Can You Make Money From Linux?

The short answer is a resounding yes. Whether you work as a Linux server administrator, or do custom Linux installations, you can make a decent income from it.

Many people assume that just because Linux is a free open source software, there’s no money in it. How wrong these people are. Heck, almost every Linux kernel hacker is paid or sponsored in some way by reknowned IT companies for their work. Almost every IT company in the world has an interest in the Linux kernel. Of course there are others such as Microsoft and its cronies who fear the tremendous growth and stability of Linux and would do anything including spreading FUD about it.

I too have made a few thousand bucks from various Linux related projects including:

And probably a few others I can’t recall right now.

Back to the topic of this post, Can you make money from Linux? Of course! In fact, it’s easier than you think. Before going onto the things you need to do, let me cover some of the things you don’t need in order to make money from Linux:

  • Paper qualifications of any sort
  • A tremendously high IQ (heck, mine is only 147)
  • Any initial monetary investment (although investing in a few good books is recommended)

What you do need are:

  • The willingness to learn
  • Perseverence
  • A keen, observant and analytical approach to facing problems and solving them
  • Decent googling skills
  • Absence of shyness (you need to be willing to pimp your services)

Believe it or not, that’s all there is to it. Other than being profitable, Linux is fun and challenging. Heck, it beats problogging any time! 😉

If you have Hong Leong credit cards, I urge you to terminate your subscription. If you have outstanding balances on them, I recommend that you do a balance transfer. If you are contemplating applying for Hong Leong credit cards, I suggest that you don’t. Why? Hong Leong doesn’t respect your rights as a card holder and a customer.

My SO and I were victims of a scratch and win scam almost a year ago. As soon as we’ve discovered that we were conned, we immediately put in a request to Hong Leong to stop the transaction via their useless Dispute Form, along with the Consumer Claims Tribunal reference number, to their so-called Customer Service department.

To sum it up, Hong Leong Customer Service is a fallacy. There’s no such thing. I had to discover this the hard way.

When we submitted the dispute form, the transaction wasn’t even posted yet. They had ample chance to flag it. But what did Hong Leong do? They decided to side with scammers than a long term customer! Hong Long reps even blatantly lied to us by saying that the transaction had already gone through. Why do I say they are liars? Because another rep said that the transaction hasn’t gone through, contradicting what her colleague said earlier. See their incompetence? Even they don’t know what’s going on!

What follows on for months was an endless trail of lies:

  • The transaction was allowed to proceed because we need the credit card statement as evidence for the tribunal hearing; Lie! We have the receipts and items from the scammers, and those were enough to be used as evidence
  • We just need to pay for the initial purchase price without the interest once we’ve recovered our monies; Lie! Until today, one year after 100% full payment was made for the initial purchase price, Hong Leong still charges the interests
  • Hong Leong reps will get in touch to solve this issue; Lie! Nobody from Hong Leong bothered to assist properly. Instead, we were made like slaves trying to contact them and being put on hold for more than 30 minutes at any one attempt

To date, I’ve been waiting for them to give the final decision letter for me to proceed to bring this case to the FMB, for more than two weeks! Still no action, typical Hong Leong incompetence at its finest.

You can find this out by yourselves by trying to contact their so-called Banking Services Division through the contact details provided here.

Even though the interest now stands at almost RM200, I won’t pay a single cent! I’d rather bring this issue to court and let Hong Leong be exposed as the incompetent bank it really is.

Have you noticed how the topic of Time Management is getting mentioned and discussed more frequently recently? More and more people are starting to realise that managing time efficiently will enable us to achieve more in less time. Whether we are ready for it or not, it’s now the age of multi-tasking. Gone are the days when your jobscope has a few clearly defined responsibilities and other things are non of your business.

I think that almost everyone knows this aspect of Time Management; don’t waste time. Yet, day to day, we keep doing it; loafing on the couch or at the coffee shop, yakking on the mobile for too long, and my personal addiction… spending a little bit too much time surfing the Internet.

Those who studied Management, or even read a few books on the subject will be familiar with the four key terms that define the subject:

  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Leading
  • Controlling

Essentially, Time Management is merely a process of applying these methods to how you make use of your time. It really is that simple!

Planning: Allocating and Budgeting

Almost everyone does some sort of planning when it comes to their time. The difference between successful time managers and those who are not too successful are significantly noticable from the planning stage. Some simply don’t plan their time, while others are too engulfed in this process.

Remember, regardless of how perfect you want your Time Management to be, if you spend too much time planning for the whole thing, doesn’t this defeat the purpose? You’re supposed to be managing time, not to be a slave to it!

The keyword here is flexibility. Allocate sufficient time to perform specific duties, and at the same time budget some leeway time before and after the scheduled event. We’ve experienced a lot of weird incidents to prove that not everything goes according to plan, right?

Organising: Using Available Resources To Achieve Goals

One common misconception that causes people to revert to inefficient Time Management is thinking along the lines of; “How can I do all this myself!”.

One thing we need to be very clear about is we can’t do everything by ourselves! There are always ways to delegate lower priority tasks to others. This doesn’t only apply professionally, but can be used at home as well. Start assigning responsibilities to children early on. Clearly tell your son he is in charge of keeping his toys properly organised. Tell him how important this job is and how you’re relying on him to be successful in doing this.

You’re not limited to “outsourcing” when it comes to organising. PDAs, mobile phones, diaries, and even pieces of Post-It notes can be very useful tools to help you organise. We have a very powerful mind, but let’s face it… we can’t remember everything! Hence, it’s nice to put our plans in writing for easier reference.

Believe it or not, such a simple method can improve your productivity significantly. Your mind can focus more on getting things done rather than figuring out what you have to do.

Leading: Order In The House!

Leadership is not about being the boss. It’s a lot more. We may be a superior to our subordinates, but are we acknowledged as their leaders? This is not necessarily true. Being a leader means you are able to keep track of assignments given not only to subordinates, but also colleagues as well as seniors. To put it simply, it’s the process of understanding your business.

Even if we’re a one-man-show, leadership is essential in keeping your plans on track. Remember that running your own business means you are your own boss. Hence, you need perform the jobs that good bosses do; keeping staff motivated, furthering the business, providing necessary resources for the organisation to grow and getting in touch with talented people that could help you in areas of your business.

If you’re running a sole proprietorship, you’re better off concentrating on your core business. Often times, this involves outsourcing non-core functions to contractors. If a contractor is slacking, make it clear to them that you have other alternatives.

Good leadership involves knowing when to be displomatic and when to put your foot down firmly. It requires tremendous self-determination, experience and know-how. There’s no “secret to good leadership”. You’ve got to find your strengths and leverage to them in developing your leadership style.

Without good leadership, you’ll find that more and more interruptions will be taking up a huge bulk of your time. Too much control and you’ll be inundated with authorisation requests. It’s not rosy when you have no control either. Your time will then be spent fixing things that got broken by subordinates or contractors who overstep their boundaries of authorities.

Controlling: Keeping Yourself In The Loop

Imagine this scenario; You’ve set up plans for a potentially successful venture, organised your resources to make it a success and defined clearly the responsibilities of your staff and contractors…

Then you said to your staff, “Goodbye everyone! I’m taking a vacation to Kenya for about three weeks. See you guys when I get back!”.

During that three weeks, you have zero connection with the outside world, and more importantly, your staff. Do you think your business will still be around when you get back?

The issue is more serious when it comes to time. You can always start another business, but you can never buy lost time. Therefore, having control is imperative for good Time Management. What’s the use of planning when you can’t implement any of those plans?

Having control of your time not only means prioritising, it’s the process of giving you the freedom on allocating and reallocating your activities. Time is one thing that everyone has the same amount of. Nobody has 70 minutes in an hour or 25 hours in a day or eight days a week. We all have the same amount of time.

The difference between successful time planners and the rest is that they have better control of their time. They decide what to get done and when. More importantly, they stick to their decisions.

In conclusion, Time Management gives you the freedom to achieve more with your time. Here’s some links that will help you get started in managing your time better:

Do you know of any more Time Management tips, links or tools? Please share them with us!

Everyone can speak. Yet, there are some who do it better than others. Some are so good at it, that their listeners are moved to actually achieve something as a result of listening to the speech. That’s the difference between a normal speech as compared to a motivational speech. Believe it or not, you can also become an effective motivational speaker.

What is Motivational Speaking?

If you thought that motivational speaking is one where somebody rants on and on about doing something, you’re part of a huge majority that thinks so. And you’re right! Although not totally accurate about the whole concept.

Whether you believe it or not, the ability to deliver an effective motivational speech is not just a useful tool for public speakers. It’s also useful to business leaders, middle management, executives, fresh graduates and even children! A motivational talk should affect the audience’s emotions and state of mind positively. They have got to believe that the message you’re trying to get across to them is not just a concept, but a reality.

They have to see the vision that you are trying to draw in their mind so clearly that they can almost reach out and grab it! They have to be so induldged in the message that they are no longer listening to you, but virtually experience what you’re narrating to them.

And contrary to popular belief, motivational speaking is not a tool specifically useful only in the realms of business and politics. It’s a useful tool for everyone. Here are examples where being a good motivational speaker can have a positive impact in your life:

  • Gaining confidence of your friends, family members and spouses
  • Securing credibility in your industry of profession
  • Improving public perception of yourself and the organisation you represent
  • Obtaining trust and companionship of those around you
  • Providing the feeling of comfort and joy to those who had the honour to communicate with you

Understanding Motivation

The first definition of motivation as described by dictionary.com is:

The act or process of motivating.

The key word being: process. Like all processes, there are specific steps to follow. Each step leads towards an outcome that has to be defined in advance, so that the speaker can identify a milestone that he/she is setting out to achieve.

Motivation is not easy to achieve, especially if you are out to motivate somebody, as opposed to yourself. However, the key ingredients of motivational communications remain the same, regardless of who the intended audience is.

If you’ve read The Power of Self Talk, you’d know that motivating yourself to achieve something is already very challenging. Multiply this by a few hundred times, then you’ll get an idea on how it’s like to motivate others.

Next on the agenda, understanding the key ingredients of delivering an effective motivational speech.

Ingredients of an Effective Motivational Speech

Like all things, there are always criterias that need to be fulfilled before an effective motivational speech can reach its objective. The key ingredients are:

  • Earn the right to give the speech
  • You must want to give the speech
  • You must have a strong opinion regarding the topic at hand
  • Suit the content of the speech to your audience

Earning the right to give a motivational speech is of the utmost importance. Imagine giving a speech about Earning Millions Through The Internet, when you yourself haven’t even earned $100 from your online endeavours. Who would seriously listen to you?

Just as important is the drive you put into delivering your motivational speech. You must really want to give the speech. It should be very passionate! Deliver the speech as if it’s the last speech you’ll ever give. Engulf yourself in the scenes described in your talk. Cry during the sad parts, laugh during the funny sections, growl at parts which arouse anger. Don’t just recite your speech… live it!

Your opinion regarding the topic of your speech will decide its outcome even before the speech starts. Giving a motivational speech on something that you’re obviously bored of will reflect on to the audience. And believe me, they can tell how you really feel about the topic even when you give a performance worthy of an Oscar. Probably not during the speech itself, but sooner or later, they will know.

A major problem with most public speakers is that they don’t know how to tailor their motivational speech for the audience. This requires meticulous planning even before the speech starts. Speakers should always do their homework by identifying the audiencedemographics, level of understanding of the topic and not to mention cultural and/or geograpical centric examples that can be used in the speech. Achieving the right balance of informativeness while reducing usage of jargon requires experience. Therefore, never shy away from the opportunity to give a motivational speech even if you don’t feel confident delivering it. Practise makes perfect!

I’m writing this in response to a recent comment by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Proton. I don’t know how Tun Dr Mahathir sees (or saw) the national car industry as a politician, so I’m not going to comment much on that. I will instead focus my writing on how I see the Malaysian car industry.

The reasons behind the birth of Proton are noble causes indeed. Primarily, Proton is to realise the vision of creating affordable cars for Malaysians. For a while, this plan was actually heading towards the right path. The Proton Saga was definitely an affordable model.

Amidst the celebratory fanfare on its launch, the Saga met, and probably exceeded the expectations of Malaysian motorists… at least aesthetically. It looks nice, unoriginal (earlier Proton models are clones of older Mitsubishi ones), but still… nice.

It’s not long before design flaws of the Saga begin to surface, among which, the one with the most notoriety would be the infamous “power window problem”, which many claim to still haunt current Proton models.

In the meantime, the inevitable evolution in automative technology keeps moving forward. While the honchos at Proton were busy with something else (probably enjoying their earnings), it seems that they’ve forgotten that cars need to be improved upon constantly. Imported cars continue to define quality that consumers crave… but Proton, probably lulled by the market protection provided by the Malaysian government, failed to react proactively.

And when the second (and in my opinion, real) national car project, Perodua, was launched… it was obvious to almost everyone, except the staunch politician supporters of Proton, that it is gravely mismanaged, has no strategic vision beyond milking Malaysian consumers aided with the overprotective tariffs on foreign cars, and management who are out of touch with business realities.

Although placed in an “inferior” market segment (small cars, under 1000cc), Perodua didn’t take long to outshine the far bigger Proton. Perodua provides a refreshing look to Malaysians on how a dynamics automative player should be. It constantly redesigns its models to suit current trends. Although based on Daihatsu compact car models, Perodua managed to give its products an identity that is uniquely Perodua. Compared to Proton, whose current Saga model still stinks of the Iswara which is more than a decade old.

To make things worse, Proton idea of “redesign”, seems to mean making their cars more “rice-ish”, or as Malaysians (and Singaporeans) puts it “ah beng-ish”. I have no idea which market segment Proton is trying to entice… perhaps they’re just trying to add “value for money” to those people who like to transform their cheap Protons into imitation Evos and Lancers.

Marketing wise, Perodua is far more adept at identifying potential, and more importantly profiting from it. Proton, on the other hand, are champions of hype. I can’t help but feel that they like to hear the sound of their own voices… even when spouting nonsense. While Proton was busy telling whoever bothered to listen on how revolutionary their Tiara Replacement Model (now known as Savvy) will be, and publishing “teasers” on the media, Perodua pulled off one of the most intelligent publicity maneuvering in the Malaysian automative industry… it launched their latest model, the Myvi, a week before the scheduled official launching of Proton’s similar spec’ed model.

This move by Perodua, took all the buzz generated by Proton’s hype campaign and absorbed it in all it’s glory, leaving Proton dazed at the lacklustre acceptance of it’s Savvy model. Proton never recovered from this miscalculated promotional strategy. To add insult to injury, the television advertisement for Proton Savvy oozes stupidity and seem more like a junk food ad (you know, the one with a useless “free” toy inside) rather than one for a car. I’m sure that most Malaysians have seen it, the one where a monster used the Savvy to scratch its ass (or back, depending on how you see it). I was dumbfounded to say the least… the ad was amateurish, unintelligent and to be honest, blatantly false. If this was a junk food ad, I’m sure that the Malaysian Parliament will be discussing on how it misleads children and whatnot.

And don’t let me even start on the nonsense coming up from the pro-Proton camp, during the recent AP issue. You can read them yourself. It seems that these people have difficulty accepting the fact that Proton is uncompetitive. Proton’s over-reliance on government protection has blinded the company on the harsh realities of world economics. The basic law of supply and demand seems unabsorved by the strategists at Proton… how else can you explain saturating the market with rehashes of obsolete models? People won’t demand for old junk, no matter how much you change how the lights look… it still is old junk.

Another irritating tendency (politically connected) Proton supporters have is to equate Proton with nationalism. Whenever you hear these people talk on TV, it’s like you’re not Malaysian if you don’t support Proton. To be honest, Proton was a good plan… however, its implementation begs a lot of questions. Do Malaysians really benefitted from Proton, or was it Proton that profitted from Malaysians?

How I wish I could just let these people understand that market dynamics are nothing personal, and especially not political… it’s just business! You deliver what makes consumers happy, they’ll reward you with brand loyalty. You shove your products down their throat, expect them to vomit it back in your face. It has absolutely zilch to do with national pride. Live with it. Proton will probably die without even realising this… perhaps this is destined to happen anyway.