Art of the Start-up!

After a long time, I’ve felt like writing something on this blog. So now I’ve joined a start up and we work on hot shot technologies like developing Android and iPhone apps. There’s something really interesting that I’d like to tell about working in a start-up.

Lately, I’ve noticed that working in a start up is way better than working in an established company. I’d just like to mention a few reasons why is it so:

First of all, you don’t have to follow orders. You don’t have a manager. You have the freedom to make decisions. You have the freedom to make commitments and stand up to them. You have the responsibility of taking a task and carrying it out smoothly without extending the dead line.

Next, you get to meet new challenges everyday. You will learn something new everyday. You will work on hot shot technologies everyday. You will make things happen everyday. You’ll make some end user happy everyday. Now, the previous line is the heart of this post. I’ve started writing this post so that at some point I’d come to this particular line and describe it in detail. Well, prior to working in a start up, I’ve worked in an established company. Let me tell you no matter how much I’d work I was never satisfied because I did not know who is it that I’m working for. The end user always used to be a black box for us. But now we do know who our end user is and so we put our soul in making an application to make him happy.

Yet another great aspect of working in a start-up is you don’t get indulged in some boring meetings where all you do is just update your weekly status. If you have an idea, you just go ahead and make it happen. You don’t need to discuss it with “the wise guys” to know what you are doing is right or not? You’ll learn it anyways sans the unnecessary gyaan.

So that’s all I have to say about working in start ups. If you are looking for something to learn everyday and not for money, then start up is the thing for you. And then who knows, may be someday when your start up becomes a major hit, you might as well be sitting on a pile on currency notes 🙂

That said, the only thing I miss about working in an established company is “sweets at my desk”/”ooo” mails. 😛

PS: Any good books that you have come across lately, junta? If yes, do recommend. 🙂

Adolescence

I was eating paani-puri at a local thela when suddenly I got a call from an unknown number. I put down the saucer and attended the call. A strange voice asked me to come down to the police station as I had skipped a traffic signal in the city and I carried no license. I was shocked, how could someone call me for skipping a traffic signal? Everybody in the town does that. And even if they have noted down the vehicle number in the dim light of the night, the registration details drawn out of the database would clearly indicate my father’s mobile number and not mine. Then how in Devil’s name did someone get my number? And how did he know that I wasn’t carrying a license? I was completely at shock and started to apologize without even knowing whom I was speaking to. Then all of a sudden I heard a boisterous laugh burst out from the caller’s side. Somebody was making a fool our of me. I couldn’t recognize the voice. Later he confessed who he was and I laughed out with such an extreme joy that even the paani-poori guy was taken aback with my excitement.

It was an old friend of mine who was playing a prank on me. We’d studied in the same school till 10th standard. He asked me to come down to Delhiwala Sweet shop. It’s not a hangout place as such, but it is an important landmark in the city and everyone knows about it. I went to the shop to see what was he looking like, coz I hadn’t seen him in like 8 years. There he was, along with 2 more guys from my class. As soon as I approached the venue, they all started to make funny faces to tease me regarding that phone call. After a while, I too gave in and that short coincident get together turned out to be a memorable one as the school time scandals of Javed and Khalid started to unleash. I had almost forgotten everyone after going out of the school as I had other big plans in my mind and as there were no means of communication in those days to be in contact with the old guys. I’d lost all my contacts with school friends and now I truly regret that.

Those were some really sweet memories. We kept chatting for an hour or so about the whereabouts of other friends and then came the hottest topic of the day. It was about our Physics teacher.

Almost every one from my class had a teenage crush on her. Everyone tried their best to impress her in the class. Some of them by wishing her Good Mornings and Good Evenings every now and then and some others by staring at her continuously without blinking their eyes off. I, on the other hand, tried some sober techniques. I tried to get good grades in her subject; told her about the latest achievements and discoveries in physics; and pointed out her mistakes, at times, to make her know what kind of a perfection-lover guy I was. But none of them worked out. Alas! However, as I see it now, at least I made a nice attempt and I’m sure she loved me for my honesty and my dedication towards understanding physics as a young student and for my effort in the exams to stand out at the top of the class. But then one day we came to know that she was engaged to a NRI guy and was about to get married. Anarchy prevailed in the class and all the students were upset. After all, it was their first pseudo-break-up :P. Their first crush was getting married to a bloody NRI. There were even fights among some group of students who thought that thinking about the teacher was their own prerogative.

I mean, can you believe that? I had no notion about that but that little get together unveiled these facts and I couldn’t but resist myself from being awed at listening to these scandals.

A friend in that group maintains a database of all the scandals that had happened during and after the school time and starts narrating them whenever there is a company to hear to him. As usual, he started narrating the sexy school time scandals and my memory kept going back to those adolescent school days when I didn’t know what made women different from men, why is there an attraction between these two sexes and what drives the impulse to such an attraction. That was the time when I had no idea what I was going to do with my life;  no idea how to talk to the opposite sex(as I had studied in a boys school); and no idea, whatsoever, of what porn was.

Well that’s how I was, and I guess that’s how everyone at that age were like. But later on we have developed and we came to know of all these things and we too, like others, were thrown into the web of conscience to find our own way. And the happiness in being ignorant had lost; the happiness in being shy towards the opposite sex had vanished; the happiness in being adolescent had disappeared.

No matter how much I think about being adolescent again, I’d never have such an opportunity again. But given a chance, I’d definitely like to go sit in those classrooms with all those idiot friends of mine and attend the class of my physics teacher.

At the end of our conversation, I could see a happiness in everyone’s smiles but I could even see the numbness in their eyes. A numbness created by the nostalgia and a strong craving to re-attend the school. We promised each other to keep in touch and to organize a get together of the whole batch soon. After giving a tight hug, we parted our ways. 🙂

You too might have had an interesting time in your adolescent days, if so, do write a post of your own adolescent days and paste your link in the comments!

CAT or 20-20?

I wonder how many people reading this post are the CAT-result-victims! I, too, am one of them. But, I do not feel guilty of screwing up the exam badly. On the contrary, I feel happy that the following thought struck my mind. It wouldn’t have struck had I qualified the test.

Here, I’m demonstrating a simple game (it is analogous to Cricket) just that the rules are not defined properly.

Here are the rules of the game:

  • There are 20 overs in the game.(20 questions)
  • A player can chose to play as many overs as he/she wished. (you can mark as many questions as possible)
  • Every over has 3 balls to play.(QA,DI,VA)
  • Runs are allotted only for SIXERS*. (Only if your answer is completely right)
  • If you dodge the ball, and its not a SIX, you will be considered OUT, and negative runs** will be awarded. (negative marking)
  • If you leave the ball untouched, you will be zero runs.
  • Total score of the player will be declared only at the end of the innings.
  • Umpire (prometric) is always right.

* Here, I did not mention that 6 runs will be awarded for hitting a SIX. I just want to say that some runs will be awarded if you are able to hit the ball hard enough to cross the boundary directly.

** Again, I did not mention how many negative runs will be awarded. Let’s say some negative runs are awarded.

That’s it! It’s a simple game. Ain;t it?

Game Theory says that for every action, the player will think about increasing his total Utility. In this case, Utility being his total runs scored. Now, since the marking criteria is not mentioned, a very very very very very very very very rational player, simply assumes that the criteria can be the same as it was the last year, last to last year, or even the year before that.

Let’s take the case of the the most rational player on this planet. Always remember, “you” are the most rational person on this planet. He assumes that the marking criteria is +4 for a correct answer and a -1 for every wrong answer that he attempts.

Simple, isn’t it.

Let’s now calculate his risk taking ability. Since he assumes that, In every 5 questions that he attempts, if exactly one is correct, it would do no harm to him. And the score for multiple correct answers will always be in his favor.

1 correct   :    +4

4 wrongs   :     -4

total            :       0 (zero)

So, in this case, his risk taking ability will be high. He will mark more questions assuming the above strategy.

Similarly, let’s assume that he thinks marking system will be something like: +3 for a correct answer and -1 for a wrong answer.

Now, his risk taking ability would certainly decrease by some amount. In this case, he’d be ready to attempt 4 questions blindly assuming that even a single right answer would do no harm to his score.

1 correct   :    +3

3 wrongs   :     -3

total            :       0 (zero)

Similarly for a +2, -1 system :

1 correct   :    +2

2 wrongs   :     -2

total            :       0 (zero)

Worst case Scenario, let’s assume that he assumes, +1, -1

1 correct   :    +1

1 wrongs   :     -1

total            :       0 (zero)

In this case, no one would dare attempt a question as long as one is damn sure that their answer is correct. I even feel that some people might be so insecured that they keep wasting their time on the questions they have already attempted just to make sure that they are not wrong. Because, in a condition like this, every wrong answer will balance out your every correct answer and every failure is equal to every other success. And, there is no learning in an exam hall.

It is true that risk taking capacity of every student is different. All that I’m trying to show here is that risk taking is directly dependent on the marking scheme of the examination. As long as the marking scheme is not properly mentioned, how can a student be confident of taking a risk? And the IIMs are definitely not looking for people who take blind risk, or are they?

So here we were playing a game with a blank scoreboard in front of us without knowing what strategy has to be applied and when.

Now I understand that Schrödinger was not just a genious, but he could see the future too. He was so very true when he said :

the CAT remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened.

Well, When I opened the box, my CAT was already dead and she was stinking so badly that I could hardly breathe. 😛

PS: I am not trying to prove anyone right or wrong in this post. I have just made an attempt to put my thoughts into words so that others whose CAT, just like mine, has been found dead/missing, would not lose hope and start questioning their abilities. 🙂

pyar diwana hota hai

There are many old songs which strike the chord whenever I listen to them. This is one of them. This one is more special than the others because the lyrics have been chosen carefully and was executed beautifully. Here are the lyrics:

प्यार दीवाना होता है .. मस्ताना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

शमा कहे परवाने से परे चला जा
मेरी तरह जल जायेगा यहाँ नहीं आ
वो नहीं सुनता उसको जल जाना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

रहे कोई सौ पर्दों में, डरे शर्म से
नज़र अजी लाख चुराए कोई सनम से
आ ही जाता है जिसपे दिल आना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

सुनो किसी शायर ने ये कहा बहोत खूब
मना करे दुनिया लेकिन मेरे महबूब
वो छलक जाता है जो पैमाना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

प्यार दीवाना होता है मस्ताना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

These lyrics fascinate me the most. Especially the lines

वो छलक जाता है जो पैमाना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

First of all I must agree to the fact that there is no language better than Urdu to describe the feelings hidden somewhere deep inside the heart. Most people would not know what a “Paimana” means. What  a pity! One could never understand the meaning of any lyric unless one is not aware of the words used in it. Well, a paimana is the goblet holding the wine. When the wine is filled to the brim, a small amount of wine falls off the top making a sound “chalak”. The lyricist here wants to say that that small drop of wine will always fall off the brim, it is unaware of the happiness/sadness for which it was being filled in the paimana. What a beauty!

Another such line is:

शमा कहे परवाने से परे चला जा
मेरी तरह जल जायेगा यहाँ नहीं आ
वो नहीं सुनता उसको जल जाना होता है
हर ख़ुशी से हर ग़म से बेगाना होता है

These lines once again prove that Urdu is a very romantic language. It compares the obsessive behavior of a small insect(parwaana) which sacrifices its life for the love of light(shamma) to a mad lover. In these lines the lyricist wants us to know that even the shamma is madly in love with the parwana that it asks him not to come nearby. But the parwana wouldn’t listen coz he’s blind in her love and he’ll sacrifice his life no matter what anyone says.  And again, it is unaware of the happiness/sadness of this act of his.

Now-a-days we hardly see lyrics as beautiful as these ones. And for that matter one must appreciate the work of late Mr. Anand Bakshi. Many new lyricists use the shamma-parwana relationship to describe things. However, this song remains close to my heart because apart form the lyrics, Kishore Kumar’s legendary voice had done the magic too. This song is truly a masterpiece.

PS: Whenever I come across any such nice song, I’d immediately write a post on it. Till then, Bye!

The monk who sold his Ferrari – excerpts

These are a few lines from the book which left a deep impact upon my life. My daily activities have changed a lot. I’ve always heard about people who are health conscious, diet conscious, but for the first time in my life, I heard the phrase time conscious. I liked it a lot.

Excerpts:

Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.

Life is all about choices. One’s destiny unfolds according to the choices one makes.

Investment in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.

Dare to dream that you are more than your current circumstances.

The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.

The price of greatness is responsibility over each of your thoughts. – Churchill.

Persistence is the mother of personal change.

Luck is nothing more than the marriage of preparation with opportunity.

The best thing you can do for yourself is regularly move beyond it.

Stop being practical.

Never be ashamed of doing that which is right.

Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.

Only those who seek shall find.

Imagination is more important than knowledge                                  – Einstein.

* Goal setting is very important.

You will never be able to hit a target that you cannot see.

5 Simple Steps to achieve the goal:

  1. 1. Form a clear mental image of the outcome.
  2. 2. Get some positive pressure.
  3. 3. Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it.
  4. 4. Magic rule of 21.
  5. 5. Smile…

Pressure can inspire on to achieve great ends.

A goal not committed to paper is no goal at all.

Never do anything because you have to. The only reason to do something is because you want to and because you know that it is right.

Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all living beings.

A burning sense of passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams.

Change is the most powerful force in our society today.

Those whose cups are always empty will always move to higher levels of achievement and fulfillment.

How could a person possibly lead a corporation if he cannot even lead himself?

The only limits in your life are those that you set yourself.

Make a written inventory of your weaknesses.

The next step is to face them head on and attack your fears.

Happiness comes through the progressive realization of a worthy objective.

Focus on those things that your conscience and your heart tells you to do.

A book is the best friend of a wise.

All the mistakes you will ever make are already made by those who have walked before you.

The only way to improve your tomorrow is to know what you did wrong today.

We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh        – William James.

You sow a thought, you reap an action. Reap an action, you sow a habit. Sow a habit, you reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as to think.

–          Emerson.

Failure means not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less.

Every arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of one hundred misses.

Failure is your friend.

When spider webs unite, they tie up a lion.

Lack of willpower is a mental disease.

Truly enlightened people never seek to be like others.

Wisdom without proper tools of its application is no wisdom at all.

The first step is to start doing the things that you don’t like doing.

You have the power to be more than your environment. Similarly, you have the capacity to be more than a prisoner of your past.

Keep pushing yourself. Nothing great has ever been achieved without tired and timeless efforts of the wisest people on this planet.

The trick is to keep setting the mark higher and raising your standards continuously.

Planning is equally important as Goal-Setting.

To achieve 100% results in planning, have the discipline to focus your time around your priorities.

Enlighten people are priority driven. This is the secret of time mastery.

Having the courage to say NO to the little things in life will give you the power to say YES to the big things.

The best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. The second best is today.

Never be the prisoner of your past. Be the architect of your future.

Realize that the most noble thing you can  give to others is your time or your energy.

A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses – Chinese Proverb.

Compassion and daily acts of kindness make life far richer.

Take the time to meditate every morning on the good you will do for others during your day.

Every dawn is a new day to the one who is enlightened.

The past is water under the bridge and the future is a distant sun on the horizon of your imagination. The most important moment is NOW.

Never put off happiness for the sake of achievement.

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

Live for today – there will never be another one quite like it.

Life doesn’t always give you what you ask for, but it always gives you what you need.

Simply follow the path of your dreams, in full expectation of the bounty that is certain to flow.

You don’t observe things Dr. Watson, you just see them.                   – Sherlock Holmes.

Everyone on this planet is a wonder of this world. Every one of us is a hero in some way or the other. Every one of us has the potential for extraordinary achievement, happiness and lasting fulfillment. All it takes are small steps in the direction of our dreams. Like Taj Mahal, a life overflowing with wonders is built day by day, block by block. Small victories lead to large victories. Tiny, incremental changes and improvements will create positive habits. Positive habits will create results. And results will inspire you towards a greater personal change. Begin to live each day as if it was your last. Starting from today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do. So not be denied your destiny. For what lies behind you and what lies in front of you matters little when compared to what lies within you.

Pushing my limits

All these days I was busy doing different activities and even though I had a lot of time to blog, I wasted it by watching some crappy movie or by chatting with my friends. I must agree that laziness rocks to some extent but that is definitely not the solution if you want to achieve something in life.

For these many days, I went to swimming and I’ve reduced around 5 Kgs weight in 2 months. This is the only good thing I’ve done in this period. But all of a sudden in the last month I felt very nostalgic(since these are the last days of my college life. And I’m gonna miss my college life to a great extent) and utilized most of my time for writing testimonials to my friends. I wont say I wasted my time, coz it was, indeed, valuable but it made me more lazy and I was kinda sinking in the sea of laziness. I thought of doing many things to overcome this laziness, but I was not able to do them. But today, I took things a bit seriously and for no particular reason, I thought of jogging for 10 mins.

At first I thought, I would jog for 10 mins. But while doing this, something struck my mind and I came to a realization. “Failure is only when you give up“. How true! And so I kept pushing my limits and jogged for 15 mins. It is true that the last 5 mins were like hell, but the satisfaction that I got after completing 15 mins was something I can’t explain in words. All I can say is that all the effort put, all the pain I’ve felt was definitely worth it. I felt as if “All power is within me. I can do anything and everything as long as I want to do it“. I never felt like this before. It was like a source of inspiration for me. And hence I’ve learned my lesson that if one wants to succeed in life, one has to push his/her limits. Well, in my case I was just trying to overcome my laziness, but whatever I told here applies everywhere.

And hence, from here onwards, I will try to keep pushing my limits in every aspect and make more out of this small life. 🙂

PS: My last days in college 😦

PS2: read “The Road Ahead” by Bill Gates. Nice book.

My first poem

कॉलेज के दिन बचे हैं चार
रंगों से सब पर बरसाओ प्यार
चाह कर भी ऐसे मौके नहीं आते बार बार
ये वक्त की कैसी आंखमिचोली है
आज तो रंग लगा लो यारों
बुरा न मानो होली है |

कहीं रंगों की बौछार
कहीं पिचकारी की धार
किसी के फटे कपडे तो किसी ने खायी खूब मार
बड़े ही उत्साह से रंगों के ये पुडिया हमने खोली है
आज तो रंग लगा ली यारों
बुरा न मानो होली है|

Book of the week: “The story of my experiments with truth” – Mahatma Gandhi.

PS: This is my first poem. 🙂 🙂 🙂
PS1: Stopped drinking/smoking after reading the book.
PS2: Feeling very nostalgic … 😦

What did I learn?

I’ve learned a hell lot of things from life. The most important thing being “never judge anyone by how one looks/behaves”. I have seen people with brilliant minds who never got an opportunity to be in the spotlight, to be on the screen because they come from rural/poor backgrounds. These people behave very differently. I mean, the way they look, their walking style, their talking style and all that. It doesn’t seem natural. So is the case in their approach of solving some problem. It seems unnatural too, but a good outcome/solution of the problem is guaranteed and that too in minimum time. I’ve seen many 9 pointers failing to do some problems which a 6 pointer can do in a very less time. But when it comes to interviews, CGPA matters and these people lose the opportunity of getting into companies. I hope interviewers do look for some guys internal talents and not the external make-up one does in order to crack the interview.

So all I wanna say is that there are people in this world who doesn’t look as we, the normal people, do. But their thinking capacities are definitely better than that of ours. And the best example for this is Forest Gump. 🙂

Storytelling

As I discussed in my previous post, there are many types of learnings. Learning by experience, classroom coaching, etc. Recently, I’ve realized that there’s another form too. Learning from stories. Its sounds childish, right? But the fact is it actually works better than classroom coaching. There are several examples in literature with a mention of learning from stories. One such important name is “The stories of Panchatantra” by Vishnu Sharma. If you’ve not heard about him, you can read about him on web/wiki.

What makes learning from stories important? OK. Consider this. These days I see a lot of political terms everywhere. I don’t really understand them. What do I do? I refer a dictionary or I read it from wikipedia. But still I’m not able to understand the meaning of the words. Inadvertently, I stumbled upon a site where I read a short story which clearly explains all these political words. That’s why I wrote it as a post on my blog as a remnant. Now, I understand the difference.

One always remembers the hare and tortoise story throughout one’s lifetime. Why? Because it has a moral. Every story has a moral.

The moral of any story is ” Every story has a moral “. (That makes it recursive. Btw, recursive names and acronyms are very catchy to look. Isn’t it?). Learn it, practice it. It makes you wise.

PS: This is a very nice presentation. It was one among the top rated presentations of 2008 [courtesy: slideshare.net]. Do read it.

Stay hungry, stay foolish

Stay hungry, stay foolish. This line was first quoted by Steve Jobs while giving a speech to the 2005 grads of Stanford University. Having attracted to the beauty of this line, Rashmi Bansal, an IIM-A alumni, wrote a book on the lives and success stories of 25 IIM-A alumni, who are India’s biggest entrepreneurs today.

Stay hungry, stay foolish is a book where every entrepreneur has his own version of story but the abstract thing is the same. SUCCESS WILL NEVER COME OVERNIGHT. There will be adverse conditions, there will be tough times, but you have got to believe in yourself, your idea(which could revolutionize the world) and keep fighting. You might even fail a hundreds of times. Failure is not an effort wasted, its just an attempt to reach success.

After reading the first chapter, I realized that criticizing somebody’s work is easy, but doing it better than him/her is indeed tough. You don’t know how much effort that person has put in doing the work. That reminds me of the quote “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes“. I always wondered what walking a mile one’s shoes meant! But now I came to know that no effort should be discouraged. You never know when that effort  will put one on the peak of success. And that day you will regret criticizing the effort, the same effort that made one successful.