How to Handle Criticism

Many people face the problem of handling criticism. No matter what the reason is, you need to cope with it and find a way to utilize the feedback. After reading this article, you’ll know the top two ways to handle criticism.

One way to handle this is to think about every feedback as an opportunity to improve. For instance, if your friend tells you that you are not a good listener, ask him/her to provide you a specific example of when you are not a good listener. Keep in mind that the additional benefits of thinking about feedback this way is to not feel defensive. Steve Jobs said it best; “If you live everyday as if it was your last, one day…it will be”. Having that in mind, you will want to live your life to the fullest..and the ability to receive criticism well will make you feel good.

Sometimes, little things like just not crossing your arms helps. You might not have thought about it but crossing your arms makes you feel defensive. You will be more prone to not accept criticism and might want to voice out your dissatisfaction to him, immediately. Being aware of this feeling is a great opportunity to know what to do. Sometimes, telling him that you appreciate his feedback, have to go now and will come back to learn more next time is great. Being aware of how you would feel is essential to access the situation and acting accordingly.

Practice makes perfect. When you follow through with the above steps, you’ll discover that receiving feedback is not that hard. With these tips in mind, you will now be able to effectively handle criticism.


The Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive

Recently, I attended the Houston Entrepreneurs Forum and was very happy to network with a number of highly motivated, enthusiastic and successful entrepreneurs.  The presenter, Mr. William Widener from Cambria Healthcare (@CambriaHealth) spoke about his company and other opportunities in the healthcare industry.  He is very knowledgeable and is an excellent resource/connection to have.

In his presentation, he provided us tips, advice and some recommendations to entrepreneurs.  My top two favorite thoughts that he shared was:

A. “If you can’t find a job, create one”

B. The Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive:

It’s tough to read from the picture above so here are the details:

    1. If anything can go wrong, Fix It!!… to hell with Murphy!
    1. When given a choice… take both!!
    2. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
    3. Start at the top then work your way up.
    4. Do it by the book … but be the author!
    5. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
    6. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done right now.
    7. If you can’t win, change the rules.
    8. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
    9. Perfection is not optional.
    10. When faced without a challenge, make one.
    11. “No” simply means begin again at one level higher
    12. Don’t walk when you can run.
    13. Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.
    14. When in doubt: THINK!
    15. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
    16. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
    17. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

Usain Bolt

    1. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!
    2. The ratio of something to nothing is infinite.
    3. You get what you incentivize.
    4. If you think it is impossible, then it is… for you.
    5. An expert is someone who can tell you exactly how it can’t be done.
    6. The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
    7. If it were easy it would have been done already.
    8. Without a target you’ll miss it every time.
    9. Bullshit walks, hardware talks.
    10. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
Dow on August 8th, 2011
    1. The world’s most precious resource is the passionate and committed human mind.
    2. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Copyright, 1986, 2009, Peter H. Diamandis, All Rights Reserved. Laws # 14 & #18 by Todd B. Hawley. #19 Adopted from Alan Kay. #26 by Byron K. Lichtenberg. #27 by Gregg E. Maryniak. Contact info:peter@xprize.org


An Inspiration

As of October 5th, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away. If you measure the magnitude of the number of news that arise from him stepping down as the CEO of Apple and his death yesterday, it is simply fascinating.

Try it; google “Steve Jobs”. As of 8.02pm CST, there are more than 17,000 post about him. That is merely a fraction of what is out there if you include every news broadcast, radio, newspaper, twitter and facebook. He definitely made an impact and as the saying goes, “when a person dies, nothing is left behind but his legacy”.

According to Larry Brilliant, a friend of Steve, Steve Jobs took time off from college and was a spiritual seeker in India.  His vision was simple: “He wanted to give power to people”, and he did.  What has he done?  He achieved that dream through bits of plastic and steel.

He was inspirational and I cannot wait to read his biography that will be released on Oct 24, 2011.  This man has inspired many and he will be remembered for a long long time.

Steve Jobs

The following are a few quotes from Steve Jobs that I love:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

“You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the differences in my life.”

-From his Stanford University commencement speech in 2005

Two of my most favorite quote:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.  And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

-From CNN

All in all, remember his wise words and never be complacent.  You can either be satisfied with what you have and do nothing OR make a difference and create value for the world.


Houston Startup Weekend

Starting a business in less than 72 hours is tough..but can be done if you are in the tech industry.

With or without an idea, have/do not have a technical background…all of that does not matter.
Determination, desire, persistence and having the lean startup mentality is essential.


Borrow Wifi from Neighbors

I moved to a new apartment last Monday and did not have internet. In my case here in Houston, it took me more than a week. Being at home without an internet is a pain; what made it worst is that I needed to pay a $50 installation fee and since I will be moving to another apartment in 3 months, I would need to pay another $50 installation fee then. This is a hassle, there are too many fees involved and is frustrating process.

Your neighbor who has been here for a few months has internet, so why can’t I borrow it?

1. When you sign a contract with your internet provider, you agree to not share their internet connection with others via open networks.
2. Connecting to a network without the owners permission is considered as hacking.
3. Wi-Fi sharing is tolerated by most ISPs worldwide as long as you don’t resell your Internet access

In an anonymous poll on www.makeuseof.com, more than 62% of the people would just use their neighbor’s wifi.

People like me do not know about this law and is still doing this. It makes perfect sense why this is occurring because of the high cost of using internet. Imagine paying $50 a month on your internet, $700 – $800 a year including installation fees and taxes. What if you can save half of that? Of course there is an incentive to do it, but it is illegal.

So, two companies came up with a way to go about this.
1. FON
2. Whisher

The use point system where you share your internet with others. You share it for free here, you get it for free somewhere else. There is huge potential in this. So how about security? That is taken cared off as well. They create a private signal where your internet connection is encrypted and authenticated and cannot be accessed by anyone. The second signal is for other users who signed terms & conditions.

I started out looking for evidence to see if this idea is feasible but came across two great companies who are doing it already. In my opinion, they are great but there is still a lot of room for growth. How about combining gamification with this idea? How about providing the option for a Wi-Fi owner to allow others to send him email to request for access for a period of time? There are endless opportunities here..the BIG question is: are you excited enough to execute this idea?


App Converter

After not being home in Singapore/Malaysia for the past 4 years, it is interesting to see the developments in both countries.  I have been traveling around to observe people and my surroundings in order to learn about opportunities in both countries.

One common trend, which is very apparent, is the culture shift towards smart phones, especially iPhones.  Yes, this seen throughout the world but developed countries such as the Korea and Japan has gone through this phase faster than everyone else.  The innovative & sleek design in phones in Korea & Japan are more advanced than those in a lot of countries.

Now, focusing on Singapore.

In looking at the statistics above, Singapore has the highest percentage of iPhone users in their population.  This trend is going to continue increasing, with two year plans like the United States which offers cheaper initial cost to purchase an iPhone, more and more users own iPhones.

With iPhone comes mobile applications.  It can be used and downloaded throughout the world but a popular app in the US might not be popular in Singapore.  What if there is a service that looks at feedback from specific countries and help developers alter their mobile application to fit that specific country?

For example, augment reality geotagging is gaining popularity.  If there is an app that allows people to tag restaurants in the US , hence  identifying good restaurants by moving their phones, this might work well with Yelp.  When introduced in the US, it will not be very popular in Singapore yet because they have not tapped into the Singapore market upon releasing their app.  This is an opportunity.  If there is a service that is willing to take on this project and focus on their specific community and create a buzz, this trend might catch on if they customize the app to suit the culture in Singapore.  Some changes would be to blend Singlish (Singaporean English), providing points for the highest ranked “geotagger” to redeem rewards in Singapore, utilizing local advertising medium, etc.

All in all, adaptation is a huge thing.  Yes, countries in Asia respect Western countries and would love to catch on trends in those countries BUT the bottom line is: Not all apps that is successful in the US will gain popularity elsewhere.


South East Asia

Traveling is a lot of fun. I am currently in Bangkok, Thailand but was in Hong Kong and Beijing, China last week. In the next few days, I will visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Railay Bay, Thailand.

Growing up in Malaysia, lived in the US for my college career and looking at the differences between developed, developing and under-developed countries made me realize that regardless of where you are, people are the driving force of the society but the fundamental driving force in most places are money, power or personal satisfaction (or in some cases, creating value). In my opinion, the best way of doing this is through creating businesses.

One clear trend in all countries that I have visited this far is that mobile technologies are becoming more widely used by the people. In Hong Kong, iPhone is very popular. Having one makes you feel special or that you belong to an elite group of people. In China, there are more options but a lot of people still opt for the iPhone for the same reason. In Thailand, the younger generation prefers an iPhone but the older generation uses Blackberry. What does this means? This means that there is a larger and a more global target audience. You can reach the masses easier, faster and in a more efficient manner.

So, here is another business idea:

Problem: When traveling, it is hard to communicate with people or to understand what is written or spoken. In Beijing, a vendor spoke with the travel agent in Mandarin saying that, “I usually sell this to people for RMB 10 but since they are foreigners, I will sell it to them for RMB 12.” Thankfully, the foreigner spoke Mandarin too and caught that.

Proposed solution: A way to interpret what people say or is being written.  If there is an app that could listen to what a person is saying and translate it into english, that would be very helpful.  Additionally, over time, you could select the appropriate language of your choice.  This would eliminate the need of a translator and use this tool instead.

Challenge: Capturing the right sound without a lot of background noise, taking accents into consideration and accurately translating the words into english.

Initial version: To reduce the background noise, initially, the app might need a funnel or a receiver that could either be attached close to someone or to design a receiver that would only capture one person’s frequency.  It will capture the frequency of the first person it listens to.

Current Text translator products:

Double End language translator

Text Translator


A Great Quote

“I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent”

Thomas Edison


Raw Idea: Feedback Game

When I was in Orlando last week, I wanted to rent a vehicle to travel to Miami.  The manager of EZ Rental, Peggy Dawas was very helpful in helping me find the best deal.  She went above and beyond and provided excellent service.  I did not make any reservation beforehand and was very last minute; yet she got me a convertible for a very good price.

In order to show appreciation, I wanted to provide her feedback and thought about the issues about giving feedback.  The process is as the following:

1. Go online and find the link in their company’s page

2. Need to know the employee’s information

3. Some feedback have limited characters in place and some do not

It is a challenge and is lengthy to provide one simple feedback.  Of course, you can long into www.yelp.com to provide a review, but if you write a very bad review, how many smaller companies (like EZ Rental) actually look into that and make changes?

What if we can provide feedback while waiting in line, waiting for the customer service representative to get back to us or when they are filling out a form?  Even better, why don’t a company provide an incentive for customers to provide feedback?  Further calculations needs to be done to figure out a value that consumers are willing to spend their time writing the feedback.

From the corporate standpoint, how accurate will the feedback be?  One way to go about that is to look at the general trend throughout the day of everyone’s feedback; towards one individual or the store environment in general.  We can look into the keywords that are used though out the day to see if the feedback is consistent or not.

Then, how do we make it fun?  People enjoy games and love to compete.  What if we make rank individuals and provide additional scores, privileges and name for the top feedback providers?

How about location, does the consumer need to type down which store are they in every time?  That is very inconvenient.  Four Square does that.  Consumers who are willing to provide their location are able to provide us information as to which store they are reviewing, where and when.  If they do not have a Four Square account yet, we can look into tracking their location if the allow.

Any thoughts on this idea?  This is a very raw idea without much market analysis.  I will post a few others that has more research into it in the next few post.