Johari Window

Like all things on the Internet, when it’s a hype, you just have to do it, otherwise, you’ll miss out 20, 30 years down the road when friends gather to talk about it. Already we’re talking about those “ICQ days” before almost the entire gang of people I know have switched to MSN.

There, one of the not so latest hype, but I guess it’s my turn.

Come, I know you want to click it and key in. Really appreciate it. Why? Reflection time again. I think this always happen to me when I’m most stressful. This is a stressful week. With two projects rolling out concurrently, I still can’t sleep well even though the amount of actual work to do at the tail end is minimal, mostly fire fighting. Want to see an exciting wind orchestra / symphonic band performance by The Philharmonic Winds on Saturday (June 3)? Cool dudes like Jörgen van Rijen are in town.

More so that recently that initial flare I had about my team in SCS procurement came up again. The house has been set in order (well, auditors are happy) and operationally things has been going smoothly – but it’s not going anywhere! I really hate to even blog this in public, especially knowing that I’m still in competition with so many of the other SIs for business. I guess the hardest part is to convince a boss whose hold on the P&L (profit and lost) is tighter than a face lift of a 50 year old auditioning for Singapore Idol to allow extra resources for product development. He even thought he’s on the right track when he was trying to talk me into doing it as an ECA. Great, just great. Hopefully he’ll learn someday on how to deal with me. Oh ya, he also said he know what my problem is – he said I needed to work for a bigger company – aha… how about a smarter boss?

So 9 months in Singapore. By the time I hit 9 months in Amazon, I already verbally tendered my resignation. That’s because there was a goal in mind on where I’m heading next. Now I need a goal – by September, something must happen to me. Last week, I came to the conclusion that it’s not possible for something to happen to my department or team or project, so I guess I’ve learnt all that I can and it’s time to move on.

My dad was anxious at first (I think he still is), asking me for my resume and sending them to others. A friend from another company approached him to source for youngsters to lead their China development. Seeing that Temasek acquired 20% stake with them, he thought I can just move around. Maybe he’s right – he was right before when he encouraged me to stay in the states for 3 years before coming back, of which I opted for 1, which is easier to bargain. Even for that 1 year, there are no regrets. Not now.

But being in a dumbed down environment seems to kill my passion in everything IT. I mean, even if given a chance to do what I want, I won’t want to develop cool stuff in SCS, coz I don’t think anyone knows how to appreciate them. It will rot, just like that way the numerous progams written in the past 2 years are rotting. The ones sitting higher looks at $ (that’s ok), but only $ that comes in immediately (which is hard when you have a sucky branding) and recurring (which is even harder if you don’t feed an environment that constantly innovate); the middle management, whom if you think of it should have lots of IT experience already, still look at playing down technology in favor of having $ not leaking in anyway (except perhaps into their pocket). No one is going to appreciate me, should I take up “glorious” projects, even as simple and as marketable like converting a simple 2 tier architecture to a service oriented architecture. Oh please, SOA? That’s for kids / pre-sales talk.

Fine. Living like a corporate slave give me the chills. I’m not proud of that. I haven’t done much things that I’m not proud of. Read carefully though – I said living like a corporate slave not living as a corporate slave, as euphemisms as commonly used here and I actually meant my expression in literal sense. The typical argument is that I was also like a corporate slave in US (perhaps more like a real one, working almost all Sundays, doing so much “ECA”s like building internal tools etc.) but I was fine with it, and the standard cliche answer I developed: “because my customer and I decide what to build – not my boss”. I see so much value in this customer obsession thing by Bezos, so much so that you can treat it like a religion. But you and I know the truth – the fact that you’re at the forefront, and the fact that your survival depends on innovation builds great job satisfaction, and you reward is directly proportional to the level of innovation you contributed.

30 more years to go.

Telling myself 5 years and 3 months to go is probably a lie. Some nights I woke up wishing that I saw Andy/JS in New York, or Khai Weyn in Seattle, or my Bay Area gang in, well, Bay Area again. Even Emerson in Tokyo can’t be too bad. I can’t bear to turn this blog into a prison wall where I continue to mark the number of days spent. Yes, a promise is a promise, leaving means breaking a promise, but has the other side of the promise been kept? 🙁

Time to renew It has been a good 4 years (since June 2002), and I think it’s a great time to change hosting provider after all the bad experience of having godaddy blank block IP addresses from my region because of credit card fraud – make no sense at all. Maybe after this ordeal i should spend some time revamping the site and improving my php too, otherwise customizing open source CMS jobs are moving too slowly. Keep an eye out for too – we’re launching soon! You can check out the beta site for now, nothing is ready lar… 🙂

Oh and finally, I think I know where I’m going with now. Perhaps it’s time to publicize it and get the word out. So people who know me long enough know that I do a hell lot of band music arrangement for a part timer. As a free lancer, there has been copyright / distribution channels / etc. various kinds of problems. So I guess the fairest thing to do is to first hide my own credibility behind an entity, like a company (reading through ACRA documents now), and solve all these issues one by one. Kangsar will take it’s chinese meaning 江沙 which literally translate to river and sand, representing the abundance of staffs and notes in the typical western musical notation manuscripts. Kuala Kangsar also happen to be my parent’s hometown in Perak :D. So there – need any customized scores? In fact, I also have many band staples written ready for market. All these will go under the service of Kangsar Music Arrangement Service. Come talk to me if you’re looking to plan your next band concert programme with a local touch. Also, if you want to publish scores, I can help you do that too! In the long term future, the goal of Kangsar is to be the largest sheet music retailer online on earth, to dwafts the likes of Hall Leonard, Boosey & Hawkes. Heh – we shall see!

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