Cool Buddies

A day in the life of my cat [by Sharada]

Posted in Animals, Humour, Life by Ratheesh & Sharada on September 4, 2015

(from his point of view, as understood by me)

Oh it is time to wake up already! Alright! Great, the big door opens. Now they want me to come out and speak to them. First things first, ah.. nice stretch; most important thing after waking up… and a nice big yawn! Good morning, human. Yes, I mean you. Ah, you made me happy, thank you. Yes, a little bit more there, yes I love a well meaning scratch. Yay! I am free! I am free!

Wow, everyone is up. What were they doing? Hmmm, some nice smelling stuff coming from the room where they make the maximum noise and from where all my milk comes from. Oh, they are again eating some vegetables. It was smelling good, but on closer observation, I am not interested. You won’t believe how much they eat! And they keep shoving things into their mouth, sometimes it makes sound, sometimes it smells weird and sometimes it is watery. But all I get is some granules, they smell great, does not have much taste. But I eat them anyway.

What’s that? Hmm.. an intruder. Let me hide and pounce on him. Oh no, he is flying. Will climb on the table where they keep all their food. Aww.. why do you keep scolding me? I was only trying to catch the fly which I felt is a threat. Nevermind, he escaped. But only till next time.

Ah, Good morning, this is my favourite human. It gives me what I ask for. I mean, most of the time, atleast. I think it has understood me to some extent. But keeps touching me. Ouch, why are you cuddling me? Am I a baby? Come on, treat me with some respect. I am protecting you. I am an individual and as big as you, in cat years that is! Do you go around carrying your teenage sons? Don’t embarass me!

Hey, what’s that sound. Seems like an enemy, the pigeon. Grrr.. I hate them. I don’t know why. I just can’t stand them. So noisy… Let me go chase them away, stupid creatures. Grrr… hey you! stay away! I mean it! I reserve the worst expression possible for them, the most disgusting one. Let me go out and look at the road. Ah… run! What was that? My, I just ran inside in time. They make terrible, ear splitting noise and some humans seem to ride them. I don’t understand why they cannot pass silently. Scary stuff.

My stomach is rumbling, let me go be nice to my human. I will play with it and be nice to it and maybe it will give me my milk. Aww, so cute. Let me give you a small nibble while I am at it. there, do you like it? Oh you want more? Oh now you want to get into a friendly fight? I am ready, come try me! Oh now why are you screaming at me.. you asked for it! Strange.

Ah, finally I smell milk. It is pouring into my dish. lap… lap.. lick.. there! ah, satisfied. Now the post eating ritual of cleaning my fur. I am feeling itchy from last two days, these damn ticks have got me. Grrr… I will eat you! I never get them, however hard I try.. They are very troublesome. Sometimes I wish a human comes and scratches me, just that it does not know where to scratch. It means well, but scratches at wrong places and I get annoyed. Sigh.

Oh someone is going up the strairs, I can hear it! Let me run and reach there before them. It is my favourite place in the house. The open terrace. I can roll there, chase butterflies without being threatened by enemies. And, yes, I can keep an eye on those darn pigeons too from that height. Ah, why is the door closed now, sad. Oh great, it is opening it. It wants me to go out too. But wait, you can’t go away, leaving me here all alone. Come on, play with me. It went away. Nevermind, let me roll and feel the cool cement ground on my back.

I can sit here all day. There is so much to see and do here, unlike inside. Inside the house, everyone is busy doing something, I don’t exactly understand what. They seem to be eating a lot; a lot more than they should be. But they sleep very less, unlike me. I mean, what else do you need to do other than hunt, eat and sleep. They seem to be having a lot to do. They even talk to each other a lot. Wish I could understand what they say.

Oh my human looks like is abandoning me and going away. I hate it when they do not even notice me and walk away. Hey, I am sitting here, I want to sit here for some more time. Can you not stay with me? Ok, let me go downstairs and meet my other human. Meow… they seem to understand if I make a sound. No, no, thank you. I already ate. I don’t want food. This human is really dumb. It always thinks that I want food. I am not like you. I don’t eat all the time. I was saying a casual hello. You could either play with me or just say a hello. Food!

Ah, finally, I got someone to play with. This one is really good. It puts up a good fight. I would love to do this for some more time, but it gives up very easily. But I know, this one had trained me when I was little. Some of my fighting instincts were triggered due to the fights we used to have back then. If only… if only I can really fight with someone my equal! There is a big guy next door. He just stared at me the other day and I ran like hell for my life. He looks really intimidating. I will have to face him soon.

For now, I am the pampered little kitten. I can do as I please. And, my humans just love me. I love them too. So, I don’t see a need to go out anywhere. But I know, one day, I will become big and have to go out. That is what all cats do; atleast all male cats. Ouch, what is that bright light in my face. Who is this? Hey, it’s a new human. Never seen it before. It is pointing some weapon at me, might hurt me. They keep getting this box and it spits out bright flashes of light that hurts my eye. But it ends soon. Things I have to endure!

I see a spider! Wow, let me chase it down. And, just as I was about to kill the spider, something pulls me away. Ah, it is a human. It doesn’t want me to eat spiders? Is that what it is about? Oh, maybe it doesn’t want me to sit on top of their color box. The box that keeps emitting colors and sounds all the time. Somehow, the humans are able to leave all their work and sit staring at this for hours. I tried looking at it, I see a lot of colors. The spider seems more exciting.

Hey, a moving object. Could it be a rat? Let me hunt it down. Oh, it is not a living thing. Nevertheless, let me pretend it is a rat and hunt it down. I will hold it between my legs and kick it well and bite it at the same time. I will dig my claws into it. It is boring if it doesn’t even move. Oh, the human is coming towards me. What does it want? It wants to hold the rat, I mean that thing. It is throwing it. Yay, it is moving again. Let me run and hunt it down!

I am tired now. Time for a nap. Hmmm, where do I settle down? This couch smells weird. Not good. Let me jump on the sofa and try it. Hmmm, this is warm, looks good. Let me settle down here. Hey wait a minute. This is my place. Come on. Humans are so insensitive sometimes. I did all the hard work and found the right spot and now it wants it and it doesn’t even ask me. Just takes it away and drives me out. Now, I say, that is rude. Anyway, I will try the chair.

Is anybody going up the stairs? I want to run around in the open area. Hellooo “meeooowww” how do I communicate with these humans? They are so occupied with their own world all the time, what about me? I mean, I am the special person in this house, am I not? Let me go and rub my body against their legs, they seem to always fall for that. Come upstairs, understand? Oh no, not again. I just ate. Don’t keep giving me food, you fat lady. I want you to take me upstairs into the open. Yay, finally!! it is moving towards the stairs, let me run and beat it to the top. Now, come on, open the door. I will ask nicely, once again, please open the door!! Ah, good, it understood pretty well. Wow, the warm floor, let me roll on it and get some mud on my hairs. This is so much fun! Hey human, where are you going? Are you not gonna play with me, now come on, don’t be a spoil sport. Just a little game of chasing and hunting? Yay! it is coming outside, let me chase.. Ha Ha, this is so exciting.

Ok, I need a break now! I am so tired, let me take a breath. That stupid black bird again sounding alarm calls. Yes, one day I will come and eat your eggs from your nest. Aaarrrrgggghhhh I don’t like the sight of you. Go away.

Hey, where are you going, human? Are you tired too? Ok, I will just sit here, while you go and do something else for sometime. I will explore the pathway that will take me even higher today. It seems pretty steep, but I think I am ready for it. Once I get there on the top, I will get a very good view of all my enemies and can defend my territory well. But first, I need to sniff around for hours together every inch of that ladder, just to make sure it is safe.

Human! I am here! Yes, on top. I am sure you cannot smell me, because you only seem to rely on your other senses, mostly eyes. Oh you are calling out for me, ok meeoowwww, here, look up. It looked now, wonder how it sees when it is dark. I mean, it is so much easier to just smell and find out and be quiet. It is a strategy all animals swear by. Anyways, humans seem to be very unlike us. So let it be. Ah, it seems to have got me something to eat! How considerate, I was just getting hungry. Would love to nibble on some food. This makes me so happy… Puuuurrrrr Puuurrrrr Yes, stroke me little to the left please, ah, there, that feels so good. Will you play with me after I eat?

So much fun to lie in shade of a tree in the afternoon, without a care for anything in the world! How I wish I had a sibling to play with, would be so much easier. The human ones don’t seem to enjoy the outdoors, they always lie on soft bedding indoors. Just come out and see how good it feels to be in the sun! Hey! Wait a minute! Was that water? Oh no, rain… what do I do? Run… oh damn, the big metal door is closed! Helloo, anybody there? Come on, open the door!! I am getting wet! Let me try to open it with my claws, oh no, it doesn’t budge. What bad luck! Please, someone come and rescue me! I am all alone in the rain, getting wet. Have you forgotten me? Your cute little kitten?… open the door! open the door! open the door!!!

Ah finally, I hear footsteps, thank you, thank you. Oh God, that was terrible. I thought I will just get wet and sick. Ah, let me run inside to some warm spot. No… Noooooo …. Don’t rub me with that stupid cloth. I am very well capable of licking myself clean. Yuck! How disgusting. I am okay. Yes, I know, I got a bit… scared… I mean, a bit… anxious… I am okay now. I am totally fine. Whew! That was some rain, but now that I am better, I want to go out again. Guess the rain has stopped? Actually, it was fun! But don’t know why they close that metal door? It would be so much easier if they leave all doors as they are! open! Actually, why do you need doors anyways? Just to create blockages? Is it some kind of trap? Why can’t you always leave everything open, free passages?

Did you see the human who is generally kind to me and who understands me? No? Yes, I am asking you, the man with the stick, yes, you. Did you see it? What? Why are you shouting at me? Now, what did I do? Let me go and sit in the bathroom. I am hurt. That is no way to talk to a little kitten. I don’t know what I did? Why did it scold me? I will pee all over the place where you are and then you will have to wipe it. You understand? Let me do that right away! Yes, now, how do you like that?

I am sensing some danger, I hear something downstairs. Oh my! A huge hairy dog! How did he get here? Are they trying to get me killed? Let me quickly hide in a box and be quiet. This is really dangerous. I will be hunted down like a smelly rat in no time. Why would someone get a dog to this house! Don’t they know I live here now? Lie low, lie low. He can’t smell me till here. Ok, he is going. Whew! He left without any mishaps. Now that’s a relief!

Let me step out now and survey the area. And I need to be sure he is gone. Hey! what was that? I am just swept off my feet, completely caught off guard! Oh no, another human, which comes sometimes and all it does it lift me off my feet and cuddle me. Ewww I don’t like that at all. No, human, this is not how you play with us cats. You just come for a friendly fight, you run around and chase me or we will just follow some moving objects. Cuddling makes my fur messy and I will need to sit and clean it all over again. And, it rubs off some undesirable scents on my body, which again I will have to clean. So, let me be clear, don’t do it! Or else, I will.. bite you!!

I have found a new fascination, it is flowing stream in the room from where pleasant aroma keeps coming once in a while. But there is one problem. I will have to wait till the human that understands me comes and does something to turn it on. Rest of the time, I sit and wait in front of that thing all day and not a drop of water comes out. There is some trick which I haven’t yet figured out. Yes, it is here, it will turn the water on now. Yay! I love to drink cool water from this stream. And catch the sparkling bubbles sometimes. It makes a gurgling sound too, that is so fascinating. I didn’t realize I was so thirsty!

Now, I am ready to play! Yes, it is almost night and I am totally charged up and ready to hunt! Come on, human, come and face me in combat. Yes! I am waiting here in the dark to suddenly pounce on you. Oh no, now.. what happened? I just got lifted off my feet. no… nooooooo…. it is taking me upstairs. I know what this means. It will leave me in a closed room to sleep. But hey! human! I am all ready and charged up… to play! I don’t want to go to bed now. Please… some more time… I beg you… Don’t take me there! Let me jump off… oh no, I got tricked! I got locked in the room now! Scratch scratch… let me out.. I am not ready to sleep yet! Come on, open the door. No use. It left me and went away. It will not come till morning now. I better settle down on my cozy chair and sleep. Anyways, there is no danger in this room, so I need not stay alert. Yawwwwnnnnn!

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The Searcher’s block [by Sharada]

Posted in Humour, Life, writing by Ratheesh & Sharada on August 31, 2015

From the most eloquent best sellers to the newbie amateurs, from the authors of great epics to weekly columnists, it has impartially crept up on all writers at some point or the other. You might attribute your missed deadlines to it or hide away your procrastination behind this mysterious, dark curtain. But you have to acknowledge the writer’s block.

“Oh, that!” “gosh!” “there is no such thing” “of course, sometimes…” these are some reactions you receive from seasoned writers who can readily give you their theories about it or free advice on how to overcome it.

It is that sudden “abortive” emptiness that you experience when you finally sit down to write something. You start getting nervous and annoyed when you take the pen to a blank sheet of paper or a blinking mouse cursor to the first line in a blank word document.

Being a writer, I can find myself nodding agreeably to these symptoms of writer’s block. But how many of you have experienced the “Searcher’s block”?

You are sitting in front of google.com with some bouncy animation pouncing at you, threatening to distract you while your mouse cursor is blinking on that empty text box which urges you to type anything.. anything! And, you cannot remember what you want to search for.

You may have found answers to the deepest questions, solutions to all your problems right at your fingertips, but you just seem to go blank and develop cold feet or rather, cold fingertips.

It is like God appeared and said “I will grant you any wish you want. Just name it! Anything!” and you just stand there blinking, stammering, biting your lips, stupefied, and not knowing what you really want.

How disdainful! Especially since everyone else seem to be happily finding all they ever wanted on Google, from long lost friends to secret slimming recipes to phone numbers of their favourite celebrities. IT IS ALL THERE. You only need to ask!

Till then, I would have mentally noted all that I need to ask Google, but, why on earth can’t I remember anything meaningful? What makes this worse is the fact that just because I got to the page, just because I made the effort to boot my system and open a browser, I start looking for generic, meaningless terms that Google rewards suitably with irrelevant search results.

This is not the same as knowing what you need but unable to key in the right words that will give you the best results. That is a different problem altogether.

My worst nightmare is when I am in some remote place, where you need to change buses, walk kilometres to reach a place where you get network and it is a rather slow network where the google home page takes a couple of minutes to load and after all the effort, I just can’t remember what was it that I was seeking.

It used to happen to me when I had to go to a cyber center, when I had ten minutes still left after sending my emails, and I wanted to make the best use of the paid time. Then when I start searching for lame, useless stuff, I would feel like kicking myself.

That, my friend, is the “searcher’s block”. Just like all other blocks, it is real; it is right there hiding, like a virus waiting to attack its next unsuspecting victim!

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We have our Cartoon!

Posted in Animals, Environment, Humour, Links, Politics, Sarcasm by Ratheesh & Sharada on February 26, 2010

We have started another blog where we have released our own Cartoon Series. Called Quibbles, the cartoon series will attempt to comment on various social concerns. You can read more about it here.

How to have your own IT Startup at 22 and screw it up by 28 – A definitive guide [by Ratheesh]

Posted in Humour, Job by Ratheesh & Sharada on August 16, 2009

Prologue

Let me be clear about this; you have to be either out of your mind, or being forced to read this article. Even though the author of this article has in-depth knowledge in the field of creating startups, he would rather sell it to you as a book instead of publishing it free on the internet. So don’t count your mangoes before they are pickled. (That’s not an appropriate phrase to use, but it is a tribute to some of you who impress me with your exquisite English).

Confused and Dazed

So you are 22 eh? Just out of college, if you are in Bangalore i.e. And If your mom and dad did not well-plan your conception programme, then you are probably 22 in your college records but 21 in personal life. Anyways, for the safe progress of this guide let us assume you are just 22 and out of college, and did pass out through legitimate means (I can help you otherwise too). Meanwhile, we are also assuming that you have enough money to start a startup. That would be about 15 bucks… oops sorry, that is what it takes to buy a masala dosa, and I am deviating here.

So since you have the money and all that, lets see what you lack. You lack guidance, confidence, direction and an awful lot of other sophisticated items that I can enlighten you with. Well.. that is exactly why you are reading this. Let us understand the most important term first. What is a startup?

A startup is a company that you ‘start’ and the only way it can pretend to go is ‘up’. Thats it! There it is, I just blurted it out. I can see you heaving a sigh of relief; you did think it would have some complex ‘IT’ definition didn’t you (for which you would run to a senior in college or google). Lucky you! that was an easy lesson. So the next question would be why you want to start one when most of them seem to be going ‘down’?

Well… once you start a startup, you are sure to get name and fame at the age of 22. And ofcourse, lots of money, a ridiculously expensive car, a girlfriend who wont stay away from your pockets (for the money you pervert), and a mom who walks into your office amused at the respect she receives from the security guy and secretaries only to find you sitting at your desk checking ’email’ in your costly suit.

May I continue, If I have painted a good picture? Let’s come back to that 15 bucks you had. Let me speak the truth my friend, that much money won’t do. You need some ‘funding’ to get this process ‘kicked-off’. At this point, take out a piece of paper and write down the names of the richest people you know (include your dad, he must have something too). Now, figure out their phone numbers and contact them one by one and tell them how deeply you feel about reviving Indian economy, especially the poor of India, and you want to start a company that benefits them and you need money pooled in for this. You can come back to me after exercise.

Ah. You are back! If atleast half of them did not slam their phones down you can stop reading this article right now.

You didn’t, so you probably hate me now for playing that little trick. You just learnt a valuable lesson. ‘ness’ is the only common part in goodness and business and ‘ness’ has no meaning. Anyways, sorry about that, you need to do this again, and we can jump to the next stage; its called ‘Funding’.

Begging

I see that face of yours. Is this all you grew up for? to beg for money to start a business. To keep aside all shame and ask for money by providing pretty pictures of things to come (which might eventually not). No, there is another way out … Stealing, but you might want to stay away from that route.

So let me teach you some more keywords now for this stage. You need to first ‘conceptualize’ a product that you are going to make. It need not mean anything now, it need not mean anything anytime. Pick up something from thin air and name it something. Also remember that you always add that this product is a ‘game-changer’ or a ‘trend-setter’. By the way, if you are reading this around 2009 do call it ‘web-based’. Do you use google to search? YOu do? Good, then you know all about internet. Go ahead.

Now that you are set with the words and tools to use, you may run to ‘Venture Capitalists’ for your funding. Time for some clarity. Who are ‘Venture Capitalists’? These are folks who are from ‘capitalist’ nations of the world and are inherently ad’venturous’ by nature. So now you are clear about that too. Good job there.

‘VC’s as they are called lovingly are actually very nice people. They usually have greying hair, clean shaven faces (since they are in capitalist countries), wear a white kurta and pajama (yes, even if Non Asian), walk a dog to the gate and invite you with a smile that puts our bearded-female-sounding-white-robe-wearing-man to shame. Remember to put on your anti-glare glasses to look nerdy and wear a jeans that shows a little hair on your legs (only if you are male) and low socks. That should set a good impression of you with the VC. And remember, carrying a laptop is a must.

Present your case with a mixed look on your face. You have to attain the right blend of confidence and confusion. Think about the confidence on that president’s face when he said ‘childrens’ and mix it with the confused look you saw on the host’s face when a certain black guy said he is definitely not turning white. You get the picture, that is the look you maintain throughout. The VC will see the ‘potential’ in you to take the idea to ‘completion’ as well as the ‘openness’ to be ‘flexible’ incase you need to ‘diversify’ midway. I am sorry about a lot of keywords in there, but please figure it all out yourself this time.

If things went well, and you were not lewd to the VC’s wife or flirty with his daughter, then you will come out of that building smiling and go to the nearest pub and have a vodka. Well… you are 22, not 17, I can’t stop you. Get back to me to learn ‘Conceptualization’ in detail when you are done with beer (Yes, thats all we drink at 22)

Conceptualization

We heard this one didn’t we? Yes, that was before you ‘sold’ the idea. Now since you were just plain lying about stuff, can we do some actual work please? You need to really put some thought into what you plan to make or sell or both. And since neither the VC’s wife, nor his daughter is falling for your charms, you better work on this quick before he visits.

Also, it is time to call up a few of your friends and invite them to create a startup. I bet a few of them will surely be interested in hanging around in one of their houses and making software. Weed out the ones who will surely pick up that offer from one of the big companies. You don’t need them, you need the adventurous types. The ones who have potential to become ‘entrepreneurs’. We need to go slightly off topic here. What is this ‘entrepreneur’. Its like the other word you heard as a kid called ‘rendezvous’; this one too does not sound as its written. In fact if you need to be an ‘entrepreneur’ you must pronounce it as remotely away from how-it-is-written as you can. For now, practice this. ‘On’ ‘Thra’ ‘Pra’ ‘Noor’. Say that about 50 times while we take a break.

Since you got your bunch of guys, now sit and make a list of software you can make. Broadly you can make ‘Products’ or ‘Solutions’. If you choose to make ‘products’ you will be working on the latest technology and making stuff that makes lives of customers easier and you get money for it. If you choose to provide ‘solutions’ you will be working on the latest technology and making stuff that makes the lives of customers easier and you get money for it. Did those two just sound the same? Anyways, lets leave me alone and see what YOU can come up with

a) Search Engine – No, X did that
b) Email – No, Y did that
c) Finance – No, X and Y merged and did that
d) Websites and Content Management – No, we all did that in college
e) Software to let a user enter data and show it in a report – Wow, we can do that!

There must be atleast one friend who muttered something like ‘but we did that in college too’. Throw him out immediately as he is not going to ‘grow’ into a good ‘entrepreneur’ (say that again, I am keeping a watch on you).

So thats your choice. ‘Software to let a user enter data and show it in a report’. Do you wanna call it that or any plans to name it? I think you should call it something snazzy, snappy, today-ey etc. But remember this truth, your product and company name MUST have ‘info’ in it and also ‘tech’. This basically sends out a signal to your potential in-laws that you started an IT company. Very few people will even converse with you if the case is otherwise. At this point let me make an educated guess. The initials of you and your friends form the word SANS. Gotcha, I think you must call it

“TechSANSInfo”

You might want to should that loud again

“TechSANSInfo, we own TechSANSInfo!”

Good you got that out of your system. Now since you conceptualized and exactly know what you want to do with the VC’s money, we can move to the next topic.

Technology/Framework/Scalability

This is one of the toughest part and I am not kidding when I tell you that the technology in this world changes faster than you change your underwear every three days. Its a ‘web-enabled’ ‘fast-moving’ world out there. So what you choose to build your product with is really important in the ‘long-run’. Choosing the technology itself wont help. Most of the time conversations between you and a colleague or client are disturbed when you do not have a ‘framework’ that you use. Not using a ‘framework’ sends out the signal that you are doing college coding. So whether you use it or not, learn names of some frameworks out there. Next time someone asks you, don’t say ‘Java’ tell ‘J2EE’. Similarly, do not say ‘Microsoft Technologies’, say ‘.NET’. You will see the difference. What you do is up to you by the way.

Coming to scalability. It is a simple decision. ‘Scalability’ is the speed at which you can ‘scale’ over hurdles when a certain technology you used backfires. So when you use .NET and got stuck on a platform, how fast can you throw that entire thing away and use some java for linux users. If you did that pretty fast, then ‘.NET’ is called ‘scalable’. Simple isn’t it? Like everything else in software.

Infrastructure

Rome was not built in a day (again a tribute to someone I know out there), so you need some place to start with, a building, a floor, a conference room, a room, a cubicle … alright, a computer will do for now. Put that computer at a friends place, or like we heard about some of the largest software companies, start at a friend’s garage (this might be tough in Bangalore as most friend’s dads would have rented out the garage as a single-room to some IT guy). Anyways, rent out some place where you can keep this computer, and pile up the ‘Framework’ on it. (Notice that I didn’t say stupid things like install JDK, JRE and all, smart eh?)

Now get yourself some ergonomic chairs because you are going to sit long enough. And a coffee maker since you are going to write code for all night long. Since you have money for only one computer, for your friends who are chatting, buy a carrom board or chess (if they qualify to play that). All you need to do now is learn some Java!!

Now you tell me this! I was under the impression that you are taught stuff like this at college. I can understand that, the friend of yours who is now striking the queen on the carrom board needs a lot of training to strike some deals when he becomes the Marketing Director, but you my friend have betrayed me. But it is too late now; you already got your hands ‘dirty’. So might as well wash them. Time for some quick training.

1. You – Get trained by SUN and become certified and become the CTO
2. Your balding 23 year old friend – You are ideal to be the CFO
3. That handsome hunk , he can be the Marketing Director
4. That one who follows orders – he can be the CEO.

Do not ask me how that was a quick-training. Thats the best I can do at this point. Figure out the abbreviations for yourself. All I can say is that the ‘C’ stands for ‘Cheap’. We are done with Infrastructure (and with the loss of a chapter, training too). So let’s move on.

Prototyping

Its been a long night installing all that stuff and getting ready with your skills. But trust me, its not over. You need to start work on the ‘prototype’ of your product. Remember, if someone told you ‘it’s just a prototype’, they are bullshitting. There is no ‘just a prototype’. As a startup, you always sell the ‘prototype’ as your final product to the customer. Now, don’t get all idealistic on me about startups. We know why you are reading this article, you want to screw up the startup in a few years from now. So you BETTER be creating a ‘prototype’ that can be sold.

What is a prototype? According to my very reliable friends (google) and sources (wikipedia) from the internet, it is a sample; a subset of what can be done with the final product. The cost of making a prototype can be more than mass production of the final products. But ofcourse, they are talking about solar and hybrid cars which real engineers make. So we need to unlearn that. In software, a ‘prototype’ is a program that you write with ONE table in the database, ONE form to enter data, ONE procedure to call and do EVERYTHING and ONE report to show it back. That is a prototype. And the time and cost to do this must be atmost 0.1% of the cost you plan to sell the final product at (which is this prototype itself).

Prototyping must involve endless lines of code written in atleast two or three ‘frameworks’ merged together and ‘tightly bound’. By tightly bound I mean you must NEVER use parameters and other atrocities that bring shame on prototyping. You must also include hundreds of lines of comments and these commented sections must be code that you tried and rejected. Leaving such code in entitles you to the awe-factor from the customer (and future developers who join your company) when they admire how-you-arrived-at-your-solution. Also, this leaves an indelible mark in the code about you as a startup starter.

Marketing/Sales

Alright, its time to start showing people the amazing things your software can do. After all, ‘Software to let a user enter data and show it in a report’ is something brand new in the industry and anybody cannot live without it. Show the world that they ‘need’ TechSANSInfo! Also, do not forget to patent the product as we don’t want cheap wannabe companies ripping off your ‘original’.

Contrary to what some of the gurus out there will tell you, Marketing is a very simple activity. First of all, call up some of your current and past girlfriends (I used plural because I know you well). Tell her to call her friends and ask them to call their friends. Trust me, women are extremely good at this kind of stuff. Within a day, word about your software will surely reach atleast a thousand people.

Meanwhile me (and you) cannot keep typing TechSANSInfo in simple fonts like this. You need a good logo and font for your company name. Now there are two options; pay a good amount to a graphic designer OR one of you could get ‘inspired’ from a known company and come up with a similar logo and font. Remember, you are a startup, at any point in time when you are questioned, just say ‘aww, please don’t hurt us, we are just a startup’. Also, remember, you can keep saying that for as long as you choose.

Again, if you are reading this in 2009, you already know the importance of the internet. What you immediately need is a website. So come up with a website quickly and buy a domain name. http://www.techsansinfo.com would be the ideal name for your company. Remember to put flash on your website so that all those idiot internet users who choose not to have flash cannot access your site (It’s good to keep them away right). Also you must always buy (or download) photographs of a lot of happy people from the internet and put it up on your website. A visitor should feel that these are your employees and interacting with them. To keep the ‘multi-cultural’ spirit, do keep the photos mixed. One Indian man (unshaven upper lip), one American lady, one African-American man in suit and who looks higher up the ladder, one Chinese on the computer wearing glasses.

Do put up demos and ‘whitepapers’ on your website to add some authenticity. And ofcourse finally some contact information, you and your friends can put in your mobile numbers here; but please do remember to charge them for ‘life-time’ so that incoming calls are not hindered.

Business!

At this point, I have to assume you heeded my advice and were successful in luring some unsuspecting customers to your website (or your girlfriend) and sold them your product. Good luck! (and pat myself on my back, how am I so good at this!).

Now is the time to ‘deliver’. And just to do that, some of the oldest experts in the information technology team came up with a brilliant idea. It’s called the ‘Delivery Team’. And you need one. Why can’t you guys do it, you ask me? Well.. you guys are ‘visionaries’. You do not get into such tasks and waste your time. You must now concentrate on the business and ‘strategic’ customers (strategic is the polite word used when the customers are more intelligent than you and they know they are being ripped off).

A ‘Delivery Team’ consists of a manager who does all the excel and word document work, a technical lead to do all the talking and fighting and an intern who will pick up your prototype and make it slightly more presentable to the customer. This team will ‘deploy’ your product as a ‘solution’ to all the customer’s woes and will be there with the customer till they ‘go live’.

Ask the manager to download one of those free excel macros to ‘estimate’ the effort required to build the product. You can find it all over the internet. Google for the following words (without quotes) “time required to build software product” and you should find one of them. Use it to conjure up some numbers and send it to the customer. Your manager will have to do some convincing over the phone to get them to agree. If they are ‘strategic’ customers, you might have to get on the phone too (Ah, the things you have to do!). If the customer is not convinced, then I am afraid you are going to have to spend money on a product called ‘Macrosoft Prazect’. Customers do not argue when you show stuff on that. It is easy to learn and just like the Sudoku game; you just have to type in some numbers here and there and they should match and stay ‘green’.

I will not guide you through the low key jobs like the actual work your ‘Delivery Team’ will have to do over the next few months or years to build the product for the customer. Let us safely assume that they do their job well and end up delivering the project and you get your money in your bank. Let us move on to the really big stuff now; wait there is one more task before the big stuff.

Support

You have a brilliant product idea, you have the visionaries, you have the best technical team, the best delivery team, the best quality team (uh! do you?), now why do you need support? Your products are landmark items and are bug free, why do you need to bother to support you ask?

Look, every company needs support because talking to a customer who has already paid you is tougher than talking to them before or during the building of the software they need. And to do that, you need a team with mental strength, tolerance, patience, politeness and a love for night-life (after all your customers are not in this country because in this country people know you). Time to build your support team.

Pay a visit to the nearest college in your locality. Walk over to the cigarette shop near the gate (there is always one near colleges). Pretend to buy a cigarette and smoke. Whilst doing that, keep an eye on the youngsters who are walking around. If this is a girl’s college, then you should surely see some guys walking around. Look out for the ones who are wearing low rise jeans (where you can see one inch of the butt line), crumpled shirts, funny hairdo, just a little beard on the chin, maybe an ear ring, a stoned look in their eye. These are exceptional candidates for your team. Contact them and pick them up. These are the guys whom you can talk to for hours non stop and at the end of it they will respond with ‘Yeah, right .. dude’. That’s the quality we are looking for.

Now, let us move on to the bigger and better stuff.

Growth

Learning-by-rote time! Repeat these after me. “We are a growing company”. “We are growing”. “We are growing fast”. “We are ramping up”. As a visionary, you need to pull in your employees once in a while into a meeting room (I am sorry, but did we discuss meeting rooms ever?) and tell such stuff. And by the way, you need to keep growing too. So every year, as a ritual, keep recruiting new people into roles they don’t want to be in. Also, just to keep the balance, once in a while come up with really legitimate and valid reasons and fire them too, for e.g call them into your room and say, “Hey, we don’t like your face, we are letting you go”. They will surely appreciate your deep analysis. By the way, learn to say “letting you go” instead of “you are fired”.

But just adding people to your company will not do, you need to sit with your ‘core’ teams (usually you plus a group of self proclaimed experts) and discuss the organization structure and the kind of people you are going to add each year. Please do note that you always need to add more managers, business analysts, marketing staff, CEOs, CFOs, CTOs and CZOs to your company. Make the structure like an inverted pyramid where 300 people market your product, 200 sit and write functional requirement, 100 of them manage the project across the globe, 50 of the lead it and prepare the technical design, 5 of them sit and actually develop it and 1 of them supports it (part time). There, that’s the success-mantra of a good product company for you.

Remember, as you ‘grow’ you need more space to put all these people. But do not move to newer buildings until the HR inboxes are flooded with emails from female employees regarding the growing habit of male employees sitting on their chair-arm and working. That is a sure sign that there is no space left to sit and work. Although, if you are the adventurous types, you can wait till an email arrives where certain employees express their happiness of working here since they get to sit on each others lap. But it is entirely upto you on how far you want to go.

Keep this cycle going. As a startup, you are supposed to be showing atleast a 30% increase in employees every year. Also, only by doing the above, you can screw all this up in six years.

Awards & Recognition

At this point, let me take you to your childhood. You were a complete brat (like I said, I know you well) and you started yelling, wailing and made sure your parents looked like complete idiots when they took you to the exhibition. Your mom took out that nice bar of chocolate from her bag and gave it to you. The business gurus (not me) call this process ‘awarding’. Emulate this in your company to keep the yelling and wailing to a minimum. Also, be ‘proactive’ and give out some awards before hand. For e.g X might have got married. He/she might quit, so give him/her a ‘Got Married Award’. Y had a kid. He/she might quit, so giver him/her a ‘Had A Kid Award’. Discuss with your HR (those people who have pasted their upper lip onto their noses to stay smiling) all the possibilities of giving out awards.

Now you might think Awards and Recognition are the same; you are wrong! Check this out. You walk into the pantry and pick up a cup and press the button on that mystic machine. Nothing comes out. You look at the guy standing there and ask him ‘Why is this not fixed yet? Can you get me a cup of coffee’. He walks away and comes back with coffee for you. Your solution manager walks in at that time calling you for a meeting with your best technical lead. You ask ‘Oh ya, that brilliant guy, where is he?’. The solution manager points to the guy who got you coffee. Get the picture? Recognition is when you ‘recognize’ people. Again, sit with HR once in two months and prepare a chart with your employees’ photo and names on it. And recognize them later.

Corporate Social Responsibility

You have probably heard this one. Long for CSR. It is a recently researched marketing tool used by large companies (and ofcourse ‘growing’ startups) to keep up a good image in the IT industry. To proclaim that your company has CSR, all you need to do is ask someone in Admin to pay for the security’s lunch everyday or give some money to a frequently visiting bum or even put out some biscuits for the stray dogs. That entitles you to mention that you are socially responsible. See, that was easy.

Suicidal Symptoms

Okay, so now you are in the fourth or fifth year. Good! By the way, I am glad to see you made it till here and I feel proud. It has been an amazing journey for me. I would like to thank my parents … Oops sorry, that is the Oscars and I am deviating again.

At this point you have everything you asked for when you were walking out of that college and we met. Name, fame, girls, identity, a prototype product (yes, even now its a prototype), money, awards etc. What you need now is to somehow end all this, because you already got what you need. You want to take all the money and get out of this to start a new business. But you cannot end a company just like that right? You will be answerable to too many people. So here is the way out.

Stay consistent with ‘growing’ mantra. Infact increase employment to 40%. Also, increase lay offs to 30% (always lay off people you just recruited first, as that should start making you unpopular in the industry by the media). Start agreeing to do projects even if customers sound like the characters from the movie “Dumb and Dumber”. Agree to their wierd whims and fancies and always (as a rule) agree on impossible delivery dates. That should make you unpopular among customers (even the dumb ones), developers and delivery managers.

One rotten apple can screw up all of them. But imagine you had a bag of 50 apples and 30 of them are rotten. Or imagine that we are talking about 30 rotten fish now instead of apples. Do just that. Increase your manager-count to atleast 70%. Do this by recruiting more managers or making managers out of developers and technical architects. The rot should increase slowly but steadily within the organization because pretty soon, there is no one doing any actual work. Everyone will be ‘managing’ someone else. So when was the last time we heard a success-story attributed to managers. Hmm…let me think…yes you think too…hmmm…okay… NEVER!

Another exercise that you should always conduct on a half-yearly basis is called Org-Re-Structuring. It is very simple to do. Take two pack of cards, on one pack, write the name of all your employees on each card. On the other pack, write designations on each card. Now, you and your wife (or girlfriend, or boyfriend or whatever) sit with one pack each and lift up cards one by one. Note down the employee-name and designation combinations and send out an email letting them know their new positions. This is an absolute fun activity for you and your partner (partner is a safe word to use in 2009) and keeps the employees on their toes and maybe make some of them quit before you lay them off.

And incase you missed the point up until now. Never work on the actual product you set out to make. Keep piling up trash in your ‘sell-able’ software repository over the years and that itself can add to your companies demise.

The Demise of a ‘dream’ called TechSANSInfo

Ah! you are 28 now. And we are doing good. Things are moving just like you planned if not better. If you have initiated the suicide-mode described above, then you are on your last lap. You have made billions of dollars and ensured there existed a company that people will not know about when it failed. In other words, you cannot even be a successful failure. The media won’t report it, the business community will not talk about it. It is another feather in your cap (which had no feathers to start with, so its the first and only one).

At this point it is a waiting game. Either all of your people will quit themselves (including your HR, Admin, Housekeeping and Security). Or you can conduct a mass lay off. Or you may file for bankruptcy and let the government take over. Or you may go to office on a public holiday and set fire to the building and then file for bankruptcy. Or you may just sell the company to the next rich guy you met at the bar. Even better, just bet it on the next card game. The options are plenty, and I shall gladly leave it to you.

Epilogue

All characters, situations, thoughts, philosophies, ideas, words, emotions, situations (did I repeat) depicted in the above article are very real and if anyone was offended, it was intentional. And yes, no animals were harmed in the making of this article.

Computers can be dangerous

Posted in Humour by Ratheesh & Sharada on November 17, 2008
IndianHandTrick

IndianHandTrick

Things you can do to your hair

Posted in Humour by Ratheesh & Sharada on August 5, 2008

Faces

Faces

Faces

(Moo)ving account of an animal lover’s life [by Ratheesh]

Posted in Animals, Environment, Humour, Life, Sarcasm, Social Work by Ratheesh & Sharada on March 20, 2008

Disclaimer:
(When you see a disclaimer on an article rest assured there is something fishy about it.)
Although with its polite manner and professional etiquette this article might impress you, please beware. This is a cheap marketing gimmick by an animal lover to bring you into his circle. (Sort of like Amway, but we don’t promise to make you rich).

“You both are mad, MAD”, aunty said, stressing on the second “MAD” to make sure we heard it clear. The aunty in question is my wife’s mom, an old lady with chubby cheeks, dimpled chin and a lot of good old features you would love to see in your mom. She loves us a lot, a LOT (this time I am stressing), as any mom would.

So why would she get so articulate about our perceived mental problem today? Truth is, she was not alone. There are many people around us who think we are mad, out of our mind. Reasons? You ask. We are ardent animal lovers. (Ooooooh, I see some of you throwing this article away).

Animal lover, Animal activist; call us anything. We are a special breed. All ten of us in Bangalore (just kidding); there are about 100 of us the last time I counted (Ha Ha). We were born-guilty; guilty for whatever our pathetic forefathers have done to this planet. We constantly try to make corrections. We demand justice (we receive none, but who cares; it is easy to get permission to sit in front of Gandhi’s statue on M.G Road). We spend our money on Animal NGOs who in turn spend it spaying and neutering dogs on the streets so that they don’t bite “your” sorry arses. (“Your” as in someone who is not an animal lover. An animal lover feeds the dogs on his street, so it does not feed on “your” sorry arses).

It is not an awfully big list, but we do try to do our bit to save endangered species from extinction.(Yes! the dodo is extinct, but that is not the only one that has become extinct, you non animal lover! From this point onwards, I choose to call you Non-Animal-Lover. Now, don’t try to get all ‘politically correct’ with man-is-an-animal theory. You should’ve thought of that when you were killing so many animals just for pleasure and for food, you non-animal-lover-cum-non-vegetarian!)

Recently someone asked us what we do on weekends. “We teach English at a school and we work for animals the rest of the time”. The “teach English at school” part evoked lot of interest and appreciation. “Working for animals” evoked reactions similar to the expressions you’d have when you heard Narendra Modi won the Gujarat election a second term (something like “How??”). Animals are after all some sort of side-effect in God’s creation plan.

This is true, but people actually think we animal lovers are wasting our time; some of them think we are not really enthusiastic about it, but do it because somebody asked us to. Some others sympathize with us. (You should see the looks we get when we sit on M.G Road footpath, beside paan stains and dog poop). To summarize, they (you non-animal-lovers) think we are fighting a lost cause. (With so many animals on the brink of extinction, I am tempted to agree). But we will not give up.

“So you guys work for PETA?” our colleague at office asked us. (The kind of guy who does not know nothing about animals). “No”. We do not work for PETA, or any other organization for that matter. But thanks to their great work, PETA seems to have become synonymous with animal activism. No complaints. “Do you love children?” it was our chance to ask. “Yes”, he said. “Do you work for CRY?” We have not spoken to this guy since.

Being an animal lover is a tough job (I should be careful what I call it, some of you cunning fellows might be waiting to prove that we are being paid by Maneka Gandhi). As I said, it is not easy; first we need to convince our family that we are not mentally retarded, then we need to convince the auto driver that we are not criminals (because we are mostly loading his auto with animals, birds or snakes depending on what we do). Then there are various men and women who work at NGOs (for some folks animal loving is a job) who look at us and wonder why we turn up on weekends, all smiling and happy and ready to help them with menial jobs.

Most of us love all animals alike. We all picture ourselves hugging a grizzly bear in a perfect world (a perfect world is one where all non-animal-lover-cum-non-vegetarians have learnt their lessons). But some of us like my wife shriek at the sight of cockroaches (I am guessing many of the fairer sex animal lovers do). Then again, I do not picture myself hugging a cockroach too.

“So you say you are an animal lover?” this guy asked me once. He had the look on his face that reminded me of some lawyer in an movie. “How can you be sure that you do not hurt small insects, like you might crush ants and cockroaches while driving?” he continued. I do not remember my response (I must have smiled or something), but I do remember visualizing crushing him under my tyres some day. If all you losers out there did not (and do not) work towards a perfect world, where all loopholes are closed and all clauses are satisfied, then how can you ask us to strive for that (let me make this clear; we would like to, if you co-operate). Think about it, atleast we try. Not sit in front of the TV and watch some sixteen year olds play cricket or sixty year olds build six packs.

“So when will you be back? Will you come home for lunch?” aunty was at it again. She realized that her taunts were not going to make us give up a juicy protest march (This time some Swamiji was also supporting it for his own publicity). “We heard they are giving us biscuits (Parle-G to be precise, which both dogs and animal lovers love alike)” I replied, as we rode away on our bike, leaving aunty fuming at the gate.

Brother (or Sister) (or Others), we animal lovers are not your enemies, nor are we in need of your sympathy. We represent that part of your soul that is still humane. Accept us and be with us. Let us make this world a wonderful place to live in … for animals.

New One-liner

Posted in Humour, Job by Ratheesh & Sharada on July 28, 2007

Today we just created a new one-liner.

“Going on-site for work is like prostitution; you may not like what you are doing, but you still do it for the money”

Cowards !! – Part 2

Posted in Humour, Job, Sarcasm by Ratheesh & Sharada on April 20, 2006

[read this first]

Well.. we got news today that “Dishonesty is the best policy” will not be published by the other business group too. The reason was it did not comply to the company’s policies. Ha ha ha. There seems to be a policy somewhere that reads “There will be ongoing crime within the company, but talking/writing about it is against the company policies”. Great. The funny part is we haven’t mentioned the company name anywhere. So both these guys who rejected are so damn guilty of about their place of work. Anyway we are still here for now, among a bunch of criminals.

Art of Bullshitting [by Ratheesh]

Posted in Humour, Job, Sarcasm by Ratheesh & Sharada on April 7, 2006

We all know what the familiar, long haired, bearded, soft spoken, modern day guru conducts. Yes! Art of Living; nicknamed AOL by the ever growing ‘shishyas’. Bangalore being the center of IT-activity (I heard its Hyderabad now, but I guess I am a little slow), we should be soon starting a new kind of mission. And that one should be nicknamed AOB which stands for Art of Bullshitting.

Why AOB for the IT field? Good question. You have probably never been in the IT sector my friend. Try inquiring with your son or daughter or a buddy. He/she probably goes through hours and hours of bullshitting sessions while at work. Its absolutely amazing to sit in awe and respect when the ones higher to you in hierarchy go about bullshitting when they get a chance to speak.

Just a few hours ago we attended one of these. And the bullshitter (as we will call him/her from now on) started off with words from another world. Words which you probably read while you learnt them by-heart in school or later while reading a GRE book (you are lucky if you never read one!). While the bullshit flowed at us like cats n dogs all I could think of was write about it. When I thought further, I realised there is scope of a career change here.

Why not start an ‘Ashram’ of our own. We could call it ‘Art of Bullshitting’. Obviously with a big gate over which would be written. ‘Bow your head and bullshit while you walk in’. I could sit in there on a pedestal with long hair and beard (Sharada could of course sit beside me using a fan on me probably he he 🙂 ). And yes, the ashram will surely be inagurated by the best bullshitters from the IT sector. We could also pull in one of those business celebrities (ya, those regular folks who bullshit on business channels on TV).

If you come to think of it, bullshitting is not a new art. It is not something which is always done wearing a well pressed formal trousers/shirt (with a clown tie as bonus). A large amount of bullshit was always thrown at us over the decades by politicians who came post independence. So I guess this is just version two of bullshit, 🙂

Now lets try to break down the characteristics of a good bullshitter (might help us in future when we set exams at the ashram)

1. A good bullshitter talks on demand. Almost like a robot. Click the button and he/she starts talking. What is being talked about is unimportant. But yes, if its an IT bullshitter it will have something to do with software, delivery, model, policy, revene, some shit..

2. A good bullshitter stops to listen to you (unlike your dad), but once you stop, continues from where he/she left off and you will sit there wondering what happened to what you just told.

3. A good bullshitter always ensures he/she produces information that they obtained recently; whether that information is important in the current context or not is secondary. For e.g, a good bullshitter always mentions that the IT company X aquired Y just even when someone is being buried at a funeral.

4. A good indian bullshitter almost always ensures he/she uses a foriegn accent. Now, the fact that the foreign accent used by him/her is foreign to even foreigners is globally known truth.

5. A good bullshitter is easily recongnizable in the crowd simply because they are very typical. They would always pick up the ‘Business Today’ when waiting in a public place. When speaking to you they constantly look at the watch and pretend to be a very busy person.

Well, those were some primary characteristics. Ofcourse, there are more. Also, bullshitting is not really limited to the people in the upper echelons of power in various industries; these days it is trickling down to you and me too. Its around us. Have a look around you, the developer bullshits when asked why his code does not work. The celebrities on TV bullshit all the time in their interviews. There is an hour of bullshit thrown at you after every cricket match that india plays. And who can ignore the bullshit in the fashion world. Recently a model walked the ramp after her ‘wardrobe malfunction’ (trying to save herself from the numerous cameras in vain). The fashion designer said ‘Oooh, she was so poised, so elegant, she recovered well’. Ya ya. And in the same show I heard some more bullshit; this time it was one fashion designer commenting on another’s creation. ‘There was an underlying tragedy in her creations. A poetry’. Well, all I can say is if there is nothing ‘underlying’, then its a ‘tragedy’ baby.

So here we go, back to our big bullshitting world. Bye for now.

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