Monday, March 31, 2014

Profiting in the Info. Economy by Understanding the Tangibility Behind The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China

Unless you are a field expediter who is obsessed with the field action, learn to view the information economy by understanding the profiles of the competition. It will assist you in your quest to succeed. 

"Do not play the plays. Play the player."   - Anonymous Poker Player

Seven Military Strategy Classics 
In ancient China, one of the pseudo famous secrets of the Chinese strategy game is to understand the integration of Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings and Huang Shek Gong's  "Three Strategies" Classic.

Six Secret Teachings 
The Six Secret Strategic Teachings (六韬) was a treatise on military strategy attributed to the legendary figure Jiāng Zǐyá, a confederate of King Wen of Zhou, founder of the Zhou Dynasty. It is considered one of ancient China's Seven Military Classics.
The Six Strategies can be explained as follows:
1. The Civil Strategy: Never delight in small advantages or that is all you will achieve. The greatest gains result from benevolence and helping others achieve their aspirations for a better world.
2. The Military Strategy: Win with a benevolent purpose and with guile/wit, preferably without actually fighting. You can outwit a competitor through diplomacy and manipulation.
3. The Dragon Strategy: Explore the subtle and complex aspects of the situation without losing control to advisors or becoming confused. Government depends on a centralized and orderly overview which must be well informed.
4. The Tiger Strategy: You must guard against laxity and act in accord with ever-changing conditions. You must observe the effects and interactions of variables such as weather, terrain, and human psychology.
5.The Leopard Strategy: Know your strength and direct it against the weakness of your enemy.
6. The Dog Strategy: Never attack an enemy when his morale is high. Time a concentrated attack when the moment is right.

The  Three Strategies of Huang Shi Gong 
The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (黄石公三略) is a text on military strategy, one of the Seven Military Classics of ancient China.
History and authorship
Like the Six Secret Teachings, the Three Strategies is commonly attributed to Jiang Ziya, also known as Taigong. However, four other theories on the origins of the work have been put forth. The first is that the text was actually written and compiled by later followers of Taigong, rather than by the man himself. Another theory is that Huang Shigong himself may have written the text. Conservative classical scholars have declared the book a forgery. The final view is that the text was written around the end of the Former Han Dynasty by a reclusive follower of the Huang-Lao school of thought.
As its title would suggest, the Three Strategies of Huang Shigong is organized into three sections, which can be interpreted as a hierarchy of importance or as simple indicators of position in the work. The work itself states that all three types of strategy are necessary for different styles of government. Much of the work is concerned with administrative control, but some important tactical concepts are also developed. Generals are placed in a high position, and must be unquestioned once they assume command. Attacks should be swift and decisive.
There are three points which should be mastered:
1. Alternate hard and soft approaches. This means a leader must be both benevolent and awe-inspiring according to what is appropriate. This links to the second principle-
2. Act according to the actual circumstances. Avoid responses which are based on imagination, memory of the past, or habits acquired in other circumstances. You must rely only on observation and perception and be willing to modify plans at any time.
3.Employ only the capable. This requires an accurate insight into others.
Each of these principles have deep and various implications.

Side Note
For strategic project management (Agile/Lean) purposes, we re-interpreted those three points. 
  1. Assess the configuration of the strategic situation in terms of +'s and -'s
  2. Conclude the decision by balancing the assessment and the tangibility of the information behind the strategic situation
  3. Implement the choice that offers the greatest impact of efficiency.

The Compass Challenge 
“These are the ways that successful strategists are victorious. They cannot be spoken or transmitted in advance. ... Before the confrontation, they resolve in their conference room that they will be victorious, have determined that the majority of factors are in their favor. Before the confrontation they resolve in their conference room that they will not be victorious, have determined a few factors are in their favor.

If those who find that the majority of factors favor them, will be victorious while those who have found few factors favor them will be defeated, what about someone who finds no factors in their favor?

When observing from this viewpoint, victory and defeat will be apparent.”

- Art of War 1 (Paraphrased from the Sawyer's translation)

Do you understand how to frame the categorized information by using the macro variables from those two mentioned strategic classics and the Art of War?

Understanding this unique skill could enable you to gain the advantage on anticipating your competitor's next move.  

The Compass Reminder
Anticipate two steps forward while moving one step ahead of the competition is the daily approach of the successful strategist. The motives behind that tactic should be obvious.

Those who could achieve that,are able to avoid the race to the bottom.

# # # 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Applying the Chess Metaphor to Everyday Life

Following is an update of a previous post.

There are those who described their role in life with the metaphor of western chess. 

The Roles 
The pawns and the knights are those who preferred to be involved in the action of the situation.   While the pawns are usually mono-focused in their specialty, the knights are just pawns who possessed more skills and a greater range of influence.   The professional life cycles of the pawns are usually quite limited.

...  Then, there are those who have the proclivity to advise and suggested ideas and plans without ever getting their hands dirty.  They specialized in their process of the grand overview and overseeing their terrain within their limited sphere of influence.  This group of specialists can be categorized as bishops.  Securing and maintaining "The Bishop position" with the right "colored" team could be quite rewarding.  Situation matters

The rooks usually possessed the arcane knowledge and quietly observing the field view from the corner. Besides protecting the king's blindspot, he or she usually enters into the competitive field, during the middle game or the endgame.  Once the rooks are unified, their range of influence are usually greater than the other pieces.  In some instances, they are considered the secret weapons of the last resort. 

In life, the bishops sometimes managed the Rooks behind the scenes while the Rooks planned the campaigns and supervised the Knights and the Pawns.

The king and the queen are usually those who belong to the upper tier and possessed the greatest range of "strategic" influence.  In some situations, they are familiarized with the operational side of their numerous ventures.

While the King and Pawns endgames are one of the most difficult skills to master, staying even or ahead of the chaos during the transition from the middle game to the end game. Do not get accidentally isolated. 

Regardless of the role, the competitive player always remains in the game. But the successful strategist always know when to leave the game.

The Shakespeare's View
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
-  William Shakespeare's As You Like It

The masses possessed portions of the required aptitude and the behavior of each chess piece. Occasionally, there are some who have the integrated skills the behavior of the various other pieces.  Whether he or she ever gets the opportunity to participate at that competitive level is another topic.

In our competitive economy, what strategic role do you play?

                          The Compass View
While protecting the welfare of the king is the name is the game, the field players who cannot see the Big Tangible Picture, are usually pawned.  ... 

In summary, this is the outcome of extreme competition.

Comments From the Compass Desk 
This metaphor usually appears quite subtle in a predictable setting. It does not matter if one plays the game of chess.  Knowing the configuration of the situation and beyond is what counts.

Regardless of the grand situation and the values, the product of the pieces is greater than the sum of the pieces.  Situation matters.  To understand the previous point, one must focus on understanding their methodology of assessing  their Big Tangible Picture (BTP).

In our case, we preferred the integrated use of the metaphors of Go (Weiqi), Western chess, Chinese chess and a few other unique metaphors.  Why? The configuration of the situation usually determines what tactical approach to use.    ... You do know how to choose your approach and how to frame your decision.  . . .  Do you?  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Succeeding and Profiting Through the Process of Assessing, Positioning and Influencing (The SF Niners Style)

This post is an updated version of a previous entry on the San Francisco kicker.  

Throughout the past football season. some of us followed  Phil Dawson's progress. (Side note: The others are New England Patriots fans.)

In early December, Dawson was responsible for the final score against Seattle and named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his four-field-goal performance. 

After that game, Phil Dawson,was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week again against the Phoenix Cardinals.  ...  He centered himself and kicked the winning field goal again.

The head coach thought quite highly of his performance. Statistically, his scoring record was greater than the quarterback.

A few months later, The San Francisco Forty Niners re-signed him for another season for his previous season successes.

The 2013 Post
Everyone prepares for a competitive situation in their own way.  Some mediates. Others either talk and wait or practice their tactical routines.  Phil Dawson of the San Francisco Forty Niners strategizes his next game time situation by studying the weather reports and practices his kicks.

Dawson, 38, routinely mines data from, and

“I’m pretty psycho, I’ve got to admit,” he said. “It’s a borderline problem.”

Dawson’s history in wind, sleet and horizontal-blowing snow became relevant when he signed with the 49ers in March. Dawson’s new home stadium, Candlestick Park, is known for its swirling winds that mess with field-goal attempts, and kickers’ heads.

But Dawson has been there. Endured that. He’s played 204 of his 215 career games outdoors, with 108 coming at the Browns stadium, which is perched on the shores of blustery Lake Erie.

Dawson has played 12 percent of his career games in Cleveland in December. The average forecast for the city in the final month of the year: High of 30.9 degrees with 12-mile-per-hour winds and .38 inches of snow fall (that’s from, Phil).

... Despite consistently weathering less-than-ideal conditions, Dawson ranks ninth in NFL history in field-goal percentage (84.0) and third in percentage from 50-plus yards (70.6). Seventeen months removed from his 40th birthday, he’s improving with age: He ranked second in the NFL in field-goal percentage (93.5) in 2012 en route to his first Pro Bowl and has drilled 14 of 15 attempts from 50-plus yards since 2011.

The 49ers believe they’ve upgraded after six-time Pro Bowler David Akers, 38, who was cut in March, endured his worst season in 2012. Dawson has missed 14 attempts (93 of 107) since 2009, one more than Akers missed in last year’s final 14 regular-season games.

Given his sustained success, Dawson is optimistic he can handle the inevitable surprises during the 49ers’ final season at The Stick.

PHILD“I think those experiences can only help, but they’re no guarantee,” Dawson said. “So I’ve still got to put the work in. I’ve got to wear out like I always do trying to figure out hourly forecasts and wind directions. Has it rained that week? Is the field going to be soft? Is it going to be firm? All that kind of stuff. I’ve got to do my homework.”

Dawson did some advance Stick scouting in the offseason, visiting the stadium several times to get more acquainted after only playing two career games in San Francisco. In 2003, Dawson missed his only attempt, a 48-yarder, at Candlestick. In 2011, he made his only kick, a 52-yarder. Not surprisingly, Dawson recalls that he kicked in ideal conditions during his previous visits to the stadium.

“The weather’s been perfect,” Dawson said. “I’m still holding out hope that I’m bringing that with me. Lord knows I’ve played in rough stuff elsewhere.”

Dawson has also endured rough seasons, from a team perspective. He’s appeared in just one postseason game and the 49ers’ recent success was alluring when he weighed his free-agent options.

Now, the weather wonk who has kicked in all elements is eager to experience playoff conditions for the first time since 2003.

“I’m more looking forward now to kicks that are more team-centered, rather than personal accomplishments,” Dawson said. “It’s been communicated to me that’s why I’m here.”

The full post may be read here. Click here for another view of this story

Assessing the Process of Phil Dawson 
On the field, Mr. Dawson operates without any gadget. His research already told him what would the weather be at that game day and at that specific time. Dawson knows the direction and the momentum of the wind at any part of the football field at any specific moment during the game and methodically follows his sequence of "readiness to implementation" with no hesitation.


He assesses by intuitively focusing on the range, the wind direction, the wind speed (by looking at the flags), the temperature, and humidity. 

The first step of Positioning is the maneuvering toward the right place where Dawson begins the process of visualization while synchronizing his breathing with the projected execution. He then pre-positions his kick to the ready position while being mindful of the wind direction and the location of the yellow-colored goal posts.

This step begins when he scores the field goal and after the play is over. His team becomes more confident with him. In a climate-challenging situation, they know that there is a positive chance that he will score the field goal.

Influence always comes from a well-honed assessment and well-planned positioning.  Execute the influence is the endpoint of the process

To an outsider, it looks simple. But, Mr. Dawson have spent many hours, preparing himself for all types of complex-driven competitive situation. But nothing is ever simple especially in a highly stressed, high reward situation where there are other multi-components that also allowed the kick to be effective.

The Questions of the Day
Regardless of the situation, do you assess, position and influence your strategic situation with a script?

Like Phil Dawson, are you willing to spend the time assessing the specifics of your situations or bonding with your teammates?

Remember, victory love preparation

The Compass Approach to 
Maneuvering and Prevailing 
in a Complex Situation

Compass Rule: The time that it takes to assess, and position is inversely proportionally to that the time it takes to influence.

By realizing the complexity, the risk, the uncertainty and the volatility of a given situation, the successful strategists take their time to assess their situation systemically.  After a few sessions of intense preparation, the practice of implementing the "assess, position and influence" steps becomes automatic in a "real-time" competitive situation

The process model of Assessing, Positioning and Influencing requires absolute act of planning, preparation and practice.  Do you have the time, the discipline and the drive to do that?

From our experience, assessing, positioning and influencing through a script enables the implementer to become psychologically methodological. With practice, one could becomes subtle in one's own action. 

Some More Questions 
Do you ever methodically assess the targeted terrain before implementing your action? 

Do you make selective assessment a daily habit?   

Side note: The key to building this habit begins with the act of centering.

# # #

Friday, March 28, 2014

Understanding the Big Tangible Picture by Connecting the Relevant Dots from the Art of War (1)

The Compass Chart
updated at 18:18 hrs
Pseudo gurus usually possessed a difficult time, understanding how to use the Art of War principles in a systematic way.  Some usually choose a few quotes to motivate their flocks of lambs.  Others just use a quote or two as an approach to completing their intended venture.

Does that strategic approach work in a complex setting?

Many years ago, we researched that the most effective approach to understanding the strategic state of the Big Tangible Picture is to study the grand overview of a situation in terms of the Five Critical Strategic Factors (CSF) and then connecting the tactical factors to  .. It is that simple. 

Step 1 Defining the Strategic Configuration of the Big Tangible Picture (The "Ji" of one's settings)
Understanding the state of competitiveness within a situation and how the five critical strategic factors connect to it, is the general approach.   Does it sound easy?

Comparing and contrasting the strategic specifics is what most chief decision makers do. However, it does not tell them whether the deception factor prevails within their concept of the Big Tangible Picture and whether the act of technical manipulation could be executed.

Based on the depthness of the collected information, the chief decision maker could conclude on the objective and the tactic. Based on the quality of the information, does he/she trust it?

From the field level, the expediters usually relied on their experience, sometimes go with their gut instinct and improvise from situation to situation, with no idea of what is ahead.   Some succeed. Others fail.

What is the probability of being a victim of disinformation, especially in a complex situation?

The Compass Model: The Compass Chart
Finding a singularity in a competitive situation, that results in an advantageous gain begins by proper strategic assessment. 

Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.  

Specifically, we preferred to assess the overall situation in terms of the following qualities:
  • the matrix of the connectivity behind the configuration of the situation; 
  • the cyclical stage of the momentum-based situation;
  • the transitional state of the situation;
  • the leadership effectiveness of the chief decision makers (CDM); and  
  • the efficacy of the CDM's logistics.

More to come

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Applying the Essence of the Dao De Jing in One's Mindfulness Session

Whether you are practicing yoga or reading the Wall Street Journal, it is difficult to stay focused on that act without being distracted.  Most people are not able to function in solitude. They also feel that they needed to be energized 24/7 regardless of the situation.

Some are energized through the consummation of alcohol or food.  Others do it through physical activities. We do it through a combination of our version of scripting and the practice of Baguazhang or Yiquan before drinking our first cup of tea.

As one matures, the appreciation of serenity becomes a luxury. Having the skill of quietude is rare.

Without stirring abroad

One can know the whole world;

Without looking out the window
One can see the way of heaven.
The further one goes
The less one knows.
Therefore the sage knows without having to stir,
Identifies without having to see,
Accomplishes without having to act.

DDJ 47

When one is mindfully centered, he/she might be synchronized to the Dao of his situation.

The Dao gave birth to One. The One gave birth to Two. The Two gave birth to Three. The Three gave birth to all of creation. All things carry Yin yet embrace Yang. They blend their life breaths in order to produce harmony.
People despise being orphaned, widowed, and poor. But the noble ones take these as their titles. In losing, much is gained, and in gaining, much is lost.
What others teach I too will teach:   "The strong and violent will not die a natural death."   
 DDJ 42 

Does that mean that he/she knows the world?

"The Successful Strategist observes signs from the movements of Heaven and Earth and knows its principles. He observes the movement of the sun and the moon and understand their seasonal activity. He follows the cycles of day and night, taken them as his constant. All things have life and death in accord with the principles of Heaven and Earth. Thus it is said that if one fights before understanding the situation, even if he is more numerous, he will certainly be defeated."
"One who excels at competition will await events in the situation without making any movement. When he sees he can be victorious, he will arise; if he sees he cannot be victorious, he will desist. Thus it is said that he does not have any fear, he does not vacillate. Of the many harms that can beset an organization, indecision is the greatest. Of disasters that can befall an organization, none surpasses doubt."
"One who excels in competition will not lose an advantage when he perceives it or be doubtful when he meets the opportunity. One who loses an advantage or lags behind the time for action will, on the contrary, suffer from disaster. Thus the wise follow the time and do not lose an advantage; the skillful are decisive and have no doubts. He strikes like a sudden clap of thunder, which does not give time to cover ears; strike like a flash of lightning, which does not give time to close the eyes. Advance as is suddenly startled; employ your team as if deranged. Those who oppose you will be destroyed; those who come near will perish. Who can defend against such an attack?"
"Now when matters are not discussed and general preserves their secrecy, he is superior. When things are not manifest but he discerns them, he is wise. Thus if superior and wise, no enemies will act against him in the field, nor will any state stand against him."
"Excellent!" said King Wu.
- Paraphrased from Six Secret Teachings 26


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fan Li: The Consummate Strategist

Source: Wikimedia

Fan Li was a famous, successful Chinese strategist who understood the power of Shock and Awe and the importance of staying ahead of the current and the future opponents. 

Shock and Awe
The often taunted Shock and Awe  tactic was not invented during the 21st century.  One can find some aspect of it during  the warring history of Imperial China. 

Many of the serious students of the Art of War know about the story of how Sunzi used a "Shock and Awe" maneuver to transform an undisciplined group of the Emperor's royal concubines into a perfectly marching platoon.

The Fan Li's Tale

During the warring states, the great Fan Li who served Goujian, the ruler of Yue, implemented a psychological "Shock and Awe" strategy that shattered the mind set of their opposition- Wu's state.  It also enabled the Yue troops to subjugate their Army.

Side note: Sun Wu (aka. Sunzi) mentored the ruler of the Wu State in the principles of strategy.   ...  The Wu's ruler and his advisers had already exiled him from their court by the time Fan-Li and the Yue army fought them.

Fan Li utilized an unorthodox  tactic that is called "Killing the Chickens to Shock The Monkey" where 300 condemned prisoners was inspired to march to the edge of the enemy's line where the troops of Wu were stationed at. Concurrently, there were 500 warriors from the Yue state that were concealing behind the bushes.

After arriving at their enemy line, these 300 condemned men announced their loyalty to the Yue state and slitted their throats altogether. This surprised action shocked the Wu Troops so dramatically that they began to scream in utter confusion. The confidence of the Wu solders immediately dissipated and fled in terror.

Yue's troops immediately attacked the retreating opposition. During the onslaught, thousands of the Wu troops were slaughtered and Helu the King of Wu became mortally wounded.


The intent of this unorthodox strategy was to target the psychological weaknesses of the competitor's leader and their troops.  Due to its originality, the targeted competitor was caught off guard.  The outcome became devastating for the losing side. 

Retrospectively, an underdog usually prevails in an extreme competitive situation through the approach of combining the qualities of directness and indirectness. 

Q: Do you know how to subjugate your competition through the use of various unorthodox means?  

Side note:  It was rumored that Fan-Li was an ardent reader of  Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings.  

Click here for an interesting perspective on Shock and Awe" from St Petersburg Times.

# #

From Wikipedia
Fan Li (Chinese范蠡pinyinFàn Lǐ) was an ancient Chinese advisor in the state of Yue in the Spring and Autumn Period. He had been to the state of Wu as hostage together with King Goujian of Yue. Three years later they came back and he helped Goujian to carry on a reform. At last Yue was able to defeat the state of Wu. After the victory he resigned and renamed himself Tao Zhu Gong (Chinese陶朱公pinyinTáo Zhūgōng; literally "Lord Tao Zhu"). He became a successful businessman in his later years and was famous as a rich person.
In the legend, after the fall of Wu, Fan Li retired from his ministerial post and lived with Xi Shi on a fishing boat, roaming like fairies in the misty wilderness of Tai He Lake, and no one has seen them ever since.
Fan Li managed a pharmacy selling traditional Chinese medicine. The pharmacy originally included only two elderly employees, He Bo (Chinese何伯pinyinHé Bó) and De Shu (Chinese德叔pinyinDé Shū). The business began to expand only when Tao Zhugong hired He Bo's youngest son, Xiao Wen (Chinese小文pinyin:Xiăo Wén).
Fan Li became one of the prototypes of the late folk deity of Prosperity (Cai Shen). He is ascribed with writing a book known in English as "Golden Rules of Business Success" (simplified Chinese经商宝典traditional Chinese經商寶典pinyinJīng Shāng Băo Diăn). This book, most probably of a later origin, remains popular today as its advice is sometimes considered timeless. It includes Twelve Business Principles and Twelve Business Pitfalls describing the art of successful business management.
Fan Li was unusual among tycoons for his view of money. He believed that one who understood money would be willing to abandon it if it became a burden. It is only a means to an end and should not be taken too seriously. Nonetheless, it must be handled and acquired according to principles. Fan Li also urged a somewhat loose construction of these principles, encouraging broad and flexible utilization in various situations.
The Twelve Golden Rules are as follows:
  • Ability to know people's character. You must perceive evidence of characteristics from experience.
  • Ability to handle people. Never prejudge a prospect.
  • Ability to stay focused on the business. Have a definite focus in life and business and avoid jumping around.
  • Ability to be organized. A disorganized presentation is unappealing.
  • Ability to be adaptable. Make sure you are organized enough to respond quickly.
  • Ability to control credit. Do not allow nonpayment. Make sure you collect what is owed.
  • Ability to use and deploy people. Use employees in ways which bring out their potential(s).
  • Ability to articulate and market. You must be able to educate customers on the value of goods.
  • Ability to excel in purchasing. Use your best judgement in acquiring stock.
  • Ability to analyze market opportunities and threats. Know what is selling according to areas and trends.
  • Ability to lead by example. Have definite rules and standards. Make sure they are followed to ensure good relations.
  • Ability to have business foresight. Know market trends and cycles.
The Twelve Golden Safeguards are:
  • Don't be stingy. Never confuse efficiency with inhumanity.
  • Don't be wishy-washy. Be confident in pursuing opportunities. Time is of the essence.
  • Don't be ostentatious. Do not overspend in order to make an impression.
  • Don't be dishonest. Truth is the only basis for business. Without it someone will get hurt.
  • Don't be slow in debt collection. Without collections, liquidity is affected.
  • Don't slash prices arbitrarily. This will only trigger a price war in which everyone will lose.
  • Don't give in to herd instinct. Make sure the opportunities are real and not part of a craze.
  • Don't work against the business cycle. When things fall in price, they will then rise and vice versa.
  • Don't be a stick-in-the-mud. Keep up with things and make progress. Examine new things objectively.
  • Don't overbuy on credit. Credit is not license to spend wildly.
  • Don't under-save (keep reserve funds strong). When business is slow, one with money can expand while others close.
  • Don't blindly endorse a product. Make sure your vendors are still following standard operating procedure.
Click here on a literary view of Fan Li's life. 

Comments From the Compass Desk
Those who are capable to leaving from a macro success, with their head in tact and able to establish a successful second life, is the consummate strategist.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interesting Trivia on The Best Practices of World Class Strategic Thinkers and Achievers

Following is our abridged list of proven and unproven trivia that we have researched:

  • Rewrote his music composition constantly until it was visually perfect
Bill Walsh
  • Always scripted a gameplan before proceeding on anything.
  • Usually implemented a starter script of plays that barely had any connections from any recent games.
  • Always had the minimum of one more scripted play than the competing coach.
  • Believed in the concept of the system over goals. (If one believes in the system and follows it, the score takes care of itself.)
Jiang Tai Gong  (known as the Father of Strategic Studies)
  • Emphasized on the practice  of creating a situation that lures the "intended and willing" target toward the fisherman 
  • Emphasized on the practice  of catching orcas and sharks not goldfishes and guppies
  • Emphasized the practice of reading the situation, profiling the principals in a situation and identifying their configuration before ever deciding on the objective and the tactical approach.
John Nash (Nobel Prize Winning Economist)
  • Brainstormed his ideas while cycling in a figure eight pattern and humming J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue.
Mike Shanahan (former coach of Washington Redskins) 
  • Uses a 15 Plays starter script to determine the tendencies of the competition 
  • Always took proud in possessing a larger playbook than the competition
Miyamoto Musashi
  • Dedicated himself to his profession by practicing the art of minimalism.
  • Utilized two swords in certain combat situation while carrying a minimum of three implements.
  • Utilized a wooden sword once he realized his sword skill has reached the highest level of swordmanship.
  • Was known to use a standing table when writing his music
  • Visualized the content of his composition before writing his music
  • Wrote his composition in one attempt.  
Steve Jobs
  • Always emphasize on simplicity and quality in his products.

Sun Bin
  • Emphasized on the practice of being tenacious, guile and insightful in adverse situations
  • Emphasized the employment of various bait and lure tactics for the purpose of influencing the competitor into a disadvantageous situation
  • Able to recite the entire text of the Art of War essay
  • Emphasized the art of strategic efficiency in his famous essay  (Art of War)
  • Believed in the approach of prevailing in a competitive situation through the exploitation of unorthodox and orthodox tactics
Wang Xu
  • Taught the development of one's foundation of awareness through the various exercises for the purpose of learning strategy 
  • Focused on the process of assessing, positioning and influencing one's settings while becoming mindful of the objective of being strategically effective.
  • Taught Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings to his many students (Sun Bin, Zhang Yin and others) .

Wuzi (The writer of Wuzi's Art of War)
  • Believed in dedicating oneself to the grand cause of his employer.
  • Specialized in strategic efficiency
Zhang Liang
  • Strategize on being positionally ahead of the situation through the implementation of a "complete" strategy.
  • Famous for 
  • Preferred to operate from a remote site. 
  • Buried with his copy of "Six Secret Teachings."  It was  rumored that a copy of "The Three Strategies of Huang Shek Gong" was included in the process.
Zhuge Liang
  • Understood many subject matters (agriculture, engineering, meteorology, geology, etc.).
  • Relied greatly on certain circumstances before acting. 


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Andrew Marshall: The Yoda of The U.S. Defense Department

(updated at 21:18)

In the business of maintaining the national security, the responsibility of strategic forecasting lies on the shoulder of the few.  Andrew Marshall is one of them. He leads the Office of Net Assessment since its inception in 1973.

The budding strategists should read up on him.  He is one of the best in assessing what trend is relevant in the business of national security.   

In an interview in 2012 the main author of four of the Chinese defence white papers General Chen Zhou stated that Marshall was one of the most important and influential figures in changing Chinese defence thinking in the 1990s and 2000s.

Foreign Policy named Marshall one of its 2012 Top 100 Global Thinkers, "for thinking way, way outside the Pentagon box"   -  Wikipedia

Click herehere, here, here and here for more information on him.

From a Wired 2003, interview 

Andrew Marshall

Q: Does new technology ultimately make us more or less vulnerable?
A: A friend of mine, Yale economist Martin Shubik, says an important way to think about the world is to draw a curve of the number of people 10 determined men can kill before they are put down themselves, and how that has varied over time. His claim is that it wasn't very many for a long time, and now it's going up. In that sense, it's not just the US. All the world is getting less safe.
Comments From the Compass Desk
So how does one focuses on the future without being too mindfully aware of the present?   The initial step begins by possessing the conscious feeling of no constraints and no worry of danger before identifying the on-coming trends. Estimating the range, the complexity of this any on-coming trend before connecting its inner attributes to the configuration of the Big Tangible Picture, is the macro step that most people have trouble performing. 

Assessing the tangibility of a trend by testing the extensiveness of its after-effect in a strategic simulation setting. To most people, it is quite tricky but not impossible.

Side Note
Those who seriously studied Yiquan, would understand that sole point from the practice of centering oneself.