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Showing posts from November, 2008

Visit to Cameron Highlands

Visit to Cameron Highlands
We spent 2 days & 1 night at Cameron Highlands which is a rather cool place with temperatures dipping to 16 degC at night. Perhaps you can see some of the photos...its worth more than words.

"Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. As the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW said, "The faithful are mirrors to one another."

The practice of reflection [tafakkur] is essential in this context. As the Prophet Muhammad said (blessing and peace be upon him):

A moment of reflection is worth more than a year of worship.

A moment of reflection is worth more than a seventy years of worship.

A moment of reflection is worth more than a a thousand years of worship.

These sayings convey the implicit meaning:

If someone reflects on the details of the branches [of knowledge], a moment of reflection is worth more than a year of worship.

If someone reflects for a moment on the true significance of the worship incumbent upon him…

Matrix Organizations

Matrix OrganizationsMatrix organizations require interdependence to properly function, the same as a community. In a matrix scheme there is rotating leadership based on proficiency in regards to the specific task being undertaken by the group. So, if the community is building a structure, the community’s best architect is the “boss.” Everyone follows the lead of the best architect because he is the most competent to organize the effort. Not out of some variation of coercion. This helps prevent the problem of the “boss” having limited or no competency in the task they are leading the group to accomplish. Also, no one takes advantage of their position as leader, because when dinner rolls around, the best cook is going to be in charge. And tomorrow the architect is helping to make clothing, and the best seamstress will be in charge. The secret of this structure is that everyone in the structure is generally competent in everything the group does. Some people simply have additional skill …

Conception of Life

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Conception of Life
Envisaged by Islam
"Knowledge is my capital,
Reason is the basis of my Deen (way of life),
Desire is my mount for riding,
Remembrance of Allah SWT is my comrade,
Confidence is my treasure,
Anxiety is my companion,
Science is my arm,
Patience is my mantle,
Contentment is my booty,
Modesty is my pride,
Renunciation of pleasure is my profession,
Certitude is my food,
Truth is my intercessor,
Obedience is my grandeur,
Struggle is my habitude &
The delight of my heart is in prayer."
- Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW as reported by Saidina Ali when he asked the Prophet SAW one day about the principles governing his general behaviour. Reported by Qadi 'Iyad in his "Shifa".

Great Minds of Business

Great Minds of Business
ANDREW GROVE: the vibrant head of Intel--the company whose microprocessors power 90 per cent of the world's personal computers--is widely regarded as the best corporate manager in America.
FRED SMITH: a shining example of entrepreneurship at its best, the founder of Federal Express Corporation built an entire industry from scratch, and has--more than any other entrepreneur in recent history--physically changed the way business is done.
PETER LYNCH: during his 13 years at the helm of Fidelity's Magellan Fund, he outperformed the stock market averages at least fivefold, and masterfully turned Magellan into the nation's largest mutual fund.
PLEASANT ROWLAND: with no experience in either marketing or the toy business, she founded Pleasant Company, an immensely profitable doll, clothing, and publishing empire that is now worth USD250 million.
PAUL VOLCKER: perhaps the most famous--and respected--chairman in the history of the Federal Reserve--America's ce…

Scientific Heritage

Scientific Heritage
The Islamic scientific heritage has only too rarely been studied by Muslim themselves, &, if such a study is made, it is usually based on an inferiority complex which tries to prove that Muslims preceded the West in scientific discoveries & therefore are not below the West in their cultural attainment. Rarely is this precious Muslim scientific heritage seen as an alternative path to a science of the natural order which could & did avoid the catastropic impasse modern science & its applications through applications through technology have created for men. Muslims with vision should be only too happy that it was not they who brought about the 17th-century scientific revolution whose logical outcome we observe today. Muslim scholars & thinkers must be trained in the Islamic sciences & of studying these sciences themselves.

The end thus proposed is very different from the goal espoused by so many modernized Muslims who pride themselves that Islam …

Describing a Company

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Describing a Company
A company can be described as a 3-legged stool. The 3 legs are:
1. Design,
2. Technology & manufacturing;
3. Marketing & sales.

The nature of the design leg & the nature of technology & manufacturing leg, & the nature of the sales & marketing leg change in the process. It just means different things today. Today marketing means communicating messages to millions of people, not to thousands of other companies' engineers. So it means something different, but it has about 1/3rd kind of role.

Real Learning
The real learning is in actual fact what is learned from failure, because something wasn't done or something was done wrong, something didn't work. And unless you address those things they will not be done or they will not work in the future. So, the real improvement of the organization or an improvement in its capabilities or products comes from analyzing failures.

The purpose of this learning is not to assign blame, but to learn exactly…

Bretton Woods system

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Bretton Woods system
Established in 1944 and named after the New Hampshire town where the agreements were drawn up, the Bretton Woods system created an international basis for exchanging one currency for another. It also led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now known as the World Bank. The former was designed to monitor exchange rates and lend reserve currencies to nations with trade deficits, the latter to provide underdeveloped nations with needed capital — although each institution's role has changed over time. Each of the 44 nations who joined the discussions contributed a membership fee, of sorts, to fund these institutions; the amount of each contribution designated a country's economic ability and dictated its number of votes. In an effort to free international trade and fund postwar reconstruction, the member states agreed to fix their exchange rates by tying their currencies to the …

Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS)

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Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS)BOS is the result of a decade-long study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 30 industries over 100 years (1880-2000).BOS is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost.The aim of BOS is not to out-perform the competition in the existing industry, but to create new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant.BOS offers a set of methodologies and tools to create new market space.While innovation has been seen as a random/experimental process where entrepreneurs and spin-offs are the primary drivers – as argued by Schumpeter and his followers – BOS offers systematic and reproducible methodologies and processes in pursuit of innovation by both new and existing firms. BOS frameworks and tools include: strategy canvas, value curve, 4 actions framework, six paths, buyer experience cycle, buyer utility map, and blue ocean idea index. These frameworks and tools are designed to be visual in order to not only effectiv…

PORTRAIT OF AN ACHIEVER

PORTRAIT OF AN ACHIEVER
Failed in Business - Bankruptcy, 1831
Defeated for Legislature, 1832
Sweetheart/Fiancée Dies, 1835
Nervous Breakdown, 1836
Defeated in Election, 1836
Defeated for U.S. Congress, 1843
Defeated again for U.S. Congress 1846
Defeated once again for U.S. Congress, 1848
Defeated for U.S. Senate, 1855
Defeated for U.S Vice President, 1856
Defeated again for U.S. Senate, 1858

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Elected President of the U.S.A., 1860

"You can not fail...unless you quit!"

You may ask yourself what makes people exceptional?

Exceptional people have an understanding of how the world works and the universal laws that govern mankind. They know that they will not be denied greatness if they continue moving forward towards their goal regardless of obstacles!

Profitability

ProfitabilityWhen it comes to the investigation of profitability of a particular workboat design there are several methods used according to the information desired.By a comparison of annual revenue & annual operating costs an indication of expected net profit can be found.This can then be expressed as a % of the investment cost of the vessel. This % is known as the accounting rate of return & can be used for comparative purposes to make a choice from several possible vessel sizes.While satisfactory for this particular purpose the accounting rate of return is not appropriate for the financial evaluation of a particular design for investment purposes because it does not take account of the time value of money.As money has an earning capacity in that capital deposited in banks, loaned out, etc., can be expected to earn interest, money accruing to an investor at some future time will have a lower present value according to the amount of interest that could have been earned.Accord…

Marketing Management

Marketing ManagementDefinition: “The analysis, planning, implementation & control of programs designed to bring about desired exchange with target audiences for the purpose of personal or mutual gain which relies heavily on the adaptation & coordination of product, price, promotion & place for achieving effective response.” - KotlerMarketing“Marketing is defined as a systematic effort to sell products or services and an effort to increase sales of and demand for the products or services offered by the business organisation as long as it is not opposing the Islamic Law and code of ethics.”
Note:·Systematic effort – to market the products or services, the business needs to have a proper system or plan of how this will be achieved. Regular market update informs marketing strategies, keeping the strategy relevant to the current situations and demands.·Increase sales and demand – by using planned systematic marketing strategies the business should be able to capture the target m…

The stars

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Where's the cutting edge? Strathclyde for ship safety; an internationally recognised ship stability centre, set up in response to the loss of the Herald of Free Enterprise and the Estonia which sank in the Baltic, is associated with the department. UCL for the development of the speedy trimaran ships, and war ships; Newcastle for ship propulsion, structures, project management and alternative energy. Plymouth for the design of fast craft, and off-shore use of composite materials.Who are the stars? At Strathclyde, Professor Dracos Vassalos, director of the stability research centre, and Professor Chengi Kuo on ship safety and innovation for naval architects; at UCL, Professor van Griethuysen on naval architecture and Dr Bucknall on electrical engineering for ships; at Newcastle, Tony Roskilly, a Cornish professor of marine engineering, Professor Atilla Incecik, on offshore engineering, Professor Mehmet Atlar on hydrodynamics, Richard Birmingham, the UK's first Professor of smal…

Business Plan

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Business Plan BasicsWhy you absolutely need a business planA business plan is a written description of your business’s future. That’s all there is to it—it’s a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you’ve written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.Business plans can help perform a number of tasks for those who write and read them. Investment-seeking entrepreneurs use them to convey their vision to potential investors. Business plans may also be used by firms that are trying to attract key employees, prospect for new business, deal with suppliers, or simply understand how to manage their companies better.Having said that, there are some generally accepted conventions about what a full-blown business plan should include and how it should be presented. And if you follow these conventions, you’re going to need an awfully big envelope to fit it all on the back. Basical…

Competition

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CompetitionWhen your competition is small or local or private, the information will be harder to come by, of course. Private companies have no obligation to tell you anything. You probably won't get financial information at all, and you certainly won't get their business plans. But you'll still be able to develop a competitive analysis. It gets harder--you have to research more and accept more educated guessing where you'd rather have hard information. Still, there are ways to get a good idea. Try these options:Shop your competition. Depending on what business they're in, you can probably call them, visit their offices and perhaps buy from them. Get a price list. Listen to their pitch. If it's applicable, count the cars in their parking lot. Count customers coming out of their store, both with and without purchases.Talk to their customers. What do their customers like or dislike about each competitor? Why and how do customers decide bet…

Economics

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Economic LivelihoodThe debate with non-Muslims over mudarabah is essentially a debate over the operational efficiency of various banking procedures, and not a discussion on Islam's fundamental views on the economic livelihood of human society. Mudarabah can only find spiritual meaning if it is placed within the context of an overall Islamic outlook on economics. This point becomes more apparent when the objective of mudarabah itself is looked upon care fully. The use of mudarabah owes more to the fact that it achieves a Muslim goal, namely avoiding usury in economic transactions, than to it's operational efficiency. In fact, it is conceivable that a fully operational Islamic economic system may be based on centralized control mechanisms, and therefore have no use for market operations or mudarabah. Hence, Muslims stand to gain little by seeking to prove the virtues of mudarabah in western economic terms; rather, they should define a philosophy of Islamic economics and the loci…

Business Applications

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Business Applications
When To and When Not to AttackApplying this to business is, the management needs to know two dimensions when executing business decisions. Firstly to execute or not. For instance, maybe a new factory is in the plans but building it where and when is important because a factory is a fixed asset and a wrong move could affect the cashflow of the company tremendously. Second dimension is the timing. Using the factory example, the factory will only add manufacturing capacity to the company after a certain time lag so the management has to take note of the timing because if the additional capacity is not added at the correct time, cashflow would be affected because a non-operating factory will still incur running costs.
When to Vary Size of TroopsThe leader in a particular department or team should be able to know the strengths and weaknesses of each and every individual in his department or team. From there, he should know who will complete each individual project with…

Billionaires

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Billionaires
Whoever said youth was wasted on the young probably wasn't talking about the youngest members of our billionaires list. Sure, a bunch of them were lucky enough to inherit their wealth. China's richest woman, Yang Huiyan, owes her $7.4 billion fortune to her generous father, Yeung Kwok Keung, the media-shy chief of real estate outfit Country Garden, who transferred all his shares to her in 2005, the same year she graduated from Ohio State University. So too Hind Hariri, 24, the daughter of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. A recent graduate of the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Hariri is a fashionista who frequents Paris shows and reportedly favors designer Chanel. But many actually made their own fortunes. The Ukraine's youngest billionaire, Kostyantin Zhevago, was only 19 when he started out as a finance director at a bank. He later gained a majority stake in its holding company. Today the 34-year-old is worth $3.4 billion and is a dep…