Monthly Archives: March 2006

The Hedgehog Concept

It just amazes me, this thing called politics. When tens of thousands of people are going to the streets and demand your resignation, you retaliate and threaten to declare a state of emergency. What emergency? You just quit and there are no emergencies. When so many people come to the streets in earnest, there must be something badly wrong with you. This thing called politics, if you are good at it, you can do whatever you want. Even the King cannot do much. This also applies to office politics.

What then is the key in getting so much power that gives you that much measure of immunity and arrogance? The key is in knowing the system inside out (so that you can manipulate it at will if you need to) and knowing the right people and get them in your gang, and at the same time, convince them that they should be led by you.

After reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” as noted in my earlier entry, the desire to read more business books kept growing. The new job that I am getting into may also be a reason for me to want to read back these books. I have even bought Kaplan and Norton’s latest book, “Alignment” and get a refresher on the Balanced Scorecard concept and especially the Strategy Focused Organisation, the best book and most outstanding idea from their oeuvre, in my humble opinion.

However, that said, I felt that the best management book that I have read, best being defined as the management book that actually affected me from inside out, is Jim Collin’s “Good to Great”. Read a good article of it here.

The book has great ideas but the idea that hit me really hard was the Hedgehog concept plus the elaboration on will and discipline.

What is the Hedgehog concept? It is at once easy to understand and at the same time, hard to grasp. Here’s an excerpt:

“Picture two animals: a fox and a hedgehog. Which are you? An ancient Greek parable distinguishes between foxes, which know many small things, and hedgehogs, which know one big thing. All good-to-great leaders, it turns out, are hedgehogs. They know how to simplify a complex world into a single, organizing idea — the kind of basic principle that unifies, organizes, and guides all decisions. That’s not to say hedgehogs are simplistic. Like great thinkers, who take complexities and boil them down into simple, yet profound, ideas (Adam Smith and the invisible hand, Darwin and evolution), leaders of good-to-great companies develop a Hedgehog Concept that is simple but that reflects penetrating insight and deep understanding.”

Great Baduk players, for example, display this Hedgehog concept. The politician mentioned above is a master of the Hedgehog concept. Jack Welch is a master of the Hedgehog concept. Gandhi is a great master of this concept as well. In fact, it is true. All the great people that comes to my mind are great Hedgehog concept pracitioners. To be great, I reckon, I must learn this Hedgehog concept and with great will, humility and discipline, things should work out well. I hope.

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Perhaps Love

I have spoken that I loved “Perhaps Love” and in fact, has been listening to the soundtrack almost on a daily basis on the car stereo. I received a birthday present yesterday from two wonderful colleagues and friend and it is the boxed set, special deluxe edition, of the “Perhaps Love” soundtrack, complete with a DVD containing a special edition of the movie “making of..”. To add to this, it comes with a photo album, postcards, and song lyrics.

On reading the lyrics of the theme song, I came to realise what a wonderful piece of art that is. The true meaning of the lyrics escaped me while listening to the song because some Chinese words are hard to understand. Anyways, here is the translated lyrics to the “Perhaps Love” theme song. So, so, so Wonderful! My tears swelled up after reading it while listening to the song. Afterall, I am a major sucker for love stories.


Everyone wants to find out
Who’s the one love of their lives
More so melancholy…
… especially around midnight
Eyes closed with heart unsettled
Because deep inside, you know that was Love

If that was really love
Should have stayed before you turned away
Even with pain, even with tears
Even with countless lonely nights
Love….why is it always clearer looking back?
Even with pain, even with tears
The feelings remained after love was long gone
If that was really love
If I’d understood it when it happened
Whould my live be any different now?

Especially around midnight
When I think about the future
Can I be at peace with the present
… and ask myself what is love
If that was really love
Should have stayed before I turned away
Even with pain, even with tears
Even with countless lonely nights
Love…why is it always clearer looking back?
Even with pain, even with tears…
The feelings remained after
love was long gone

Because such was love
Because such is love.


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Collecting Wild Strawberries

I have not updated this journal for quite some time. This is largely due to some recent developments affecting mostly my career but also my entire life. I will very likely be moving out of my home country for a couple of years to work in a foreign land. The opportunity is not easy to come by and the job is very challenging and very rewarding.

It has now been more than 6 years now that I have worked in my current company and I thought it is time to move on. In fact, this thought did not occur only now. Two years ago I applied to go work in China and just last year, I was about to go to Hong Kong but the decision was rescinded by the top guy in our company at the very last minute. It turned out to actually be a blessing in disguise, this Hong Kong job.

Anyways, after moving to this new location, I will play a lot less Baduk because simply I don’t think I can find the time and secondly there isn’t a Baduk club in this new place. I do not really like online Baduk but it appears like it is my only chance to be playing any Baduk at all. There will not be enough time for movies and getting out of the current circle and supply chain, I forsee a major drop in time spent watching movies.

So it is like a very drastic lifestyle change but perhaps this is for the better. I cannot just think of playing Baduk and watching movies. I have to think also of my career and building up enough wild strawberries for those winter days and moving into a bigger cave for my family. I guess at any one point in anyone’s life, such a decision will confront that person and it is always hard to make such decisions, especially if it is counter-intuitive.

I shall be gone come May but I will still be updating my journal here. Afterall, the place that I am going is a top IT center in the whole damn world. It should have internet and broadband access, I think ;-)

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