among Ariel, Gayus, Bibit-Chandra, “Terrorists”, Illegal Logging…which should be prioritized the highest?

June 30, 2010

Call me nuts.

But I’ve read enough Ariel case and Gayus case recently and a question came up in my mind; should these two cases worth the high attention of the law enforcement body?

Before I go further, I must remind all of us  the two rules about life:

  1. It ‘s  always easier being a commentator (like all the football commentators), sit and watch from outside (like us yelled at Rooney), or complaining from the back seat (me to any taxi driver).
  2. Problems are always a lot more than the people who handle it; resources are always limited and expensive. Picking the critical few is the most important. Is it easy? (Answer: No).

Anyway, I spent some time to figure out what matter most for the current SBY administration. I found what should be the government’s Top 15. This is critical to determine what’s important and what less important.

What we should do is to measure the cases most covered nowadays (Ariel case, Gayus case, Bibit-Candra case, “terrorist” like  Azhari, Nordin Top & co, and illegal logging) against the government’s Top 15.

So, if I am the law enforcement institution and have to make priority aligned with the chief executive, these will be the priority:

  1. Illegal logging
  2. Gayus case
  3. Terrorist
  4. Bibit-Candra

Ariel? well…it does not even worth a priority at least at national level, give it to lower institution. As the Top15 mandated, there are just too many more important things which worth the attention and benefit for majority of the tax payers.

How I choose the priority? Here it is:


1. The prioritization here is just a personal view. In reality, take many people to put the weight and an agreed score for each column. However, the principle is we should always put all the issues against what matter most for our nation (represented by the Top 15).

2. The highest priority should be something that are related to  the top priority (eradication of “mafia law”) or issues which related to many priorities. For instance, the illegal logging case become critical because it relates to mafia law, electricity, food, and disaster


why increasing income is not the best way to increase saving?

June 28, 2010

Based on my own experience and interactions with many people, every time people want to have more saving, they are trying to increase their income or trying to come up with an idea of a side income.

While it’s not wrong, it’s just simply tough.

Let’s start with a very basic equation:


As usual, a graph helps us to visualize the issue:

This picture shows that there are toooooo many ways and tooooo easy  for us to spend money while it is so tough to add/increase income.

But the danger for human (especially for me) is it is easy to write but soooo difficult to do……

notes: i posted before how to select which post to be reduced (versus just cut everything)

picking the best option

June 28, 2010

In 2005, I faced a situation to decide which path (job)  I need to choose.

Stay or move on? To which company? Company A or B?

If you have been in this situation, you know what I mean. It’s tough

Staying means feeling secure, I know people and how things work but not sure whether it’s the best for the future. Moving to Company A, give me just OK (not great) salary no guaranteed job security, but the job type is just perfect for me and family in term of time flexibility. Company B seem to have  people who are  just right for me. The salary was much better but a lot of travelling.

Which one to choose?

Rather than overloading my brain, I used a decision matrix to find the optimum solution. Might not perfect but it gave me a visual tool to think more structured. Below is what my decision matrix.

If you are not familiar with this kind of matrix, here are the steps to make one:

  1. List all of your critical factors in deciding a job, in my case: match my passion, the compensation & benefit, quality time with family, and so on.
  2. Give weight for each of the factor, the more important the factor, the higher the weight. Total weight should be 100.
  3. Score each of the option according to each factor. Might not need to be precise, the most important thing is the comparative scores among the options.
  4. Total score = cumulative of (weight x score for each factor).
  5. The highest score is your optimum option.
  6. Use your heart and common sense, does it feel right?
  7. If yes, take the offer.

notes – for singles out there, you can use this tool  if you have too many options to find the perfect one

working really hard? really?

June 26, 2010

Now, it’ll be obvious that pareto diagram is my favorite tool.

This I did about a year a go.

Most of the times, I thought I have been working really hard. Spending many hours in office, meeting, travelling, doing analysis and writing reports.

But many times, I did not feel right because the impact from my priority projects and activities were not as good as expected.

Hence, for the sake of curiosity (and a bit insanity), I tracked my own time spending for ALL my activities in a week. And this is the result*

Focus & act on what matters you the most is the key for winning. But, this common sense is not common practice. As you see, I spent too much on irrelevant meetings and reading/responding too many emails (anyone with me?)


* Here’s how I made the diagram:

1. I listed my top 3 priority for the week:

First: Project Tristar (not the real name), “the most important project of the century”, according to my boss.

Second: Cost Reduction project: recently the most popular project everywhere in the world, I think.

Third: Coached underperforming team members

2. Tracked the actual time of each project this week. Includes everything such as discussion, writing email, meeting. If the discussion/meeting is related to your project, put into the project allocation. Otherwise, put into irrelevant meeting, or irrelevant email.

3. Put the data into pareto diagram

dude, where’s my money?

June 22, 2010

Have you ever wondered where’s your money gone? It’s like by mid of the month you feel like robbed by an “invisible hand?”

This, my story around 3 years back.

At that time, I always thought that my top 3 monthly expenses are monthly groceries, mortgage installment (“KPR” in Indonesian term), and car related (gas, toll road, maintenance). By then, I was set already to cut the groceries spending in order to create some room for more saving.

To confirm the decision, I started to track my ACTUAL expenses… and ended up with a quite surprising outcome. See the below pareto diagram*.

just a disclaimer, the number on the diagram is for illustration purpose (the proportion is real, though)

The advantage of pareto diagram is it makes the issues more visual and eye catching. Unlike my initial thought, actually my top 3 spending was Hang out/dining out, Clothing & accessories & mortgage installment.

The top 2 were basically big & latent problem; spending on mortgage is always a wise one. Hang out/dining out was overlooked (familiar?). It’s felt not really hurt (no?), it seems the daily habit having a big, nice & long lunch plus more than two(!) coffee/tea breaks a day plus a closing with a nice dinner with my buddies just a trivial spending*

Having a better financial situation right now, I wonder if any you have the same overlook of big spending which feel like nothing at all?


* Here how I made the pareto diagram

1. Track the ACTUAL spending (actual = no assumption)

I collected all receipts or credit card/transaction slips. If no slip, I write the amount on a piece of paper or a sticky notes.

2. Group them into several clusters: monthly groceries, card related, dining/hang out, etc.

3. Punch the data into spreadsheet and put on a pareto diagram.

** To be fair for that moment, I did have a great time in office plus some additional fat too (hahaha). The key is actually not to eliminate it but to reduce and control it.

the end

June 19, 2010

i am with  people who says “common sense is not common practice”

if we practice our common sense, i think this life would be much simpler.

awfully simple.

that is the end goal.