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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs


It is an ironic when we mentioned these names. While both of name are famous for the "Information Revolution", these are also the two names that hardly see eye to eye to one another.

One of them are seen as the devil who is only interested in making money out of the manipulation of technology. Bill Gates is the villain to many of the techno geek and given the failed product of Vista, it is hard to deny that. However, let us not forget Bill Gates is also the man who give us Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows XP, and of course now Windows 7. But for most people, Bill Gates is one man who only interested in money, money, money!!

On the other hand, Steve Jobs gained the reputation more like a saint in this industry. Whenever people talk about Steve Jobs, people will talk about his passion for art, design and even perfection. While no one could deny the effort Jobs put on Apple's product, is it really true that Gates is the villain while Jobs is the saint? This almost saintly reputation is magnified given that there are some cult like Apple fanatics out there.

However, I find it difficult to accept this perception given the fact that while this same Gates who is acquiring billions of wealth in the universe, it is also this same Gates that is giving away his fortune with the same gusto that he is earning it. This is the man who has been throwing billions of dollars to help solve global health issues. Not only that, Bill Gates is the kind of person who would speak up for what he believes in....
He has also spoken out on major policy issues, for example, by opposing proposals to cut back the inheritance tax.
He also speaks up in support for the organizations and institutions that he believes in.

What about Steve Jobs? Ranking as the 194th richest person in the world, his name is not even on the list of gifts of 1 million or more compiled by Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy.
Jobs' wife is also absent from these philanthropic lists, although she has made dozens of political donations totaling tens of thousands of dollars to the Democrats, according to the Open Secrets database. Of course, the two of them might put as anonymous in their donations given their preferred secret lifestyle. However, as a man who has so much influence on not only the working class but the generation of youth, Steve Jobs should at least speak up for some good causes but as far as anyone could remember, Jobs only talks about Apple and "What's NEXT" for it. He might be awarded the CEO of the decade by FORTUNE but he definitely isn't part of any change for the greater good.

Of course, it is hard to say who is the villain and who is the saint, but let us remember: Great wealth alone doesn't make a great man.
Gates might have acquired billions of dollars but one thing he know he must do, is to contribute to the community and that probably is the one reason that I will put Bill Gates as the better man than Steve Jobs.

Forget about the failure of Windows Mobile, forget about the ugly interface of Windows in comparison to Apple...all those are important but if the realm of wealth is not shared among our community, what good does it bring? Let us ponder about this the next time we thought of accusing Bill Gates as a selfish cutthroat capitalist.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Congratulations to Steve Jobs, FORTUNE's CEO of the Decade

Whether you like him or not, the Apple CEO Steve Jobs has had a helluva decade. After all, it was under his helm that Apple defined the portable music player market with the iPod, has shaken up the mobile industry with the iPhone, rocked the retail music business with iTunes and re-invented the computing business with OS X in a way that the PC business - with less than 10 percent of market share - is no longer the bread-and-butter of the company.

Of course, the marketing plan by Apple was brilliant and create a loyal and if I could use that word, a cult-like followers of the Apple brand. In fact, FORTUNE magazine describe it as the DECADE OF STEVE - How Apple's imperious, brilliant CEO transformed American business. It also mentioned about the dedication and commitment that Steve Jobs had towards every small details in the company.

We cannot deny that the manner in which Apple conducts business has been highly effective at not only increasing sales and broadening the company’s portfolio but also setting trends, creating buzz and putting out top-notch (dare I say near perfect?) products again and again and again.

During each of Apple’s news announcements, we know about the giddiness in those auditoriums - even from the press. And the fact that Apple almost always has the items in-store and online by the time Jobs takes the stage surely helps spark some spontaneous sales. There’s rarely a months-long wait for products the way there is for some competitors.

"A key Job business tool is his mastery of the message. He rehearses over and over every line he and others utter in public about Apple."

Even under his own serious health problems, Steve Jobs has been committed towards the Apple products and it is indeed great to hear about the success of his liver transplant surgery.
And there is definitely probably one thing that define Steve Jobs better than others...he make it a point to know everything about APPLE. That is right...he was passionate about his business. No wonder he deserves to be the CEO of the Decade....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What does the 1Malaysia 2010 Budget has in store for you? - Part 2

This post is continue from where I left last week on What does the 1Malaysia 2010 Budget has in store for you - Part 1.

The last post on 2010 Malaysia Budget is regarding on how the government will implement the fuel subsidy which in my opinion, will not be able to reduce the burden of the poor, which was the actual purpose of the subsidy.

This time, I will discuss the other "goodies" in 2010 Malaysia Budget like the following:-

  • The maximum income tax rate for individuals to be reduced to 26% from assessment year 2010. Personal relief increased to RM9,000.
  • Personal relief for EPF and life insurance schemes to be increased to RM7,000.
  • Taxpayers will get tax relief on broadband subscription fee of up to RM500 from 2010 to 2012.
  • To promote prudent spending, a service charge of RM50 a year to be imposed on each principal credit card and charge card; and RM25 a year on each supplementary card, effective from Jan 1, 2010.
The personal relief will be increased to RM9,000 where almost everyone will be benefited from this. This is actually a RM1,000 or 12.5% increase from the previous RM8,000. The maximum income tax rate for individuals will be reduced to 26%. Only those with getting salary Rm10,000 above monthly will be in this tax bracket, so most people will not be able to enjoy this "goodie".

I do agree that relief for EPF and life insurance scheme to be increase, in this case, a RM1,000 increase. So, a relief for this portion is always welcome, but RM1,000 increase is still not much, our government can still do better than this.

Government introducing the broadband relief of RM500, translate to about RM40 per month, where one cannot even subscribe to the cheapest TMNet Streamyx Combo Package of 384/128 which cost RM60 per month. This mean that to entitle to this "goodie" everyone must top up additional RM20 per month.

Finally, the credit card tax of RM50 per card. This one I found most ridiculous of all. How can taxing on each credit card will promote prudent spending? IF it is for prudent spending, why not tax only for after the 2nd or 3rd credit/charge cards? Those with problem managing finance previously and fill with debt will have extra burden.

Besides that, with this tax, some of us will eventually cut all the credit/charge cards since most of the time, these cards serve as emergency usage only. Without credit, how the citizen will spend or dare to spend? Even if we were to spend using cash, it will be limited to monthly salary. Credit cards have the easy payment facility for one to purchase expensive stuff like furniture, electronic devices, appliances and many more paying certain installment for a duration of time. With this easy payment, one will not have to uplift his or her current FD to pay for the expensive stuff especially for certain event like moving to new house.

Another point to ponder, with crime like snatch theft and robbery happening daily, who dare to go outdoor with full of cash? If this is limited, who will spend? Without spending, how the government going to stimulate the country's economy?

The 2010 Malaysia Budget consists of "goodies" which looks like the government is planning to reduce the burden of the people, but at the same time taxing the people more. It is like one step forward, two step backward. How can taxing for credit card promoting prudent spending? Why the people have to be tax just to promote prudent spending, while government official buying laptop at a price at least 10 times more expensive? Why not the government promote prudent spending by cutting the budget required for each project instead of taxing the people, their boss?

If the 2010 Malaysia Budget theme is to realized, government and the people should work together in prospering the nation. Remember the theme is 1Malaysia, Together We Prosper. 1Malaysia means everyone of us working together prospering together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Investment Allocation Rule

Have you heard of the rule of 120 minus age? It is actually an investment allocation rule or a guideline for novice investors like most of us. The rule is pretty simple, just take 120 minus your age, and you will have the allocation in percentage for investment. Example, Ricky is currently 23 years old, which means that he should invest up to 97%.

The idea behind this rule is the younger we are, we need to allocate more for investment, as we can afford to lose. Besides having nothing to lose, the income we are getting when we just started to work is not that high.

Imagine the scenario below:-
Ricky, currently 23 years old and start to work earning 20K annually. After deducting all his expenses other deductions like loan installment, he will still have about 4K (assuming 80% is the expenses in percentage). From this 4K, he should invest 3880 (120-23 = 97% of 4K).

17 years down the road.....
Ricky now age 40, and earning 40K annually. Assuming 80% is his expenses, he will still have 8K left. Using the 120 minus age rule, he should invest 80% of the amount, which amounted to 6400.

From the above scenario, we can see that although Ricky's earning is doubled, but now his investment is just 64% extra, instead of 100% extra. The 120 minus age rule is meant to make the most of the investment capital based on the age, risk and annual income.