Excerpt from Frenzied Finance, Thomas Lawson (1905)

First, there is a fundamental law, from which no one—neither the great nor the small—is exempt. In substance it is: “Every ‘Standard Oil’ man must wear the ‘Standard Oil’ collar.”
This collar is riveted on to each one as he is taken into “the band,” and can only be removed with the head of the wearer.
Here is the code. The penalty for infringing the following rules is instant “removal.”

  1. Keep your mouth closed, as silence is gold, and gold is what we exist for.
  2. Collect our debts to-day. Pay the other fellow’s debts to-morrow. To-day is always here, to-morrow may never come.
  3. Conduct all our business so that the buyer and the seller must come to us. Keep the seller waiting; the longer he waits the less he’ll take. Hurry the buyer, as his money brings us interest.
  4. Make all profitable bargains in the name of “Standard Oil,” chancy ones in the names of dummies. “Standard Oil” never goes back on a bargain.
  5. Never put “Standard Oil” trades in writing, as your memory and the other fellow’s forgetfulness will always be re-enforced with our organization. Never forget our Legal Department is paid by the year, and our land is full of courts and judges.
  6. As competition is the life of trade—our trade, and monopoly the death of trade—our competitor’s trade, employ both judiciously.
  7. Never enter into a “butting” contest with the Government. Our Government is by the people and for the people, and we are the people, and those people who are not us can be hired by us.
  8. Always do “right.” Right makes might, might makes dollars, dollars make right, and we have the dollars.

Source: Link , Project Gutenberg

Bagaimana cara untuk memperoleh etika kerja yang betul?


Masih lagi bekerja walaupun di dalam bilik hotel.
Etika kerja yang betul adalah sangat penting bagi memastikan masyarakat kita maju dengan penuh integriti. Dengan adanya etika kerja yang betul, amalan-amalan yang baik seperti ketelitian, kualiti yang tinggi dan pengurusan yang baik tak perlu diajar melalui kursus yang banyak.

Bagi memperoleh etika kerja yang baik, ia perlu dipupuk di semua peringkat masyarakat, bermula dari ibu-bapa sehinggalah ke peringkat anak-anak.

Lima daripadanya saya senaraikan di bawah.

  1. Jadikan pekerjaan sebagai identiti.
  2. Pupuk rasa bersalah sekiranya tidak bekerja.
  3. Kerja dengan amanah. Jangan mempunyai niat yang lain seperti mengaut keuntungan peribadi.
  4. Jangan jadikan bermalas-malasan sebagai habit. Fokus dengan tugasan dan lakukannya.
  5. Jadilah ibu-bapa yang mempunyai kesemua etika di atas supaya anak-anak kita akan mempunyai etika yang 10x lagi bagus dari kita.

7 Pengajaran yang Saya Perolehi dari Pengalaman Membina Startup

Beberapa perkara yang saya pelajari daripada pengalaman projek startup saya (Ikon.my & Hadoko.com) dari tahun 2008-2012 saya kongsikan di sini.

  1. User/Customer cuma mahukan produk yang boleh membantu menyelesaikan masalah mereka. Spesifikasi server? PHP? MySQL? Node.js? Slack? Bagi customer, semua term-term teknologi adalah umpama screw & paku.
  2. Adalah kita menyelesaikan masalah user/customer? Adakah kita cuba menyelesaikan masalah yang tidak wujud di tempat kita?
  3. Pengiklanan blog sudah lama mati. Dulu pada awal 2003-2010, tak ramai yang mempunyai blog. Teknik SEO masih boleh dimanipulasi, Google Ads boleh memberikan pulangan sehingga RM 150,000 sebulan kepada blogger. Sekarang sangat jarang-jarang, kecuali kalau kita spam FB dengan blog yang tak memberi faedah. Kita membaca blog sekarang untuk mendapat value (nilai) dari pembacaan, bukan untuk membuang masa.
  4. Sejak dari mula projek, pastikan produk/servis tersebut adalah berbayar. Produk/Servis berkualiti mesti dibayar, bukan diberikan secara percuma. Contoh: Astro.
  5. Bina platform/produk yang memerlukan maintenance cost. Jangan bergantung kepada one-off payment. Contoh: Coway.
  6. Disrupt! Apakah servis yang sesebuah startup boleh selesaikan dengan cepat? Yang sangat anti-birokrasi? Kalau dulu nak pos surat mengambil masa sebulan, tapi sejak wujudnya startup seperti DHL/UPS pada satu masa dahulu, servis pos negara cepat-cepat menawarkan servis pos ekspress untuk melawan startup.
  7. Disrupt! Apakah penyelesaian yang lebih mudah yang kita boleh berikan? Yang mempunyai user interface yang lagi intuitif? Ingat, software is eating the world. Banyak pekerjaan pada masa dahulu yang sudah tidak wujud semenjak wujudnya komputer.

Business Card kini mungkin tidak lagi relevan di zaman internet

Biasanya lecturer/professionals keluar berjumpa client dan membawa business card masing-masing. Saya pula, jarang bawa business card semasa conference/meeting dengan orang luar. Sebabnya mcm ni:

1. Saya biasanya dpt phone call/email dari orang luar.  Mostly dapat contact info melalui internet 😊 If you are needed, people will always find ways to meet you.

2. Business card saya dah habis sebenarnya. InsyaAllah saya akan tempah yg baru 😁 Selalu lupa yg ni.

3. Yang paling seram sekali, bila saya salam dengan org, saya kenalkan diri, “Saya Faisal”, lepas tu orang tu jawab, “Saya tau 😊”. 

Satu lagi, saya sebenarnya pemalu orangnya (introvert). Kalau tak caye, cuba tanya isteri saya 😁

Lessons Learned from Industrial Visit 2014

This year I’ve managed to spend my time with some companies for the purpose of formal annual industrial visit, arranged by the university. Last year the most notable company was North Port Berhad (they would like to see Malaysia to develop its own underwater robots and systems). This year I manage to sat down with important people from Katsu Engineering, KJB Sdn Bhd, Sinco Automasi, TGS Maritime Technology and Malaysia Marine Heavy Engineering (MMHE).

Based from the meetings, there are some important lessons that I would like to note:

1- Malaysia used to be the best marine builders (ship, coastal & offshore) in the early 1990’s to 2000. Nowadays, the better services come from Singaporean companies. This is due to the advancement of technologies, the increase of efficiency in sourcing and innovative business strategies. Our undergraduates in School of Ocean Engineering in UMT should be exposed with these knowledge through case studies and practical research in order to match with such capabilities offered by our neighbour.

2- With that said, we should realize that technologies will come and go. However, experiences are things that could not be bought, and needed to be accumulated with time. Therefore, an age well spent is very important to the young engineers.

3- Age itself is something that could not be bought, but a young company can bring in experienced engineers (age 55 and above, post-retirement age) to come and mentor the operational and business aspects. This will introduce the use of best practices, especially regarding the importance of time-keeping, ledger records, work documentations and the dynamics of pricing.

4- Today, a young company could have a mentor, but how about the future? During the establishment of a young company, a system needs to be developed in such sense that if the mentor is not available, the company shall be able to steer itself automatically and maintaining her pace and directions. Therefore the need to have proper web-based data records, marketings, lead and sales in and out, expenditures and closures are critical.

5- Finally, a company should have some modes/strategies for it to at least, survive. It should have long-term vision for 20-40 years ahead in order to develop a culture of success.

Bad politics will deter great outcome

Said mratzlof via hackernews,

They’ve been working on this for awhile. I interviewed at Myspace about 3 years ago (mostly for the hell of it) and they were talking about the foundation for this interface. Their back end, from what I could tell, was a mess: C#, Ruby, Java, PHP, some ColdFusion still around…
These poor guys were working long hours. There were hundreds of employees, but they couldn’t turn Myspace into something that 5 talented guys could make in 6 months. It was clear to me that there were a lot of politics lurking just beneath the surface.

At the end of the day, a cheesy salesman/insurance company just wants to get your money.

Recently my wife was offered an insurance policy. Since the offering was quite lucrative, we manage to sit down with the insurance salesman (a.k.a insurance advisor) on getting some good deal for my wife. Plus, we agreed to pay a good money per month for the policy.

The insurance salesman submitted our application, only to come back saying that our deal was rejected, due to some policy/company rules. Instead, the insurance company suggested that we take another package, which is quite inferior compared with the one we curated earlier.

In rebuttal, I told the insurance company that we are rejecting their offer.

The salesman came back to convince us that we can’t sustain the initial offering due to my wife’s health history, though we mentioned the condition earlier (and he was quite keen that those were minor). Then the salesman went on praising how powerful their underwriter on deciding which package a customer eligible and not.

He went on and on with the stories regarding medical underwriters, in which it can be hypothesized that a potential customer shall be annoyed.

I told the salesman,

Mind you, some of the underwriters are not that keen to be underwriters. Some of them were our known friends, just trying to make sure the end meets. They are not powerful, they are just doing their job. Their salary is not that large as yours. No need to bad-mouth and shift the burden to them if you can’t keep your promise.

We rejected the revised offer, because I don’t trust these guys. But finally I found other advisor/insurance company that convinced me that their ethics are good and trustable.

Moral of the story is, as a customer, you have the power to say no. At the end of the day, a cheesy salesman/insurance company just want to get your money.

People stick in companies as long as they can tell a good story about it. When an employee can’t tell her/ himself and their friends a good story for a while they quit.

It’s basic human nature:we want to tell ourselves and our closest friends/ family the best stories. Stories that make us seem heroic,stories that we are proud of and stories that are unique.

Understanding this psychology as an employer and helping appeal to the basic instinct of storytelling is key to employee retention.

Anything from “my company gives me 20% times off”,“has video games”,“employee happy hours”,“mustache Fridays”are all just tactics in trying to help employees tell better stories about the places they work.

What’s interesting is two people in the same company can tell themselves different stories –so stories may not necessarily reflect reality.

Credit goes to [Romy Misra]