the hedonic treadmill

February 4, 2011

have you ever wanted a gadget (like iPad) so bad, but when you finally bought it, the excitement was only lasted for couple days?

have you ever REALLY wanted to have that pair of sexy shoes or LV bag; and again, you bought it and the pleasure was faded only in a day?

have you ever REALLY REALLY wanted to get promoted, but when it happened, your joy ended in hours (right after you treat your friends)?

Dan Ariely said in his book, the upside of irrationality, that human is generally has a tendency to overrate their happiness when they want something. Genetically and part of our survival skill, human has a great skill in adaptation. When it comes to happiness, human usually forgot about this adaptation factor and thought the excitement will last forever.

so, just like all things as gadget, shoe, jobs, salary,promotion, relationship, everything will fade away; not only because the things worn out, but mainly because WE grow accustomed to it.

failed to realize this, we will trap in the hedonic treadmill (actually, we are)

we always look for something to make us happy; we are in the pursuit of running after something to be happy but always forgot “how short-lived this happiness will be” – quoted directly from Ariely.

we will be busy running for happiness but the truth is we are running at the same place.

going nowhere.

and that is the new cute thing (or person) will make us happy tomorrow?

to overcome this, i’ll recommend you to read the book..(ahahaha) but the first step is just to be aware of the hedonic treadmill

this is the clutter of your life. this makes your life complicated

simplify it




on the other side, human also has a tendency to forget the great adaptation skill when they experience a bad situation.

many people who broke a relationship or losing a good job, at one point of their life, thought that their life will be miserable forever. the truth is, they will be just fine…

to-do list & NOT to-do list

January 29, 2011

while making a to-do list becomes habit for many of us,

please start to make a NOT to-do list


NOT to-do list is a list of activities which deviate you from the path to your goal

for instance, on my NOT to-do list

  • excessive meetings (or joining a pointless meeting)
  • arguing without data/facts/logical base
  • stuck in traffic
  • worry
  • impulsive shopping (yeah, happens to men too)

in the pursuit to simplify my life

January 25, 2011

since around 2007, I have been in the mode of searching a better way to run my life.

as a practicioner of process improvement (including LEAN principle), I had been fully aware that I spent more than 20% of my time daily stuck in traffic on the way to and from office

notes: I live in BSD city, work in the heart of Jakarta business center. It is only about 30 kms, but in average it takes 2 hours one way trip driving

From a LEAN principle, this daily transportation time is obviously a non-value added activity (NVA); but at that time I considered it as necessary NVA especially because I really like the job (and the company) and I think I have a good chance to progress well.

but i keep searching a better solution

fortunately, during my journey, an old colleague offered me to join her consulting firm as an associate. The job gives me at least 2 advantages: it is something which will keep me excited everyday, and it allow me to work mostly (>60%) from home.

but the fact in life, deciding on a job was not easy (actually will never be easy for everybody)

it has some risks, and it took me 2 YEARS (!) to think, prepare and decide. To take the new route, it means I am leaving a great job in a great company and my GREAT & FUN team! There is an issue of sustainability and losing the opportunity of taking big roles in big  corporation (+ the perks).

So, how I made the decision?

1. I started to reflect and questioning my goal in life; what is the most important thing for me and my family

2. Started to make some tracking of the time I spent versus my ideal goal. Is it aligned? If my first priority is family, do I spent the biggest portion of my time for my family? Do I follow my passion in life?

A simple pareto diagram like this helped me to visually see the actual time spent (the example on the link is not exactly the one I used for deciding my career)

3. Made the decision and plan well to have a smooth take-off

For me, simple does not mean easy.

The path is simple yet not easy. But, it is less complicated because basically I am taking the simplest and clearest way between what I am doing and what my family want to achieve in life.

I just started in 2011, but I am glad I am taking this decision and certainly will work smartly + hard to make it successful. Wish me luck, friends!

end notes:

For any of you, this is not about to be an entrepreneur nor a consultant nor an artist. It is about finding the simplest way between your dream, your passion, and how you actually spend your day

a credit card that simply delight the customers

January 19, 2011

having worked for credit card industry in Indonesia for a couple years (and now have graduated :)), I have an imaginary credit card which I think will delight its fans (or  its future  loyal customers)

for any bank (or banker) who wants to REALLY stand out from the competition, apply this (no charge!) and please be hurry to implement it.

the idea is very simple but will totally WOW customers (not all customers, but the people who value it)

but some disclaimer first:

when I say SIMPLE, it does NOT replacement for easy or cheap. In fact, this simple idea might be quite difficult and expensive in the short run. And, this is not my original idea*

So this is the idea:

1. Radically change the Call Center concept:

– In the opposite direction to all Credit Card Call Center to increase the IVR effectiveness  (for the one who don’t know, IVR is the automated machine that answer each call and ask you to press 1, 2 etc), you should put real people to answer Customers’ calls. In the emerging of chatting/messaging platform, put several Black Berry Messanger PINs and yahoo chats/gmail talks or whatever availables. And use twitter too…

The idea is to have CONVERSATION with your customers and NOT avoid talking to your customers

Abandon all scripted answer.

but it means you should train your people really good and find the people who fits with your company’s values and personality (anyway, I imagine this company has a fresh, no nonsense and fun personality)

Some of you will tell me this is very expensive. My answer is yes, this is expensive, but not very expensive. You just need to calculate the amount you have spent for advertising (print ads, billboard, radio) and use 50% of that budget to add your call center capacity as well as finding the right people.

In Indonesia, this is DOABLE

2. Unlike common credit card which has many features, this credit card will only have maximum 3 features

I could not tell you which 3 features to keep, you need to go and ask your target market on what are the most important features for them.

remember, you don’t need to please everyone, you just need to find people who will value your fresh, no nonsense and fun card

the main function of your card is it works when it’s needed and the customers know who to ask when they don’t understand

3. Invest in good datamining and analytics people

For Indonesia market, my recommendation is rather than invest in buying software on advance integrated CRM it’s better to invest in hiring many people who are really good in datamining

But you need to buy good hardware on your database and system, though

with good hardware and people, you need to have a very good customers behavior analysis to serve your customers even better

4. No cold calls selling and no street salesman/girl

Your outbound calls are basically serving the customers, reminding their transactions or if they forgot to pay on the due date. But again, no scripted talks…have a real conversation among human 🙂

Your new accounts are basically coming from word of mouth and the conversation in the call center

5. Have a good marketing and communication people

I mean really good.

And they must have fresh mind and have a great passion to delight their customers

Anyone wants to try? More interesting idea?

* notes:the inspiration is coming from Zappos