Shipmaker who traveled across Africa and Gulf #faces

Isa Ismail















Name: Isa Ismail

Place: Mandvi, Gujarat

Occupation: Ship architect [wooden ship]

In my quest to discover how ships are built at the backwater port of Mandavi, I came across this 60 year old stalwart individual.Isa bhai, as I respectfully call him had a flourishing career in building wooden ships, a trait he instinctively inherited from his forefathers. Mandavi is a small township in Gujarat that was once famous for building wooden ships at its serene beach.

Over a cup of chai on a makeshift wooden ship which was currently under maintenance, Isa bhai shared his story with me. He tells me that today the market for wooden ships is bleak and so survives on  maintenance of existing wooden ships that are brought to him for servicing. The maintenance of a single ship can take more than five or six months to deem fit. They only work for 6 months in a year due to the influence of extravagant weather conditions. With a team of 25 odd carpenters and helpers, Isa bhai is currently working on fixing a wooden ship traveled from Oman that is in a sort of pathetic condition.

I was eager to explore the ship, but Isa bhai disapproved my request advising me to do so at my own peril. It was a good forty minutes spent discovering the ship and understanding the craft that goes into making a wooden ship.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


Thoughts after attending Gophercon India


At the successful completion of the first-ever Go conference in India, I was proud to be part of the Go programming centric event ‘GopherCon India’ held in my city,Bengaluru. I’m Atul Jha, community manager for The New Stack and I absolutely had a great time participating at the GopherCon  event held last week.

As part of the open source languages, Go also referred to as golang, is a programming language that was developed by Google. The Go language community in India organized the GopherCon India to showcase the importance of this language by inviting esteemed speakers from around the world to share their experiences of using golang.

Organizing any event is no cake walk and I can definitely relate to it after helping organize and Open Stack India Day. The stipulation to be successful includes striking a performance balance with sponsors and guests alike. Meeting demands and satisfying audiences is largely challenging, but in the end the results of the event speak for themselves.

At GopherCon India, the event saw an invitee list of about 350 participants from various part of India and abroad. Gophercon mainly showcased developers but free tickets were sponsored to students to participate and they did justice to the invite.I was fortunate to get a chance to interact with some highly skilled set of people from veterans, colleagues and a good set of golang contributors.

Here is my note analysis of the event from my perspective that made me believe in the success of attending GopherCon India. Looking forward to their return soon as the overall event was indeed prosperous and very effective for learners like me.

  1. Look out, Go is turning out to be an interesting language especially due to its attractive feature of concurrency.
  2. At the conference, many speakers highlighted that companies are investing in moving their infrastructure from  Python, Ruby, Nodejs to Go.
  3. Go makes static packaging extremely seem accessible which prevents the need for innate  dependency.
  4. Unlike in some other programming languages, with Go you have to keep an open mind & ignore the idioms of the older programming languages.
  5. Go is still evolving. For the same number of CMS or frameworks in php/python, Go offers a few,namely Revel, Goji, beego among others.
  6. Like any other growing open source project, documentation is one area where Go needs assistance.
  7. Docker is written in Go, incase finding a job is your prime motivation
  8. Go community is very welcoming & inclusive to all. If you find yourself brimming for completion, all you have to do is just ask for help.
  9. Go is already used in various interesting domains like image processing, IoT, electronics and they proclaim that it is just the beginning.
  10. At the event, I made some fine friends and I am hoping to stay in touch with for sure. It was really captivating to be invited to visit Mexico & Romania by some of my companions.  .

Visit to start using Go. I am hopeful with regular meetups in India, we will be able to build a greater community of Go in India and start seeing more contributions from India as we are doing with Python, Ruby, OpenStack and many more.

On Mentors


Last year, around the same time, I was in pain, kinda suffering, a little frustrated among many things. In simple terms I was totally screwed with my life and I prefer not mentioning those depressing reasons here.

So anyway, 4 things happened to me that kind of put me back on track :

  1. I packed my bags & went to my classmates hometown in Nagaland. During my stay I attended his uncles funeral. He passed away due to heart attack. It was a sad moment for my friend & his family, atleast I was there for him at his time of need.

— I learnt a hard lesson, life is truly about living today not living for tomorrow.

—  When we die neither our twitter followers or our bank account accompanies use. We go alone leaving all our assets behind.

  1. Somebody re-tweeted a post by James AltucherLive Your Life As If Everyone Else Was Going to Die Today”. I liked the post and started reading and listening to his podcast. Here are his beliefs:

— Money is not everything, it will come and go.

— Happiness is key to everything.

— Things don’t happen automatically, you have to work hard for it.

— Failures are part of life, you have to learn from it and move on.

— Its good to be crazy, sometimes!

— Ask for what you want and never be afraid to ask for help.

  1. While reading this  blog post  of James Altucher I got to came across another inspiration Kamal Ravikant and his book called “Love Yourself As If Your Life Depended On It”. I immediately purchased the book and spent a whole day reading it. Here is what I learnt:

— Your life is most important for you.

— You get one life to live.

— Eat healthy and think well.

— Practice yoga and listen to good music.

— Take failures in love and life as learning lessons.Don’t feel bad about it just learn from it.

— Do things which make you happy. Meet people who are happy.

  1. Who Will Cry When You Die?” by  Robin Sharma. I was in the bookstore when I came across this book.If I remember correctly it had about 26-27 chapters in all. Here is what I read :

— Time is now.

— Don`t regret about the past.

— Take failures in stride as important learning lessons.

— List out things that will make you happy & start working on it.

Why This Post?

I had a twitter conversation with Deepthi & so I am writing this for her. Hope it turns out useful for others as well.

BTW, how am I doing now? What is my current state?

I would summarise my life to be more meaningful, happier and peaceful. I am living my life every single day. I’ve traveled across  different cities [1], eaten some crazy insects[2], started writing regularly, meeting interesting people and now doing extraordinary stuff [3]. Life is indeed good!





Notes from Steve Jobs documentary

I’ve always been an advocate of free software which simply gives users the freedom to run the software for any purpose. Gradually, my application of thought towards free software is changing and I would say that it is mainly because you cannot impose software on users. While some find it easy to use, for others it may be more complex than anticipated. In the end, it is all about good choices, what works for somebody may not necessarily work out for you.


Everyday at lunch, I relish browsing Youtube for inspirational documentaries from software pundits. One such documentary I recently viewed was from the highly successful American entrepreneur, marketer,inventor and cofounder of Apple Inc -the very remarkable Steve Jobs.

Personally, I always kind of believed that Steve Jobs was just a great marketing guy but after watching this video on Youtube, I immediately realized he was much more than that.

Here is my keynote analysis on the man’s marketing & leadership qualities that turned Apple into a multi billion dollar company :

  • A true leader must be a visionary & peoples person, Steve was loved by all his coworkers and peers for these traits.
  • The pillar of a successful enterprise depends on the strength of its team and is not an individual’s ideals.
  • Customer feedback and suggestions are vital for business growth. It is very important to listen/understand/learn from all customer suggestions.
  • We are already living in a complex world which makes our task of producing products that are simple for everyone to use more challenging.
  • Cut down costs on competitive products and instead create a marketing strategy which makes your product stand out in the market.
  • Connect with customers requirements & you have won half the battle in the consumer market.
  • Always believe that you are never to old to learn anything new whether it is a new skill, language or creative assets, experimenting is the best form of practice.
  • When times are tough, it is important to make crucial decisions setting aside the emotions.
  • Your biggest rivals in the industry are also your biggest teachers. They possess different qualities that you can learn from and teach you, so keep them in the loop. Bill Gates & Steve Jobs shared a very cordial relationship.
  • Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, ask for, help and you will find it useful. For instance, who would have thought that Microsoft would once bailout Apple
  • In some ventures, Apple’s ethics were tested, but Steve Jobs effectively invented the first modern computer mouse by taking the concept from Xerox which many questioned.
  • In his quest for inner peace, Steve Jobs visited India & learnt about Buddhism.
  • It is not always about making money.Sometimes it is about doing what you love and having the faith in producing what you dream of.When Steve Jobs made a reentry in Apple,the company saw a whole new level of success.
  • Always have an open mind. Listen and observe around you and learn from what you see and experience.
  • When you pursue a dream, you don’t have to block your life because of demanding society. Life will take its course if you pursue a dream. From college to securing a  job, settling down in marriage with kids and finally a grand retirement is only inevitable for successful dream chasers.
  • Stay hungry, stay foolish.Always aim for more and most importantly, spend every moment being happy.

The question I asked myself after watching this documentary and then writing this post is whether I am not smitten by Apple and their products? I dont think I am.

I see things differently, and learning more about Steve Jobs struggles to success has just open up my mind to believe that not all things are as peachy on the surface as they tend to look.

Someone aptly said that even your bitter foe has something worth learning from.In the process, I am starting to accept everyone’s belief with an open mind.


Brave Young fighter[life] #faces









Name: Mahesh

Location: Gogamba near kalol Gujarat.

Profession: Male Nurse/ helper to surgeon.

I met Mahesh in Gogamba where he was appointed as my local guide. This 23 year old smart young lad with a thin body frame knows everything about surgery/medicine.His current profession is a surgical nurse, assisting medical surgeons and astutely picked up his skills. He can be described actively independent. At a very young age, Mahesh had to leave his studies after the sudden demise of his father and immediately took charge of his family’s affairs. Being the sole breadwinner, he takes good care of his mother and wife.

At the tender age of 20, he married into an inter caste for the love of his life. At refreshments, I asked him about his love story that left me amazed. He always loved his wife and courageously took care of her expenses when she moved to his village. It was not easy to care for his mother and wife, he had work multiple jobs 16 hrs a day.

On on journey around Gogamba, we visited the nearby dam and also waved at the local singer in town who stopped singing and turned it a bus driver now. Mahesh mentioned that the internet and piracy were responsible for this untimely state who had to make ends meet  by driving a bus to take care of his family.

Just before leaving, I informed Mahesh about sharing this encounter and took his permission to publish this post to which he confidently nodded.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


Notes from Crash Course on Startup Boards with Brad Feld









While grazing my twitter timeline, I stumbled upon this recent post from Brad Feld titled The First Board Meeting and as I was going through the comments I found this video on youtube that you can watch for more detail.. Here Brad is describing efficient ways to participate in a board meeting. Brad has attended over 1000+ board meetings and he asks requests his attendees to review his books on amazon and other platforms to gain assistance and ideas of being part of a board meeting.

I made a simple notes of the entire conversation as I found it really engaging. Here are my pointers on the same discussion :

  • At times you may have members of the Board clueless about products.
  • An over absorbing board member could be painful at the meeting. Founders will have to understand and listen to him/her while at same time focus on the business.
  • Ideally, you should restrict to not more than four board meeting in a year.
  • The function of the board should not be defined as just a governing body, but be inclined to help business grow where Board members should invest in creating goals to elevate company standards and setup necessary objectives.
  • Just like leadership, setting up a board is no different and should lead and be able to extend leadership qualities over a period of time.
  • A board must include trusted mentors, advisors with discrete helpful or supportive roles to play. The dynamics among board members must be cordial and to the betterment of business.
  • Lack of commitment of board members can ruin the company. Identifying the right people at different stages should compliment the skillset and fill in the gaps.
  • The CEO must have clear vision and preferably a rulebook in place that includes building agreement among board to evolve & resolve conflicts.
  • The CEO should have a lead director where they go to for suggestions in case of conflict where in most cases this person is identified as the lead investor.
  • Advisory boards are proxy setups for getting networks & name drops on slides for the investors. If present, they should be given some equity to get into the engagement cycle for commitment.
  • Board meetings are meant for discussions and should not be ruled by opinions.
  • It is ideal to send out the board packages atleast 48 hours in advance or just use Google Docs where everyone can read, collaborate, comment and have the pitch in place before the commencement of the meeting.
  • The CEO should inform the board members and investors what his/her expectations are.This provides a sense of realism which is important for investors.
  • CEO should not invest more than 5%  of the time in managing the overall board
  • An ill formed board can destroy the company. Invest in collecting and forming a board that is definite to take the company to another level.

You can find the list of books by Brad Feld on Amazon. Also, please read this blogpost for details or follow him on Twitter.   

Meeting a happy farmer #faces









Name: Deepak Patel

Location: Somewhere outskirts  of kalol, gujarat

Occupation: Farmer/land owner

Deepak Bhai is in his mid 40’s, somewhat short with a well built physique whom I met at a party organised at a farm. He mentioned that during his college days he brazenly asked his parents for a MAC which they flatly denied for obvious reasons and financial constraints was not the primary reason. The main reason being the lack of knowledge of using the same was pretty evident.

After pursuing his graduation, he decided to become a farmer instead of following route like his relatives who pack up and move to the US.Curious,I asked why he did not follow to which he wholeheartedly informed me that he wishes to do something in India, why not bring the good of US to India, if possible? I could see that he has carved a niche for himself and his town. With welling eyes and beaming pride, he tells me he started working at this farm with just a bicycle to transport him and now hard work and God’s good will has generously upgraded him to drive cars/vans/trucks.

I was overwhelmed with his dedication to service and could not hold myself back and left after embracing him with nostalgia and pride of this countrymen.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.

#BJP lost Delhi assembly election but why?


After a crushing defeat in the Delhi elections, #BJP top leaders are reexamining the results to determine what hit them. The tidal wave of the #AAP has swept the #BJP in an unrivaled act by #Kejrival and #AAP.This landslide victory for #AAP routing the #BJP and #INC is casting a spell of #AAP magic on the upcoming elections in UP and Bihar? We have to wait and watch.

As a citizen of India following politics of the country, I can only pen my analysis as follows. Here are some points which I believe proved crucial to the #BJP defeat and I’m hopeful they learn from it.

Never ignore local leaders.
It was surprising to see Kiran Bedi projected as the potential CM candidate instead of HarshVardhan or Vijay Goyal. Both these leaders have been in this party for ages and seemed more deserving especially since they are deeply connected with the party workers.With her political background in question, it seemed ironic for BJP in this election to flaunt Kiran Bedi as the face of the party.

National & state politics are run on different agendas. BJP should acutely focus on some local states agendas like the water issue in Rajasthan or electricity and law & order in Bihar.

Stop mocking/mud shedding opposition.
Every politician especially after this poll result will realize that in any election rally mockery and insult will not win votes. People are not fools, they need answers & solutions from their leaders.

Stop over spending on media and ads
Media acquisitions and ads are all catchy, but that is not money well spent. Social media is available to reach out and connect to the masses, not humiliate or turn hip overnight. Whoever is responsible for handling the media should pay more attention to positive outcome. I suggest to spend the money in helping youth cadre of the party to reach out to locals.

Avoid indulging in ridiculous controversy
Ridicule statements from party leaders opposing women to not wear jeans or every hindu giving birth to 4 children is what binds the BJP in contempt. The public is intelligent and as literate youth of India, this kind of absurdity is not entertained.

It should be noted that BJP vote bank is still intact but avoiding the above could have positioned them better in Delhi Election.



Congrats #Kejriwal & #AAP, time to deliver.


In the Delhi elections, AAP and #Kejriwal had victory written all over  Delhi that left the BJP smitten[Although its vote share still remains intact] by the AAP effect. The BJP’s defeat indicates some intrinsic shifts in political formative not only in Delhi but maybe across the nation. Just like Modi swept India in the 2014 elections marking the dawn of an endeavoring India, AAP ran the same predicament in Delhi and eventually swept the elections.

As the common man, #Kejriwal has produced a shocker in a good way with a thumping win over their opponent. Not sure if Kejriwal or Yogender Yadav had any inclination of victory but credit goes to #AAP populist agenda and garnering voters sympathy to form the next government.

Here is what AAP has promised Delhi, the question remains, will they deliver or will dejavu set in for AAP ? We will have to wait and see.

1) Full statehood to Delhi: This would bring the brash police force and scrutiny to ‘law and order’ away from the central government and under the control of the Delhi government.

2) Electricity, Water and Sanitation: Electricity bill to be halved. A promise of 700 litres of free water to be delivered per household.

3) Education system: Opening of 500 new schools and 20 new colleges with transparency to Nursery and kindergarten admissions and monitored tab on school fee structure.

4) Healthcare: Health Cards, free ambulance, eradication of Dengue and a 24 hour helpline will be provided to Delhi residents.

5) Women’s right and safety: Adequate street lighting, CCTVs in public space including  public transport. Setting up of Woman’s security force among other measurements.

6) Wifi City: Delhi will be made a wi-fi city with free access to all residents.

7) Jan Lokpal bill: AAP has once again resolved to pass Jan Lokpal bill that would put all public officials, including Chief Ministers, Ministers and MLAs, under that purview of investigation.

In conclusion, I’m hopeful this time and do not expect #Kejrival and AAP to throw similar tantrums if they lack support from the central government. The onus is on #Kejriwal and company to deliver the goods to the public, who, in a democracy like ours, makes or breaks the term. In jest, I’m banking on autowalas to go by the meter & Mr #Kejrival and his party workers to work from an aam aadmi point of view.


Also stop giving these kind of statements, it scares hell out of me. I will be the last person seeing you sitting on dharna without delivering.



Also read on Reddit about delivery of your promises, it says.

AAP has 1825 days to keep their promises of

– 500 new schools

– 20 new colleges

– 1500000 CCTV cameras

– 200000 public toilets

So at an average,

– a school to be started in every 3.65 days

– a college to be started in every 91.25 days

– a CCTV to be installed in every 2 mins

– a public toilet to be build in every 13 mins

All this will be funded by 50% cut in electricity tariff, VAT reduction, free water and WiFi….


So better start working from now. 

Chacha 80 year old with a heart of gold. #Faces









Name: Nadir Khan aka Chacha

Location: Rann, Gujarat.

Occupation: Retired, caretaker of a tea shop.

If you’ve ever been to Rann Of Kutch, Gujarat you would immediately associate this place to the wild west due to its rustic charm and desert ambiance. Surrounded by the mighty Thar desert, there is no dearth in colour. In the midst of the arid air, we encountered a warm hearted individual with a twinkle in his eye, we call him Chacha affectionately named by the locals around. I would say Chacha sits at a small tea shop  just about 5 kms before entering the desert and serves just the kind of refreshment you need before stepping into the desert – a piping hot cup of chai( or tea).

Chacha, a 6.5 foot tall 80 year old gentleman instantly makes contact with us enlightening us with a broad welcoming smile. I walked upto him and instantly greetings were exchanged. He tells me he is enjoying retirement and is now the caretaker of this tea stall owned by his two sons who are gazzetted officers with the Government.

In conversation, I came to know that Chacha is quite a celebrity.  He  worked as a darban(gatekeeper) across major cities in India and sternly believes that home is where is heart is, right here in Kutch. Interestingly,he tells me that he was featured in various documentaries & had short roles in few Bollywood movies. Politicians & superstars know him well as they stop by at his tea stall on the way to the desert.

He is an ardent fan of Modi and thanks him profusely for Runn-Utsav for bringing job opportunites to the desert laden region of Gujarat.He informs me that religion is unbiased, everyone welcomes each other’s faith and lives in peace and harmony with barriers and casteism.I was curious to know his secret to health and happiness, he answers me “I see truth, speak the truth, listen to the truth and then eat the truth” There is no fooling around with this kind of assertiveness for sure.

In the intensity of meeting a man with a heart of gold in the midst of

our conversations varying from politics to life and enjoyment, we hurriedly forgot to pay him for the tea he generously served us. On our return journey from rann-utsav, we asked him why he did not remind us to which he politely says he did not want to stop us after we said goodbyes and all in the name of Rs20.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.