Shantanu Gupta

May 31, 2013

That’s the name of my son. Now Grow up fast shantanu so that we can read manga and watch anime together. Irrespective of the profession you choose in your life ( hopefully you will find something you love and make a career in it ) you can expect to be competent in one programming language ;)

Ankur Junior – 21st May 2013

May 23, 2013

 

Mother and Child (Boy) are doing fine. All thanks to the hard work by my wife and mother ( who took care of her ).  Name yet to be decided. Nickname is Kick / Kicky. Why ?. Because of this unusual high rate of leg activity in mother’s womb.

The last 8-9 months have been of anticipation, anxiety, doubt. There was a lot of learning too.

How do I feel ? I don’t know. Probably after he comes home and stays for couple of days it will hit me. Meanwhile I am happy, glad to see my parents and sister happy too.

Road To Donaire-Rigondeaux (Full Show)

April 6, 2013

I am rooting for Rigondeaux. History has it whomsoever I rooted for has lost. Meanwhile I am down with cold and fever and sore throat.

Donaire vs Rigondeaux

March 19, 2013

Really looking forward to this fight ….. My money is on Rigondeaux … Freddie roach Manny Pacquaio’s trainer called him the most talented fighter he has ever seen. He had to leave his wife and children in cuba i.e. he fled the communist regime leaving his wife and children to pursue his dream of fighting pro boxing. Nonito was last year’s boxer of the year so this is going to be an insanely competitive fight. Rigondeaux’s is just too good to watch in the ring.

Hiring 101 for India Software Product Startups

January 17, 2013

Who are you ?

A Business Guy or a Tech Guy. Can you read a piece of code and understand what it does ? No, then don’t pretend to understand it. Get someone who understands coding to help you assess and hire the right candidates. Don’t fake it when hiring. If you are a technical guy who has never ever sold a thing in your life don’t pretend you understand sales when you are hiring a Sales Head. Bottom line – Be Real, get expert advice and help.

Hiring consultancy firms and recruitment software

Hiring means a lot of resume searching, downloading, screening resume, calling and scheduling interviews, interviewing, dispatching offers and seeing most of them rejected. Get a recruitment firm they don’t cost much and some give an option to pay them when you hire a candidate. That too after 3 months of them joining you. Believe me it saves you a lot of time. If you intend to do all of this yourself spend a little money on recruitment software. Don’ t use a spreadsheet to organize yourself you will waste a lot of time.

Quality vs Quantity

Don’t seek refuge in numbers, seek experience. I see many entrepreneurs inclined towards hiring freshers by the dozens and having few Technical Leads in the hope to keep cost down and get more work. It rarely works out that way. Too few mentors for freshers doesn’t result in work output you hoped for. Also there is obvious difference in quality of code written. Get team composition correct. Try to hire experience programmers first and then empower them on hiring freshers they will mentor.

$$$$

Money makes the world go round. I know founder who are charismatic and can persuade people to work on less then what they were drawing at previous jobs. Senior Management Guys are more willing to accept ESOPs and stay for whole vesting duration. Like they say if you pay peanuts monkeys work for you. If you have a tight budget. Hire few, pay them well. It usually takes 2-3 years for a product code base to reach a mature stage. Best is if your original employees stick with you. There is a invisible penalty to pay every time an employee leaves and new one joins.

Design Design Design

UI == Product. It’s what the customer uses. Most technical startup founder run the firm on stringent budgets and tend to think of design as one of the last to-do item. Most of the time hiring an experience UX Guy with Masters in Design [ Interaction/Visual/Product ] from NID/IDC as full time employee is out of reach. Worse even if you hire them sooner or latter you will realize that once the product is out you don’t have much work for them. Big design firms are awfully expensive. Search on behance and  coroflot for freelancing designers in India and abroad and get quotes from them. You need to pay by the hour later which works for everyone. If you are making a physical product then you need a designer whom you can meet face to face often.

The Pitch

Most Entrepreneurs are pumped up about their venture. For them it’s THE THING worth doing. However you want to spend considerable time educating the prospective employee on What the company intends to do ? Who are the founders and their background ?. How is the company funded ?. What the role and responsibilities are ?. Get your pitch in place. Perception is important but if you lie you reap what you sow.

Infrastructure

Make sure your workplace is clean and neat. It makes a intangible impression on the candidate. Specially Senior Employees who have worked at large. Yes you cannot match MNC when it comes to How big the workplace and facilities are ?. However you got to compete, so invest in good chairs, desk, water cooler, air conditioner, sanitizer. Put some nice pictures on your walls. Make the workplace no matter how small pleasant. I once interviewed at Vmware and in the final round HR offered me some biscuits. I told him I cannot consume gluten and upon knowing that I have immune disorder towards gluten HR promised me that if I join he will make sure the pantry / canteen will have gluten free meal options throughout the year. He also took me to an meet an employee  who had some dietary health issues and told me How they helped him out.  I was blown away. I am sure they have all the money in the world to do extend such help while a startup founder doesn’t. But point is most founder don’t put thought into How their workplace looks like and is it comfortable for employees to work ?.

Be Trigger Happy

My first company I worked for despite everyone’s disapproval the founder hired this one guy for GUI work. Turned out he couldn’t write a for loop, which was also found after we interviewed him. Founder is a very kind person and ended up taking lot of time to ask him to leave. If you hired the wrong candidate you need to ask them to leave asap. Many founder get desperate and hire people because many offers get rejected. Be ready for rejection. Hiring is very tough for startup then for big companies.

I heart startups and everything about them I hope this is helpful for someone.

Tricks

January 15, 2013

TRICKS is an annual competition held by ThinkLABS where in children from all over India come to compete along with their autonomous robotic kits. They can come with LEGO Mindstrom, Arduino based Robotic kit, iPitara. Here are few pictures of the event held in Dec 2012.

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Having spend a lot of time during school and college participating in competitions I really like that my job is about making tools that allow children to learn, compete and enjoy.

Hybrid Apps

January 12, 2013

At ThinkLABS our end customers are children who use our Robotic kit in classrooms. In India you will find schools running Windows 2000 , XP, 7, Vista. Computer Lab may have a network, and not necessary all computers have internet.

The Second Generation of Visual programming language that we are working on unlike the previous one CiMPLE is not a native application. I have looked at frameworks that allow web apps to work on desktop too. Google Chrome Packaged Apps is one such framework and most promising of the lots. We are not using it. Why because it doesn’t run on all windows OS.

So I ended up creating my own using C++/Qt. Qt never stops to amaze me. They have done a nice integration with QtWebkit that allows me to seamlessly integrate javascript function to C++/Python counterparts, I can pass data, trigger code against user interaction with components etc. As your code more less and less you run into a piece of code or software that make you as How the heck did they do this ?. It took me a while to realize they integrate javascript rendering engine to call corresponding C++/Python code. Amazing isn’t it. Qt as a community as a library is worthy of praise.

2013 Resolution

January 9, 2013

$

Seed Money

December 27, 2012

Lot of people take seed money in a hurry. No knowledge of what lays ahead. Today there is lot of seed money chasing entrepreneurs.

When people take seed money they don’t realize that they are kissing away the next 10 years of their life, unless they are lucky to fail early. Rarely do companies see growth yes rarely. The norm is to float a little above and below the breakeven point, keep raising money in form of series A, B, C. Your exit is long way from incorporation. The investors want exit on a 5-7 year horizon so you have to keep raising money.

The problem with seed money in India is

a) It’s quite less and worse offered in 2-3 instalments ,

b) You dilute a much bigger stake which makes for more dilution as you progress.

Seed funding is not bad at all, just that first generation entrepreneurs have no clue what they are getting into. Like I said “Just raised a seed round, the next 10 years of your life is dedicated to this business”. There is nothing wrong or bad with it, just that you got to know what your are up against.

Request for comments

December 23, 2012

New website design. Using jquery backstrech for rendering responsive background image across browsers. Infact the site design complexity is so simple that it’s using the basic example template provided with the library. Looking for comments if any. This is iteration no 1, looking to work more on 25th and hopefully before this year ends I will reboot the website’s UI.

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