Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

This happened the last time – and I bet it will happen again once the dust and smoke settles down.
Last time, people commended – how life went back to normal and the resilient nature of the people of Mumbai India.

It is actually sad that people approve of how life gets back to normal.
It should not! Lessons need to be learnt and things need to be changed …

We Indians are probably one of the most tolerant and laid back group of people in the world.
It’s time to get a little bit angry and a little paranoid …

It’s not too late to have a plan. Terrorism is upon all of us now – not only in J&K.
Time to stop covering our eyes and prepare to deal with these guys as and when the situation arises …


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Startup hiring …

Yes we’re hiring …

There are millions of blogs out there on startup hiring which preach on the dos and don’ts of startup hiring.
I’m not trying to preach anything here – just sharing my experience with the first batch of hiring activities that we’ve been upto …

Hiring they say – is difficult – even more so with a startup.
We guys keep getting a decent amount of resumes every week which we religiously archive. So when we decided to get a couple of people, thats where we decided to look in first. We’ve had a multitude of resumes from various different segments (all computer related of course) – quite a few freshers and people with a year of experience and looking to change a job and some even with 2, 3, 4 and 5 years of experience. (Yes. We were shocked ourselves when we found out that people with so much experience want to ride the uncertain-startup-waves). But its definitely a good sign to see people wanting to not work in a multinational company, take a little bit of risk and do something extremely exciting at work.

The first thing that I personally check for is the to field of the email.
All people interested in joining ThinkingSpace, need to mail in their resumes at careers [at] thinkingspace.in.

It is unbelievable how many people bulk send their resumes to various companies and put all those addresses in the to field. C’mon people! Give me a break. If you cannot take the trouble of personally emailing a company you’re looking to join (something you will be investing the next 2 – 3 years of your life in) then I am not going to bother calling you for the interview – no matter how impressive your resume is.

As a matter of fact, the resumes of such people are not that great anyways – so this is a good quick filter.

The smarter ones bulk email putting you in the bcc field – better – but I still know you are bulk mailing. So out goes your resume. Learn how to use a mail merge next time.
Bulk mailing also indicates how desperate you’re to get a job and that you’re not particularly interested in the company you wish to join.

So far, we have been calling people directly for an interview – which works out decently well for us.
Except that some people are unprofessional enough not to show up and not inform you. Then they email you and tell you something to the effect of – I have my certification exam – can I come back next week. Yeah right!

The first inteview we do, we generally try to check whether the guy is right for a startup and whether a startup (particularly our startup) is right for them. So far, all the people we interviewed knew what a startup was like and gave decently convincing reasons as to why they wanted to join one.

After this is over, we generally start the technical process – which involves a few coding challenges and a rapid fire technical interview. I know we are doing this in the reverse order (first HR and then technical) – but it works for us.

There is no sense in spending time, money and effort in doing a technical – getting a good person and then finding that they didn’t even know what a startup was and what will be required of them.

The technical round is another shocker. It is amazing how many people over rate themselves.
The question – “On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest) – where do you rate yourself in XXX” always gives an excellent picture of where the guy actually is.

The good ones generally tend to rate themselves much, much lower than the bad ones.
Its also shocking to see how many people with their basic computer fundas all mixed up think they can code well. I’m guessing this trend has something to do with the larger companies (read Infosys, Wipro, TechM) picking up large number of people with no coding skills and then training them.
People have become complacent knowing that if they have decent aptitude skills, they will make it.

Unfortunately for them, a larger number of companies don’t have thre resources nor the time to teach people the basics of OOPs or whether private constructors are allowed by the compiler and what happens when you define a constructor to be private. Four years of an engineering degree ought to have taught you atleast these things …

It also pays to be sincere and honest I feel.
Atleast for startups. You could know a lot of things, but when you don’t – you must have the heart to admit it and the drive to figure it out yourself.

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Blogging again …

I think I am finally in that place, where I can start blogging again …

The past couple of months have been pretty hectic – and everytime I thought I’d start writing, I would realise I had something better to do …

As you can expect, some important stuff happened since the last time I wrote …
A small recap is the order of the day I guess …

I will dedicate a blog each to all of these things …

  1. I have switched to wordpress. It was waiting to happen. Blogger has been extremely awesome – and I will miss a lot of things there, but it was time that I took up the hosting of my blog on my own server.
    (As of writing, this blog is actually on wordpress.com – but I will be moving it soon to another personal server)
    Wordpress has tonnes of more features too which I just loooove … so the move was just waiting to happen…
    More about this in another post …
  2. We finally registered our own company – ThinkingSpace Technologies.
    Technically, we’re 4 months old already – but the registration happened of late – and I am still basking in that sense of achievement.
    We’re just three classmates from college, don’t have posh offices (yet) but are poised to get there extremely soon!
    Watch this space for more …
    And yes, we also do useful things (see next point)
  3. We took ActiveCiti to Public Beta.
    ActiveCiti – our first product, entered into its public beta phase (after a month of being in stealth private beta) and the response has been good so far.
    If you don’t know what it is — ActiveCiti is this extremely cool event management application — with which you can create, plan and organise your events very, very easily.
    From inviting friends, adding other organisers, polling people to what they’d prefer, sending automatic emails about changes to the original plan — ActiveCiti does it all.
    You can check it out at: http://www.activeciti.comIf you are wondering, this is not quite the same application we did for our final year project a year ago.
    It has been completely written from scratch – and does tonnes of things the previous version did not …
    Please do check it out and we’d love to hear your comments and feedback on this.

Hmm …
So, these are the things that have happened to me so far – and which have consumed the bulk of my time.
Will update this list if I think of anything else …

And please do update your bookmarks / blogroll to: http://blog.saurabhj.com for my blog.
Even if the base platform changes, my blog will always be accessible from this URL.
(Now why didn’t I think of this before !!!)

Anyways, feels really good to be back.
Thank you for being so patient and coming back and reading what I write.

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 82.]

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This is to inform all you people who doubted me – I finally finished Atlas Shrugged!
Woohoo !!!

Okay, I shamelessly took 2 years and 2 attempts (the first time I gave up mid way at the John Galt speech) to finish it, but I finally did it last week and just wanted to pat my back a bit for the achievement …

Honestly, Atlas Shrugged is not a page turner per se …
It requires a good amount of dedicated reading and a lot of effort to get through some pages sometimes.
But saying that, its an awesome, awesome book – and a definite read if you had read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and liked it.

I am not going to do a book review here (because I am pretty sure I’ll suck at it) but if you have sometime to spare and want to get into the entire philosophical reading mode (without reading absolutely boring theoretical stuff), I suggest this book would be a good read.

The scope of the book is quite far fetched and exaggerated – and yet you wish such things could happen. You wish one person could stand up and stop the functioning of the world.

The name comes from the question about Atlas.
Atlas is shown carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders … What would happen to the world if he shrugged?

One of the most powerful lines from the book and my favourite (which is kinda clichéd) is by John Galt – the main protagonist of the book. It goes like this:

“I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 83.]

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Today, unfortunately (for some) or fortunately (for most), was our Engineering College Farewell to all the final year students … Something to explicitly tell us – that its now officially over – end of student life for the most of us …

Most of us who have been placed, have to join by the first week of July – so its a big step, moving onto a job and whole new world …

Anyways, as I turned up for the farewell at 6:30 – there was the usual, the boring principal speech and the yada yada … Something which nobody enjoys …

As the evening progressed, the motley crowd of students that we are – some were enjoying it thoroughly while others were getting bored …

After the speeches that were given by members of the staff, there were some contests organised by the juniors … of which some were fun, and some weird …

I was dragged into taking part in two contests – one which involved recognising a junior student and being able to give out his full name – these guys brought in front of me, a guy – whom I had never seen before – and thus guessing his name was way out of the question – much to the embarrasment of both of us.

The only solace was that the best anybody got was one guy guessing the last name of his junior.

The second contest which I was dragged into – which I would never have gone into – on my own free will was the Mr. College Contest …

Here things got a bit awry …
The guys who got called up (there were about 12 of us there initially) did not like the fact that the compere was dictating rules very sternly to the participants …

The contest was supposed to be a fun contest – nothing was at stake and the rules could be bent a little.

Added to the fact, that the Final Year students of our college (and a good percentage of people on the stage at that time) are NOT the most affable, the guys decided to screw up the event.
So one common line was thought, and everybody introduced themselves as : “Hi ! My name is so and so … and I’d like to be known as XXXX” (XXXX being a common joke that we have amongst us)
So, basically – the Mr and Ms. College Contest got completely ruined

Anyways, what struck me at that time was that farewells are pretty difficult to organise … especially in colleges like ours where there is not much interaction between the juniors and the seniors at other times of the year.

The thing that screwed up the last Mr. and Ms. College contest was that people thought that they were being dictated rules – rules to a party which was being thrown for them.
This is the difficult part in organising such a thing …

I have organised a couple of things, but never a farewell of such sorts – nor have I thought about how I’d do it …
The difficulty comes in drawing the line between doing it well and over doing it a bit … and mostly in catering to the people whom the party is for, making the rules – and at the same time pulling it off without making the people think that they are being bossed over.

Then again, we have a pretty rowdy crowd – which makes it even more difficult to organise such an event. But at the end of it, it was fun nevertheless and people should probably be grateful to the organisers for atleast taking the initiative to hold such a thing.

Anyways, so long MESCOE … sort of mixed reactions for me …
Technically, still a long way to college “officially” being over – there are submissions, and exams and projects to demonstrate – so shall write an “official college over post” once all those things are taken care off …

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For all those who wanted to know, we didn’t make it to National Finals of the Imagine Cup this year.

Now, unfortunately (or fortunately) the BE Project that we guys were doing and our IC submission was one and the same thing (for the sake of our sanities) – so atleast we will be seeing this thing through (hopefully)

Our theme and ideas were kept somewhat hushed up (which feels kinda stupid now) but anyways, will be letting the cat out of the bag soon enough.

In other news, came back from an awesome two day picnic to Nagaon (which is about 8 odd kms from Alibaug) and it was awesome fun. Will be posting pictures of the trip soon.

Perhaps the last with the guys from college – everything went off nicely and everybody had loads of fun.

For starters, here are a couple of images that I took on the beach …

Low tide at the Alibaug beach at sunset – small kid with his dad

A family of four moving towards the Alibaug fort which is accessible by foot during low tides

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I haven’t been blogging of late – have not had much time.

The last couple of weeks have gone in a blur actually. I was actively involved in organising our inter collegiate festival – and it was a mad rush of things …

One thing that I learnt after the event got over was – to never organise anything like this ever again. Its very very painful.

However, the event went off decently well – and most of the people were happy at the end of it.

However, this saturday – the last day of the event, all our sponsor banners disappeared from the parking in broad daylight – due to which, this event hasn’t gotten over – yet.

These things just never end.
Anyways, now that most of the thing is over and I have more free time, will be blogging more often.

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