I just know how to drive a car

>> Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ok, even that, I may not know so well.

I went to a tyre service workshop yesterday and left spending three times as much as I originally expected. My thoughts:

1. In the case where the income of a business is directly proportionate to what service/items they would advise or recommend to their clients or customers, such as workshops, or even clinics (doctors selling medicine?), what's stopping them from using this to their benefit other than professional ethics (and fear of God, of course)? In the case of my visit yesterday, I planned to change one tyre, but it seems that there's another tyre that needed to be changed as well upon their inspection. Okay, I accept that because I could see the damaged part, but there were also some other services ... well, I can't even remember what they were without looking at the bill. And those were less visible to the (very) untrained eye. That's why when we shop around for workshops, we ask for recommendations - are they trustworthy and honest and will not take advantage of us? Perhaps I should look for another tyre shop.

2. I'm not very diligent when it comes to keeping records of my car maintenance. My husband had repeatedly reminded me to jot down in a log book, but I still procrastinate, believing that keeping all the receipts in the glove box is a valid alternative. If a workshop keeps all these record (digitally) by car registration, it will be added value for a car owner like me, and would possibly keep me loyal to their business. Provided of course, that they are trustworthy and honest (see point 1).

3. Maintaining a car is quite complex (at least to someone as clueless as me). You go one workshop for normal services, a different for the tyres, a different one for batteries, a different one for engine repairs, a different one for cosmetic repairs, yet a different one for air-cond, and so on and so forth. There is probably already a one-stop-centre for all your automotive needs, but I don't think I have seen one yet. I guess the industry is indeed complex, and each segments is a specialised one, such that the current model is the optimum model?

4. When a car is sent for repairs and it is detained at the workshop for three, four days or even longer, it is rare that it's owner has spare cars to use. Usually he or she would need to perhaps arrange a less convenient routine with the spouse (share) or borrow a family or friend's car, or perhaps use the public transport. What if the workshop offers cars for rent (at a special price), or perhaps make an arrangement with a car rent business? The owner's car is stuck at the workshops as a 'collateral' or 'deposit'. The thing to be careful about is not to abuse the customer's trust by purposely prolonging the repair works in order to get more income from the rental business.


The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

>> Thursday, December 1, 2011

I was trained in engineering as a university student, but I only did about two years of engineering work after I graduated before I moved to a sales and marketing department. I don't miss doing engineering, but I still have casual interests in matters relating to engineering, especially when they involve good inventions and designs that brings benefits to society.

Today I found out about The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, which I think is pretty cool. It's an international prize tipped to rival the Nobel Prizes. Worth £1 million, it will be presented every two years for “outstanding advances in engineering that have created significant benefit to humanity”. The first prize will be presented in Spring 2013.

The prize has been set up with an endowment fund provided by several UK and international companies including Shell, BAE Systems, BG Group, BP, Glaxo SmithKline, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, Siemens, Sony, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Steel Europe.

The fund is being managed by an independent charitable trust, and The Royal Academy of Engineering will deliver the prize on its behalf.

More about the prize at the Royal Academy of Engineering website.

From the website:

Message from Lord Browne, Chair of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation

“Engineering underpins every aspect of our lives. As the bridge between scientific discovery and commercial application, engineering feeds and clothes us, and enables us to work, travel and communicate. But too often the engineers behind the most brilliant innovations remain hidden. The Queen Elizabeth Prize aims to change that. It will celebrate, on an international scale, the very best engineering in the world. I believe that this prize will inspire the public, especially young people, with a sense of the excitement and the importance of engineering.”



>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

I came across the new term/concept 'voluntourism' today. I think it's pretty cool. It's not exactly a new concept, students and youths (especially) have been doing this for a long time in their gap year, career breaks etc. Perhaps the coined term is relatively new. More about voluntourism here.

Clicks here and there also brought me to the Ecoteer website, a program under a similar concept, where the tagline is 'Travel with a cause.'

Talking about gap year reminded me of my university days where some of my friends had opted for it. Gap year is when students take a year off studying in between high school and university admission, a popular practise in UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada where the trend is to participate in international education programs that combine language study, homestays, cultural immersion, community service, and independent study (quoting Wikipedia).

What do you think of gap years? Is it beneficial? Should it be an option for Malaysian students? If so, would it be a popular choice?


An idea a day

>> Friday, November 11, 2011

Seth Godin mentioned Idea-A-Day website in his book Free Prize Inside I've just read last weekend. He said the lessons from the website are (and I quote the book): Firstly, stop keeping ideas a secret. Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death. The more people you share your idea with, the more likely it is to become real. Secondly, and more importantly, it's not the idea that matters, it's what you do with it. The real challenge, and the real skill comes from championing your idea, shepherding it through the system and turning it into reality.

(From here), Idea A Day is a web-based Ideas bank founded in London in August 2000 by music executive David Owen, advertising creatives Chas Bayfield and Becky Clarke, and teacher Rupert Kaye in partnership with the web development company Fortune Cookie. The web site published one original idea every day and has continued to do so ever since.

One example:
Idea #3934 Design smartphones that allow the user to gain remote access to the phone’s contents via another phone or device.

While googling for this, I came across an individual blog posting one 'fun, strategic or weird idea' a day in his blog here. This is more brand-related ideas compared to the ideaaday.org which is more broad.

One example:
Idea #559 Set up a beam-vertising Nike campaign of hidden inspirational messages on city walls that can only be revealed with long exposure pictures.

One of the reasons why I started this blog is to jot down and share my ideas, but I don't find myself doing it as often as I'd like to. I have thoughts in my head, but they don't get transferred here. Some are still there (in my head) but some are lost (forever?). I should not be too worried about proper description, or illustration, or images, or the need to google for it to see if it's already implemented, etc etc, if these things hinder me. Just a short and simple sentence would do. And the frequency of posting to this blog sooooo need improvement.


Steve Jobs: Inspirational quotes and 7 principles of innovation

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I don’t use any of Apple products, not the Macbook, iPad or even iPhone, but I do recognize that Steve Jobs was a very influential figure in the digital technology industry, an inspiring visionary.

Here are some of his quotes that I really like, all of which comes from a Stanford University commencement speech in 2005:

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

An excerpt on creativity from his interview with the Wired magazine (1995):

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

And here are the 7 principles he says innovation is based on.

- Do what you love
- Put a dent in the universe (aim to make a real change)
- Kick-start your brain (build experiences)
- Sell dreams (not products)
- Say ‘no’ to 1,000 things
- Create insanely great experiences
- Master the message (to get others onboard)


Sejuta Impian

>> Friday, September 23, 2011

Siapa ada menonton dan mengikuti program realiti ini? Program ini disiarkan di TV3 setiap Ahad jam 7.30 hingga 8 malam selama 20 program. Dana berjumlah sejuta ringgit disumbangkan oleh Dana Belia 1Malaysia (di bawah 1MDB iaitu 1Malaysia Development Berhad) manakala pembikinan program pula ditaja oleh TM.

Memetik kata En. Radhi Mohamad (1MDB) dalam press release TV3, “DB1M merupakan satu platform untuk menggalakkan para belia menyumbang kembali kepada komuniti melalui idea-idea penuh inovatif.”

Dalam satu rancangan yang saya sempat tengok beberapa minggu lepas, impian-impian yang ditunaikan adalah seperti berikut:

-Menyewa/membawa peralatan muzik dan audio ke bandar atau pekan di Sabah untuk mencari bakat muzik baru
-Menganjurkan kelas bahasa asing untuk pemandu teksi di Langkawi bagi membantu industry pelancongan
-Membangunkan modul pendidikan mengenai kesedaran isu alam sekitar untuk disampaikan kepada Kementerian Pendidikan
-Menganjurkan kursus motivasi untuk pelajar sekolah bermasalah dengan membina ‘penjara mini’

Lagi satu saya tidak ingat, tapi saya pasti ada lima impian yang telah ‘ditunaikan’ kesemuanya. Setiap pemohon meletakkan jumlah melebihi RM10 ribu (maksimum RM30 ribu) tetapi yang diluluskan kesemuanya maksimum RM10 ribu. Sejuta dibahagi 20 program dibahagi lima pemohon jadilah RM10 ribu.

Kalau saya jadi peserta, saya akan memohon dana RM10 ribu untuk membangunkan sistem tusyen online percuma untuk semua pelajar sekolah rendah dan menengah di seluruh Malaysia. Ya, memang akan ada ramai pihak tidak suka dengan impian saya ini iaitu syarikat-syarikat dan pengedar mereka yang memasarkan program-program tusyen online berbayar. Saya sebenarnya langsung tidak tahu (clueless) berapa jumlah dana yang diperlukan untuk projek ini sebab saya tidak pernah buat research betul-betul, jadi letak saja RM10 ribu sebagai ballpark figure.

Apa pula impian anda?


Dan pemenangnya ialah ....

>> Monday, September 12, 2011

Terima kasih kerana sabar menanti.

Saya baru membuat cabutan nombor menggunakan website random.org.

Dan pemenang untuk giveaway pertama Mesra Idea ialah ...

13. Miraedo92

Harap cik Miraedo92 dapat e-mel saya di emel.siti@ gmail.com segera.


Senarai peserta dan wishlist mereka

>> Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berikut merupakan senarai peserta giveaway pertama Mesra Idea dan wishlist mereka. Wishlist yang saya suka, saya tandakan dengan *. Sesiapa yang ada buat blog entry tapi tiada dalam senarai ini, harap dapat tinggalkan komen atau e-mel saya segera.


1. Joel Leslie
- Handphone yang ada application untuk detect barang hilang (macam GPS)
- Kasut tahan lasak, panas, sejuk, yang boleh urut kaki

2. Nureen
- Kad kredit yang tak payah bayar

3. Nur Afirah
- Kereta yang boleh terbang

4. The Giveawaystuff
- Kereta yang boleh drive sendiri

5. Mama Syima
- Kereta yang ikut semua arahan pemilik, termasuk boleh terbang

6. Tiefazatie
- Mesin buat kek automatik, cuma masuk bahan-bahan dan tunggu siap
- Robot yang boleh ajar buat homework

7. Azatiesayang
- *Mesin yang boleh lipat dan gosok baju
- *Alat penyejuk badan peribadi (mobile)
- Kereta canggih pelbagai fungsi boleh guna di laut, udara, dan darat

8. Fadzillah Kamarudin
- Kereta yang boleh drive sendiri

9. CikMisi
- Pintu suka hati Doraemon

10. Cik Rose Cute
- Komputer touch screen

11. Cikpuanhady
- Kereta yang boleh tukar jadi motor bila nak menyelit, dan tukar balik jadi kereta bila hujan
- Gajet yang boleh tukar saiz handphone kepada laptop (and vice versa) as needed

12. Ummu huraiyah
- *Mesin pencuci cermin mata automatik

13. Miraedo92
- Cooker machine untuk masak pelbagai makanan (cuma letak bahan)
- *Vending machine buku
- Pen serbaguna (ada sekali dengan cecair pemadam, pendrive, dan voice recorder)

14. Nida
- Motosikal yang tidak menggunakan minyak petrol sebagai bahan api dan boleh dilipat serta ringan
- Jam yang ada fungsi tv, komputer dan internet
- Mesin masa yang boleh undur masa

15. IntaNberliaN
- *Mesin kupas kulit bawang

16. Seputihsalju
- Mesin lipat baju
- Mesin cabut rumput

17. Hartini
- Handphone tahan lasak walau jatuh beratus kali
- Alat penimbang berat dan scanner beg yg rendah (1 cm dari aras lantai)

18. Ayulestari_aishiteru
- Buku dan pen ajaib (apa yang dilukis jadi kenyataan)
- Mesin basuh baju terus kering dan siap berlipat
- Robot pintar
- Sejadah Aladin (tikar terbang)
- Vakum serbaguna


19. Rosmiza Ali
- produk kesihatan/kecantikan

20. Aida
- spreadsheet tool yang mempunyai function copy & paste different cells (yang dipilih di row & column yang berbeza) secara serentak
- financial analysing tool untuk mengeluarkan dynamic report (seperti Essbase, tapi made in Malaysia supaya lebih murah)
- persekitaran pejabat yang kreatif
- *sekolah untuk anak-anak saya tidak terlalu rigid dan mengadaptasi model sekolah di negara maju seperti Sweden / UK untuk memberikan rangsangan minda kanan & kiri

21. Tinidewi
- mesin basuh kasut sekolah
- *mesin membancuh susu botol


Giveaway Mesra Idea

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

**STICKY POST. For latest post, please scroll down.**

Yay! Ini giveaway pertama untuk blog ini.
Tujuannya untuk minta tolong rakan-rakan blogger hebahkan kewujudan blog Mesra Idea, dan sambil-sambil itu saya nak cuba kumpul wishlist rakan-rakan semua.

Bila? Mulai hari ini hingga tarikh akhirnya 30 Ogos 2011.

Hadiahnya? RM50 'duit raya' menerusi cabutan bertuah.

1. Tulis satu post mengenai giveaway ini.
2. Dalam post itu, tulis wishlist anda, iaitu sekurang-kurangnya satu produk yang tiada di pasaran tapi anda mahu atau harap akan ada. Lebih pun boleh, tapi maksimum tiga. Contoh saya berikan di bawah.
3. Dalam post tu mesti ada banner dan link ke post ini. Boleh copy paste code ini:

4. Letak banner giveaway ini (dengan link ke sini) di sidebar blog anda.
5. Tinggalkan komen dan link di post ini.
6. Selepas tarikh akhir, saya akan guna random.org untuk buat cabutan bertuah. Pemenang yang diumumkan diminta e-mel nombor akaun untuk saya transfer hadian duit raya.

OK, pertama sekali saya nak tudung turki macam yang ada di pasaran Malaysia tahun 90-an dulu supaya ada balik. Kain jenis yang agak tebal tapi taklah panas pun, senang dibentuk, dan mudah dijaga - tak perlu gosok sangat, kalau kesan lipatan jelas sangat baru kena gosok. Siapa masih simpan tudung jenis ini? Zaman sekarang bila disebut tudung turki, lain fabriknya. Lebih nipis dan lembut. Entahlah, saya masih lebih suka yang dulu tu. Tie Rack pernah keluarkan skaf empat segi yang kainnya lebih kurang tudung turki yang saya maksudkan, tapi lepas tu dah dihentikan. Saya cuma sempat beli dua.

Yang kedua pula, saya mahu ada sejenis alat elektronik kecil yang boleh ditempek pada mana-mana barang yang selalu hilang, dan bila dia hilang kta boleh tekan alat lain yang sekaan 'remote' dia atau transmitter, supaya alat tu berbunyi dan supaya kita senang nak cari. Seolah-olah macam kita nak cari handphone, kita ring je, kan senang. Atau pun macam alarm kereta kita yang kita tekan boleh bunyi dari jauh. Saya rasa alat ni boleh sangat dibuat, cuma dari segi harga tak taulah macam mana. Kalau mahal sangat, mungkin jadi tak praktikal pula. Saiz pun mesti betul-betul kecil. Sekarang ni saya dah misplace jam tangan, entah ke mana perginya...

Dua contoh ni memang betul-betul saya punya wishlist, bukan suka-suka nak buat contoh. Anda pula bagaimana? Satu cara untuk generate idea ni ialah dengan menghabiskan ayat ini: Kan best kalau ada .... Jangan pula letak benda yang tak logik, macam nak mesin rentas masa (time travel) ke, atau pintu suka hati Doraemon.

OK, tulis sekarang! Beritahu saya wishlist yang menarik!


A long break

>> Friday, August 26, 2011

Thanks to everyone who has joined my first giveaway! Just to set the expectation, I will be away balik kampung during the raya week so I won't be able to compile the list of participants and make the random draw too soon after the closing date. Hope you don't mind waiting a bit. Anytime in Syawal is still 'duit raya', right? :)

In the meantime, selamat hari raya! Have a good break and I wish you safe journeys.


4 Simple Ways to Raise a Creative Child

>> Monday, August 8, 2011

I've decided to change the blog name (and therefore url) to Mesra Idea because I feel that it allows me to write and post on wider range of topics. I guess I'm still exploring my interests, which is one of the reasons that I started this blog.

Ok, now on to the post. I find this article written by Jamilah Samian, author of 3 parenting books, beneficial. I've known this before, but it's assuring to read that creativity has many forms, and it's not just referring to artistic pursuits such as painting, drawing, acting or dancing. Problem solving requires creativity, too. Below is an excerpt from the article. For full article, click here.

What is creativity anyway? Quite simply, creativity is bringing something new into being. While the debate rages on among psychologists whether creativity is something you are born with or is influenced by the environment, I believe there is much that we parents can do to nurture our children’s creativity. To this end, I would like to suggest that you:


Creativity thrives on curiosity. The more you encourage your child’s curiosity, the more creative he gets. Consider George de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro. In the early 1900s, he was a young boy who loved the outdoors and inventing. In fact, his creative streak won him his first patent for a toy plane at the tender age of 12. Each time after his outing with his dog, George was annoyed by the Burdock seeds (a prickly fauna) that stuck to his hunting pants and dog’s fur as it took him hours to remove them. George examined the seeds under the microscope and noticed that each seed had hundreds of tiny hooks that locked themselves onto the fabric of his pants or his dog’s fur. This gave him the germ of an idea and years after much experimenting, Velcro, the hook & loop fastener, was born.


Because the media has a tendency to refer to certain expressions of artistic pursuits like painting, drawing, acting and dancing as forms of creativity, a child may think that he is not creative because he has no interest in any of these areas. This notion may be further reinforced at learning centres when the children who are able to paint or draw better are referred to as “creative”, which may unwittingly suggest that the other children who are not able to paint or draw as well are not creative. Tell your child that these only represent certain forms of creativity, and creativity encompasses a much wider meaning and possibility. In fact, it is the ability to creatively solve problems and overcome difficult situations that will help your child to not only survive but thrive in the long run.


Creativity often involves the ability to think out of the ordinary. It is the courage of those who dared to think in contrasting ways that has continually made a lasting impact to human lives. Children by nature are born creative. However, to remain creative, they need constant motivation. This is because, creativity involves two processes : thinking and producing. All you have to do is to provide a safe environment for this to happen. For example, if you see your child stacking up a set of wooden blocks horizontally again and again, ask him, ”Is there a way to arrange them another way?”


Your child might need your help to provide the resources to turn his ideas into reality. For this to occur, you might have to set aside your time and money. Think of the time and money that you spend as an investment rather than cost. Even if things don’t work out as expected, assure your child that it’s okay … he would have learnt something new along the way.


Intelectual Property Creators' Challenge

>> Monday, August 1, 2011

I came across this competition organized by MSC Malaysia. Looks pretty interesting - my gamer and anime-loving brothers might be interested, but the deadline is just 5 days away! Check it out. I think it's great that competitions like this are being held. The other comopetition currently running that I laud is The Star's Mighty Minds Challenge.


The Idea Book

>> Saturday, July 16, 2011

I was bloghopping when I came across a photo showing The Idea Book. Curious, I asked the blog owner what the book was about and she gave me the link to the Idea Book website. I downloaded a 40+ pages sample and I think it’s great! The book alternates between short stories or quotes about ideas, and activities (followed by blank pages so that you can write your thoughts and ideas immediately in the book). Click the link above to download a sample for yourselves!

And here are two examples for a feel (sample of sample?):

Edison’s idea quota
Understand the importance of coming up with a multitude of ideas as opposed to a handful.

Thomas Alva Edison was a man who realized that you had to come up with many ideas in order to have one good one. Edison was, undoubtedly, an inventive genius. He held the world record for the greatest number of inventions. He invented the gramophone and the incandescent light bulb, developed a storage battery and improved film projectors as well as founding what is today the world’s largest company, General Electric.

Edison realized, however, that good ideas do not come about by them¬selves, so he enforced an idea quota on himself and his employees. His own quota was this: A minor invention every ten days, and a major invention every six months.

Force yourself to come up with more ideas! When facing a problem, think of 50 different solutions. Many of the ideas will not be good ones, but the chances are that the first ideas will not be the best ones anyway. Practise finding many solutions to many problems. Make a habit of asking yourself, “What other ways are there of solving this problem?” Do not give up until you have thought of at least three new solutions. Remember that there are always different ways of solving a problem.

‘Broken’ monitors
The importance of asking the right question.

We often learn how to find the answer to something, but seldom how to find the question. Learning how to ask questions is something we could all do with improving. Just questioning your own organization to see if you can find a better way of running it, is the first step in the right direction. Know how to ask the right question and you are already halfway there.

One of the cafés in an international European airport was often full. The problem was that people sat nursing their coffees for a long time as they waited for their planes to depart. The café asked itself: How can we encourage our customers to vacate the tables more quickly? Their first ideas were probably along the lines of uncomfortable chairs, a seat charge, clear the tables immediately and so forth.

However, the idea they finally decided upon was this: to turn off the flight monitors in the café! This made people worry about missing their flights, which led to them look¬ing for monitors that worked, thus leaving empty tables. When the café had enough empty tables, the flight monitors suddenly started working again to attract new customers.

Formulating a question in different ways can help you look at a problem from different angles. In the case above, for example, you can find new angles by putting the question in another way: How can we sell more? So, instead of finding solutions to the problem of getting people to va¬cate the tables more quickly, you can also come up with solutions such as set up a take-away stand so that people can have a snack or drink by the departure gates, or sell picnic bags that passengers can take onto the planes with them and so on.

Ask more questions and learn to question things that work well in order to see if they can work even better!
When facing a problem, formulate it as a question and then try to find several answers. If you get stuck, ask the question in another way. You can always formulate a problem in many different ways.


Blog feature: Swiss Miss

>> Thursday, July 7, 2011

I’m trying to link up to interesting blogs related to the theme of Mesra Niaga and so far I’m listing those which I have been following. I’ll try search for some more when I have the time, but in the meantime, please give me some suggestions!

One of the blogs that I check out regularly is Swiss Miss, which is run by Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss designer currently based in New York. I absolutely love the things (well, some of them, not all) she shares on this blog! Here are two examples (images are from Swiss Miss blog):

Play with trash



Direct marketing to school children

>> Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A few days ago my sister showed me a set of activity workbook her daughter just bought in school, or perhaps I should use the word ‘paid for’. Her schoolteacher distributed the books to each students, citing, “It’s not compulsory to buy these books. Just take it home today to have a look. If you don’t want to buy it, just bring it back tomorrow (in pristine condition, of course).” This is an ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’ method.

I consider this marketing strategy by the publisher of the books pretty aggressive. I bet the teacher also received some sales commission as an incentive. I disagree with such aggressive marketing method directly targeting children (as opposed to their parents) because young children are naïve and easily manipulated. Another example of similar tactic which I disagree with, is placing sweets, chocolates, and toys at children’s eye level at the cashier. In my opinion, the school administration need to be more sensitive to this issue. Rather than distributing the products to each student, thereby putting the pressure on them to buy, the parties interesting to market their products to children should just be given a booth at the school compound (perhaps someplace where parents can view the products).

Note: The Bahasa Malaysia version of this post is published in my other blog, Mesra Buku. Both areas of my interest happened to overlap in this post :)


A notched chair

>> Saturday, June 25, 2011

When my brother saw this chair with the notch, he wondered, “What is that for?” When I saw this chair, I thought, “Brilliant!” I guess ladies are the ones usually with (all kinds of) bags and would appreciate this kind of little ‘help’.

This chair was spotted at Muzdalfa Fried Chicken in Bangi when I went to lunch with my siblings sometime ago.


Appreciating a helpful sales assistant

>> Friday, June 17, 2011

Recently, my husband and I went to a chain store to survey some electrical appliances for our home. A sales assistant spent the better part of an hour entertaining our questions. We didn’t buy the goods there and then because we need to think over our choices first.

But when we did go to the shop again to make our purchase, we specifically asked for the same salesperson (I noted his name in the first visit). I believe that the company has some sort of sales commission as incentives for their sales staffs, so it’s only fair that the person who helped us with our purchase are rewarded accordingly.


Small Ikea goods

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I wouldn’t say I’m an Ikea fan, but I think that some of their products are really well designed – the functions, I mean, not the the looks. Though the look is usually pretty pleasing, too. Moreover, the prices are sometimes very reasonable, especially their bestsellers. I’ve been using the plastic bag organizer from the Rationell line (which costs only RM9) for quite some time. And more recently, I bought and used a duster from the Lodder line. It’s bendable, hence can reach into difficult spaces. It’s easy to wash, hence easy to maintain. It’s only RM12.90.

Image source credit to Ikea.com

In Malaysia, there is only one Ikea store, which is in Mutiara Damansara. I know of many people outside of Klang Valley who occasionally include Ikea in their itenaries when visiting KL for other reasons. Ikea delivers to all locations in Peninsular Malaysia (but not their market hall goods), I’m not sure about East Malaysia though. But they don’t offer online purchases, it’s not part of their business model.

What if, someone who lives near enough to Ikea, is willing to help buy & ship Ikea stuffs for a reasonable fee? Would there be demand for this kind of service? I mean only the small & reasonably light things from their market hall. In other words, this person, who’s totally independent from Ikea management, offers Ikea goods (selected based on feasibility and popularity) but mark-up the price to compensate for his or her time and efforts to procure them. For example, the Lodder duster can be sold for RM16 (excluding postage). If he aims to make one shopping trip to Ikea per week, and for each trip buys say 20 pre-ordered items which he can immediately posts, is it feasible ad worth the time & effort?


Quick service

>> Friday, June 3, 2011

I took notice when the cendol seller at a stall that I went to some time ago, packed my order really really quick, even though there is no one else queuing behind me. What that made me feel, is that my time is valuable, and he’s not wasting it by taking his own sweet time. While the truth may just be that he’s used to that kind of speed, I still appreciate such gesture a lot.

The second time I went to his cendol stall, he was just as quick, if not quicker, and this time, I figured I should acknowledge it. “Sangat cepat,” I said (“That’s really fast.”). He smiled.


Homemade desserts

>> Monday, May 30, 2011

The baking supplies shop that I frequent seems to be more packed with customers recently, some with multiple full baskets. I’m probably one of only few who grabbed a few items only, for personal/family use. I notice that majority of them seems to be home-based entrepreneurs, judging by the big quantities being purchased. Quite a number are getting chocolate bars, moulds and boxes. I guess homemade chocolate business is blooming now. I wonder shortly, is the sales volume chipping at the conventional commercial chocolate market (say of Cadbury or even Ferrero Rocher), or is it a totally new demand? The homemade chocolate, with pretty packaging and decorations are usually meant for special occasions, celebration and gifts.

Image source credit to littleroseschoc.blogspot.com

Homemade cakes has been around since I’ve been aware of it, say 20 years ago, though in the absence of the internet, customers are mostly family and friends and perhaps, friends of friends. A little less than ten years ago, homemade cupcakes (and muffins) made its debut, at its peak probably some four five years ago. I started noticing homemade chocolates about two year-ish ago, and seems to be at its peak now. And now, I’m starting to see macaroons on offer. Traditional kuih has also been available, but somehow I don’t see that many being promoted online. I believe that one of the reasons is that there are less traditional kuih bakers/makers from the younger generation, hence the promotional method remains offline. This does not mean there is less demand for those, just a different way for customers to get them. It also means there’s an opportunity to market to the remaining customer who searches for traditional kuih providers online.

But I’ve never yet come across home-based entrepreneur offering doughnuts, fancy decorated doughnuts I mean (think Dunkin Donuts or Big Apple Donuts). Have you? Please share the website here. I wonder why that is. Baking and decorating doughnuts is surely as fun and creative as cupcakes – with all the possible combinations of fillings, glazings, icings, nuts, jams etc! I do believe there is demand, judging by the increasing numbers of commercial doughnut booths/shops.

Image source credit to shazerina.wordpress.com



>> Thursday, May 26, 2011

Salaam and hello! My name is Siti and I'm from Selangor, Malaysia. I have a (really, really) small business on the side which I started in 2008 (check it out here) apart from my day job. The setting up and designing bit really excited me, unfortunately I struggle when it comes to the selling and marketing bit. Those are not my strong points and I hope to learn and improve.

I still enjoy thinking up business and product ideas and thoughts both from the view of customers as well as entrepreneurs, so I thought I'll start this blog to share them. I used to keep a physical notebook to jot them down (prior to 2008), but don't really bother nowadays, so hopefully this blog will serve as my new 'notebook'.

I'm also still exploring areas of interest and opportunities, so I hope this blog will be a useful tool for that purpose.


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