Milestone for a Programming Idiot

Yup, that idiot’s me. =D It took a long time in making the decision but you gotta do what you gotta do.

To all my regular readers, I finally managed to get my own domain up and running and will be blogging at www.bjornlee.com from today.

My New Blog - Bjorno.licio.us


To ease the transition, I might pop by this site here and then but all comments and new posts will go up at the new blog. Its a big leap of faith, i know. But owning your own domain offers me more control over the look and feel of the blog. I am really new at maintaining my own site and will be gentle.

To my dear feed readers, I will need you kind souls to update your feeds. (New feed link to my left. Feed icon on the sidebar will also be updated from now on.) If there is any problems with that, feel free to drop me a line anytime. I understand many of my feed readers are new so please bear with me. I promise i won’t change my blog again for at least some years.

To my fellow bloggers, please update your links and help me boost my PageRank. I really appreciate it.

Thank y’all!

Blog about Life (Or Lack of It) of Wall Street Bankers

BusinessWeek calls the blogger the “Borat of Wall Street”. Exposing the idiosyncracies and incredulities of the lifestyle of smart Ivy-leaguers who spend the better half of their lives in front of computer screens. A mock cover letter to Goldman has these lines proclaiming the applicant’s skills:

“I have been practicing staring at a computer monitor for extended hours,” he wrote. “I can currently sit motionless in front of a screen for 28 hours, and I am improving daily.”

Check out the Leveraged Sell-Out blog. A blog for investment bankers who want a reality check.

Helium-3: Future Energy Hegemony for Humankind?

This Wired Magazine article puts the case forward for Helium-3, an isotope that could have commercial applications in the energy industry. The mining of Helium-3, in abundance on the Moon but scarce on Earth, was on of the many objectives for the proposal of a permanent lunar colony. It was estimated that a space shuttle load of Helium-3 can power the United States for a full year.

Looks like the United States face competition too from other space-faring nations like Russia, China and India who are mulling more moon exploration missions too. Space Race II anyone? This race might prove to have more economic benefits than ideological ones.

The Major Reward: Leadership of the post-hydrocarbon industry 50 years from now..

Who is Sean Parker?

seanparkerpic.jpegSean Parker’s resume has come through his founding or early management experience at startups like Napster, Plaxo and Facebook. He now takes the spotlight courtesy of his new position as VC at the Founders’ Fund, at the age of 27 years old (Source: VentureBeat).

This blog by Numair Faraz lauds Sean Parker as the new Jim Clark of our 2nd dotcom boom. Premature, I say, to slap that tag. Jim Clark created a lot of value from his creations such as Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon. Sean, on the other hand, Continue reading

50 Tips from 50 Successful People

Get the full 50 tips here from the Business 2.0 Magazine article: “How to Succeed in 2007. I have only read through haf but here are 3 excerpts I found really useful.

I remember when I was a 15-year-old asking Vanessa Redgrave or James Baldwin for an interview, and the fact that they took the time to respond meant an enormous amount to me. It inspired me. So it’s extremely important to respond to people, and to give them encouragement if you’re a leader. And if you’re actually turning people down, if you must say no, whether it’s for a job or a promotion or an idea they’re proposing to you, take the time to do it yourself. — Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Stage a Great Second Act

For me, the past 20 years have been practice for tomorrow. Someone who’s successful in any area has figured out at least two things: how to get the most out of themselves, and that attention to detail matters. Having a career that lasted that long in my sport explains the sort of personality that you have to have. You have to treat it as a marathon. You have to treat it as building blocks… You have to understand who you are and figure out a way to communicate it. It might be in a different industry, but it’s about what pumps the blood through your veins, what makes you excited, what pushes your buttons. And then discovering the best way to communicate that, no matter how big or small; it’s what you stand for, what you believe in, and what reflects who you are.

— Andre Agassi

Obsess About Solutions, Not Problems

There’s a lot to the credo that success breeds success. It puts you on a high that makes more success like a magnet. I’m a positive thinker who does frequent reality checks. Negatives turn into positives, problems can be solved, things can turn around. The image of success is important, but even more important is the ability to focus on solutions instead of on problems. That way, you’ll never be thinking like a loser, and you probably won’t look like one either.– Donald Trump

The Lightness of Being

Thats how I feel now, after a 10KM jog in the park and after having lived my past 2 months with a heavy heart and a weary mind. I have finally graduated from college, but the last lap of this journey ain’t pretty and would hardly be worth a mention should anyone ever write a biography of me. Lets just say that my honors thesis was a horrible manifestation of my procrastinating ways that gnawed away at my soul for the past year I tried writing it. There I said it. I am not cut out to be an academic. No Dr. Bjorn Lee, ever.

With the conclusion of 20 years of education, I am ready to begin my next phase of life. And gawd, ain’t it difficult! I consider the past 5 years of my life to be an accelerated learning curve that followed a concave, rather than a convex, path. The earlier half was spent in military service and bumming around in college freshman year, lost mostly in mind-numbing military regimentation routines and drunk partying plus mindless mugging. But I learnt alot about my own character and leadership through that regimental life, and how to manage difficult people especially. I considered my freshmen year a gap year as I took a break to experience real social life again so maybe not much learning was done.  In my second year in college, I decided to take the entrepreneur path since I thought that was cool as I get to be my own boss for at least once in my life. I enjoyed getting my ego smashed and think i had a thicker skin to show for it.

Then the second half of that 5 years started. The learning did not taper with a decresing rate of increase as most learning curves would. IT accelerated. I left the comforts of my little dot of a country, SIngapore to the vast lands and competitive environment of America. Looking back, I might have though being young granted me a licence to be foolish. GOod choice, I still believe that now and am glad I realized that. I won’t go into details of my life there but I think Silicon Valley really opened up the world to me. There were just so many opportunities and exciting career paths that I think I had the slightest inkling of what it means when they said you are a mosquito in a nudist colony. I think choice is great, before I left for Silicon Valley, I thought a great job would be an investment banker cos i can make big bucks, but not so much anymore cos money ain’t everything and there’s much more to life besides banking,

But too much choice can also spell trouble. You begin to question yourself if you are making the right decision and that “What if?” will always plague me from then. Am I making the right choice? For those who learn economics, what is the opportunity cost of my current decision, should I change? ANd I think I was afflicted with that, what Bush would call “flip-flopping”. I also think my lack of focus is a symptom of my attention-deficiency. I didn’t really know what I want, which is good cos I am young. But I am not that young, which brings me back to the topic i started here — the lightness of being, because my lack of focus in a sea of bewildering choices contributed to a confused sense of self-identity and became a huge chip on my mind ever since I returned to Singapore earlier this year.

Running helps me think because I think my mind gets clearer once the heart starts flowing through the whole body instead of being bunched up in my empty head as I try to think. I don’t think I have the answer yet but I have been speaking to many people these past few months and these conversations help me internalize  these people’s  advice. I have been warned not to act smart, to learn to suck unpleasantries up/ be more disciplined and focused, listen to my heart and not just the brain, and also one takeaway which is that good things never come easily. You gotta fight for something otherwise it ain’t worth it.

A bunch of mambo jumbo today in this blog post. I am not too sure it will make much sense to you guys but I do believe writing helps to develop more structure to my thoughts, never mind if I am not finding the right answer. So do bear with me as I untie this knot in my life. I hope you have no knots in your life, if you do, please share how you untied them with me and I would be most grateful.

Michael J Fox Speaks to Katie Couric (CBS)

After the campaign plug for Missouri politician Claire McCaskill, Michael J Fox came in for some scepticism and insenstive comments from a right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh who casted doubt on Fox and suggested the latter was “faking it” and “overacting” for the cameras and that Fox purposely did not take his medication to exaggerate the symptoms.

Rush Limbaugh: “In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking, and it’s purely an act.

It goes to show how little Limbaugh and probably a majority of the public, like myself, knows about the disease. All the more I think what Fox is doing is great.

More on the Limbaugh rant here, but watch Michael J Fox’s interview on CBS below. I suggest not to just watch his motions but listen to his message.