Let’s Try …

Well, there’s hope;

  • after some years, I made some homemade Christmas card.
  • after close to a decade, I searched my room for the long lost SIM card; possibly my 4th Indian one bought in Sikim.
  • after countless of procrastination, I finally sent the beads that would make a real difference … life standards difference … as Christmas gifts.
  • after years of messing around with my career I am back to where it has always meant to be!

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It all started a few weeks before Christmas. Needless to say it was hellish with work commitments and deadlines closing in while people geared up to either ‘window dress’ year end performance or get distracted by the upcoming long vacation.

But I couldn’t ignore the invitation to actually receive a snail mail after decades of only receiving bills in the post box! And besides, the invitation was from a very dear person who started off as a stranger whom I had to be in very close proximity for a month.

Fact #1: I am not a fan of people.

Fact #2: I need space; both physical and emotional.

Fact #3: I am not big on sharing – I never needed to.

But when you are well informed and have deliberately sought out to have ‘safety in numbers’, there are some trade-offs. And all in, personalities aside – oh yes, there sure were some BIG PERSONALITIES to deal with which is well expected when you throw an assortment of people from different age groups, nationality, ethnicity, religion, social economic background without a Hollywood production running in the background orchestrating it for viewers and ratings – it was an unforgettable experience with some wonderful memories and friendships nurtured. Her, being one of them.

She is amazing. And for someone who is hard to impressed, I’ll reiterate: SHE IS AMAZING!

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They have definitely left an impression on me. They have definitely shaped my outlook somewhat.

I had plucked the courage to walk up and speak to Sam – finally after stealing side way glances at him throughout lunch preparation and lunch. Being a Samburu warrior who has a trained keen sense of his surrounding, he was kind enough not to have embarrassed me with his knowledge, but rather took on the role of my guardian and ‘sponsor’ amongst his people. This open up great photo accessibility and rich stories – some of which I would eventually pen in my travel blog.

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Photos copyright pHaque

Being semi-nomadic pastoral people, I soon met at least 100 of them, from 3 neighbouring settlements some 2.5 km away from the nearest water source. My best memories was perhaps the laziest moments where I had spent the afternoons under the sparse tree playing a handmade backgammon-type game from a tree bark which I lost every single game!

My greatest regret then, was being too lazy to help tread beads which had not dawn on me its social importance and economics … until my last day.

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Photos copyright pHaque

And it was then as I boarded my truck with modern day gadgets and western food and medicinal supplies that I vow to first, ship the vast amounts of beads I have hoarded over the year, and to work towards returning.

The thought of returning has been reoccurring over the last few months.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been flying regularly to Nairobi. Not since the last two social trips I had made on my own accord.

The thought of returning has been reoccurring over the last few months. H and I have been talking about it; numerous were intense and serious with timelines and economic realities discussed.

Who would have thought that we’ll revisit the prospects of returning to our adoptive land … one that was very brief (for me at least). H’s time was longer.

What ever may come, at the least, let’s try …

 

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i’ve grown up… (a tat)… but very much still an addict

Not too long ago I had updated my Facebook with:

Containing excitement … I love banking (you know that) … but I <3 <3 <3   start-ups to bits (a few of you know that)… whooooohooooo! Counting breaths 2 Silicon Valley …

I ended up with 5 PMs within 50-ish seconds, and a few whatapps over the next 30 minutes;

Am I pitching?

What’s the deal?

Will it be cradl-ed? VC-ed?

hmmmm … {and frankly none of your business*}

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<<REWIND: few days

I got a call from an acquaintance applying for a cradle fund and needed a reference. I said, sure. why not? … and within 3 seconds I was shouting down the mouthpiece in Kinokuniya: WAIT!!! WHAT’S IT? CAN I EVALUATE?

And in 48 hours, I am in the vortex again … flipping the idea and biz plan, looking at the projections, not sleeping. Having perpetual migraines.

This got me thinking it was that lousy cup of latte I shouldn’t have. More so when I had not slept the day before from anxiety of presenting a rather straight forward analytic findings to one of the largest client I have this year. But I mean, there’s no need. The client is a friend (that however, makes it tougher to even remotely entertaining the idea of presenting less than perfect work). The results are simply amazingly simple and directional. The fact that 1/2 the report that was delayed would be covered by a colleague had no relevance to me or should be of my concern didn’t curb me from worrying endlessly.

But hours later I recalled a chapter in Marcus Buckingham‘s Go Put Your Strengths to Work – it’s not the bad tasteless latte that swirled on my lead tasting tongue. It’s not the fact that I was sleep deprived (which, again to put things into perspective is normal in my books).

It’s the missing/ broken link in the “SIGN” <quote unquote Mr. Buckingham>.

I know deep down, I shouldn’t be doing this. This VC, cradle, techno-prenuerial shite.

I retch thinking of endless of pasta, tuna, nuggets, oatmeal and instant noodles meals – they sell them in bulk [read: cheap].

But like loads of you, I am swayed.

But unlike loads of you, I am not swayed by the magazine covers are full of people who have given up their lives to grow a billion dollar tech company.

But unlike loads of you, I am not swayed by the fact (?) that the world needs more female entrepreneurs (here’s one by Jean Brittingham). Or the  fact (?) that there are funds out there for those without the Y-Chromosome -> WSJ takes a stab at guys with the deep pockets for not helping womenBut really? is that truly the case. And if so, why aren’t there enough women in the field?

My hunch is: entrepreneurship is long hours, huge tradeoffs and it’s far worse than swimming with the sharks – it’s entering the hardcore boys club; more so when you’re talking about techno-prenuership.

And for this reason, women are generally not interested. Fact is, women tend to downshift career wise as they progress with age, often trading success for children. This is so blatantly true that my precious tax payer money (which would have gone to far better use by deriving pure unselfish love for myself via the acquisition of a couple of Chanel a year or Birkin) has to be funneled towards questionable initiatives like TalentCorp’s Retaining Women in the Workforce/ Gender Diversity.

Thrown in techp-prenuership …  women simply don’t pitch (enough) is my general observation. It’s a boys club out there.

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Whilst the equation of children does not exist for me, I’ve discovered that I am corrupted.

I can do long hours and trade-offs.

I do long hours and trade-offs anyways as an intra-preneur. But the hard truth is I can’t do the long insane hours filled with insecurity and a very dim flicker of hope any more. Not at my age.

I’ve come to realize that pure, undiluted, uncorrupted entrepreneurship is only for the intrepid few: the young with no responsibility. Or the rich with huge paid or unpaid support system.

And if anyone so much as comes and tells me that the secret to success once found can be replicated, i.e. surely I can conceive, build and sell another one again (having done this twice), I will laugh. Fact is:

  • it takes way more than a brilliant hair brain idea.
  • it takes way more than skills, knowledge and smarts.
  • it takes way more than tenacity and perseverance.
  • it consumes you. it takes away your life.

At this point of my life: I dream of the day a PE approaches me … I am ready to sell out my current venture.

At this point of my life: I derive joy creating platforms and opportunities to nurture and cultivate ideas for others.

But also at this point of my life:  I can’t shake off the addict in me. I probably won’t be pumping caffeine and dragging eye bags around, but I probably can’t resist the temptation of looking at good ops to invest. It’s just hard press for me to start over from scratch.

I am (after all) an addict.

.

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* I don’t mean to be rude, but <<REWIND: couple of years – I had taken a huge bite of humble pie and reach out for help from a fellow woman techno-prenuer (there aren’t many in my market/ geography). Let’s say, for this particular instance, I would like amnesia – ok well, ok, I’ll settle for that ‘Men In Black’ Memory Eraser moment.

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what??!?! you want a blog?

OK.
I know I said I would write about blogging possibly early to mid 2012, or even mid to late 2011.
I can’t recall.
I tried looking at my blog archives, but you know how I write my blog titles? 
So, it’s near impossible and I simply just must have an elephant memory to recover anything.
Sure, there’s 459 entries here… that’s still manageable.
But when you add in my revenue generating blog of 215,000+ entries, the photoblog of say another 100+ entries, and the craft blog of 1,800+ posts … and not counting those I co-author and dabble here and there in other collaborative blogs … it’s got to be an African elephant.
No, make that a mammoth.
Point #1 is
I spend most of my non-salaried and non-socialpreneur waking hours punching letters out on a keyboard {which explains why my Macs need caffeine too}
See, I am one of those people who’s happy to type away in my pjs with a coffee mug in hand.
And yes, I rarely hit a writers/ blogger block.
You, for the life of me must be passionate about writing and blogging which comes with a hefty price – but more about the downside of blogging later!
Fact is I’ve got countless of friends who have persuaded me to co-author … and frankly nothing develops beyond the 2 or 3 pages from them.

Here’s a classic example, which I then went ahead with my life with a bigger plan on the back burner in this blog when our 2013 Trans-Siberia travel planning took a southward dive … being partly busy, I am done “speaking” to him. This new spin-off blog will be rather dormant for now as I sort out other more critical web-based priorities that needs to be completed by October this year. {In any case, be sure to read ‘Why The Blog?’ in the spin-off blog here}

So, what spurred this blog entry here? 
  1. I’ve been asked 3 times over the past 2 weeks if I could help or advise people who wants to start blogs.
  2. I’ve been told another HUGE organisation had hired another HUGE and reputable advertising PR firm to run them a social media campaign that includes blogs, a twitter account, pinterest and … blah3

F@#$
The budget was astronomical.
Why doesn’t anyone just pay me that? I’d settle for just 25%.
With even a 25% of the budget, I won’t experience pangs of sharp pain penetrating my chest while my tongue rolls out expletives too vile to repeat as my Macs gulps up the coffee spills from yesterday’s coffee mug. 
But on a more serious note, I really shouldn’t be complaining about HUGE organizations dishing out ridiculous amount of moo-lah to put its 1967 products or services out to the new generation as I do derive some benefit from it; albeit very low down the subcontractor value chain to flog; i.e. generate content for a boss blog and a marketing blog as a ghost writer.
Before I go down explaining a boss blog and a marketing blog and a cat blog (which is what this blog is), lemme say this loud and clear:
DO NOT BOTHER BLOGGING
I’m sure you’ve all seen this infographic…  


(speaking of which I seriously wanted to slap someone at work – a Generation Y no less – who asked her N(o)A(ction)T(alk)Only boss what an infographic is!!!)

………………………………………………………… and I digress from Point #2: … which is: it really is too late to start blogging. 
Ten million (billion) people were ahead of you. 
We are living in a new world of information overload. There’s just too much ‘noise’
The 2 second billboard rule doesn’t even hold true coz most of us a twive-ing {twitter+driverather than looking ahead. oh well, I definitely am. So ho ho! stay away from my piece of metal the next time you see me on the road! 
fyi: the traffic police beams me a grin at my continuous funding of their retirement fund when they issue me the goddamn MYR300 fine for twive-ing. Only in their words its “guna handset lagi kah?”

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But you are different. You think you are different.
You live in a different world where people actually cares about you.
People actually wants to get to know you.

To play it safe and smart, you work on getting noticed.
And to get noticed you enroll for the (countless number of) online classes available on blogging or part with 99 cents for pdf downloads by professional bloggers. 
………….…then you get excited at the word “PROFESSIONAL” in professional bloggers.
what?!? there are actually people who sits around in the pjs midday with unbrushed teeth and uncombed hair making a living out of this?
Then you think about your sorry arse being dragged out of bed at 5:50 am through 2 hours traffic only to face faces you couldn’t care for, an arsehole boss and work that does not resonate with you and sits on the other end of a very long string of what your ambition at Grade 8 was.
You could actually have work-life balance and be a part of your kids growing up years!
You get all pumped up.
You are going to be the next professional blogger who sells snippets of advice to other novices.
And it doesn’t stop there. 
There’s GoogleAds
You could actually make good money while sleeping when some people all over the globe clicks on the link that appears by it’s own “magic” at the side of your blog post.
Point #3 is: the idea that blogging is a get-rich quick scheme is ubiquitous
It’s not even a get-rich slowly scheme. 

Big bloggers come from big media and are either professional published writers … or had made a name in the media at some point. Erik Schoenfeld (TechCrunch) and Owen Thomas (Valleywag) wrote for Business 2.0 magazine at least 10 years ago. Anya Kamenetz (Yahoo Finance) wrote for the Village Voice and had a very serious book published before she started blogging. Seth Godin uses his blog to push his digital and print books that existed before his blog… you get the drift. 

Blogging as I’m spelt up front is hard work. Commitment.
Blog readers are demanding. They are merciless in deleting a blog from their readers list if the blogger posts too often, if the blogger post stuff that’s not relevant to them, if the blogger said something offensive … Readers, like us are always hovering over the mouse button, ready to flee any site at a moment’s notice! And can you blame them when they are spoilt with choices? {reality check with the 60 sec Infrographics if in doubt}.

Hence, most professional bloggers do it full-time and are factually single – there is no way you can hold a paid full-time job and a non-paid full time ‘job’ with a family even if you are truly exceptional… something has to give way as it did for Gina Trapani.

The other odd chance of one being a professional blogger without a writing career pre-requisite of a celebrity media status is you have deep embedded knowledge in technology {+ funny + creative}

That said, success is seriously a question of relativity and bloggers define success not by the amount garnered from advertisements {flipping burgers will make you more money} but by:
influence, connections, friendships, the ability to lead a conversation that matters to people and occasionally leading to other business opportunities like speaking engagements. 

They rarely turn into book deals … and all top bloggers will tell you that books are a time sink!

Point #4 is: it hurts emotionally and is soul draining 
You would have heard countless of times by now that successful blogs are based on :
  1. Candour
  2. Urgency
  3. Timeliness
  4. Pithiness
  5. Controversy
  6. … and maybe to a certain extend Utility

I most definitely fail on the count of 2., 3., 4. and 5 … and even 6. here!
But with the other revenue generating blogs, oh hell yes! yes! yes! especially for 2., 3. and 4. … and definitely 6. which explains why my eyeballs are glued to a 17″ pixelated screen!

Now, 1. and 6. sits on opposite polar in most cases, and if applied to factual information, it can create 5.
I will not delve into them, but here’s a note to leave you with.

Are you ready to bare your soul and write candidly?
Most bloggers found it easy in the beginning as they had presume no one reads their cat blog rant … {buzz} wrong!

Even the most innocent opinion and comment can be construed as controversial to some reader; herein comes the problem of harassment. And boy oh boy, when it comes to just you and the keyboard, people can be seriously mean … {more about this later and how I have and am currently being stalked!}


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(incidentally, I found this Blog Boss e-course while googling. I’ve not clicked anything beyond the landing page I had just supplied, but let’s say: awwww… me likes decor8)

(me is not paid by decor8)

An interesting (and I suspect great) resource: