The Opportunity Cost of Working For Someone Else

##Why do people choose to start businesses instead of working for someone else?

Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast. – Paul Graham of Y-Combinator.

Let me illustrate the point above with some simple calculations:

1. Say you are working in a Fortune 500 company as an executive (you graduated two years ago from an Ivy League University or Oxbridge)
2. You are getting paid RM 6,000 per month or RM 72,000 per year . (We will not include the social status and the other benefits that you get from working in the company. We also exclude taxes and other related stuff to simplify the maths).
3. You are happy and contented with your work and job scope.
4. We assume that you are the 95th percentile in the performance scale – So, you must be pretty good at job role.

Working for someone else

So, you are getting paid RM 6,000 monthly, making it RM 72,000 yearly. By the definition of hiring, you should deliver more value than RM 72,000 to the company to make your hiring a success (the break even point for the cost and benefit of hiring you).

Question: how much are you delivering the company above the RM 72,000 value? (this should be equivalent to the value that you will be able to charge or make if you work for yourself)

Working for yourself

  • You are most probably working double your hours to make sure that you are outperforming your peers. (2x)
  • If you are focused and motivated to complete the task, you can probably get three times as much done in an hour compared to the others who are working with you. (3x)
  • By removing the middle manager and the communication cost involved with it, you should be able to deliver double the work you are doing now as you are able to understand the tasks and the requirements better. (2x)
  • You might be way more talented than what your job scope allows you to be. Assume this to be two times. (2x)

In total, you are worth 2x . 3x . 2x. 2x = 24x more than what your are getting paid for.

What does this mean?
It means that you should be able to make RM 1.73 Million a year if you choose to hustle and work for yourself.

The real question
Do you want to work for someone else and make RM 72k a year? Or work for yourself, live on your own terms, work really hard when you want to and how you want to, and make 24 times more than the money you are making now?

You decide.

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter: Here.

Or please let me send you my latest newsletter.

The Horsemen of Mediocrity


#The Four Horsemen of Mediocrity
Seth Godin recently identified the four reason why people remain mediocre:

Deniability—”They decided, created, commanded or blocked. Not my fault.”
Helplessness—”My boss won’t let me.”
Contempt—”They don’t pay me enough to put up with the likes of these customers.”
Fear—”It’s good enough, it’s not worth the risk, people will talk, this might not work…”

which in turn inspired me to make this H.I.P.

#Destroy Mediocrity with Creation
Are you happy with just fulfilling the minimum requirement because being remarkable takes too long?

Do you find yourself justifying what you are doing by saying, “that’s the way we do things around here,” instead of finding new ways of doing things?

Have you become content with the status quo, because continually seeking ways to improve is too hard?

Are you okay with crappy PowerPoint presentations because it is easier than scrapping them and creating effective presentations to deliver your point?

Then, you are trapped by these 4 horsemen of mediocrity.

#Escape Now!

To escape the curse of mediocrity, you have to create and ship. Be a radical, a rebel, or a rabble-rouser — wipe your ass with typical.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. — Confucius

##Who is Seth Godin?
Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

This is a High Impact Picture (H.I.P) inspired by Seth Godin. Icon credit: Gecko by John Melven and Warrior by Nithin Viswanathan from The Noun Project. High Impact Picture (HIP) is an effort to deliver content in the simplest form possible. Everyone knows that people love inforgraphics. It’s my view that people’s attention span is too short for inforgraphics. We need a shorter way to deliver the same information — but still be as informative and as entertaining. So, this is the world’s best ideas — bite sized.

Thanks for reading this far! If you got value out of this post, it would mean a lot to me for you to scroll down a bit farther and hit the kudos button.

This post first appeared in my medium blog on 31st January 2014 :

The Tweet is Mightier Than The Sword

A recent conversation with a friend made me realise that with the advent of social media, each of us have our own media company right in our pocket. Hence, a new High Impact Picture (H.I.P.) to illustrate the point that a tweet is mightier than a sword.

##A few examples of some recent amazing tweets that I remember:-

The story – Hours before President Obama announced Osama bin Laden had been killed, Sohaiib Athar unwittingly tweeted about the May raid by U.S. forces on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

The story – When the power went out in the Superdome during the 2013 Superbowl (San Francisco 49ers vs The Baltimore Ravens), Oreo tweeted this super smart ad. The tweet’s timing — it went out within minutes of the power outage — and its light-hearted, shareable message presented in an eye-catching way — went viral.

The story – Obama’s tweet right after winning the office for the second term

The story – Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa out of apartheid and became the nation’s first black president, has died at the age of 95. Following his passing, millions of mourners took to Twitter to express their sorrow. Twitter reported that Mandela’s death generated 7.2 million tweets, including a peak of 95,000 tweets per minute.

The story – Rashida Jones twitted this after getting frustrated about the pictures that were tweeted by NIcki Minaj, Kim K, etc. #stopactinglikewhores

The story – The two Bills (Clinton and Gates) taking selfies!

The story – Getting pawned or in some cases getting punched (Shout-out to Jezaa) is not something new to Morgan.

The story – Epic twitter reply by Playboy’s Hugh Hefner. IMHO, the word little makes the tweet a lot more epic!

The story – Rowan Atkinson’s showing Justin Bieber who’s the boss by getting 5X more retweets.

So, what kind of media are you putting out with your media company? Naked selfies or new thoughts?

Note: The friend mentioned above is Saeid Saz =)

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You can also follow my High Impact Pictures on Instagram here:


Underpromise. Overdeliver.


How to keep your customers loyal to your brand?

I think there’s a simple answer to this and that is the following mantra:

“Underpromise and overdeliver.”

Services/companies that are sticky, they actually solve a problem of the customers. Not only do they do that, but they actually do it in a better way than expected.

Hence, loyal customers.

I was introduced to this concept by an awesome book called Rework ( Amazon ) by the co-founders of 37 Signals.

Jason Fried (@jasonfried) described this as surprise and delight. In other words, to keep your boss, customers, friends, who-ever happy, you must always try to surprise and delight them. How? by under promising and then, delighting them with your surprise over delivery.

Nowadays, it’s normal for people to over-promise and under-deliver. Or, at best, deliver exactly what was promised–nothing more, nothing less.

It’s quite common for people to agree to the first delivery time offered to them—”Oh yes, I can do that,”.

It’s mainly because people are so keen to be liked, or approved of, or praised. Then, when they fail, they look like pushovers and incompetent.

But, isn’t that sort of like lying?

This isn’t dishonest, merely prudent. If it gets spotted that this is what you do, then openly and honestly admit it and say you always build in a contingency percentage into your calculations. They can’t kill you for that.

Caveat – It should be a pleasant surprise not a frequently used tactic. If not you will be spoiling your boss and sooner-or-later, you’ll become overworked or your deadlines will become shorter (as your boss will expect it sooner).

3 reasons why this is a good strategy for startups/businesses

  • To surprise your customers in a positive way - best explained by Martin Lindstrom ([@martinlindstrom] ( who wrote the New York Times bestseller, Buyology.

In a small restaurant in Shinjiku, a suburb of Tokyo, I ordered sake. First, the waitress placed a small wooden box in front of me. Then she arrived with a large tray carrying 40 cups.

Each one, she explained, represented a different personality. I chose a blue cup, which she removed from her tray and carefully placed in the box.

As she began to pour the traditional drink into my small blue cup, things took a decidedly unusual turn. I had, as most would guess, expected her to stop below the rim. Instead she continued pouring, the clear liquor overflowing into the wooden box. And then, when most of the cup was submerged, she stopped, smiled, bowed, and said, “Enjoy.”

As I nimbly attempted to fish for the cup, I asked her why she had poured so much. Her answer surprised me. She said, “Martin-san, I do this to show gratitude–to deliver a little bit more than what you expect.

  • To keep your client – James Altucher (@jaltucher), famous business blogger and author said the best thing to do for a new client is to overdeliver for the first 100 days. Then you will never lose them.

  • Word of Mouth – Based on my experience, when a customers complains about your product, it’s not always because of the quality. Rather, it’s because I didn’t manage the customer expectation. Nowadays, with social media, it’s unequivocally important to manage expectations to generate good word of mouth.

For example, Zappos does it through their delivery operations and customer support. While Zappos customers often purchase using the company’s 4-5 day free shipping, frequently, they’ll receive that order within one or two days at no extra charge. This delights the customers, who go on to tell their friends. (Taken from [Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose By Tony Hsieh] ( ).

Companies that I hope will start doing this

Internet Service Providers (yes, you TM Unifi)
The day that I see an ISP that promises less speed and then, delivers more, I will get their brand tattoo-ed on me.

The one thing that Blizzard has NOT learned in the over 7 years is that if you set a low expectation and do not meet it, you will garner the wrath of anybody waiting for you to meet that expectation.

Blizzard needs to apply this concept on large patches updates. Just set the damn maintenance for 15 hours instead of 1 hour. With almost EVERY major patch release, Blizzard has overshot their original stated time by hours many times over. That is why people are pissed off.

If they originally say, “Hey guys, big patch today, we are going to most likely have maintenance extend another 5 hours or so, but we’ll get the servers up as fast as we can,” then people would be bummed, but wouldn’t complain so much.

Then, if they get them up with 3 hours extended instead of 5, everybody is all like, “Yay” and “You rock Blizz!” and “Hey, I get two more hour play time than I planned for today”.

Or Blizzard should just post “Servers will be up when they’re up”.

Problem solved.