Thu 10 Jun 2004
Do, Learn, Adapt
Category : Singapore/DoLearnAdapt.txt
I've just finished reading a compilation of the speeches and writings of Mr Tan Kim Lian, CEO of NTUC Income, Singapore's largest provider of general and health insurance, and third largest provider of life insurance.
Having started in 1970 with a share capital of only S$1 million, its asset base now total S$11 billion.
It was a surprisingly enjoyable read because it's clear within the first few pages that, here, we have a brilliant mind - a rare entreprenurial spirit in a government-linked company.
He was constantly exhorting people to "do, learn, adapt" and this reminded me of the diagram that Burke and Morrison drew in the "Business @ the Speed of Stupid" book that I reproduce below :
I like this because it pulls the users and systems developers into a cycle that allows each to do, learn, and adapt from working with the other. It's the yin and the yang of systems development.
Category : Commentary/tenderloin.txt
The first time I visited San Francisco many years ago, I stayed in a hotel around the area known as The Tenderloin. Of course, I didn't know a thing about it then. I didn't even know it had a name. My friend who booked the hotel just looked up the cheapest place he could find. Well, we were young then and didn't have much money. (Not that I have very much more now.)
But each evening, as I made my way back from the cable cars, I found myself instinctively edging uphill towards Post or Sutter, in a U-shaped loop, before hurtling back down Leavenworth towards Hotel Verona. I realise now I was tracing the outlines of the Tenderloin.
But I found the Hotel Verona to be pretty decent, even charming, with its flags from many countries outside. There were many backpackers around. And the denizens of the area leave you pretty much alone, save for some loose change. So it was a great, colourful experience.
But the next time I went, it was with my girlfriend (now my wife) and I felt myself more watchful, more alert to the possibilities. Even around Union Square, where we stayed. Where before I enjoyed the colour, now I could feel its edge. Same place, different feeling, different experience. So interesting.
So the kid wants to come and I may have to disappoint him. Grosvenor Suites, looks like it could accomodate the family. But I'll never be able to concentrate on the proceedings at WWDC because I'd rather be with them. Maybe next time, when it's a true holiday, though my wife doesn't believe I'll ever take another break. Wonder how it will feel this time.