2012

This was an interesting year.

Started a company along with two of my best friends – Alagu and Raj. Our startup got selected to YCombinator. That is one heck of a ride.

Wrote lots of code.

Went on outings to Mangalore, Half moon bay, San Francisco,  Goa. I lived in the valley for couple of months. I biked the golden gate bridge. I met a lot of new people. Made new friends. I got together with a lot of my friends from college.

Lived in six different houses.I travelled abroad for the first time. I sailed in a ferry boat for the first time. I drove a car at 140Km/H. I started using metropolitan transport for office commute.

Spent all of my past two years savings and for the first time I could remember, went completely broke.

Have a paunch now and to my embarrassment got it pointed out by a lot of people.

Was way out of my comfort zone for most of the year. I was depressed quite a few times.

Wanted to learn guitar. Have successfully postponed that for one more year.

Repeated the same mistakes I thought I wouldn’t do yet again. Figured I might do them again.

Failed, quite a few times. It hurt.

Was an egoistical asshole quite a few times. That hurt too in hindsight.

Learnt that nothing matters, that each day that I wake up to is new and that I have to be graceful about it.

Just doing what I love could be the best thing I could give myself.

I could say I lived a lot this year.

Occupy Bangalore

https://www.facebook.com/events/310448432374269
http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/350377/20120609/anonymous-protest-india-cyber-law-torrents-webistes.htm

Sure. We don’t like it if some one censored our internet. There will be a social media outrage. We will take government sites down. We will make sure we do everything to preserve our online liberty. We would do an “occupy bangalore” to make things right

BUT.

http://www.ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/paper/Bangalore_heatisland/results.htm
The city just had its worst of summers. The water bodies are disappearing. Not sure if city could still be called garden city.
Cost of living, rents, food prices – They are only ever increasing.

I am an immigrant to this city. This is also the first and the only city I ever lived in. There was a charm to the city that I feel is slowly being lost. I wish people did an “occupy bangalore” that wanted the city back but not just our freedom to see the sites we want to. That is something I would want to go to.

It is said, things get worse before they get better. I sincerely wish it were true.

A pleasant interlude #1

Off late posts have been rather monotonous. Here is an aberration 🙂

I met her when I was at my work that day. She had long dark hair. She was wearing red tops and a blue jeans. I thought she looked pretty. But then I was working and pretty hard at that. No time for distractions. Ironically, work brought us closer. We had to interact to get stuff done. It was pretty late when we were all done with our work and we ended up going to dinner, along with the rest of the team. Until this point, our conversations were strictly work related.

Then something happened that I totally unexpected. It was quite late and she just had a bicycle to get back to her place and everyone had left. Being a gentleman that I am, I offered to walk her back. Surprisingly, she accepted. Don’t read too much into it. It was a sensible thing to do that late in the night.

“We don’t have to walk. I could ride the bicycle with you on the back”. I can never say yes to that.

“Why, do you think I can’t?” Yes, I thought she couldn’t. But I blushed and beat around the bush.

“Thats bad. We have a cycle, but now both have to walk and its quite some distance.” What other option did I have but to offer to ride it myself.

“Cool!”, she said.

I rode for a while. I hadn’t cycled for more than 3 years. And the cycle was not in perfect condition. With the wind against us, I was struggling. But my ego wouldn’t let me tell I can’t do it. After all if she thought she could do it…

My phone rang. Lucky I thought. We got down, I took my call while signaling her we could walk. There was a smirk on her face. I think she knew I was hoping we would walk. And we continued to walk after I was done with the call. She was talking a lot and I let her do it. Why I liked her talk, I have no idea. And then I said something funny. Not sure what it is now. She laughed…

We reached her place where we had to go separate ways. I bade her good night. Next morning I took a flight back to bangalore. The air hostess might have seen me smile. “Having a nice day sir?”. I smiled some more.

I can’t tell if she was actually interested in me or she was just really social. From my experience its always the latter. I don’t believe in fate, destiny and similar concepts. Neither do I believe in “made for each other” and such stuff that you find in romantic-comedy movies. Its just that something happened that day, something warm and if I get a chance to meet her one more time, I would probably tell her she was quite awesome. I don’t even remember her name right now. All I remember now is that it was a pleasant interlude.

Hacker vs Entrepreneur

Caution: Post written over a period of time.

A hacker is a person who enjoys building cool things not necessarily just related to computers. Pokes around stuff and voids warranty. Not everything a hacker does could be productive. A hacker does something from what she* already knew and learns something new from the experiences, goes on to do newer things with that knowledge.

I believe that there is a hacker in every one. I remember breaking open the numerous toy cars in my childhood just to see what was inside. I know for sure everyone had that curiosity when they were young. To know how things worked from inside. To build stuff. To do stuff. Even though in a playful manner with no real goal/aim. In a way being a hacker is to be be that child again. To get that unadulterated joy of doing stuff.

An Entrepreneur is some one who creates wealth by trying to solve a common problem. The bigger the problem and better the solution, higher is the wealth created. Some one who sees/creates an opportunity and bridges the gap between what is and what could be and fills that gap, making money in the process. I think there is more to the an entrepreneur but I can see this much for certain.

The way I see it, if you are an Entrepreneur, you *should* be a hacker. If you don’t enjoy the stuff that you are doing, if you don’t love building something, it is going to be a very difficult to sell it. But being a hacker does not automatically make you an Entrepreneur. In fact, it is difficult to be a Entrepreneur. One has to do thing one does not love or even like.

So why this post? To find out if it is to be or not to be. The only fool proof way of finding out if something is not meant to be seems to be is to try and learn by failure. Even though the failure is costly, I think _that_ fear of failure should not stop me from doing stuff that I could be doing otherwise.

* she ⊂ { he, she }

Survival

A month or two ago, I lived in a different world. There, survival was not an issue. There I had different issues which seem quite funny now.

It doesn’t matter if we were part of a world’s best startup mentorship program or get featured in a newspaper article. Sure, those are pretty good stuff and not easy to achieve. But it is only a milestone. It is not a destination. Its not worth a dime if we get complacent one bit.

We are still a start-up, which means we are still bound by the basic rule that governs a start up : Every day is about survival. There is no room for complacency, ego or slacking. If anything, it only gets difficult from here. I thought it would end with the demo-day or at least become diminished – all the pressure, fun, failures and successes . To the contrary, it only begins now.

In a start-up, the highs are very big. But so are the lows. The highs show how far you have come. The lows make you stronger.

When I think about it, I only face a fraction of pressure what my founders might face. And I wish I could be more like them.

Quotes:
-. “And you thought you would have fun here, did you ?”
-. “Everything is a mirage, inside is very different from outside. Still a long long way to go.”