"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter Drucker

Is the Dengue Infection Out of Control?

June 30th, 2014

A close friend’s mother recently passed away due to dengue fever. There are friends who I know personally admitted to hospital due to dengue.

Too many reports of dengue cases, and all these incidents are directly from the people I know. The regularity of these dengue reports are frightening. At this rate, I really think that the virus is starting to get out of control.

Maybe it’s the change of the weather. Or the urban environment which is favorable to the breeding of these deadly Aedes mosquitoes.

Whatever it is, please take extra caution.

Some stats from flutracker.com:
2014 (Jan to May) – 36,825 cases reported, with 72 deaths.
2013 – 41,226 cases reported, 88 deaths.
2012 – 21,444 cases reported, 35 deaths.
2011 – 19,884 cases reported, 36 deaths.
2010 – 46,171 cases reported, 134 deaths.

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Shana Fisher at Startup School

June 29th, 2014

Great insights into funding, startup cultures and finding your competitive advantages.

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May 24th, 2014

At Twelve Volts Technologies, we bootstrapped from Day One. And if you’ve any experience with bootstrapping, you would understand the crazy hours and insane amount of coffee. All efforts were focused on survival.

And then the storms and blizzard began to calm. The burn-out is real. And for a long time, there’s finally some room to breathe. And we felt like we are ready to go on to the next phase- growth.

Every business needs to grow. But growth can be a risky thing at the same time. I have seen first hand how a business ‘grew’ without proper operation plan and a line of mediocre product offerings. When you grow a business that is not ready for ‘prime’ time, you are also multiplying all its weaknesses. Think of it like a tumor. It could be potentially malignant and you could be spending more time doing damage control than actually running the business.

And then, there’s all the glamour and fame of the big boys in the major league of your industry. Their sheer volume and revenue could easily spark hopes and get you excited about the possibility of just having 0.0001% of their market share.

In reality, not all big businesses are good businesses. You should know better. Remember the last time you had to call up your bank. What about your mobile networks, or your internet service providers? I am quite sure they are big in terms of customer base and revenues. But quality of service?

As we head into our fourth year into the e-commerce arena, the decision on which path to take is obvious. To grow bigger or to grow better?

P.S. Growing bigger could be a side-effect of growing better. However, it’s often not true the other way round if there’s no recognition of quality (or as Jason Fried puts it: usefulness) as the fuel for long term growth.

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eBay Gets a Taste of Its Own Medicine

May 23rd, 2014

If you’ve been a seller on eBay for some years, you would have experienced eBay’s notoriety in protecting their buyers, often at the expenses of the sellers. Not only that, policies and algorithms changes in eBay has always been kept secret and it’s always up to the sellers to figure out before their sales vanish into oblivion.

So, it’s nice to know that eBay is not all that invincible after all:

Things really hasn’t been going very smoothly at eBay recently:
eBay Wants You To Change Your Password After Huge Hack

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Purchasing and Sourcing

May 16th, 2014

Both activities get products into your store.

One should be automated, the other one needs a bit more intervention from you.

Purchasing is a formula built using a few variables- stock status, historical purchase, sale’s growth (or decline) etc. You should have a system that tells you this automatically. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

Sourcing is a bit more intuitive. A bit of trials and errors, hits and misses. Having a budget will also help reduce the risk. You get better the more you do it.

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Go with the Flow

May 16th, 2014

When confronted with the myriad of choices and challenges, we tend to slow down the pace and tell ourselves just to go with the flow. In fact, it’s sometimes the best solution given the situation.

However, it’s also important to take note of where you are flowing.

Like Bruce Lee’s famous quote, “Be water, my friend.”

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