The box sat there long after I had put everything else away. I did not know what I was to do with it. It had come to me along with the other boxes from the old house but this box was different. It was filled to the brim with notebooks of all kinds; big and small, fat and thin, square and rectangle. Most were unruled and some had square grids. Some were even within their original plastic packaging. They all had one thing in common and that is that they seemed to be unused.
I sat down beside the box and started to remove them one by one. Why were they empty and what was the point of having so many of them in the first place? What was the reason for their existence?
I picked one and ruffled through the pages. It was hand bound and looked exotic like it had been found in one of those kitsch stores. Nothing.
I repeated this action with every book in the box, hoping to find a clue to what they had meant to their owner, my father. But I found nothing. Nothing but yellowing pages sometimes riddled with bookworm holes.
One by one, I put them back in the box, and put the box under my bed.
Its 2012, startups are making big bucks. You are studying engineering and have dreams of someday coding the next Big thing and when placements happen you happily jump towards the big IT companies who usually come first. Well if being a “rockstar” or a “ninja” is what you crave, then you are going down the wrong path, my friend.
What happens when you join a big company is that they see you as a raw material, ready to be moulded as they desire but you obviously have other plans. Before you know it, you will be branched into streams and your “rockstar” career may just go up in smoke. There is no measurement of aptitude for the job just seemingly random distribution into the various streams. This is the easiest way of tackling with the ‘how to split these people’ problem. Academics play an important role in this filtering. So there you are , getting trained in a technology that is either boring or getting obsolete by the year and your passion for the profession is slowly being sucked out of you. Once you are done with the “training”, you get allotted to sections of the company and your IT career begins. You normally start being a team member, answering to seniors and initiated into the project. Appraisals happen and your pay increases by a measly amount every year and you dream of going “onsite”. You are no longer a “ninja” and most probably are cozy in this simple life. If thats how you want to end, well my friend, all the best. But if you really want to be somebody step outside the mould, live life, take risks, code a side project, learn what you want, get enlightened, dream big, execute ideas and be honest to yourself. We are all unique, we are not assembled. Today’s freshers are more likely to revolt atleast that’s what i see around me. Attrition rates are quite growing. Consider this, for every 100 new freshers joining , approximately 60-70 experienced people are leaving IT companies. This results in a vacuum of middle leadership and thats why companies recruit all year long. Most people leave because they are unhappy at their current job. In a recent survey conducted by Karthik, the results seem to confirm what we already deduced. 25% every morning, don’t look forward to go to work. 34% feel their work is mundane, and not challenging. 20% feel that there is no clarity in the work and process. 45% are currently planning to change jobs and 75% are in their first jobs! Alarming statistics actually.
If you fall in the unhappy lot, then well i suggest its time you sat back and reflected on where you are headed and decide if thats the road that you want to take.
P.S. This was meant to be part of a bigger post which i abandoned because i got busy with work and the transition from work to college life again. I currently am studying ‘Information and Interface Design’ at the National Institute of Design, Bangalore. I wrote this post out of frustration and it was based on the real life situation around me at that time.
A not so last minute trip to ‘the Scotland of India’ was planned and executed this last weekend. In just a couple of days, we somehow managed to get rooms booked in a homestay and our bus tickets to and fro. We had a limited amount of time so we planned the itinerary to cover the most of the visit places.
Day 1 was rainy and we were drenched by the end of it. We visited Talacauvery, Abbey Falls and Raja’s Seat. The Evening ended with us warming ourself at Pause, the unwind cafe.
Day 2 was surprisingly sunny and after morning problems of waking up and getting ready, we were finally on our way to the Dubbare Elephant camp. This was followed by us visiting the Namdroling Monastery. This trip wanted me to learn more about buddhism. Finally it was time to go home and we caught our Volvo back to Bangalore.
If any of you are planning a visit, do try booking a cab from Bangalore or perhaps opt for this kstdc plan.
“So if you want to start a startup and don’t know yet what you’re going to do, I’d encourage you to focus initially on organic ideas. What’s missing or broken in your daily life? Sometimes if you just ask that question you’ll get immediate answers. It must have seemed obviously broken to Bill Gates that you could only program the Altair in machine language.”
Last Night, Faris came up to me with an idea. “Why not make a timetable for our dinner eatouts for the coming week?”. We always end up wondering where to go and after some confusion settle upon a place. I realized that this was a brilliant idea. So we set about making a Excel file and placed it in our Dropbox. I mean thats a good start to scratch our itch.
There’s a lot of truth in what Paul Graham says. You would find the highest motivation only to repair something broken in your day to day life. That’s what i have kept in mind these past few months whenever i thought of building something. Why would i be passionate about building something for someone else? You wouldn’t be.
Everyone has an itch that needs scratching. You only need to find it. Think for a while. Think simple. I am not telling you that you could come up with something that could bring world peace but maybe..just maybe you can find an itch and a solution for that itch.
I really have kept this post pending for quite sometime and some one had to poke me out of my stupor. So UXnext was the UX Conference held in Chennai on 16th July 2011 at IIT Madras Research Park. This was being organised by the RIA-RUI community. Now just a couple of months back i had heard about HCI(Human Computer Interaction) courses for M.S. and when this event came along i thought it would be the best thing to get a perspective about user experience and a career in it.
Believe me, i came back presently surprised and inspired from the event. Apart from the fact that i won a Antetype License worth $289, it was the realization of how much interesting the job would be. I learnt what designing is all about, how the industry works, what are the various jobs available and also found out about courses worth considering for higher studies.
UX is an essential thing in today’s world. Everything you look around you has a reason behind its design. Take the mineral water bottle for instance., there is a reason its like that. Innovation is the key to market a product. The little things you add to a product like the way Apple does, adds value to it and a happy customer is what companies should look at. The way a product looks is key to it being popular, Ideas are powerful and dictate whether the product will survive or not. People are fickle and they need to be shown that they are given more value for money and that is exactly why UX is important. Attending this conference did help me a lot in understanding UX and consolidating my decision of higher studies in the field.
A friend of mine shared this article from the Telegraph on Facebook and he asked me my views so i ended up typing a hastily written paragraph on my thoughts.
Time and again someone writes such an article which makes people think about the current state of affairs in the most populous country of the world. People share it around and then after some days its consigned to the corner of their minds. People talking about change but there are hardly anyone who is doing anything that will change the way things are. The common man has been too alienated from the bureacracy that they dont want to get involved or cant if they want to. Take for examples our political parties, they are a prime example of how our democracy is actually an oligarchy. There are few young people in government service and no way for them to climb up the ladder to actually bring a change, add to this the fact that they would rather live a relaxed life than create a new world order implies that India wont change, not now and not by 2020. You would know what happened in our college itself, the administration was unwiling to listen to the ideas of the students and always tend to do what they think is right eventhough it would not make sense. There also comes another problem when you try to change something for the good, there are people who make a living because of the way things are. Your actions would inconvenience them and that would add to resistance thus impeding the change you desire.