TimothyTiah.com

What people used to tell me about marriage and what I found the truth to be

Today marks 4 years that I’ve been married to my dear wife Audrey Ooi Feng Ling aka Shorty. 4 years doesn’t feel that long considering we’ve been together for 7 years now but I feel so much has changed in our relationship.

Marriage, moving in together and having kids each are their own catalyst to a change in your relationship and Shorty and mine has evolved a lot in these past 7 years.

Before I got married, I used to hear a lot about how being married was like and to my surprise what I’ve experienced so far is really different. Here’s what.
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  1. You lose all your freedom when married.

This is the one thing I used to hear so much. My married friends would tell me to enjoy the freedom I had for once I got married all that will disappear. I didn’t find a big change in this department.

I mean if my freedom to go around and play single had disappeared, it disappeared not at the point of marriage but at the point I started a serious relationship with Shorty. Married or not we had a commitment and marriage was just a piece of paper that could in the first few years be annulled without too much of a trouble.

So I didn’t feel there was a huge jump here from single to marriage. Shorty and I are quite open too. Some nights she goes out and some nights I go out, although most nights you can find us both at home watching Netflix.

2. Your in-laws are going to stress you out.

The saying goes that you choose your wife but you don’t choose the family she comes with. So you’re bound to run into some conflict here and there.

I can understand how in-laws sometimes puts a strain on a marriage (and it works both ways) but in my experience I’ve found it quite manageable. I found it easier to understand when I remembered that it wasn’t just me that didn’t get to pick my wife’s family. My wife’s family too didn’t get to pick me.

I can’t predict the future neither do I want to jinx anything but I can happily say that we do get along really well now.

3. Your expenses go up

Yep this part is true. Even without kids I find that my expenses go up because I start paying for two in the household now but to be fair I was doing it even before we were married.

The good thing is that while I’m supporting four (back then it was just two) and it costs more, I happen to spend less on myself because I have less time for myself. Which brings me to the next point.

4. You have less time for yourself.

Yep. I do have less time for myself. Suddenly there is the commitment of spending time with your wife (eventually your kids), your family and your in-laws. But the truth is I don’t really feel it.  I don’t take it as less time for myself but just a different way of me spending time.

Plus it’s not like I stop doing anything for myself. I still do. Just less.

5. You’re going to wish you were single.

Not really. Well the truth is being married and having the support and company of a great wife more than makes up for the stuff my single friends can do. I won’t deny though that sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to be single again but when I do I fulfill it by hearing stories of my single friends and their adventures. It’s like I live vicariously through them.

So yeah overall… 4 years married and loving it.

Happy Anniversary Shorty!

We’re watching what’s happening to Taylor Swift now because we all know a snake in our lives…

I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Taylor Swift but I did view her really positively. I liked how she was really down-to-earth, humble, treat her friends really nice, charitable and all those things that she portrays herself as.

This past week though I saw her entire image unravel.

In case you missed it, read this for a full account.  The TLDR version is that Kanye included some offensive lyrics in a recent rap. Offensive in many ways like referring to Taylor as a bitch and saying she would still have sex with him because he made her famous.

Taylor came out on the offense when those lyrics came out and very famously during this acceptance speech at the Grammys slamming people (which everyone understood was Kanye) for taking credit for her fame and success.

Now Kanye was like wtf? He said that he asked Taylor if he could include her in the song like that and she approved it. An allegation that Taylor strongly denied.

All was going well for Taylor until Kim Kardashian posted a video on her Snapchat of a phone conversation between Kanye and Taylor. That video tore apart Taylor’s initial story.

Since then Taylor has responded by posting a note on her Instagram that she didn’t approve of him referring to her as “bitch” in the video recording (which is a fair point) but didn’t address the rest of the video.

Taylor’s friends have also come up to her defense but instead of trying to argue the point at matter they seem to be arguing that people should be talking about other more important things in the world. .

 

Like Selena Gomez who was criticized then for saying this but not saying a word about Black Lives Matter. Beyond the social media war that is going on, the interesting thing is what’s happening with the media. Many articles now cover how they (just like many of us) have been believing the fake nice image that Taylor Swift has been giving us. They started to expose all the mean things that Taylor did to many people around (including her ex Calvin Harris) and holy crap once you read them all you begin to think maybe Kanye wasn’t exaggerating when he referred to her as a “bitch”.  Many articles have covered this but here’s one. I’ve never watched Hollywood celebrity news as much as I do now. Then over a conversation with Shorty today I realized why we were so captivated by this whole story. Yes it’s juicy and all, but if we look deep inside we realize that we all each have a “snake” (to borrow a word from Kim Kardashian) in our lives.


Someone who everyone loves because they portray a really nice, kind personality on the outside but you know deep inside is manipulative, cruel and uses people around them. “Snakes” in our lives more often than not tend to get away and it infuriates us. It infuriates us that nobody can see what we can see.

So some of us are following this whole saga not just for the juice but because it gives us hope. Hope that the Taylor Swifts in our own lives will one day be exposed for who he or she really is.

To everyone who has a snake in our lives, think of Camilla Belle. To give you a background on that Camilla Belle is an actress that like Calvin Harris, Kanye, Katy Perry and more have incurred the wrath of Taylor.

Here’s a quote from the Looper article I shared above that explains this best.

In Swift’s song, “Better Than Revenge,” the singer attacks a woman who she thinks stole her boyfriend. Rumor has it the song is about actress Camilla Belle allegedly stealing Swift’s ex, JoeJonas. Swift sings, “She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think / She’s an actress / She’s better known for the things that she does / On the mattress.”

Read More: http://www.looper.com/7466/shady-side-taylor-swift/?utm_campaign=clip

Since this whole saga erupted she posted this:

“No need for revenge. Just sit back & wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves & if you’re lucky, God will let you watch”.

Well said Camilla!

My little sister

In my many years I’ve always talked about the important people in my life. My father, my mother, my wife and now my kids. I just realized recently that the one person I haven’t really talked a lot about is my younger sister.

There are four kids in my family. My two eldest brothers who are close in age and then there’s my sister and I who share a 3 year gap in our age.

We grew up spending most of our time together. We found toys to play with together, we played computer games together and up until I turned 15, shared a room together.

This is an early picture of us from 1990.

Looking back at my record as a brother, I don’t think I was a very good one growing up.  I would hog the computer and play my games while she watched on. Then as my mom came home I would run and hide and leave her playing the game for all of the 30 seconds she would get until my mom saw her playing and scolded her for it.

I once asked her to close her eyes and led her face first into a pillar because I thought it would be funny. Turns out it was not… she went crying to mom and I got an earful… and boy just thinking about how bratty I was then makes me want to go back into the past and smack boy-Tim. If Fighter ever did anything like that to Penny I would go mental.

It’s instances like that which led to some of my regrets. That I wasn’t a better brother to my sister when we were kids. Rather than being a brother who took care of her, I was a brother who lived for himself and only played with her when I wanted to. To some extent I see a little of that in Fighter now and how he treats Penny.

Filling in my gap of not being the protective brother was my parents. Being the only girl in the family, my parents were always more protective of my sister, constantly worrying about her and whether she’ll be able to face life on the outside. What all of us never really noticed was that my sister was and is a lot stronger than we thought.

I got to know in my later years how she struggled through many personal struggles growing up but kept it all to herself and handled it. I sometimes ask myself if it’s because I wasn’t emotionally there for her enough that she was forced to be strong herself. If so then perhaps some good came out of the bad boy-Tim did.

Today my sister is a grown woman working in an advertising agency managing a team of her own. She’s totally unmaterialistic, lives a very simple life by choice and doesn’t demand for anything apart from a good glass of single malt whiskey every now and then.

She gets emotionally attached to the things she uses. She would use a mobile phone and never want to change it until it crashes and never comes to life again. Her old Honda looked like it had gone on a road trip through Syria but she refused to change it until my Dad bought her a new one.

She also has this really friendly personality that turns strangers into friends in five minutes. Once we went to a park and she disappeared for a while only to see her making friends with a group of strangers and talking about some handle bar stuff.

She also shares some similarities with my wife. She is the kind of person who won’t naturally know how to think about what to do for you but if she knows it, she will. Some sort like my wife really.  With that in mind I know that no matter what happens I know my sister will have my back.

As a more matured older brother now I’m trying to make up for lost years. Trying to be a better brother to her than I was growing up, doing as many things as I can for her. She’s also grown really close to my family, constantly making time to spend with Fighter.

Professionally too she’s doing great. I once saw her perform in a work setting and I was really impressed at how she presented an idea and how capable she was. I went home and told my parents that their little girl wasn’t a little girl anymore. The little girl in our family has grown up to be this strong woman now.

And that is the story of one of the most important people in my life.

My cure for missing the kids when I travel

I’ve been away for 5 straight days this week. In the past when I travel for work I always feel it’s no big deal. I used to be away for 2 weeks in a month on average and I’ve never felt very very homesick.

That all changed when I started having kids. Being away from the kids make me feel really homesick and it’s not just because of the fear of missing a moment in their growing up lives. It’s because I can’t interact with them in a meaningful way.

Ok let me explain that. When I’m away from Shorty it’s fine because we still talk a lot on messaging or video calls. So while I’m physically away, I’m not emotionally away.

I can’t seem to achieve the same thing with Fighter and Penny. Technology advances has allowed us to do live video calls (something our parents never had the luxury of) but both of them never seem to want to interact with me over video for long.

So I feel homesick. I feel like I miss them and the traditional release of looking at their pictures in your wallet or now phone doesn’t have the effect it used to have anymore.

Fortunately my wife does two things that help.

The first is Dayre. She makes it a point to constantly update her Dayre especially when I’m away so I get to follow their journey throughout their day. I may miss moments but I don’t miss what really happened because the whole story of the day is told there.

The second thing is my wife’s YouTube videos. So Shorty started vlogging recently with lots of shots with the kids. The advantage with this one is that I really get to relive the moment that I would have otherwise missed.

This week when I was away, Shorty published this video. All shot and edited in a day (seriously when did my wife become such an expert).


As I sat in the hotel room one morning, dreading the start of another day away from the family, watching this video made me feel all better.

I ended up watching it twice that very same day. Reliving some of the moments over and over again. Like Penny doing a yum seng.

Sure my wife doesn’t necessarily update her vlog or Dayre just for me… but I’m happy and very appreciative of being a big beneficiary of it.

The great part is that one day when Fighter and Penny are older they can go back to watch these videos or read our Dayre to see how our lives were like with them around.

That’s the great thing about the internet these days. We are enabled to not just store photos or snapshot of memories but stories. If we keep this up we’ll have a lifetime of stories to tell our kids and grandkids one day. Never ever having to forget one.

How I got cheated at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok

For years I’ve heard many people talk about the Four Faced Buddha at the Erawan Shrine and its powers. The saying goes that if you go there and pray to the Four Face Buddha, your wish will be granted but once granted you have to return there to give thanks by buying some flowers and making an offering or things will start going badly for you.

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I’ve never really found the reason to go because I’m a Christian so it’s not really aligned to my beliefs but my wife is Buddhist or more like a free-thinker and I respect her beliefs.

Anyway the backstory is that this year hasn’t been a great year for me in one particular respect. Something’s been going on pretty badly in my life and well I do what I do, just fight on and pray every night before I sleep.

Then just a month ago my wife revealed something to me. She said that last year she was in Bangkok and she went to the Erawan Shrine to pray for me at the Four Faced Buddha. The wish she made for me came true and things were really great for me towards the end of last year. If you follow the saying once something comes true you have to go back and give thanks but she hasn’t been back since. She thought maybe that’s why this year hasn’t been good for me.

So this week I’m in Bangkok for the Netccentric regional meeting and my wife asked me to go and give thanks on her (actually mine since the wish was for me) behalf. Ming tagged along.

When we got there the place was crowded with people and we didn’t know where to start. We started looking around the shrine and found a counter that sold dancers but didn’t find anyone that sold the joss ticks and flowers and all.

Ming ended up walking outside and we came across some roadside stalls. A lady motioned for us to go over to her stall and she asked if we were praying or giving thanks.

I said “giving thanks” (Ming said “praying”). So she started gathering a package of joss sticks and flowers and all for us and then asked Ming for THB2,000 and me THB2,800.

Ming and I looked at each other in a manner where I knew we were thinking the same thing. The package had joss sticks, some cigar sticks, small elephant figurines and flowers but even at THB2.8K that’s a lot of money.

I said to Ming “WAH SUPER HIGH MARGIN THIS ONE” but we both decided that we can’t negotiate on these kind of things without seeming insincere to the Four Faced Buddha so we just took it . This is what I got for THB2,800.

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Upon paying, an assistant of the seller brought us around the Four-Faced Buddha and taught us what to do. Start from the front, then pray, then go counter clock wise.

Once we were done she brought us to another stall right outside the shrine where they were selling birds in a cage. She then asked us for another THB1,000 each so we ponied up the money. I couldn’t help but notice the woman selling the birds was an amputee (she had an arm but no hand) so I thought to myself I would give the money to her anyway.

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We released the birds and then we were done.

As we walked away from the shrine Ming turned to me and said

“You know what… I’m very sure we just got swindled there”.

I nodded and said
“Yeah… but it’s hard to negotiate these things and if they’re using God’s name to cheat people then it’s their karma.”

I later started Googling around on how much I should have paid instead for what I got. The answer is about THB500 (as opposed to the total of almost THB4,000) that I paid.

So that’s how I got cheated at the Erawan Shrine. If you’re going there then I think this blog article here gives you a good idea of where to buy your stuff and what to do.

Is this the most advanced umbrella in the world?

The very first umbrella was said to be invented 21 AD and here’s how it looked.

Here’s how the umbrella of today (after almost 2,000 years) looks.

Notice how similar they look. Pay attention in particular to the pointy edges that they both have in common. Let it be clear.

I HATE THOSE SHARP POINTY EDGES.

Although to be fair I have a personal reason to hate them. You see my dear wife Shorty is 4ft9 which makes her significantly shorter than me. When she carries an umbrella and I walk next to her, I consistently and repeatedly get stabbed by its edges right in the neck. Yep perfectly around my neck.

Anyway the two pictures above give you an idea about how limited innovation there has been over the past 2 centuries let alone decades when it comes to umbrellas.

I asked around about what the pain points of an umbrella are and here’s what I got:

  1. The pointy edges (ok that’s me)

I don’t just hate them for their pokey tendencies but I also hate them for how they’re such an integral part of a traditional umbrella. All it takes is the umbrella to come off one of those pointy edges and you’d have a broken umbrella. We all know how often that happens too.

2. They fall apart in the wind

I never realized how big a problem this was until I went to London. I used to walk a lot in London and I’d bring an umbrella when it rains. There the wind gets so strong sometimes it blows my umbrella inside out.  If it doesn’t break in the wind, it’s hard to manage

Umbrellas are essentially like sails or parachutes. When you hold them up against the wind they have a tendency to want to lift off. Every now and then in heavy wind I find myself wrestling with my umbrella against the wind.

3. They can be unreliable and difficult to open or close

This is especially annoying when you’re trying to get in or out of your car when it’s raining heavily. Each second you spend fiddling with the umbrella is another litre of rain water that gets thrown on you (Ok I exaggerate but you get my point).

These are the pain points of the umbrella and it’s surprising nobody has come up with anything to solve these pain points. Until now that is.

Google “The most advanced umbrella in the world” and the first result you’ll get is Blunt Umbrella. It’s a company started out of New Zealand that makes umbrellas that solves all of the 3 problems above so when they approached to sponsor me for a review I jumped on it.

Here’s how the umbrella looks like.

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Notice a few things about it.

  1. It has no pointed edges.

Shorty can walk next to me with her umbrella now without stabbing me in the neck.

2. It’s designed to take wind head on and disperse it.

So you don’t have to find yourself wrestling with the umbrella.

3. It’s very very well made. 

I love the way it feels when I open or close it. Feels really solid and everything mechanical that’s in the opening or closing just works.

I love the problem Blunt Umbrella solves and I love how they’ve taken something that we use every day and improved on it. Something that has seen so little innovation in the past decades until they came along.

The Blunt Umbrella is not cheap mind you but you really get what you pay for. I’m glad I have one and I’m actually thinking of buying another one as a gift for someone I know.

Anyway to check out their umbrellas click here.

My thoughts on Brexit

Some people on my Dayre have been asking me about what I thought about Brexit. Well I’ve been reading a lot about it in the news but I have never really gone through in detail what each camp is claiming and how true it is so I’ve never really had an opinion on it.

After the results and with the whole markets coming down though I finally decided to look into the whole debate. After all my research here’s what I finally think:

1) Brexit is bad for the economy in the short to medium run. No doubt about that.

2) While the price to pay for exiting the EU is a potential recession and a weaker British economy in the short to medium run, the plus side is that it gives more direct power to British nationals to influence their own laws.

Why is that?

In order to remain part of the EU, the UK has to adhere to a number of EU laws. These laws are passed by a council of people who some are British but are meant to be completely independent. The reason why they’re supposed to be independent is because while they’re British and nominated by their own government, on the EU council they’re supposed to take off their British hats and put on their European hats. They’re supposed to think about what’s best for the EU instead of what’s best for their individual country. A collective group can’t work if everyone is just trying to do things for their own best interest.

Yes it’s true that the UK has got a good deal with the EU. Some laws they don’t apply and there are some laws they can veto out. But yes… if a UK citizen wants absolute control of their own country’s fate then yes Brexit would make sense.

3) I don’t like the way the Leave camp campaigned. I thought it was racist and scare-mongering people in the UK of immigrants that come to UK borders. I feel that their victory is going to send a signal to all politicians that Trump-like politics or campaigning works. Being racist and making non-sensical rhetorics do win votes. That’s really sad not just for the UK but for the rest of the world.

4) The EU is not exactly doing really well as a union too. When I studied Economics at University College London we studied the EU. One of the major challenges the EU faces is that it’s a union of very distinct economies that have to abide by one monetary policy. That makes it really hard to control. Perhaps the EU would have worked better if they had economies that were more similar in terms of GDP per capita, cost of labour and productivity but the truth is it’s not.

5) To be fair though, the EU is still really young. It took many decades or centuries before China was united to be one country. So I feel it’s too early to judge but there are some true benefits the EU has yielded. Like peace among the major powers in Europe for the past decades after the two most brutal wars at the first half of the 20th century.

So what do I think? Should the UK have remained in the EU? I would have voted a YES… Stay in the EU.

Here’s what I think will happen in the future. I’ll probably look back many years from now and see if my predictions were right:

  1. The UK economy will be weak in the short to medium run but eventually they’ll find their own footing. I don’t think it would be as strong as it could have been with a well-working EU but we’ll never really know now.
  2. EU won’t fall apart as people predict but it’s likely some other member countries will leave too. I think that could be better because the problem with the EU in the first place was that they tried to grow too big too fast. Less countries in a similar economy level would make a better union.
  3. While everyone is predicting banks moving out of London, I think London won’t stop being the finance capital of Europe.
  4. Scotland will continue to be part of the UK.
  5. UK citizens will likely face a recession in the short run but in 5-10 years time they’ll all forget about this. People by then would probably write articles like “What if we had stayed in the EU?”…. but nobody would never really have known.

Okay those are my thoughts. See you in 2026 Tim!

 

 

How being distracted by my phone broke my toddler’s heart

My wife has been away for a well deserved holiday in Croatia now with Xiaxue and the gang. So I’ve spent the past week with both my kids and what I thought might have been a really stressful week turned out to be a very fulfilling one.

You see when my wife is around both kids go to mommy for everything. Sometimes when I want to do something with them like put them to bed or feed them, they go “No no I want mommy”. So naturally when Shorty left she was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to cope and that I was going to be really busy with them.

She was right about the latter, but I ended coping just fine with the help of my parents and in-laws. Yes I was really busy but the one big reward is that I became the new “mommy”. Fighter and Penny came to me whenever they wanted anything and I had a glimpse of what it’s like to be their “everything”. Being their everything felt like a great power!

They say with great power comes great responsibility, and one night I took that great power for granted.

We were having dinner in Precinct 10 when Fighter asked me to take him for a walk so I obliged. We were having a great time just father and son, walking around the shops, him pointing out at everything he saw and asking me what it was.

Then I remembered something. That I had to make a call. I told Fighter that Daddy had to make a phone call and he played around by taking my phone from me and asking that he speak to that person instead of me. After fooling around for a minute I got on the phone and started talking.

In the background Fighter was walking around me, asking me things but I wasn’t present. I was focused on my phone call and totally ignoring him as he asked me everything. The phone call took no longer than 2 minutes, but 2 minutes was all it needed to break his heart.

In that 2 minutes, Fighter realized what was going on. He was being ignored. Even though I was physically there in front of him, I really wasn’t there at all. That we were sharing this great moment together and I ruined it by picking up my phone.

At first he shouted in frustration and swung his hands in the air and then finally he kneeled on to the ground with his head down.

I hung up and I asked him

“Fighter do you want to go for a walk now?”

He ignored me.

“Fighter do you want go see some things?”.

He ignored me.

I came closer to him and asked
“Fighter are you ok?”.

At this point he said
“I want to be alone”.

A part of me was surprised that he now knew the concept of being alone but seeing him on the ground like this was heartbreaking. So I took a moment to take this picture to remind myself how painful it was to see him like that.

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I came closer to him only to be stopped by him as he said
“DADDY GO AWAY! I DON’T WANT DADDY!”.

I said okay okay and I took a few steps back.

It wasn’t good enough.
“DADDY GO AWAY !!”.

I then reasoned with him
“Daddy can’t go any further. If I go away then someone might come and take you away from me”.

I don’t know what triggered it but he then broke out into tears and came to hug my leg. I carried him as he let out a cry. Not the spoilt cry that he would give when he wanted something that we wouldn’t give him. This cry was the cry of heartbreak.

I knew then that I had let my phone ruin the great moment I was having with my son.

I apologized a thousand times as I hugged and kissed him. Then I took him for a walk.

We came across this empty seating area that had a big projector screen showing some tennis match. We walked up close to the screen as Fighter admired how big the people on the screen were.

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Then I had an idea. Something I had done as a child.

While carrying him on my arm I raised my other hand and made a dog shaped shadow against the projector light. Cue the barking sounds.

For the first time since the crying, Fighter laughed and raised his own tiny fist to try to mimic my dog. Instead the shadow turned out to look like a tiny rock. It didn’t matter to him. To him that rock was a dog and our two rock and dog shadows were fighting on the wall with sound effects that would make Quentin Tarantino proud.

At that moment my phone vibrated from messages that I was getting. It was vibrating a lot too so it felt like I was getting a lot of messages. Maybe it was important.

I was going to reach for my phone when I stopped myself. If I picked up my phone again I would once again ruin this moment with my son. Instead I ignored it and spent 100% of my attention and focus on my son.

As I put Fighter to bed that night he was happy and smiling.

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I once again apologized to him and I made a note to myself not to ever let my phone come in between my kids and I.

Already seeing us with our phones all the time has had some kind of influence on them. Fighter and Penny now both love to carry old phones around with them and pretend to talk on it like we do. Fighter too likes to bring out his tiny laptop and say “I working. Don’t disturb me. I earning money”.

I think it’s impossible to never be on our phones when they’re not around but I think it’s possible and perfectly reasonable to realize when I’m having a moment, and when to not let that moment be ruined by my phone.

The picture I took of Fighter on the floor. That is something that will now serve as a cautionary reminder for me every time I think of ruining a moment.

The sad but necessary truth about business

Wee Kiat is one of the people who started myBurgerlab, a really popular burger chain in KL. He recently wrote a blog article about his tough experience in business.

That article gave me food for thought. I began to think about my own business experiences and the truth is that the lessons I’ve learned in the past years were hard truths that my old naive entrepreneur self struggled to accept years before.

If I could go back in time and tell myself then what I know now, I know I would have been a far better entrepreneur.

Anyway here’s the really sad but true things that I’ve learned about business.

1) Business has no place for empathy.

I used to read about how Microsoft in the 90s fought to keep their monopoly position. They used every possible weapon in their arsenal be it legal action against their competitors, bundling IE with Windows to kill Netscape or undercutting its competitors. Facebook has the same approach too. They either buy their competitors or copy them and strive to kill them.

I used to frown upon it because I used to think “Hey… why not let the little guy make some money? They already dominate market share.”

Today I understand why they do it. Business is hard and business is brutal. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down but when you’re up you can’t afford to pull punches on your enemies or competitors. You have to really go all the way because if the situation were the reverse, your enemies wouldn’t pull punches.

I noticed that too in my own business career. Sometimes I pulled punches on our enemies and I expected them to do the same when the situation was reversed. They didn’t. They went all the way and further.

Today Microsoft and Facebook maintain their dominance in their own spaces and I believe it’s largely because they fought for every single percentage point of market share.

I’ve learned now that the business world is this hard and brutal place. It was really hard to accept this but I now accept and understand why there is no place for empathy against your enemies. Have empathy outside of business, to people, to society, to your loyal employees… but in business, you have to go all the way.

Now if I have 60% market share, I’ll be really unsatisfied because I don’t have the remaining 40%. I think that’s how many successful entrepreneurs think and how I have to think.

2) People judge you on your mistakes… until you have another a success that speaks louder than your mistakes.

Sometimes as an entrepreneur you hit a winning streak. Business does really well, people treat you like a rock star and everything you touch turns to gold. It’s the best feeling in the world… feeling invincible. Feeling that you’re unstoppable.

Except that you’re not. Nobody is. Everyone goes through ups and downs and while I knew that, what I was surprised with was how perceptions change so quickly. How you can fall from rock star to loser overnight.

I had a friend who successfully started and sold two companies. He was a rock star and so by the time he came up with the idea for his third venture, investors were lining up to fund him and fund him they did to the tune of tens of millions.

The 3rd venture hit a snag and just like many other entrepreneurs would he put in the hours to pivot and try to make it work. Yet word has already gone around that he’s “not as good as people thought” or that he’s about to be the next “failure”. Ex-employees who once sang praises of him now speak poorly of him, saying that he should have done things this way or that way. It’s like his entire career was judged on how he did on his latest venture and everyone had forgotten his past.

The same goes for many other successful entrepreneurs in the US. Jack Dorsey is now CEO of Twitter for the second time. The first time he was kicked out because the board and investors felt he wasn’t good enough. Last year when they brought him back in, there was a wave of positivity but eventually investors get impatient and they will judge him again as a loser, if he doesn’t turn things around fast enough.

3) Friends in business are not as strong as you think.

I’ve made many good friends in business and it took me some time to realize that friends in business are only friends as long as one thing remains true.

Whether with your co-founder, investor or key employees, you’re only friends as long as your business interests are aligned. If they fall out of alignment then friends can quickly become enemies.

So manage your own expectations. If you fall out of friendships like this then understand it’s not personal, it’s business (even though to an entrepreneur business IS personal).

How Fighter and Penny are like in person…

This morning I was sitting in the living room with both kids running around when it occurred to me how different both my cute kids are in personality.

With both Fighter and Penny growing up, it’s very interesting to see their personalities take shape and boy they couldn’t be more distinct.

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Here’s how they’re like…

Fighter:

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  1. He’s very very cheerful. He’s always smiling and laughing at things.
  2. He’s very good with people and generally very friendly. When we ask him to, he’s not afraid to say hi to people he had just met.
  3. He generally doesn’t mind sharing things with other people except Penny. For some reason he doesn’t like Penny touching his stuff.
  4. Increasingly picky on the things he eats. Likes to pick and choose now.
  5. Very conscious about the outfits he wears. He generally likes to wear clothes with words on them because he thinks adults wear a lot of clothes with words on them. He calls them “ABC clothes”. He doesn’t like to dress like a baby. He likes to dress like an adult. He does not like wearing anything on his head. Not even a cap.
  6. Very attached to mommy and a babysitter of ours but generally okay with me and everyone else too.
  7. Generally more cautious and afraid of danger.
  8. Wakes up at 7.30AM every morning.
  9. Generally likes playing with older kids.

 

Penny:

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  1. She’s very cheerful too but in her own quiet ways. Unlike Fighter you don’t often see her running around laughing when there are people around but when she’s on her own or with a small group of people that she knows and trusts she lets all her smiles and laughter go then.
  2. She’s really shy with strangers. Not too much of a people person.
  3. She too doesn’t mind sharing stuff with people but not with Fighter.
  4. Loves fruits like bananas and loves trying different things.
  5. Kinda indifferent when it comes to clothes she wears but very picky about the shoes she wears. She loves shoes. Even when we’re not going out she’ll go around looking for shoes and occasionally try them on.  She’s also very used to (and very happy) wearing headbands with big flowers on them.
  6. Very attached to mommy and one babysitter. Everyone else is hostile unless proven otherwise. I’ve been working on building trust with her so that she’ll let me carry her and I can proudly say that I am indeed making progress.
  7. Not cautious and not afraid of danger even after having being hurt once for doing something.
  8. Wakes up at 6AM every morning.. sometimes even 5AM.
  9. Likes playing with any kids.

Of course there are things the both of them share in common:

  1. They both like playing with kitchen sets
  2. They both love eating whatever I’m eating for breakfast.
  3. They both happily give you a hug and kiss when you ask for one.
  4. They both fight a lot but have times when they’re really loving to each other.
  5. They both love Mommy and Daddy :)
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