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Connecting

Some months back, I asked Mr L if he would join me for a lunch catch up with a mutual ex-colleague, Mr T. We have not met in 14 years. Mr L was busy being angry about everything, his former employer, his PHd application being rejected by XYZ University.

Fast forward to June, I found out that if Mr L had joined me for lunch with Mr T, he could have walked his way into a job vacancy in Mr T’s company.

Is this how Krumboltz’s Happenstance works? Sometimes opportunities whiz by and miss us because we are engrossed in the past.

Lesson learnt today.

As an IJ, unplanned meetings drain me. But think of the exciting future that awaits you from the little step you take.

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https://www.paragkhanna.com/connectography

Why Supplychain is a sexy career. As sexy as global power can be.

Supplychains are now race for the top, not to the bottom. Empires were built on infrastructure and connectivity. Which model will China adopt? British Empire, Dutch Empire, Spanish Empire, Portugese Empire or American Empire?

“We are moving into an era where cities will matter more than states and supply chains will be a more important source of power than militaries — whose main purpose will be to protect supply chains rather than borders. Competitive connectivity is the arms race of the 21st century.”

CONNECTOGRAPHY: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization — Parag Khanna

#goodreads #globalisation #strategy

One of the things I missed about being self employed is not having colleagues to try out new lunch venues or chill at tea, “whatsup” catching up with office gossip, and especially the learning workshops we were forced to attend. And the travelling. Which was quite fun, since it was only 10%, in my work – no budget. The free newspapers, so essential to keeping up with research and client information.

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While I enjoy managing my own time, minimal department meetings, no office politics (I still have a boss. My clients are my boss.), there is a downside to being a free lancer/ gig economy worker/ self employed. Lonely. Iron sharpens iron. (Confessions of an introvert.)

How do freelancers thrive in the future of work?

NTUC has set up a chapter for Free lancers and self employed, check out their facebook.

There will be an upcoming 2 day workshop to equip free lancers with digital skills, considering that coaches can still be paid through cash, app, and internet banking.

Step One: Company Name and type of work

First, think of a name for your company and register it with the government. Set up an ACRA account. Its not difficult. https://www.acra.gov.sg/

How do you use your time wisely as a tennis coach, if classes are cancelled on a rainy day?

Today, many of the younger generation prefer to be self employed. Digital tools have made it possible.

Step Two: Join NTUC FSE

Join a community. Why? Social, getting ideas, learn something. Example, how to pitch yourself?

There are a number of associations to join:

Singapore Association of Motion Picture Professionals
Screenwriters Association (Singapore)
IoTalents for online and IT workforce
Caregiver Asia
Creatives at Work (CAW) for media freelancers
Tueetoer (for free lance tutors)

Step three: Market yourself

Get a professionally done photograph, nothing fancy, but very presentable @ caregivers asia. You can check out the photographs done for their freelance caregivers. Joel Tam.

You can start a Facebook, Instagram or even Blog. Register with a number of providers like Fiverr, Upwork, Tueetor etc.

72 Best Freelance Jobs Websites to Get Remote Freelance Work (Fast)

You can create a podcast with your mobile or a youtube video.

For a lady who does storytelling for children. She was articulating the benefits of her course. Learning while playing. Joel articulated that her blog could include a simple Powtoons tip of the day for parents, “Three things your child can play while learning without realising.”

Even creating Infographics. I especially like the tip of how Joel broke into writing reviews for cars. He took a photograph of his own car and sent it to major automotive brands. Wow. Such a simple and impactful idea. Sometimes, just talking to someone who has done it, helps break down the “barriers in our head”.

Many of the self employed entrepreneurs I discovered, wear multiple hats and have multiple streams of income. Joel is Marketing Director at Caregivers as well as Care review etc.

Recognise that you need T-shaped skills. Deep expertise, applied to different businesses.

An important tip he shared was, if you have 70,000 followers on your Instagram account, but they are not in your target market, then you may want to start afresh. Localise your content. Especially for freelancers working towards a local clientele.

Step 4: How do you hook clients with a strong pitch?

In your self introduction, dont just talk about ideas. Talk about yourself as an idea. Your transformational journey, eg from a chemical engineer to a muay thai instructor, and how those little bits of you are combined to make you who you are today.

Not just another mindfulness instructor, but a sports coach who combines mindfulness in the journey.

What are three superhero characteristics you bring, from your life journey?

I was a _________. (Painpoint: A conflict I felt _________. I decided to ________. The pivot helped me _____________.

So what are you waiting for?

With an internal career platform where AI proactively recommends jobs to you based on skills, tenure, project work, rankings. No doubt, IBM will soon be trying to sell this career platform to other companies.

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Photo: Taken at a old postal town on the Nakasendo trail.

Employee centric or Big Brother?

MYCA—IBM’s internal career platform called My Career Advisor—no longer acts as a self serve system; instead the AI proactively recommends jobs to you based on skills, tenure, project work, rankings, and so on.

Does 95% accuracy mean self fulfilling prophecy?

Accurate by whose predictions? I will be quite hesitant to work in a company where my career is decided by a robot.

Sensing this, the AI no doubt will weed me out. Well, IBM is not going to be on my favourite list of great place to work.

If I want to keep my job in IBM (hypothetically), I will certainly say that I love whatever is happening. Employee engagement survey scores have seen an increase of 20% in IBM. Does one assume anonymity or alignment? The same AI that gives out the survey can now detect the unmotivated with greater accuracy. Is there a conflict of interest? What is HR’s role?

Will I want to buy this HR solutions which IBM may try to sell my company? Hmm, why not. It certainly is a powerful machine from a profit/ cost perspective.

I recently heard this exchange on a TED talk about machines and replacing workers.

Henry Ford was hosting the Union chief Walter Reuther at his Ford car assembly line.

Henry Ford II: Walter, how will you get those robots to pay your union dues?

Walter Reuther in reply: Henry, how will you get them to buy your cars?

Whether this exchange took place, Ford in his HR practice understood the need to motivate and stablise his workforce with a decent salary because it is a circular economy.

Employees who leave your company may be potential clients, customers or your adversary. Understand the ecosystem.

IBM’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy Is Fantastic, But AI Also Cut 30% Of Its HR Workforce

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danpontefract/2019/04/06/ibms-artificial-intelligence-strategy-is-fantastic-but-ai-also-cut-30-of-its-hr-workforce/

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Close to my Chinese roots, my mother put in a lot of effort to find my Chinese name, it means the bell that rings at dawn because I was born pre-dawn. Embeded in my name is my mother’s hope for me. Wisdom, riches, beauty, fame, peace are the typical aspirations. Every Chinese knows this tradition, and in some families, we even choose characters that reveal your position in the family tree.

Yet when it comes to getting an English name, many Chinese/ Taiwanese / Hong Kong Chinese would choose names like Noodle, Rock etc and we puzzle at the quirkiness.

Not so, a young British girl. Beau Jessup. She is making more than $300,000 and funding her way through college by naming Chinese babies. As founder and CEO of Special Name, a website designed to provide Chinese parents with culturally appropriate English names for their babies.

How did she come up with the idea?

Jessup was inspired to start the business in 2015, when she was just 15. She has since named a total of 677,900.

Empathise- A chance encounter

Jessup was traveling with her father in China, when a business contact, a Mrs. Wang, asked for help in naming her three-year-old daughter.

Where are the pain-points?Constraints can be opportunities

“Due to language barriers and internet censorship in China, the ability to research English names can be limited, often resulting in unfortunate and sometimes comical selections”, Jessup noted.(Source: http://flip.it/BN0YJM)

Prototype: A minimally viable Idea

Back home, Jessup hired a freelance web developer to build a Chinese language website for the Chinese community. Meanwhile, in her spare time, she filled a database with more than 4,000 boys and girls names, attributing five characteristics that best represented that name, such as honesty and optimistism.

Ideate – create choices

The website uses algorithm to generate the names. It also allows collective decision making by encouraging users to share the three name suggestions with their friends and family via a direct link to Chinese messaging app WeChat on the site — to help them settle on their favorite and avoid any “cultural mistakes.”

Travel, Empathise, Talk to locals

Beau Jessup’s idea came about because she is a bridge to a diverse network. How many English speaking Chinese can do what she did? Many.

Sometimes, a simple idea is waiting to be discovered.

Go out and talk to people. Empathise with their constraints and see if you can help solve their problems in a win-win way.

Network for ideas

University of Chicago sociologist Ron Burt has referred to this sort of networking as bridging a gap between different social networks.

Burt studied 673 managers in a large U.S. electronics firm and found that those managers who had a broader network of contacts were consistently rated as generating more highly valued ideas.

Their access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations gives them an edge when it comes to spotting and developing good ideas.

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This morning, I visited Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome. I bought a one year pass which will expire in June 2019 and have yet to use it.

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Here I am, having a mini holiday in Japan, right here in Singapore. Sakuras are fresh and in full bloom. I came at 9am, no queue and was out by 930am.

The drive was just 10 mins from my home and enroute to work. When I texted my envious friends, they could not believe it.

Weakness can be a strength

Yes, Singapore is that small. Its tiny size is a weakness as well as a strength. All attractions are accessible. Just a mindset change away.

What resources are you underutilising?

🍍Just like my one year membership at Gardens by the Bay which I bought at $45 during a promotion.

🍍My “close distance” to the displays which are refreshed every month.

🍍Treating my Asian tiger mom as my best feedback coach. Undeniably she often has my interest at heart. (Her coaching fees are free.)