Notes from RubyConf India











It’s been super hectic this April with extensive traveling and tons of craziness. I was in Goa the second time this year to attend the Rubyconf. This is an annual event where Rubyist developers and upstream contributors meet from across India. The event featured keynotes & talks from core Ruby developers who came from abroad to present at the conference. I enjoyed the event and it was a delightful experience for me.

My primary role was to represent The New Stack , as the immediate media sponsors for the event held in Goa this year. At the Rubyconf meet, I interacted with many newcomers, made few friends and improved my knowledge on Ruby to a greater extent. Like always, Gautam, Ponappa, Ajey and Satish did a tremendous job in organizing the event and making it a definite success. I’m proud to reveal that this was the first event which had functional WIFI setup.

As usual, I’ve made note of the details after attending sessions at Rubyconf. Here are my views:

  • It seems vital to keep testing and tests mainly outside the core codebase.
  • I became aware about functional programming and how modularizing code into small chunks can actually make life so much easier.
  • It was pointed out that 80% of the time newer developers spend time reading code written by others.
  • It was very interesting to know more about codeclimate use case of Ruby.
  • Rails has given all the power and added buzz for Ruby to go mainstream.
  • Rails needs to be made faster and I am sure newer releases will focus on same.
  • One highlight was an interesting talk/demo where the speaker demonstrated writing Ruby programming in one’s mother tongue.
  • The entire initial devops movement has Ruby as one key programming language.
  • Most people use Ruby for quicker development and not just for performance.
  • Ruby has many frameworks and is indeed a large ecosystem that is being utilised at many places even in a  mission critical environment.
  • It was hearty to note that the organizers provided scholarship to many students that included free stay/travel to attend this event. Honestly, this is a perfect way to foster the overall ecosystem.

A lot of interesting things were shared among speakers that increased and improved my knowledge of the language and its importance. I hope this continues yearly especially for all who want to benefit from Ruby and are aspiring to learn and code in Ruby. Lastly, in true Goa style,the event ended on a high by an organised beach side party with Karaoke that had everyone thoroughly enjoying the event.

On Co-founders: Some Advice


In truth I have not made any exit or built anything for which I have raised $$$ from VC. From my exposure and past experiences I have learnt a ton. Yes, I was involved in few start-ups in which most failed and a few I chose to exit due to personal constraints.Yet, start-ups never bore me. I keep encountering and hearing about start-ups, product, team and ideas almost daily. So in view of my experiences with start-ups, I definitely felt like sharing a piece of my learning right here in this blog post.

I would say this is just my advice and opinions on those building teams or looking for co-founders.

Motivation: If your co – founder is not motivated as much as you are then the chances of product failing is high. This could result in you ending up in some sort of depression that could turn the relationship sour.

Expectation: You need to set expectations at the very beginning to avoid future conflicts related to dedication and time allotment towards projects.

Trust: One of the pullers which can make or break everything is the matter of trust. If you don’t have trust on your co-founders ability you are setting yourself up for doom.

Complimenting: Its not always true but mostly advisable to have co-founders with complementing attitudes. If I have to build a start-up I will go find some IT fire power that can compliment my work and is willing to go that extra mile with me.

Empathy: James Altucher, my idol and inspiration whom I consider as my life mentor always talks about empathy. You have to put yourself in his/her shoes at times. This will make you realize what the other person is going through. At times you might get angry or even frustrated and want to out but if you are empathetic and trust your other half(co-founder) you will succeed.

The following are pointers to consider in the establishment of business with co-founders. There may be more to this, but my experience has taught me to find co-founders that motivate, exceed expectations, are trustworthy and have empathy towards others.


On Design of your product


We are in the age of attention deficiency with so many products being built on the same domain. The primary thing that keeps customers glued is the overall design and I can bluntly accept that design can make or break your product.

With mobile devices getting cheaper by the day and most users speedily connecting to the internet via mobile, it is extremely challenging and thus very important for a brand to provide a seamless and/or intuitive design interface that appeals to the masses. After all product design is the main interface for any product to make it in the market.

The Bad Features Of Product Design:

  1. Multi-clicks: It can be quite cumbersome and as a customer I am least interested in navigating via a portal to read/buy something.
  2. Excessive text: If you have built a portal catering to research information, I would prefer an infographic rather than say a descriptive of two thousand textual content.
  3. Hideous Colors: Brightening the product to appeal to the eye needs to be subtle and inviting,I wont be returning to consider you portal/product if the color combinations start to affect my vision.
  4. Dancing fonts: Building your product with ugly fonts & non-uniform sizing over an uneven platform is distracting and unattractive.
  5. Floating banners: I am keenly interested in the product and the visibility of the same, so these floating banners just creates unnecessary distractions.


My Experiment Results

  1. My dad says “I use whatsapp because its very simple interface”
  2. My 8 yr old orders from flipkart in 3 clicks[COD]
  3. My friend says “I use ola apps and not Taxi4Sure as its way easy to use”
  4. I say , “I use Medium not LinkedIn for blog because one is simple & other is ugly”

I suggest to get a designer or outsource the work to a firm who are capable of building your product design fixing “the bad features of your product design.”

7 Effective Ways To Manage Consultants


Consultants are the elite of your project management. While you’re short on middle term  project demands and find inadequate skills that need reinstatements, the best option is to screen and hire a potential consultant who can bridge the gap of shortcomings among the team.Onboarding a consultant essentially revolves around saving money and fulfilling inadequate skills. I have been managing over 4-6 consultants till date and for me the challenge is not in finding the expertise or screening candidates, it has to do more with managing and integrating these consultants to work efficiently. In this post, I would like to share some noteworthy thoughts that might help those in similar shoes.

1. Management: Rightfully, managing a consultant is no cake walk. I would say I am very lucky to have the current bunch of talented folks working with me that has made my life is so much easier. Managing the individual is quite cumbersome and can involve a lot of back and forth communication  that seems necessary but consumes so much time and energy. Nonetheless, it has to be done to run a smooth relationship to set the right kind of expectations and make sure you are well understood.

2. Schedule/release cycle/milestone: It is important to have a release cycle kept well in place. Explicitly discussing the milestones and following well chartered plans is crucial. It requires follow up via email or other mediums that can be extremely helpful.

3. Endorse a task manager: A good task manager is the key to successful project management, infact I would promptly concur it makes life easier. We are using Asana and are extremely happy with it.

4. Testing: It is important to allot ample time for testing the code and feature development. Testing is the crux of the project and if this is incompetent the project suffers. The consultant has limited time to ensure satisfying test results and although they do their level best I would encourage an extra pair of eyes to approve testing.

5. Toolkit with the agreement: It is deftly advisable to get a list of tools to be utilized all installed on the consultants mobile/laptop once hired on board. This helps in solving issues with communications and discussion management simple and eventually making overall communications more seamless.

6. Meetup: Sometimes, when distances places your consultants away, it is important to plan meetups and socializing events to meet in person. This activity of meeting with the consultant in person regularly improves cordial relationships and encourages productivity. It serves as a bond to get to know each other and plan for future project milestones.

7. Respect is mutual: Respecting each other’s space and time and valuing one another is frugal. It is vital to understand each other and important to set expectations that both are working on the same ultimate goal.

Well-chosen and well-utilized consultants can make the difference between a project’s success and failure. The onus lies on you to utilize the consultant resources judiciously.

Skilled waiter and his Post Graduate degree #Faces














While indulging in some sinfully good brew at Murphy`s Brewpub, Bangalore (btw they have good Wit Beer) I encountered Abhishek, the waiter who waited on us. After making conversation with him, I discovered his intensity and knowledge of learning which intrigued me to understand him better.

Hailing from Balia, Uttar Pradesh, this 30 year old is a married man with a two year old. Abhishek speaks fluent English and can strike up a conversation about Bangalore all the way upto beer. He firmly emphasizes that he only serves beer and never drinks. Abhishek tells me that he has been working as a waiter in Bangalore for almost 6 years and holds a postgraduate degree in Hindi. He has taught in a college in the remote part of UP before moving to Bangalore.

He mentions that 26th is his last working day at Murphy`s after which he is moving back home and is fairly concerned about the summer heat this year. Although, he is so looking forward to spending quality time with his family. Abhishek is returning home to hopefully pursue his studies and some day obtain a PHD in Hindi. He dreams of securing his PHD from Banaras Hindu University and is hopeful of getting a scholarship to continue his studies.

I was inspired and happy to witness the dedication and enthusiasm of this young man. Finishing my beer, I left the pub after embracing him and wishing him good luck all the while pondering on how awesome we all can be if we wished that for ourselves. Almost immediately I realized that Abhishek is a post graduate & I just a graduate.

That One Productive Weekend Discovery!!

weekend fun

Last weekend Archit,Krishna and I proposed to do lunch. Our plan was elementary or so we thought – an adequate south Indian meal to fill us up and spend ample amount of time talking about technology/life/etc to catch up. Plans never go in the direction you want especially on weekends is what I’ve learnt.  It so happened that for first time since I’ve moved to Bangalore, I gorged on so much food & that too a satiating north/south Indian meal in just one sitting!  I outdone myself!!! Make no mistake, I ain’t complaining, it was relishing to the core. After appeasing our ravenous appetites, we headed over to Krishna`s house and what occurs next is entertaining. Picture this, three vocally loud people singing vociferously, well actually making a lot of noise and yes I also got to know that both these guys are superb guitar players.

What did we do next? Ahh, we ended up shrill singing till decibels humans are not supposed to hit and touched notes we never knew existed in song [btw yours truly is a bathroom singer, so the experience paid off] Our genre was mainly oldies & recent hindi tracks, actually we just sang like stars. And if that was not enough, Krishna got us into warbling this last songl  “Washing Powder Nirma”  title track that we’ve grown up humming too.

Disclaimer : This is what we made:

and in no way is this to be copied or exposed without consent. If you do so, do at your own risk and don’t say we did not warn you!

If you are unfamiliar with the original track (makes me feel so old now to reference the original, can’t believe that there are so many of you who haven’t heard the original) Washing Powder Nirma – Original

I am open to compliments or criticisms you may have for us! We appreciate you taking that precious time to feedback our talent.

I personally felt good about it, why?

  1. It was so relaxing, I felt happy and we just laughed.
  2. They say, indulging in these kind of spontaneous activities increases  bonding/relationship.Bonus!
  3. For a change you just let go adultism and forget about negative thoughts that always encircles in your mind.

Irrespectively, I felt amazing!

So what next?
We have decided to meet up every week and do the same. Maybe vlog it next time and who knows we might end up having our own channel on youtube/soundcloud for you guys to enjoy!.

Startup Idea, What seriously?
Well I must confess, I beat you to it. I was kinda wondering, how cool will it be to have this sort of jam organized once in month where startup folks can join/participate. It will make one happy and for a change they will not have to worry about startup term sheet, VC funding, board meeting and the rest of that crazy stuff.

What do you people think?
I would love to hear back from you people, constructive criticism is always welcome.

We tried to re-create Delhi Belly with limited set of skills & knowledge. Here’s what we made :



Welcome To The Age Of Information Overflow


It’s the year 2015 and now Internet is cheap, handsets are cheap, multiple platforms for information,much noise, too much information overflow right?

Yes,far too much and everyone has an opinion about everything. Everybody wants to be a singer[or is it just me?]So many mediums like buzzfeed, twitter, facebook, youtube, reddit. But first, watch this video to know what I am saying.

Overabundance, overflow and inundation of information wears you out.How do you streamline social media and feeds to your liking? How do you not miss the important stuff and cut down on misuse?

Everybody may have their way out, this is my way to avoid getting worn out from information overflow:

  1. Twitter list: It’s best to create a list with people from various categories that you want to read/learn from and intently follow.
  2. Subscribe via e-mail: There are bunch of interesting people who write amazing blogs & not only should you subscribe to them, but make time to read their posts.
  3. Pocket: With pocket, one can add a list of interesting stories that can be read offline especially when on commute.
  4. Podcast Addict: I use this software on my phone to listen to selected list of podcasts.
  5. Hacker news: For those daily updates around the tech community or new announcements and sometimes interesting shares, this is my go to.
  6. Reddit:   Reddit is great for those daily updates of all the news that is related to India.
  7. Growthhackers &  Producthunt: This is my daily dosage of story,insights related to startup, productivity, marketing.
  8. Feedly: This software gets you RSS feed across the internet and lets you categorize the feeds. The bonus feature it converts content to audio.

If I’ve missed something, please share your thoughts and tools which you use to avoid information overflow. I am sure it will be very useful to me.

Retired sailor hobbyist fishermen #faces















Name: Krishna

Place: Mandvi beach, Gujarat

Occupation: Hobbyist fishermen

Krishna, a stark looking 65 year old was silently surveying the sea when I first caught sight of him at Mandvi Beach. In conversation, he tells me that he has sailed across Africa and the Gulf during his early days in the navy.He intently discusses how effortless it was back in the day to become a sailor where education and literacy never mattered to pursue a career in the navy.

As a man of the sea, he has witnessed the hardships of being a sailor. He actively agrees that technology plays a crucial role in aiding captains to avert disasters at sea by almost accurately warning sailors of uneasy circumstances that they may encounter. He narrates about one of his journeys to Mozambique where the entire crew survived on boiled potatoes for almost five whole days to endure a stormy situation.

I asked him how he spends his retirement, to which he placidly gestures at the beach as a hobbyist fishermen. Through Krishna, I learnt that fishing is illegal unless you have the license issued by the government  for which he pays Rs 300 as licence fee to fish at Mandvi beach.

He tells me he two kids, a daughter who works as a principal in a government college and a son working in Saudi Arabia which makes him content to live his life as a fisherman.

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

I work remotely and this is my toolkit
















It has been over 1.5 yrs since i started working from home. I enjoyed everyday because i was independent & had no mandatory requirement like reaching office by 9 am, getting stuck into traffic and all.

I felt like sharing software i use everyday for collaborating with my remote team & keeping myself productive while working remotely.

Skype has been pain for us off late, we were happy with it before so now we are using

I love Asana, it has organizing overall project much easier. You can assign project to individual member, keep list of people as watcher. It does what we were looking for.

Google Apps
For e-mail, calendar, document sharing and chat we are using google apps.

I do most of my daily task tracking using workflowy. It is a very simple app and helps me in prioritizing my daily work.

I use this app to control my distraction, it stops me from using social media & other listed sites by myself during my work hour.

Why Start-ups?


One of the perks of living in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, is the fact that I encounter a lot of entrepreneurs on a daily basis. Based on my rendezvous with these people, I keep asking them this one question : Why do you want to launch a startup?

Most of my friends who are steadily building careers with startups always give me some interesting answers. Based  on their replies, I have formulated my own logic of understanding their perceptions of working with a startup.

 In this post, I am going to keep my examples limited to the Indian companies only:

 Why build startups in India?

  1. It is supposed to aid in solving problems affecting us.
  2. They are built around the inherent Indian condition.
  3. They aim to work towards fitting in the product market.
  4. It is also intended to grow quickly financially.

Aim To Solve Problems Affecting Citizens:

Most startups aim to assist the public get their work done efficiently. While some are built to improve our everyday living, others are serving as an aid to out of reach citizens to enable them to get their regular work done prudently. In my discussions with many of my friends in the startup business, they unanimously agree that startups are more useful when they improve the state of affairs of the current situations.

For ex: the company,Practo, has connected doctors to patients by using a mobile app and it was the need of the hour & these guys just made it happen. At the same time, if you’re looking for a food joint to dine in town Zomato has that covered. Similarly, to book a bus ticket, redbus is the solution.

Build Around The Inherent Indian Condition:

India is a population of a billion individuals. The start ups may be successful elsewhere but in India you have to adapt to the Indian psyche. I appreciate that a company like Mcdonald’s or KFC is constricted to serving pure veg food minus the beef that is cleverly altered to suit the average Indian consumer. This kind of smart marketing is required to understand the audience.   Another example is Amazon, highly successful in the US but struggling to dominate in India due to stiff competition with FlipKart.  One more is Uber that is struggling in India to defeat OlaCabs, their Indian competitor who is gaining more brownie points with its customers over Uber.

Fit The Start-Up Product In The Market:

I get to hear this all the time, a product to fit the market. Whatsapp became an immediate hit with the audience because of the rapid smartphone adoption & its minimal 2G requirement. I can surely say, it literally killed the SMS business. While Yahoo chat had all those emoji features in 2008-09 but nobody cared about it due to a less internet penetration. It was launched ahead of its time and hence failed. Startups require accurate timing to click and succeed.  With 3G and mobile technology reaching out to most of the masses at a very rapid pace, I am sure life will be easier for any startups launching products in this era.

Growing Financially.

Its a generation that wants to make the big bucks quickly and enjoy an early retirement compared to our forefathers.This is absolutely perfect if you have a success plan. Unfortunately, most of the startup founders end up making very little because of stock dilutions.  I remember watching the YC startup school video where one of the co-founders mentioned that rather than starting your own startup, your chances of making more money is while being part of one of the top 10 employers(like google/facebook). So think about. If money is what is only driving you towards a new startup, maybe  you got it wrong.

So, there you have it. In total disclamation, I have written this post to highlight the essence of startup business in India and to guide you to understand the purpose and difficulty to launch your own. In no way am I certain that this is the fast rule to a successful venture, but atleast through the experiences of others can focus on providing frugal tips to benefit any new launch.