Hong Kong airport express train to town discounts for group travel

Hong Kong has an efficient transport system. There are buses from the airport going into town, and there’s also an express train. One thing I learned from someone In the hotel I stayed in, was the discount you get if you buy a ticket for two or more people traveling together.

This discount for more than one, offer is found in some other places and countries. The purpose usually is to encourage more use of public transport, reducing the number of cars on the road. Hopefully. 

Thinking out of the box is incorrect.

Thinking out of the box may be a good thing. But there’s a problem when it’s applied. In order to think out of the box, you have to be able to know where the box is. This is often missed out. The box is different according to the scenario and the area of study. There is no such thing as a universal box where you can say that “this is the boundary of the box” and apply that to all situations. Photo-2016-12-5-07-45.jpg

What’s in a name?

Names are important in helping us to be clear about what we mean. And the same the other way around. If we wish to convey some piece of information the choice of words is one factor that determines The success or failure of our communication. 

This is easier said than done. Many other factors have to be considered  in tandem. The listener and the speaker may attach different meanings to a particular word. The context of the moment and place of the interaction is another factor. The mood of each person may also change by the minute. Body language may be correctly or incorrectly interpreted. 

IMG 1797 SSlookLadderOnGroud

What does this mean? Is the guy thinking deeply? Puzzled? Starting to get a heart attack? Wondering what the ladder is doing on the ground? Angry with the ladder?


This is a topic that we can revisit many more times with further insight. 

Manager of one? Dangers.

Many people have the job title of manager although they do not have anyone under them in the organization chart. That is they do not really have any staff reporting to them. So, we get into the definition of “manager”.Perhaps it’s to prepare for a section or division to be set up. Perhaps the title is just to get past some legacy reasons why salary scale is tied to job title.

This subject is worth a detailed analysis by itself.

But getting back to the gist of the title of this post. Is it possible to manage just one staff?

There’s nothing to stop a company from giving you the manager title and allocating one person to report to you. Or you are an entrepreneur and you can only afford to employ one staff.

The problem arises when the job definition and boundaries of power are not defined. The one person will, over time, develop a negative attitude towards you. You will see a role reversal. The managed becomes the manager. If you do not check this at an early stage, the role reversal is irreversible. It’s an interesting psychological phenomena that warrants more investigation and analysis of the things that go on in the mind of the staff, which develops into this power reversal. Why does it happen, and what are the factors that make it possible. And what are the solutions open to you?


Work ManWoman Pr 25  TRS  23 04 10 0060

Heat Wave

I’m sitting in my lounge at home, drafting this blog entry. The air conditioner is on, which is unusual for me, as I much prefer natural ventilation though it my be warmer than dos people would like. 

It occurred to me now that we go thru life facing many conditions that are “natural”. Not just the elements of nature, but events and people who we find disagreeable in some way. Having a strategy t cope with recurring situations helps. Once we classify them, we can match each new unpleasant encounter with our categories list. If it fits one of the categories, then we can go on auto pilot in the way we handle them.

Autopilot only works if we have settings for each variable that is relevant. The variable for heat is temperature. So, if the temperature goes to a certain level and beyond, the air conditioner gets turned on. It also means we need to know what the level of discomfort is that we are willing to put up with temporarily. Otherwise the thermostat will keep kicking in and out and the body will wear out much faster.  And you will be seen to be too fickle.

Revolution and perception

The time it takes for something to happen is very much a matter of perception and sensitivity.

We like to give names to things that happen. The French Revolution. When did the revolution actually happen? It depends on what you choose as the defining moment. If there is a sequence of events that led to it, it become quite arbitrary. Even if we choose a particular recorded event, like the storming of the Bastille, ambiguity still remains.  Is it the moment the order to attack was given? Is it the first shot?

Or do we just say that it is the whole bunch of things that happen collectively, and accept that there is a degree of ambiguity necessary. It’s like saying you’ll recognize it when you see it, but it can’t be defined.

Egg and it’s strange uses

The humble egg. Two things come to my mind.

One is why we seem to assume it’s a hens egg or a chicken egg when we hear the word “egg”. Without any other context, the chicken in the assumed mother of the “egg”. This contextual meaning is food ( pun intended ) for another post. 

Second, is, the arguments we still have on whether the egg is deserving of the same kind of consideration as the hatched fully formed creature, be it chicken or human. It is a very contentious argument and can get very convoluted since the discussion is frequently emotional and both sides tends to dredge up “scientific proofs” as well as moral, ethical and religious literature.

I shall leave you with the questions, and not pontificate on this. I am using this to illustrate the in the realm of work, in business analysis or in project management, you are likely going to meet similar types of issues regarding the definition of things, and the very difficult to define or explain situations, existing or required. An example is when someone can happily describe what he does at work, but finds it difficult to connect them all up into a nice picture.

This is a reason why I am careful not to give new analysts or project managers the impression that “it’s all in the book”. 



Assumed likes and dislikes from a persons background

I’m sitting in the “open air” part of a pub. There’s a roof above bit no walls once in a while the waiter or waitress comes over and aske if I like to move to another table inside. I said no. If it gets too windy, I move myself to s table just out of range, they think I’m crazy. But I really enjoy the rain. And the wind on my face.

Reminds me of my first visit to the US. To Lafayette. One of the folks I met at the company I visited said he had never been out of the state. He described the wonderful feeling of standing in wide open fields as a storm builds up. Today I’m reminded about this as I sit just out of reach of the rain. And I realize how impossible it is to describe a feeling. When we meet with and try to capture a “requirement”, how often we are listening to attempts to describe feeling. And how inadequate the words are. In personal lives too, how often do we encounter expressions of feeling and how often facts?

Feelings are the powerful influencers of our lives. Not facts.

Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, a story that illustrates a potential reason for not accepting a advisory position

There’s an interesting story of how Liu Bei went to look for Zhugeliang three times to beg him to be his advisor. This was an aspiring emperor, who was already in command of a force going to what was a semi recluse (though with a reputation as a master strategist).

This story is worth studying. In today’s world where advise and knowledge is available for a price. What did Liu Bei do to finally get Zhugeliang to help him finally achieve the position of emperor of China? To bring peace under heaven? I’m not going to tell on this post because I want you to do some research yourself.

The point I wish to make here is the fact that while most knowledge can be bought, or obtained for free as on the internet, there are some essential insights that can only be achieved through long experience. The purpose of a trainer or master trainer is to help you shortcut the length of time it normally takes (it can also take you more than a life time, if you do not get exposed to the range of experiences needed). 

Even then, the master trainer knows that there are certain conditions necessary for a learner to be able to grasp the message. This is especially true in sports and particularly in the martial arts. You can tell someone to match an incoming force with exactly the same force, and maintain contact, in order to control the opponent and redirect the force. Sounds logical, and is scientific. But it is hardly something a novice is able to perform. In such situations, a trainer may not bother to try to teach this part of the “syllabus” even if asked by the learner. It will be a sheer waste of time and energy, and likely do harm, by giving the learner a false sense of achievement when there is non. 

In the earlier mentioned story from the Chinese classics, the reason for a refusal to assist was due to the sought adviser wanting to make sure that his advice is going to be followed, and that there was a moral/ethical base to the person that he was going to help. Zhugeliang was/is considered one of the greatest strategists al all times.

Just for those who wish to delve into the story of Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, you can check out books or reference to “Romance of the Three Kingdoms “ one of the four evergreen classics in China.

What’s important to you to advance your career?

This post is for my students and those that I’ve mentored. If you find this relevant, then. Welcome. If not, then ignore.

We have all been caught in two things in the past ten years or so. One is the rush to be certified in one thing or another. Because that’s what employers seem to want. The other is the need to try and “predict” what will be “popular” to be “certified ” in, in the next few years.

Let me share something with you. 

Most of the certification that seems to have been popular has been vendor driven. That is, you get certified in your ability to understand and to use a particular vendors product or service. Why? Because the vendors have realized that certification serves two purpose. One is to make loyalty to vendor rather to your employer or industry the prime concern. The other is to avoid you being “smart” or “capable” enough to work in a multi vendor, or a non vendor environment. Is it wrong? No. Because the vendors purpose is to do just that. 

Is it wrong for you to play the game? Morally, I can’t say much, as it’s a very subjective thing. But I will say that it’s necessary for the short term “point in time and space” need. If you do not take care of your own medium and long term needs, who will?

Today’s world is ever changing.  You get certified in a product or service, what’s the catch? There is always a version number. Being certified in say, Xxx version 9, means that very soon, you will need to get certified in Xxx version 10. And it goes on.  

Do you feel tired?

You see many of your IT friends moving to other completely different fields. Why?

The only reason you are not is because you feel trapped. There is no way out without any risk. Or you are one of the few who are genuinely IT in the blood. Which is OK.

For the rest of us, it’s getting to be really tiring, to keep up with the constant change. 

What’s the solution?

Get to see the reality. Technolgy is to serve a purpose. A business purpose. Ultimately a life purpose. What is that?

I’m not going to go into the life purpose in this post. But the business purpose is what matters. If you are able to see, and to communicate your ability to see, and to work with, the connect (or lack of connect ) between IT implementation and business needs. And the way to address this disconnect, is it not a better long term long term investment to educate yourself in this area?

I’ve been doing exactly this for the past thirty years. And I’m convinced that this is the right thing. The ability to connect IT and business needs have been a very big need since I first got involved in IT, and that still remains an essential need. This tells me that if the need has been there so long, it is a permanent necessity in all organizations. For as long as I can remember and foresee. 

Why is EA becoming a focus of large organizations? It’s  been there for 30 years but why the urgency now? It’s because there is a recognition finally, that “point in time and space” solutions are a necessary stop gap measure. But the fire fighting initiatives, while necessary to keep alive, must be supplement with efforts to make make the organization strong enough so that the fire fighting will be significantly reduced. 

This is very important.  

So I’ll explain again.

If you feel that the only solution to stay away from strokes and heart attacks is to take drugs, and do not do the long term activities of exercise and proper diet, then you will forever be dependent on drugs. At great cost in money and in life style. You will be forever be restricted in the strategies and directions of your life. So it with organizations.

In terms of your own career. I’ll be the first to admit that neither you nor I have any idea what the future will be like in five years time. What are the hot things?

 Take things as they come. But I can tell you what I’ve learned over the past 40 years. The thinking and analytical skills are getting more important and rare. While everybody is getting certified in all sorts of things. (I’m not against certification. After all my own business is largely based on that). Ask yourself. How many people do you know who has been “certified” in all kinds of things (I have a student who has 23 certificates) and who admit that they have no idea about the practical use of those subject matter? 

Everybody I’ve talked to lament the lack of thinking skills. Among other skills like soft skills. But nobody has a solution.

I can tell you what the solution is and why it’s so difficult. Nobody likes to think. Thinking is hard work. It really is very very hard work. Many people don’t know this because their minds had always directed them away from thinking activities. Having a thought arise in your head. Or having an “answer” to a question posed, is only a split second of mental activity. Imagine thinking about an issue non stop for an entries day. Or a week or a month or a lifetime. 

Pause for a while. 

Do you expect to be “told” all the steps to take to address a particular issue? Do you expect pretty PowerPoint slides to lay down step by step “how to” for everything you may encounter?

Did you stop to think what that means? That means what you learn is something that anyone with the same PowerPoint slides can also be “informed”.

So, where is your competitive advantage?

I don’t apologize  for this long text so far, but by now, I think you get the message. If not, my apologies and you can stop reading this post.

You need some skill that is essential. And  that you yourself have added value to.

This makes the critical difference.

You are unique. 

Nobody can be you. 

But you need a framework, to help you to put your uniqueness in the context of your organization. Or Any other organization.  

That is the  secret I am sharing with you.

The only way you are going to make yourself unique in a way that is going to be usefully recognizable to potential bosses and clients is if you have a commonly accepted framework to put your unique skills in context.

The Zachman Framework it the one and only thing to do so.

I discovered the Zachman Framework some 20 years ago. It was considered novel, and whacky, ahead of its time then. Today, it’s truth is obvious. 

I do not have any exclusivity to it. But I’m sharing it with you. 

The framework is a “natural law of enterprises”. As such,  it transcends time and space ( as methodologies do). 

And John Zahman, the origmiator, is able to explain it in a way that none of us can. This much I share with you. Beware those who have read a paper and then put themselves in a position of expert. Especially those who then tell you they have a better idea. There are many in our environment. I has a conversation with a very old friend who said the it was “too difficult” for him to understand, and so, he came up with his own version that was simpler. Hello, you yourself can’t understand, and you are expert to modify it?

Join me in attending the presentation by John Zachman himself.

You will experience something you will treasure for the rest of your career and your life. I’ve used the Zachman Framwework in both my personal as well as my professional life. And I’m convinced it’s a valuable  thing for everybody to learn. 

Did I listen to John Zachman once to draw this conclusion? I have listened to John maybe ten times. And each time I’ve learned something.

Join me this November if you’re in Malaysia.

find out at www.infospec.com.my