Seven Days

“It took seven days to reach you, did it not?” she said, referring to the document she had sent him the last time.

“No, it took nine days. The average is about there anyways,” he replied.

“I remember it took seven.”

“No, it took nine,” he said again, this time with a hint of irritation.

She looked at him and half squinted her eyes, and said, “I’m sure it took seven. Anyway, we’ll do the same thing again. I’ll send it over to you the same way.” And with that, she walked away.

He felt a little peeved that they couldn’t quite agree on the time it took. He was certain that it took nine days for the document to reach him from the time it was sent.

He hated to be wrong; and the way it stood, he was wrong as far as she was concerned.

He went online, and after about 15 minutes of searching through his e-mail archives, managed to find evidence that it did, indeed, take nine days for the document to reach him. He printed out the e-mail, and armed with it, went looking for her.

Upon finding her, he wasted no time in telling her so.

“There, you see? It took nine days!” he said, pointing to the printed e-mail.

“Okay,” she replied, looking at him and smiling.

He looked at her quizzically. “Okay?”

“Yeah,” she said, “Okay.”

The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 principle says that 80% of our profits come from 20% of our customers.

In customer-relationship management or CRM, that leads us to believe that we should therefore concentrate our resources on those 20%.

But what happens in the long run if you dedicate more and more resources to the top 20%?

  • You get fewer customers overall, as budgets for recruitment of new customers decrease
  • You become extremely dependent on those top 20% — which is all and well if that’s your strategy, but a highly risky one
  • You get fewer new customers who are likely to be part of that 20%
  • Some in the 80%, whom if you had continued allocating adequate resources to (i.e. maintaining a level of service/support before shifting the focus to the 20%) might have become some of your biggest customers, thus you lose opportunities

This is not an extensive list of what may happen after the focus shifts from the overall good service/support of the company to a more hierarchal method of resource-allocation, but it provides some insights into what might happen.

Running and Leadership

Waking up for 6am runs is a damn pain in the arse, and that’s an understatement. When my alarm goes off at 5.50, I think to myself, “man, can I just go back to sleep? I’ll just tell Wei Hao I overslept.”

At 5.55, when my next alarm (I always set two alarms, just in case) goes off I force myself up.

“If I don’t do this today,” I tell myself, “I won’t do this any day.”

I suppose it’s the very integrity of it all. The behaving in ways consistent with the things I believe in. If I don’t push myself in the physical aspects of my life, how can I push myself in other aspects? And if I don’t push myself in general, how can I push others to greater achievement as well?

Staying Out

I’ve been in Perth for a little over a week now. I’m now staying out of hostel (I used to stay in Currie Hall), renting a place not far away with two of my best friends here (one of whom I am in a romantic relationship with (it’s Wei Hao of course! Would I go into a relationship with Li Shya??))

Staying out has been a real different experience. I guess you could say that studying prepares you (however minimally) for the working world, while staying out, I believe, prepares you for the real-world home environment (you don’t get much chance to move out in Singapore, with its high property prices and tolerance (maybe even pursuit) of the nuclear family living under one roof).

It has been fun thus far. But alas, it has only been a week since I’ve been back. Much as I have been enjoying the independence (or to a greater extent interdependence) moving out has given me, I have had my fair share of warnings.

I was warned (not for the first time) last night that living with a girlfriend may not be the best idea (“many couples I know had big quarrels when staying together. It’s got to do with seeing the same face day in, day out.”)

These warnings are not meant to dampen my fun and enjoyment of the home, but rather, as a way of lowering my expectations and toughening me up lest I am caught unprepared for a big fight.

But I think that the terrible way living with someone else went last year (with Martin, whom might be a nice friend and a great acquaintance, but far from my ideal roommate) have allowed me a glimpse into the world that could (go wrong).

I gained much from that experience. And here’s a list of lessons I learnt:

  • Things can go wrong. It’s almost impossible to prepare yourself for the difficulties unless you’ve had experience staying with someone else (and difficulties arose, and you managed to solve them).
  • Autonomy is very often needed. You can’t always know when the other would rather be alone, with his or her own friends, doing his or her own things. It’s better to err on the side of caution and give that person more space than you think he or she needs.
  • There will always be bad days. Everyone goes through a bad patch once in a while. Sometimes all it takes is a stubbed toe to ignite a huge fight. What you need to do is to understand this fact, knowing that everyone can’t be cheery all the time, and let the bad feelings go as soon as possible. Forgive; don’t forget.
  • Tolerance is key. But everyone has their limit. When someone does something you don’t like, and it irks the hell out of you, tolerate it, first. When you’ve calmed down and feeling more objective, approach that person and tell him or her why you were feeling like you were. Any decent person would attempt to change his or her behaviour.

There are probably more things I have learnt, but I can’t quite recall them all now. I will extend this list when I do.

I shall be going back to reading now. Books teach good.