Sunday, January 31, 2016

Google's AlphaGo Software 1 Man 0

(updated on 02/01/16)

Click here on the latest technological victory over man.  

The Google's Connection
Deep Mind, the developer of the AlphaGo software is owned by Google.

Game Notes
Regardless of the victoryFan Hui was just 2-dan professional and had only played in Europe.   ... It should be interesting when AlphaGo  is pitted against Lee Se-dol in March 2016.   ...  Most of the world class Go players resided in Asia. 

Click here for specific information on those five games that AlphaGo won and click here on the technical positives and negatives of AlphaGo.

The Compass Perspective
How does man defeats a machine that recognizes all of the strategic and tactical positions? He creates a setting that utilizes misinformation and disinformation or creates a non-connective pattern that the machine does not recognize.

The successful strategist are those who can determine the opponent's next move. are usually one move ahead.   Those who are strategically three moves ahead, possessed the grand advantage of determining the opponent's strategy.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Staying Ahead of the Curve: Be Prepared (The New England Patriots Way)

(updated at 02.01.16)

Successful strategists have always performed "scenario planning before testing the scope of an untested concept" and is always prepared for the best case scenarios and the worst case scenarios.

The Patriots Way
Regardless of the last week's Patriots defeat against the Broncos,  The Patriots were prepared for of a technological breakdown.

" ... In fact, the Patriots sometimes stick with the old-school method of taking photographs and printing them out. Belichick told reporters that they use the photos as a "backup," calling them "more dependable" than the tablets. "

Comments From Belichick
"It is what it is," Belichick said, via MassLive. "It's a pretty common problem. We have ways of working through it. There's really nothing you can do. It's not like the headsets where the other sides are really affected. You deal with what you deal with.

"We have had it at home, we have had it on the road, other teams have had it, it's a fairly common problem that didn't affect the outcome of the game --- in no way. That's just part of it. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't."

But Microsoft defended their product. According to the company, the problem was related to the network -- not the tablets.

"Our team on the field has confirmed the issue was not related to the tablets themselves but rather an issue with the network," Microsoft said in a statement, per MassLive. "We worked with our partners who manage the network to ensure the issue was resolved quickly."

Click here for the rest of the story.

Historical Notes
In 2011, technology slowly expanded into the NFL.  To many, the clipboard and the three-ring binder playbooks might be obsolete.

It is important to know what to do next when the power is off.

The Strategy of Psychology 
Most people remembered visual images on a short term basis while some people retained  data by using an integrated approach of their visual and tactile sense. Others just used their visual and audio senses.

The Compass Principles
  • To stay ahead of the curve,  one stays focused on their objective while being prepared for all tactical possibilities.
  • One always performs "scenario planning" of a new concept or technology before utilizing it in the field.
Comments From the Compass Desk 
Most ambitious non-strategic people are not able to anticipate ahead because they do not think about the strategic factors, the tactical factors, the specificity of the tactical factors and/or the tactical factors that lead to the strategic factors.  They merely contemplate on the current moment.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

International Data Privacy Day 2016

Study what the world class professionals are doing. 
Understand their standards and the specificity behind it
Build your plan around it.

Always play defense. ...  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Assessing Kirosawa's Seven Samurai Movie by Using the Sunzi's Victory Temple Methodology

(updated on 1.25.16)

An associate recently saw Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and asked us to review the strategy used by film by utilizing the  Sunzi's Victory Temple assessment strategy.

I do not think any one of us could written a superior review compared to the New York Times. Click here for that film review..

“Before the contest, the successful strategists resolve in their operations room (temple) that they will be victorious, have determined that the majority of factors are in their favor. … If those who find that the majority of factors favor them, will be victorious.  … When observing from this viewpoint, victory and defeat will be apparent.” 
- Art of War 1 (Paraphrased from the Sawyer's translation) 

Is it that simple to know what factors are in play?

Assessing the Possibility of Victory "Those who excel in warfare contend for advantage with others only after determining through temple calculations that they will be successful. Attacking the rebellious and embracing the distant, toppling the lost and solidifying the extant and uniting the weak and attacking the benighted are all manifestations.  The interior and exterior becoming estranged, as in the case of the Shang and Chou armies, is what is referred to as having determined victory through temple calculations before engaging  in combat.  

According to T'ai-yi Tun-chia assessment method, anything above sixty a majority, anything below sixty is  a minority.  ... In all these  cases, victory and defeat are easily seen. "      
Li Quan's  T'ai-pai Yin-ching

# The Factors

The "Evolving Technology" Factor 
Technology always evolves. Strategic situation changes.  Man must adjust to it. One should never be a victim of the latest technology.

All four dead samurai(s) were eradicated by gunfire not by bladeplay.

The "Reward and Punishment" Factor
It is not a good idea for a skilled and reputable contractor to work for a meal of minimum value (a bowl of rice).

The farmers and Kambei had a difficult time to recruit "alpha class" contractors (samurai) for a "rice bowl" expedition. The only samurai who had alpha-class combat (sword) skill was Kyuzo while Kambei Shimada possessed tangible strategic experience .

The "Team Unity" Factor
When the farmers and the other samurai(s) believed in the plan, they became unified on defeating the bandits.

The "Experience" Factor
Regardless of the "extensive" combat training to any of the farmers, "relevant" field experience counts.

The "Near-Perfect Planning" Factor
When operating under a rice bowl budget, all planned strategic moves must never be useless and no implemented tactical steps are deployed in vain.

Knowing the "Tactical Specifics" Factor 
Knowing the configuration of the terrain and the opposition's motives and the methods usually determines the tactical specifics of each combating strategist.

(Kambei Shimada, the leader of the Seven Samurai, spent a great deal of time understanding the configuration of the client's terrain before developing the strategy of molding the terrain to their advantage.)

The "Attack and Defense" Factor 
The best defense is a good counter offense. Regardless of the terrain, one does not constantly play the "defending by preventing" game. View each of the battles carefully and you might understand this lesson.

Kambei Shimada: Go to the north. The decisive battle will be fought there.
Gorobei Katayama: Why didn't you build a fence there?
Kambei Shimada: A good fort needs a gap. The enemy must be lured in. So we can attack them. If we only defend, we lose the war

The "Survival of the Fittest" Factor 
Going from square one of a "chaotic" campaign to its final endpoint in "one piece" is always a grind.  The "Survival of the Fittest" principle prevails for those who are smart and tough.

The "Happy Client" Factor 
The victory of any strategic situation always belong to the client not to the consulting contractors. In most instances, the surviving contractors usually move on to the next project. (Look at the last scene.)

Kambei Shimada: So. Again we are defeated.
[Shichiroji looks puzzled at Kambei]
Kambei Shimada: The farmers have won. Not us.

The "Contradiction" Factor
Regardless of the numbers game and the terrain that favored the villagers, the bandits had the advantage of the technology (firearms), the battle experience and the horses.

Understanding the contradictions that were operating within a strategic situation usually enables the experienced strategist to gain a better perspective of whether a strategic advantage can be developed.

The "Professional Experience" Factor 
(A lesson from the "Kambei Shimada" character) One climbs the economic-social food chain by not being on the losing side of a competition regardless of the quantity of quality experience

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Dao of the Universe

Source: SF Gate

The way that can be spoken of
Is not the constant way;

The name that can be named
Is not the constant name.

The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.

Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.

These two are the same
But diverge in name as they issue forth.
Being the same they are called mysteries,
Mystery upon mystery –
The gateway of the manifold secrets.


The way begets one;
One begets two;
Two begets three;
Three begets the myriad creatures.

The myriad creatures carry on their backs the yin and embrace in their arms the yang and are the blending of the generative forces of the two.

There are no words which men detest more than ‘solitary’, ‘desolate’, and ‘hapless’, yet lords and princes use these to refer to themselves.

Thus a thing is sometimes added to by being diminished and diminished by being added to.

What others teach I also teach.
‘The violent shall not come to a natural end.’
I shall take this as my precept.
DDJ 42

Source: Dao De Jing

Saturday, January 9, 2016

An Acknowledgement to Phil Dawson, a Ultra Class Professional

Source: SFBay . ca

We have always admired anyone who can operate proficiently in their profession while going above and beyond the call of the duty.  Phil Dawson, the kicker of the SF 49ers,  is one of them. 

After so many years of prevailing in the trenches, he was named the MVP of his team.

Fwiw, the kicker is one of the loneliest positions in the game of football game. Regardless of the climate or the ball position, the kicker must either score or fail. Occasionally, the penalty for failing is professionally fatal.

Source: CBS Local

Click here for our view on how Phil Dawson's, the current SF 49er kicker stays focused while avoiding distractions and contentment, regardless of the possible unpredictability of his terrain.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Assessing the Basics of the Hurry Up, No-Huddle Offense (HUNH)

(updated at 13:18 hr)

"Speed is the essence of war. " - Art of War

Some amateur strategists have believed that "moving efficiently and fast" is a guarantee to a good win.   One could presume that their translation of Sunzi told them this is the way to win.

Running the Hurry Up No-Huddle (HUNH)

The no huddle hurry up process is the hot trend in offensive football. The audience loved to see the thrill of scoring first and fast.

Unlike the scripted starter plays approach, the scoring could be slow. 

It focuses on the down, the distance, the ball position and the focus on exploiting the competitor’s co-efficient deficiency. The choice of plays are limited per drive because the specific plays that are designated to exploit a certain set of targets, are repeated. 

Unlike the premise of the methodical scripted approach, the "ebb, flow and go" approach of the no huddle approach does not always build the consistency of rhythm and momentum within the offensive  team, especially against the elite defenses. 

Waiting for the big play is the tactical approach for the chosen ones who usually exist for the thrill of the moment.  

Creating the big play is the trademark of those successful strategists who can identify and exploit the various deficiencies of the opposing defense. 

The Benefits of the HUNH

Following is an abridged list of the benefits:

  • Unbalancing opposing defense by playing the game of "...can you play faster and can you outlast me?"
  • Increasing the number of scoring opportunities;
  • Fatiguing the sub-par conditioned players of the opponents’ defenses
  • Preventing the defense to properly huddle between plays
  • Preventing the defense from efficiently substituting situational players
  • Preventing the defense from efficiently changing their defensive formations and tactics (i.e., stunts, coverage, etc.),  
  • Dehydrating the opponents’ defense where playing under a hot climate setting;
  • Converting the practices into a conditioning session where no energy is wasted;
  • Preparing your defense in defending other teams’ no-huddle offenses; and 
  • Causing the offense to be more responsive while forcing the "unprepared" opposing defense to be reactive;
Pedal to the Metal 
Regardless whether the offense scores first, fast and repeatedly, the defense returns to the field quickly within a short time. 

Creating chaos and havoc is the name of the game.

In the beginning of the season, the risk reward of the HUNH approach exceeds the risk consequences.  The defense becomes tired at last quarter of the season. The risk consequence becomes the relevant factor esp when the players are fatigued and tired. The fatigue usually increases the probability of injury. 

One cannot win any championships without a sound and solid defense. Playing the game of outscoring the opponent could only last so long.  Offense thrills the fans but defense wins the championships.

Sooner or later, the elite teams with quality defensive talent will balance out speed of the no huddle offense approach.   (Example: For the last two years, University of Alabama has finally caught up with University of Auburn's no huddle offense while running their own version of the No-Huddle.)

Zero Sum Gain

For every positive, there is a negative. 

The challenge with this approach is that the players on both sides of the line of scrimmage, must be conditioned and organized to move efficiently and fast and that the defense must be prepared and ready to return to the field within 60 seconds if the offense is not able to maintain the possession of the ball.

As mentioned before, the defense becomes quite tired and fatigued at the end of the season.

The Reality of No Huddle Offense

The current California Berkeley football team also utilized a no huddle offensive approach (aka. "Bear Raid"), was able to score a great number of points but was only able to defeat teams with "low-quality" defense personnel.  

Once they competed against the elite teams, the entire Cal's team started to fall apart.  

Any football offensive and defensive approach works if the recruitment of quality players is possible. 

One of Cal's greatest challenges was the recruitment of quality players who could meet their academic standard.

Strategy and tactics only work if one has the correct type of players,

Another Weakness of the HUNH Offense

Click here on Steve Smith's (of the Baltimore Ravens) perspective of the "Hurry Up No Huddle" offense.

Side note: The Compass Formula

The quality of personnel (players) establishes the quality of formations (the tactical approach). The quality of formations drives the quality of plays. 

Formations and specific plays do not win games.   Players do.   Organizing the players and coordinating their actions in a synchronized mode are the real challenges for most coaches.

Slowing Down the Pace 
In terms of offensive approach,  some of us preferred the methodical approach of running 15-25 opening plays that is designed to understand the "strategic efficiency" state of the competitor.  This innovative tool was devised by Bill Walsh, the late SF 49ers coach of the 1981, 1984 and 1988 Super Bowl Champions.

The Walsh's Approach

Click here if you are interested in learning the basics of Walsh's opening plays script (aka. the starter script).

The basic premise of the starter script is to identify the various deficiencies of the opponent through the usage of 25 offensive plays that the opposing defense has never seen before. .

Its true objective is to transform the results from the starter plays into intent-driven adjustment plays.

Life is Fleeting for Those who Cannot 

Captain and Control Their Destiny
Coaches and their offensive approaches do not win games if the players are not willing to adjust.

Ask any of the former players of the Philly Eagles if that is true.  ... Chip Kelly became the victim of his own approach. (As of the 20th of January 2016, Mr. Kelly was introduced as the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.)

It works great in colleges because of the near-unlimited number of players that are available where in the professional ranks, most of the players are not willing to sacrifice their bodies for the entire season especially if they do not feel if it is possible to reach the playoffs.

In summary, the offensive play caller who is not tactically creative and is not willing to adjust to the players, will discover that the field team are not wanted to play for him. 

Side Note 

The neophyte fans just wanted to see high scoring games while the hardcore fans preferred to see a defensive struggle type of game where the total score is below 31 points  and the differential of points is 3 points.  

To the hardcore fans, remember that the neophyte fans are the majority of the audience and they do pay the bills.  Accept the reality.  

- More to come -

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Notes on Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings (Section 7 of Chapter 1)

The observed lessons from the seventh section of chapter one (The Civil Teaching: Preserving the State Territory) are:

  • Be friendly with nearby competitors.
  • Keep your certain family members (and associates) close to you.
  • Remember the common people.
  • Control your destiny or someone else will
  • Be ready for incursion. Build resources before you need them.
  • Use your power mindfully and critically (Understand the configuration of the Big Tangible Picture before using your power).
  • Never lend your resources to your current and future protagonists.


A critical concern for a CEO is to sustain their territories, protecting against both attack from without and division within.
To avoid any incursion,  be mindful to the politics in other organizations, especially those with who you share some level of commonality. Notice the personalities of their leaders especially those with aggressive and acquisitive nature.  It is suggestive to build alliances with certain ones, yet never fully trust them.

One aspect of strategic power is about creating a perception that other people would believe that you have more than the actual resources at your command. Managing their perceptions is quite important. If you fail to act when others expect you to do so, then they will assume you have less power and, in doing so, reduce your power. Appropriate action is hence important, and none more so than when there is a threat of incursion.
When a person has gained the power of CEO, there is a strong possibility that their relatives may become envious and try to usurp him/her, killing them and taking their position. History is full of examples of this category of events. Managed these relatives carefully and they can be your greatest supporters.  (cross-reference to Jiang Tai Gong's Six Preservations chapter.)
It is also important to address the concerns of the common people, whenever there is chaos that could affect their lives.  
Those who wanted your power  will often pretend first to be your friend and may even weaken you by borrowing or utilizing your resources.   Be aware of that action.