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One Bite Too Many

15 Oct

This is a little hard for me.  First, because I haven’t known about him as much as other tech-savvy people who follow the whole brouhaha of the tech world closely.  Second, because what I’m about to posit here is so different than the current majority of existing opinions.

Yep, it’s about Steve Jobs.  Or to be more exact, the man as I knew him to be.

When the whole world was mourning when he passed away not long ago, my mind wandered to the ultimate destiny of Apple without him.  Will the company be able to live on to his legacy?  Will the company be able not only to survive, -but continue to thrive, by being “insanely different”?

Most of the articles, obituaries, blog posts, and whatnots seem to agree on this.  The thinking revolves around the argument that Jobs had successfully established an ecosystem where creativity rules, where everyone in the company lives and breathes the same set of values that he had.  Or in short, that the company’s living DNA had been so closely and carefully molded to resemble Mr Jobs’ paradigm of being a square peg in the round hole.  This in turn, will lead to a future where the company will still at least be as successful as they are right now.

Some careful experts and analysts inserted a line that says something like “only time will tell” or “the ultimate future of Apple will remain to be uncertain”.  Yet what was clearly maintained by all the writings that I read is that Apple will not suffer because of Mr Jobs’ demise.

I am saying the opposite.  I believe that with Steve’s passing away, it spelled a beginning of the end for Apple.  I think that starting from October 2011, Apple is starting to take steps toward slow, steady decline.  It could be really slow, but it’s a decline nonetheless.

Now, I am using the word “decline” in a very loose sense here.  It covers a whole range of scenario starting from the decline of the growth curve, down to that painful phase where a company just sits there, bleeding painfully until it meet its demise or be acquired by another company looking to salvage what they can from the ruins.  At first, it may not be apparent at all because most people think of absolute decline with all the apparent indicators like stock shares and staff lay-offs.  But an absolute decline must begin somewhere, and it will start with a growth decline, where a company will look okay because it continues to earn, but does not enjoy a growth that it used to have.

Here are my reasons..

First, is psychology.  Mr Jobs’ genius, and Apple’s by extension, lies in one simple fact:  they make people want to buy things that previously were dismissed as unnecessary.  iPod is not the first MP3 player in the world, but it is the first MP3 player we ever truly wanted.  Similarly, iPad is not the first tablet computer.  Nor is iPhone the first smartphone ever graced the earth.  I won’t dwell onto how he makes those products so coveted, because we are all familiar with the reasons why they are great products.

Yet I will argue that therein lies his curse.  I am not familiar with management theory, but psychologically, there are sets of skills that can be taught and transferred, and there are those that can’t.  Sadly, Steve’s innate and uncanny ability to be this maverick out-of-the box thinker is one of those that you can’t simply transfer to your kids, -let alone to a company.  You’re either born with it (and carefully nurtured it in Steve’s case), or you’re not.  Most of his greatness will probably be readily transferred to Apple.  Things like attention to details, simplicity, and insistence on perfection.  But not that thing that we call his vision.  Think about it.  Most of the skill sets that we need to thrive as mankind are readily transferrable, and I thank God for that, -or else we would still be living as caveman.  But there are always few skills that cannot be taught just like that.  This is what we instinctively labeled as brilliance.  Think Da Vinci and Einstein.  If their brilliance can be extracted, taught, and applied readily, today we may well be already living on some other planet.

Second, is about problem-solving.  One of the biggest companies on earth, General Electric (GE), thrived for an enjoyable period of time in its beginning because it simply produces things that other companies didn’t:  Electricity and the things that support it, -or derived from it.  You either buy their products or opt to continue to live in the dark.

Apple’s position is different than GE.  They do produce things that solve problems, and solve it in sexy ways.  However, ask yourself this question:  If you accidentally dropped your iPhone to the toilet, will you be doomed?  Or will you be able to function temporarily with that Android phone you borrow from your teenage son?  Or your aunt’s Blackberry, for that matter.  True, you could lament that painstaking Blackberry OS, but survive you will.

Third, is about threats.  It puzzled me why most of the writings dealing with this matter only based their projections on Apple’s strengths and weaknesses as a company.  A few of them also include an exploration of opportunities as one of the external factor.  But most seem reluctant to talk about threats.

Steve Jobs is an artist that made our hearts sing.  I agree.  But the bad news is, we are living in the era of whizkids.  We got Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  They were not the first people who came up with the idea of search engine, but they’re the reason why everybody is using Google now.  We got Mark Zuckerberg, who was not the first man to bring social network to the world, but rather the man who makes all of us felt necessary to join his Facebook.  And of course, there is Jeff Bezos.

Now, I can’t predict the future.  But it’s hard for me to believe that one of this brilliant people (and rich) will not try their hands into a market where Apple is now enjoying a lion’s share.  It could be the market of smartphones, tablets, or others.  And when they do, -assuming there is no a visionary of Steve’s caliber at the helm of Apple-, it’s clear where my bets will lay.

With that, I am closing this post.  Anybody who second-guess my motive, think again.  The only reason of my premise is because of how brilliant Steve Jobs was.  And indispensable.  Which is why his demise could be one bite too many for Apple..

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100 Most Interesting Song Titles : A Blog Creative Writing Workshop

29 Oct

The idea hit me when I was organizing my music library folder the other day. Stumbling on songs I didn’t know I had, I quickly realized that there are lot of interesting titles in the world of music. It certainly is not short of muses, – musically and literally. So without further ado, here are 100 of the most interesting song title I ever found ( in no particular order ) :

  1. “Animal I Have Become” – 3 Days Grace
  2. “Almost Lover” – A Fine Frenzy ( Kembang claimed this one )
  3. “Super Trooper” – ABBA
  4. “Sink the Pink” – AC/DC
  5. “Goody Two Shoes” – Adam Ant
  6. “Chasing Pavements” – Adele
  7. “Summer Shudder” – AFI
  8. “…. But Home is Nowhere” – AFI
  9. “Bleed Black” – AFI
  10. “Eye in The Sky” – Alan Parsons Project
  11. “Uninvited” – Alanis Morrisette
  12. “Black Velvet” – Alannah Myles
  13. “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M. ( taken by Arisaja )
  14. “Them Bones”- Alice In Chains
  15. “Metalingus” – Alter Bridge
  16. “House of The Rising Sun” – Animals
  17. “Ghost In My Machine” – Annie Lennox
  18. “D is for Dangerous” – Arctic Monkeys
  19. “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” – Bananarama
  20. “Send a Moses” – Barrington Levy
  21. “The Cousin of Death” – Beastie Boys
  22. “Cellphone’s Dead”- Beck
  23. “I Plead Insanity” – Belinda Carlisle
  24. “When I Think About You I Touch Myself”- Blondie
  25. “Bed of Roses” – Bon Jovi
  26. “Hedonistic Me”- Born Ruffians
  27. “Water Runs Dry”- Boyz II Men
  28. “Jack the Ripper” – Buckethead
  29. “Gonna Make You Sweat”- C+C Music Factory
  30. “Vulgar Before Me” – Candlebox
  31. “It’s Hard To Be Tender” – Carly Simon
  32. “Mulder & Scully” – Catatonia
  33. “Galileo” – Indigo Girls
  34. “In Dust We Trust” – Chemical Brothers
  35. “Sunshower” – Chris Cornell
  36. “Dip It Low” – Christina Millian
  37. “Should I Stay or Should I Go ?” – The Clash ( unavailable, claimed by Leonnie FM )
  38. “Fix You” – Coldplay ( unavailable, claimed by Alfa )
  39. “Life Despite God” – Courtney Love
  40. “Zombie” – Cranberries
  41. “I Just Died In Your Arms” – Cutting Crew
  42. “The Man Who Sold The World” – David Bowie
  43. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard
  44. “Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode
  45. “Life For Rent” – Dido ( taken by NotAMeanGirl )
  46. “Long Train Runnin’” – Doobie Brothers
  47. “System of Survival” – Earth, Wind & Fire
  48. “Fields of Gold” – Sting
  49. “Hole-Hearted” – Extreme
  50. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
  51. “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama” – Frank Zappa
  52. “Afterglow” – INXS
  53. “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” – Garbage ( unavailable, claimed by Nana )
  54. “Invisible Touch” – Genesis
  55. “Wonderlust King” – Gogol Bordello
  56. ‘”Eat Yourself” – Goldfrapp
  57. “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – Great White
  58. “Maneater” – Hall & Oates
  59. “Love Autopsy” – Hugh Grant
  60. “Megalomaniac” – Incubus
  61. “Suicide Blonde” – INXS
  62. “Naked As We Came” – Iron & Wine ( claimed by Rima Fauzi )
  63. “Mediocre Bad Guys” – Jack Johnson
  64. “Virtual Insanity” – Jamiroquai ( Nindha has taken this one )
  65. “Wordplay” – Jason Mraz
  66. “Curbside Prophet” – Jason Mraz
  67. “Everyday I Love You Less and Less” – Kaiser Chiefs
  68. “Mouthful of Poison” – Kittie
  69. “Freak on a Leash” – Korn ( taken by Toni “Neofreko” )
  70. “We Are the Robots” – Kraftwerk
  71. “Destroy Everything You Touch” – Ladytron
  72. “The Battle of Evermore” – Led Zeppelin
  73. “Points of Authority” – Linkin Park
  74. “Selling the Drama” – Live ( unavailable, claimed by Treespotter )
  75. “Walk on the Wild Side” – Lou Reed
  76. “Die Another Day” – Madonna ( unavailable, claimed by Nindya )
  77. “Something’s Jumpin’ In Your Shirt” – Malcolm McLaren
  78. “If I Was Your Vampire” – Marilyn Manson
  79. “Angel With the Scabbed Wings” – Marilyn Manson
  80. “I Got Money Now” – Pink
  81. “Toy Soldiers” – Martika
  82. “Butterfly Caught” – Massive Attack
  83. “Till the Cops Come Knockin’” – Maxwell
  84. “Of Wolf and Man” – Metallica
  85. “Whiter Shade of Pale” – Procol Harum
  86. “Dirty Diana” – Michael Jackson
  87. “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson
  88. “Hand to Mouth” – George Michael
  89. “Beds are Burning” – Midnight Oil
  90. “Atlantis is Calling” – Modern Talking
  91. “Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day” – Morcheeba
  92. “Suedehead” – Morrissey
  93. “Kickstart My Heart” – Motley Crue
  94. “Seven Impossible Days” – Mr. Big
  95. “Shake Your Tailfeather” – Nelly, P.Diddy & Murphy Lee
  96. “Looking Like Danger” – New Kids On The Block
  97. “The Hand That Feeds” – Nine Inch Nails
  98. “Bombs Over Baghdad” – Outkast
  99. “Don’t Mess With The Dragon” – Ozomatli
  100. “Conversations With My 13-year-old Self” – Pink

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Now about the blogging project itself. I will start by writing a post inspired by one of the song titles from the list. My choice would be “The Hand That Feeds” from Nine Inch Nails, hence the strikeout. When I’m finished with it, I will tag two of my friends. They will then see the list, choose the title they want, and write about it. And so on, and so forth.

At first glance, this may seem uninteresting. Yet if you ponder the issue, you can write anything about the title you choose. A piece of fiction, rants, ramblings, humors, you name it. In this sense, this is like a Creative Writing Workshop, – which I figure will be useful for us bloggers to engage every once in a while.

I hope you’re with me… Have fun toying with the ideas….!

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POSTSCRIPT :

  • Most of the songs are available for streaming via Last.fm.  I encourage you to listen to it at least once, or at least search for the lyrics.
  • Please leave a comment to claim your title.  I will then strike it out as unavailable.

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UPDATES :

A Brief of Boobs

24 Oct

When Nindya tagged me at her blog to write a post about boobs, I silently cursed the idea of viral blogging..  Oh yes, I’m perfectly straight, before you start to question my sexual orientation.  Yet, I was, – and still am, puzzled about the concept of boobs.  I don’t have one, – let alone a pair of them.  You can imagine my serious dilemma here…

This was made even harder since apparently I was known in the online world as a blogger who write inspiring posts, – sometimes even philosophical.  How on earth are you supposed to spin the notion of mammary glands into an inspiration ?  Beats me.

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Yet I shall try.  What I’m going to offer is my personal guess of why are men fascinated with breasts.  It is by no means scientific, as my mind doesn’t work well in this time of day ( I wrote this at 9 AM ).  I will not also go down the route of sexual orientation here.  Obviously, the first reason why men love boobs is because it is what it is.  Boobs are boobs, and men are men.  That one is pretty crystal-clear, so it’s best left alone.

What I do think is, the roots of breasts admiration stretched back to one’s childhood.  Breasts are the sole mode of survival for most babies, be them female or male infants.  This fact alone explains a lot for us.  If boobs are the only means for little human beings, surely it’s understandable if their worship of it are carried on to adulthood ?  The only difference maybe that in adults, such admiration lies dormant and a lot more subtle.  Well, maybe not.  🙂 But I mean, it will be very rare thing indeed if you can find a man who pouts his mouth and tries to suckle like a baby at a pair of boobs he admired…

On the other hand, this silly hypothesis is problematic.  One may argue, if such is the case, why then women do not share same fascination ?  After all, the female of the species also fed at their mother breasts, didn’t they ?  How come women don’t stare at them the way men do at some later point in their lives ?  This is a rather difficult antithesis to tackle.  Again, I can only guess.  I feel that this is the point where we must turn to a Freudian discourse for a possible answer.

Women don’t stare at each other’s boobs and admire them because of one thing :  They don’t have this thing called Oedipus Complex when they were kids.  When you turn the coin to look at the other side, I think that this must be it.  We have reached the end of our quest for the holy answer.  Coupled with the fact that breasts are the life-sustainer for babies; Oedipus Complex amplifies men’s needs for boobs.  Notice the usage of the word “need”.  I honestly feel that men are not just merely fascinated with them.  They validly need the breasts itself, to have and to hold, to stare and behold….

In the case of female infants, their desires pale overtime as they grow their own breasts.  It is a classic case of “You-don’t-know-what-you-got-till-you-lose-it”, – inverted.  Once you own something, it quickly lose its charm over you.  In fact, – on another story and another occasion, this premise will explain a particular psychological phenomenon for female infants : penis envy.  But I don’t want to digress….

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Where then, is the position of boobs for our current society ?  I honestly have no idea.  What got apparent as I wrote this is the importance of breasts for mankind.  Boobs are absolutely crucial for our survival.  With that in mind, I’ll ask you all to share a moment of silence with me, and bow to this most noble physical apparatus of all :  Boobs.

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P.S. :  I’ll only tag one person for this one : @rampok.  Do your thang, dude..!

How to Make a Good Wedding Speech

22 Oct

by Fajar Jasmin
A good wedding speech is, in essence, like a good short story. This is true because a good speech has to have that element of grip for its audiences.  However, it does provide you with a tool to make it easier to captivate your audience’s attention than written fiction : its oral deliverance. So, it makes a perfect sense that first of all :
1. You have to possess a good public speaking style and skill.
It’s just not enough to have a good script on your hand. This is exactly why Churchill always succeeds to burn his hearers. To illustrate further, Bush Jr. is never convincing no matter how sophisticated the arguments he uses in his speeches. One simple reason is that he never achieves that oral stage where he will be believed whatever he said. Now, I understand that oral skills aside, his reputation is mainly ruined by his involvements in Iraq war. However, one thing still holds true : he just doesn’t have the necessary oratorial flair. Why, who knows what American publics think if they were led to the war by someone as charismatic as Churchill ? At this point, at least I thank God for Bush.
As for you, strive to possess that fluent and convincing method of public speaking. Practice in front of the mirror. Pay attention to your facial expression, physical gestures and oral intonation. Read up on the subject. Repeat your speech over and over again until you can remember it by heart. Though you may not be required to deliver it without text, memorizing it will help you to speak with a fluent rhythm and give tonal emphasis for momentum. And while your sister’s wedding hardly justifies any expense you spend for a Public Speaking course, at least you have to give it your best shot. Practice like crazy, at least you owe her that.
2. Define a central message
At first glance, this one may seem counter – productive. There are so many things you would like to say to your sister, – like who exactly that cut her doll’s hair 20 years ago, but a strong, central theme is a must to hold your speech neat and tight. More than one may divert your listeners’ attention and further confuse them to get your point. Find a fond memory, your mutual favorite pet, or anything that give you a strong opening and build your speech around it. Be creative.
One particular film ( I forget what movie ) had its male character opened his speech with, “Marriage sucks..”, but finished it with a sweet conclusion : “…but seeing them right now, I get reminded of why I married my wife five years ago. I now realize that I am willing to experience the “torture” over and over again…” This example tells us that your main opening idea may not even be good, but it is absolutely necessary to have one to give you a solid basis. You get the idea.
3. Employ a good script.
Really, this one doesn’t need much explanation. Of all people, you know how important to have that script well – polished. There are a lot of more competent authorities than me on this point, but widely accepted practices include : avoid jargon usage, use simple but meaningful words and use light humor. Do some online research about this topic. You might also ask for help from that little, otherwise-annoying nephew of yours who gets good scores on composition. Kids sometime give a good and fresher approach to your problem.
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Those are pretty much it. Note that I mention technical aspects only as one of the three points. This should give you an insight that while technicalities are important, the one thing that you have to pay the most attention to is love. Marriage is one event that you truly can feel that “love is in the air”. The bridegroom affections to each others, yours to your newlywed sibling and so on and so forth. Remember that you are giving a message out of your love for the
bridegroom, and you’ll give a beautiful, poignant speech to remember !

I am in the National Team.. !

10 Oct

Now, this one, I admit, is rather unimportant. In fact, it borders to silliness you might wonder what is this post doing in this blog 🙂

Call it vanity if you must.  Yet I can’t stop myself from writing this.  I’m so happy like a child in a candy store, because I’ve never been in any kind of national team in my whole life…!

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Back in the days when I was still trying to cope with my newly-acquired 24-hour internet connection, I stumbled upon a little Facebook game called Wrestler.  The habit stuck on, – and stubbornly refuses to leave me ( or vice versa.. ).  In this game, people create a wrestler figure and fight each other within the realm of Facebook.  If you are on FB, you can see my Wrestler profile here.

I won’t bother you with the details of how the application works.  Far be it from me !  I am just sharing the news that about a week ago, I got a news telling me that I got selected as a team member to represent Indonesia in its biggest tournament so far : The Wrestler World Cup.  Apparently, my wrestler is not doing so bad in its career…

Well, at this point, I can only say :  Bring it on !  Let’s take on the world and make up for the failure that is PSSI ! 🙂

Have you ever been in any kind of National Team ?  Please share your experiences in the comments.

P.S. :  On the pic, my wrestler is the one in the far right.  His name is Kannibalistiqúe.

’tis my old self

8 Oct

When my wife dared me to write 10 things about myself, I positively sulked.  Why would I want to do that ?  It’s akin to undressing myself in front of a lot of people.  Also, I seriously think that she did that on purpose, – just to make my day busier.

In the end, she won.  Being someone who lived with me for almost 5 years now ( we’re going to have our anniversary come November ), – she knows my hot buttons.  I hate to be challenged.  So without further ado, here are ten things about me :

  1. I’m a pompous smartassI know a lot of things. A lot.  I take pride of the fact that never in the life of me, – there is someone who came to talk about any topics to me that I can’t discuss.  The Simpsons, The Story of Jonah, Homer or Sin City.  Southpark, Axis Mundi, Rammstein or Foucault.  Try me.
  2. I’m a father.  The family alpha male who will murder to protect my family.  A man who will take a bullet for his offsprings.
  3. I’m a student of life.  I believe that I exist in this world for one single purpose : to learn and never stop growing, – no matter how old I am.  There’s a lesson in every little thing in this world.  The butterfly, the sun light, the homeless man who pass by your window every morning.  Nothing is trivial.
  4. I’m a Christian in the purest sense of the word.  I worship and follow Christ.  I consider Him my friend, – as he keeps on proving to me time after time.  But I also think that the church is a failure.  I will still introduce my children to the church, – but will let them decide at their own right what religious practices to adopt.
  5. I’m a serious reader.  I devour books.  Started to read when I was 3 years old, by now I have read about 5,000 books, – many of them more than once.  You will have no way of verifying this, but trust me when I tell you so. 🙂
  6. I’m a faithful being.  My closest ones will testify of this fact.  While I’m not always the most resourceful person, I believe in the sacredness of family.  Its bind will always tie me unto the grave.
  7. I inspire people.  Conversely, I’m not so good at inspiring myself.  One of my college friend wrote this about me : “I love how you help others to see the light ; but hate the blindness that cover your very own eyes.”  Need I say more ?
  8. I’m a HIV sufferer.  Since I was diagnosed with the virus, I decided that this will be a part of my identity.  Not because I’m proud of it.  Not because I am looking for sympathy.  It’s simply because I want to be that torch where people at my condition can look to and stay positive.
  9. I struggle to follow any schedules.  Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love planning what I need to do.  It’s sticking to it that I have trouble doing.  In fact, about 7 years ago, I planned that I will have my own company by now.  Look where I am now.  A telling fact, – really.
  10. I will be a bookstore owner.  I promised my wife that before I die, she will inherit a book store from me.  Remember that small book store in Notting Hill ?  I’ll run one of those with one factual difference : maybe Julia Roberts will not run into my store. 🙂

There you have it, guys.  I hope you don’t hate me after reading it.  As they say, honesty is the best policy 🙂

P.S. : The very purpose of this post is the viral blog posting idea.  If any of you read this post, please continue writing this about yourself.  Believe me, the experience will be worth the trouble !  On particular, I’d like to see the following people write this :

  • gcgal, my Plurk friend and angel with a heart of gold
  • chibialfa, my Twitter friend who shares a same short nickname with me
  • patvandiest, my Twitter friend who I admire for his gas mask ( his post can be found here. It’s in Bahasa Indonesia, but strongly described what a remarkable mind I have as a friend – you know who you are, Pal.. )