Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What is Right, and What is Wrong?

This video that I chose is the 2nd in a 8 part lecture series by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett's lecture on "Arithmetic, Population, and Energy".

The first video talked about the power of exponential growth. It raises an interesting question about whether we are aware what it means when we say 6% or 5% growth.

The second one raises an important question on population issue and how to solve it. If you choose law and order, be prepared for the world to be over-populated. Choose war if you want to balance population growth. Are you willing to do that?

I guess my point is that in choosing to promote something, whether in politics or even your own career, we often fail to consider the full consequences of our choices. For example, while minimum wage is a noble idea, has anyone fully considered the impact of such measure on long-term inflation and subsequent increase in personal debt, and how that ultimately leads to a bubble, and...well, you get my point.

Think hard, think smart.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Education First

Have you guys heard of Education First (EF)? It's a Swedish company that's dominating the world in private education. It has over 25000 teachers and 15 million students all over the world.

They're focused on providing language education in a unique way that emphasizes conversational skills rather than rote learning. Being Swedish, their training centers are also a lesson in design integration as part of the training process.

The global language training industry is estimated to be around Euro 54 billion a year.

Another below the radar business opportunity that a lot of people don't even know about.

(Discovered them while reading Monocle, a huge magazine that takes longer to go through than most novels. It's a different type of magazine than most are used to, but it's got some left-field coverage...A bit like Off The Edge meets The Edge Weekly)

How about this as an idea - a prep school that focuses on career advice,communication skills,and entrepreneurial knowledge for 3 categories - pre-SPM, post-SPM, post-Degree?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just When Things Are Good...

I don't listen to radio that much these days. The new car's full media integration with USB drive AND SD Card (in addition to a 6-disc changer, but who uses CD now anyway) makes radio a truly alternative choice, especially with the endless advertisements, staid selections AND idiotic deejays.

If I was to tune in to anything, it would normally be either XFM (103.0) or BFM (89.9). Most often I would just let XFM play me the best that local music could offer. I like XFM because (1) not much advertising (2) minimal deejay interruption (3) great songs.

I think Malaysian music is undergoing a sort of renaissance. Its cyclical in nature. We used to be ahead of the Indonesians, then we sort of lost our way with the focus on mono-syllabic named bands like Spin, Spoon, Scoin. Then everybody was into hip-hop, but it never really fit in with the older set, which kinda explains how Siti Nurhaliza (which came out at around the same time as Poetic Ammon & Too Phat) could dominate for so long. Yes, kids love hip-hop, but only parents had the money to buy an album.

Now, we finally have a mature, creative era of great songs sung by relevant artistes that transcends age, culture and language. Kids and their parents can dig Faizal Tahir, Yuna & Aizat. Our hip-hop has gone beyond the lame cliche of old and now contains sublime rhymes carried out by people like Malique, Altimet and Joe. We've even basically thrown away soapy jiwang karat rock away with a whole new bunch of "indie" bands making it big on the mainstream.

Tell me you didn't bob your head when you hear Bunkface and I'll tell you you've lost your groove. We've got young and upcoming vocalists who no longer subscribe to Siti's scream it if you mean it mantra like Ana Raffali, Zee Avi & Liyana Fizi.

It's all great news for the fans. I think the quality's up to the par of anything I can pick out from the Indonesians these days. Unfortunately, I think it's too late.

Just when our music standard has been raised to a level where everyone could be proud of, our artistes will no longer be financially rewarded for their work. Long gone are the days where a popular Juara Lagu winner will sell more than a million album (Raihan did that), have sold-out stadium concerts (Search, Wings used to, and still is, packing in the fans), or basically become a freaking rock star.

With parents also now in tune to digital downloads, and kids being kids wanting things for free, it is almost impossible to find anyone actually purchasing an album, even from foreign artist. Without album sales, it's almost impossible for record companies to think about organizing a concert.

No corporate sponsors want to sponsor a concert of an artist who couldn't sell records, without realizing that in today's day and age, the lack of record sales doesn't automatically make an artist unpopular.

It's sad that it has come down to this, but the future is even bleaker. Unless of course there is a significant change in the way record companies and artistes approach the problem. But let's just hope for now, despite not making as much money as Slam ever did, our new crop of singers, songwriters, producers and musicians continue doing it for the sake of us music lovers. If you do, trust us, we'll promise to download your song.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From Tadashi Yanai

Tadashi Yanai is the Chairman/CEO of Fast Retailing (owners of Uniqlo).

"The worst people in the world are those that neither succeed nor fail. These people don't do anything and accomplish nothing.

The second worst type are those that continuously fail. They never learn from their mistake and never succeed."
Sent via BlackBerry from Maxis