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Lesson Blog

Many students told me that writing blog is not their habit and they don't like it. In fact, in life and in business, there are many times whereby you need to do things because it has to be done or it is your responsibility to get it done. Like myself, my competency is science and technology while language is my weakest point. As such, writing blog is definitely not in my blood. However, it is the best way to ensure good communications in this course while still be able to manage. That's why I write and propose that as a way to manage this course. Many decisions are made because that is the best solution and not because it is align to my habit. In business, it is the same. I come out with a solution for a problem not because I have the skill and knowledge in that area but that is the best solution. If needed to, I'll have to learn and acquire those skill and knowledge along the way. I'm not afraid about having to learn new things if this is what is needed. At my age, learning is a continuous affair. At your age, I don't see why you should be afraid to learn new things and acquire new habits?


posted 25 Sept 2010, 02:13 by Roderick Chia   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 19:49 ]

While reviewing all the project blog, I notice that many have Facebook pages. So I decided to list them here and see who are the most likable ;-)

As a benchmark, allow me to show what my company does using Facebook.  This give you an indication of the number you need to achieve for real commercial products.

Combine Lesson for Batch 20-24

posted 24 Sept 2010, 22:59 by Roderick Chia   [ updated 30 Sept 2010, 04:23 ]

Every groups need to present.  It could be a long version or a short version. A long version is 10 min and a short version is 1 min. Not everyone need to be there during present nor presenting.  However, the present of the whole team should indicate a sense of unity within the group. 

For the 10 min presentations, the following groups are being selected. 
  1. SMads
  2. TCF
  3. 99 Falling Apples
  4. Adtually Advertising
  5. NinjaExpress
  6. TCCS
Please note that the selection criteria is based on featuring diversity rather than performance. So it is possible that group presenting for 1 min might get better grading than group presenting for 10 min.  
What we want to see in the presentation?

I know that many will ask therefore let me share these so that you can be well prepared to deliver to our expectation. For EN105A, I adopt the mantra that "The Journey is more important than the destination". Basically, I measure 2 main outcomes:
    1. Progress (What you have achieved?)
    2. Process (How do you go about achieving it?)
So it is simple, just simply tell us the following:
    1. What is your project about?
    2. What is your progress?
    3. What is your challenge and/or pitfall and how they are overcome?
    4. Learning points for next batch of EN105 students

Lesson 5 (Consultation Session)

posted 18 Jul 2010, 07:18 by Roderick Chia

It was a very fulfilling session during the last consultation session.  I notice that many students don't know how to write email properly to ensure a reply.  It is important to note that nobody own you a living.  nobody will reply email to help you when they have so many work at hand to fulfill.  To ensure higher chance of getting reply, one has to let the other party to know how, by helping you, can you make their work easier.  Something it is good to let them know that you are student of EN105 but sometime, just mentioning students of NTU will do.  Other time, you might not even want to mention that you are a current student.

I also notice that many are not creative enough of their sales and marketing.  Many did not even spend enough time understanding their potential customers. How can a business survive if you don't even understand the needs of your customer? To some groups, this consultation might got surprising rewards when Adrian and myself share some of our personal contact with them. Hope that those contact can bring them real benefit. 

Lesson 4 (Wave Conference)

posted 12 Jun 2010, 01:18 by Roderick Chia

It was a very fulfilling session to get update of progress and discussion with all the groups. Running to all the groups and participate in the multi-threaded discussion is an information overload to my brain.  Through it was manageable but after all the sessions over, I'm totally brain drain and took a 15 min nap to recover ;-)

The session is to encourage participant to use Google Wave tool to conduct meeting in event that face-to-face meeting is hard to arrange.  It is not a replacement for face-to-face meeting.  It was a best alternative when common timing for face-to-face meeting is hard to come by.  This is so that progress update and discussion would not be delayed and project can move on smoothly.  Currently, every EN105A participants (under me) were given accounts and these account will be with them for life.  I have no intention to delete the account even after the course so that they can continue to use this tool for future discussion.

Not everyone could get used to such way of multi-threaded discussion.  It needs some getting use too. But in this information overload world, such skill is increasingly a necessity rather than a privilege. For those that may still require more wave discussion, please keep me in the loop so that I can monitor and feedback along the way.

Update Wave & Overcoming Great Firewall of China

posted 6 Jun 2010, 01:16 by Roderick Chia

I have noticed that very few has went in and tested out the Google Wave application yet. The Wave Conference will be in a week time and it is important to go in and be familiarise with it. You need to be mindful that all latest technology comes with its adoption challenge.  So it is important to test it out first, as not being able to get in due to whatever unforeseen reason is unlikely to be valid since most of those reasons are foreseeable if you bother to test it out first.  I have put some simple instruction in the Wave to you.  If you go in and test the Wave, do read those instruction and follow as was told.  It sometimes bother me a lot when i cannot understand why intelligent undergraduates cannot follow simple instruction and worse off, have the cheek to appeal of better result!

Please be mindful that certain computer may require to install additional components in order to use Google Wave.  Too old computer may also be a little laggy when using Google Wave because, this application is kind of resource intensive running on browser.  Also most of the Google applications have intermittent problem in China. This was even before Google exited China.  The "Great Firewall of China" is a well known problem in internet.  They are highly efficient in blocking out website that has not gone through their filtering.  In order to increase the chance (but not guaranty) of being able to access the tool that I setup for you, you may need to use alternate URL addresses.  See below for more information.

Default URL Address

In China, use the following URL Address

Lesson 4 (Progress Update & Online Meeting)

posted 1 Jun 2010, 23:19 by Roderick Chia

    1 month would have been passed when its time for progress update.  I'll expect that there are lots of work being done and things should be moving well and some ups and downs here and there.  As I had mentioned, not being able to find common time for meeting is not an excuse of not having regular meeting and not updating the blog biweekly. 

    In order to get everyone familiar with using IT tool to increase operational efficiency, I have been trying various possible tools.  I was exploring using Google Chat and MSN Messaging.  However, it seems that when conversation involved too many people, it will becomes chaotic.  I have been testing out Google Wave as an early adopter during their alpha testing.  You are now very fortunate only recently that Google finally open Google for your domain.  Which means that I'm able to activate Wave on  So that all of you can login using the id and password that you are suing for the blogging.  To familiar yourself with Google Wave. 

    Get Started with Google Wave

    You may login from or in case you are in China and not able to access this domain, you may try

    Please go in and get yourself familiar with the tool before the meeting. Try out the wave with your group mate first and understand how to use it.  Please make sure that you test the computer that you are using Wave application.  IE might need to install some component before you can use Wave.  If you are using public computer and not allowed to install application, you might want to test out the system first before the actually Wave conference to ensure that things go smooth.

                                    Below is the schedule (12 June 2010, Singapore Time) for the online meeting.  If any group needs to change schedule, make your own private arrangement and update me.  I'll not facilitate the changing of schedule but I'm ok of any changes if it is mutually agreed between groups.
                                    1. SMadS - 0900
                                    2. DECALICS - 0915
                                    3. GroWorks Consulting - 0930
                                    4. 99 Falling Apples - 0945
                                    5. The Campus Fashion - 1000
                                    6. Studstruck - 1015
                                    7. JobSearch - 1030
                                    8. Love Juice - 1045
                                    9. ExperienSing - 1100
                                    10. Adtually Advertising - 1115
                                    11. NinjaExpress - 1130
                                    12. Sports Excellence Group - 1145
                                    13. nineTee˚ - 1300
                                    14. MOLLE ENTERPRISE - 1315
                                    15. TCCS - 1330
                                    16. GreenLight - 1345
                                    17. BuddyS - 1400
                                    While we don't to have everyone online to start the wave discussion, but for this exercise we'll do it with everyone online so that we can have a real-time discussion .  It will start with everyone give a quick update of what you have done and your progress.  Then follow by a discussion addressing any teething issues. I'll be in the discussion for the first 15 min but the discussion can continue.

                                    Someone in the group shall compile a minute for this meeting and update the team blog. 

                                    Comment from Business Plan Presentation

                                    posted 1 Jun 2010, 22:35 by Roderick Chia   [ updated 1 Jul 2010, 20:33 ]

                                    Take a look on what your friends got to say about your presentation.  Their commence would be useful for your consideration.  Note that comment in different highlight is from me.

                                    inter-group peer appraisal ‎(comment)‎

                                    Getting A+ is very difficult in EN105A

                                    posted 16 May 2010, 22:40 by Roderick Chia   [ updated 17 May 2010, 03:49 by NTC EN105 ]

                                    YouTube Video

                                    When I listened to this song and read the lyrics, I was asking myself how many of my students would ever understand why I needed to be strict and being hard on my comments. While the comments might sound harsh, I had to be sure that the students knew that those were comments that were to be taken seriously rather than as passing remarks.

                                    I remembered, while in army days during my specialist training, my instructor told me one thing that was engraved into my brain permanently; "the best welfare for your men is the strictest training because if they loss their life during war, it is due to your leniency."

                                    This is the last module for the Minor in Entrepreneurship and I have the responsibility to ensure that all of you know what are waiting for you in your life out there.
                                    It is hard to get A+ for EN105A not because I'm purposely making it difficult for the sake of doing so. It is so because I don't want to end up giving force impression that entrepreneurship is an easy thing. I need this module to reflect as close to reality as possible. The world out there is more cruel than me.  Making it close to reality also means that I have to put in more effort on my part beyond what an instructor is tasked to do. Perhaps it will helps for learning that I put some rationale for why I make certain decision and what is the expected learning points:
                                    1. Why I make you blog at least once every fortnight?
                                      • It is all about discipline. Most entrepreneurs are lack of discipline, which limit their growth during growth stage. A company of certain size needs structure and operating procedure. Staff needs to be discipline to follow basic instructions. While staff needs to report to managers regularly, managers need to report to management and management needs to report to shareholders and investors. 
                                      • Reporting is the key to give everyone comfort that things are moving in right direction, while supervisor can provides support when seeing that things are not going well.
                                    2. Why conduct business plan presentation using blog?
                                      • I need to make sure all are comfortable using the blog site so that they will update regularly. 
                                      • In the past, students took very long to get the blog site updated. But this round, I can see that after forcing the use of blog through business plan presentation and by providing sample structure, processes are streamlined and operations are more smooth.
                                    3. 21st century communications.
                                      • I used to get feedback from students that they had hard time getting common time for meeting, as such progress delayed. This kind of excuse is totally not acceptable. 
                                      • There are so many ways to have meeting without seeing face! With speaker phone in almost all mobile phone, it is always possible to put someone on speaker phone while having meeting.  It can also be done such that everyone is on conference call.  Multi-party conference call using mobile phone is easy to setup as well. 
                                      • One common way of meeting via internet tool is using messaging. MSN Messaging or Google Chat is my favourite tool for such purpose. You can easily have meeting even if some members are overseas. Basically, with 21st century communications, there is no reason for  not having meeting regularly.
                                    To allow students to learn how to have effective meeting via messaging tool, I have decided that the next consultation shall be done via messaging!!

                                    Instruction will be provided in due time. Stay tune!

                                    Business Plan resubmission

                                    posted 14 May 2010, 23:51 by Roderick Chia   [ updated 17 May 2010, 03:50 by NTC EN105 ]

                                    While we expect the business plan to be 15-25 pages, it is VERY important to know the the fewer pages the better.  The team must try their best to bring the pages down without compromising important information.  What I noticed was that the plan I got were full of useless information. What's worse is the writting style also vary within the plan itself!  Also, please ensure that manpower cost associated with founding members shall be charged at S$5 per hour.  I need to see it in the financial statement. Please protect my eyesight!  I'll allow resubmission till Wednesday, 19 May 2010, 2359 hrs.  Also note that the inter-group peer appraisal will also be close on the same date/time.

                                    Reflection of Prof Hooi's sharing

                                    posted 14 May 2010, 23:18 by Roderick Chia

                                    Prof Hooi spoke to the class about passion, somethings very dear to me.  One of slide that captured my attention was that slide he mentioned:
                                    1. Without interity; motivation is dangerous
                                    2. Without motivation; capacity is impotent
                                    3. Without capacity; understanding is limited
                                    4. Without understanding; knowledge is meaningless
                                    5. Without knowledge; experience is blind

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