Billy Fung

Managing Risk

Billy Fung / 2018-08-29


I really haven’t been blogging much and it’s resulted in a lot of thinking that I haven’t been able to express my thoughts into concrete opinion. 2018 has been quite a year of learning different skills and exploring what I lack in certain areas.

With the growth of the company I’m in, I’ve noticed that I spent a lot more of time figuring out what people actually want, versus what they think they want. This innate problem is quite interesting because there are multiple ways to skin it up, different levels of the onion.


This all became apparent to me when my coworker left for holiday, and I became the person who fielded all the questions that was asked of her. There is probably another blog post in there about communication within a startup. Whenever you get asked a question, it’s normal to immediately try to answer it. This is often the case even in the work place, and when I started getting bombarded with one off questions had to reevaluate how I spent my time.

I often stress that I refuse to accept meetings or attend meetings without descriptions, and this isn’t because I just hate meetings in general. This because I’m not able to offer immediate thoughts and opinions on a topic and I much prefer to formulate more concise and useful answers. I apply the same strategy to answering impromptu questions/tasks that are asked of me.

What is the real problem?

This is a skill that requires spending time asking it repeatedly and figuring out what are the real questions that need to be asked. Often I find that when somebody asks for something, it’s usually to satisfy an immediate concern, but if it’s possible to find the root and solve that instead, then that would be ideal.

But what has all this to do with risk tolerance? Well when questions concern business decisions, looking at the different levels of the question will involve looking at the risk as well. There is low risk to answer the immediate question and get on with the next task, but this might lead to another question, or an improper decision. So like all things in life, you will need to look for a balance that provides the optimal solution for the situation. Of course everybody would like to solve the root problem, but often that problem is much more complicated than expected, and would take too long.

All this has lead to me not writing heaps of code, but thinking about answering problems, and how to design a solution that is optimal. More on design later.