Monday, April 26, 2010

Value of time and NGO speak

I have wondered for the longest of time why chess cannot flourish in Malaysia and why we cannot get sustainable corporate support eventhough chess training gives a critical solution that the corporates are crying out for.

Let me use a PICA example and view it from 2 different perspective. From the NGO and from the Businesses.

For the Syuen Tournament, I brought in a banquet hall as venue. Add all the other perks like VIP room, VIP parking, staff to help in setting out, serving etc, parking for officials etc. I am told the value of Banquet Hall is about RM10k. But never mind, say the total value of everything is RM8K. Now in business, a favour asked is a debt which needs to be repaid at some point. In Syuen's case it was a debt to me for the services rendered in the past. In other words, in business, contacts, goodwill are business resources which can be converted to tangible value.

Now on top of that I was personally running around for 2 months, doing the registration, collecting the money and managing the website, securing the sponsors etc.

And I was spending my own money for petrol, admin charges for writing letters, phone calls etc. etc. I estimate my own out of pocket at around 2K plus (all that against an income for RM1.7K which doesnt even go to me :)). No salary, no reimbursement of expenses. So net tangible outflow is over 10K and my time is not even factored in.

So I think very obviously it doesnt make any commercial or business sense. But that is what NGO's do (At least in chess).

As a businessman I would have been shot to bring such a venture to my partners. In business, time is money. My time has a cost to the company, they pay me a salary, pay other staff, pay for overheads, pay my expenses and on top of that they expect to make a reasonable profit. And they expect me to bring in deals in line with their strategy, their direction.

So what happens when the 2 worlds meet? There is a problem right?

The NGO's do not have the right expertise, capital, marketing know how, contacts etc. etc.

And one comes from a culture where time has no value. They are not paid to bring in results. And the other comes from a culture where time is money and they are expected to bring in the results, the profits.

Until there is clarity on these issues, we will not have resources to bring in that first GM. In the current model, the partnership keeps breaking down. Therein lies the problem.

The corporates have a need, thinkers that can perform under pressure. The NGO's have a need, the funds to promote their programs. So big question. Where is the meeting point? How do we partner? Can we partner to solve a need?

Another interesting point. It is very possible that businesses can bring in extra value and at a lower price if it is well conceived and receive coorperation from all. That is the current experiment.

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