NBA Draft 2012, and the C’s picks.

Thanks to work, I woke up late and missed the draft, only managing to catch it on Twitter. And surprisingly, no wizardry from Danny – the picks remained as they were, no two-picks-for-a-lottery emerged. Was anyone disppointed by Royce White not being chosen? That being said, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo look to be interesting selections.

Great draft videos from TheMikeSchmitz

In short, don’t hope for Sullinger to be running breaks with Rondo anytime soon. And having another seven footer is always good. Could always use another big in the paint, so long as they box out and crash the boards. Rebounding, as we all know has been bad the past few years, and with KG still not a confirmed return things could get really ugly fast.

The second round pick emerged as Kris Joseph, an all-rounder with promise if he proves to be consistent. I like his game. Don’t think he has an NBA range three though, so it’s going to take time for him to develop.

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Choices: of nothing, yet everything.

Freedom, is an intriguing concept in itself. It offers you nothing, but everything is possible.

Once a decision is made, the die is cast and freedom vanishes – just like that. You take a stand, and that is it.

Not everyone likes the idea of having doors closed, which is why the “leaving your options open” concept is always an attractive one. Takes guts to shut off the other options after all.

But isn’t that what life is about? Making choices and standing by them. Having the will to speak your mind, to stand by what you decide to believe in. Being a yes man is easy, holding firm when the tide goes the other way is another story altogether.

What do you believe in? It depends huh?

Figures.

Coming to the end of a road, part II

and.. I think I made the right choice at the right time.

Do you know how infinitely impossible it is to concentrate on troubleshooting when you have a screaming baby at home?

Pure madness. I so need to get out of this mountain I have been carrying around for the past few years. In short, no more 24/7/365 standby on network duties.

Coming to the end of a road.

So.

I thought about it really hard for months, and finally made up my mind.

It’s time to quit and stop full-time work for a while.

Big decision I know, why though?

It’s all about bub
We have a big reason to begin with. A six month reason who babbles in my ear at 0600hrs every day, laughs madly whenever I toss her in the air and is just learning how to stand on her own two wobbly feet.

Who shall have this?
Elly is still kind of young to be sent to child care right now. After V’s mum returns home, there is no one else left for the task. Stan’s working, plus it’s not his child to begin with. V’s working, I’m working so everyone’s working.

Taking into consideration the fact that V has always been more of a career-minded individual while I’m more of a go with the flow kind, it is really a natural decision that I do this instead.

There is also the thought that I am sort of outsourcing my kiddo’s growing time to someone else. There are admittedly a ton of unsavoury tasks I would love to pile onto someone else’s capable hands, but some things just should not be outsourced. Rearing my child is one of them.

A juggling act, perhaps?
In an ideal world, I would work from home while taking care of Elly. The niggling little wrench in the works is that my job requires site visits at random intervals, something I will not be able to commit to once I begin my “job” as a full-time parent. It is unfair that I reap the perks of working from home, while someone less qualified to do the work bears the brunt of my decision and gets saddled with more shit on a 24/7/365 standby shift.

Ridiculous costs
Believe it or not, child care costs are exhorbitant, high enough to pay for a one bedroom apartment’s rental in the city. Crazy isn’t it? I would much rather spend my time taking care of Elly than watch half my paycheck make its way into someone else’s pocket.

Some people say, you can never have enough money. I agree wholeheartedly on this. If you can never have enough, why put all your energy into the ratrace and forgo your kid’s childhood? Some things can never be remade, and we are not exactly starving on the streets right now. All it takes is better budgeting, and we should still be able to get by. Quality of life is not always measured by income, and the endless race to “give our kids a better living than what we had” is a cycle in materialism. It’s the spiritual component that needs to be improved, not the monetary.

It has been a good run in the last few years with the company, and I have honestly learnt a lot. Not to mention the great colleagues, and my boss to whom I owe a big debt for the 457. It is going to be odd, to divest myself of the routine that has become a part of life for the past four years.

So, the transition into a SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) is happening in August. All these aside, I do hope to keep working on something interesting on the side. There are a few opportunities in the works now, but I’m not holding my breath yet.

To all my dear friends and readers, should you need any help on stuff that I could advise on, talk to me. Facebook, Twitter, anything is fine. You could drop a comment here too.

Remember: advice is free, so ask away. Always happy to help and offer an opinion or two!

That’s one way to kill a startup.

The topic for each day’s blog post comes about in myriad ways. Today’s topic seemed to drop right into my lap from whoever’s up there. To the big guy up there: THANKS! Always appreciate some help on inspiration.

So.

I was reading an Ars Technica article about how Winamp’s growth was stunted after the AOL takeover. People my age might remember Winamp fondly, that nifty little PC MP3 player that in my mind, was The Player (even to this day), and so very lightweight in its memory consumption and install size. I had always wondered about the gradual decline of Winamp’s popularity, and this article certainly threw a few interesting points into play.

In a word: read.

The read progressed into a Gizmodo article on how Flickr similarly fell short of the social wave after Yahoo’s acquisition. Another brilliant read, made me remember the times when I used to be a Flickr fan, and an understanding how and why I drew away from Flickr.

In both stories, there are common grounds to be found.

1. Corporate control
The strong corporate culture from the parent company seeped into the startup, and gradually imposed controls which stifled the startup’s growth. IMO, startups begun with creativity and minimal control should be kept that way. Some things function well with supervision, others not so. It is just a shame to see brilliant companies with so much potential fall into the meandering average, or worse derailed into oblivion.

2. Innovation
Winamp, like Flickr is a product. Products should always be on the lookout to improve and mature, to stay ahead of the curve and grow with the users. A lack of resources and direction given to innovating the products basically killed momentum for growth.

3. The path of least resistance
Users are fickle, people like you and I can certainly attest to that. We want to use something that is fun, easy and effortless. Something that involves everyone, something that is cool and makes us go wow, now that – is really awesome. If a product gets stale, jumping off the bandwagon is easily done. Especially in this day of the web application, we look upon ease of use as an all-important yardstick more than ever.

Compare the effort taken to compile a neat little album on Flickr, upload those pretty pictures and share it with your friends. Now think about how easy it is to upload your pictures on Facebook, tag your friends and share it on your timeline. Granted Flickr caters to a more specific audience market these days, but.

The answer my friends, should be obvious.


It would not have seemed like serendipity, had it only been a random read on two articles. A good friend of many years came on for a Skype chat and sought my opinion on an idea he just had on a social networking startup. Really humbled and appreciative of the fact that he values my counsel, and I did my best to bring a different perspective across to him. All in all, three main points:

1. Passion in hiring
He was debating outsourced versus inhouse, and to me the answer was obvious. He needed to get someone who was in for the passion, for the fun of the idea. Someone young enough at heart to find joy in building something that people would like and want to use, not someone who’s in it just for steady work and a stable paycheck. Past reads from Jobs and Wozniak’s biographies hinted at the same, that a talented individual is worth ten average hires. And that, to me is passion. You need to have a steady hand aboard for the long haul, not a random hire off the docks for a single journey.

And of course, there is the issue of control. Getting an external vendor without proper exclusivity agreements offers a potential leak on the platform to other parties, which could really be fatal for a startup.

2. Counting the cents
To many business people, calculating the potential of profit is important. I would not deny the fact that it does pay the bills, but sometimes a startup kicks off on a wild and crazy idea, and that is all it is. It wouldn’t be the same way if a bunch of people dissected it, looked at it ten thousand ways before agreeing in corporate groupthink that it is a genuine Good Idea. Startups are meant to be lean, fast-moving and more often than not, the follow-through of an Eureka! moment. Run with the idea, and worry about what happens later.

3. Staying focused
There was talk on the emergence of the smartphone app as a means to user interaction, and whether there should be balance on development on the various mobile OSes (IOS, Android, Windows Mobile and others) and the desktop experience. I voted for focus over diversification, pitching it with a single point – an excellent user experience in one platform trumps average user experiences in multiple platforms. Look at Instagram, it began as an iPhone app. It certainly did not care about branching too quickly, but rather focused on the execution of a great user experience in the IOS environment – the ability to snap pictures on a mobile, add snazzy filters and share them.

It’s the UX that defines the app, nothing else.

Summing things up, I would say that passion and focus are essential ingredients to a great startup; can’t live without them that’s for sure. Passion for your product, and focus on making a great product out of a wonderful idea.

After all, life without passion tends to be quite bland, is it not?

Basketball: Towards new grounds! Part III

Kinda hyped about this game and was all refreshed after an hour’s nap. Got there on time as usual, did a bit of shootaround with Nick while the rest of the guys petered in. Despite Friday’s practice, my shot was still a little off.

Tipoff began and Dave proved to be our big advantage in the paint, both defensively and offensively. Danny was on a streak today, hitting three from the arc. (Mike) Miller inspiration, he says. Everyone scored, got some stops in the first half and a comfortable cushion was built. We never trailed for the rest of the game and that was basically it in a nutshell. I subbed myself at the first sign of a run in the second half, just so that Dave could get back in to secure the lead. Kudos to the Wedges guys for the full court press, but it just didn’t get them the effect they wanted. Good defensive boards and the fact that they never really bothered pounding the ball into the paint were factors in the win.

Takeaways from the game:

  • I should not be one of the guys who brings the ball up, my handle sucks. Got swiped and the ball taken away without a foul being called, and now my little finger is a definite in the sprained department – no guesses as to how it happened. Gotta get some ointment into it later before it gets worse, pfft.
  • Less fancy passing. James had it down pat when he commented on us looking like the Harlem Globetrotters for a while; there were a few too many fancy extra passes that resulted in turnovers.
  • James is a monster in this grade, look at the way he handles traps with ease; with him outside and Dave inside, the team is anchored securely. And ah, Dave is going on a holiday for a month so we’ll see how things turn out over the next few weeks.
  • Nick still did pretty well, despite being out of touch for two weeks. It’s funny how I stop two weeks and play like a turd, when everyone else can not touch a damn ball for a month even, and still ball decently. Conclusion: I have a mutant de-ballerisation factor.
  • I’m still learning my way within the team, trying not to force the offense and play within the defense. That being said, I took three shots today and missed two – pretty bad stat. Especially when one of ’em was an airball. Simply disgraceful, coming from a guy whose first option on offense is the catch and shoot.
  • Need to remember to be consistent on transition defense; I was looking for the opening too much in the second half and forgot about getting back on transition defense.
  • Awkward goodbyes seemingly avoided but still happening when I realised my car was parked beside Josh. Basically walked in parallel until I got to my car and woops. Should’ve just walked alongside them heh.

Let’s hope the next game gets better! Looking forward to Wednesday night’s session.

Kein’s guide to stress management

So.

Stress affects performance in all aspects of our lives, so managing stress is a critical component for having peace of mind and being able to perform at our best. Over the years, I came up with a system to troubleshoot life and its endless little problems.

It’s worked well enough so far so if you are in the mood to read, here goes:

1. Understand this: stress is mostly self-induced. No one can give you more stress than yourself, and it is a conscious choice.

2. Why are you stressed? What is causing the stress? Identify the reasons.

3. Can you do something about those factors right now?

  • If yes, focus on eliminating them one at a time, based on your available time and energy. Or work on alternative solutions that could solve your worries.
  • If no, why?
    • If it is out of your control, relax. There is no point in worrying over something that you have no control over. I cannot stress (pun intended) this enough, people literally worry themselves to death over factors that are often out of their control – this is pointless. Working on alternative solutions is useful, sitting and worrying your ass off is pointless.
    • If you can only work on it later, worry about it later. Worrying about it now does not change anything, work on it when you have a chance to. Get some rest and relax your mind, so that you are fully rested for whatever is ahead.

That’s really the gist of it. Life is simple, it is always the human mind that overcomplexifies issues.

Summary: Identify, simplify and solve. If you can’t solve, kick back and enjoy the ride.