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Friday, 18 October 2013

Steve Jobs, CD shops, Nokia, BlackBerry, Kodak, and connecting back the dots

Imagine you are a business owner or CEO of a successful PC company.

I'm am sure you will have goals, aims, and a dream (vision) for your business.

Most CEOs and business owners will have the similar straight line extrapolation of their past goals - just add 20% and we are good to go! 

And how can you go wrong with a vision of putting your computer on the desks of everyone?

Now imagine an idiot in your company submitting a proposal to develop a MP3 player?  

The audacious plan is not about selling hardware per se. It's to take on the 4 major music labels like Universal, Sony, EMI, and Warner on a radically different way to distribute music?

And didn't this idiot know everyone is downloading music illegally from the net? Why pay when you can get a song for "free"?

Next, an even bigger clown now tries to sell you on this great business opportunity of attacking  the handphone market. We can take on BlackBerry on the corporate side, and Nokia, Motorola, Samsung on the consumer side. How? With one phone model!!!??? 

You almost choked on your coffee when your R&D buffoons developed this ridiculous tablet thingy - a new form factor, if successful, may take market share away from your existing desktop and notebook PC sales...

Don't these buffoons know we have KPIs to hit on our desktop and notebook sales? 

You now feel like doing a company purge to get rid of conspirators who are trying their best to undermine your goals, aims, and dream!

Seriously, we need to put blinkers on our co-workers and train them to march in step and sing in the same bloody tune! You pick up your phone to call your Chief Propaganda Officer...

We now know why Steve Jobs is so exceptional. 

Many of us only pay lip service to innovation and thinking outside the box. How many would engage in activities that do not contribute immediately to the goals, aims, and vision that have been decided during the company's annual kick-off?

I am pretty sure former market share leaders like Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kodak have goals, KPIs, vision and what not.  

So were their fall from grace due to lack of goal setting?  

The above is just an allegory to life in general.

The iPod can be the guy or girl that could have made you complete. You didn't treasure as you were wearing blinkers with single-minded focus. You have this and that to achieve before 30, and that and that to achieve by 40... 

The iPhone may be the child might have been. What? Take a year off for maternity? With those young bitches snapping at my heels and eyeing my position? No, child can wait...

The iPad could be that vacation that changes you. The food, the open spaces, the air! The slower pace of life and the beautiful people there - all smiling with contentment. Sure, the pay is 1/4 of what you are getting in Singapore, but with it, you can buy a landed property and car with change to spare. And the best part you don't have to wait till you are 40 or financially free!


It's what we decide and do in the here and now that influence the future.
The future us may connect the dots back and find meaning in what we do today.

Hubris is thinking we know the future.  


  1. HI SMOL,

    1st time visit to your blog, drop in to say hi :)

    i enjoy this blog post, set me thinking about my priorities.

    1. Hi Solace!

      Welcome and remember to have fun!

      And if that boy does not make you smile, say:"Xia yi wei!"


  2. I think its that one piece of genius that makes CEO of Kodak, Fuji, Nokia looks stupid.

    10 years from now, I won't be surprised if there's someone who makes Apple CEO looks stupid.

    Generation after generation something will come out and amazes us. It just happens.

    1. B,

      And that should be the way.

      Decay sets in when the new generation only knows how to mimic and quote the previous generation.

      Evolutionary change is good; revolutionary change is what gets you in the record books ;)

    2. Mimicking doesn't require too much risk, revolutionary requires huge amount of risks and the "X" factor to do it.

      One in a few millions can do it, not me. I play it safe. I will leave it at the hands of the next generation to do it. That is why these people are one in a million ;)

    3. B,

      I simple man; not into world peace or make the world a better place kind of guy. There goes my Mr Universe dream...

      Just flow like water. One day I will reach my ocean.

  3. Ultimately, man always try to emulate GOD. The problem comes when he think he already is.

  4. Hi SMOL,

    This is a great post even though I would say astronomical success is but really one in a zillion. Foresight is decided by hindsight.

    大智若愚? More frequent than not is the latter rather than the former.

    For running businesses, there is no escape from that scorecard。No such thing as 不以成败论英雄 。

    Hey, I resonate with that part about not feeling insecure about giving up the job, promotion etc. Life is an adventure, live it! I'm contemplating when I should be throwing in the towel. :D

    1. EY,

      Don't throw in the towel.

      Lift the towel over your head and twirl it ala Moulin Rougue!

      "Boys, come to mama!"

      Now that's liberation!


  5. Warren: Sooner or later some idiots will be running these great companies. That is why great companies fall.

    1. Same like great family wealth and empire. Sooner or later some mix and match of future DNAs will ruin it.

    2. CW,

      Now you are making me hesitant on sharing my roots...

      From shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in 3 generations aptly applies to my family tree.

      I now got the time to do a bit of roots (寻根).

  6. This is nothing in this world will last forever or "Fong Sui Lun Liu Chuan".

    1. temperament,

      I prefer to say "Fong Sui Run Run Chuan"


  7. haha, i sold my 3 piggy at market open.

    1. just shy of 100%!

      but i'll take it.

      my bro said it is a mistake to unload, i told him it was a mistake to buy them at the first place haha...

    2. so what? they now think it is safe to let the retail investors to enter the market? so they lifted the restriction?


    3. coconut,

      You never say thank you to SGX?

      If they had not interfered with free market, how would you have the chance to almost double your money in less than 1 week?

      You bought the fear, and sold on relief.

      If 2 wrongs = almost 2 bagger, I'll take that any day!

      Good trade!

    4. they are 2 different issue, market should be free from any intervention! i don't owe it to SGX! in fact one day i may get kill by the restriction.

      if they want to install circuit breaker which they are considering, then it has to be uniform and apply to every counters and prices. not on their stupid discretion!

    5. and how i feel? actually quite bad.

      immagin you are in a boxing match and the stupid referee is holding on to your opponent so that you can throw your punches at your opponent freely?

      well, your opponent got knock out, will you be happy? will you want to step into the ring again? maybe this time round, the same referee is going after you!

    6. coconut,

      On this note, I agree with you.

      Rules should be transparent and apply to everyone and in similar situations.

      When price were doubling and tripling, only queries - nothing more.

      But when prices dropped by 50% and more, the rules changed?

      Let's see whether the morning pop will draw in the contra momentum players to push the prices higher in the next few days.

    7. exectly,

      whatever the case, i'm not going to step into the ring anytime soon!


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