Open Letter to Clients

From the Desk of:  Sam C. Chan


Review: A Decade Later  *  Candid Self-Evaluation  *  Looking Forward  *  Enigma

July 7, 2007
(with minor revisions on 7/11 to clarify a few points)

Dear friends,

It's my 2nd "historic" communiqué in my entire career. Here's my 1998 Open Letter. Only 10% of you had email back then! It's interesting to see how my road map had actually unfolded. And... I had to joke about my wedding... How embarrassing! I blame it on the mile-high thin air I was breathing, and that very reflective occasion.

Part I:  A ReviewAlmost A Decade Later

I did go on to have a brief semi-professional photography career (1996~2003). MP3 is now pervasive. In 1997, my music server, access to all my music from any room with custom playlists, were considered "pointless." The Bravo ACE Principles (1992) are now known in some circles, and became the basis of other doctrines. The timely billing pledge saw limited success: 2 steps forward, 1 step back. My response to service calls remains impeccable throughout. I also kept my vow on "comprehensive knowledge, sensible approach, refreshing perspectives, technological visions, personal integrity..."

On improving utilization & leverage: After 2 decades of supporting other consultants, I formally established the comprehensive partner program in 2002, and Bravo Partners Portal in 2004. My billing ratio is unchanged as I deferred that transition until 2008. I did drastically reduce time spent traveling to conferences in the past 5 years, which affords me the luxury of more research hours, and a writing career.

My 9-year service on the board of directors for SUNY Brockport College Foundation ended. I'm remaining on the External Advisory Committee for Computer Science dept. at SUCB. A new phase and form of public service commenced on September 11, 2002: FACETThe Trinity of Sam's Pet Projects.

"Policy formalization" took place as planned. Codification turned out to be my forte. Marketing of Encore! server line with PMS was scrapped, as I embarked on a 3.5-year intensive training program, transforming Vicky from a rudimentary IT tech to a very respectable junior pro with solid background. My vision of "pilot web evolving into full fledge communications tool..." materialized, exceeding expectations spectacularly. Most notably: Memos, Go!, Info and Tech Depot. In fact it's a world-class leader against even IT providers 100x the size (superior signal:noise ratio, more comprehensive).

Part II:  A Candid Self-Evaluation & Revelation
Wanna peek?  I'm lifting the lid on this jar of madness.

As an IT Professional

By virtue of my extraordinary tenure (27 years), consistent focus and track record in the IT industry in general, and SMB segment in particular; along with the breath and depth of my research with high strategic relevance; I regard myself as an authority and visionary in my field. This phenomenon unfolded naturally over the past decade.

I have proven myself a superb problem solver. I'm under unique circumstances which afford me the independence, objectivity, willingness and ability. I strive for a perfect blend of scientist, entrepreneur and social advocate. I'm one of the few true consultants in the entire industry─not another merchant in disguise, or misguided hobbyist.

I consistently stress: "Solutions, not products. Expertise, not hype. Rationality, not ideology"; in stark contrast to those touting buzzword du jour with keyword-triggered responses. Transparency, well-articulated doctrines and coherent methodologies; instead of seat-of-the-pants fudging. Preparedness and sound research, vs. learning by fire. It's self-evident that my above assertions are well-founded.

What security problem? What SPAM? What performance issues? It's the process, stupid (to paraphrase James Carville). A little strategy and know-how goes a long way. Do it right, from start. The 15% sites among you where I have CTO-class jurisdiction for over 20 years are a shining living testament.

Personal Dispositions & Aspirations

As a typical quirky intellectual, I have a highly imaginative and massively associative mind. I expect to be taken at face value—which doesn't mesh well, in a society where flattery is mandatory, and things are routinely discounted to account for the fudge factor. I have always been incisive, analytical and perceived as argumentative by some.

I practice my "need not, want not" motto.   I sneer at all things superficial/deceptive.   I have what I term organic non-conformity (for sensibility sake and merit-based), vs. artificial (for the sake of rebellion and showmanship). I'm careless in tact, out-spoken, but not at all vengeful. As I am on a mission, my writing style is decidedly provocative, at times verging on bad taste. As an engineer, dry facts & brutal honestly are preferred.

I have a broad range of interests: films, culture, linguistics, politics, philosophies, music (classical, folk, French), poetry, camping/hiking (fmr. 76th HKG Boy Scout troop leader), gardening, cooking, electronics (as in soldering & schematics), carpentry and aviation (logged 55 hours, soloed in Piper Cherokee N55655, 1984, Ray Highland School of Aeronautics, Rochester International Airport).

Enigmatic Paradox/Paradoxical Enigma: (A hidden tribute to Vicky)
  • Truly pragmatic and passionate, simultaneously
  • Madly intense & impatient, but surprisingly calm
  • Deeply poetic & sentimental to some, matter-of-factly to others
  • Vigorously blunt & opinionated, yet obviously born to please & serve
  • Incredibly astute technologist, but totally foolish businessman
  • Confiding & intimate on some levels, while distant & aloof at times
  • Kernel of a decisive General, with shell of a pacifist
  • Youthful & emotional in personality, mature & logical in methodologies

My perspectives, allegiance* & wisdom (PAW) transcend cultural & national bounds. Here, within the U.S., I have achieved empathy (and the ensuing trust and respect) across a wide spectrum of socio-economical classes. I am equally at ease mingling with Fortune 100 CEOs/university chancellors, or conversing with a peasant worker or studentall the while being genuinely engaged.

I am now a "self-appointed vanguard for truth & fairness."  This represents an upgraded claim from "self-appointed cross-cultural ambassador, shattering myths..." which since 1992, was part of my 25-words-or-less "elevator speech" and mini bio that I submit, as an invited speaker/panelist. Relax! I only speak out against the utmost despicable fraud and atrocities, in IT and politics. I believe in leewaylots of it.


On lapses of lacking in tact and refinement, I plead for your continual accommodation.  If it is of any consolation: I make up for it with good intentions. There's also light at the end of the tunnel... it's the Ripe-Old-Age Express! At 44, I'm just one smash hit away from becoming Mr. Mellow.

At the risk of sounding like an excuse: I do view tact & grace as a double-edge sword. The risk of becoming a sycophant is all too real. That's partly why I was never able to whole-heartedly improve in that area. Not enough fire under me will also starve my passionwhich is vital fuel for my supersonic speed.

Steadfast & Unwavering

Winning in and of itself doesn't excite me, as I have conquered plenty. Losing hardly discourages me, as I've been well-forged to endure defeats & tribulations. I march on regardless, toward lifelong goals. Resiliency & incorruptibility are my trademarks.

On Compliments & Criticisms

Genuineness is paramount! I frown at insincere obligatory compliments. Spurious flatteries dispensed at strategic moments for the blatant purpose of inducing favors are the worst, and will backfire. I value brevity over profuseness. Concise praises citing plausible reasons why you're impressed are most appreciated.

A word of advice: This goes for most engineer types that are highly competent and well-regarded in their respective fields. Frankly, I have amassed enough ego points to last 3 lifetimes, without even trying. I do not seek approval. Let's debate in earnest. Rest assured: no swollen head here. I know where I stand on the stupidity scale.

I am the definition of continuous obsessive refinement. Constructive criticisms are life-blood and genuinely welcomed with open arms. Don't sugar-coat. Complain early and often, not cumulatively! Be factual, and refrain from emotional baseless accusations. Learn the differences between forcefully assertive and unprofessional behavior.

Part III:   Looking Forward

After 27 immersive years in IT, right from its inception, I have thoroughly observed, analyzed and mastered its dynamics. The gradual discovery of it as a microcosm of the world at large** became my prism and training grounds into the social/political advocacy arena. Obviously, my knowledge in sciences/technologies lends tangible logistical advantages. It also serves as my reality grounding. With a background in philosophies and knowledge management, I now actively pursue these 4 tracks:

Politics, Religions, Education/Teaching, and Linguistics

I pride myself in being able to reconcile my professional/personal/spiritual life and actions, without glaring inconsistencieswhich indicate hypocrisy and ulterior motives. My prophetic inner self is emerging: It's my true calling, and I must answer. Some say I am "pathetically" prophetic, or too ambitious, unrealistic, hard working, stubborn, and too "smart" for my own good. They'd be right if one defines "good" as financial success. I don't.

I know how to prioritize and strike a balance. Like a good General, I have the good intuition to make acceptable short-term tactical concessions, in order to preserve and foster long-term strategic goals─principles that I hold near and dear, and a world vision I yearn for and deem feasible.   Hello, World!  Adieu ma ville, à moi le monde !

As I announced in the 11/21/05 Bravo News:   Social advocacy shall not take
a backseat to business activities. This does not represent any departure of policies.
It is simply an embolden official declaration of a 2-decade long practice! 

Remember: Strategic advantage derives not from technology itself but from broad and sensible integration and coordination of processes, functions and technologies. Sometimes, the slightest tweak can... (maybe I really shouldn't digress...)

Thank you! Be well.

Until next time...   (in another 9 years?)

"Official" Music Designation

The Bravo Anthem
Just Wave Hello - Charlotte Church

Sam's Song
Je suis moi - Françoise Hardy

*  One of the most misunderstood, misused, and misleading word. Essay on that coming soon.
**  I shall illustrate & prove this "universality hypothesis" conclusively in the coming years.

Bravo * Memos * Open Letter 1998 * Early History * Essays * Quotes by Sam * Eyeful Tower * Contact