men! they just don’t listen do they?

OK. I shouldn’t be complaining. 
H finally delivered Hermes – after four transits with 3 immigration officers raising their eyebrows, causing unnecessary exchanges along the lines of:

yes, it’s a typewriter. You know, an old fashion mechanical one.” 
{pause} 
yes, yes, they still exist. yes, it’s in working order.” 
 
The “why?” question by the immigration officers is a tougher one to explain and I shall not bore you. Suffice to say, H got Hermes home and Hermes did have a small home coming party.
 
See, H “listen” only because he didn’t really have a choice.
Let’s say, I had listed down 8 choices of typewriters – ranked by preferences and furnished the list with enough technical and detailed information for a cave man to work a jetliner.
 
Simply put, the margin of error was so slim, that only time (arising from flight delays and transits) could deny Hermes from re-homing all the way from a wayward sleepy town 2.5 hours drive from central London. 
 
Read differently, with my Idiots Instruction for Men, every man I have known or shared any gift lists have remarked: “if only my {insert other half} does that. My life would be simpler.”
 
Point is, men! they just don’t listen, do they?
And here’s the most recent incident with not one, but two men on the same matter at hand: 
Bottega Veneta + iPad
 
I for one am not an embracer of electronic gadgets. 
  • I dread my Blackberry coz it’s work and more so, coz my work place is too cheap to get me a decent hardware.
  • I own a hand-me-down iPhone 4 (I think, could well be 4s – if there’s one) coz my older hand-me-down iPhone 3 from my 3-year old “died” and I needed to have my alternative private number going with a handy camera that’s decent enough for Facebook uploads.
  • I still miss my ol’ faithful Mac PowerBook G4 and kept it for 10 years! until it was brutally taken away from me by force.
  • I happily owned and watched a 14″ TV (you know, the rotund type with colour tubes at the back!) for years until the security camera company decided to take matters into their own hands by hooking it up to the security cameras and installing the flat screen TV (courtesy of a credit card company) in the rotund TV’s place – the flat screen being so flat has been lying against the wall in its original box for ages.
  • … and you get the drift …

So, it did come as a surprise when I bought a Bottega Veneta iPad case early this year. I do not own an iPad. I do not see a need or point in having one. 

{call me an irrational idiot, but uh huh, i did see a need want to buy a Bottega Veneta iPad case though}  
Let’s just say it was a distraction for me from buying the Ardoise Intercciato Nappa Convertible Bag, which even with a 30% off it was a small fortune…
 
And with that, I was on a mission to get myself to a Mac store and grab an iPad… until my girl friend, the very same one who handed me down the iPhone 4/s, mentioned that there was a little contest going on at work which she was in pole position to win due to the sales extension given to her by me! 
 
So, the wait started at the end of Q1 … with us checking in intermittently to know if “we” were still in pole position to win the iPad. 
 .
Well, fast forward 4 months later – “we” WON! Instruction was given to the procurer was: do NOT get the iPad mini
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As you will be able to guess how this story ends since the procurer is a man… well, the point is: men! they just don’t listen, do they?
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bottega-veneta-tech1
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 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
things to note:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
ONE 
Man buys things at the very last moment. 
 .
The iPad mini was bought at the Hong Kong airport, just as he was about to board the plane to Manila … receipt including what he had to eat pre-boarding is in the bag! 
 
TWO 
men! they just don’t listen, do they? (I) – coz whenever a woman talks, their brain is processing various other things that includes seriously trivial stuff or how to get into your pants!
 .
He bought an iPad mini coz all he remembered /retained was “iPad mini” in the midst of thinking of other things …
 
THREE 
men! they just don’t listen, do they? (II) and makes the stooopidest remark whenever a woman is upset like: “what’s the difference? they both work the same and a mini will fit into your handbag better
 .
H said that when I told him how disappointed I was as the iPad mini is of no use to me given that it’s raison d’être (for me at least) was the Bottega Veneta iPad case …
 
FOUR 
men! they just don’t listen, do they? (III) and makes the most idiotic promises that upsets a woman even more like: “just buy another Boot-leg whatever and give the current case away
 .
I am certain H will regret this statement if his credit card is swiped! and will remember for life that it is Bottega Veneta and not Boot-leg-whatever!!!

 

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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*}

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

<<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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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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why Google Malaysia din do nothin’ 4 me…

Let’s get this clear: I AM NOT DISHING google, google Malaysia, gen-Y, gen-Z, the Millenias, clickers …etc.

Now, chill. I’ll be an idiot to dish google. Firstly, it is so ingrained in my everyday lingo where honestly I would have said more “google” between the hours of 9 am to 12 noon than “good morning”.

This of course has a lot to do with my grouchy a.m. side, and “just google” is really sayin’: MORON, STOP BOTHERING ME. GO RESEARCH IT ON YOUR OWN … DO I LOOK LIKE YOUR DICTIONARY TO YOU?!?

Secondly, the opportunity to step into Google Malaysia office is not one that comes by every so often. We ain’t talking about a coffee shop, a bank branch or a public toilet here where literally every man on the street would be able to walk into it.

What makes the experience even more brag-able was the fact that the visit was rather timely – it happened just a couple of days after the local tabloid newspaper ran a feature article on: “how hip and wonderful it is to work in Google Malaysia”.

Furthermore, (need I say this again?) everyone is entitled to an opinion – freedom of speech and expression has never been more acute ever since Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web; goggle being the search engine of the triple W world would gettit.

But lastly, like the PayPal Asia stint I had last year? 19 months ago? (I can’t recall is really an unimportant point), this arrangement with Google.my is rather similar. See, in the symbiotic world of the triple W, the more embedded you are in the ecosystem and the more wide spread your network and sharing is, everyone wins. What the heck am I sayin’? Oh blimmey: go GOOGLE SETH GODIN!  

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In any case, on the day I was destined to make the trip to Google Malaysia’s office, word got out like wild fire. Three quick observations:

  1. I apparently have IT/ application developers on payroll at Scrap-n-Crop.com
  2. I do have long-lost brothers and cousins and uncles and what-not “blood relations” that has google listed as their dream employer which I am suppose to know
  3. I am the most selfish “employer”/”relative” for not bringing anyone along!

{smirk – life is too short, I’ve forgiven all in 1. and 2.}

Interestingly, it was the above 3 factors that got me so upbeat and determined to photograph google’s office – openly and at a sly.

Some parts are photograph-able (despite having signs that says otherwise).

And some parts are just off limit zones like the open desk – hoteling system work stations with a Kelisa cut into half and custom fitted with cushions as a sofa set to the side of the open work space by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, or the arcade machine at the corner.

Question is:

who in the sane mind would plonk themselves on the sofa in the middle of a busy work day?

who in heavens sake will have the {blip} to fire up the arcade games machine sending off weird background noises in the middle of a working day?

Google Malaysia office, reminds me of the offices I have been in: Accenture, Bloomberg and SAP to be precise.

Having spent my past live in one of them which features a pool table, smoking rooms (like those in airport lounges), massage chairs, sofas with comfy scatter cushions, pantry stocked to brim with every imaginable sugar rush food only to be replaced in the last decade with health bars, low fat yogurt and real coffee, I personally found the allure of the above go *poof* the moment you are showed the real work area:

work benches lining up back-to-back in a large open space area that usually have bright funky accent walls, cool IKEA silver pendant lights hanging down that serves to only shine on balding spots, some miserable potted plants defying nature and a “personal” work space that’s just enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop, a coffee mug and some demilitarized-zone type of margin that avoids elbow fights to take place between yourself and the occupants to the right and left

If that’s not depressingly proletariat enough, the concept of hoteling also translate to an individual having only a pigeon hole or a pedestal on wheels to call theirs, often stashed into some dungeon when you’re not being bench-ed in the office. There’s really no special spot to call your own, cubicle walls for posters that inspires you and most definitely not an inch space for your personal knick knacks.

The very concept and word “bench-ed” is in my opinion demoralizing.

And for that I am in the opinion that any professional sportsmen who’s bench-ed or put on the reserve list should be compensated more in guaranteed income for lack of exposure and opportunity to earn misc. sponsorship type of income, if not for the obvious psychological damage of being bench-ed and reserved causes the soul.

However, being bench-ed is really inevitable in the consulting and IT world where work does get seasonal, which is by no means the fault of the individual associate – well, more often than not.

And it is during these low months where those recreational rooms built to create the illusion of work-life-balance or work-play-balance gets most used; not for recreational purposes, but rather as work spaces for the excess associates who were not able to be assigned a bench.

Simply put, there’s NO VACANCY in the “hotel” and you’re have to utilize the lobby, dining area, pool, toilets … ok, maybe not toilets, but you get the drift.

Past experience aside, my recent visit to Google Malaysia’s office reaffirms two things:

I am a true-blue Gen X. What drives me in my choice employer are (in order of importance):

  1. challenges (read: I am really contributing towards something and not the Gen Y‘s perceive care for things larger than themselves)
  2. immediate superior (the Leadership Team in my case)
  3. location & premises (preferably less than 1 hour commute, 5* toilet facilities and covered secured parking)
  4. rewards
  5. career progression opportunity and clarity

I am too far up the career ladder to be seduced by a “cool” workplace. Gimme my own room (back), car pay plan and driver allowances (back), a clearly defined MBO and strategy … and you’ve hit home run with me. Long story short: you’ve got to at least match 45 out of 50 of the items in my benefits/ perquisite negotiation list … yes, it is that long, and doubly yes, you can PM me for that list!

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