Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

May 29, 2015

t-direction : "t "stands for Taste, not Technology

Having "t "stand for Taste, not Technology, doesn't mean that we are downplaying the importance of technology.

Out term "Taste" has less to do with beauty, elegance, grace, poise, aesthetics or other such concepts, and more with judgement.

Let's consider an example which on the face of it has the least to do with taste. Say, military weapon systems. If you choose something unreliable, not sturdy and robust, or something hard to integrate, hard to upgrade, hard to replace, whatever you choose will turn out "ugly." Not necessarily the systems look ugly. Nonetheless, it will feel ugly.

When your taste has been properly developed in an area, you even lose desires for distasteful stuffs. We all read Marvel, Spider man, batman comic series when young. But once we outgrew these cartoons, we may read them once in a while for nostalgic reasons, but not as seriously, as zealously as in youth. They cannot satisfy our intellectual, emotional, aesthetic needs any more. Our taste has matured with our physical age.

The same holds true for any are of life.

Taste, like Direction, is a bit subjective. We at EssayKKN, have no intention or desire to impose our taste standards on our students. They develop their tastes, and set up their own taste standards just as they draw their own road map and choose their own direction and pace/rate to proceed.

Fashion, Fad and Fantasy and Meditation

There is a report on resilience and how mindfulness practices can help us with bouncing back, in Time magazine (June 1, 2015, page-30). Original article is titled "The Science of Bouncing Back".

In one research reported in that article, Martin Paulus (scientific director and president of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Okla.) trained four Marine infantry platoons in an eight-week mindfulness course and four platoons trained as usual. Then both groups took part in a very stressful series of war games.

After these exercises, the researchers checked the mental states of both groups and found out that the Marines who had taken mindfulness course proved more resilient. Brain scans even showed their brains had undergone a structural change, for the better. Another source about Marines and Meditation is "US Marines May Be Adding Meditation To Their Pre-Deployment Arsenal".

To confirm their findings, these researchers went on to train some Olympic BMX athletes in mindfulness, who went on to win at a major BXM competition the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Some more miraculous claim shows up near the end of the report:

"Another recent study shows that meditation can even help decrease expression of pro-inflammatory genes."\

Maybe soon they may claim that the Mindfulness meditation can help you fly, walk on water, cure Ebola and so on.

t-direction from tdcc : Taste, Direction, Creativity and Collaboration

The name of the site "t-direction" came from from "tdcc" which stands for Taste, Direction, Creativity and Collaboration.

They are a subset of soft skills, which also include Trust, Communication (Story-telling), Curiosity, Grit, Flexibility among others. We cannot accept equalling soft skills with interpersonal skills and EQ as it is too  narrow a definition.

It is fashionable these days to insist that soft skills are more important than hard skills. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that soft skills have never gone out of fashion. They outshine hard skills now, in the Industrial Revolution days, in the Renaissance, in the Roman times and the times before that too.

In soft-skills literature, the term "Direction" has been named variously as "strategic navigation,", "vision," "strategy," "orientation" (after Col. Boyd's OODA terminology) and so on. It is about finding the way forward, making the path forward, blazing the trail towards your destination.

Our human world, human affairs has been complex, chaotic and VUCA at any time in history. No one can chart a road map for our life. The path Andrew Carnegie chose was good for him, but not for his less able father, not even for his one-time mentor!

No one can clone and use another person's road map. Fortunately, path-finding, direction-setting is both innate and learnable. We all know this skill innately to some degree, and we must make the best of what little is innate in us. Moreover, we must develop it further with reading, study, reflection introspection and some formal training.

Finally, is the direction if you are learning to write better essays.

May 28, 2015

EssayKKN : Essay jobs

Why essays?

In the sense that it is highly unlikely that your children will stop writing any one of these once they graduate and start working in the real world, perhaps essay writing is not that important at all.
  1. "For all the environmental problems that the world face now, the developed countries should take more responsibility." To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
  2. "I realized at once that the aliens have started invading our planet..." Continue the story.
  3. Freedom. 

But what if we define essay-writing, in the spirit of the five canons of Rhetoric as they have been classically defined, as
  1. Having ideas
  2. Organizing them
  3. Expressing them impactfully 

Can you think of any good job which does not involve having ideas, arranging them coherently and sharing them effectively?

Plumber? Shoe shine or repair? Cleaner?

For other types of jobs and careers, you need to check out

EssayKKN : Cruel Only to Be Kind, for Better Direction

We recently launched EssayKKN, a web app to help students write better essays. In truth, we teach more than essays. One of our main aims is, as the app's name suggests, to help them find better directions. What happens when you lose your sense of direction?

If we sound mean and malicious, just keep in mind Hamlet, who once famously said, "I must be cruel only to be kind."

  1. Other graduates write seminal well-cited, well-regarded papers. Yours write unknown, unheard-of papers.

    Okay, we can agree your degrees can be good even if you stop writing papers.

  2. Other graduates write books. (Okay, anyone can get published if they agree to pay. ) Your grads can be only "technical reviewers."

  3. Other BSc get jobs in Google, Yahoo etc. Your PhD's teach in high schools. (Okay, PhDs teaching to KG's is fine and noble.) But your Physics/Math/Chemistry PhD's go on to take half a dozen more Masters in (what!??) archaeology, geology, child psychology, social welfare, education management, financial counselling etc

    Degrees unrelated to first degrees.

    Degrees that don't help their current jobs and current customers.

    Degrees unlikely to find them better jobs or satisfaction.

Why do they study in the first place?

What meaning do they seek and find in their study or learning?

t-direction at will help find better directions. Try, see for yourselves!

May 6, 2015

Decisive Quick-Witted Re-framing

Monkey leaps on a croc posing as a stone in the river


"Whoso, O monkey-king, like you, combines
Truth, foresight, fixed resolve, and fearlessness,
Shall see his routed foemen turn and flee."


The Jataka, Volume I, tr. by Robert Chalmers, [1895], at


Undaunted spirit

The story of a forester protecting a group of merchants from 500 robbers


"When many a bow the shaft at speed let fly--
Hands grasping blades of tempered steel were nigh--
When Death had marshalled all his dread array--
I felt a great and mighty joy this day.

"And this my joy gave me the victory;
I was resolved to die, if need should be;
He must contemn his life, who would fulfil
Heroic deeds and be a hero still."


The Jataka, Volume 2, tr. by Robert Chalmers, [1895], at


Too Stubborn to Fail

Some legendary businessmen are just too stubborn to fail.

Once the Daewoo founder needed to give bribes to a Japanese official. Just to see the official he had to wait at that officials gate every morning  for a month.

The same thing happened during the Genting founder's trip to Japan to sell his mines. The Japanese simply refused to take him seriously at first.

The same thing repeated when Matsushita/Panasonic tried  to work with Phillips in the 50's. In Matsushita's words, the Dutch company with more advanced technology tried to "throw its weight."

Are you stubborn enough to succeed?

May 4, 2015

Some Outrageous Claims Made in History

Konosuke Matsushita : "No problem with labor," workers and talent. He's sure his company, now known as Panasonic will get as many workers and managers as they need.

Thomas Watson Sr 1914 : International Business Machines at a time when the company was doing only cash registers, meat slicers, coffee grinders, butcher scales etc.

Thomas Watson Jr : superiority in performance over the company's competitors, implying their company IBM will outdo others at all times. A bit presumptuous, unless and until you read the fine print and his real meaning.

Modern communists and a perspective

Modern communists sounded super-foolish this way.

At some times in South-East Asia, communism was a bit fashionable.

Communism in Myanmar context meant "dumb," "misguided," "impatient," "impractical," and "cruel."

But then Myanmar was a "socialist" "one-party" country too and the national doctrine was that without its extremes and cruelty, communism can become "socialism" and that that brand of "socialism" was a cure-for-all! (Drum roll, or trumpets depending on the type of theatre you are in.)

Then Burmese author, U Aung Thin questioned in one of his literary criticism books: Lenin may have been concerned more with raising the poor than with bringing down the rich. So, Myanmar Commies, are you driven just to destroy the rich and the educated? What else do you have to say and do for raising the poor and the disadvantaged?

Mao and a perspective

In those days in South-East Asia, being a communist was a bit fashionable.

When you said you were a commie in those times, people may think you were misguided but they still allowed that you were idealist and you sought justice and the general good.

At that time, Mr Mao was rather eager to export his revolutions to near-by countries, including ours. 

Then Burmese author, U Thein Pe Myint wrote in the papers how hostile Mao was to Myanmar. It shook us. We simply could not understand why he would harbour such hostility to a country like ours --- peaceful, cowardly and rather in self-isolation.

If you cannot be nice to a docile, cowardly, subservient country, you must be truly out of control. Nero style.

Freud and a perspective

Freud sounded super-foolish this way.

He hypothesized that couples in the Victorian age had psychological troubles because their puritanical upbringing made them despise or fear sex.

Then Burmese author, Pi Moe Nin argued that if it was so, those Victorian parents must have been more persuasive and convincing than Lord Buddha Himself. Buddha taught and implored people to abstain from even sexual thoughts, and failed miserably. But these parents had succeeded in just one generation!

Maybe Sir Freud forgot logic and clear think during the hypothesis-formulation stage of his research.

A Time for Storytelling

Maybe this is a time for storytellers.

Maybe they have never been out of fashion.

Can you tell empowering narratives for your country, company and for yourself?

Can you tell narratives that we can franchise and customize?

Can you use existing views as bridges to new and better ones? 

Do you have this flexibility of mind?

What is your story?

Floyd Mayweather, a running boxer is a winning boxer

Whatever you think of Floyd Mayweather, a running boxer is a winning boxer.

A running army is a winning army. Mao's army. Genghis's army.

And the first rule of professional Ninjas, run away, run out of danger.

Sometimes sales are inevitable

Sometimes sales are inevitable.

In an old HBR magazine, I read about Kiva and its disruptive logistic robots. The technology was good but the price tag was high and they finally had to give away a free trial worth of $ 38 millions.

In the same vein, the story of the University of Phoenix revealed that American schools showed interest in change, in new technology, or in new business models only when they are about to be bankrupt!

On such times, Sun Tzu predicted thousands of years ago that sales are inevitable.

Let us each prepare for that.

Refusing to learn

Refusing to learn is a very clear sign of a good learner.

This is also a form of air tunnelling.

Why? If there is a better workaround, a better substitute, why should we learn the sub-optimal techniques and methods.

Isn't it how humanity made its progress?

If knowledge has truly become a commodity, if information has truly become a commodity, if skills has truly become a commodity, .. what else remains for us to master and to exploit?

Earth Tunnelling, Air Tunnelling

Earth tunnelling makes me hot and bothered. But, boy, do I enjoy air tunnelling!

In a foreword to a book on the Yum Kippur war, an Israeli general remarked that future battle grounds are getting more and more "congested."

That kind of situation does call for air tunnelling. Tunnelling where there is noting to tunnel, nothing to dig, noting to shovel ... cool ...

What do you mean by 'abstract'?

What do you mean by 'abstract'?

There is no such thing.

Everything can be traced back to something concrete.

Look at Picasso.

Look at Dali.

Look at mathematics.

Cheer up. You are either talented or inventive!

We all should cheer up because we are either talented or inventive.

If talented, then you can copy and clone the past and present successes and prosper.

If you lack that talent, then whatever you make will be a bit different, a bit unique. In other words, you are original and inventive!

You can be both, but you cannot be neither. Isn't it a bit cheerful thought?

If you are brave, what will you see

If you are brave, what will you see, and what will you do?

If you are discerning, what will you see, and what will you do?

If you are disciplined, what will you see, and what will you do?

Above all, if you are virtuous, what will you see, and what will you do?
Oh, beloved country, beloved world, what do you see, and what will you do?