Saturday, January 31, 2015

Food For Thought On The Approach For Mastering Any Strategic Skill

(Reading from left to right)

"Skill is acquired through continuous practice, sophistication and depth (are achieved) by giving thought to it . "

This "martial art training" quote can be applied to the study of strategy or any subject of value.

                                                    # # #

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Assessing Strategically ... (The Minor Consequence of Underestimating the Big Tangible Picture)

(updated on 1.26.15)

Q: Could AT&T have made a better assessment on the case of mortality assumptions? 

Yes.   ... AT&T risk analysis professionals did not anticipate this situation because they did not consider the other technological-driven social-economic factors that was affected by the information economy. 

By seeing the right sequence of events that affects the presumption of improved quality of life for their specific group of retired workers, the initial assessment could have lowered the cost of $8 Billion.

In the information economy, the intake of "health-related" information usually improves in most cases regardless of the cerebral quality of the recipients. 

Without performing a deep profile on this specific group,  one could presume that this group worked for a world class information service company where the receipt of high-speed, quality information is the norm while securing good heath care is still a part of their company policy.  

Good health care and constant messages of good health practices usually create a longer mortality for the majority of that group.  ... 

Due to the simplicity of those messages that centers on the first two levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and wants. Then, the more mindful recipients would become more cautious in their heath-related decisions.

Simultaneously, health care has also improved dramatically. After awhile, some of this group of "mindfully smart" retired workers  who practiced good health conscious habits, evolved forward, to a decent healthy life .   While it is good for this group who is living a good life. this situation caused a minor glitch to their former employer's bottom line. 

In summary The risk analysts under-assessed the situation.

Here Is AT&T's Epic $8 Billion Friday-Night News Dump

The running joke in news is that companies dump news when people aren't looking, like before holidays or on Friday nights before long weekendsAT&T met the latter criteria this week.

On Friday night, AT&T disclosed that in the fourth quarter, it will take a $7.9 billion noncash, pretax loss related to an adjustment in assumptions made for its pension plan.
The company announced that on Dec. 31, it adjusted its assumed discount rate for its pension obligation to 4.3%. Previously, the company had used a 5% discount rate, according to its most recent 10-K filed with the SEC. 
The discount rate used to measure a pension obligation is what the company assumes the pension fund will return over time in order to meet its obligations. Cutting this rate means that, basically, AT&T's pension fund is expected to yield less now than it was previously, and so as a result the company will have to put additional capital into the fund to meet its future obligations.
The company also said that contributing to the loss were "updated mortality assumptions," which means that people covered under AT&T's pension plan are now living longer.
And in addition to the pension adjustment, AT&T disclosed that its Q4 results will include a $2.1 billion charge due to the abandonment of network assets after the company determined that some copper assets won't be needed to support its network in the future. 
Shares of AT&T were little changed in after-hours trade on Friday, as these kinds of impairments and hiccups can't be totally unexpected for a company that employed more than 240,000 at the end of 2013 and has a market cap of more than $170 billion.
On Twitter, Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal noted that in January 2013, the company also took a $10 billion pension charge.
But still, this isn't the best news, and burying news on a Friday night can give the impression that a company is hoping not everyone notices. Or something like that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Having Strategic Thoughts While Sipping on a Hot Cup of Dragonwell Tea.

"Regardless of the social-economic status, the ambitious strategist usually  reflect on this following point- the current velocity of life does not offer anyone the time for anyone to think reflectively and be analytical.  ... Whatever you do, focus on seeing the direction of the "Big Picture" and if the timing is right, you have to make the opportunistic move without any hesitation.  .." - An Anonymous Strategist 

We at the Dao of Strategy, preferred to anticipate a few moves ahead while implementing a half move forward through our process of assessing the configuration of the terrain with the mindfulness of pursuing the vertical position and the influencing of the right objective.

Grand Assessment 

Do you know what is your tangible destination? Those who are results-driven, usually know what they wanted.

Do you know if your map is good enough to assist you to reach that destination. Those who are process-driven, usually know what is the best tool that would get them there.

If there is a macro change, do you know if your compass is able to help you to capitalize on positive opportunities while avoiding negative circumstances?

Do you know how to reach your destination with minimal distraction while encountering the least numbers of obstacles?

More to come.   ... 

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Note on the "Clean Off Your Desk" Day (Using a Standing Table)

Winston Churchill using a standing table

Today is Clean Off Your Desk Day.  It is always a psychological benefit to operate from a "clear, clean, neat and tidy" base of operations. 

It has always been said that those who wanted to achieve great things, have usually operated from a standing desk.  

Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchhill were some of those great achievers, who have used standing tables for their work.   It has been rumored that Donald Rumfeld, Michael S. Dell and Christie Aschwanden are also standing tables users 

Minor Jotting
Before utilizing a standing table, achieving a state of centerness is quite helpful.  We will include the benefits of using a standing table and the various technicalities in a future post. 

The above picture is from

Sunday, January 11, 2015

More IPTV Trends (Post-Dec. 2014)

IPTV technology is one of the many interesting technological trends that we have been following since 2008 .

Global IPTV Forecasts: 2014 Report

PR Newswire UK (press release)
Covering 138 countries, the number of homes paying for IPTV will rocket to 191 million by end-2020; more than double the 90 million recorded at end-2013 and ...

Pricey watches and cheap phones: tech predictions for 2015
Over-the-top internet-based video—Netflix, Google Play, iTunes and the lot—are expected to “blow past” cable and IPTV to 9.5 million clients in Canada.

Wearable shipments to reach 168 million in 2019
According to a new report from the research firm Berg Insight, shipments of connected wearables reached 19.0 million in 2014, up from 5.9 million devices in the ...

Two in five Brits take time off for catch-up TV
What does the future hold for IPTV? (Lessons learned from Aereo). ABN & the future of African broadcasting. Vimeo & the search to reinvent video. TV's future ...

French TV households decline and diversify audiovisual reception
The number of French households with TVs declined in the year to June, while the number of homes receiving TV only via DTT or only IPTV fell slightly over the ...

Most Finns still prefer to watch TV on a traditional set
Telecompaper (subscription)
According to the market data collected by Ficora, there were nearly 1.5 million cable television subscriptions and 350,000 IPTV subscriptions in Finland in June ...

67% prefer to stream favourite TV shows
67% prefer to stream their favourite TV shows on-demand, rather than watch them live, according to a new report from CDN specialists Akamai. The report, State ...

Video Platforms, Players and Processing Tech 2006 - 2014: Exit ...
PR Newswire (press release)
High CAGR video platforms average 3.33x revenue, while consumer-facing solutions targeting the IPTV/OTT, entertainment and media content verticals have ...

4K demand to grow at 72% CAGR until 2018
IPTV News   
The worldwide television market is forecast to grow to 234 million units in 2014, representing a 3% growth from 2013, according to the latest research from ...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another Note on Andrew Marshall: The Yoda of The U.S. Defense Department

(Updated from a previous post  03/2014)

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 the assessment of relevant trends are in play in the national security terrain.   

As of this year, Mr. Marshall is retiring. Click here on an interesting take from The Economist.

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, herehere and here for more information on him.

Notes From Previous Interviews

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.

Getting the Best Bang For the Buck
From a The Economist interview 
Much of this admiration seems genuine, but money may also play a role. “Chen knows that Marshall is good for his budgets,” says Jonathan Pollack of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank. The same could be said of Mr Marshall’s American devotees. The ONA relies on a small network of outside contractors and individuals, often alumni of St Andy’s, to provide analysis. One large recipient of its cash is the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think-tank that is led by Mr Krepinevich and once employed Mr Watts.

Comments From the Compass Desk
So how does one assessed on the possibility 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 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 task but not impossible.

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


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Competing in the Information Economy: Silicon Valley 1 Japan 0

(updated at 11:18)

Click here on an interesting 2014 article on why Silicon Valley is prevailing over Japan.

For every successful marketable product item, there is a minimum of 99 other failures. So, what is the probability of any product being a success?

While this article explains how the Japanese—who may very well be quite creative  in terms of transforming certain objects into efficient items .  Their level of innovation is modest.  

Out here in California, some of the boys and girls at the Silicon Valley are focused on maintaining their dominance in the realm of shameless self promotion with the help of boring "rah-rah" journalism like this article.  At this moment, I disbelieved the current "change the world" message that is being displayed in some parts of Silicon Valley and other parts of the global economy. 

Fwiw,  Japan only succeeds in industries that are relatively static. In certain seasons of within vertical marketplace where dynamic changes become quite prevalent, they have competed quite poorly. 

  • Japan is slowly lost its tech edge to China in the area of manufacturing efficiency.
  • Some parts of Silicon Valley have prevailed in the marketplace because their capability of take risks and  to flood the marketplace with tons of covert marketing messages.
  • Silicon Valley isn't successful because of the foreign workers. The foreign workers are successful in the Valley because they have embraced what it offers in terms of the risk-based challenge. 
In a results-oriented competitive setting,  one must be focused on their grand objective while being mindful of the scoreboard, the configuration of one's current terrain and beyond.  

Is that easy or what?

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Strategic Suggestion for the Strategic Inclined

If you are participating in a highly competitive terrain, follow these three simple steps: 

The Compass Cycle
  • Assess the configuration of your grand setting in terms of factors. 
  • Position oneself by planning and preparation. 
  • Influence the settings with the implementation of the scheme while being mindfully aware of the target's strategic state.
If or when your influence loses its potency, reassess the configuration of your grand terrain cautiously before restarting the Compass Cycle. Be aware of the possibility of deception.

Assess. ... Position.  ... Influence.  ... 

Follow those steps.  ... You will not regret it.  We wish you good luck in your new ventures.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Staying Focused in the Efficient Economy While Wishing Everyone a Happy 2015

Unlike some of our cohorts,  I am reducing the quantity of time on the web, while staying focused on the target.

Residing in the back room, completing the following tasks:
  • Developing ideas; 
  • Managing projects;
  • Optimizing the algorithm;
  • Reading and researching unique topics; 
  • Re-optimizing the various skill sets;
  • Walking the Baguazhang circle; 
  • Practicing the Yi Quan exercises from the Cook Ding's Kitchen; and other unique IMA exercises.
Observing the Big Tangible Picture and the data in terms of the Compass Chart (The Victory Temple Model)

Happy 2015.