Tim Cook on Why He Met With Donald Trump

Tim Cook was part of a round table of tech leaders (that includes Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry Page of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and others) that met with Trump.

In an article by TechCrunch, he explains the reason for this meeting:

There’s a large number of those issues, and the way that you advance them is to engage. Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.

We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think that’s a key part of what Apple is about. And we’ll continue to do so.

The key takeaway is that to change things, we have to show others why our way is the best.

(via Daring Fireball)

Simon Sinek on Millennials & Understanding The Game We’re Playing

Simon Sinek’s talk on technology, millennials and empathy has been making rounds in the Internet.

Rightly so.

He shares how we have brought up a generation that’s based on instant gratification, lack of social skills, and being thrown into an environment vastly different from what they expect. Lacking empathy, people said they are unmanageable. But empathy is a critical virtue of any good leaders. To lead well, we have to understand the reasoning behind their behaviour.

Things get interesting in the second half of the talk when he shares about infinite vs finite. Great companies stay in business because they understand they need to stay in the game for the long haul. Most companies look at the competition, copy them, and thrive to out-do them. Great firms wake up everyday thinking how to improve their product or service.

As people, we can do the same.

What can we do to make sure the work we produce today is better than the work we produced before?

In other words, what is the something that we can do today that makes us a better version of ourselves?

The Year Ahead – 2017

Hello friends,

How are you doing?

2017 is upon us. 2016 is in the history book. Year after year, we get the same feeling on the last few days on the calendar – that the year just whizzed passed us. As they say, the days are long but the years are short.

But why do we get this kind of feeling? Is it because we ageing? Is it because we are not filling the weeks and months with activities we love to be doing? Is it because we are too distracted with other non-essential stuffs that we don’t do things that are essential to us? Or are we keeping ourselves so busy that we don’t have the time to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the sunrise/ sunset).

A new year brings new hope. I don’t set any resolution as I once recalled my manager sharing this “my resolution this year is to complete the resolutions I set last year”. We often set big resolutions but miss out the smaller things that really matter.

I have several plans I hope to fulfil this year. Nothing too ambitious though. One thing I’ve learned over the years is small steps matter more than big ones. If I continue to push forward with those small steps, I’ll get there one day.

I hope you have a brilliant year ahead.

Kioskafe by Monocle

I’m a big fan of Monocle magazine and a huge admirer for the brand they have built.

Besides print, they are also bringing the community together by having a newsstand/ coffee bar in London.

It’s a space to rest your feet, stop for a chat, people-watch in a nice neighbourhood, sip some coffee and of course, browse and buy (monocle) magazines.

It’s exactly the kind of cafe-retail space I dream of running.


The Bank: An Old Bank Turned Bar

Wow! The Bank is one cool-looking bar. Previously a bank, it was converted into a bar by art director Kaoru Watanabe.

He ran it for 15 years before passing on. Masamichi Katayama, the architect Wantanbe worked with for the initial renovation, took over the beacon and reopen after a light refurbishing.

I can imagine it’s a place where I would be comfortable in, ala Mad Men-era style.

It looks like a place where technology is not invited, a place to find solitude and do some reflective thinking.

Scrambled Eggs: Gordon Ramsay

Which opinion do you hold over Gordon Ramsay? A terrific chef but terrible human being? A foul-mouthed man with questionable ethics, or a nurturing and warm person in private?

On Christmas Day, I wanted to make something that’s easy yet satisfying. On YouTube, his clip was the first result and I thought, why not?

The outcome? It was splendid. The best version of scrambled egg I’ve ever had, may I humbly add.

So good I’m going to make them again this Saturday. It would be a good dinner as we chill, relax and usher in the new year.


16 Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2016

They said ‘never judge a book by its cover’.

Well, in the vast sea of books in a library, bookstore or online shops, cover is often what grabs our attention. Especially for books and authors we are not familiar with, our first impression of them matters. It determines whether we pick it up or move on to the next shelve (or page).

So here it goes – 16 of the most beautiful book covers of 2016.

My favourites of the lot:

Xabi Alonso And Watches

Xabi Alonso is a great footballer and a fine gentleman. He’s one of the best midfielder to grace the pitch for Liverpool, Spain, and various elite clubs in Europe. I’m honored to see him played for the team I support. Even in times where his manager tried to sell him off, he has always remain graceful and put the team ahead of his own interest.

As such, I admire him as a person as much for his footballing abilities.

He has a minimalist approach to lifestyle which reflect his personalities. He lives in a quiet house with his wife and 3 children. His main drive is a modest Audi. He stays out of the limelight and you won’t read a negative coverage about him. He’s a perfect role model for aspiring kids.

Xabi shares his appreciation for fine watches – subtle yet sophisticated. Most of his watches has a story to tell. “For me, every special moment is bound to be linked to a particular watch, and whenever I put it on I’m transported back to that moment.”

His philosophy to watches is like Philippe Patek – You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation. He says “I don’t just see the watches as my belongings, but as a legacy for my kids, especially my son, Jon, who in a few years’ time can wear one with pride and that added meaning because his father gave it to him,”

I would imagine that would be another significant moment in his life, one which he would commemorate with a fine watch.

Read the extended interview over at Mr Potter.

Slaughtering Us Like Animals

From The New York Times, a photojournalist captured the brutal anti-drug campaign in the Philippines.

The opening—a strong and captivating paragraph, sets the tone on what’s to come.

YOU HEAR A MURDER SCENE before you see it: The desperate cries of a new widow. The piercing sirens of approaching police cars. The thud, thud, thud of the rain drumming on the pavement of a Manila alleyway — and on the back of Romeo Torres Fontanilla.

Tigas, as Mr. Fontanilla was known, was lying facedown in the street when I pulled up after 1 a.m. He was 37. Gunned down, witnesses said, by two unknown men on a motorbike. The downpour had washed his blood into the gutter.

“They are slaughtering us like animals,” said a bystander who was afraid to give his name.

[…] police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

The pictures are gruesome. The violence is real. It’s being instigated by a Philippine leader with no regards to human lives.  Living in fear, no one is spared. The decision to eradicate drug comes at the expense of massive(preventable) death toll.

They say 2016 is a horrible year. But going by the state of things, the future is even more uncertain as questionable politicians threaten to paint the world even darker.

Plan And Do or Do and Plan

Sitting by the window, typing away on a 3-year-old MacBook. It’s still running fine – smooth and silky. The space is running low though, not surprise as it’s a meagre 128GB. I think my next upgrade will be switching out to a bigger SSD. The various sites I’ve been to all said it’s not a hard job. Right, it shall be my to-do list.

Been away for a week from work made me realise how much I dislike working in a cubicle. The journey – a miserable 1.5 hours of commute each way – 3 hours daily – is a chore. A friend told me one of the key reasons among unhappiness in workers, and one of the driving reasons for people to leave their post, has to do with commute. Generally, people who don’t have to travel too far for work are happier. They can afford to wake up slightly later (which means getting more sleep), return home faster (who doesn’t want this), and save a little more on transportation cost. Since I’ve moved house a year ago, I’ve been trying to adapt. It’s a laborious process where I don’t see any headway. Except working remotely.

During work, I’ve had plenty of discussion surrounding where we want to do for our new project, how we go about doing it, and how can we improve on our process. Each of us have our own working style. I’m the type that wants to plan, or have a general plan in place, thinking through the possible outcomes, before venturing out. My co-worker is one that doesn’t need much plan, preferring to do and learn from there.

Our difference in style leads to disagreements and intense discussions even though in private, we get along well. Working together with people I think I know well is hard, just like travelling with good friends I thought I know extremely well. Disagreements can lead to better outcomes, as different perspectives are being thrown out and considered. The key is not to be closed off from new ideas and viewpoints. We listened to one another, make our stand, and then decide what’s the next move. Back and forth, then eventually towards our goal.

A couple of weeks back, we wanted to setup an account to sell our products online. Though we have been in this business for over a decade, it was the first time we attempted selling direct to consumers. At that moment, we hadn’t nail on the precise brand name yet. We decided to use the name our overseas subsidiary is already using to start off.

We started to get orders. One, two, then five. 10, then 20. Sales were picking up. However, our management concluded that we shouldn’t use the same brand name with our overseas subsidiary due to the difference in business direction. What’s going to happen with our current name then? One established e-commerce marketplace we are selling in said they can’t help us to change it. Why should they? We are just a small fish in their big pond?

If everything don’t work out, we will just start a new account and build things up again. The reviews we have, the relationships we developed, the brand we build, everything will have to be done from scratch again. It’s not so from that we have to do them again, it’s starting off with the right foot. Not knowing what we want and just barge head in.

Would we have gotten this much sales, learn so many things, had we not done this? What’s the worst that can happen? Starting from scratch.

I’m questioning the wisdom of this convention. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we never do this. On the contrary, I’m appreciating that we did get started and learn as we go along. After all, we don’t learn how to swim by watching videos.

I may be a skeptic of rushing in before planning. But results have shown that it’s better to just go in and not over-complicate things. If things don’t work out, use a different approach and try again.