will be written and many commentaries offered. There will be eloquence upon eloquence, all seeking to offer something unique, something different that can capture the essence of a man who was in fact a genius, someone who will have left an imprint on the world that will last for decades if not generations.

Here we see Steve Jobs delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. In it he talks about getting fired from Apple in 1985, life & death. He urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks -- including death itself



But there is one element of his journey through this life that stands out above almost everything else:

Steve Jobs was a survivor.

Steve Jobs was a survivor in business. We know the story of how he built a company, tried to mould success elsewhere, then returned to his dream and took it to heights that no one could have predicted or imagined. That is survivorship in the business world.

Steve Jobs was once known as the man who saved Apple from financial ruin, but his legacy goes far beyond that; he will be remembered as one of the rare few people who changed the world.

But Steve Jobs was another type of survivor: a cancer survivor. Sadly, we know the answers. There is finality to the life of Steve Jobs in the physical sense, although his influence will be felt long after his passing.

For me, however, his greatness is amplified by what he accomplished under the most difficult of circumstances. For here was a man who had an uncommon cancer that recurred and required a liver transplant. Here was a man who was failing in his health, yet had the fortitude to face every day as a new challenge, to do what he wanted to do, to accomplish successes that had never been accomplished before. Here was a man who embodied the drive and the spirit that so many cancer survivors possess every day of their lives, even when facing the ultimate moment as Steve Jobs faced today.

To his family, many friends, colleagues, and all of us who knew him and admired him in one way or another for so many years, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Steve Jobs was the ultimate success story. But that should not overshadow the fact that he was a man who pressed forward while carrying an immense personal burden.

Steve Jobs was truly a very special man. Steve Jobs was a survivor.

Note: Wanna buy iphone 4s 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Eureka

  
“Creativity is just connecting things” Steve Jobs

Eureka meaning "I have found it" is an interjection used to celebrate a discovery, a transliteration of a word attributed to Archimedes

Archimedes "Eureka" moment led to the solution of a problem posed by Hiero of Syracuse. According to Vitruvius, a votive crown for a temple had been made for King Hiero II, who had supplied the pure gold to be used, and Archimedes was asked to determine whether some silver had been substituted by the dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes had to solve the problem without damaging the crown, so he could not melt it down into a regularly shaped body in order to calculate its density. While taking a bath, he noticed that the level of the water in the tub rose as he got in, and realized that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown. He is said to have been so eager to share his realisation that he leapt out of his bathtub and ran through the streets of Syracuse naked, crying "Eureka!" (I have found it)

For practical purposes water is incompressible, so the submerged crown would displace an amount of water equal to its own volume. By dividing the mass of the crown by the volume of water displaced, the density of the crown could be obtained. This density would be lower than that of gold if cheaper and less dense metals had been added. The test was conducted successfully, proving that silver had indeed been mixed in.

Archimedes managed to solve the problem in the simple less way because he manages to find the connection between water in bathtub and problem poses to him.

Creative thinking always being associated with innovation, Bette Nesmith Graham invented the first correction fluid in her kitchen. Working as a typist, she used to make many mistakes and always strived for a way to correct them.  To support herself as a single mother, she used her talent to paint holiday windows at the bank for extra money. She realized, as she was painting that with lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error. So she decided to apply the same principal to her problem.

Using the basis of tempera paint that she mixed with a common kitchen blender, put in a bottle and took her watercolor brush to the office and used that to correct her mistakes. She called the outcome fluid “Mistake Out” and started to provide her coworkers.

After secretly used her white correction paint for five years and making some improvements with help from her son's chemistry teacher. She eventually began marketing her typewriter correction fluid as "Mistake Out" in 1956. The name was later changed to Liquid Paper when she began her own company.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Steve Jobs make a connection between his calligraphy educations on how he designs his personal computer. Without his calligraphy knowledge, Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them.

Connecting the dots and thinking out of the box require us to step back to see the whole picture and solve it in simplest way. Sometimes the answer is just in front of us. 

I was really amazed on how engineer solve complicated challenge to design things by applying simple daily application in Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections documentary series. Now the series make me wonders how to simplify my working as I am lazy. 

Note:  Necessity is the mother of all invention, but Laziness is the father. -[Benjamin Franklin]