Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Baby Boomer any different?

When we talk about change in any form today most of the time we’ll also talk about the different ways how to manage change for different generation of the population. Especially, when we talk about change in relation to new technologies. We use classification like netgen, gen y, gen x, virtual aliens and baby boomers. Without much thought because of the perceived prevalent used we assume that the younger generation is the main primary users of new technology, especially internet technology, and the so called baby boomer the laggards. I also just jump into the bandwagon without much thinking about it forgetting relatively my own age. After being virtual resident for a while now I realized this is not true at all. In fact I am in virtual groups full of these baby boomers not only that, they are using social tools like Facebook, Linked, and Twitter as well. Amazingly most of them that I know have their own blogs that they update almost daily. So when I came across this new report from Forrester Research I was not surprise. It was reported that more than 60% of the baby boomers actual actively consume the social create content in 2008. Let me quote few paragraphs of the write-up of the report.

‘In 2007, the percentage of Boomers consuming social media was 46% for younger Boomers (ages 43 to 52) and 39% for older Boomers (ages 53 to 63). By 2008, those numbers increased to 67% and 62%, respectively.

The number of Boomers responding to content posted online, as opposed to just passively consuming it, is also going up. For example, the proportion of older Boomers responding to content doubled from 15% in 2007 to 34% in 2008. According to Forrester, this is now a percentage that's high enough to target this group with a social application.

Joining social networks is also becoming a widely popular among the younger Boomers. Today, almost one in four younger Boomers are active in social networks, up from 15% in 2007’

So I would not make any assumption on this again and be careful about simply ignoring them it all equation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On The Train, Feb 25, 2008

Purposely late again going home today as I now prefer to avoid the crowd if I could. Stress management on my part. Although I would not mind the crowd as I normally got a seat and blank them out by concentrating on my writings but sometimes unnecessary stress situations are created buy many incompetent as well as foolish people. At MidValley two ladies, Caucasian, came on board and stand in front of me. I ignored them until they sat next to me. Remembering I wrote about many nationalities on the train before I was eager to find out where they were from and their reason to be in Malaysia. I unplugged my earphone for awhile and eavesdrop on their conversation. I could not make up the language but I suspect east European. I could only guess that they are here working for one of the multinational and IT companies here. They sure did not look like students and neither are they tourists.

Conversation for Comprehension

Suddenly people are talking about the idea of plain conversation and a way to learn and share knowledge. We argue it is the most natural thing to do. What ever we are calling it talking, discussion, or dialogue in essence it is conversation between individuals to enable comprehension to certain topic. Today we discussed on the different perspectives of conversation. We discussed on the need to have a formal structure for useful conversation as planned learning solution to happen as well as an informal conversation for ideas and new knowledge to be created. Quality conversation could be achieved within a formal structure by embedding the practices of enabling good conversation to happen. As an example in a meeting structure participants should know their role to allow and encourage conversation to happen. Formal or informal to me the realization of what conversation really is, is very important.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


My past experiences doing a lot of public presentation thought me one great lesson about comprehension and learning. During those periods I did, on average, around three (3) presentations a week. The topic varied between MSC, eLearning and KM. At one time I was also teaching KM in a graduate program. The greatest realization was the more I talked to people about a subject the better I could comprehend the subject matters. Last week I was alerted to a blog by Nancy Dixon on conversation. He cited a research by researchers at University of Michigan on conversation. I copied below what she cited.

“In these meetings individuals exchange their data, conclusions, reasoning and questions with others. Although the cognitive benefits to the receiver of such an exchange are apparent, there is evidence that it is the speaker who makes the greatest cognitive gains from the exchange. Individuals organize information differently if they are going to present it to others than if they are trying to understand it solely for their own use. It is in the act of speaking that people tend to organize cognitively what they know.”

This is what I have been experiencing through those years of teaching and presenting. Furthermore, according to Nancy Dixon this finding also implies that whenever one listened to somebody talking or presenting it would be helpful for the listeners’ cognition if they talk about it. Which actually put more conviction to the idea of having unconference format for conferences. Instead of having one way presentation done by conference speakers we open up opportunity for participants to have a dialogue, discussion or just allow time for them to converse about what had just been presented. Dixon also blog about this phenomenon and urge speakers instead of at the end of their presentation ask the audience if they have any question to turn to each other and discussed for a while what he or she had just presented.

On The Train, Feb 23, 2009

KTMB messed up my Monday morning by being incompetence yet again. This time another ‘technical’ problem somewhere before Labu. I presumed a continuation of what had happened last Friday. What supposed to be a 0651 train became 0711 train and of course the train arrived at Bangi solid packed. I squeezed myself in and continued reading Outliers. Naturally it got worse at UKM station but I stood my ground by not moving an inch from where I stood and I was rewarded at Kajang station when the man seating in front of me disembarked. Although I got a seat I was still annoyed with KTMB. Not wanting to stress myself unnecessarily and not trusting KTMB anymore I went home just after maghrib and it was a bliss going home.

I was busy typing and aware of an Indian guy that came on board and sat next to me at Mid Valley. Ever since he was onboard he kept on looking over at my laptop and what I was typing. I was a bit uneasy but luckily I was typing about Conversation rather than this one. Anyway after a while he asked me about my laptop and we had small talk. I waited until the very end to start this piece. But luck has it he disembarked at Bangi just like me he he he. Thinking back I would have loved if we had a longer conversation. Some people might think or assume that it would impossible to have intelligent conversation with certain types of people. But that was a wrong assumption and attitude. In fact my behaviour on the train could be conceived as someone who’s looking for an opportunity to start a conversation or just plain ‘please I am working do not disturb’. Now thinking about it either way I am ok he he he.

Friday, February 20, 2009

On The Train, Feb 20, 2009

KTMB managed to spoil my Friday evening once again! This time their excuse was electrical problem at Sentul station. There was already a hude crowd on the platform when I walked down but I thought it was a normal Friday evening commuters which I had expected. But then as I was walking came an announcement stating the fact. Boy I said to myself the same old story. That was not the worst as we were waiting another announcement came on saying that the Seremaban train was late as well. Well, ok at least they announced it and I thought that was it. However after about 15-20 minutes of waiting came another shocking announcement that the Seremban train would arrive on platform one instead of two. Which mean on the opposite platform. Well I thought the announcement meant for KL Sentral but a auxiliary police woman came along asking all of us to move to the opposite platform as our platform now would be for north bound train. I did not know what their strategy was then but early on looking of the crowd I had decided already that I would skip the coming train. With the announcement I just refused to move so I sat thinking. About 1o minutes the Seremban train still on the way, maybe it was crawling. Then I remembered that my son was in PJ I called him and told him to pick me up at either Bukit Jalil or Seri Petaling. With that I walked to LRT Bandaraya station. So I was not early as I intended after all thanks to KTMB.

The STAR LRT was not as crowded as the KTM Komuter which says a lot about KTMB services and their lost opportunities.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Information Entrepreneur / Infopreneur

When I came back from the US in 1987 all I ever wanted to do was to find opportunity to be infopreneur. I came across a book exactly talking about that and I was so excited with the prospect of doing so. However, I did not find anything. Maybe because I had not searched hard enough or maybe I was so inexperience about the business world. In the end forgot about the idea and did something else.

Last week I was invited to be a panel in a dialogue on whether it one major college in Malaysia should introduce MSc in Information Entrepreneur graduate programme. Excited that I was when I received the invitation I kept my excitement under the lid as to avoid delivering a confuse point of views. To me it is no brainer and any time is a good time for the programme. I totally believe it should be offered and we have to look at the entire value chain to make sure it is successful. Further more certain kind awareness should be created down the value chain at diploma and degree level. Any way you look at it there would be potential candidates who would want to enroll in the programme.

On The Train, Feb 17, 2009

I managed to catch the 2248 train at Bank Negara station after the dinner. Obviously it was almost empty when I boarded and as my experience so far last shift blue collar workforce filled the carriage at KL Sentral and Mid Valley. Three youth, I think just got out of their shift from McD, KFC or similar fast food joints at MidValley, got on the train and loudly conversed among themselves. They obviously behaving like an internet citizen and talking about Mangga characters and Dragon Ball. They just did not care about the others in the carriage. Another youth sat next to me and keep on peeping at what I was doing. I did not mind but that prevent me form typing this piece not wanting to offend him. A Chinese young lady crashed, yes crashed and when you were tired, next to me and started clicking on her handphone chatting with somebody to the extent she almost missed her station Salak Selatan. Then a very tired looking Chinese man swayed in at Bandar Tasek Selatan to sit next to me on my left. Immediately I felt he was swaying left and right indicating he was sleeping. He must have swayed more towards the beautiful Eurasian lady on his right when the lady moved to another empty seat in front of me. An Indian lady directly in front of me just smiled knowingly looking at what had just happened in front of her. I also smiled.

On The Train, Feb 16, 2009

The Seremban train sped into the station the moment I step into the station. I knew I could not possibly run for it as the train would stop at the far end. So I just walked slowly anticipating another long wait for the next train.

Of course the train I boarded was not full as it was almost 2100. I was glad to be on the train with less people but at the same time knew that I should not be going home that late. But a whole day in learning sessions I had works to clear off.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On The Train, Feb 12, 2008

The train must be late as I was standing waiting for the P Klang train to pass by first the Seremban train arrived. It was a nice surprise for and as I said this train must be late as I could not be early. Although there were a lot of commuters then the usual I got a seat when I boarded. The moment I entered a strong coconut oil smell greeted me. Well, it was either someone really use coconut oil, a surprise at this age, or a perfume with coconut oil smell. Whatever it is I felt a little, just a little, uncomfortable. The crowd got bigger at KL Sentral and the compact space made the smell even stronger. I ignored everything and concentrated on writing and thinking.

On The Train, Feb 10, 2009

I was not a mood to write anything at first as I was feeling a bit uneasy. My mistake was I let the conditions and happenings around me to effect me. I should have ignored everything but the thought kept bugging me.

I took the 1840 train home and due to the heavy rain before a bit congested. I did not rush in when the train arrived and was rewarded with the last empty seat in my favorite section of my favorite carriage. As if taking the cue from the weather outside almost everyone inside the carriage look sullen and almost depress. In fact deep down I was also depressed and felt frustrated. Having Deep Purple’s Sweet Child in Time playing also did not improve the matter for me. So I just sat looking at everything and nothing if you know what I mean. Then Bad English’s When I See You Smile brought a smile to my face. This song triggered a happy moment when I was with my young son during our early difficult days. I could actually describe that moment in detail but stopped myself from doing that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On The Train, Feb. 6, 2009

Another three-day weekend beginning tomorrow and as expected the train was packed. But as usual as well I placed myself strategically that I got a seat at KL Sentral. I am going to be very busy again this weekend beginning with going to Ford service centre in PJ to service the Ranger tomorrow. Cyclefest at Putrajaya in the evening and family bowling at Alamanda at night, I am not bowling though. Puteri Gunong Ledang theater with my wife at Istana Budaya on Sunday and possible family outing on Monday.

The train is moving very slow now as if the load, all of us, were too heavy for it to pull. What I was worried about it would just stop in the middle of somewhere and we have to get down. It happened before so I know it could happen.

The composition of commuters in the carriage I was in varied. Few Indians going to or getting from somewhere to celebrate Thaipusam. Long distance commuters are the majority though. The rest one third were working people like me going home for the day.

On The Train, Feb 5, 2009 (Connection, Conversation)

I was sitting at the office, while waiting for my personal and office laptops to boot up, and staring outside overlooking the railway track when I realized I have one too many gadgets at my disposal. Thinking about it I asked myself if I really need them. While trying to find a clear understanding and answer to the situation the answer was right in front of me.

Virtually I am connected almost 24/7 and at one time or another one of my gadgets would ensure my connectivity. Of course on top of that I am present virtually as well. My virtual presence is via several channels and identity. I am in several social networking communities – Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, hi5 and maybe two or three more that I could not remember. I am an owner, moderator and member of 15 mailinglists within Yahhogroups and Google Groups. On top of these I use Google Reader to aggregate all the blogs and sites that has RSS that I subscribed to. At least I’ll be looking at around 100 postings a day. I blog on six personal blogs and have 4 very active email accounts managing on average 500 – 600 emails a day. Being exposed is one thing being amazed at how I have coped so far is amazing. Let see – in the office I deal with my office emails and sometimes use the social networking tools for work. I also, most of the time, read my feeds using Google Reader at the office. I mostly blog on the train going home and read my other emails and alerts at home at night. Although I seems to be too expose virtually I am not worried. One thing good about virtual life is that somehow the degree of trust is very high. Without this element I am very sure nothing on the net would last long. It you betray this trust the whole community would reject you and your deed would travel across the Net making you an outcast.

The busy virtual life that I live also open me, even more compare to others, to information overload. Yesterday I was introduced to the concept of agnotology. According to it the more we get information the less knowledge we gain if we do not filter and evaluate the information that we receive. This is due to misinformation that somebody or organization purposely published to mislead people to see from their point of view or make us confuse.

I was welcomed at the station with an announcement that the incoming train was a shuttle to Kajang. It was around 1636 the time for the Seremban train to arrive just like the one I took yesterday. So my first instinct just likes before to take that train but when the train actually arrived I decided not to as I was sure the next Seremban train won’t be too far behind. I was right. It was more or less the same number of commuters on the train as yesterday. But looking around I was surprised to find out they are a different set of commuters. I did not see many familiar faces as yesterday.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Incident of Dec 25, 2008


It has been a month and ten days passed since the accident and I have not been recuperating that well. At my age I should expect the bones would heal a bit slower and longer still it has been a bit frustrating. The joke among my close friends is after years of crunching tackles and mauling (of course they are talking about rugby) I had to break my clavicle falling off a bicycle. They insisted they would pass the hat around to pay for my third wheels. But I told them it would be even worse going downhill with a third wheel. I have no regret as it could be something worse. Since then I have been a one-finger kung fu typist and typing a long blog about the accident was out of the question. But I have a persistent follower, my dear wife, and she has been bugging me to write this. I said to her, ‘I am in front of you now and will be at home for the next one month why would you want to read about it. In fact I have told you everything?’ She simply said ‘It is not the same as reading your thoughts’. So here it is.

Dec. 25 - FRIM, Kepong

I slept a bit late then the usual the night before but pretty sure I would be ok for the ride. I can’t remember the last time I was at FRIM at least 10 years. After loading the bike around 0715 I sped along the empty Seremban KL plus highway. I was driving really fast indicating that I was excited about the ride as it would be my first time there and I have been waiting for a long time for the day to come. At the same time a glimpse of jitter enveloped me for awhile only to be immediately opened by my eagerness to get there. I did not think much about it as I contributed it to just a small thing. Tracing back the day I realized now that was the first signal that I ignored.

Dr Taufik, Dr Azmi and Dr Azmi's son

Dr Tengku Mohammad with is son and daugther

I memorized the route the night before to enable my natural GPS to guide me through effortlessly to the gate of FRIM. I knew I was early, paid RM 6 at the gate and drive through. Remembering the instruction in the email I turned at the first left where the car park was. Although the car park was almost empty I was pretty sure that was the place. I started straight away to gear myself properly and unloaded the Trek (bike). Dr Azmi was the first to arrived after me followed by Dr Taufik and eventually our group started to materialize. All together, including two of our guides who came late, there were 17 of us.

The inadequate ride for the day

The starting point

At around 0845 after the usual photography session we rolled off with a stretch of a small climb on a tarmac. There was a bit of discussion before we rolled off. We were told we would be riding about 6.5 km before we reached the base of Steroid Hill. The track to Steroid Hill would be a clear path with a decent climb and downhill that everyone should not have problem with. At Steroid Hill which is a steep climb those that would not want to tackle it can wait at the base to wait for the rest to come around. I was game for anything at the time after being told my tyre would do fine. The first phase was actually a nice easy riding in FRIM itself to the Tea House. The second phase is off road just after the tea house which was a wonderful narrow land rover track. This is where we met with several other groups. It was really enjoyable cycling under the canopy of the forest. Although not that virgin anymore it was still nice. Furthermore cycling with a lot of oxygen around you would make enjoy it a little bit more. I thought we should do more of this cycling in the future. I nailed the climb quiet easily, despite an insistence cyclist behind me yelling I had a flat which I was not, and just let go going downhill. I was a kid again for a moment. That was why when we reached the base of the Steroid Hill I was raring to go. Which was another big mistake of the day for me. I ignored all the signals.

Bicycle talk before roll off. Col Azudin, Dr Azmi, Won and Dr Azmi's son hidden at the back

Abedib getting ready

The Happy Bunch

Looking at it from the base I was confident that I could do it even with my road tyres. It was there in front of me to be conquered and I was not about to leave without at least having a go at it. My ego took over and off I went following the rest up Steroid Hill. Halfway through I knew my tyres could not take it so I pushed the bike up at certain places especially at the slippery area. That was another signal that I ignored. I was with the last group going up that include Col Azudin, Dr Tengku Mohammad and his daughter. I paced myself so that I was not that far from others. The rest waited for us at the peak and we had a short rest. I was sweating a lot at that point and eager to move on going down. At that point I realized Dr Tengku and his daughter were not in the group. They may have decided not to continue with the climb. Had I have my rational brain that day I would do the same. But I was stubborn.

Small issue with bike during phase 2

Down there, where a lot of cyclist waiting, is the base of Steroid Hill

Almost at the peak of Steroid Hill

The view at the peak

One of our guides went first followed by Dr Taufik and I was third. Behind me were Won and Alif. The moment we went down we knew it was slippery and because I did not know the terrain I chose a wrong path and could not get out of it. It became really slippery and Dr Taufik in front of me decided to get down and push the bike. Seeing that I did the same and we got on the bike again after that. I realized too late that it was a wrong decision for me and I glided down in the middle of the path with a lot of pot holes. In trying to maneuver myself down and thinking whether my tyres would hold or not. I suddenly skidded into a short drain like holes and I reacted by jamming my brakes which was a mistake. I knew then I would roll downhill. In order to avoid that, with the awareness of my camera in my rucksack on my back, I decided to flip and roll of my bike so ha I would not smash my back on my camera but I was too late. I also misjudged the terrain of the ground where I was supposed to fall. I fell on my left side of my upper body. All I could remember was having difficulty breathing and got up so that I could release the tension on my left rib. Immediately my brain was saying that I have broken few of my rib bones. I was standing when I called for my friends to assist me and Col Azudin was the first to arrive and asked me to lie down. Eventually my breathing came back to normal and I did not feel that I had broken anything. So I was relaxed a bit and not worried. Amazingly while laying down my thought went to my conversation with Dr Tengku Mohammad before we rolled off. He asked me, looking I have my Nikon slung around my shoulder, if anything happened what would you save first – yourself, camera or bicycle. I smiled for a while thinking about it. I actually wanted to save all the three but succeeded in the other two. At this point Col Azudin started to check my joints and declared that nothing has broken and I agreed with him as I did not feel any pain, accept for my bruised rib, at all. Obviously the team did a quick thinking on how to get me down but I was one lucky guy. Among our group I have three medical doctors and they came ready with the necessary medicines and stuff. Secondly, at that point in time a FRIM land rover came along. The driver agreed to take me down firstly to the base of Steroid Hill for me to be looked at by Dr Tengku Mohammad and then down to where we parked. When we reached at the base when he looked at me straight away Dr Tengku said I broke my left clavicle. Of course I did not know what clavicle was so I took it as my collar bone. Dr Tengku gave me three small pain killers, courtesy of Dr Azmi, to ease the pain. Yes by then it was painful to move my left arm. Alone in the land rover with my Trek at the back the driver drove me down.

At the parking lot Dr Tengku checked on me again and asked me where I wanted to go. He was sure I broke my clavicle but would want to find out whether I broke my rib as well. The first thing we need to do is to get to the hospital with x-ray facility. The nearest was Sg Buloh or if I could hold on Putrajaya Hospital. Or any of my panel hospitals. Dr Tengku asked me to think and decide. By that time the pain killers I took started to kick in and feeling I could stand it and for the obvious reason I decided to go to Putrajaya Hospital. My friends packed my Trek in the Ranger and Dr Tengku took the helm of the Ranger to drive me to Putrajaya Hospital.

Dr Taufik arrived shortly after we arrived at the Emergency Clinic of Putrajaya Hospital. He helped me down and wheeled me in to register. Having two medical doctors with me, one a very experience GP, made things really easy at the hospital. Even in emergency getting a fast service at Putrajaya Hospital could be a challenge but not that day. In fact later on I really felt embarrassed having two doctors pushing me around in a wheel chair. The first stop is the doctor’s room and as usual the young doctor asked me the usual questions. Then Dr Tengku cut sort the proceeding by informing the young doctor that I broke my left clavicle. With that the doctor sent me out to the x-ray theater. Both Dr Taufik and Dr Tengku accompanied me through out the process. Of course the x-ray showed a broken clavicle and it was a clean break. The doctor then contacted the orthopedic on duty to have further check if I need anything special attention. Two of them, young as well, came down to look at me. After prodding and asking for a while they satisfied that it was only my left clavicle needed mending. They explained to me what I already knew, prescribed me panadol, pain killers and asked me to come back on Jan 21, 2009 for check-up. A while before this Col Azudin came to join us at Hospital Putrajaya and he told me that he was left behind by everyone at FRIM because his car battery was drained as he forgot to turn off his fog light. Lucky for him somebody there helped to jumpstart his car.

Dr Tengku taking for x-ray

Ready to go home. Thanks to the pain killers I was standing and walking. Dr Taufik, me, my son Ghazi and Col Azudin

That was about it and I was given an MC until Jan 21, 2009 to stay at home to recuperate. What have I learned from this mishap?

1. Don’t be a fool
2. Don’t’ be stupid
3. Make sure my bike is suitable for the terrain and condition
4. Listen and take notice of all the signals around me.

So, 80 % of this mishap was due to my stupidity.

So, now should I,

1. Buy an entirely new Trek or Bianchi, or
2. Upgrade my Trek?

Hey! I heard that! No, not a road bike.

On The Train, Feb 4, 2009

Not like yesterday I timed my leaving the office to be just nice to board the train home at 1846. The capacity of the train was also just nice – not too crowded.

My observation, I am not sure whether I am too early with my conclusion, is that the waiting line system introduced by KTMB is working. Now, in major stations, the announcer would come on air to announce the arrival of any particular train. Also, the announcer would mention which line to stand and wait. Just now we were asked to stand on red line. Looking at the lines I could guess the type of the train arriving and it stopped precisely at the red line. I hope this would prevail as long as it needs to be. Something that still a long way to go is the behavior or culture of Malaysians. Even with a clear line waiting some of us still cut queue to rush in.

On The Train, Feb 3, 2009

After a long leave only today I felt like I am at work. The three days of last week seems like an adjustment period for me.

I was posted with the question of what is the future for KMC again. After a long thorny journey without the possibility of seeing a finishing line we are about to reinvent ourselves once again. I hate to say we are forced to change, for whatever reason, and we need to do it fast. The fact to the matter is we need to constantly evolve. Planning and managing in these days and age are about managing flexibility and adaptability. The fast development in new thinking of certain field of studies, management concept and technology expect us to be agile all the time. What we think it should be would change suddenly. Is that means we are always in a catch-up game? Always late? Not necessary as whatever it is we need a base and then we adjust accordingly.