The Business of Business

A topic that I find most appropriate these days is the topic of business and especially my background in business. I have never started a business, although I have done freelance work as a website designer in the past. My parents are mutual fund and real estate investors and I myself invest in the stock market. As for academic background, I have had a few economics courses and no prior experience in high school. I’ve been continuously working since I was 15 (11 if you count delivering papers), I’ve had a wide range of experience ranging from customer service to supervisory. I’ve never been unemployed for more than 6 months.

So it’s fair to say that I have no management experience, yet it’s something that I desire. Improving my business credentials is quite paramount as one of my life’s goals is to make my first million before I venture into middle age. However, that first million is the trickiest. In a capitalist society, the rich get richer and you need money to make money. If I had the money, I would purchase several homes in the United States right now and sell them off once the mortgage crisis recovers. I would invest more heavily in the market until the recession ends. I would start an online business that would cater to all consumers, chinese, american, european, etc.

So what’s stopping me? The most important factor is risk. I could take out a loan, sell some of my assets and try to do those things, but it takes a certain amount of determination and confidence to make it succeed. The fact of the matter is that everyone has good ideas – they lack the hard work ethic and capital to make it succeed. In order to achieve success, one must be a risk-taker. Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to pursue what he thought would be a profitable venture. Facebook would probably not be the way it is if he had continued it as a part time hobby while an undergraduate, much like how Bill Gates had dropped out to pursue his software venture before. The founders of Yahoo and Google both had to had faith in their website services before committing full time to them. In short, in this day and age – online businesses are the result of their founder’s faith in their ability to succeed.

Thus I realize how the business of commerce and management closely resembles that of design and computer science. From my CSC318 course (Design of computational media), I learned to identify the target stakeholder group, create personas to fit that group, conduct observations, create prototypes and evaluation plans and deploy to market. Business is much the same – with more emphasis on quality, price and time to market. Not only must a business be successful – it has to be profitable as well.

A prime example is the principles upon which eBay Inc and Amazon Inc, now both publicly traded companies, were founded:

Where’s the opportunity?: Consumers needed a convenient way to purchase products online.
What’s the goal?: Become a middleman from the sellers and buyers. Make it affordable and undercut the competition.
How can we make it profitable?: Charge fees to sellers and to wholesale distributors. Advertisements. Sponserships. Mark up shipping costs and offer bundling discounts.
How can we make it successful and well known?: Devote lots of effort. Obtain investments from people who are already wealthy. Show proof-of-concepts and field study summaries to convince investors. Market it well. Have an excellent customer service reputation. Hire people who can extend your vision.
How can we continue being successful?: Purchase smaller companies that can help your business (Paypal, Skype). Extend your services (Kijiji). Create a product that ties with your services (Kindle).

All in all, the basic foundations of designing are also the basic foundations of establishing a successful business.

My course on management starts tomorrow. I am interested in applying my skills already learned as a compute scientist to the business of business. Although my experience in this field is lacking, it is something that I feel that with enough faith, could become a profitable use of my time and resources.

Work, work

Lots of work to be done at Environment Canada; Three people on our Core team have been moved or left, so now we only have me and three others who are essentially maintaining the core. The next release of the Core is planned for end of September:

Tasks to be done:
-Modify the metadata updating procedure in the core. Waiting for stored procedures to be added.
-Testing of Element Mapping lookups…having trouble with the unit tests.
-Element Mapping parsing is weird…waiting for encoding issue to be resolved.
-Ninjo Station Catalog PG design document is set to be reviewed later this week, and I will have to write the code soon.

Other than that, I still have no luck finding a part time job, I’m making fair losses in stocks which require me to inject more capital in, my debt actually increased by $1000 during the summer despite working and I have to pay back my car loan =(. I also have to go to court in 6 months to fight a parking ticket -_-. A nice cuban cigar and fine french wine is in order! (of course those cost money as well).

Latest recordings:

A new recording of a Jimi Hendrix classic; I admit I jammed quite a bit on this one, it’s over 10 min long!

Also, a new version of instrumental Desperado which probably sounds better since I’m not singing!

Some more recordings I am planning soon include a cover of Steve Miller’s The Joker and maybe some more John Mayer/Jimi Hendrix covers.

Short term goals

Since my last update, there have been several items on my agenda that have been achieved and others that haven’t. First off, I regret my decision to buy a car…the reason why I bought one was for two reasons primarily:

1. Help me find a part time job. I wanted faster transportation so that I could make myself more available to more jobs.
2. Get me to class on time. Provided I get into my commerce course, I needed faster transportation so as not to be late.

Turns out that it hasn’t really helped me with the first point (I’m still looking), but I am glad I got into my commerce course, so the second point has (or will be) fulfilled.
But there is a massive caveat to this: according to my calculations, the upkeep of the car is too expensive for me right now. If I were to pay off my debt and my car loan AND have leftover money for my tuition next year, I am still going to be in debt. So therefore, there’s really only two options for me: Keep the car and get a part-time job or sell the car and take some losses. The first one seems more likely; I don’t want to make losses or go through trouble of selling it, and even then how will I fulfill point #2?

Thus, I believe that this fall will become quite busy for me. I thinking to participate in many extra-curricular activities as well (such as public speaking and/or badminton, piano lessons, etc) in order to boost my character. But to work a full-time & part-time job AND get over an 80 in my commerce course is going to be hard work indeed. The last time I juggled so many activities, my marks dropped me down an entire grade point. So I have no idea how I am to handle this, but I hope things will come through; if I can do this then my vacation next year will be well deserved indeed.

There’s a minor style/image change on the site; now it’s more ‘blue’ I suppose. Also the reason why the media section never gets updated with new videos is because I am waiting for Cooliris to come out with a way to embed youtube RSS feeds into an wall. I just can’t be bothered to make an entire Media RSS feed for my videos just for this site =/.
I leave off this post with an acoustic guitar rendition of Moonlight Sonata. I’m off to study for my next interview -_-;