Personal Logs

Monday, November 28, 2005

Design for the future

I've been reading "Joel on Software". He emphasized a lot about design before coding. There are a number of benefits like reducing risks and better quality etc. I am inspired and has come up with another benefit: Design for the future or Design the (currently) impossible.

Computer is such a powerful tool that you can turn your abstract ideas into virtual realities with a couple of programmers and a garage. However, the computer always has its limitations. Our imagination is bounced back from time to time due to its impracticality. A flurry of imagination is unleashed every time a part of its limitation is extended, a paradigm shift happens in the industry. E.g. high level programming language, internet, broadband, VoIP, etc. The heros in the industry recent years are the ones who were among the earliest explorers of the possiblities created by this paradigm shift.

It takes time to realize such a paradigm shift has happened. And it takes more time to come up with a brilliant idea to do something with the changes. By which time, a horde of new start ups are already doing or have already done everything you could imagine with the new changes. Don't even think of trying to be a better "me2" at this stage, because all those dinosaur-class companies are approaching with their enormous cash reserve and greed trying to do the same thing.

Design allows one to be proactive. We can design absolutely anything, the only bound is imagination and knowledge. People has been designing VoIP long before broadband is in wide spread. P2P is the paradigm shift that has made skype's dream to come true. The complexity of video games increases as fast as the hardware's evolution. It's not because game developers adapt to new techs quickly. It's because the design has long been there and only come into implementation when the hardware is available. So let's make some predictions of the future and design something that would be useful in that future.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Great quotes of Warren Buffett


Despite any misques Buffett is still by far one of the most honest CEO's in the business - and one of a very rare few who doesn't mind sharing the secrets of his investment success:

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

"Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing."

"We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds."

"We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."

"Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."

"Great investment opportunities come around when excellent companies are surrounded by unusual circumstances that cause the stock to be misappraised."

"I always knew I was going to be rich. I don't think I ever doubted it for a minute."

"I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here."

"I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me."

"I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over."

"I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years."

"If a business does well, the stock eventually follows."

"If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians."

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

"Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it."

"Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars."

"Only buy something that you'd be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years."

"Our favorite holding period is forever."

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."

"Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing."

"Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1."

"The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective."

"The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule."

"The investor of today does not profit from yesterday's growth."

"The only time to buy these is on a day with no "y" in it."

"The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves-and the better the teacher, the better the student body."

"There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult."

"When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact."

"Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, 'Too much of a good thing can be wonderful'".

"You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing."

"You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong."

"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."

"A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought."

--My favrioute ones are bolded. I've been reading about WB recently. He is really an admirable person with great thoughts. There is another interesting article about him (like an interview notes):