Older blog entries for nymia (starting at number 1905)

e-loyalty book

The book e-loyalty was about (1) setting up a website designed around the Most Valuable Customer, (2) that having a rewards system has a positive impact on revenue, (3) defining a category for relationships bring order by segmenting communication into categories.

The insight was of course nothing too profound. What iI found interesting was managing MVCs was not a function of internal business processes, but a response to an ever-changing behavior. 

Syndicated 2007-11-17 08:21:16 from Freedom Culture

Strapped

In the book Strapped, the author showed a landscape where going to college has become the norm. It’s the new High School, you can’t get ahead and live a life the way your ancestors lived, and high school doesn’t cut it anymore. There is no guarantee high school will get you that edge when you get out there and apply for a decent paying job. In this new world, it’s not about simply going to any college, it has to be the one accepted and respected by the industry. This pressure to undertake a financial responsibility at a very young age eventually lead to several outcomes, with only one of them considered to be the desired outcome–graduation. 

The result of this new mentality is the stratification of society by educational class.  

Though it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’ve chatted with my friend about this asked him why he took the loan to get in the Computer Science program. The answer I got agree to the statement made by the author, that is a diploma is a credential for better employment with the accompanying higher income, though saddled with a loan incurred during the four-year CS program. 

Another observation I made was the reality that college life may be suitable to only those who see value getting higher education, that high school does not really extend to college in a straight easy way. And you can’t traipse your way to graduation either.

I really do understand the predicament of professors in this kind of liberal education environment. I   mentioned this sentiment to my dad that this new environment I am in now is liberal, and the professor can’t do a thing to make it worse or improve the situation. 

Whether you will graduate from college or simply drop-out with a loan on your back rests entirely on your decision. And making that decision should be taken seriously.

Syndicated 2007-11-15 10:42:41 from Freedom Culture

Books

Books borrowed from the library:

  1. Seduced By Success, Robert Herbold - “…gets to the heart of why successfull organizations and individuals often go into a tailspin, and how this can be avoided. His thorough reviews of specific companies we all know make this a very useful book…–Indra K Nooyi, CEO Pepsico.”
  2. Common Sense Direct & Digital Marketing, Drayton Bird - A book about the internet, direct individual targetting, testing, keeping customers, etc.
  3. Affluent Consumer, Michman and Mazze - It’s about the emerging affluent consumers.
  4. Marketing Metrics: 50+ Metrics Every Executive Should Master,  Farris Bendel Pfeifer Reibstein - It’s where marketing meets formulas and charts, with a hefty doze of Accounting.
  5. Game Production Handbook, Heather Chandler - A detailed exposition of the major components and its processes. Procedures are discussed in detail along with best practices.
  6. Secrets of The Game Business, Laramie - “Find out how the game business realy works. Explore all areas and find tips for starting your own. Covers middleware, licensing, designs, consumer profiling.”
  7. Ultimate Game Design, Tom Meigs - Old book, published in ‘03.
  8. Game Design: The Art & Business of Creating Games, laMothe - Another old book published in ‘01.
  9. e-loyalty, Ellen Smith.
  10. The New Direct Marketing, David Shepard Associates.
  11. Relationship Marketing, Roger Parker.

Books Bought:

  1. Divine Proportion
  2. Beginning Math And Physics
  3. Fast Forward MBA In Business Math

Stumbled Into:

  1. CLE
  2. Rajiv’s

Student Life:

  1. The last test did not go well. My worksheet’s Income Statement and Balance Sheet control total for Net/Loss Income did not match. It turned out an unknown account showed-up, incorrectly classified under revenue, which should have been under liabilities. Oh well.
  2. The acctg prof pointed one student in my direction, thinking I could help catch-up with prev lessons.
  3. Java, java, java. Wrote some Java code in Eclipse recently. Java is now the first choice language of the college where a friend of mine goes to.

Optimization:

  1. By carefully matching table indices to a specific code in a stored procedure, you can achieve fast scans and walks using cursors. Simply look into the where clause and figure out the columns, then index those columns. Though this technique does not apply across the board. You still have to profile each stored procedure you write against a gigabyte logfile to be sure. In my case, the size of the test logfile is now at 30 gig. Awesome!

Flex:

  1. Been rifling-through the targets, trying to get as many as possible. The last code I wrote was about item renderers, repeaters and components. I still have a lot of stuff to cover, though.

Syndicated 2007-11-14 10:26:04 from Freedom Culture

Wage Determination

Determination of wages is complex for a given business, there are many factors to consider when setting up wage level. Many factors come into play in several dimensions, such as internal and external to the business.

1) Non-union wage determination - for non-union businesses, a system is established by management to determine wages, using quantitive means. Job content and job value is used to set wage levels.

2) Job Content - How much worth a job is to the business, is determined on skills, duties and responsibilities for measuring how much content a job has.

3) Job Value - How much a job is worth in relation to the objective and goals of the business. How much a job contribute to the bottomlime.

4) Market Job Wage Rate - How much a job is worth within the geographic area. A business will have to consider how much the competition is paying for the job in order to get that job filled.

5) Supply And Demand - How much a job is worth depends on how many people are available to fill a job. A good number of applicants will affect wages as more applicants will work for lower wage. On the other hand, if available jobs outnumber applicants, wage levels are adjusted higher to attract a scarce or rare worker.

6) Cost of Living - Inflation is also considered in wages as workers should be able to have a sustainable living wage. A decent lifestyle including adequate housing, food, clothing, housing, energy, transportation, health care, and education. Capable of setting saving money for future needs.

7) Goverment - Provides the definition of wages for jobs that are protected and enforced by law. Businesses follow these laws and implement them in their wage structure.

8] International - wages can be affected by jobs outside the national boundary when outsourcing of work is considered.

Using the factors described above, determination of wages will depend on the following:

a) Local and Federal laws - A base pay known as minimum wage determines the starting pay of a worker. The minimum pay is used to make sure the worker wage right is protected under law.

b) Job Content And Value - depending on rank and position a pay scale is set just for content and value.

c) Market Rate And Worker Supply - wages are also affected by the market going-rate and how many are applying for the job. Wage is adjusted based on availability or scarcity of skill and talent.

d) Cost of living - A wage is set enough not to depress the living standard of a worker. Instead, a wage is set for a sustainable wage living.

Using all these factors, a standard formula can now be set for a given business:

Wage level = minimum wage + cost of living adjustment + job content and value adjustment + market going rate adjustment

Syndicated 2007-11-13 22:39:01 from Freedom Culture

Establishing And Keeping Relationships

In the class I’m attending, there was this sentence or a sentiment that was expressed by someone who mentioned about relationships in the context of business. In this age (and the olden days as well), businesses see customer relationship as a value that is strongly correllated to revenue. Customers are more willing to enter into a new relationship given a chance offered, while keeping in touch and not losing the moment the idea of the numerous alternative relations available. It’s not about selling a product anymore where a customer simply walks-in, takes the item and pays for it, then walking away. The reality today is having to invite a customer to enter a relation to a business, to be more precise, offer a set of services for the customer to engage in. Customers nowadays are aware of services that provide tangible and intangible items as a result of that relationship. They will walk in malls and stores, read magazines and newspapers, browse the web and perhaps use a search engine. Just to compare and contrast who offers the most for a reasonable amount. When all the right reasons align, the customer simply makes a decision and enters the relationship.

Look at the image below and you’ll see bags of beans, a couple of roman columns, lion statues. Looks pretty familiar, a common sight when you go to the local market. Customers look for things to buy and also establish good relations to the owner of the business. The same behavior that customers will enter a relation given the right product.

It’s also the same in technology, businesses build services that simplify and even cut processes into half. Businesses that innovate quicker and deliver to market are more inclined to get customers who are looking for better services, and as a result these customers enter into a relation. Customers enter a tech relationship for the purpose of receiving services onto their tech gadgets. Take for example Google Map service, which is provided along with other services. A customer must first have a relationship with Google in order to access the Map service, this relation is initiated by the customer who willingly enters and sign his name in a textbox before pressing that commitment button.

As you may have guessed, relationships are a human characteristic and it is subject to many forces that can be controlled or not controlled by a business. A customer can walk away and simply not use the service, if the service is free. Or, the customer could terminate the relation at a press of a button, then billing will simply be sent at the end of the period, for the last time.

So, the interesting question is now upon me who wrote this article for the sake of documenting a sentiment I got from the class is simply stated as: “What it takes to build relationships on the web?”

  1. A set of innovative web services.
  2. A system for managing and maintaining customer accounts.
  3. A system for handling billing.

I’ll continue on with this in the next article. Got some stuff to read and research about. See you later.

Syndicated 2007-11-07 23:06:04 from Freedom Culture

Flex + Webservices

In this article, we will look into the following:

  1. How do I write code for handling data from a webservice.
  2. What attributes would I need to be familiar about to setup the connections.

Now that we know what to do, let’s get moving to the next. Before that, we need to know what things are needed to be ready in order to proceed. First, we need to have an already fully coded Webservice running on a website. In this example, we are using Localhost domain, or simply the development machine as the Webservice source. And the filename of that Webservice is called student.asmx.

For this article, we will not be covering the details of student.asmx, as it is another set of technology requiring another article, so we’ll just leave that for now, treat it like a blackbox and only send and receive data from it.

The Login User Interface

Let’s write a login panel for our students. To be validated as a student, a user has to present credential to the login webservice by simply entering the Login Name and Password. The UI panel collects them and sends them over the wire to the webservice. The Webservice receives the credential and checks to see if it is a valid credential. Once validated, it returns the student record to the client login panel.

In the figure above, a graphical representation of the login panel have two input boxes for entering login ID and password, followed by the login button. The user enters data to the input boxes and later presses the login button to send the data to the server.

At the source code level, the xml declaration counterpart is shown below. You’ll see in full detail the attributes of the elements like the panel, input boxes, buttons and labels. Notice the login button has an attribute named click with a value of saveData() which is a symbol for a function name for handling the click event.

The click event handler for the button is shown below, saveData() calls the send() method found in studentWS, a webservice that does all the work of sending the data to the webservice and receiving the data back from the webservice. In this case, studentWS is the webservice, while studentLogin is the function declared inside the webservice, send is a method foe initiating the event.

At this point, you have a pretty good idea of setting up a graphical panel and the corresponding xml declaration. You also now know how to setup the send() event and where to attach it, the click attribute of the button.

The Webservice Tag

Syndicated 2007-11-05 07:45:23 from Freedom Culture

Accounting-ness

I was so surprised to hear my name getting called when the prof handed out the test results. The five students who were called stood up to get their prizes, and later were praised again to get special treats, a choice of one Hershey or sweet candy. Anyway, I was not expecting that to happen, I was merely trying my best to keep my grade at a respectable level, but I never thought it would go up this high.

And what was way even cooler was the fact that most of my solutions, rather financial statements are stored in Google spreadsheet. I have access to it anywhere there is a network.

On another note, I’ve finally decided the UI will be developed using Flex Builder 2.0, which is were I’m at at the moment. I did manage to figure out how to code an event handler for send()’ing and receive()’ing webservice calls, though. The hard part was figuring out how to cast the result object to an Array object, that is still probably one thing the Adobe engineers could work on, though. Make it more simpler to handle result objects.

Database-wise, the schema is already setup, the instance running on Dev, what is basically missing is finishing the webservice code for testing access times for setting up the index. Initially, the free accounting package will launch to target small service business, employing about 5 to 50 employees with gross revenue within the range of $100 to $1,000,000. That means a positive net income on your Income Statement. Well, it’s much better if the business is still in the red, though. They will probably need a free tool like this one to play around with.

Argumentations

While having a light snack, I had a small debate with my old man who is paying a visit. Here are my arguments:

  1. FACT: The term education came from the latin word educare, to guide.

  2. FACT: One who is considered a professor in class is an educator, a guide.

  3. FACT: Basically the prof’s purpose is to guide the students to the right path.

  4. When students don’t get high grades, it shows they are not being guided properly.

  5. Whereas, poor performance in test scores mean the professor failed to guide his students study the concepts correctly.

  6. Conversely, high performance in test scores mean the professor is doing the job guiding students to the right path.

  7. Therefore, the professor is liable for the students low test scores.

  8. So, If you get a low grade, it is the teacher’s fault.

 

Syndicated 2007-11-04 00:33:06 from Freedom Culture

The Right To Compete In A Mature Market

It looks like I may have chosen the wrong product cycle stage in the example I wrote in the discussion. What is finally coming down to is definitely this one: that the market is already mature and the marketing strategy being employed by my example company is based on price, more specifically getting efficiency up while competing in price–yes, a price war.

What initially I had in mind was a product ramping up growth, in which growth is increasing alongside profits.  Yes, the company I described may have changed plans several times, but the market it is competing in is still the same market, having the same set of competitors.

Marked by declining profits, the company will play the race-to-the-bottom game in order to grab a slice of the pie, which translates to even more saturation. I have not heard any news from management how this will eventually drive the competition to the ground, and when that happens, I am sure the status quo will change into our favor.

This is the reality being played in the market. Product cycles define the behavior of competing businesses, an environment where there are less winners and significantly more losers.

The example I gave was taken from the real word, my own experience as a developer and close friend of the owners of company. I never thought I would use this one as an example for this class, though. It’s just that it sometimes makes me wonder how the ideas I get from the classroom have significantly widened by view about the realities of business.

Syndicated 2007-11-03 23:49:23 from Freedom Culture

Pro Bono On The Accounting Side…

Maintaining a site for keeping lecture notes and solutions to exercises and problems takes about eight to twelve hours a week. That’s because a lot of new pages need to be set up,  prepped for the first time. It could could go down to eight hours a week as things move forward.

In tandem with maintenance, I’ve also set up a database backend specifically for the exercises. What this basically means is I’ve partially created a database-backend app with a web front-end for automating some of the accounting procedures. It’s not up-and-running yet, but it will be ready in the coming week or two.

I’ll open this project to the public once it is ready. This one is going to be Pro-Bono (free) as this will greatly help me in my studies, going forward. So, if you want a free-ride on your accounting system, especially if you’re a mom-and-pop store, a team-operating-on-a-dime, or even a smallbiz who wants to save that penny. My suggestion is to get on this project once it is ready.

I’ll take care of the nut-and-bolts, you basically plug-in the numbers and run reports. That’s basically the deal. It’s as easy as any accounting firm, except this one is free.

Send me an email, if you’re curious enough to know what’s going-on behind this weblog, though.

 OK, see you later.

Syndicated 2007-10-10 18:26:23 from Freedom Culture

Writing About A Domain Specific Topic Can Be Interesting.

Recently, a new webpage opened-up basically for posting lecture notes and solutions to exercises and problems. My initial expectation was to have an online repo for all things related to the subject, and it turned out to be wonderful thing. So, I kept on posting more notes and solutions, then one thing I noticed something about the page.

Stats showed most of the queries that landed into the page were mostly questions about finding a solution to a problem. That got my cells firing, though.

Anyway, I really don’t care about who is looking into these solutions or what kind of benefit will they be getting out from it. In my case, I’ll just populate the webpage with all the lecture notes and solutions for a specific book that we use in the class.

If it turns out the page to be a source of information for other students who are into the the same path as mine, well, welcome aboard and give a squawk.

quo vadis?

Syndicated 2007-10-05 18:42:44 from Freedom Culture

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