Author: Growing your tree of prosperity

Tools for Titans #38 : The value of "I Don’t Understand"

Luis Von Ahn is a computer science professor and the CEO of Duolingo, one of the more efficient ways to pick up a new language. His section has two key ideas : a) The value of “I don’t understand” Luis had a Phd advisor who kept insisting that he did not understand what Luis was trying to say when he was developing the CAPTCHA system. Eventually, it was revealed that his advisor was simply employing a tactic to get Luis to think deeper about the problem he was facing with. Blogger Scott Young is an advocate for a learning...

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Money & Love Event : My take on the event

The one big talk for 2017 is over. Before I get back into finishing up law school, here are my thoughts on the event yesterday. If I can redo the event all over again, I will make two changes to the programme. First, I will work closer with SDN or ROM to find sponsorship and scale the event to invite a bigger audience. But we are still a bunch of financial bloggers who are trying to bring a new kind of seminar into this market. For our next event, I am pitching towards an event which is friendlier to...

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Tools for Titans #36 : Some Quick Tips.

[ I am wrapping my work for today to go to the venue where I will be giving the talk later. Fortunately, today’s article is very short. ] Noah Kagan is the thirtieth employee of Facebook and the fourth employee of Mint.com. He is quite short on life philosophy but quite extensive on life hacks. Just three ideas from him : a) Increase your productivity One instant way is to increase the speed of your mouse tracking. Another is to get a higher-end router. b) Remove distractions Facebook can be very distracting. One way is to use a Facebook...

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Tools for Titans #34 : Build something which have no value in other copying them

Chris Young is an inventor and tinkerer who is co-author of this mind-melting book called Modernist Cuisine. The one single idea in this section which is worth thinking about is a question of what we would build if we have $100 million that would have no value to others in copying. This question encapsulates several more important questions we need to ask ourselves before we get into the start-up space. It has implications when we invest in technology as well. One interpretation is what kind of barriers to entry will we erect against competitors. The example shared is about...

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Tool for Titan #35 : What makes a successful salesperson ?

Daymond John is the CEO and founder of FUBU. He has won many business awards. As this section is rather incoherent, rather than focus on what was said in the writeup, I would just take the opportunity to deconstruct a common trope in Singapore which is the successful salesperson. I grew up in a retail environment so I had a lot of exposure to the folks my dad hung out with. One person you would encounter is the “successful salesperson”. This salesperson may adopt a particular approach to life : a) Life is about chionging (Aggressively taking risks )....

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Tools for Titans #33 : The Rule of 3 and 10.

Phil Libin is the founder of Evernote and its executive chairman. There is only one point in this write-up which is about the Rule of 3 and 10. Phil learnt this from Hiroshi Mikitani who is the founder and CEO of Rakuten. The theory is quite simple. If you build a company, expect everything to break every time you grow 3x or 10x its size. Actually as 10 is very close to 3 x 3, it’s possibly reasonable to argue that everything breaks when your organization triples in size. This idea was created to caution founders who run growing...

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2017 is all about Donald Trump !

On 20th January 2017, unless something really drastic happens, Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States. As SMU’s only law student who supported the Republican ticket in 2016, I promised my classmates a dinner buffet if Trump won the presidential election the day before the election results were announced. I figured that there was only about 16% chance Trump would win over Hillary Clinton but lo and behold, it suddenly dawned on everyone that the party would indeed take place ! To understand the mechanics of a Trump victory, I strongly suggest that a disappointed...

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(On Upcoming Talk ) Tools for Titan #22 : Picking the right audience

Tracy Dinuncio is the CEO of Tradesy who has raied $75 million from various prominent investors in spite of being born with a serious birth defect. This section is short and has only one point on picking the right audience. So this is a great opportunity to share some details on planning which is going into our next talk which sold out yesterday. I originally pitched this idea as a bootcamp for couples who are planning to get married, even promising myself to incorporate another company if I can’t get a law firm to accept me this year if...

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Tools for Titans #21 : We all begin with SUCK.

Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and a recipient of 5 Academy Awards. a) We all begin by sucking at something One thing that I learnt from this section is that art is volatile. According to Ed, the first draft of a Pixar movie is often dramatically different from the final version of the movie. I read in another source that in the first version of Frozen, Elsa was even a villain. We have to be prepared to suck when we engage in innovation. I am pretty sure most of you would have fairly crappy portfolios...

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Next Financial Bloggers Talk on 12th January : Couple Finances

Most of you would have been aware by now that my next talk will be on 12th January 7.30pm at Singapore Shopping Centre. If you wish to buy tickets to this talk, please follow this link. Once again, there will be three speakers. Other than myself there is the super-popular Lionel Yeo from CheerfulEgg who has just recently gotten married. Another speaker is Thomas Zhuo of 15hourworkweek who has chronicled his personal journey to financial independence along with detailed information on his personal expenses. My session is divided into two parts. For the first part, I will be covering insights I...

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Tool for Titan #20 : The art of asking the right questions.

As school has just started, it is quite appropriate to have a short write-up today. Today’s segment features Alex Blumberg who is an award winning radio producer. This part of the book is all about asking the right kinds of question in interviews to get someone to open up.  a) Ask a dumb question everyone is afraid of asking The example used in the book is “Why are banks loaning so much money to people who can’t buy it back ?” The answer which was not in the book is that because banks have found a way to package...

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2017 is about devolution, not resolutions.

Perhaps because of the backlash against new year resolutions this year on social media, I very much prefer not to go through the process of making new year resolutions for 2017. Most of us fail to track our progress throughout the year anyway. I think the best thing a 40-something guy can hope for is that things devolve less than before. We are no longer at the age where a new year brings a new and better person with better social and financial outcomes. I am in fact three years away from the 45-54 year old dip for middle-aged...

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Tools for Titans #19 : How tactics become commoditised.

Ramit Sethi is probably the most successful financial blogger of all time. He has more than a million views a month and his company makes easily $5 million a week. I must admit that I simply could not stomach his material because too much emphasis was made on bargaining. However, any write-up on how he succeeded would be something that should be worth reading. a) How tactics become commoditised If you understand the timeless principles, you would always be able to come up with refreshing tactics. However, relying on a tactic may make you some money on the short...

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Will there be sperm in the air in 2017 ?

In the final 2016 issue of the Economist, Vienna was declared the city of the century for its intellectual and cultural accomplishments. Vienna was the city which won the accolade because it could employ the diversity of its population to create new ideas and philosophies so much so that writer Stefan Zweig commented that “There was sperm in the air. ” Singapore can potentially become an intellectual capital of the world with its world class PISA scores, cultural diversity and strong governance, but something is clearly holding us back. There is still very little “sperm in the air”. To...

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Tools for Titans #18 : Doing something you’re unqualified to do.

Dan Carlin is the host of the podcast Hardcore History. a) Don’t be afraid to do something that you are not qualified to do Unless you are looking at legal or medical work, there are very few things that require an actual qualification to do. This suggestion makes sense because life is too short to seek permission to do something. It is often the only way to get promoted sensible manner. Most companies do not promote a person so that he can start doing work of a higher grade, this almost leads to everyone being promoted into incompetence (Peter...

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