Learning And Earning

(We have recently launched a “Learning and Earning” campaign within our organization with an objective to improve our existing system by enhancing learning process. This article also serves as a conceptual guide in emphasizing the importance of Learning in today’s world.)

I like to share this little meaningful story about Albert Einstein (no point to investigate the trueness) with you.

It goes with an undergraduate who sat for a Physics exam, stared down at his exam paper in disbelief.

"Wow! These questions are almost identical to last year’s," he exclaimed in excitement.

Albert Einstein, the examiner, also the one who set the questions, replied with a faint smile, “Well, they are. However, I can assure you that the answers would be totally different from the last year’s.”

Learning is the only way for us to nourish our minds and to acquire knowledge. Especially during the Information Age, Learning is no longer confined to school, but it has been upgraded to “Lifelong Learning”, in order to cope with the fast-changing world.

In fact, for the past several thousands years of Agricultural Age, to earn a living, a child just need to learn from his own father for the skills of breeding livestock and laboring at the farmland, started from age of 7 to 12.

When the Industrial Revolution later arrived in early 19th Century, a proper education system was introduced, and learning process as the purpose of making a living was taken over by the education institutions, the study age was extended averagely from 5 to 24. One good thing of learning in Industrial Age was, whatever knowledge students had pursuit in school generally applied in their profession throughout their whole career.

But in this Information Age, which started when computer enters our life, knowledge renews in light-speed, students find what they have learned in their sophomore was obsolete even before they’ve graduated. That’s why voluntary and self-motivated Lifelong Learning, also known as LLL, is more essential these days.

Learning? Easy job.

There is an interesting topic I picked up from The Economist (September 12-18th issue), you can use it to motivate your children, if they ever show the lack of interest towards study. :)

The topic bore similar title Learning and Earning, says in America the lifetime gross earnings of male graduates are, on average, nearly USD$370,000 higher than those of non-graduates. It pays well to study: across the OECD countries, The Economist quotes, a man can expect to make an additional USD$186,500 in his lifetime if he has a degree.

The article, in broader perspective, indicates how Learning would improve our living standard in general.

In Malaysia, we do have some resellers who are only willing to sell FingerTec products; but unwilling to learn the technical knowhow of the machines; and have to split their profit with freelance installers. After awhile, when their business contacts ran dry, they’ll see their business slowly wither too.

Give up learning; you’re literally given up your future.

To me, learning shouldn’t narrow-mindedly go with single motive which to improve earning only; in a broader aspect, it is a self-enrichment process to improve wisdom, which is a greater intangible asset to one-self. Wealth without wisdom can often end in disaster.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

(We have recently launched a “ Learning and Earning ” campaign within our organization with an objective to improve our existing system...


Permission Marketing

One might think a notion of forced marriage has vanished, and marriage is supposed to be union of loves, after acquaintances and long enough get together. Still, some parents might trade their children marriages to climb the social ladder; or in some parts of the world with feudalism diehards, forced marriage is still a common practice.

FingerTec however leaves the marriage open, very modern, bold choice of a relationship. For the uninitiated, open marriage is a relationship in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital relationships without this being regarded as infidelity.

When our partner, Hisham Aki, the boss of Technology Line in Egypt, told me that he would place our products in mid range, sandwiched between Korean fingerprint product on top, and China product at the bottom, I had no problem with his idea. I told him teasingly, “While your religion doesn’t prohibit polygamy, who am I?”

Hisham Aki at a trade show in Cairo

That was when I first met him in Cairo in 2006. After a year or so, during which he brought his beautiful wife to visit us in Malaysia, he told me that he had dropped the other brands and now focus on FingerTec. “To reduce all the unnecessary troubles”, he said, looking at his wife.

The same went with our South Africa partner. They were selling China products too for a year, and decided to shift the focus on FingerTec only. My point is, why should we deny them fair assessment when they yet to know who would make a better partner? Flirt around before you commit to anything. I am confident of my product and if you decided to go with other brands, it’s your lost. And so far, majority of our partners stay.

In the business world, having two willing parties are more important than forced (faked) loyalty. If our customers fall in love with our rival’s products and decided to drop us, we let them go, no hard feelings. After all, it is just business. But FingerTec will always learn our lessons if that ever to occur in our business. This is the free world that we live in. To prevail, we have to keep improving ourselves in all aspects, not only to keep our existing customers but also to lure the new ones.

We practice the same in our marketing activities such as emailing. Instead of flooding customers and target potentials with irritated spam mails, we opt to send monthly eNewsletter; keeps them informed on our latest developments. Some of our competitors are stalking us through our newsletters and Tweets. We have no problem, the more the merrier. If they’re ready to take the leap, they’re more than welcome to join us.

Permission Marketing, a book by Seth Godin

Seth Godin, a marketing guru, proclaimed in his book Permission Marketing, “Rather than simply interrupting a television show with a commercial or barging into consumer’s life with an unannounced phone call or letter, tomorrow’s marketer will first try to gain the consumer’s consent to participate in the selling process. Perhaps the consumer will give his permission because he is volunteering to learn more about a particular product or class of products.”

Forced marriages have the high probability to produce unhappy couples, and nobody should be forced to be loyal; it has to come naturally. In FingerTec, we believe in “love at first sight”. Why? Because it happens to our customers quite frequently, when they first set their eyes on us!

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

One might think a notion of forced marriage has vanished, and marriage is supposed to be union of loves, after acquaintances and long enou...


Learn From History

A Feng Shui master friend of mine, who immigrated to Singapore since three years ago, told me it is easier to make money in Singapore.

“When I spoke of their pasts, they were impressed on how accurate I was. So they would start to believe in everything I said about their future,” he continued, “but this does not always work for Malaysians.”

I intrigued to inquire a big WHY? He explained, “The Singapore government plans everything for their citizens, they share almost the same past, present and future, which in short, the same fate; that’s why their future is so predictable.”

A practically smart geomancer, I concluded.

Yes, everyone would like to be certain about their future, even for a corporate, to move forward, they have to figure out what lies ahead. In order to get to the right path, the quickest way is to seek advice from a crystal ball. :-)

Crystal ball says you will strike lottery

In fact, to get a clear picture of a future, the more you need to understand is the past. Not only for an individual, it also applies to a company at industry level, a government at country and world level. In my opinion, everyone needs to study the world history to better understand our present world.

If you are a bit lazy, you can take a shortcut and skip the history before AD1500. Apparently, the modern world has come to be what it is only the short compass of the last 5 hundred years, when the European power, Spain, Portugal, France and Britain started to sail out from the continents with their fleets to explore the unknown world, eagerly expanding their colonized empire. That should be the first wave of globalization, and it changed everything that it used to be.

Sail into the unknown

It ended up with why Brazilians speak Portuguese, and the rest of Latin Americans speak Spanish, and some Africans like Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians also speak French, besides Arabic as their national language.

So, when we decided to take FingerTec to the world market, we’re not like the complacent Japanese who export their products in pure Japanese language, or like most of the other businesses when go global would think English should be sufficient to concur the world. When the Arabians greet you with “Assalamualaikum” and Latin Americans “Hola” you, English is quickly shrunk to an incomprehensible piece of crumpled brochure in their hands.

A variety of local-enough languages remain as our promise to the world, and we also introduce a mini United Nations convoy in sales and support departments: Regielou Rolloque, a Pinay with an excellent command of Spanish and her native Tagalog; Benacer Douadi, an Algerian who speaks Arabic and French; Batyr Komurzoev, a Russian who Привет you if you are from CIS countries, Tamy Phoon and Bee Lay for Chinese language, and Norana and Nattalina for Malay and Indonesian, all of them can speak and write good English too. To deal with us, you would be a happier customer.

FingerTec mini 'United Nations' convoy for sales & supports

To penetrate a country, we have to understand their pasts, and know their present. The Economists, Business Week, Asia Week and A&S International are readily available in the office for their reading pleasures, and of course Wikipedia, Google, are at the tips of their fingers. It’s imperative that they have information about other countries and cultures in order to work closely with numerous customers for profitable future.

The first wave of globalization (colonization) had begun with force, and ended up with retaliation from the colonized natives. When a product tries to go global in today’s ‘more officially’ declared globalization age, I saw the same mistake is made but in a different form for some companies.

This time around, some China biometrics companies, bombarding their so-called target potentials with repeated ‘force’ emails to promote their low-price products, I’m sure they will get rebuke very soon. One of their typical emails, with a broken English goes like “I am so and so, thinks for your time, I got your company's information from Internet and know your business is around the security products…” And they will keep irritate you with the same email once every few days, ignoring the hints that without a reply, there is no interest.

In FingerTec, we learned from history, in a smarter way, and avoid repeating the same mistakes and adopts permission marketing as our basic marketing concept. And we keep receiving emails from our potential customers who would want to become our partners.
I will discuss our permission marketing approach in my next article.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

A Feng Shu i master friend of mine, who immigrated to Singapore since three years ago, told me it is easier to make money in Singapore. ...