Monday, May 25, 2015

The Return to The Theory of "The Dao of Everything"

(Updated on 5/25/15)

Many weeks ago,  Hillary Clinton, current presidential candidate visited Mayor Ed Lee at Red Blossom Tea, a San Francisco's Chinatown tea store for the obvious publicity reasons.

This presidential candidate  presented her brand of leadership by establishing the act of credibility with some of her vast voter base. She methodically displayed the courage of leaving a tea store and began the process of "meeting and greeting" with some of the residents of San Francisco's Chinatown. This act of benevolence, also displayed the image of wisdom to the SF Chinese residents and some of the S.F. tourists. ... 

The above act is a social-political flavor of implemented strategic power. 

Leadership by Connecting
Exemplary leadership is about properly and punctually demonstrating an assortment of actions relating to wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage and discipline to the right people. ... Smart political leaders of all sorts who are mindfully aware, usually performed this deed quite well.

Idealistically, seeing the Dao of their settings usually enables one to shape their grand terrain and its "connecting" secondary terrains. ... One who consistently connects these dots, will eventually 
succeed in the information-based opportunity economy.

Remember, macro coincidences are usually scripted.

Other Interesting Visits
In 2012, President Obama did the Dim Sum tour through San Francisco's Chinatown  tour and was reelected.

President Clinton visited Eastern Bakery a San Francisco Chinatown bakery located on Grant Avenue in 1996 and was reelected. (Fwiw, their egg custard pastry is superb.  It goes well with the green tea from Red Blossom Tea Store.)

Click here and here  for the picture

Side Note
In 1988, vice president George Bush visited another San Francisco Chinese tea place on Grant Avenue during his West Coast "meet and greet" campaign tour and won the presidential election.

Comments From The Compass Desk

The Dao of everything means that people generally presumed the causation of a presumed simple event with simple reasoning without recognizing the factors behind it.

This correlation between those mentioned events does not mean a guaranteed win for Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential election.  Based on the projected voter numbers between the Democrats, the Republicans and the Independents, the odds are favoring Ms. Clinton if certain negative publicity does not ruin her campaign.  The Republicans are not going to let the Democrats win the 2016 presidential election without a good fight.

When comparing events, objects and other unique matters, the successful strategist usually operates from a wide sampling of data and a set of quality factors, would rarely ever utilizes the reason of "correlation implied causation".

source: xkcd

The "correlation implied causation" reasoning rarely ever works in a complex setting especially where the risk consequence of a bad decision could be more monumental than the risk reward.

A Humorous Side Note
One of our favorite but strange  "correlation implied causation" examples is Denver Broncos always losing the Super Bowl game during the Chinese Lunar Year's Year of Horse (1978, 1990, and 2014).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Comprehensive Analysis of a Proposed Failed Merger (Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors)

One of our favorite weekend past times is to read the weekend edition of the WSJ, the NYT or Google News for the reason of knowing what could be the tangible truth that lurks in the information economy. 

(During the weekdays, some of us usually ignored the pop culture of the news and are focused on the relevant essence of life .)

An associate sent this interesting NYT article to me on Mr. Martchionne, the C.E.O. of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles making an offer of merger both of their companies together, to Mary T. Barra, the chief executive of General Motors

Since Martchionne 's proposal lacked  a value proposition and pertinent leverage, Ms. Barra correctly declined.  

The Gist of Strategy 

Following is an abridged listing of the major guiding principles that most "chief decision makers" must know before ever making a tangible strategic move are :
  • Knowing the rules of the marketplace; 
  • Knowing the history of the marketplace; 
  • Knowing the profile of the chief decision makers;
  • Knowing the competitive disposition of the chief decision makers and their organizations; and 
  • Knowing the favorite tactics of your follow chief decision makers.
Regardless whether these principles were ever known, Marchionne should have made the effort of  knowing how his counter part thinks, before ever making a strategic move of such high magnitude.

Rejection comes when there is no true strategic value that could occur from a synergy of two different cultures. It also shows that there is a strategic weakness from the originator of the deal.

In the case of Chrysler,  the F.C.A.'s stock dropped about 10 percent after Mr. Martchionne making an appeal for the automakers to merge on April 28. (from April 28th to May 6th)

Suggestion to Mr. Martchionne  

Regardless of the "no guts, no glory" mindset of some chief decision makers, the smart organizations usually performed some high level of intelligence gathering and scenario modeling before ever deciding a strategic move.

Always assess the configuration of a situation efficiently before positioning yourself toward an act of influencing.

Comments From The Compass Desk
In the information economy, the smart strategist always know that any executed move must be efficient. Each move must build either territory or influence. The next move must be a continuum of the executed move and the projected strategy.

The smart strategist must always estimate the scores after each move.  He must always play  moves in the "correct order", which may mean prioritizing the meta-strategic moves.

In planning, never a useless move.  In strategy, no step is in vain.   - Chen Hao

In a competitive situation, the smart strategist must either secure a strategic gain (the results from a move that evidently leads to one step closer to the completion of the projected objective) or an advantageous gain (the results of a move that leads to the completion of the projected objective). 

The gist of this strategic approach is not found in your copy of Sunzi's essay or your copy of Machiavelli's The Prince .

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Succeeding in the Information Economy by Assessing the Big Tangible Picture (Using the Game of Go Analogy)

Go is essentially a form of harmony. Go in the 21st century will have to be go of the 'harmony of the six points - the four quarters, the above and the below.' As in life we will need to view the whole rather than the part. Japanese go has focused too heavily on the local (joseki) rather than the whole for 300 years. The reason the Chinese and Koreans are overtaking the Japanese is that they are closer to achieving this whole-board view. 
Go Seigen, 9p, 1994


The Question of the Day
How do you utilize the whole-board view to assess the Big Tangible Picture (BTP)?

Side Note 
Click here and here for some hints. The mastery of this information enables you to do this.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Assessing the Situation: Avoiding a Negative Situation ( The Waco Shooting )

When walking into a restaurant, you mindfully noticed that members of two rival gangs are sitting in one room, talking to each other in an argumentative mode.  You consciously recalled that there has been previous confrontations between these two gangs and realized that another confrontation is possible.

After a moment of deep contemplation, you mindfully noticed that there are more than three rival gangs residing in the same setting.  So, what is the probability of a confrontation now?

For self preservation reasons, do you think that it is a good idea for you to quickly leave that restaurant at that moment?

Click this link,  this link and this link on the news media's view on the recent Waco's Bike Gang's Shooting incident.

The Lesson of the Day
When entering into a seemingly "predictable" situation, assess this situation with an assortment of positional factors (i.e., the safe factor; the contradiction factor; the complexity factor; the range factor of a situation,etc.) before concluding one's strategic position.

The Question of the Day 
So do you mindfully utilize a similar "factors-based analysis" practice to assess any strategic situation?

Humorous Side Note Self-comfort (success) breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.  
- Paraphrased from Andrew Grove, former founder of Intel

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Art of the Focus: Maneuvering Through the Efficient Economy Through Non-Techie Means

(updated at 05/09/15 3:33 hrs)

Have you always been depended  on your technology as the principal mean to solve problem and to maneuver through your complex settings?  Are you addicted to the "one button push" solution?

Are you able to walk around your terrain without looking at your mobile device?

Do you think that you can operate without your tablet or your mobile phone attached to your face?

The Tangible Perspective
In the information economy, almost everyone is depended on some level of technology. Being overly depended on it can be mind numbing for some members of the masses are so depended on it that they cannot breathe without it.

We noticed that it is quite difficult for then to  maneuver through their own settings with their gut instinct and a basic strategy 

Most of us liked our techie toys to solve our immediate problem while concealing our own intellectual deficits of not being able to project the next change.  

While many of these one button solutions have creating the illusion that all problems of life can be solved with a few "pushed" buttons, it does not propel the implementer to think critically and strategically. 

Building a balanced life with technology as the alternative means is quite difficult.

As "classical" strategists, some of us still write our notes on white index cards or using chronograph to view the current time. 

We purposefully maintained this proclivity for the purpose of maintaining the skill of being methodical by style and the tactile skill of "mind to eye to hand" coordination.   This practice also builds the mindset of conscious-driven patience and control. 

For personal control reasons, one of our associates still preferred to operate on a linux desktop from a command line. Using a graphical desktop interface has a way of transforming the attentive mind of the user into mush. 

While technology is the opium of the masses and the embracing of the rapid, mindless changes is the amateur way of evolving in our society, some of us still believed in maintaining the perspective of being methodical by style. 

This grand approach allows us to stay focused on our objective while mindfully de-accelerate slowing down the change factor around us. 

Some of us still believe in the following classic practices:
  • Going to the libraries for research purposes;
  • Connecting the dots by reading the paper version of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times;
  • Searching for interesting news items on Saturday (Thanks goodness for Google News); 
  • Recording unique ideas and information on paper or with a white board;
  • Reviewing those mentioned points strategically before the digitalization of information is ever considered;
  • Utilizing engineering graphic paper for design projects;
  • Saving private documents in portable digital storage mediums;
  • Using the command line of a linux desktop to surf the web;  
  • Compiling C/C++ or running perl code from the command line for efficiency reasons;
  • Listening to various compositions from Mozart, Handel, Bach and other classical music geniuses;
  • Listening to baseball games with the radio;
  • Play weiqi (Go) games or chess games with zero distractions; 
  • Standing mindfully when thinking;
  • Standing mindfully when having group meeting;
  • Walking and talking mindfully in private "one on one" meetings;
  • Planning mindfully with the purpose of zero useless moves; 
  • Operating strategically with the mindfulness of pure efficiency; and 
  • Maneuvering by focusing on the grand concept of the singularity that exists within the the Big Picture of one own settings.
There are more tactile-based practices to this listing.  It is moderately long but quite pragmatic for certain situations.  We will elaborate more on these practices in a future post.

Our experience tells us that these practices will help those who are "strategically driven to stay ahead of the curve." 

Anticipating the next view of the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) with or without the technological toys is the real skill of the 21st century strategists. ...  You do know how to do that. Do you ?

Someone once explained to us that the most efficient way to maneuver through the efficient economy through non-techie means is to stay "centered" first.  This exercise allows one to be more methodical by style.

Staying centered means staying focused while standing calmly. Avoiding distractions can be a challenge.

By staying "centered" on the objective of understanding the configuration of the Big Tangible Picture, one sees the Big Tangible Picture of their strategic setting.   

The Compass Solution 
“These are the ways that successful strategists are victorious. They cannot be spoken or transmitted in advance. ... It is by scoring many points that one wins the contest beforehand in the conference room (while performing scenario planning and modeling);  it is by scoring few points that one loses  the wins the contest beforehand in the conference room (while performing scenario planning and modeling). The side that scores many points will win; the side that scores few points will not win, let alone the side that scores no point at all.  When I examine it in this way, the outcome of the contest becomes apparent." 
- Art of War 1 (Paraphrased from the Ames translation)

Q: What set of factors do you use to assess your current setting and to anticipate the next state of the Big Tangible Picture?

Staying focused on the target while being mindful of the Big Tangible Picture 

Side Note: Strategic Decision Management

Reaching to this stage of simplified decision management is never that easy. Collecting the tangible data and assessing it is the next challenge after one is able to stay centered.

The Anticipated Trend
The quantity of mobile searches is currently greater than the quantity of desktop  searches.

Conclusively, we are now living in a mobile economy that encompasses the essence of complexity where the "price demand" factor has now become quite relevant.  

Those who control the certain niches that exist within the consumer marketplace, will function on the general social-economic guidelines of "supply and demand" and "first come first served." 

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