Business Machine

Technology, business
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And, not least, about
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Weblog Archive Cutedge

by: Bernard Teo

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Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Sun 05 Feb 2006

Amazon Recommends ...

Category : Commentary/amazonrecommends.txt

I did a double-take when this popped out at the top of the page when I went to the Amazon site just now :

It's the one on the left - The Kite Runner.

"Why was I recommended this?"

That was the right question - because that book was exactly what I was planning to read next.

How did Amazon know? It's uncanny.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - so says Arthur C Clarke.

Posted at 2:41PM UTC | permalink

A New World Currency

Category : Commentary/FaCai.txt

You know, the Chinese greet each other during the New Year with a hearty "Greetings! wish you'll erupt all over with wealth and prosperity!", or something to that effect, and it's all done with somewhat more vigour than the average Westerner's genteel "Merry Christmas".

Gong Xi! It looks like we're finally going to turn a corner and Fa Cai this year. The prognostications look good because, for one thing, office rentals have gone up significantly towards the end of last year, and that's a sure sign of business expansion. Although it's not quite the seller's market yet, it's steadily getting there.

And the Singapore dollar's on the up and up. It's sliced 5% off the value of my software sales in just the last two weeks.

So my mind's thinking of schemes, like where and how do I stash the money to keep its value?

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be rooting for the Singapore dollar to go down and down. The cheaper it was, the more Singapore dollars I had to spend when I moved it down from PayPal, where the money's kept in US dollars.

The point is not that I'm thinking like a big-time businessman. It's more like I'm amazed at the experience, and luxuriating at the opportunities, that the Internet economy has brought within reach of the average man.

A few years ago, a person can never hope to do this - get in touch with and sell your wares to thousands of people all around the world - without needing to leave your house and, better still, without even needing to play golf to "establish contacts and touch base".

There's this Brazilian businessman I like to read, Ricardo Semler - Maverick and The Seven Day Weekend - and he was reflecting about the business adage that one should go out to socialise to smooth the business relationships, and he's wondering why he should do that when he could use the same amount of time to make his products work better, and surely that would be what the customers want.

Contrast this with the way business is done in China, as recounted by James McGregor in One Bilion Customers - "Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China", and since it's clear which way I'm more at home with, it's no wonder, at least to my wife, that I'm going through an identity crisis.

But, anyway, back to the theme of this message. It's about two things - that the world is going through some really profound change, and the best thing to do is to jump right in and take part, to see where it's going. Like the old Reebok advert says, "because life is not a spectator sport".

For example, if I can make this software business work, then theoretically I can live anywhere in the world where I can get an Internet connection and, of course, if I may dream, it'll preferably be where the air is cooler and fresher and life is great. If money will flow to where we are, won't it make sense, then, to find a place where the money can be made to last a little longer?

What does this mean for nation states and citizenship, and loyalty and fealty and sovereignty? Nobody knows. Whatever it is, it won't be business as usual.

And one more thing - at the core of a lot of these changes is ... PayPal. PayPal has a lot of bad press. Some people hate it and refuse to use it. But it's reached 85 million users now, and that's going to be some network effect.

Read the PayPal Wars by Eric Jackson, about the ideas the original PayPal founders had and that gave birth to it. Some of these ideas are just emerging into fruition. Some day, we'll read about the creation of The New World Currency. And then we, who're using payPal right now, and its future progenies, will remember that we were there, present at the Creation. May we continue to live in interesting times.

Posted at 2:40PM UTC | permalink

DNS Enabler Universal 2.0.5

Category : Technology/DNSEnabler205.txt

I found a stupid bug in the first Universal Binary release of DNS Enabler, version 2.0.4. It was introduced by the Forwarders field. It's stupid because, if the Forwarders field is empty, then the name server will refuse to start up.

Programming needs a lot of commitment. To do it well, you cannot do it half-heartedly. Even with all the best intention in the world, these types of bugs can still trip you up. When you put things in, you need to check if things will still work when you take them out. Neglect even one step and it'll all come back to haunt you.

That reminds me of why we couldn't grow the company, a few years back, when the jobs were all coming in. We couldn't find enough good people. How do you get them to care the same way you do?

That's how it all started - this journey to understand how we can ever build a business that will work (perfectly) even when we, the owners, are not there to do every single piece of the work. This looks like it's going to take a bit more time to solve.

Posted at 9:59AM UTC | permalink

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