Sunday, June 11, 2017

Thinking Unorthodox in Strategic Competition



Following is a abridged listing of our favorite books on this topic 



More to come.  ... 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Strategizing Beyond One's Gameboard: The Near Fall of Billy Walters

Updated at 06.09.2015

In the strategy game, we have always been interested in how certain strategists climb the ladder of success.

Billy Walters  
Click here and here on the general profile of Billy Walters. 

Analysis
To the sideline speculator, it was an act of "easy to over reach." 

This gentleman un-mindfully went with his instinct. As a gambler, he has always lived on being one move ahead. ... Most strategies fail when the amateurs  do not know how to anticipate the counter move by the other side. They usually get lucky against average competition who can't think 1/2 move ahead.

This gambler got "hot and ambitious."  Then he decided to play a different game that required a quite "different"
perspective.

Click here and here on what lead to his downfall.  

Mr. Walters choice of tactics were questionable at best. 

Lesson
Professional strategic achievement begins by understanding the strategic configuration of the situation and the tactics that are used by the competitors of the game board.  The choice of tactics establishes the gist of the strategic implementer's mindset.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

An Interesting Translation of Sunzi's Art of War


Source: Original Art of War
(updated at 060617)

This book presents superb clarity in its translation and its commentary.  ... We  cheerfully recommended it to those who are interested in a word by word translation. 

You can secure a copy at your favorite internet book store or your local book shop.

Click here if you are interested in another perspective of Sunzi's essay.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Miscellaneous Notes: A Pragmatic Strategic View For Those Who Are Operating One Move At a Time


For those who live day by day, lacking emotional intelligence and operating on emotional instinct.  Read the following 12 pointers 
  1. We admitted we were powerless over _____ – that our situation had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a something greater than ourselves could restore us to ______ .
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of that power as we understood Him/her/it.
  4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our situation.
  5. Admitted to ___ , to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of _____.
  6. Were entirely ready to have something remove all these defects in our situation.
  7. Humbly asked for methods to remove our shortcomings
  8. Made a list of persons/situations where we had screwed the pooch, and became willing to amend them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it (and amended the situation).
  11. Sought through reflection to improve our conscious contact with ____ as we understood ___, looking only for knowledge and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had an awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to continue practice these principles in all our affairs.
A Pragmatic Approach for Developing a Strategic Approach 
For each strategic step, there are many tactical means to complete that specific step. There are different levels of success/effectiveness for different people.  What works for one person, might not work for another.

Without tactics (the methods to implement the strategy), the neophytes are retired.  This is the same for tacticians who operate without a framework.

Side Note
Click here for an interesting Harvard Business Review article. The topic is on  the basics of executing a strategy.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Basics of an Unorthodox Strategy (3)


Before developing an unorthodox strategy, understand the measures and constraints of one's strategic situation is essential. 

The objective of the unorthodox strategy is to influence the rival through pretext and guile.  

Mastering the fundamental tactical principles and possessing the skill to evaluating the settings and the rival's intent and their strategic state is quite important.   

For more insights on the Big Tangible Picture and a few tactical pointers on how to play "the unorthodox game.", we suggested the reading of the first two chapters of Six Secret Teachings. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Military Introduction to Unorthodox Strategies


If you are looking for an introductory to how unorthodox strategy is applied in military situation, you can try this book.  Click here for a NYT review of this book. 

For the advanced strategic readers, I would suggest Ian F.W. Beckett, Modern Insurgencies and Counter-insurgencies and Robert B Asprey, War in the Shadows, Volume I and Volume II.

My other favorites are: 100 Unorthodox Strategies and Tao of Deception.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alpha Go: 3 World's Best Player: 0

Source: New Yorker

“Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double-entry accounting.”     - Trevanian, Shibumi

Click here on the outcome of Google's Alpha Go's three matches against the world's best player. 

Alpha Go's next step is to head toward the state of retirement.

Click here for those who wanted to pursue the career as a professional Go (Weiqi) player.

Those who are interested in studying the games between Alpha Go and itself. Click here. 

Side Note
Regardless of the outcome, Go (Weiqi) is a great game for those who are interesting in developing intuitive strategic and tactical skills by recognizing a myriad of conflicting patterns. 

Learning it through poor translations and ill-conceived opinions of Sunzi essay on strategy is not the way to go. 


Friday, May 19, 2017

The Basics of an Unorthodox Strategy (2)


The T'ai-tsung said, "If, as Sun-Tzu said, 'dividing and combining are changes, 'wherein lie the unorthodox and orthodox?"

Li Ching said: For those who excel at employing troops there are none that are not orthodox, none that are not unorthodox, so they cause the enemy  never to be able to fathom them. Thus with the orthodox they are victorious, with the unorthodox they are also victorious. The officers of the Three Armes only know the victory, none know how it is attained. Without being able to fully comprehend the changes, how could outstanding generals attain this? As for where, the dividing and combining come from, only Sun-tzu was capable of comprehending it. From Wu-Chi , no one has been able to attain it."
                                                                                                                         Questions and Replies 1  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Your Competition: The Cult of The Non-Experts


It amazes us that there are people who have tried to become experts by reading the first 100 links of various topics that they were searching on.

They understand what the topic is about and how it works in terms of generality without the specificity behind it.


These same people rarely ever think about  contingencies and can barely think one move ahead.   


They go with their heart without understanding how it connects to the Big Tangible Picture and/or  ever contemplating on the consequences of failing.  


This same group of non-mindful people tell their followers to believe in magical thinking and that there is another chance for all situations. 

This is your competition.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Basics of an Unorthodox Strategy (1)


Drumming an advance and setting up a great tumult are the means by which to implement and unorthodox plans.
                                                                                Six Secret Teachings, 27

Those who excel at repulsing the enemy first join battle with orthodox troops, then use the unorthodox ones to control them, This is the technique for certain victory.
                                                                                Wei Liao-tzu, 23

Objective: Influence the Target
To be  the first to gain victory, initially display some weakness to the competitor and only afterward pursue confrontation.  Then your effort will be half, but the achievement will be doubled.
                                                                                Six Secret Teachings, 26

Saturday, April 29, 2017

What is Strategic Power? (2)

The victorious army is like a ton compared with an ounce, while the defeated army is an ounce weight against a ton!  The combat of the victorious is like the sudden release of an pent-up torrent down a thousand-fathom gorge.  This is the strategic disposition of force.



Now the army's disposition of force is like water. Water's configuration avoids heights and races downward. The army's disposition of force avoids the substantial and strikes the vacuous. Water configures its flow in accord with the terrain;  the army controls it victory  in accord with the enemy.

Does Automation Means Zero Jobs and Free Money?


As mentioned in previous posts (2010 and after), we projected that the robots were going to take jobs from our fellow humanoids.


The Questions of the Day
Have any of you heard that this  French politician's proposal- that every adult get £660 a month for free... because ROBOTS are taking over three million jobs?

Interestingly, Elon Musk of Tesla's also concluded the same point in Nov 2016.



Q: Will the cyber money then be produced by robots?

Projection and Prognostication 
Our projection is that there will always be jobs for those who are strategically creative and are willing to take the chance to prevail over the complexity of life.  Whether the actual endpoint of the endeavor beats the odds is a different story.

The first step is having the willingness to not to take things for granted.

The next step is recognizing the matrix of the connectivity that exists behind the order of the grand situation.


The third step is verifying the truth behind the recognition. 

The fourth step is asking whether one has the leadership qualities, the resources and the logistics to meet or exceed  the standards behind the matrix of the connectivity.

The fifth step is to deciding whether one is willing to pursue the challenge. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gone Fishing While Thinking A Few Moves Ahead


In an uncertain economy, the perceptive and experienced fisherman (strategist) always knows the risk factors for that body of water that he is preparing to fish at.

While there is near zero risk in a pond, the risk amplifies as the body of water increases.  Where in the ocean, the variability of risk can change at a whim.  

The weather occasionally plays a significant role in altering the movement of the ocean.

Beside the obvious preys that live in this body of water, there are predators too.


The Compass Principle of Recognizing the Terrain
The size of the terrain is usually proportional to the quantity of risk-rewards and risk-drawbacks.

The Dao of Strategic Positioning
To position ahead of the competition (or the situational curve), the perceptive strategist usually anticipate the risk factors for that situation by recognizing the risk benefits, the risk challenges and the risk drawbacks for each of the projected approaches is the initial step.

Completing the risk challenges properly and promptly, does not always mean that one would be many moves ahead of the curve. One has to comprehend the strategic configuration of the situation in terms of the matrix of connectivity and the seasonal cycle, before ever knowing how many moves ahead that he or she will be positioned at.

Whenever our latest project is completed, we will only then discuss more on this unique strategic topic.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Observing the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) From the Top View (A Perspective From Hui Shi) 2 of 2

(updated at 04.18.17, 1:11 am)

Following is a brief analysis of Hui Shi's guidelines for viewing the configuration of the Big Tangible Picture (aka. The 10 Theories):

"The largest thing has nothing beyond it; it is called the "One of Largeness." The smallest thing has nothing within it; it is called the "One of Smallness."
Measure the size of an object. Then, examine its connectivity and its centrality (in reference to time and space).   The largest object is detached because of its influence while the smallest object possessed no centrality. Its internal state  increased when it is attached to a similar object.

"That which has no thickness cannot be piled up; yet it is a thousand li in dimension." 
A well-configured object that is detached from other matters, has the prowess to expand because of its own framework.

"Heaven is as low as earth; mountains and marshes are on the same level." 
When the down cycle of the external factors is affecting the entirety of a strategic situation, the strategic state of each categorical terrain's obstacles are almost in the same level.

"The sun at noon is the sun setting. The thing born is the thing dying."
There is a seasonal cycle, a rhythm and a flow in everything while there is a cause and an effect in the macro realm.  (Identify the strategic inflection point where a dichotomy occurs.) 

"Great similarities are different from little similarities; these are called the little similarities and differences. The ten thousand things are all similar and are all different; these are called the great similarities and differences."
Based on the configuration of the current situation, one identifies the similar conditions and the different conditions of the different objects that defines the tangible configuration of the situation.

"The southern region has no limit and yet has a limit."  
Recognizing that a strategic/tactical condition of an observed object has a finite coverage.

"I set off for Yueh today and came there yesterday."  
By recognizing that the true north of one's strategic situation and arriving at its "destination” with minimal to zero damage, one could only then repeat that same ambition. 

"Linked rings can be separated." 
By identifying the connective sequence of components that existed within the macro sequence of a system, one could generate a new perspective.


"I know the center of the world: it is north of Yen and south of Yueh." 
The identification of the midpoint (i.e., the average, the center point, etc)  of anything (or everything) enables one to  pinpoint the central tendency of that object or situation.

//// Side note: In statistics, the average is known as the mean, the median  and the mode. ///

 "Let love embrace the ten thousand things; Heaven and earth are a single body." 
By pinpointing the singular conditional factor that links all objects (the focal catalyst/ the most common denominator), one can identify the possible matrix of connectivity for that situation.
 

Comments From The Compass Desk
To improve or to enhance the actual output of an object (i.e., an event, an entity, a product, a service, etc.), one must first recognize the internal connectivity that operates within the targeted object.  

Pinpointing its system cycle, its contradictions, its unity points and the midpoint is the next macro step for establishing the possibility of creating a strategic difference.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Observing the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) From the Top View (A Perspective From Hui Shi) 1 of 2



Hui Shi was a consulting advisor to the kings and the minsters of ancient China, developed a set of strategic guidelines (aka. 10 Paradoxes) that was based on his observations.  ..

Following is an abridged listing of those observations:

"The largest thing has nothing beyond it; it is called the "One of Largeness." The smallest thing has nothing within it; it is called the "One of Smallness."

"That which has no thickness cannot be piled up; yet it is a thousand li in dimension."

"Heaven is as low as earth; mountains and marshes are on the same level."

"The sun at noon is the sun setting. The thing born is the thing dying."

"Great similarities are different from little similarities; these are called the little similarities and differences. The ten thousand things are all similar and are all different; these are called the great similarities and differences."

"The southern region has no limit and yet has a limit."

"I set off for Yueh today and came there yesterday."

"Linked rings can be separated."

"I know the center of the world: it is north of Yen and south of Yueh."

"Let love embrace the ten thousand things; Heaven and earth are a single body."


Comments From the Compass Desk
Pinpointing the contradictions and the unity points enables one to have the capability to create tactical mismatches.

More to come