Yu-kai’s Predictions for 2009

(A Dramatic Entrance Into the New Year)


Supposedly one of my talents is to consider a lot of variables and elements and see how they tie into the long-term big picture (I thank my chess training for that). I thought that may come useful to do one of those “New Year Predictions” kind of thing. I’ll admit, some of this is no-duh common sense, but that’s how a lot of the prediction’s I’ve seen are, so bear with me. Hopefully I have some kind of non-obvious insight:

1. In a recession economy, Green Collar Jobs will be the expanding field. I say this because all the resourceful parties are focusing on environmental sustainability, consumers are demanding green products, company employees are demanding their firm become socially responsible. The Government is working hard to use the Green Economy to boost up the other sectors. Venture Capitalists are putting money into Clean Tech, and Universities are putting in loads of research budget into it. When the earth is dying, green is one of those field that is recession free. Afterall, everyone can fulfill their childhood dreams of saving the world.

2. China will consolidate its economy while India will have a higher market penetration in the offshoring business. I have heard many experts from China that they are concerned that their economy is growing too fast without people being prepared for it in terms of growth infrastructure and cultural. The global recession will actually help them consolidate their economy and also let them shift their focus from exporting to their own 1.3 Billion consumers. India, on the other hand, is fully geared to become a larger service player to the US. Especially after outsourcing philosophies like “The World is Flat” and “The 4-Hour Workweek,” concepts like outsourcing your life will become predominant as people try to do things in cheaper ways.

3. Twitter will become mainstream and introduce a non-intrusive monetization method to test the waters with no difficulty. People who become prominent early on Twitter will get paid for it as consultants. There will be hundreds of Twitter Apps and Tools that are built while Twitter keeps its interface clean, and they might buy a few more of these apps/tools.

4. Virtual Worlds growth will slow down due to the recession, but will still become more and more dominant. Companies and Businesses will look further into how they can take advantage of Web3D as the next wave of Web 2.0. Its cheaper, more interactive, more fun, and more efficient.

Continue reading Yu-kai’s Predictions for 2009

Career Centers in most universities are crap


After I got my first speeding ticket ever in my life because I was unaware of being behind a speeding car (the cop stopped both cars), I found myself in the perfect mood to write something I am angry about. Apparently a person has more guts when his head is hot.

After thinking about what is grossly upsetting in society and has a large impact on peoples’ lives, I was reminded about the incompetencies of many university Career Centers that my friends and I have experienced.

University Career Centers hate it when others want learn about their performances

To start my story, I’ll begin with the study my company Future Delivery, which helps Gen-Ys find great careers, tried to do on Career Centers earlier 2008. In hopes that Career Centers would work with us and use our free tools to help students more efficiently, we contacted over 50 top university career centers, asking them if we could do a study on how well they help their students and potentially creating a ranking for them. Most of them ignored us, half a dozen of them politely rejected, one school responded with enthusiasm (will praise later), and some responded in a hostile manner.

While we were still contacting the career centers, we actually got a very upsetting call from the UCLA Career Center(sadly my Alma Mater). Yes, I’m calling you out UCLA, because I want you to be better. Instead of just demanding me to take this off, please improve your ways first. UCLA told us that they heard about what we are trying to do, and they are very angry. They said they were at a Pac-10 Career Center Conference (didn’t know those existed) and Future Delivery was brought up. All the schools were very upset about our “study” and said they would not let us do this.

So we told the UCLA Career Center that we just wanted to see how they are helping their students, and also will also talk to university students to see if they feel helped by the career center. We thought the career center might as well talk to us too and so they can promote all the positive things they do.

UCLA not only refused, they prohibited us from talking to the student body about it, claiming that “I don’t think what the students say about the Career Center is an accurate measurement of how we help the students.” I thought that was pretty ridiculous. What else is a good measurement? How much funding they get a year?

Continue reading Career Centers in most universities are crap

Why are Gen-Ys Less Loyal to their Employers?



I’ve often heard from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers that Gen Ys have very little sense of loyalty, how they would quit their jobs for monetary incentives, and that by the time a Gen-Yer reaches 30, they would have 7-10 jobs. A company would put in so much effort, energy and money just to recruit this tech-savvy generation, but sees the hard work become futile as it fails to retain them for more than two years. What’s wrong with this generation? Why can’t companies with billions worth of revenue satisfy their needs? Here are my 4 reasons why Gen-Ys are less loyal to their employers than previous generations:

1. The Gen-Ys have observed that corporations are not loyal to them either.

Companies stress employee loyalty, but the Gen-Ys have their eyes open on how the companies will do anything to make more profits. IT World says it well when they stated “Generation Y saw first-hand what their Baby Boomer and older Gen X parents got for their loyalty to their employers during economic downturns: bupkus. They saw their parents get laid off. They saw their parents’ pensions disappear. They saw their parents get meager severance packages.” When a company does everything it cans to make already-richer people richer, the Gen-Ys feel no pain in finding something that pay their bills better.

Continue reading Why are Gen-Ys Less Loyal to their Employers?

Crazy Things People Search About Asians on Google

Click this link to see my latest post on how Diablo III uses Gamification to become so addicting

So when I was a second year in college, I wrote a blog about why do Asian kids study like crazy. I claimed that its the culture and value systems that make the difference, not the actual race. Growing up in South Africa, Taiwan, Kansas and California, I would know something about cultural differences. Also, I am FULLY convinced that racial differences and stereotypes are a big part of our society, and the solution is not to taboo everyone that mentions such, but to speak about it in a civilized manner with the purpose of finding a solution in being open-minded, mutually tolerant and respected.

With that said (especially to get me out of trouble a little), this blogpost gathered tons of traffic from people searching on Google. You can see what people are searching for and trying to understand. A common theme you can see are: parents, study, math, school. This is partially funny, but partially horrible. Some of them are obviously asian kids trying to feel good about themselves, others are other ethnicities figuring out why their classmates have no life. It even goes as ridiculous as one person searching “is there anything wrong with a white kid liking an asian kid.” Duh! Of course its not wrong! (as long as you like the person for the right reason ūüėČ )

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to show this phenomenon to people, one for a good laugh, and two to see how people are privately exploring the racial topics when its so publicly taboo. The metrics are by this order:

Keyword Uniques Pages/Visit

“how to study like an asian¬†¬† ¬†66¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians study so much¬†¬† ¬†34¬†¬† ¬†1”
“study like asians¬†¬† ¬†30¬†¬† ¬†5”
“how do asians study¬†¬† ¬†19¬†¬† ¬†1”
“stereotypes of asians¬†¬† ¬†13¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians kids¬†¬† ¬†12¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study hard¬†¬† ¬†11¬†¬† ¬†1”
“study like an asian¬†¬† ¬†9¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians study so hard¬†¬† ¬†8¬†¬† ¬†1”
“university of caucasians lost among asians¬†¬† ¬†6¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid stereotypes¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kid studying¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents are too crazy about grades¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians studying¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†1”
“china looking for asian kids models¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†3”
“crazy asian parents¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how do asian students study¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†4”
“how do asians study?¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†2”
“why are asians so successful¬†¬† ¬†5¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian study hard¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians study¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†1”
“getting asians to like you¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how much do asians study¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†4”
“how to study like asians¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians study more¬†¬† ¬†4¬†¬† ¬†1”
“all the asian people are good at math?¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“are asians really smarter¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids study¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians and studying¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†2”
“how long do asians study¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how many hours do asians study¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how to save money like asians¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how to study like an asian student¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“view of asians in society¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians crazy aim¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†7”
“why do asians do so well in school?¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians do well in school¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians study¬†¬† ¬†3¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid gpa¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids study all the time¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents ivy crazy¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian stereotype boring study work hard¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians “”””high stress””””¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asians always study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians always studying¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians and academic elitism¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians good at math¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians smart at math in university in canada¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study a lot¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study so hard¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians value higher education¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†4”
“asians, studying¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“crazy asians¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“crazy things asians do¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian kids study a lot¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians feel that education is important¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians like mexicans¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians value education?¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“family guy asian kid do math¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how do asian kids study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how do asian people study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“how hard do asians study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“how many hours do asian kids study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†4”
“how to compete against asian kids¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“how to study like asian¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“study hard asian¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“studying like an asian¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“the way asians study¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“what do asian people believe about exam stress?¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why are asians always studying¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why are asians good at everything¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why are asians good at math¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why are asians smarter than americans¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why are asians so competitive¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“why are asians so competitive?¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†2”
“why are asians so smart¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why asians study hard¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why can’t blacks just work harder like asians¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asian children do well in school¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians do better in school¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians like math¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians like ucla so much?¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†5”
“why do asians stress education¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians try so hard in school¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asians value education¬†¬† ¬†2¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian guy”””” brain “”””white guy””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asian kids do well””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asian parents pushing kids academically””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asians are climbing up the ladder””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asians study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“caucasians lost among asians””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“university of caucasians lost among asians””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“why do asian”””” + “”””model minority””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“+asian kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“a certain amount of asians allowed in colleges?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“after school do asians really become successful¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“all asians are rich stereotype¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“all asians do is study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“all the asian people good at math?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“an essay on whether asian kids are under more pressure than other kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“are asian kids really smarter than everyone else¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“are asian people really smarter¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“are asians actually smarter¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“are asians good at math?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“are asians really smarter?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian academic comments kids 2009¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian children & education stress¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian culture and the value of education¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian culture crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian culture excellence in education + suicide¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian culture getting rich¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian don’t like blacks¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian education system doesn’t work¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian family marry status ivy league good job¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian getting into college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian guy danny lam¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid are sucessful¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid at college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid excellence¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid gets a degree¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid homework¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid in american school¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid in college at 10 years old¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid stereotype¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid suicide¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kid type not good at english¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids aiming for ivy schools¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids and college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids do¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†11”
“asian kids do not study all the time¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids do well education¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids going to ivy league¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids good at everything¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids good in math¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids in college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids ivy league¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids lifestyles¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids like to compete with each other¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids live off parents¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids math¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids polite¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids smarter¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids smarter than american kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids study how¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids study no life¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids study too much¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian kids under stress¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids us comments 2009¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids why is school so easy?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian kids work hard¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian like to have more children¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parenting crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents are crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents are crazy about grade¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents beating kids for bad grades¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents driving kids crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian parents ivy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents push kids to get elite degree¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian parents putting education pressure on their kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents study tuition¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian parents too strick in studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian parents-prestigious degrees¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asian people like studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian people studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian school system crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian stereoypes math good grades¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian students crazy study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian students don’t give up in mathematics like americans¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian students get straight a¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian students studying lifestyle¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asian study like crazy¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians “”””good at everything””””¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asians “”””means to an end”””” college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1″
“asians are crazy about disney¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†4”
“asians are more studious¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians are not good at mathematic study hard¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians are study guys¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians desperately want¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians do anything to get into good college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians do bad in university?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians do well academically¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians education values¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians getting into ucla¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians good at studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians good grades¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians good in math¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians harder getting into college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians kid¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians kids are very smart¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians like to show off their kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians only care about prestige college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians people studying¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians prestige colleges¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians really smarter?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians smarter than others¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians stereotype study doctor¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians stereotypes¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study a lot of math¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study all day¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study engineering¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians study math everyday¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians study more than others¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians studying for doctor¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians studying together¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians try to hard¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians value education¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“asians value of education¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians who aren’t good at math¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“asians+kids+to study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“be successful like an asian¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“caucasians lost amongst asians¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“climbing social ladder education asian americans¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“climbing the social ladder, asians¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“college asian kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“common asian parent stereotypes¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“cool asians kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†4”
“crazy about asian thing blog¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“crazy asian kid¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“crazy asian parent¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“crazy asian people at uni¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“degrees asians like¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do all asian children go to school¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do all asians study all the time¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do american kids give up to fast than asian kids?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian blog?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian children appreciate education better than western children?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian children practice more then american¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asian go to school free¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian kids go to school?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asian people study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asian students really¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asian value education more than western countries¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians and indians study do better in school¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians blink¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians do well in university¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians get less jobs than whites¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians get minority status for college admissions¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians have a hard time seeing¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
“do asians have best academic people¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“do asians have to study¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
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“it isn’t fair that asians have to work harder to get into college¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“ivy league asians study habits¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
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“study asians are smarter than others¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
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“why asian parents value education¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
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“why do asian kids do better academically than black kids¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asian kids do better in school?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
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“why do asian kids score better on sat tests¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”
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“why do asian kids study like crazy?¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†1”
“why do asian kids study so hard¬†¬† ¬†1¬†¬† ¬†2”

Making sense of the Financial Crisis

I’m sure you all know by now about the Financial Crisis that’s been going on lately. But why did it happen? What does it mean to us as a country? Before anything, lets have a quick summary of what’s going on (I keep it updated as the days go by):

In a very short amount of time JP Morgan took over Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac were nationalized, Lehman Brothers filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, and both AIG and WaMu are in serious trouble. The Government is now putting in $85 Billion to own 79.9% of AIG, in hopes to make an eventual liquidation event less dramatic. JP Morgan is looking to buy out WaMu too. Out of the big 5 investment broker-dealers, only Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are relatively out of the mess, but still have reported huge losses this year.

Lehman’s bankruptcy would be the largest failure of an investment bank since Drexel Burnham Lambert collapsed amid fraud allegations 18 years earlier. AIG has $1.1 trillion in assets and 74 million clients in 130 countries. If it falls apart, the world will definitely fall into some financial chaos (come Fight Club?).

So why is this happening? It’s primarily because of the nature of our economy. The United States economy is run on two things: Credit and Confidence. People lend money, live above their means, and look to pay it all back with their next 30 years of steady income. That’s why credit card companies are making big bucks here in the US, but less so in other nations. Also, the value of certain entities is not based on how much value it can PRODUCE, but more on how much value it is TO OTHERS. That instantly creates a “virtual economy” : something that works because everyone imagines it to work. In essence, money is a virtual good too. It is only worth something because everyone agrees that it does. A farm is a real good, and it produces real value that keeps people alive. However, people start to agree that a virtual good is worth many times that farm, and as long as you can convince the next person that this virtual good is EVEN more times that farm, you are fine. That’s why when people lose confidence in their currency, hyperinflation like what happened to Germany takes over, and the virtual goods on peoples’ hands become 1/10 of what they were worth yesterday, and everyone comes back to recognize the value of the farm. Unfortunately, it is not the farm owners who become millionaires, but the virtual goods people who go broke.

So how does this Credit – Confidence model lead to what is happening today? Early on, during the real estate inflation, Confidence was high, and a lot of bad loans (Credit) were thrown out there. Later on, people couldn’t pay up with their mortgage loans, and the Subprime Mortgage happened. This is the part where Credit goes bad. The economy tanked, and mortgage companies like Countrywide lost a lot of money. Confidence at this point is not looking stellar.

During this time of Credit gone bad, the 30x leverage that Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers had (for every $1 of asset, they had $30 of debt) wasn’t helping either. Bear Stearns fell apart when Confidence broke and all the entities were trying to withdraw money from it, causing it to be bought by JP Morgan. Lehman continued to suffer from heavy losses based on the bad Credit with the “Subprimates.” It was only holding on by Confidence too. Late August (and this is of course 2008), state-controlled Korea Development Bank engaged in talks about buying 25% of Lehman for $6B. However, it was reported that the Korean bank was “facing difficulties pleasing regulators and attracting partners for the deal,” and they withdrew from it. At this point, Lehman lost its last currency of Confidence, and while debtors wanted to pull money out, Lehman became insolvent and had to finally declare bankruptcy.

Now the Confidence factor is very tricky. It is like the prisoners dilemma in game theory. If everyone felt confident about the situation and kept their money where it is, then things will go fine. However, whoever withdraws their money will be safe themselves and screw over the rest of the people. In order not to get screwed over, everyone becomes the first to withdraw their money, and the system falls apart. This then becomes a situation where fear of a disaster is also the cause of that disaster, quite a self-fulfilling tragedy.

Does a nation have to live by the Credit-Confidence Model and go through this? Not necessarily. However, basing your economy on credit and confidence does make it grow a lot faster during boom (high confidence) times, just like wealth can grow faster if you borrow money to buy a house, and the guy down the street thinks its worth more than what you bought it for. The other side of the flip coin is that it also falls a lot harder when everyone is chasing after the same virtual good with relatively little end value. It is more of a choice based on cultural values. In Asian countries, most people live on the cash they have at hand, save a lot, and mostly start businesses that can be run by retained earnings or profits from previous businesses. In the US, more people rely their standard of living on credit cards and mortgages. The US lives on a huge international deficit, claiming that all is fine as long as it is somewhat relative to the GDP of THAT time. The US is set in a model that is bound to rotate between explosion and depression.

What does this mean for us? In a plane economics model, we should cut down on credit and increase inconfidence? If we all felt safe and do business as usual, things might work out. However, that’s not going to happen. We are all doomed into the “citizens dilemma” of trying to protect our own rights before thinking about the common good, particularly when you are sure that the other guy would do the same thing. When everyone stands up in the stadium in hopes to have a better view of the game, no one can see again. It will only take awhile before the brave optimists start to regain that confidence, somewhat of an “early adapter,”¬† and have that confidence spread across the nation again. That’s when you see the explosion in economy and a new hand of billionaires again.

As for now, you should definitely think about saving (maybe not in US dollars), consume less, and go on sites that get you a job.