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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

(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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #17 : Specialisation is for insects.

Chase Jarvis is the CEO of CreativeLive and a highly decorated photographer who emphasises on dynamic shots and sports. While Chase is undoubtedly a creative, I find his ideas quite interesting. a) Going premium on day one. I am very familiar, and quite sympathetic to the systematic abuse of design and creative professionals in Singapore having worked ( and paid on time ) with book cover … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #16 : The Value of Stupid Goals.

Shaun White is a professional snowboarder and skateboarder. He is also a two time Olympic Gold medalists. This section is rather short so I only have two points to make. a) Self-talk Shaun adopts self-talk which Andre Agassi used which goes like "I'm here. I'm going to try my best and I'm going to go home and my family's there." It's a great way to keep calm in a stressful … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #15 : Systems, not goals.


Scott Adams needs no introduction to most readers because he is the creator of everybody's favourite engineer and corporate drone Dilbert. I find that Scott's section is one of the best sections in the entire book because which introduces elegant and effective tips on how to have a better life. If Scott were to stop drawing cartoons, I'm pretty sure his self-help books will end up being … [Read more...]

I am 42 years old ! Personal Update.

I became 42 years old yesterday and received a lot of well-wishes from social media. This is a good time to summarise the year for me before I talk about what to look forward to in the new year in a week's time. a) Year started out quite rough. 2016 has been a fairly bad year for me. The year started out rough with my mum's cancer diagnosis which was about the same time my second child was … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #14 : You may not have a single purpose in your life.

James Altucher is hedge-fund manager who founded more than 20 companies. He is a polymath as over a decade ago, I remember reading a book on Algorithmic trading on Visual Basic written by him. These days his books tend to be more like self help books. a) What am I embarrassed with ? What am I doing about it ?   This might be secret formula to be a top blogger. Think about what embarrasses … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #13 : Don’t retreat into a story.

Seth Godin is one of the most well-read blogs today although I can't seem to be able to appreciate why. I guess this is the power of one of the best direct marketers today. In my opinion, Seth Godin's write-up is quite long compared to the others but it is full of folk wisdom which people reading it are already inclined to agree with so I could not find any real insight into how to succeed in … [Read more...]

How the financial blogosphere does good for ourselves and our readers.

Ok, I'm going to stop my usual Tools for Titans programming to just quickly talk about some of the good stuff coming out from the financial blogosphere in Singapore. While I do not have a direct business relationship with Big Fat Purse, I am grateful for the the work that they have in put in to unite financial bloggers under one informal grouping. The gatherings and networking sessions … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #12 : Failure is Overrated.

Today's section is a real treat to me for I have always been a big fan. Peter Thiel is one of the members of the Paypal mafia and is the founder of Palantir, which in my opinion, is one of the most important new companies in the world because it employs data analytics to make the world a safer place. Peter Thiel is special because he came up with this brilliant idea to pay off top-performing … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #11 : Which Philosopher to Start with ?

Reid Hoffman is co-founder and executive chairman of Linkedin. After covering 10 sections from Tools of Titans, I am starting to sense that I have an inherent bias for start-up business leaders and against folks who made it doing creative work. Hopefully readers will be mindful of this bias as we walk through the rest of the book together. a) One philosopher to start with. I spent more than … [Read more...]