Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

June 24, 2015

Courage Math and Imagination Essays - Part 2

We can teach kids to be imaginative by asking them
  1. to copy Degas, Gauguin, Picasso, Monet or Van Gogh
  2. to design new Lego Mindstorms, BeagleBone, Arduino, Raspberry Pi robots 
  3. to play Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky 
  4. to write Harry-Potter yarns or Roald Dahl thrillers 
  5. to design their own dresses and accessories 
  6. to design their own makeup 
  7. to design their own furniture 
  8. to take very nice and unusual photos and selfies 
  9. to compose jingles, rhymes, and songs 
  10. to write movie scripts.
All these are nice and can be effective. But some of them incur some considerable costs.

Essays, you don't even need papers and pencils to write.

You can write "air"/ verbal/spoken essays like Obama, Steve Jobs, Lincoln. Or like Stalin or Hitler.

Kids hate essays because they don't know how to imagine, to dream, to envision.

Kids grooming to be CEO's, Prime Ministers, Generals, articulate and therefore value-multiplying scientists, communicative and therefore value-adding knowledge-workers need all these skills.

We at EssayKKN know better.

Dont' we? ;-)


Courage Math and Imagination Essays - Part 1

We can teach kids to overcome fear by asking them:
  1. to do extreme sports such as rock climbing, wing suit flying, parkour 
  2. to join street gangs and take part in streets fights 
  3. to go out of their comfort zones by studying strange math problems 
  4. to go out of their comfort zones by studying strange foreign languages 
  5. to taste the fear of the unknown by visiting Syria or Afghanistan 
  6. to sell by cold-calling total strangers 
  7. to eat scary-looking but harmless insects or creatures 
  8. to touch scary-looking but harmless snakes like Python,or fangless cobras

But then I have some reservations for some of these proposals.
  1. We have only 1 life. A bad fall can end my kid's life before s/he learns how to control her/his fears.
  2. Same with reptiles.
  3. What s/he learns in Syria may not apply in other parts of human civilization.
  4. S/he may not need to use those foreign languages that often in her/his later lives.

So we teach Yoda-style fear-controlling mind tricks through Math, Physics, Chemistry or Javascript or Essays. With us, kids will never fear to think on their own feet.

Steve Jobs once saw a few masters disassemble and re-assemble electronic gadgets and he never feared them throughout his life.

We at EssayKKN, try to do the same for your kids with science and learning and essays.

Plans and Outlines Are Not for Use

We insist on students taking essay exams to make plans and outlines first. Some of them still don't appreciate the values of this practice.

First of all, plans serve a budgeting function. They show you how much you should, must or can write, and how much time you can afford to spend on each step or component of your overall plan. Without this valuable information, you can run short of time while writing.

Secondly, more crucially, the plan shows you gaps in your approach and gaps in your knowledge or data. Because this is just the beginning, you still have time to act on these gaps. Better still, you can choose to find substitutes or work-arounds for these gaps. Remember it is not necessary or possible to fill out every knowledge gap.

Thirdly, plans allow you to exploit your muse, your inspiration more effectively. Let me illustrate this more graphically.

Say, a student has 3 ideas each worth of 20 points as s/he begins.
Another student has no ideas as s/he begins.

Since our subconscious can never stay idle, each student is bound to come up with new ideas while writing.

Then when inspiration comes, the first student has a benchmark to judge these new ideas. If any goes higher than 20 points, s/he will take it. Else, s/he will stick with the original plan, or show to examiners that her/his ideas are better than the newcomers.

For the second student, like a drowning person clutching at anything, s/he will take anything gratefully at first. A few minutes later, her/his mind will show her better ideas and s/he will regret her/his impulsive choices made just a few minutes earlier.

Remember the popular quotes and practices:

Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.
Jesuit priests --> Peter Drucker: feedback analysis

We need plans and outlines, not to follow them blindly, but to deviate from them, and even to drop them intelligently.

Finally, outlining helps you think better. Only if you don't aspire to become a better thinker, you can rightly reject outlines and plans.

We at EssayKKN passionately believe in thinking better.

June 19, 2015

Commonsense Beats Science Every time

Commonsense tells me that the Earth is flat. Science tells me that it is not.

Commonsense tells me that the Earth is the center of the sky/Universe. Science tells me that it is not.

Looks like I've chosen a title to beat or contradict myself. Not so fast.

Within seconds, commonsense whispers to me that in such matters I should not trust it but find another perspective.

Commonsense works like a grand master of Judo, Akido or Taichi, yielding so sensitively that it avoids any injury.

Commonsense knows and readily admits its limits. Ask it : How far is it from here to the Sun? It will meekly replies: I don't know. Ask it : How thick is a water molecule? The same answer we get.

Science when really good, also works that way: It knows its limits. It is honest. It is always ready to defer to truth.

Here is a simpler calculation for commonsense:

In commonsense areas, commonsense wins.
In science, commonsense draws with science because it defers to science.

But what about science?

In commonsense areas, science suffers because it is overstepping.
In science, science draws with commonsense as explained before.

How come science has come to mean "arrogance," "rigidity," "hype" and "insincerity"?

At EssayKKN, we help you appreciate humble commonsense and authentic, honest science.

Hating Essays for the Right Reasons

I myself hate to write essays or anything at all. Do you also hate talking? Not chit-chat, or small talk, but structured, organized, topical talks.

If you hate both writing and speaking, can you communicate via dancing, painting, some miming or telepathy?

Let me be frank and blunt using some equations:

Leadership   =needs=   communication =needs=    essays (written/spoken)
Sales            =needs=   communication =needs=    essays (written/spoken)
Persuasion   =needs=   communication =needs=    essays (written/spoken)

So, unless we settle for Mcjobs or Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times jobs, we have no choice.

Still I hate essays for these right reasons:

  1. It makes me think. You know the sayings? "People prefer to die than to think." "If you make people think, they hate you. If you merely let them feel they have thought, they are grateful to you." "Public speaking is more feared than death itself."

  2. Even when I get some ideas by luck, it still makes me choose. Making choice is making decision, which is an eternal enemy of us mankind.

  3. Even when I can decide, I have to arrange my ideas.

Thinking, deciding, organizing, oh, so tough ... sobs ...sobs ... sobs ... Relax, reframe, get a more useful perspective. Isn't this a great opportunity for all of us? Isn't this the center? The essence, the kernel?

All the highly-paid jobs past, present and future, require these skills --- having ideas, organizing and sharing them.

I still hate thinking. But I can never be as serious with my hate as before because now I know that to "homo sapien," thinking is like swimming is to fish.

EssayKKN specializes in each and every of these skills.

Hating Essays for the Wrong Reasons

I am so sad to see so many student so reluctant to compose essays. I myself hate to write and so I can sympathize with them.

Still, I believe we owe it to ourselves to learn this essential skill that underpins sales pitches, funds raising pitches, jobs interviews, exam interviews, product demo's, dating persuasion, to name just a few.

True, we have to write too many essays through our school systems. But if you know the trick, this won't be such a tiring chore.

True, many school essays are uninspiring. But we can enliven the topics ourselves. We can gamify the task.

True, the way they grade can be weird, funny, simplistic, cruel or any or many of the above. But we can grade ourselves and downplay the grades we get from school teachers. As long as we know our essays will work in real life, we can accept whatever grades the school teachers give us.

These are the wrong reasons to hate essays. Let's hate for the right reasons.

Find some right reasons at EssayKKN. Enjoy.

Testing People: Cons

I seldom test people despite my total agreement with Mr Regan's dictum that 'Trust but verify.'

Maybe when I become as important Mr Regan I may have to do more testing. But for now, I am enjoying my test-free life.

The need to test or verify arises more often in virtual world, especially in social media than in real life. In real world, a person posing to be a billionaire has to make up some entourage and to acquire/borrow some status symbols. On Facebook, it's so easy to be a software tycoon of some bogus companies.( You know the degree factory in Somewherestan, where any one of their websites refers to some other 300-plus websites they themselves have put up? And these days, putting up a website is a matter of minutes.)

On Facebook, some of my dead friends even came back to life again. I got so delighted to see them again.

Still I refuse to test people because I know I cannot escape a universal, fundamental law.

When you test, there will be some who fail and some who pass. You must give rewards to anyone who passes. If you fail to do so, you owe those something and you become indebted, with compound interest.

So, let's stop testing if we don't have enough rewards to pass around.

At EssayKKN, whenever we test students, we reward then more than their effort.

June 18, 2015

Love Wins: the SEA games champion Thai football team

Love Wins: Congratulations to the SEA games champion Thai football team!

A few days ago, I read a fabulous book, "Soccer Speed" by By Richard Bate and Ian Jeffreys. They amazed me with their focus on teamwork.

According to them, teamwork is essential both in defence and attack. Their statistics shows that on average, a player cannot hold the ball more than 2 seconds!

Say, in defence, my player No 4 (M4) presses their player No 9 (T9).
So, T9 passes the ball to his teammate T6.
M5 presses T6, which forces T6 to pass to T11 and so on.

T9  --> T6 --> T11 --> T10
M4      M5       M3         ?

If there is no M player to challenge T10, the effort of players M4,M5,M3 go to waste. It would be better for them to have slept or taken a break at that time instead of pressing T players. If they had rested, they would have more energy now. Now they are tired and the ball has passed through their defence line.

The same holds true for attack. No player alone can do magic. Even star strikers like Messi, Neymar need support all around them.

When Myanmar strikers come forward, do they get enough support? More precisely, do they support each other?

When Singapore strikers come forward, do they get enough support? More precisely, do they support each other?

When Thai strikers come forward, do they get enough support? More precisely, do they support each other?

"Glory players," players who play for their own personal glory do not win matches. Nor in-fighting generals win wars: read about German invasion of Soviet Union in World War II.

So, at EssayKKNkn we teach love. We run our website out of love for the kids, the parents, the nations, and of course, out of love for ourselves.

Laziness Wins: the SEA games champion Thai football team

Laziness Wins: the SEA games champion Thai football team

When a team loses possession of the ball, they need to get it back. But they cannot press the opponent team all over the field as it would tire them out way before the opponent team lose the ball or get tired.

Therefore, they have to let the other team come to them. When the ball is far away from their goal, they let the other team work on the ball at a leisurely pace. Only when the ball gets into the striking range towards their goal, they become serious about dispossessing the other team.

Previously when I noticed such behaviour, I always thought of such teams as lazy. Even when the Thai team won the final of SEA games football this way, I still regarded them a bit "lazy" or conservative.

But a few days later, I read a fabulous book, "Soccer Speed" by By Richard Bate and Ian Jeffreys. They sanction such deep defending as a good way to conserve energy.

This is reminiscent of Sun Tzu, Chapter 6:

17. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.

Therefore, at essaykkn we take special care not teach everything to our students. First, we kill 1 or 2 fatal mistakes. Then we pounce on areas where rewards are highest per effort.

June 17, 2015

Soccer Speed, Essay Speed at EssayKKN

Here is the summary of this fabulous book, "Soccer Speed" by By Richard Bate and Ian Jeffreys.
  1. Unless the opponent is unskillful or undisciplined, it will be too exhausting to defend everywhere.Thus you defend only your key areas. This implies that you allow the opponent to attack or to build up attack in certain areas.

  2. Unless the opponent is unaware, unskillful or undisciplined, you cannot expect to attack freely. They are likely to defend deep, defend as a bloc and defend in congested areas.

  3. Such congested defence entails that an attacking side can succeed only with
    • Variety in techniques, approaches, styles, tempos
    • Deception, disguise, misleading, subtlety
    • speed, "speed of change of speed"
    • teamwork
    • initiative at individual as well as team level

Doesn't this remind you of Sun Tzu, von Moltke, Clausewitz, Boyd (of OODA fame)?

Doesn't this remind you of Jack Welch, Jack Trout, Gigerenzer?

Chapter titles such as "Chapter 11 Strategy and Tactics," "Chapter 12 Developing Soccer Intelligence ", and sub-headings such as "Inventive Passing," "Deceptive Passing," "Importance of Decision Making," "Factors in Decision Making" make us wonder if we are reading a decision-science book.

Our fundamental stand at EssayKKN has been that all good jobs in future involve the same skills involved in essay-writing: getting ideas, organizing and expressing them tastefully. Now we wonder whether these skills underpin good soccer, beautiful soccer too!

June 2, 2015

EssayKKN : Taste in Technology

Taste is a killer feature in technology.

I'll give only two prominent examples from Silicon Valley.

The first is what Joel Spolsky says about complex, clever standards. One of his and my favourite examples is REST vs WS* for web services. WS* standards are so complex that even those companies who proposed them first eventually switched to REST standards. Joel encourages us not to be intimidated by super-complex stuffs any more.

  1. If something is so complicated, not many will understand it. 
  2. Among those who do understand, not many will have stomach and stamina to implement it.
  3. Among those who do implement it, not many will be cautious, methodical, disciplined enough to succeed. 
  4. Among those who do succeed, not many will be able to modify, enhance it. 
  5. Gradually, that complicated stuff will fail to gain enough traction to become a standard.

The second example is Steve Jobs. Jobs loved technology, any technology. But he seemed to hate any technology that was not ready for him. His taste, his nose seemed very developed in this regard. Microsoft may love brick-shape, brick-size mobile phone. But Jobs waited. Years.

Jobs is famous for and he himself said he's proud of his "waiting" "for the next big thing." Though he called them "next" things, they were actually "ready" things for him. Developing a product with un-ready technologies is a very ugly thing for Jobs.

Do you find any unnecessarily complicated stuff attractive?

Do you find any unreliable stuff tempting?

Do you find any harmful idea inviting?

Maybe it's time to train your taste at essaykkn!