Random Thoughts

chrisDisclaimer: I built this site because I needed a place to keep my ideas, and because everybody expects me to have one. I still don't know what else it's for, but most of us are still figuring out what the internet is for anyway. I write things that seem to be worth mentioning, observations about things I notice and people who stand out. They're not intended to be definitive, complete, or even particularly accurate. So relax, poke around and see if you can find anything interesting.

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Are you looking for a job? Learn to send a decent application!

150sugarfiredI have been recruiting recently, and very few of the applicants have done it even a little bit right. I have an inbox full of messages from people I don't want to talk to, and nobody has made me think "wow, I really want to hire that guy!" It pains me that I have to write this article, but I think that a lot of people out there really need it.

I have interviews scheduled today with two people who did things reasonably well, so ask yourself a simple question. Next time someone is offering money for the right skills, do you want to be considered for the job? Or do you want to waste your time and mine by sending me the wrong message? 

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Whose problem is this?

This lady is Joyce, my customer service queen at Enspyre, who used to answer my phone when I lived in Taiwan. I've had a few interesting encounters with customer service people recently, one outstandingly good and one outstandingly bad, both worth commenting upon. At the core of this issue is the question I've asked before: whose problem are you trying to solve?

If you know me, you will know I don't expect much from customer service people; just a fast knowledgable response, superhuman patience, and a genuine desire to solve whatever problem I throw at them. But what I really want is to never need them at all.

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A Difference Of Perspective

150dishclothWhen I was a kid, my mother used to tell me not to clean anything else in the house with the cloth we used to wash the dishes. Why not? Well, that cloth comes into contact with the plates we eat off so we don't want to contaminate it with dirt from the outside world.

I was recently informed by someone else that I shouldn't clean anything else in the house with the dishwashing cloth because ... wait for it, the cloth is contaminated with food waste, and any other surface it comes into contact with will get a sheen of bacteria-attracting organic gunk.

So who is right? Which way does the contamination go?

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How 'disappointment-averse' are you?

150thedinerOne of my friends used this phrase while talking about restaurants in Taipei, but it can apply to anything. Being diappointment-averse is similar to giving up hope. A sad state, but a common one.

If you don't particularly like beef noodles, greasy dumplings, and 'slop shop' buffets - or even if you do and just want a change - the options in Taipei are quite limited. There are plenty of restaurants advertising themselves as Mexican, Thai, American, Italian, or whatever, and if you're not too picky then you can easily try a new place every day for a month. But if you've ever eaten real Italian food, the Taiwanese version is pretty disappointing. Thai food, Indian food, even more so. Even burgers and fries have to be localised, to suit the tastebuds of the majority of customers. So, if you're a foodie, you're constantly disappointed, except at those relatively few places that repeatedly make you happy.

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Batman and the bootstrap challenge

150robfitzpatrickI heard about this guy who has set himself an amazing challenge: "I’m betting £10k that I can build a portfolio of products which is profitable enough to live off, before running out of money. " And he's posting his accounts and diary on his blog.

It sounds great, we could all use some of that magic. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all watch, learn, and copy his success? Well, after looking at his site, fascinating as it is, I've concluded that he is in fact Batman. And we should all stop watching.

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Is the glass half full? Or half empty?

150glass-half-fullI get tired of hearing this crap from people who are happy with the status quo. I don't care how good things are, there is always room for improvement. I am an optimist, which means I constantly look for opportunities for improvement. Pessimists think that improvement is not possible, so they tell you to be happy with the world as it is.

Their favourite is the old half-full vs half-empty argument. So here are a few different responses for you to use next time someone accuses you of being negative because you think things can improve...

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