Saturday, October 27, 2012


Break into VC

What do you do as a Venture Capitalist ?

VC vs PE
in summary :

It depends on your goals – if you're trying to make the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time possible, PE is better.

If you're from a pure finance background and you like the work and transaction experience you get in banking, PE is better.

If you're more interested in starting your own company one day, you prefer relationships to analysis, or you want a better work-life balance, VC is better.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why companies Hire Consultants

Today's post departs from its usual focus on recruiting to take a 5,000 mile view of the consulting industry and its purpose.

Consultants can have a negative reputation – charging $2 million for 12 week's work
that results in stacks of PowerPoint slides, all of which are archived into a dusty closet (digital or otherwise) soon afterMcKBain Group leaves the premises.

When consultants' recommendations are implemented, employees often argue that the actions are not beneficial and don't reflect day-to-day business realities.

That's one side of the story.

Below, I'll paint a more positive (and personally held) view on the 6 reasons why companies hire consultants. Through it, you'll have a better view on business consulting and the consulting industry as a potential career.

1) Staff augmentation – the least impactful role that consultants can play and self-explanatory. Companies often have short to medium-term staffing needs (in the case of government work, this can extend for several years) due to a variety of factors (eg, recent downsizings, sudden expansion). Consultants in this situation "plug a hole" for the company by filling the role of full-time employees. While expensive, it's common work for operational consultancies (eg, Deloitte andAccenture) and, to a lesser extent, for government consultancies (eg, Booz Allen)

Further reading: Interview with a Booz Allen consultant

2) External change force aka "political cover". It can be hard for companies to do what's right (sacred cows and all that jazz) – particularly when it comes to job layoffs, salary and benefit changes/reduction, major operational and strategic shifts. Hiring consultants can be a way to reach the desired conclusions with sufficient political cover in case certain parties are unhappy (eg, a displeased Board or disgruntled employees) or things go wrong ("Despite the significant cost uptick, we implemented BCG's recommendations to the letter – I'm not sure what we could have done better")

3) Best practices across industries and functions (eg, organization, supply chain) – consultants have the rare privilege of:

  • Serving multiple clients in the same sector (eg, Beverages, Enterprise Software)
  • Serving multiple clients facing similar problems across different sectors (eg, Latin American expansion, Southeast Asia outsourcing)

This enables them to recognize common attributes of effective solutions, applying lessons learned in applicable situations. This knowledge is partially institutionalized at each consulting firm (in the form of white papers, databases, post-project reviews, etc); however, much of the information exists in the collective heads of partners and to a lesser extent, senior consultants.

A former McKinsey partner put it best when he called business consultants "masters at reinventing the wheel"

4) Analytical horsepower

A corollary to staff augmentation, companies may need help solving issues and executing strategies where their skillsets and knowledge are insufficient. Consultants can be of great value given their training and capabilities. A note here on big vs boutique: big consultancies have abreadth of resources that they can bring to bear on problems (eg, data mining and analytics, primary market research). Boutiques may have specialized expertise on specific dimensions (eg, retail pricing best practices, financial industry benchmarks).

Further reading: Global consulting firms versus boutiques

5) Fresh perspective

Companies often need a fresh set of eyes – you'd be amazed at the amount of value consultants can add based on the most mundane observations and insights. Critics contend that this is an example of consultants selling "glorified common sense", but for front-line client employees, it can be easy to fall into daily routines without a critical eye towards measurement, analysis, and improvement.

6) Training and skillset augmentation

I'd argue that every consulting project – particularly ones with heavy client interaction – incorporates client training as a major ingredient. The best recommendations are worthless if clients can't implement and maintain suggested changes. Thus, a large part of what consultants do is educate client employees on necessary knowledge, skills, and mindsets.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


1. Soundbar - Renasas R8C MCU + Intersil DAE-4p
    a. remote control
    b. LED / LCD indicator
    c. 2.0/2.1 channle
    d. 4 buildin sound effect
    e. different EQ settings
    f. Wired/wireless subwoofer

2. 2.4G remote control - Nordic solution LE1 + LU1 
    a. PWM output
    b. buttons to report page up/down
    c. working mode indicating

3. NEC IR protocol - MSP430 implementation

4. UPS Control - Freescale JS16
     USB HID Power class

5. Remote Keyboard - Nordic solution
6. FTK touch pad for windows 8 - ST solution, absolute value, support windows 8 multitouch gestures.
    a. convert I2C data to USB and report to windows 8
    b. ST MCU to convert touch panel data to standard USB HID data
    c. support mult-touch and gestures defined in windows 8
    d. need more to enable track pad.

7. Remote Keyboard + touch pad - nordic + elan
    a. remote key board CAP led
    b. paring scheme
    c. switch touch pad running mode
8. DALI lighting slave MCU - freescal SH8
    a. IEC 60386 - 101/102/107 standard
    b. extra input to smooth PWM output
    c. over heat protect
    d. analog signal to adjust output