13 November 2019

Dummy Rule#10 and Amazon's Alexa

In 2010 I wrote 10 Design Rules for the Dummies.

Rule 10 Know Me Rule – It anticipates my needs and does for me.
  1. This is the ultimate, It knows what I like and needs in various situations and do for me without my command.

19 August 2019

Effortless, Staff Self-Directed Leadership according to Han Fei Zi

Modern management ideals for today fast-changing complex world include self-directed, self-managed and self-organized teams and organization. However, such concepts were proposed by Lao Zi 2500 years ago and further explained by Han Fei Zi 250 years later. Here are the details.

Lao Zi in DaoDeJing chapter 17, see Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership? talked about the highest level of leadership being invisible leadership where no one knows who his leader was and thinks that he achieve success all by himself. This is the ideal model of today concept of self-directed, self-motivated, and self-organized teams. Lao Zi did not illustrate further how such leaderless leadership is achieved beside his main philosophical theme of Wu-Wei 无为 Non-interference Action.

250 years later, we find in Han FeiZi's work, 主道 Leadership Principles (The Way of Rulership or Kingship), more details on how it can be achieved.

I capture the key points in the following mind-map:

Building such a leaderless organization will take time. The leaders will have to spend much time building the culture and institutionalize the practices and policies and then slowly withdraw to let the system works it out.

The key points objectively measuring the plans and results and impartially giving out the rewards and punishments. With the advances in AI, we envisage the AI Driven Leadership to do that better than human beings.

Lim Liat (c) 19-9-19

28 July 2019

45 Life Lessons Reorg for Better Understanding - Power of Mind-mapping

Whenever we find a long list, says more than 30, it would be very difficult to remember and fully understand them all. Using mind-mapping to re-group and re-organize the long list may help us. Here is one that I re-organized from the 45 Lessons of Life from a 90-year-old.
The source of 45 Lessons of Life from a 90-year-old can be found in many places, such as https://www.powerofpositivity.com/45-life-lessons-90-year-old/ or even on youtube such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDtUtOXwt18.

Here is my mind-map of the list.

Hope you like it.

Lim Liat (c) 28 July 2019

24 June 2019

Chinese and Western Thoughts on Success - Jack Ma & Elon Musk

Jack Ma and Elon Musk are all successful billionaires of the Chinese and West. Their quotes, which reflect their different backgrounds and cultures, show us some differences. An alternative title for this post could be "The Heroes of East and West". Here are the details:
I did a google search on the quotes from Jack Ma and Elon Musk. I found one with 32 Jack Ma quotes and one with 20 by Elon Musk. So I search and added one with 11 Quotes from Elon Musk and combine them. Here are the mindmaps of their quotes that I also took the opportunities to group them using my own heading.

Elon Musk's Quotes:

Some of the quotes from the 20 List (in blue) and 11-List (in green) are repeated.

The Elon Musk's quotes reminded me of the songs by Frank Sinatra, namely, "The Impossible Dream" and "I did it My way".  It is reflective of the characteristics of the heroism that the West like - dreaming the impossible and achieving it by one's ability and perseverance.

Here is the mindmap for Jack Ma's 33-Quotes regrouped:

It is reflective of Chinese philosophical teachings of the Dao and Confucius Schools for developing one's characters, have aspirations (big dreams) and taking actions to achieve them. This is similar to Elon's. What are the differences? There is more emphasis on people, teamwork, leadership. Great things are done through people. Then there is the additional emphasis on adapting to the external environment and exploiting the opportunities there.

Jack Ma's quotes include those of Elon's and cover more grounds on people and the environment.

For a quick very rough comparison of East/Chinese and West thinking, please see:

Lim Liat(c) 24 Jun 2019

20 June 2019

Human Nature and Sun Zi's Art of War

Win or loss is determined much by our emotions. Sun Zi shows us how we can be easily exploited and also how should we manage them for victory.
The following Human Nature is revealed by Sun Zi:
  1. Pride - Glory Seeking.
    So Sun Zi admonish us as in the following verses (the number in the bracket refers to the chapter number):

    [4] 见胜不过众人之所知,非善之善者也;
    Winning that is known by all is not the best.
    Winning and the world say it is good is not best.

    Meaning: The best winning strategy should be unknown. If they know they can predict, copy and beat you.
    Implied: seeking glory and praise is not the purpose of war.

    [4] 胜于易胜者也。无智名,无勇功,故其战胜不忒,不忒者,其所措必胜,胜已败者也

    Defeat the easily overcome opponent (i.e. don’t fight the famous for glory. You run the risks of being defeated). No reputation for wisdom, nor be known for bravery, and hence the victory is without fault. Without fault is because of the way chosen is sure to win. Why? Because you have chosen to fight the loser.

    Hence, advance not for glory-seeking, withdrawn not to escape blame (If the situation calls for withdrawing to minimize the loss of lives, then doing it is not shameful - your men lives are important that your reputation), only care for the protection of the people, bringing benefits to the rulers, such commanders are the treasures of the nation.
  2. Anger

    A ruler cannot be angry and start a war (or a ruler should not start a war out of anger.) A commander should not cause a war out of anger.
  3. Impulsiveness - They just start a war first without any plan. Maybe out of anger, to revenge, or just to show-off.

    Hence, the victorious army first plans to win and then seek a war. The losing army starts a war first and then later seek to win.
  4. Panic & Fear - Winners always remain cool, calm and objective to see and think clearly to win.

    Managed to handle the chaos. Staying calm and quiet to handle the noises.
  5. All Emotions can be exploited - This is a key wisdom of Sun Zi. No matter how good you are, he can press the right button to cause us to react in the way he can beat us.


    The brave (not afraid of death) can be killed. (Recklessness is dangerous).
    The coward (want to live) can be captured. They surrender easily.
    The quick-temper can be insulted. They will then react impulsively.
    The clean and frugal can be despised (black mouthed). They too will get excited and try to defend themselves and will not focus on the real issues on winning.
    The loving of people can be troubled so that they are easily caring for the people and lose focus on warfare.
  6. Finally, our emotions are affected by the environment, the seasons of time. We can use or create the environment to affect the emotion, morale, and vitality of the troops.

    [7]是故朝气锐,昼气惰,暮气归。 善用兵者,避其锐气,击其惰归

    Hence, in the morning, people are energetic. By evening, they will be packing for home. Those wise commanders will avoid the vitality and attack the home going weariness.
For more, please see Sun Zi and The Art of War
More could be said about human nature. About 150 years later, a person called Gui Gu Zi addressed this human nature issue at much greater length and founded the school of diplomacy or strategic alliance and persuasion and wrote the history of China that we know now. The West has completely missed the wisdom of this Gui Gu Zi, whose work, is a great complement to Sun Zi’s Art of War. For his work, see Gui Gu Zi - Art of Strategic Alliances & Persuasions.

Lim Liat (c) 20 Jun 2019

09 June 2019

Integrated Success Principles version 11 Incorporating Jeff Bezos' Advice

Here is version 11 of the Integrated Success Principles from all the famous and successful people, past and present. This version incorporated Jeff Bezos' 7 Advice for Success from Bill Murphy.

Here is Bezos' 7 Advice for Success:

Does it add any new dimension to my success principles? The answer is no but it does give further perspective to help us understand better.

Lim Liat (c) 9 June 2019

07 June 2019

The Winners' Attitudes from the Art of War

Sun Zi's Art of War is about winning. In fact, winning without a war. It begins with having the right attitudes. What are the winners' attitudes? Here is the mind-map from a deep understanding of the Art of War.
The Winners' Attitudes mind-map:

The Winners' Attitudes
  • Cautious Optimism – Yes, we can achieve
    • We can win against giants
      • Anything is Possible if we know howSun Zi gives us the secrets of winning
  • Outside-In View – We adapt to the external world
    • Read the Situations – Detect, Response or Create
  • Prudence – Kiasuism – Foresee, Calculate, Decide
    • Max Net-Returns @ Min Risks
      • Win without War
    • Calculation & Evidence-based decision making. 计 – 计划,计算
    • Collect intelligence (hidden, intentions) and information
    • Kiasuism – Murphy’ Law “if Anything Can Go Wrong, It Will.”So plan for the contingencies
    • Foresee And Manage Threats First then Exploit The Opportunities
    • Win By Strategy, Alliance, With War As the Last Resort
    • Then Chose Wisely
      • Only fight the war you can win
    • Win Decisively & Quickly
  • Cool Head & Committed Heart – Agitation disables us to see, think & act rightly
    • OOAD – Observe, Orient, Decide & Act
    • Fully energized and committed to the mission
  • Never do the following:
    • Be proud but be humble and prudent to examine all factors objectively.
    • Go for fortune telling – But by evidence.
    • Hope for the best / Optimistic – But by Calculation only.
    • Go for glory – But choose to fight the defeated or easy-win foe.
    • Go for revenge – biased view and wrong goals that bring defeats.
    • Be angered which leads to irrationality and failure.
    • Care too much about his reputation can be easily provoked.
    • Be tricked or be tempted by benefits, desires, disguises, distraction, hearsays, etc.
Lim Liat (c)7-6-19

25 April 2019

Pathway to Life, Health & Riches - Proverbs 3

If you want to live a long, healthy and wealthy life, then please follow the teaching of Proverbs 3. Find out the benefits of wisdom and the how of wisdom...
Bible Reference: Proverbs 3

Methods of Wise
  1. Keep God's commandments Pro 3:1
  2. Have love & faithfulness  Pro 3:3
    •  get favor & success of God & man.  Pro 3:4
  3. Trust in the Lord Pro 3:5a lean not unto thine own understanding   Pro 3:5b
    • acknowledge God in all ways Pro 3:6; 
    • fear the Lord 3:7b,  Be not wise in thine own eyes: 3:7a
      • Do not do things contrary to the Word of God; 
      • Do not Make up your Mind already.
      • Do not do things without asking God first
      • Be not wise in your own eyes; 
    • He shall direct thy paths
  4.  turn away from evil.  Pro 3:7c
    • Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.  Pro 3:29
    • Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.  Pro 3:30
    • Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways,  Pro 3:31
    • for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence.  Pro 3:32
  5. Tithe:
    • Honor the Lord with thy substance, & with the first fruits of all thine increase Prov 3:9
    • So shall thy barns(Store House, Bank Accounts)  be filled with plenty, Pro 3:10
    • thy presses(Production, Work) shall burst out with new wine. (Good Products, Productivity, Overflowing).  Pro 3:10
  6. Discipline
    • My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof,  Pro 3:11 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.  Pro 3:12
  7. Generosity & Charity
    • Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.  Pro 3:27
    • Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"--when you have it with you.  Pro 3:28
  8. Humility
    • but to the humble he gives favor.  Pro 3:34
    • Toward the scorners God is scornful, Pro 3:34
  9. More Wisdom:

Values of Wisdom - The Outcomes of Wisdom
  1. for the gain from Wisdom is better from silver and gold.  Pro 3:14
    1. Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,  Pro 3:13
    2. more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.  Pro 3:15
  2. Long Life
    • Long life on the right hand Pro 3:16;
    • keep wisdom & discretion  Pro 3:21 
    • they will be life for your soul 3:22a
  3. Riches & Honor
    • Riches & Honor on Left Pro 3:16 
    • and adornment for your neck. Pro 3:22b 
    • The wise will inherit honor Pro 3:35
  4. The Creative Power of Wisdom
    • The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
    • by understanding, he established the heavens;  Pro 3:19
    • by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.  Pro 3:20
  5. Security & Peace
    • Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.  Pro 3:17
    • Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.  Pro 3:23
    • If you lie down, you will not be afraid; your sleep will be sweet.  Pro 3:24
    • Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,  Pro 3:25 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.  Pro 3:26
  6. Blessings for the Righteous
    • Wicked -The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked  Pro 3:33,
    • but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.  Pro 3:33
    • The Righteous - Wisdom from Proverbs 11-13 righteous-wisdom-from-proverbs.html
    • But fools get disgrace.  Pro 3:35
Lim Liat (c) 25 Apr 2019

22 March 2019

The Formula to Success

The formula to success can be found in the famous "Parable of the Sower" in the Bible. It shows there are 3 ways to fail and only one way to success. The failures are due to missing the opportunity, overcame by obstacles, distracted by seemingly better opportunities. The only way to success is to learn and make progress one step at a time till the end.
Reference: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15

Key verses  Mark 4:14-20 The farmer sows the word.
  1. Some people are like seeds along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 
  2. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 
  3. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 
  4. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
Applications to Business:

While the right interpretation of the seed is the Word of Good News, we can use it to represent an opportunity.  The four reactions represent the ways people handle the opportunity. We can see the four reactions as follows:
  1. Missing the Opportunity - Fail to see the Potential:
    Many people hear or see the opportunity. But they fail to listen carefully and see the business opportunity and value in it. Hence they let them pass by.  In Wozniak: 'I begged HP to make the Apple I. Five times they turned me down.‘ we see HP failed to see the business potential whereas Steve Jobs did not. There were many startups from staff who left their employers because they did not see the potential. e.g. Tandom from HP etc.
  2. Overcome by Problems and Obstacles.
    Starting any new business is difficult. There are many problems to be solved. Some are technical and some are cash flows. It is important not to be caught in the bleeding edge where you have to refine the technology and/or educate the market such that you run out of cash before it could be a viable product/service. It is better to be at the leading edge where you can focus on using proven technology to build valuable products/services where customers can easily appreciate their value.
  3. Distracted by Seemingly Better Opportunity.
    A startup could be easily distracted by a customer who gave a large order. It could leave its original mission and become just a subcontractor to build the product for this one large customer rather than a common product for the larger market.
  4. Learn and Make Progress a step at a time:
    The only way to succeed is to learn and make progress quickly in small continued steps. Product development and Customer development should occur concurrently according to Steve Blank. Learn in quick steps by coming out with the MVP Minimum Viable Product according to Eric Ries' Lean Startup. See also Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to Lao Zi. Only by staying focused and in persistent learning to make improvements can we eventually make it --- bearing fruits 30 times, 60 times, and 100 times.
Here is an illustration:

Lim Liat (c) 22 March 2019