“Our business now is north”

The following is an inspirational speech by colonel Tim Collins, of the British SAS. It was given to his troops before their entry into Iraq in 2003.

The speech shows two things. Firstly, men who lead the SAS are educated and eloquent. Secondly, real leadership shows clarity and transparency. I hate those polished politically-correct impartial chit-chats. I wish everyone would just say it like it is. Truth hurts, accept it.

We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don’t treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.
It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign. We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow.
The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.
It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly. I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them. If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.
[Regarding the use by Saddam of chemical or biological weapons] It is not a question of if, it’s a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.
As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
Our business now is north.

Inspirational Speech

The following quote is not Nelson Mandela’s and he’s never used it. It’s commonly believed that Mandela used these words in his 1994 inauguration speech. He didn’t. It comes from the book A Return To Love, 1992, by Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?… Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do… It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Marianne Williamson, author, from A Return To Love, 1992. Ack C Wilson and J Cooke. )

From this site.

Path to extreme wealth

With the recent release of the world’s most wealthy people, I have made a new realization. In the top 20, only one person, Lakshmi Mittal, is really in manufacturing (Steel). The top one (Bill Gates), along with the usual suspects Larry Ellison and Paul Allen, is in software. A few were in investments. Surprisingly, quite a few made their wealth through the management of channels, such as the supermarket Aldi, furniture retail Ikea, luxury goods LVMH, cosmetics L’Oreal, and retail Hennes & Mauritz. A surprising absentee is the Walmart family (probably because after their inheritance, it’s more diluted.

This is the top 20. Obtained from Forbes

1 William Gates III (Software, Microsoft)
2 Warren Buffett (Investment, Berkshire Hathaway)
3 Carlos Slim Helú (Telecom)
4 Ingvar Kamprad (Retail, Ikea)
5 Lakshmi Mittal (Manufacturing, steel)
6 Sheldon Adelson (Gambling/Leisure, Casinos & Hotels)
7 Bernard Arnault (Luxury Goods, LVMH)
8 Amancio Ortega (Fashion, Zara)
9 Li Ka-shing (Investment)
10 David Thomson (Inherited, Media)
11 Larry Ellison (Software, Oracle)
12 Liliane Bettencourt (Cosmetics, L’Oreal)
13 Prince Alwaleed (Investmet)
14 Mukesh Ambani (Inherited, Investments, Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries)
15 Karl Albrecht (Retail, Aldi)
16 Roman Abramovich (Oil)
17 Stefan Persson (Retail, Hennes & Mauritz)
18 Anil Ambani (Inherited, Investments, Petrochemicals)
19 Paul Allen (Software, Microsoft)
20 Theo Albrecht (Retail, Aldi)

Long gone are the days of the industrialist who operates chimneyed factories (I suspect some one had already proclaimed this earlier last century). Entrepreneurs who invest heavily in manufacturing are only managed and controlled by entrepreneurs who invest in channel management.

Some regions of the world pride themselves with their manufacturing prowess. Many here in Taiwan and China have made their wealth in producing items that are to be sold in market places like Walmart and Ikea. Many people are busy spending their days refining their skills in manufacturing, such as costing-down, researching and development, and even designing. In the whole scheme of things, this is almost like a poor third world artisan finessing his skills in making a handicraft. He is content with the income that he earns from selling his product, but he doesn’t know that his employer sells it for a even larger profit. The truly smart controls the resources, and manages the channels. In today’s world, this means controlling oil, raw materials, and managing retail stores. The truly smart maximizes the number of people working for him, while minimizing his own work load. This is the path to become extremely rich.

Another surprising trend to be observed is on the the age ranking. The youngest people who made the list mostly just inherited their wealth. However, those few who are self-made, made it mostly via the internet. The most obvious heroes were the Google heroes Brin and Page. And, further down the list, there were a few who made it via online gambling and other .

My conclusion is that what we are seeing is a trend of wealth being generated from the abstract rather than from the physicals, such as the management of channels and the controlling of scarce resources. Also, to make it big while you are young, you should do battle on the internet front (but I guess many already realized this).

設計商品2.0

在網路上有幾個網站,邀請使用者提供設計,來製造成商品。

我覺得一個很酷的T-shirt網站是Threadless。定期他們會選出最受歡迎的設計,然後印製成衣服。他們的網站也將flash用的很有效果。

ET打電話回家
ET打電話回家

另一個設計很不錯的網站是Cafepress。使用者可以自己上載圖案,然後設計成各式各樣的商品,包括Baby衣,帽子,外套等。然後你再付錢買回來…真是很會賺錢。

最近我看到的一個很酷的site是Prickle。Prickle在英文裡的意思是“刺到“,這個網站就是在賣別針的!商業模式的理念跟Threadless有點像,也是利用使用者上載的設計中選出較佳者印製成商品。

可愛的別針
這個iPod控制鈕的很有意思吧!

Jack Welch Vs. 張忠謀

我剛從國際會議中心回來,冒著大雨去聽了Jack Welch與張忠謀的演講。雖然兩位的回答都很中肯,而且時時有提供令人省思的論點,但是商業週刊主辦人問的一些問題實在很空洞(就像他們很多文章的內容一樣),大部分的內容都是在回答一些台灣人對領導人與領導能力一些童話似的迷失。

他們提到了一些重點,例如一位領導人要具有熱情(passion),要有學習的能力,要對工作付出110%,要有道德(integrity)。根據張忠謀所說的:也要同時具有humility and self confidence,也就是謙虛與自信。他們對成功的定義也很有意思,是happiness and fulfilment,也就是快樂與滿足。

一直以來,我對商業週刊的一些文章都抱持這不大欣賞的想法。他們常常會把某些他們故事裡的主角英雄化,神話化。說實在的,這些成功的領導者都只是凡人,他們可能在正確的時候,做了正確的決定,但是這並不代表他們所有說的話的是對的,做的事都是好的。套句張忠謀所說的話,他們作對的事情比做錯的事情還要多(所以我覺得,我們也得多原諒我們老闆做的錯事,還有多祈禱他們做的好事多一些)。

我不知道到底是台灣人以為領導人的世界是商週所形容的那樣,所以商週才為了討好讀者而不停的繼續幫他們塑造這種形象呢,還是因為這些商業出版品老是把領導人的世界形容成這麼英雄化,大家才有這種迷思。對了,我對豪門貴族在媒體裡的形象也抱持同樣的想法。