I wish wood working is like writing software, there is a undo button to undo my mistakes. I make a very silly mistake today in my wood working class. I cut two pieces of wood one inch too short. Here is how it happened. The end of the tape measure, the metal piece, is not accurate, so we are told to make the measure starting from the 1″ mark. The problem is that I forgot to add an extra inch when I am reading the number. After I made the cut, I wonder how come my wood seems short, but it’s already too late. If I didn’t cut enough, it is very easy to trim off a little bit more. However if I cut too much, I have to throw away the wood and start from scratch. Luckily I bought some extra wood, so I can make a spare. I just have to work faster next class to catch up.
The instructor already told us the rule of thumb in wood working in the first class, “measure twice, cut once.” I didn’t read the measure again after I mark the cut line, and I had learned my lesson. I think I can turn this lesson into a chicken soup story if I spicy it up a little bit. Working with wood is like life, there is no undo button to fix a mistake. The moral of the story is always “measure twice, cut once” or “think twice, act once”.
If Apple has the monopoly market share like Microsoft, Apple would be an eviler company than Microsoft. A close software system kill innovation and progress. I support Google’s open software model.
Mr. Pink is dead wrong. Intrinsic rewards and the pleasure gain from doing a job well only comes if the job is paid well. You will simply feel ripped off if you are not rewarded accordingly.
Jan 14th 2010, The Economist
Two and a half cheers for sticks and carrots
THIS is bonus season in the financial world. That means, of course, that it is bonus-bashing season everywhere else. The righteously outraged have no shortage of arguments on their side, from the mind-boggling size of the bonuses to the fact that the banks were recently rescued with public money. But if they want to mix a bit of theory with their spleen they now have a book to help them: Daniel Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”. It seems that bankers are not just slaves to greed. They are also slaves to a discredited management theory: the idea that the best way to motivate people is to use performance-related rewards.
Mr Pink’s argument is hardly new. Eminent management theorists have been dismissing payment-by-results as simplistic and mechanical ever since Frederick Taylor tried to turn it into the cornerstone of scientific management in the early 20th century. But Mr Pink’s book is nevertheless well-timed. The widespread fury about bonuses is sparking a wider debate about the way bankers and other lavishly remunerated people are paid. “Drive” is a decent summary of the anti-Taylorist school of thinking. And Mr Pink, once Al Gore’s chief speechwriter and now a prolific management writer, is a highly motivated self-publicist.
Mr Pink argues that the rich world is in the middle of a management revolution, from “motivation 2.0” to “motivation 3.0” (1.0 in this schema was prehistoric times, when people were motivated mainly by the fear of being eaten by wild animals). In the age of routine production it made sense for organisations to rely on sticks and carrots or “extrinsic motivators”, as he calls them. But today, with routine jobs being outsourced or automated, it makes more sense to rely on “intrinsic rewards”, or the pleasure we gain from doing a job well. Look at the success of collaborative marvels such as Wikipedia, Firefox or Linux, which were created by volunteers. Or look at the rise of social entrepreneurs or the movement to promote “low-profit” limited-liability firms.
Mr Pink argues that carrots and sticks are not only outdated, but can also be counterproductive—motivation killers and creativity dampeners. Paying people to give blood actually reduces the number who are willing to do so. Providing managers with financial rewards can encourage them to game the system or, even worse, to engage in reckless behaviour.
So how should firms motivate people? Mr Pink argues that the answer is to give them more control over their own lives and thus allow them to draw on their deep inner wells of diligence and drive. Software companies such as Atlassian and—of course—Google are giving workers time to pursue their own projects. Even low-tech firms such as Whole Foods and Best Buy are giving people more control over how and with whom they work.
How convincing is all this? Mr Pink insists that all he is doing is bringing the light of science to bear on management: “There’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.” But this argument depends on a highly selective reading of the academic literature. Four reviews of research on the subject from the 1980s onwards have all come to the same conclusion: that pay-for-performance can increase productivity dramatically. A study of an American glass-installation company, for example, found that shifting from salaries to individual incentives increased productivity by 44%. More recent research on workers at a Chinese electronics factory also confirms that performance-related pay (especially the threat of losing income) is an excellent motivator (see article).
Linking pay to performance does not just increase motivation. It also helps to recruit and retain the most talented. The world’s brightest students are overwhelmingly attracted to organisations that make extensive use of performance-related rewards such as partnerships and share options. Firms are adept at using these rewards to encourage long-term loyalty: people work in the salt mines for years in the hope of becoming partners or senior managers. Companies that eschew extrinsic rewards risk lumbering themselves with sluggish dullards.
Self-determined to do better
What about Mr Pink’s other worries, about creativity and “self-determination”? It is certainly true that creative people value the intrinsic things in life. But an enthusiasm for intrinsic rewards can go hand in hand with a taste for extrinsic gain. American universities attract star professors from all around the world by the simple expedient of paying them lots of money. Successful writers employ agents to get the highest possible advances (Mr Pink himself probably hopes to make some money from his book). Creative centres such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley are also hotbeds of payment-by-results. It is true that some of the world’s best companies are putting more emphasis on “purpose”. But it is quite possible to mix this with pay-for-performance; indeed, companies that Mr Pink lauds, such as Google and Whole Foods, are highly skilled at using sticks and carrots.
All this suggests that Mr Pink has it backwards: far from abandoning sticks and carrots organisations are making ever more use of them. Companies are keener than ever on holding bosses’ feet to the fire by linking their pay to performance through stock options and the like and on firing them if they fail. But they are also trying to widen pay differentials further down the organisation: about 90% of American firms use merit pay, for example.
There is no doubt that sticks and carrots can be badly used. They can encourage risky behaviour, as they have in the banking system, or persuade policemen to focus on minor traffic infractions rather than violent criminals, as they have in Britain. But properly managed they can be immensely powerful tools for boosting productivity and attracting the right people. For all the battering he has taken over the past hundred years, Frederick Taylor still has the edge over his critics.
My first co-op job was writing software for IBM AS/400 mainframe. I wonder if mainframe gets back into fashion, is my mainframe programming skill still marketable.
Today is the second class of my wood working class. I bought three pieces of birch wood last Sunday to make a small table. I learn how to cut the a rough wood into the required shape in today’s class. The cutting steps are pretty simple.
1. Use a miter saw cut 2-3″ from the edge to get rid of cracks or defects.
2. Cut the wood into rough length (the real length plus 1″)
3. Take the wood to the jointer and trim one edge straight. It is easier to trim the edge curving outward.
4. Take the wood to table saw and cut it into rough width. (real width plus 1/4″)
5. Take the wood back to the jointer and trim one face flat. Now the wood has a right angle edge.
6. Take the wood to planner and plane it to the final width and thickness.
I am kinda slow today, so I didn’t get to step 6 today. Now I have all the pieces of my small table cut in rough size. After cutting 20 over pieces, I am quite good at using the jointer. The key is to apply pressure on the front, not on the back when the wood pass through the blade. I can feel when the blade is trimming a layer off the wood. I made many cuts using the table saw too, but it is still quite scary. It is the only piece of tool in the workshop have an uncovered rotating blade. Keep your fingers away from moving blades and always use a push stick.
We spent the first hour listening to instruction and watching demonstration. That left me two hours to work on my own. The clock seems running much faster when I concentrate in cutting the wood. The class is over sooner before I finish cutting all my pieces. At the end of the class, I have saw dust all over my clothes. I guess I have to wash my clothes after each class. Too bad that I forgot to bring my camera. However, it seems kinda silly taking pictures in the workshop. No one is taking any pictures.
This Youtube video illustrates the difference between all forms of governments and try to correct many people’s misunderstand on democracy. The form of government is scaled from absolute power on the left to no power on the right. They are dictatorship, oligarchy, democracy, republic and anarchy.
There is not true dictatorship. No government can be ruled by one man. The dictator is just the face of a group of rulers. There is no true anarchy, since it is not a stable form of government. It is merely a transition to oligarchy. Oligarchy is ruled by a group of people. Democracy means majority rules. Republic is rules of law. Democracy is only a transition between oligarchy and republic. I wonder when HK people petition for democracy, do they really understand what they are asking for? I think HK need a republic government, democracy is not the end goal, it is just a begining.
去年金融海嘯華爾街投資銀行傷亡慘重﹐可是卻捧紅了「黑天鵝理論」這本書和其作者Nassim Nicholas Talech。此君投資眼光獨到甚有遠見﹐在一眾基金經理還沉醉在經濟沫的時候﹐他已經預言金融海嘯無可避免﹐來臨只是遲早的問題。金融海嘯令不少投資者一舖清袋﹐他的基金卻逆市狂賺一百二十億。Talech並非普通的華爾街基金經理﹐除了管理基金外﹐他還在大學當哲學教授﹐研究隨機率的認知論。
「黑天鵝理論」因為金融海嘯被受追捧﹐財經界人手一本在閱讀惡補。其實「黑天鵝理論」不過是在重覆他舊作Fooled by Randomness的內容。這本書早在「黑天鵝理論」登上暢銷書排行榜前﹐已被譽為華爾街奇書﹐自組成cult有一群忠實追隨者。這本書中文譯作「隨機致富的傻瓜」﹐不過我認為中文名稱譯很差﹐完全偏離了該書的原意﹐因為這本書根本和致富無關。這本書的主旨很簡單﹐一句說話可以說完﹐但同時亦挑戰大部份人的世界觀。人們以為成功全因一己努力或眼光﹐看不清楚自己命運的背後﹐往往受到隨機事件擺佈的事實。