Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Earning Money To Work

Working to earn money to spend on yourself and family is a common thing, but when people work to earn money so that they can continue working is another thing. This trend I've noticed quite some time ago, and I just cannot understand why we actually have to resort to this kind of mentality.

Two or three years back I came across three Jaya Jusco cashiers shopping for shoes in Jaya Jusco itself. I guess they're on their break, or have already finished their shift for the day. While two girls are looking for casual shoes, one girl was looking for work shoes. She said (in malay), "My shoes is in a bad condition already. Wanna get a new working shoes." A cashier in Jaya Jusco can earn about RM600 - RM800, and they wanna spend about RM100 on shoes to work?!

My wife knows very well that the I buy about 3 new work shirts in the past 12 months. And I'm still wearing some work shirts from 2002 and I'm fine with it. I wear the same work shoes everyday, with one back-up at home. I alternate between two set of belts weekly. I have four work pants, and several ties. Am I a cheapskate?! Yes I am! Hahaha... but seriously, who are we trying to impress to spend money on stuff we wear to work?! Our bosses?! So that he/she can say, "hm.... this employee's good. He wears different shirt in the past ten days, as compared to Mr Javalier who wears yellow on Monday, blue on Tuesday, red on Wednesday,... etc, let's give this one a raise!"??

What's worse is peer pressure in a working environment. I'm going to repeat myself here again. Just because you work in the big-5, you have to spend quite a bit of your income on expensive food?! "Executive like us, we better eat in places like Coffee Bean, and not mamak. People will think we are a failure to our company, or that our company is a failure not being able to pay us well." Really, we need to have a tv ad, not only about good consumer behaviour (buying only what you need), but we need to push the ad to purchasing for yourself and your loved ones, NOT for your company. Please lah.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Potential or Stretching Yourself Thin?

My lack of updating my blog came from ridiculous amount of work piling up on me due to manager's quitting and their tasks are assigned for me to do. Just eight months ago I'm concentrating fully on sales, then three months later I'm given a task of managing a serviced office on top of sales. Barely two months later, I have taken up liaison exec with all tenants of my building. And now, as two managers will be quitting this week itself, I have already been dumped legal documents for me to do some legal related tasks, and by Wednesday I'll be also managing the building's maintenance, of course, until both maintenance and legal/finance manager is replaced, whenever that will be.

Two kindergarten of thoughts arises here, one would be to look at it as potential, and another to look at it as danger. Some people would rub their hands together in glee, with the knowledge that more task = more responsibility = more indispensible = higher chance for promotion. I guess I can safely put this as the optimistic view. The pessimistic view will look at it as more task = less focus on each task = less performance on each task = higher chance for demotion/getting fired.

Whatever it is, I'm not trying to be optimistic or pessimistic. I'm going to be logical. With these tasks falling on me, I can already feel the "time vs work done" problem. I understand that there are many people out there who would love to be in my position holding so many responsibilities. What I need to do is prioritize. And my priority is to ensure that I deliver my work. To do so, I really need to analyse whether all these tasks can be handled effectively with the time given to me.

For one thing, these tasks require me to be in the building most of the time, therefore will affect my sales. If I'm out doing sales more, then the building will be in disarray with lack of management staff to handle any tenants' issues. Therefore, I have decided that I will need to let go of sales (with bosses' permission) until all the managers are replaced. With IT background and some other backgrounds not related to finance and engineering, I know I will not replace them anytime soon.

Anyway, this is not a business post. It's purely a post to myself to make sure I do not stretch myself too thin that I lose all potential.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tele-Sales People

Here I wish to really put down several company's name BECAUSE they have overstepped their boundaries in getting sales.

Lately I've been receiving too many tele-sale calls from companies. Two things that I notice in their conversation which really turn me off is rudeness and pushy. Basically, all phonecalls went like this. Conversation in brackets is what's on my mind while having the phone conversation.

MCH Salesperson: Hello, is that Mr Javalier?

Me: Yes, speaking.

MCH Salesperson: Oh hello, I'm calling from Promark Partners. I understand that you have signed up with bla bla hotel before?

Me: Yes, I did.

MCH Salesperson: Well, I just want to let you know that hotel is no more related to Promark. Here I want to tell you of a special deal. You can stay at any 21 hotels in Malaysia for 60% off! And we even have dining priviledges, you can eat alone at 40% off or with friends and your share is totally free! Furthermore, bla bla (MCH, when this lady gonna stop talking?! Dun even have the courtesy to ask if I'm busy).

Me: Ok.

MCH Salesperson: It's only RM499, Mr Javalier. So, you want to charge to your Visa or Master?

Me: (WTF?!? Since when I agree?!?) Sorry, not interested.

MCH Salesperson: But why, Mr Javalier. This is a good offer. It lasts for a whole year you know. bla bla bla...

Me: Nevermind, it's okay.

MCH Salesperson: But... more sales pitch, more sales pitch...

Basically I'll end the call in a variety of ways. Now,... after receiving a few more phonecalls of similar manner, I decided to pay attention to which company they're from and give them a piece of my mind. The three companies that got the below respond from me are Hotel Istana, Holiday Villa and even Standard Chartered bank for their credit card.

MCH Salesperson: So, you want to charge to your VISA or MASTER?

Me: Well, actually I'm already interested to sign up coz' my friends did. But now after your call, I don't think I should.

MCH Salesperson: Why is that, Mr Javalier?

Me: Simply put, your hotel/bank is very bad on customer service. Their salesperson did not bother to ask if I'm busy, and then they act as if the phonecall is already a sales transaction. So, well, I don't have anymore faith in your hotel if you management trains the sales team this way. Thank you.

A tad direct, but I guess it'll have to be that way. Or else Malaysia will lose it's image as a courteous and polite country. My LAST tele-sales conversation with the Std Chartered Credit Card salesperson happened when I was eating, so while she blabs about her product, I made sure I ate soundly. :D

I even had this one tele-sales person who was a malay guy who I believe is in his 40's saying (and translated), "Please lah, but from me. You're malay, I'm malay. Malay must help malay you know" to which I replied "So I let go of RM400++ to you, how are you helping me? Give me a one-night stay for every ringgit I give, then we'll talk."

All is not bad in Malaysia. Since I've decided to be open with the companies I'm not happy about, there are some that was okay, albeit pushy. Walton International salesperson was courteous to ask whether I am busy and checked when I'm free, and then proceed to INTRODUCE ONLY the products without any push. Same goes for Southern Bank Berhad's salesperson who did ask if I was busy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

McDonalds Honest 'Mistake'?

Note: Thanx Kuek for telling me that the KFC's fish sandwich is already in circulation on other countries and doing well.

Lately, for quick lunches I opted for McDonalds since no hand washing necessary and no plates + tables necessary. I noticed that they have three burgers that's priced at RM2.50 as a promotion that has been going on for some time. One burger, amazingly is the double chess burger. I'll let you see the Value Meal in comparison for Ala Carta for the burgers.

McValue Meal

McChicken Burger + Fries (M) + Coke (M) = RM6.75

Dbl Cheese Burger + Fries (M) + Coke (M) = RM6.75

Ala Carte

McChicken - RM4.95 Fries (M) - RM2.50
Coke (M) - RM1.95 Total = RM9.40

Dbl Cheese - RM2.50 Fries (M) - RM2.50
Coke (M) - RM1.95 Total = RM6.95

If you buy the McChicken value meal (RM6.75) instead of buying them ala carte (RM9.40), you save RM2.65. Basically, you get the Fries free of charge and another 15 cents.

But, if you buy the Double Cheeseburger meal (RM6.75) instead of buying them ala carte (RM6.95), you save only 20 cents.

You save 1200% more buying the McChicken meal than the Dbl Cheeseburger meal. McDonald's honest mistake? Or clouded agenda?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

KFC's Smart Move

In the early 1990s, the name Kentucky Fried Chicken was changed to KFC. The still kept their motto of Finger Licking Good. The main reason for such change is to submerge (or hide) the word "Fried". I know this for a fact, and I don't need a bibliography to prove my claim.

Anyway, since the name KFC also successfully hide the other words "Kentucky" and "Chicken", KFC decided to launch a Fish Sandwich!!

When I first saw KFC's Fish Sandwich advert in The Star page 16 main paper, I was having my business cap on. My first thought was... KFC went out of focus. If I am a competitor, I will find this move a weakness on KFC's side, trying to garner market share from fish lovers. Like a desperate move to make more profit. I think many competitors will share the same feeling I am having. It's true if you look at it. Why would a food industry who have been relying on chicken throughout their 30++ years of business would suddenly lost focus and create a fish product?! 1) Desperation for profit aka weak or 2) A smart move.

KFC's rebranding from the original Kentucky Fried Chicken wasn't a fluke. Since they're KFC, and the motto doesn't mention 'chicken' at all, though their mascot is a chicken and display signs shows chicken, it's totally alright to start a non-chicken product. This will put them in the same playing field as Secret Recipe who started with the main product of cake, and has slowly moved towards a dining restaurant serving other things than cakes.

There is no lost in focus, the focus has always been 'customer', and putting on a consumer cap, one thing for sure, Malaysians love trying new products, and they will try the Fish Sandwich. And if it does well, it'll be incorporated into the menu. If they can be successful in that, we'll see more non-chicken products by them.

On the other hand, another franchise called Manhattan Fish Market is slowly being called MFM for short. Still, the long words appear on their logo. I wonder if in the future they will hide the word "Fish" and serve other products. Don't go into the battle of "Since it's FISH, why are they serving prawns, squids and crabs?!?". We don't need to go too detailed on english words now do we?

Another Stupidity

Because I'm at the site office, I faxed my leave form back to headquarters. It's the most logical thing to do.

Then, I got a phonecall. The HR Manager actually told my coordinator, to tell me that next time the original copy must be sent instead of a faxed copy. What the?! I decided to be sarcastic and said, okay, next time I'll get a courier service to send this one piece of paper back to the office, to which my coordinator said, "Yeah, that's what the HR manager wants."

Hello?!? How much is fax cost vs courier service cost? Some people really have problems utilising God's gift to the species called homo sapiens.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In The Face Of Stupidity

Before I get to the core point of the stupidity I faced, I want to bring up something that Morpheus told Neo when Neo was about to jump across the building in The Matrix. He said "Don't think you can, know you can." I had a discussion with my cousin on these usage of words. We decided that "know" is still doubtful. The following example, if used on you by someone, would have an impact, especially the last line.

"I think you are stupid" - 50% doubt
"I believe you are stupid" - 25% doubt
"I know you are stupid" - 1% doubt
"You ARE stupid" - 0% doubt

Back to the main story, this was what I faced. A family of five (2 adults and 3 kids) invited a two families, FamilyA being 3 adults and 1 baby, and FamilyB having 3 adults and 3 kids. They were invited to have lunch together. Key word: "together". So both these families came, who don't really know each other. We are FamilyA.

We came in, none of the host was around, though we did see the host pressing the automatic gate earlier. Only the maid is seen. After 3-5 mins, one adult host came to greet. Another 5 mins, another adult host came to greet. Then FamilyB came, and FamilyA intro-ed themselves to FamilyB. Seems FamilyB's kids know the host kids. So, the kids joined up and played. Female adult host was busy attending to the food on the table.

Then we were all invited to eat. All adults of FamilyA and FamilyB. What of the host?! Oh.. the male host was nowhere to be seen. The female host just sat there, looking at us eat. So much for a lunch get-together. No different from a restaurant setting except that the food is free.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year 2006

When I first entered college in 1996, I stopped making a new year resolution. Reason? Coz' I don't want to conform so I think it's 'cool' to not have a resolution since it's just another date, another number, etc. And then all those wise people saying "You don't have to wait for a new year to change, tomorrow is the beginning of a new day!" quotes. Since I'm married with a kid, I think it's not really a resolution to start character or life anew that's important, but it's more like a 'budgeting' of a new year for me and my family that's important. Thus, the following will be my new year goals (not resolution), more for me to achieve than to actually tell you readers.

New Year Goals (On Self and Family)
1. To get more humanity away from my zombie side. Before the end of the year, I aim to have at least 10% of my income NOT from my full-time job.

2. Achieve the four times blood donation scheduled for Mar, Jun, Sep and Dec. And NOT in Pusat Darah Negara.

3. To further continue spending as less 'extra' time at work as scheduled in my letter of offer.

4. To upgrade my PC somewhere in the first quarter of 2006. Hehe.... tsk tsk tsk.

5. To reduce fear of being professionally social and really BE professionally social, to clients, tenants, whoever I meet, by mid-2006.

6. To get rid of my my morbid self, or reduce it to a minimal. Oh no you will not, Mr Javalier! - Morbid Self

7. -to further add within the next week when I can think of more things-

New Year Goals (On Blog)
Because I can see a better focus for my blog, the theme of my blog for 2006 will be geared towards businesses.
1. Finish my five-part story on Ah Kim. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

2. Growing up, there were a few businesses/product that caught my attention. Might as well learn more about them. Therefore, will do a study and research on the following businesses.
a) Projet - How Projet fight for market share against 6-7 established petrol station in Malaysia.
b) Tic Tac vs Kit Kat - Both are long-standing brands, and Tic Tac's small snack product for niche market of little children is a co-sponsor for an F1 team.
c) Airasia - How they generate profit with low cost and profit millions, and how they decide on strategies of expansion leaving their 'competitor' far behind.
d) Bread Market - 2004-05 was a boom for new bread business such as the likes of Bread Story, Bread Talk, Papa Roti, and tons more! How is La Boheme, King's Confectionary and other long-standing bread shop handles the competition?
e) Fads - Tamagochi lived and died. Pokemon lived and is dying. Mashimaro lived and would be dying soon. So, what makes Hello Kitty and Garfield survive through the years?
f) Market share battle - After 10 years of gourmet coffee shops (Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Gloria Jeans) in Malaysia, how does fast food (KFC, McD, A&W) industry fight for market shares.
g) Can I create a business for a niche market, or fight against competition for mass market? (probably private postings)

3. Detail with 'kept information' on my journey towards humanity.

4. To update my blog at least 3 times a week.

The above goals shall be reviewed on 1st July 2006.