Archive for category Non-sense

2016.10.14 The Robot

Everybody in the manufacturing industry knows how big the company Assobot is. It literally monopolises the assembly robotics business around the world. Yet, not many knew that Assobot has been secretly working on the Artificial Intelligence in the humanoid form factor since the beginning of this century. In fact, there have been at least 2 prototypes released in recent years. Why haven’t you seen any, you ask? Well, because they look just like the normal human beings.

All working in the AI industry, except the Marketing and Sales who don’t really know what AI means, would tell you that it is easy to make something looks like human, but almost impossible make it to think like one. Assobot knew it too (after 3 billions investment over more than half a decade). In the year of 2010, the head of Assobot Strategic R&D finally accepted the fact that it wouldn’t be possible to develop humanoid robot for all job functions. Instead, they would consider it a success if their robot is able to perform the easiest job without being spotted.

Yes, Assobot decided to make the robotic manager.

According to an insider who knows the product, Assobot has been partnering with some big MNCs to slowly replace their middle management with Assobot AI robot. “It’s really hard to notice the difference, but I know that they were code named Type-D and Type-M.”

As far as AI algorithm is concerned, the easiest way to impersonate a manager is to avoid any job, thus making the robot “immune to any business mistakes”. The design of Type-D (stands for “Dodger”) followed this principle. Its embedded intelligence focuses solely on generating excuses for a “No” answer. Unfortunately, the market didn’t really like it. Feedbacks from customers often described that “the presence of Type-D in the workplace gradually demotivates the team it manages.” Assobot urgently needed to improve its product.

The idea of enhancement came shortly from a senior manager within Assobot’s own HQ, during his regular toilet visit in a Wednesday afternoon. He didn’t suggest a radically different design. “Good manager empowers subordinates,” he rationalized, “why don’t we designed our robot in such a way that it always throw the questions back to its team members? We motivates the team while still taking no risk!” The board members, after spent a few seconds reflecting their own management style, quickly approved the proposal to make the Type-M (“Motivator”).

Type-M was an immediate success. Partly because the AI requirement is actually simpler than Type-D (how hard can it be to find different ways of saying “I honestly expect you to give me a solution”? or “I think you are fully capable of solving this problem alone”?), and partly because many human managers in fact act in exactly the same way!

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2016.09.25 The Talker

The Business Leader Association Handbook (BLAH) famously divided employees of the entire world into 2 types – those who can talk comfortably about things they have no idea about (the talker) and those who can’t (the doer). According to the Association, talkers are generally better for the managerial positions because “the unlimited supply of the seemingly useless speech is, in some rare cases, able to disorient the minds of their customers, and even more likely, able to trick the minds of their own management.”

Interestingly, due to their intrinsic inability to listen and observe, talkers are more likely to be attracted to their own kind, thus gradually and inevitably turning the whole management into a tons of colorful PowerPoints. “The expansion of talkers in the management positions around the globe”, as the Handbook pointed out in its 2011 Edition, “drastically expedited the development of Voice of Internet Protocol, which in turn made it financially even more possible to convert more talkers into managers”. (trivia of the day: the 2011 Edition is probably the second most sought-after copy throughout the history of BLAH publication, second only to the 2014 Edition which featured Sam Nablah as the new Macrosoft CEO on its cover)

While most of the inspired talker-to-be have to spend many years of their professional career perfecting their skills, some are simply born with it. The best talker I’ve personally worked with was so good at it that when he talks, his words form an invisible bubble which shelled him not only from the outside world but also from himself. He only needed 1 or 2 minutes to warm himself up before becoming completely free from any technical, commercial, physical and mathematical constraints to do business with. The only time I needed to wake him up was when we’re about to commit to things illegal.

With him, it had been extremely efficient for the company to pin-point to that 1% of the “target customer”, who are almost certainly another group of talkers and, with whom we could easily secure at least 20 more conference calls in the next 3 months without actually doing anything. That’s when I started to believe the Handbook, the VoIP technology that many of us take for granted nowadays, had been indeed fostered by the unsung talkers.

It was quite sad that 2 years later he chose to leave us to join a bigger MNC after realising that our company plans only to do business on Earth. I can’t imagine how disappointing he must have felt.

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2016.09.19 大局观

纸牌屋第五季最后一集,总统 Frank Underwood 批评 Tom Hammerschmidt 没有大局观,在国家为应对恐怖主义忙的焦头烂额时报社居然发文抨击他的腐败。

长在红旗下的我对这种调调熟悉得不能再熟悉,以致于我一时间找不到反驳的理由。

而 Tom 只一句,”That’s the same reasoning dictators use.”

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2016.08.27 Dragon Dance

打算去Winterfeldplatz的周六集市吃个早饭的,走到半路看热闹时被拉去舞龙舞了半个小时。莫名其妙的。

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跟同志们道别后,顶着一身大汗继续前往Winterfeldplatz,希望集市还没收摊。

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2016.07.22 Work-life-balance

80% of the colleagues think that our job lacks of work-life balance. While our manager was trying to rationalise the finding and suggest a superficial advice to convince the co-workers that things could be better, I made an attempt to help him identify the real cause.

In my past job and current, overtime is nothing rare. I could be working until mid-night and felt well-balanced, but could also be knocking off slightly after normal work hour yet finding the additional 30 minutes OT utterly unjustifiable. The difference between the 2 scenarios, is how enjoyable and fulfilled I feel at the end of the day. The survey result of 80% does not mean 20% of our colleagues never checked their emails or answering business phone calls after work hour. It just means that vast majority of the team do not believe their additional efforts make a difference.

Apparently I hit the point. A senior colleague immediately continued at where I left by giving an example of what frustrates him – no matter how much emails he finishes after work hour, the backlog of his work gets longer still, and he does not feel it will ever get cleared up. Work-life-balance is not an overtime statistics, it is a feeling towards the effectiveness and satisfaction of work.

I should further relate my conclusion with my own past experiences. Once I worked with a consulting firm for a while as full time employee, the workplace was so chaotic and unprofessional, even though I had no problem leaving the office before 6 pm most of the time, the sense of unable to achieve anything kept haunting me every waking moment, and what’s worse, gave me terrible insomnia. The work was literally eating into my personal life! On the other hand, my 2 years work with EMSIS GmbH was very demanding, in terms of both time and expectations. But I would still say without a slight hesitation that those 2 years were the pinnacle of my career so far, for the sense of fulfillment I got from the value-creation work I delivered to both of my clients and colleagues. Work-life-balance? this topic had never crossed my mind.

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2016.06.13 Microsoft 并购 Linkedin

来自CEO国度的三哥真是大手笔,260亿美元买个Linkedin。

我从来不喜欢并购。自己发展不出来的事业,花钱买下来能经营好的可能性也不大,更不要说给的钱是企业估价的基础上还要上浮几十个百分点。并购Linkedin就更怪了,这种几年都不赚钱的公司,用传统的估值方法死活也只能算出负价值。而且我觉得Linkedin一直找不到自己的市场定位,恐怕也就只有三哥可以通过冥想遥测到未来该公司值260亿吧。

我只能说这锤子买卖里面Linkedin是个坑,但从Skype和Nokia的案例来看,更大的坑恐怕在微软内部。

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这种感觉很奇怪

今天去chinatown换钱。排队的时候就远远看见用中文写的告示,大意为人民币假钞多当面验钞后离柜不认。后来轮到我时换钱的还很真诚的对我说人民币假钞很多我帮你用机器过一下。

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