Friday, May 20, 2011

More Than How to Fish

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. This ancient Chinese proverb by Lao Tzu became one of the famous teachings applied by companies or marketing gurus as bait to fish followers. People always believe in proverbs that project sensibility and intelligence, hence many use these wise words to lure newbie to sign up for courses; to make them join as member of clubs; to engage them as franchisee; and all of the newbie with a high hope that they would learn the mentioned skills, or some new techniques that “guarantee” them a lifetime of success.
But these wise marketing phrases are like half-baked dishes; to chomp and to swallow them all could give you terrible stomachache or worse food poisoning. The business world is volatile, full of uncertainties, and the availability of technologies worsen the situation by accelerating the environmental change. The fishing skill will never be enough to feed you for your whole life; your knowledge would be outdated sooner than you think.

It’s no doubt that you may benefit from the teachings in the beginning, but it is still far from the comfort zone that could bring you financial freedom; and the business ‘pond’ would soon be too crowded when more ‘anglers’ joined in for the same catch. Your chances of catching a good fish would be slimmer, and soon you would be starving again. I’d followed exactly the methods you taught me on how to fish, but …..? A good but, but why does it surprise you?

I’m discussing this topic here to provide our resellers with a conceptual advice. Our motto, We Make Things Easy is just like giving fish to our users. We aim to ease our users when dealing with our products, free them from all the troubles. And because they are end-users, it would be much preferred if we could feed them fish even without teaching them how to fish. The lesser the problem they have with FingerTec, the better. We just need them to enjoy the tasty fish. Period.

For our resellers however, the motto We Make Things Easy is more than just giving them fish, and it is even more than to teach them how to fish.

A lot of resellers prefer FingerTec because we make their life easier in two ways, easy to sell and easy to support our products. But disadvantages always come parallel with advantages, when FingerTec takes care of almost everything, it obscures part of the vivid role played by a reseller.

How to distinguish yourself, instead of being overshadowed by a brand? That’s the question of more than “how to fish”. But some of the resellers don’t mind this, they want to be a part of FingerTec, proudly embracing and carrying the brand around. And this is also a question of more than “how to fish”.

If you are a solution provider, if FingerTec is a part of your solution, you have to build your own reputation, and with our branding efforts and reliability of the products, FingerTec may enhance your solutions. How to make FingerTec works for you, and how to brand everything in your solutions, that’s no doubt, is more than teaching you how to fish. We hope our more-than-just-a-product’s holistic branding efforts can be of helpful reference to build your own fame.

And for the second scenario as a distributor, you have to think on how to add local or regional substances into the brand of FingerTec, more than just to “distribute” as merely a product.

If the local or regional substance is your own efforts, like you’re maintaining a local FingerTec Facebook or Newsletter to actively communicate with your customers, or to add local language in the software and hardware that make things even easier in your local market, or to improve your website to be more dynamite or plug-in with some of our functional modules, these are more than just “how to fish”, and you would be surprised of what it might be harvest in the long run.

In short, with the impending competition, teach a man how to fish would no longer feed him a lifetime. In fact, by adding more values or renewing your learned skills or knowledge, why bother to fish when you can breed the whole pond of your unique species of fish?

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, May 9, 2011

Labor Day, Diminishing Labor Class

This Labor Day, Hong Kong’s first minimum wage came into effect amid the rising public anger over sky-high rents and a growing income gap in the international financial hub.

This Labor Day in Australia, between 20,000 to 30,000 workers turned out for Labor Day marches across Queensland celebrating workers' rights.

This year in Turkey, Labor Day was celebrated on Sunday with mostly peaceful demonstrations attended by the country’s major labor unions and political parties, a definite contrast if compared to the bloodshed that happened in 1977 during the marching procession in Taksim Square, causing chaos that resulted 34 deaths.

This Labor Day, two Kazakh activists were beaten by police and hospitalized after the police forcibly dispersed groups marking Labor Day in Almaty.

This Labor Day in Malaysia, a demonstration calling for minimum wage saw 21 people being arrested in Kuala Lumpur. They were later released.

This Labor Day, downtown Manhattan was filled with thousands of people from labor and immigrants’ rights groups Sunday, as they manifested to celebrate May Day, an international celebration for workers’ rights annually commemorated on May 1.

This Labor Day holiday, I stayed at home reading “The Rise of Creative Class”, a book written by Richard Florida which discusses the emergence of a new social class, where they use creativity as a key factor in their work in business, education, healthcare, law or some other professions.

The author said in the preface, “human creativity is the ultimate economic resource. The ability to come up with new ideas and better ways of doing things is ultimately what raises productivity and thus living standards. The great transition from the agricultural to the industrial age was of course based upon natural resources and physical labor power, and ultimately gave rise to giant factory complexes in places like Detroit and Pittsburgh. The transformation now substituted one set of physical inputs (land and human labor) for another (raw materials and physical labor) while the current one is based fundamentally on human intelligence, knowledge and creativity”.

The numbers of people doing creative work has increased vastly over the past century and especially over the past two decades. And the norm of this class is, you would hardly see any worker strikes, for example IT industry that housed mostly creative workers.

For the same reason, when the creative class or knowledged worker number is climbing, you would see Worker Union shrinking naturally, even without any suppression from the government or employers.

I agree on the proposed minimum wage, and support the under privileged class to fight for higher wage from the heightening living burden. And to offset the gradually increased labor costing, employers have to upgrade themselves from a labor-intensive business that is based on price competition to become a creative organization that can improve profitability. And for workers, they have to upgrade themselves too to join the creative class in order to upgrade the quality of lives. That’s the trend, brainpower is always stronger than the labor power, and applies to everyone in all industries.

If you are a creative worker, you don’t need minimum wage to protect you, and you don’t need a Worker Union to shelter you; your knowledge and creativity would become your own bargaining power. You have to upgrade your knowledge and creativity at all times, to avoid slowly falling back into the labor category again in any industry.

As we are in the tech industry, this year we celebrated the Labor Day by giving away an iPad 2 to all our staff as a token of appreciation.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ