Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are you ready to be rich?

Because you need to be completely convinced that you want to be rich. Once you reach that conviction, money will follow - easily, effortlessly, and, most importantly, immediately.

When it comes to being rich, it is your thoughts that matter. Being rich has nothing to do with the "how." It all has to do with the state of your mind.
Two identical businesses can be started next to each other. Every single element about them can be the same...from the products sold to management. But...and this is important...if one of the owners believes the business will succeed while the other owner isn't sure if it will succeed...I can guarantee you that the first business with the owner believing in success will take off and thrive in no time. The other owner...well...there's a reason why most businesses fail...
Like the owner with the failed business, you can't simply desire to be rich. Desire is a negative emotion because it assumes you don't have what you want. So long as you simply desire to be rich, you cannot experience true prosperity.
It is when you are rich, through your beliefs, that you will experience the wealth you seek. This is easy to do if you are willing for it to be easy. Be willing to accept your life completely from this day forward. Be willing to love yourself. Be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your desires. Be willing to love being rich.

Believe with your heart and focus your attention upon what you want - it's already yours!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Malaysia gallery seeks ghost busters
Friday 11 August 2006, 12:10 Makka Time, 9:10 GMT

A Malaysian museum will let a US research team from Ripley's Believe It or Not! conduct scientific tests on genies, ghouls and other paranormal items on display in an exhibition to determine whether they are real.

The three-month Mysteries, Genies, Ghosts and Coffins exhibition at the Sultan Alam Shah Museum in central Selangor state has drawn criticism since it began in July 4. Some accuse it of being un-Islamic, while others have denounced the items as fakes.

The exhibition has drawn tens of thousands of visitors. Officials say the approximately 100 items on display include a preserved mermaid; the shrivelled skeletal remains of a half-woman, half snake; a goblin trapped in a bottle; and other creatures from Malay folklore.

Amzah Umar, chairman of the Selangor Museum Board, said on Friday the organisers and the owner of the exhibits have agreed to Ripley's request to examine the items.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a franchise which deals in bizarre events, having started in 1918 as a newspaper cartoon panel featuring unusual and startling facts from around the world.

Umar said: "They have written to us for permission to analyse the items. A team from US will be coming to conduct scientific tests.

"This will put to rest any allegations that the exhibits are fake."

He did not say when the tests would be conducted.

Ghost hunter

Syed Abdullah Al-Attas, a popular ghost hunter and head of the Paranormal Seekers Malaysia group, on Wednesday lodged a police report against the museum, demanding the exhibition be shut down because the exhibits were merely replicas and animal carcasses.

The items belong to religious teacher Safuan Abu Bakar, who was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper on Friday that he planned to bring a langsuir - a deadly Malay banshee - to life in three weeks to silence doubters.

Organisers say the exhibition is aimed at educating the public

"We are currently facing opposition from religious bodies but I will bring the exhibit to life. I will place the langsuir on a tree and bring it to life to let observers see it fly and screech," he was quoted as saying.

Safuan could not be reached for comment.

Amzah stood firm on the museum's decision to hold the exhibition. "Our exhibition is aimed at educating the public on the existence of the supernatural world. It is not against Islam, we should take it as education and entertainment," he said.

The exhibition is expected to end on October 4 but Amzah said the museum may close it by September 15 in advance of the Ramadan fasting month for Muslims, who make up about 60% of Malaysia's 26 million population.

"It's not proper to hold such an exhibition during fasting month," he said.

The museum has said it expects a million visitors to the exhibition.

Malaysia gallery seeks ghost busters

Jokes for

Great Steaks  
A guy had told all of his friends about the great steak he'd eaten downtown the day before. A group of them decided to head down and see if it was really as large and delicious as he was making it out to be.
The group was seated in the back of the restaurant. After looking over the menu, they ordered and waited, hungrily, for their large, delicious, gigantic steaks.
To their collective disappointment, the waiter brought out some of the smallest steaks they'd ever seen.
"Now see here," the very embarrassed guy said to the waiter. "Yesterday, when I came down here you served me a big, juicy steak. Today, though, when I have my friends with me, you serve tiny steaks! What is the meaning of this?"
"Yes, sir," replied the waiter, "yesterday you were sitting by the window."
Long Hair  
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut, then we will talk about it."
A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said, "Son, I'm real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair."
His father replied, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!" 

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Latest crop circles. What's your interpretation on this coded sign.

The circle which appeared in Fife on the banks of the Tay has been widely reported in the Scottish media. BBC Scotland has run an item with a reporter on its nightly television news programme. Newspapers such as The Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman, The Dundee Courier, The Sun (Scottish edition), to name but a few, have all carried articles on it. Many have included a photograph of this exciting event.

This formation appeared on Saturday 5th August 2006. Wester Flisk Farm lies on the country tourist route between Gauldry and Newburgh, Fife, Scotland.

The field is approximately 4 miles due west from Gauldry. A left turn should be taken at the T-junction and follow the road to Newburgh. It can be seen approximately 1 mile down that road on the right hand side of the steep hill.

The field lies directly below Norman’s Law, which is an ancient hill fort.

Adjacent to the field are the ruins of an old Church with graveyard.


The field is of wheat.

The formation is large. 180 metres in circumference.

Two crescent shapes enclosing what appears to be a cup with orbs falling into it. The left hand crescent contains what appears to be a sperm-like formation.


It is very unusual for formations to appear in Scotland although one did appear at Luthrie in Fife last year. Luthrie is only 3 – 4 miles from this new circle. Also, the sperm-like shape was an integral part of the Luthrie circle. Can there be a connection?

At Saddel, on the Mull of Kintyre, there are medieval, religious carved stones. There is a carving of a cup, or Grail, with an orb falling into it. This symbolises the Earth falling into the Grail. It appears identical to the central cup in this formation. I suggest the sperm symbolises a re-birth or possibly a spiritual re-awakening of some kind.

The farmer does not want anyone to enter the field so pole shots are not possible, although aerials have been done.

It remains to be seen if the phenomenon has established itself in Scotland but it must be kept in mind that this is the second year running that this country has been graced with these new formations.

James Morrison


Thursday, August 10, 2006

A simple forward this mail to other will be a meritorious deed, and it doesn't waste much of your time. Thank you for doing that in advance.
Please act as soon as possible. Chen Siew Cheng : Tel :(+6012)23708099, Fax:(+6012)25507098 - Malaysia. Please forward to the person who has AB blood type of bone marrow and hope everybody will forward the mail to your friends so that they can have the opportunity to find the "right person" to help.
The success rate maybe very slim, that's why we used the e-mail method hope to find the right person. It may not be the smart method, but to us, this is final chance. To the family member of the leukaemia (blood cancer) patient, every second count. We anxiously need a AB blood type of person to donate his/her bone marrow, and although it only have very little chance to match, but we still have hope for it. Because of your loving kindness to pass the mail along, she may stand a chance to recover.
So, please put a little effort, the little girl may have chance to live because of you. Thank you very much and thousand words cannot express our appreciation.

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A Conversationof Waves
by Derek Lin

There was once a small wave who was unhappy. "I'm so miserable," it moaned. "The other waves are big and powerful, while I'm so little and weak. Why is life so unfair?"
Another wave passing by heard the small wave and decided to stop by. "You only think so because you haven't seen your own 'original nature' clearly. You think you're a wave and you think you're suffering. In reality you are neither."
"What?" The small wave was surprised. "I'm not a wave? But it's obvious I'm a wave! I've got my crest, see? And there's my wake, little as it is. What do you mean I'm not a wave?"
"This thing you call 'wave' is merely a temporary form you assume for a short time. You're really just water! When you understand completely that this is your fundamental nature, you will no longer be confused about being a wave, and you will be free of your misery."
"If I'm water, what about you?"
"I'm water too. I'm temporarily assuming the form of a wave somewhat larger than you, but that doesn't change my fundamental essence - water! I'm you and you're me. We're part of a greater self."

Most people, mired in the illusion known as the material world, mistakenly assume they belong only to themselves. Therefore they compare themselves to other people. When they perceive some sort of lack or inequity, they become totally miserable. They would feel quite differently if they see clearly that all of us are part of nature. Everyone of us is connected to one another in a fundamental way beyond the explanation of science. We're part of a greater whole - the Oversoul, the Universal Sentience, God....


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Anyone for a Delicious mouth watering stinky beans cooked in "Sambal" and Prawn for your lunch treat today ?.

If you happen to visit Malaysia, dun miss this opportunity to test out this healthy dish..who knows u may love it..

Well, here's an interesting fact on this sticky bean.

A tall species of the lowland forest in Malaysia, also known as Parkia Speciosa. The seeds encapsulated in the long pendulous pods of this species are a local delicacy, despite its strong and slightly bitter aftertaste. The seeds are eaten raw, grilled or blanched.Petai makes the bodily secretion and breath smell bad. But Petai contains three natural sugars -sucrose, fructose and glucose - combined with fiber, petai gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Little did you (and I) know ..... after reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at petai in the same way again!
Research has proved that just two servings of petai provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder petai is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way petai can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression:According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating petai. This is because petai contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS(premenstrual syndrome):Forget the pills - eat petai. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia:High in iron, petai can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure:This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the petai industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating petai at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation:High in fiber, including petai in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers:One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey. The petai calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn:Petai has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating petai for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness:Snacking on petai between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves:Petai is high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight:Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers:Petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:Many other cultures see petai as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In holland, for example, pregnant women eat petai to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):Petai can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking:Petai can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress:Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium petai snack.

Strokes:According to research in 'The New England Journal of Medicine', eating petai as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%.

Warts:Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of petai and place it on the wart. Carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape! So, you see, petai really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say,

"A Petai a day keeps the doctor away"

P.S Everything good stuffs will soon find its way to this web-log...Stinky beans is no exception.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The 17 Chapters Money Tips Article on The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles

Chapter 1: The Right To Be Rich

WHATEVER may be said in praise of poverty, the fact remains that it is not possible to live a really complete or successful life unless one is rich. No man can rise to his greatest possible height in talent or soul development unless he has plenty of money; for to unfold the soul and to develop talent he must have many things to use, and he cannot have these things unless he has money to buy them with.
A man develops in mind, soul, and body by making use of things, and society is so organized that man must have money in order to become the possessor of things; therefore, the basis of all advancement for man must be the science of getting rich.
The object of all life is development; and everything that lives has an inalienable right to all the development it is capable of attaining.Man's right to life means his right to have the free and unrestricted use of all the things which may be necessary to his fullest mental, spiritual, and physical unfoldment; or, in other words, his right to be rich.
In this book, I shall not speak of riches in a figurative way; to be really rich does not mean to be satisfied or contented with a little. No man ought to be satisfied with a little if he is capable of using and enjoying more. The purpose of Nature is the advancement and unfoldment of life; and every man should have all that can contribute to the power; elegance, beauty, and richness of life; to be content with less is sinful.
The man who owns all he wants for the living of all the life he is capable of living is rich; and no man who has not plenty of money can have all he wants. Life has advanced so far, and become so complex, that even the most ordinary man or woman requires a great amount of wealth in order to live in a manner that even approaches completeness.

Every person naturally wants to become all that they are capable of becoming; this desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature; we cannot help wanting to be all that we can be. Success in life is becoming what you want to be; you can become what you want to be only by making use of things, and you can have the free use of things only as you become rich enough to buy them.

To understand the science of getting rich is therefore the most essential of all knowledge.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life; and that desire is praise worthy. The man who does not desire to live more abundantly is abnormal, and so the man who does not desire to have money enough to buy all he wants is abnormal.
There are three motives for which we live; we live for the body, we live for the mind, we live for the soul. No one of these is better or holier than the other; all are alike desirable, and no one of the three--body, mind, or soul--can live fully if either of the others is cut short of full life and expression. It is not right or noble to live only for the soul and deny mind or body; and it is wrong to live for the intellect and deny body or soul.
We are all acquainted with the loathsome consequences of living for the body and denying both mind and soul; and we see that real life means the complete expression of all that man can give forth through body, mind, and soul. Whatever he can say, no man can be really happy or satisfied unless his body is living fully in every function, and unless the same is true of his mind and his soul. Wherever there is unexpressed possibility, or function not performed, there is unsatisfied desire. Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance.
Man cannot live fully in body without good food, comfortable clothing, and warm shelter; and without freedom from excessive toil. Rest and recreation are also necessary to his physical life.
He cannot live fully in mind without books and time to study them, without opportunity for travel and observation, or without intellectual companionship.
To live fully in mind he must have intellectual recreations, and must surround himself with all the objects of art and beauty he is capable of using and appreciating.
To live fully in soul, man must have love; and love is denied expression by poverty.
A man's highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving. The man who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a husband or father, as a citizen, or as a man. It is in the use of material things that a man finds full life for his body, develops his mind, and unfolds his soul. It is therefore of supreme importance to him that he should be rich.
It is perfectly right that you should desire to be rich; if you are a normal man or woman you cannot help doing so. It is perfectly right that you should give your best attention to the Science of Getting Rich, for it is the noblest and most necessary of all studies. If you neglect this study, you are derelict in your duty to yourself, to God and humanity; for you can render to God and humanity no greater service than to make the most of yourself.

Chapter 2: There is A Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 3: Is Opportunity Monopolized?
Chapter 4: First Principle in The Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 5: Increasing LifeChapter
Chapter 6: How Riches Come to You
Chapter 7: Gratitude
Chapter 8: Thinking in the Certain Way
Chapter 9: How to Use the Will
Chapter 10: Further Use of the Will
Chapter 11: Acting in the Certain Way
Chapter 12: Efficient Action
Chapter 13: Getting into the Right Business
Chapter 14: The Impression of Increase
Chapter 15: The Advancing Man
Chapter 16: Some Cautions, and Concluding Observations
Chapter 17: Summary of the Science of Getting Rich

Sunday, August 06, 2006

How to Become As Rich As Bill Gates - a strange offshoot of the Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock by Philip Greenspun

"As a graduate student in computer science at MIT earning a $1600/month research stipend, I feel amply qualified to instruct the entire Internet on the art of becoming as rich as Bill Gates (check the Wealth Clock to see how much he has right now). I get my confidence from Dr. Leo Buscaglia, author of Love, Born for Love : Reflections on Loving, Living, Loving and Learning, and Bus 9 to Paradise. Dr. Buscaglia, our nation's most prominent lecturer on the subject of love, turns out to be divorced ("it was a very loving divorce").

Lesson 1: Choose Your Grandparents Carefully
"There are three ways to make money. You can inherit it. You can marry it. You can steal it."-- conventional wisdom in Italy William Henry Gates III made his best decision on October 28, 1955, the night he was born. He chose J.W. Maxwell as his great-grandfather. Maxwell founded Seattle's National City Bank in 1906. His son, James Willard Maxwell was also a banker and established a million-dollar trust fund for William (Bill) Henry Gates III.
In some of the later lessons, you will be encouraged to take entrepreneurial risks. You may find it comforting to remember that at any time you can fall back on a trust fund worth many millions of 1998 dollars.

Lesson 2: Choose Your Parents Carefully
"A young man asked an old rich man how he made his money. The old guy fingered his worsted wool vest and said, "Well, son, it was 1932. The depth of the Great Depression. I was down to my last nickel. I invested that nickel in an apple. I spent the entire day polishing the apple and, at the end of the day, I sold the apple for ten cents. The next morning, I invested those ten cents in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them and sold them at 5 pm for 20 cents. I continued this system for a month, by the end of which I'd accumulated a fortune of $1.37. Then my wife's father died and left us two million dollars." William Henry Gates, Jr. and Mary Maxwell were among Seattle's social and financial elite. Bill Gates, Jr. was a prominent corporate lawyer while Mary Maxwell was a board member of First Interstate Bank and Pacific Northwest Bell. She was also on the national board of United Way, along with John Opel, the chief executive officer of IBM who approved the inclusion of MS/DOS with the original IBM PC.
Remind your parents not to send you to public school. Bill Gates went to Lakeside, Seattle's most exclusive prep school where tuition in 1967 was $5,000 (Harvard tuition that year was $1760). Typical classmates included the McCaw brothers, who sold the cellular phone licenses they obtained from the U.S. Government to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. When the kids there wanted to use a computer, they got their moms to hold a rummage sale and raise $3,000 to buy time on a DEC PDP-10, the same machine used by computer science researchers at Stanford and MIT.
Note: Recall that in the 1980s we venerated Donald Trump and studied his "art of the deal". If Donald Trump had taken the millions he inherited from his father and put it all into mutual funds, you'd never have had to suffer through one of his books. But he'd be just about as rich today.

Lesson 3: Acquire Research Results by Hiring and Buying Conventional (loser) economic wisdom holds that monopolies should spend heavily on research because they are in a position to capture the fruits of the research. But if you want to become as rich as Bill Gates, you have to remember that it is cheaper to wait for a small company to come up with something good and then buy them. In the old days, antitrust laws kept monopolies from buying potential competitors. But not anymore. When Microsoft products were threatened by network computers and Web-based applications, they simply bought WebTV and Hotmail.
Another good strategy is to hire the right people. Some of the guys who wrote Microsoft Windows had previous worked on window systems at Xerox PARC. So Xerox paid for the research; Microsoft paid only for development.

In the long run a tech company without research probably can't sustain its market leadership. So you'll eventually need to build something like (check out to see some interesting online community research).

Lesson 4: Let Other People Do the Programming If you're a great engineer, it can be frustrating to rely on other people to translate your ideas into reality. However, keep in mind that the entire Indian subcontinent is learning Java. And that if Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sun products simply worked and worked simply, half of the world's current IT workers would be out of a job. You're not going to get rich being "just a coder." Especially working in painful low-level imperative languages such as C or Java. It might be worth writing your own SQL queries and HTML pages since these tend to be compact and easier than precisely specifying the work for another person to do. But basically you need to get good at thinking about whether a piece of software is doing something useful for the adopting organization and end-user. Bill Gates does code reviews, not coding.

[If you aren't sure that you need to be filthy rich and like to do some coding, see this old misguided article for more about what it might mean to be a great software engineer.]

Lesson 5: Train your new CEO If you're an intelligent curious person it can be painful to run a company of more than 50 people. You spend more time than you'd like repeating yourself, sitting in boring meetings, skimming over long legal documents in which you know there are errors but aren't sure how serious, etc. The temptation is to hand over the reins to the first "professional manager" who comes along. And that's what the standard venture capitalist formula dictates. But Bill Gates didn't do that. He hired Steve Ballmer in 1980 and gave him the CEO job 20 years later. Making money in the software products business requires domain expertise and a commitment to solving problems within that domain. Great tech companies are seldom built by non-technical management or professional managers who aren't committed to anything more than their paycheck. Adobe is another good example. The two founders were PhD computer science researchers from Xerox PARC who were passionate about solving problems in the publishing and graphics world. They are still guiding operations at Adobe.
Note that this is a principle that Old Economy companies have long understood. Jack Welch joined GE in 1961 and became CEO 20 years later. Sometimes an Old Economy company may pull in a few outsiders to senior positions but, because they have such stable bureaucracies underneath, they can more easily afford this than startups.
See Charles Ferguson's High Stakes, No Prisoners (1999) for a longer explanation of how hired-gun CEOs manage to kill software products companies.

Lesson 6: Focus on Profit
"At Hewlett-Packard, people, materials, facilities, money, and time are the resources available to us for conducting our business. By applying our skills, we turn these resources into useful products and services. If we do a good job, customers pay us more for our products than the sum of our costs in producing and distributing them. This difference, our profit, represents the value we add to the resources we utilize." -- David Packard in The HP Way Remembering to make a profit was tough in the dotcom 1990s but it turns out that Hewlett and Packard's ideas were right. Most of the management teams at dotcom businesses, by being disorganized, unintelligent, and ignorant, were subtracting value from the resources that they controlled.
How does one make money in the software products business? Simple. The necessary step is to build something that becomes part of information systems that generate value for organizations and end-users. Once you've created value you can extract a portion in lots of ways. You can be closed-source and charge a license fee. You can be open-source and charge for training, service, support, and extensions. But if you aren't getting your software product into important information systems, you don't have a prayer, no matter how slick your marketing materials.
If you're creative and diligent the software products business is extremely lucrative. If you're losing money, ask yourself what you're doing wrong. The answer is probably "plenty".

Lesson 7: Let the Venture Capitalists Schmooze Wall Street ...... but don't let them run your company. A profitable Microsoft Corporation brought in venture capitalists (VCs) at the last minute. They didn't need or spend the money but used the VCs to boost their valuation at the initial public offering, thus getting more money for the shares that they sold. Venture capitalists are dangerous because even the most successful might not know anything about business. Remember that there are tens of thousands of venture capitalists in this world. Assuming that they make random choices of companies in which to invest there will be a Gaussian curve of performance. Some firms will do consistently better than average even if everyone is guessing. Imagine that thousands of monkeys are flipping coins; some of the monkeys will get 10 heads in a row. These are the monkeys that will be celebrated for their insight. These are the monkeys whose track records will lead to uncritical cheerleading by underwriters and public investors. In bull markets such as we had in the 1990s nearly all the monkeys will be fairly consistent winners. But remember your next-door neighbor who made money in the stock market in 1985. He convinced himself that he had special insight and ability when actually he was only holding high-beta stocks in a rising market. So his foray into the commodities futures market wiped him out in the crash of '87.

Bottom line: successful software products companies spend most of their time listening to their customers and users rather than to venture capitalists.
[See "Money, Money, Money (and Investing)" for how the Gaussian curve works for mutual fund managers and also read Princeton Professor Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street.]

Lesson 8: Self-Esteem is Not Job 1Gentility, politesse, decorum, and high self-esteem are wonderful. You can achieve all of these things within your organization. And then watch it be destroyed by competitors where frank and, if necessary, harsh criticism is encouraged. Technical people, even (and especially) those fresh out of school are always convinced that whatever they've developed, no matter how hare-brained, is perfect. It takes a technical person with good judgement to notice the flaws and it may require repeated and increasingly harsh delivery for the, uh, pinhead to realize his or her mistake.

Example: I once encountered a group of 6 people who called themselves "engineers." To solve what they thought was a new problem, they were going to build their own little database management system with their own query language that was SQL-like without being SQL. I pointed them to some published research by a gang of PhD computer scientists from IBM Almaden, the same lab that developed the RDBMS and SQL to begin with in the 1970s. The research had been done over a five-year period and yet they hadn't become aware of it during several months of planning. I pointed them to the SQL-99 standard wherein this IBM research approach of augmenting a standard RDBMS to solve the problem they were attacking was becoming an ISO standard. They ignored it and spent another few months trying to build their enormously complex architecture. Exasperated, I got a kid fresh out of school to code up some Java stored procedures to run inside Oracle. After a week he had his system working and ready for open-source release, something that the team of 6 "engineers" hadn't been able to accomplish in 6 months of full-time work. Yet they never accepted that they were going about things in the wrong way though eventually they did give up on the project.

An 1994 New Yorker article about Microsoft relates "If he strongly disagrees with what you're saying, [Gates] is in the habit of blurting out, 'That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard!'". Jennifer New, a former Microsoft contractor, writes "Meetings with Bill or one of his top people are often replete with a barrage of expletives and other disdainful comments." (Salon, September 1997) My friends who work or have worked at Microsoft tell similar tales. But how different is this from other elite organizations?

When I arrived at MIT as a first-year graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, I asked a professor for help with a research problem. He said "The reason that you've having trouble is that you don't know anything and you're not working very hard." A friend of mine was a surgery resident at Johns Hopkins. He complained to one of his teachers that he was having trouble concentrating because he'd been up all night for several nights in a row. The professor replied "Oh... does your pussy hurt?" According to Business Week, Jack Welch "encouraged near-brutal candor in the meetings he held [at GE]".

The bottom line: self-esteem is great but beware of creating a cozy home for unproductive people with bad ideas.

MorePlato addresses some of these issues in the first book of The Republic (available online from Socrates asserts that people who've inherited fortunes tend to be light with their money but that people who've made their fortunes "have a second love of money as a creation of their own, resembling the affection of authors for their own poems, or of parents for their children, besides that natural love of it for the sake of use and profit which is common to them and all men. And hence they are very bad company, for they can talk about nothing but the praises of wealth."

Socrates asks Cephalus, a wealthy old man, "What do you consider to be the greatest blessing which you have reaped from your wealth?" Cephalus replies that "The great blessing of riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally."

In the Decameron, Boccaccio writes "If you really want to make the big bucks, what you really need is a monopoly on the desktop operating system. But the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 and 2, and Clayton Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 25, are real bitches."

SourcesGood sources of facts about Bill Gates and Microsoft are the following books:
Hard Drive (James Wallace and Jim Erickson; 1992)
Overdrive (James Wallace; 1992)
Gates : How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry-And Made Himself the Richest Man in America (Stephen Manes, Paul Andrews 1994)
How the Web Was Won : How Bill Gates and His Internet Idealists Transformed the Microsoft Empire (Paul Andrews 1999)
High Stakes, No Prisoners (Charles Ferguson 1999) explains how Microsoft crushed Netscape
if you don't feel like reading Project Gutenberg's version on-line, you can pick up a paperback copy of Robin Waterfield's translation of The Republic

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Staying Spiritually in an Unspiritual World....

Regardless of the simplicity of your life, you will still encounter times when everything seems complicated and insurmountable. That's the toll of modern society: unless you manage to pull out entirely, find yourself a dwelling on a deserted island, and live from the fruits of the trees that are hopefully plenteous, you will get confronted with hardships that you would rather not face: tax issues, renewal of licenses, fines for this or that, monthly bills, you name it.

For let's face it: being human also means that you will sometimes make mistakes and forget to meet society's requirements in a timely manner. And once you have made that error, the severity of modern civilization will definitely present itself to you in its grimmest version.

To make a long story short: we have all been confronted with troubles at times. In every mature life there have been crises that pushed the affected individual to the edge of his or her sanity and bearing. And whether these molestations of dispiritedness are the result of your own fault or not; whether they manifest themselves at home, in the workplace, or elsewhere; whether they are huge or minor; and whether they pertain to you directly or someone you dearly care for: you can try to keep your spirituality alive by executing the sequence of points below:

1. Let it out. Cry, cuss or scream if you really have to, but make sure you vent, and don't implode, as that may cause severe damage to both your body and your spirit. In the worst case, swallowing your setbacks may lead to a heart attack or a stroke, and you don't want that. However, when you cry out loud, do that toward one who cares and will not hold your vulnerable moment against you later on. In these times of increasing calls for spirituality in the workplace you may very well manage to find an honest, trustworthy colleague, but you might still want to practice some carefulness since many of us are, unfortunately, still performing in a very aggressive, politically loaded corporate environment.

2. Reflect and rationalize. Evaluate the effects this event has on your living or work circumstances, but even more, on yourself. Some of the things you can contemplate on are: What is the sense of this? How logical was it that it would happen? Could I have avoided it, and if so, how? Are the effects this event sorted so far rational? Depending on the questions you ask, you will soon find yourself formulating your possible next steps.

3. Take action. This is where the implementation of the "next steps" formulated in point 2 takes place. Actions may vary from phone calls to make and letters to write to things to sell and new environments to move to. Especially the latter should never be overlooked as a valid option: there are too many people who automatically discard this possibility as a course of action, and thus stay in an unpleasant situation for mere fear of change. Many workplaces and homes consist of people who dream of alternatives yet lack the creativeness and courage to really achieve these options.

4. Evaluate the lessons learned. Although part of this process already surfaced in point 2, it was not yet in evaluative stage at that time. But once the actions have been formulated and executed, you will usually find yourself having a more rational and less heated perspective of the event. So, this is the right moment to analyze how this event can benefit your self toward achieving a higher level of maturity and spiritual awareness. It is therefore important not to limit your evaluations to a narrow perspective, which is a strict formulation of what to do and what not to do in the future regarding this case, but to also review the broad perspective, in which you formulate your past, current, and future place in society, at home, at work, or whichever areas the problem affected.

5. Release bad feelings. Now, this may sound easier than it is to be applied, especially if your problem was caused by someone who sold you out or acted on basis of a senseless bias, or by an act that someone could have avoided if only he or she paid more attention or demonstrated a more humane attitude toward you. But releasing bad feelings is not impossible. Although it is not recommendable to forget what happened and why, it only affects you negatively if you remain stuck in a pessimistic mindset that usually accompanies the event at first.

Move on: wiser, and without grudge. So, why is grudge mentioned again here if the bad feelings toward the situation and the ones involved are already discussed in point 5? Well, because you may have neglected releasing the grudge you may hold toward your self! Many times we blame ourselves for things that happen to us, and perhaps we are not always wrong when we do that. But it is absolutely of no use to remain angry with yourself, no matter how stupid you consider the trouble you got caught in. As has been stated by many authors before, there is a lesson to learn from everything we experience. If you remain angry with yourself, you will fall into the mindset of not liking yourself. And if you don't like yourself, you will make it very hard for others to do so!

Dr. Joan Marques, Burbank, CA, 6/02/04Reprinted from Zongoo! Self help

Two Types of Spirituality ... Faith and Knowledge

The term "spirituality" is a confusing term. Usually, when one mentions "spirituality", the first thought in many people's minds is that of "religion". While religion is an aspect of spirituality, spirituality is not an aspect of religion. Spirituality covers other areas of belief as well. Put simply, spirituality is the all-encompassing arena of "belief in something greater." This can be a god, oneself as the greater being, or simply, the life-force or essence that surrounds us all. But, society and religion lead their followers in many different directions replacing core meanings with moralistic and idealistic terms in hopes of garnering attention by answering those "big questions" pertaining to life, death, the after-life, and a god.

Faith vs. Knowledge

While many religious zealots view the idea of knowledge-based spirituality as "agnostic", indeed, it is not. As a matter of fact, even agnosts believe in something, which provides them an alternative stance to organized religion and gods. You have to believe in something to take a stance!
Faith-based spirituality is the belief and trust that things will be as they will be in the future. It is the acceptance of the "great mysteries" of life and death for which religion and society teaches that there are no "definitive answers." Such an approach to spirituality creates a fear-based environment based on gods who are vindictive and uncaring. Believers place their lives into the hands of an unseen being in the hope that all will "work out for the best."

Knowledge-based spirituality is the understanding and kinship of all and the desire to achieve and progress through life toward one's own Vision and goals. The "great mysteries" become topics of personal research and, with an open mind, answers can be acquired from the environment and the Universe. This type of spirituality invites one to set aside fears and examine the information and entities of the surrounding environment. One has the chance to take life into one's own hands and guide it along a path to one's own desires.

Hatred and Faith

One of the problems of today is that, in our world, wars, hatred, and bias begin in the moral grounds established by religion and society. Religion creates a solid separation between different factions of humanity. These factions take the core ideals of society and mutate them to suit the needs of their particular beliefs. In the end, when societal boundaries are breached, and control languishes over the ranks, uprisings and bitter conflicts begin to restore order. The stronger of the factions wins and forces their beliefs on the weaker.
In faith-based factions, fear is instilled and faith that a great hereafter exists. People fight to maintain their beliefs because they've finally "forced" their conscious minds to accept the unanswered questions based on invisible and unfounded guesses by their "noblemen". The battles are fought to ensure that their foundations and comfort zones are not affected by the infidels of the intruding factions.
However, with knowledge-based factions, fear is minimized and the great hereafter is right here and now and continues on forever. Knowledge provides the mind with a greater degree of processing information arriving at our many senses in many contexts. It allows us to look beyond the basics and outside of the accepted "comfort zones" to comprehend the ideas and ideals of other entities, both physical and spiritual.

Opening Your Mind

As part of our being, we all have the need to believe in something greater than ourselves. There is a part of us that "has to belong." Many people fall deeply into organized religion because it provides the camaraderie and a focal point for their community as well as a basis for the moral code of the community. These, in addition to the faith-based answers to the "big questions", provide a comfort zone and a foundation for many. However, by opening one's mind and examining the many facets behind these "big questions", one can develop and acquire the true answers within one's own context.

What is the key? Context-free rationalization. Of course, "context-free" is a little strong as we must all have a context, or a point of reference, that we can use to compare information and apply our rules and belief systems. However, open experience and vast knowledge can provide us with multiple contexts that we can use to devise a wider view of a particular piece of information. This wider view is what is called an "open mind". The open mind has no safety zone as it is always risking it's "comfort zones" in search of new information and new ways of examining situations and other beings.

What's next?

Acquiring this knowledge and ability to move across many contexts is not a simple task as it requires the ability to acquire, accept, and process information outside of our current context. It is a "chicken or the egg" situation; however, it is a decision that we make as humans to initiate such a move.

By opening our minds and perceptions, we allow our conscious minds the ability to communicate more freely with our subconscious minds. In doing so, the vast amounts of information available in the collective unconscious, "The Grid", "The Universal Library" is available to us, simply by " looking." Consider the idea of opening the mind as a primer for what follows once you are able to use your mind to its fullest capabilities and acquire immeasurable knowledge from all entities across the Universe and throughout time.

This is the true meaning of spirituality. The knowledge and desire to exist with and within the Universal essence. To accept and acquire knowledge that is freely available to you through time and space. Finally, the knowledge to use this information in a way that is beneficial to you, as protecting and projecting yourself, you are providing a pathway for others and the betterment of your communities.

Copyright (c) 2004 Edward B. ToupinReprinted from Zongoo! Self help