Category: People

Federer’s 18th Grand Slam Title Is That One Good News We All Need

federer australian open 2017

I never expected Roger Federer would ever win another Grand Slam title after the 2012 Wimbledon, more so with yet another meeting with Rafael Nadal who I’ve become used to getting the better of him. Yet Roger proves once again that he is the best that tennis has seen and that he will always be the most admired man to ever hold a racket.

There are sports rivalries, yet none as great as the duo we’ve come to know as “Fedal” who have amazed us with their athleticism and made us believe that it’s possible to be great rivals and good friends at the same time. While I like both athletes, I’m obviously on The Fed’s side perhaps for the same reasons that legions of fans from around the globe have rallied behind him over the years–talent, grace, hard work, passion for his sport, and respect for his supporters. (more…)

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive, Daniel PinkI’ve been trying to finish the book, “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink, which gives great insights about the things that motivate employees and team members. It argues against the use of the “carrot and stick” as an approach to identifying employee motivation – that employees are driven by avoiding negative consequences of their actions as well as motivated by rewards (e.g. raise) to work more, if not work better.

I’m unsure about the accuracy of this assumption, as that may actually depend on the context. If you’re earning minimum wage and do not have a lot of social safety net, what other factors are there to motivate you to work harder?

And so what jumped out at me is the assertion that employers have to take out the debate over salary first, and perhaps foremost, before asking what will motivate employees to work harder and contribute more to the growth of the business. That means employers should ensure that they are paying their workers what is actually owed them–that employees are paid a decent  amount on which they can live decently.

It doesn’t make sense that employees are asked to buy into the company culture, its brand and everything that it’s supposed to stand for if they can’t live decently on their wages. And once that is dealt with, then employers and leaders can start asking themselves what will motivate members of their teams to work harder and work better.

The author asserts that when questions around pay is addressed, what motivates employees are the following:

  • Autonomy – the desire to be self-directed, where one works harder because one is engaged as opposed to because one has to comply
  • Mastery – the desire to be better at one does and acquire more skills that complement what’s already there
  • Purpose – the desire to do something that has meaning and importance to the employee. I think this is where buy-in into culture, values, and purpose is categorised.

The following video is a great summary of the book and is a great guide for managers and leaders:

When art comes to life and gets a visit from a time lord

There is a particular episode of the revived Doctor Who series that I am especially fond of, and I believe it is the same for many of the sci-fi’s followers. While I had often heard about it, I never really got into watching the series, much less follow it nearly religiously, until I saw Vincent and the Doctor, which depicted Vincent Van Gogh’s works as inspired by a visit from the Doctor and Amy in the last year of the artist’s tumultuous life.

At the exhibition of the painter’s works at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, the Doctor noted something in one of Van Gogh’s paintings that was not supposed to be there: a monster peeking out of a cathedral window. This prompted our time traveller to take the TARDIS back to 1899 Provence, where the artist spent most of his time filling his canvasses with visions of the world around him in a way that only he could see. Unfortunately, these visions also involved aliens that are invisible to everyone–including our visitors from the future–except him.

 

Suffice it to say that Van Gogh saw the world differently; that the evening sky was not just a space filled with stars set above the dark outlines of the French countryside. Instead, it was a stage whereupon everything came to life and the stars moved in a parade of lights. The artist captured the show above with his lively, and at times, angry strokes in his work, Starry Night.

Ever since I saw Van Gogh’s Starry Night, even without knowing about its history or its creator, I thought it was special–a radical work through which its maker depicted the world as living and breathing; it was sad, it was angry, but more importantly, it was alive. More than anything it is a reminder that each person has a  of seeing the world around them and we should allow for these differences. Conformity is a sad idea.

starry night, vincent van gogh

As Vincent’s life ended tragically, the episode did not shy away from the fact that he took his life one year after the supposed visit from the Doctor and his companion, although not before learning that a century on (the Doctor and Amy took him on a TARDIS joyride into the future), the world would behold his works in awe and he would be called the greatest painter who ever lived. Tony Curran played Vincent particularly well.

This post is a response to Daily Post’s writing prompt of the day.

I anticipate your needs*

Sandbar Boracay

Can this day be any better? After having my brunch at nearby Bamboo Lounge, I decided to rent a beach chair and got very lucky to find one available at The Sandbar for only 100 pesos for a day’s use. Unfortunately, there was no available beach umbrella, so the attendant manning the place moved my rented chair in the shade and promised to get me one once it became available.
While I was out in the water, he found me an umbrella and immediately set it up beside my chair. I don’t normally get this kind of service anywhere else, as a lot of attendants merely pay lip service when they tell you they would do something for you. Say, it’s a way for them to dismiss you.
Sandbar Boracay
When I was reading under the shade of my umbrella, he offered water spritzer to keep my skin hydrated. I didn’t realize that even under the shade and wearing sunscreen at SPF 100, the noontime sun could still be terribly harmful. So after spritzing cold water on my arms and legs, he left the spritzer with me, but not before making sure that its contents were kept cool by placing the bottle in a bucket of ice. 
Twice during the rest of the afternoon, he moved my umbrella to make sure I was in the shade properly and replaced the ice bucket to keep my water spray cool. Having the kind man around also meant there was someone to keep an eye on my beach bag, book and gadgets whenever I had to take a dip in the water,  and he did.
That was just excellent service unlike any other that I encountered anywhere, especially the pricey joints in Makati. I didn’t have to ask him for more assistance yet he was kind enough to offer them, and so I couldn’t be more glad to give him a good tip when I left.
Sadly, I failed to ask for the Kuya‘s name. But if ever you feel like lounging by the beach on Station 1 in Boracay, choose Sandbar and look for the middle-aged gentleman who usually sits by the juice stand beside Bamboo Lounge. He will keep a good eye on your belongings and make sure you are comfortable. Don’t forget to give him a fat tip.
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*According to some literature that I have read in relation to my work, anticipating a customer’s needs is one of the behaviours that lead to advocacy, whereby people have a higher probability of recommending your business to their peers.

Vanity, Narcissism, or Hubris?

Some people do live in a bubble, and maybe need to get a good, expensive haircut.

Source: Vanity Fair

“Robbie” would be Robbie Antonio, a 36-year-old real-estate developer and voracious art collector who has spun a golden web and ensnared some of the world’s top creative names for two eye-poppingly ambitious projects.

The first is the Manila home, which also serves as a museum for his ever expanding art collection, with works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, and Jeff Koons. The building, by Koolhaas and his team at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), is referred to by the name Antonio gave it, Stealth. Its cost—upwards of $15 million—is in somewhat stark contrast to the average annual Filipino-family income of $4,988. Indeed, the building, under construction on a small lot in Manila’s most exclusive neighborhood, has been kept largely quiet until now. It’s a series of boxes stacked together in an irregular pattern, with scooped-out windows that call to mind Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum, all wrapped in a charcoal-colored concrete-and-polyurethane “skin”; the roof features a pool flowing into a dramatic waterfall.

Antonio calls the second project Obsession: a series of portraits of himself by some of the world’s top contemporary artists, including Julian Schnabel, Marilyn Minter, David Salle, Zhang Huan, members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Takashi Murakami.

So far, two dozen portraits are under way or completed, with nearly $3 million spent on them. Antonio is aiming for 35 in the series by the end of the year, all of which will be housed in a special gallery within Stealth, open only to invited guests. The level of effort he’s put into Obsession and Stealth over the last two years “tells you about my personality—going to extremes, down to the minutest detail,” he says.

 On Vanity Fair: The Museum of Me

Also: This piece that looks like it was never checked by a proofreader is better read while listening to a Carly Simon classic.