Saturday, November 16, 2013
I listened to Shaykh Yasir Qadih's khutbah on the following hadith:
Abu Hurayah reported that the Prophet (S) said, "A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, and there is good in both. Be eager to obtain that which benefits you, ask Allah's help, and don't be lazy. And if something happens to you (result was different that your plan/expected), then don't say, "If only I have done this, then such-and-such would have happened, but rather, say, Whatever Allah has willed has occurred, and whaterer He wants to He will do."
This hadith has many benefits and I will summarize Shaykh Yasir's points below.
Some commentary from the khutbah:
Strong believer (one who has stronger iman) is better than a weak believer (weaker believer). How do you know if you have strong iman? Look at your commitments to the deen, how often do you pray, how often do you stay away from evil.
People' faith differs, based on their inner and outward deeds. Allah loves the stronger believer. How does one know if ones' iman is strong? All you need to look at inner/outer deeds. Look at your commitment to islam and you will know how strong your iman is? How often do you pray? How often do you think about Allah?
Allah's loves also differs, based on our commitments. if you want Allah loves you, have strong iman.
How do you know if Allah loves us? In the Quran, Allah says he loves those who have taqwah, ones who have patience. Allah doesn't love who are extravagant, oppressors
How do you become a better mumim? Look at Allah what loves and follow them ,and avoid actions that Allah doesn't love.
Going to the next phrase in the hadith, "and in both is good." Both categories of believers have good in them. This illustrates the mercy of the prophet (S), that even when he is contrast two groups of believers, he points out a positive so that weak believer don't feel negative emotions. Prophet (S) gives us a methodology, that even in criticism, one should highlight the positive.
The next part of the hadith, "Be eager that which benefits you," serves as the basis of our actions. You need to have a resolve, determination, drive. Prophet (S) wants us to aim high for all matters of benefit, both in deen and in the dunya. It could be a successful business, medical school, or other aspirations. Wise person/true believer is always aiming for the best, wants that which is good.
Once you have made up your mind on your goal, "And Seek Allah's help,"
Before undertaking anything, make dua, asking for Allah swt's guidance. We need the realization that we need Allah's help for everything. We need to have the right frame of mind. Attitude of the believer is that you need Allah's help/decree And, then the hadith says, "don't be lazy", there is no substitute for hard work.
So, three necessary conditions for success
1. Right intention
3. Right action
And if something happens to you (result was different that your plan/expected), then don't say, "If only I have done this, then such-and-such would have happened, but rather, say, "Whatever Allah has willed has occurred, and whatever He wants to He will do."
Ultimate success is not necessarily guarenteed. You can do everything right, but it might not be decreed. Don't blame yourself, don't be depressed. This hadith contains profound Islamic psychological advise. Belief in Qadr fundamental part of faith. Accept Allah's decree and trust it. A believer is always optimistic. True believer can never be depressed over results as long as the three conditions for success are being followed.
Don't dwell on the past. This hadith teaches us to have a positive attitude, rely on Allah, and to be happy with the result.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
I just read a classic HBR article, Marketing Myopia, written by the Theodore Levitt (HBS professor). Professor Levitt discusses the importance of defining industries broadly and focusing on customers' needs and desires (i.e. defining railroad industry as transportation oriented instead of railroad oriented).
Professor Levitt encourages a focused approach on customer satisfaction and urges businesses to work backwards in terms of developing a product. The following excerpt from his paper illustrates his point:
"The view that an industry is a customer-satisfying process, not a goods-producing process is vital for all businessmen to understand. An industry begin with the customer and his needs, not with a patent, a raw material, or a selling skill. Given the customer's needs, the industry develops backwards, first concerning itself with the physical delivery of customer satisfactions. Then moves back further to creating the things by which these satisfactions are in part achieved. How these material are created is a matter of indifference to the customer, hence the particular form of manufacturing, processing, or ... cannot be considered as a vital aspect of the industry. Finally, the industry moves back still further to finding the raw materials necessary for making its products."
This mind-set can be applied to other parts of business/professional life. For instance, if you are applying for a job, consider your potential employer as your customer, and try to determine his/his needs and think through how to present your skills to meet the employer's needs. Emphasize how your past skills are translatable and applicable to current job's needs. And, finally, if you need to gain more skills/learn code/go to school, then develop yourself with the appropriate training and then present your product (i.e. yourself) to your potential employer.
You can find the full article via the following link or buy it from HBR:
Monday, July 15, 2013
Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care? Potential Health Benefits, Savings, And Costs? Health Affairs Article
I recently read through a study performed by RAND researchers that examined the benefit/cost analysis of EMR adoption/interoperability, "Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care? Potential Health Benefits, Savings, and Costs?"
The study predicts efficiency and safety savings of $142-371 billion dollars (didn't see a time frame) with the adoption of interoperable EMR systems.
The study speaks to efficiency savings, safety and health benefits. I listed some high level detail below. For more details to the headers below and study design, feel free to review the full article:
Saturday, July 13, 2013
I recently enrolled in Ethica's Certified Islamic Finance Executive course (http://www.ethicainstitute.com) and am learning about basic Islamic Finance principles and products.
For instance, Islamic Finance is built on 4 principles:
- interest free
- risk sharing, asset and service backing
- contractual certainty
I will share some of the notes from the class through upcoming blogs, iA.
Be safe and I hope you are taking advantage of these blessed days of Ramadan.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Although I used 7th edition when I took the exam, it probably makes most sense to use the 8th Edition in preparing for your exam (8th edition is based on PMBOK 5th edition, which is currently the frame of reference for the PMP exam)
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I recently listened to a quick talk on making better use of weekends, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (by Laura Vanderkam)
Mrs. Vanderkam central thesis is to strategically plan weekends for two main reasons: anticipating enjoyable events adds value to overall happiness derived from an activity + there are too many hours in a weekend not to plan, however lightly.
I listed some notes from the Mrs. Vanderkam's guide. Feel free to check it out.
- Make a weekend plan. Weekends is all about things you want to do. You need to hit Mondays refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Don't wait till Sat to plan the weekend. Plan 3-5 anchor events (3 hours each). Increase the joy of an activity by planning,optimize your bliss.
- Ask yourself what will you really enjoy doing, and make a plan, and stay committed to it.
- Most of us think of weekends as Sat and Sun. Friday 6pm to Monday morning, 60 hour blocks: 24 hours sleep, there are 36 hours left. Would you take a job, without knowing what you will do?
- Loafing time needs to be consciously chosen.
- Choosing labors.of different sorts, yes, your weekend needs to be different thank work week
- Make a List of 100 dreams- anything you want to do. Weekends are precious, they ought be cultivated. .
- Simply knowing that you will leave the house will give you more order in your life.
- Exercising, spiritual, and socializing. Choose from one event from each category will make an optimal portfolio.
Specific action items for weekends
- Use your mornings
- Create traditions : Fulfilling habits lead to happiness
- Schedule downtime
- Make time to explore
- Plan sometime fun on Sunday night
If you want to read it for yourself, check it out on Amazon:
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I listened to The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris and believe that is filled with useful and practical advice on how to be more fulfilled and active in your life. The book is the author's plight of making better use of time and looking at net salary from two dimensions: money + free time.
I believe that central thesis is develop a razor-sharp focus on your goals/objectives and to challenge yourself to question and achieve your aspirations. Mr. Ferris leverages lessons learned from his life's accomplishments to help others realize their dreams and aspirations. He gives tangible action-items through out the book (e.g. to become an expert in a topic, read three books on the topic, and summarize them in one page, contact schools/local business and start speaking on the topic)
I listened to most of book on the Long Island Railroad and at times took notes on the phone. I will paste some of the notes/lessons learned in a google document for more insight/further reference.
I find that writing out the table of contents helps me recollect and act upon lessons learned from a books.
Table of Contents
D is for Definition
- Cautious and comparisons: how to burn 1000000 a night
- Rules that change the rules: everything popular is wrong
- Dodging bullets: fear-setting and escaping paralysis
- System reset: being unreasonable and unambiguous
E is for Elimination
- The end of time management L illusions and Italians
- The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating selective ignorance
- Interrupting interruption and the Art of Refusal
A is for Automation
- Outsourcing life: Off-loading the Rest and a taste of geo-arbitrage
- Income Autopilot 1: Finding the Muse
- Income Autopilot 2: Testing the Muse
- Income Autopilot 3: MBA--> Management by Absence
L is for Liberation
- Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Office
- Beyond Repair: Killing your job
- Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle
- Filling the Void: Adding Life After Subtracting Work
- The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
Last but not the Least
- The Art of Letting Bad things happen
- Things I've loved and learned in 2008
- How to travel the world in 10 pounds or Less
- The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm
- The Not-to-do List: 9 Habits to stop now
- The Margin Manifesto: 11 Tenets of reaching (or doubting) profitability in 3 months
- The Holy Grail: How to Outsource the Inbox and Never check email again
- Tim Ferris Processing Rules
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
I recently read Strategic Project Portfolio Management (PPM)- Enabling a productive organization (written by Simon Moore). The book had a excellent review of the application of PPM theory in the workplace. The book is filled with case studies and provides a easy-to-read background on the intersection of PPM and technology.
For those new to PPM theory, Microsoft defines PPM as the following: "Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the continuous process of identifying, selecting and managing a portfolio of projects in alignment with key performance metrics and strategic business objectives."
I listed notes that summarize key lessons from the concluding chapter on leading PPM practices:
- Set bold goals for the business and therefor the portfolio, and share these goals repeatedly and broadly.
- Collect far more project ideas than you can execute on from as broad and diverse group as possible
- Manage your portfolio as a whole against your strategic goals for the business.
- Estimate key project parameters early and improve on those estimates over time.
- Share portfolio information broadly with as many employees as possible
- Monitor and report on the portfolio with a view to faster and more effective decision making.
- Track everything that is consuming resources go beyond formal projects to anything that is a meaningful piece of work or use of resources.
- Drive communication across everyone involved in the portfolio.
- Support extensive planning before-hand and postmortem processes afterward.
- Recognize the portfolio management skills that your organization already has.
- Keep everything as simple as it can be.
How is the book organized?
- Chapter 1, 2: Focuses primarily on creation of business goals and strategic alignment of projects to them
- Chapters 3,4: Emphasizes benefits from disciplined planning and cost focus
- Chapters 5,6,7: Serves as a guide to best practice implementation
- Chapters 8,9, 10: Expands on the prior chapter to explore the need for effective communications structures, people-centric processes, together with appropriate use of workflow, and process overall
- Chapter 11: Takes a more theoretical look at project management, surveying the key perspectives
- Chapter 12: Looks at future trends across project and portfolio management, combining a business and technology perspective
If you are interested in reading more notes from, feel free to click on the link below:
If you would like to read a white paper by Microsoft on PPM, click below:
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Interested in business school PhD programs? I sat with a leading business school prof and asked him for his thoughts (listed some notes from the conversation below).
For some context, this professor finished his PhD about 5 years ago, and is about 3-4 years from reaching tenure in an institution that is research-focused.
Ultimately, he recommends the PhD route if you like long hours of analyzing data, re-writing papers, research, and occasional teaching.
For most professions, staying in industry is probably more lucrative. In terms of specific Business PhD programs, the demand characteristics of accounting PhDs in the job market alone requires exploring the program.
Phd offers a choice to make a difference (e.g. there are opportunities such as starting a business program overseas).
Teaching is mostly good.
You need to think about the PhD in terms of a 15 year investment, 6 years getting a PhD, 9 years getting tenure.
Professor is working 6 days a week. Lifestyle is tough, you are spending a majority of the time performing analysis, rewriting papers. Typically, business school professors don't have to worry about raising money/funding.
A professor's life is a bit entrepreneurial, you have a lot of independence, and you are responsible for your success. Top 5 business prof salary is about 160k, accounting is about 200k. In academics, you are making 60% of what you will make in industry, these industries (business, computer science, medicine) income is mark to market.
If you don't have accounting or finance work experience, think about starting some research or accounting work. As an alternative to business PhD programs, consider data science jobs at LinkedIn, Facebook, Google.
One cautionary thought:
What will be the state of business school in 20 years? What will happen to mid-tier universities with the advent of virtual academic institutions such as Khan Academy or Coursea?
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Are you thinking about planning a project using Microsoft Project? I listed some notes on what information to gather in preparation to developing your Project Plan.
Determine your final deliverable and/or list of deliverables. The gathering requirements phase will be very important to planning and ultimately executing your project/goal.
- What are your project’s work breakdown structures (i.e. tasks/work that need to be completed)?
- Have you determined summary headers (group headers of logically related tasks (WBS))
- What are the milestones (key events of a project such as a beginning or completion of a deliverable)
- Who or what will be working or are needed to complete the project (Resources)?
- What is our project’s availability (Calendars for the project/resource or task; need to know when the tasks, resources, projects are available)
- Are there any deadlines?
- How much time will each task take?
- How are tasks dependent on each other (finish to start, start to start, start to finish); Per UMT workbook, generally, all tasks and milestones must have at least one predecessor and one successor
- What are the fixed and variable costs of your resources? What is your project's budget?
- How will you categorize your task types (fixed duration, fixed units, fixed work)?
- Should you add contingency tasks to the plan?
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Head Wind into Tail Wind, by Alan Abelson
- equities extended longest winning streak since 2004, S&P is up above 1500
- new claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 330,000 this week
- per Floyd Norris, inventories of unsold houses are lowest in decades, and it is now providing a stimulus to the economy
- Abelson doesn't believe there is any real credibility to a possible war between China and Japan
That Uneasy Feeling, by Kopin Tan
- 9 out of 10 stocks are above their 50-day averages, "a sign the market is becoming overbought in the short-term"
- S&P is trading 14 X projected profits
- stocks make up 35% of assets of US pension funds (long term average ¬44%)--> so there room for further equity buying
- Michael Hartnett, BofA Merrill Lynch chief investment strategist, "Central-bank liquidity has been by far and away the most important driver of asset prices since the great financial crisis."
Friday, January 25, 2013
Bismillah. I have been listening to The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, Josh Kaufman. I listed some notes below.
Viewing your mind as a muscle.
Invest in yourself
How to work effectively with others?
Relationships are based on power, influence vs compulsion
Influence is more effective, people naturally desist being forced
Do things that increase you reputation and skills
Comparative Advantage (CA), Ricardo calculated that specialization is better than making everything yourself
Focus on what you are best at
CA explains why diverse teams are stronger.
Everyone had a fundamental need to feel important
Being present and focused
What got you here will not get you there. Putting down people leads to ineffective conversation
Share facts, tell your story, ask for other's story.
Treat people with appreciation, courtesy, respect,
When you assign a task, tell the why as well. Give the intent behind your plan. This allows people to act to changes.
Take responsibility and assign specific responsibility
Monday, January 7, 2013
The United States government’s gridlock in the legislative houses, fears of dipping back into a recession and forecasts of 2% GDP growth lends itself to a cautiously positive economic 2013 outlook. Even with modest US GDP growth in 2012, the consistency of 34 months of job creation and stronger investor confidence led to strong 2012 stock market performance (e.g. S&P 500 gained 13.4%, Nasdaq Composite Index gained nearly 16%). In a global sense, contraction of many Eurozone member economies and less than 1% mean GDP growth for Eurozone demonstrate that developed economies are not growing strongly. Emerging countries such as Turkey are showing stronger economic growth (4%) and thus potentially are more attractive to investors.
Global grind: The world economy’s woes are far from over, forecasts Robin Bew:
Jan Hatzius on 2013- projects later half of 2013 to have greater growth:
Russell Investments 2013 Global market outlook:
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/t-rowe-price-us-economic-outlook-2013-2012-12?op=1#ixzz2H1f4qPLO
Interesting read about the importance of focus on projects/day to activities. Tony Schwartz advises his readers to avoid multi-tasking and to give one's undivided attention when working on a project/task. In addition, Tony believes that it is important to complete most important tasks in the morning, take breaks during the day and to plan meaningful/complete vacations from work.
To read more, click on the link below to read full post.
It is interested that in the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he would turn his face and body to someone when he spoke to him.