Interviewstreet

Yes, I’ve quit IBM and now the signature in my emails says

Harishankaran
Software Developer,
Interviewstreet.com

Now that I can post anything I want (not that IBM stopped me writing what I wanted to write :P), let me try to answer a few questions my friends asked, when I told them about my venture.

What triggered you guys [ working in big MNC’s like IBM, Amazon ] to quit your job? What more do you ppl want? especially when you are just a 1 year old kid in the industry.

Well, whether you are a year old in the industry (or) 5 years (or) 10 years, if you do not have the passion towards your product, the ‘experience’ makes little sense. It does count to an extent, I agree, but the yardstick I would use to measure an entrepreneur will be his degree of commitment more than anything else! I personally feel, passion coupled with dedicated effort to your product can help you solve any problem that you encounter and that’s what most startups do!. I can’t speak for others but I guess their reason should be on similar lines. I want to learn everything. Probably I’m more ambitious here. Or maybe greedy. Or anything else you might like to call it. But at the end of the day, you have to accept this – you’ll learn lots and lots if you work in a startup and the amount one gets to learn if we start our own venture is awesome and that’s what I find attractive. πŸ™‚

So does that mean you won’t be worried if you don’t make money of out of this?

Well, actually yes. I don’t think I’ll worry about that. But we are looking somewhere around a million dollars in a couple of years time! πŸ˜‰

How long are you going to do this?

Three months back I had no idea that I’ll quit from IBM so soon. So, I’m not too sure I can even predict what I might do after three or six months.

Why does your email say “Software Developer” and not “CTO”?

Simple. That’s my job in Interviewstreet. I don’t have 100 people under me to tell them what to code or what should be the next product we release. I’m the designer, developer and tester here. And that’s why it says “Software Developer”

So what have you learnt in Interviewstreet till now?

Well, one thing I’ve learnt and am still learning is to make decisions on the product stack. From small to big decisions. And trust me, it is not so easy.
For example, should we use Git or CVS or SVN? IF Git, then why Git? The point to note there is that it doesn’t matter whether Git is the best SCM available out there. What matters is how much can it leverage your product. How much time will your team spend in learning it if they have to learn that?

Have all the decisions you have made have been perfect?

Of course no. But luckily, most of them worked out well. For example

Jquery or YUI javascript library or script.aculo.us? We use JQuery and we are totally happy about it.
Blueprint or YUI CSS or 960? We use Blueprint. Solves so many CSS troubles.
Git or CVS or SVN? Of course Git. Do I need to explain why?
Cake PHP or Zend or php without any MVC framework? This is where we went terribly wrong. None of us had used MVC frameworks before and we didn’t get the concepts right. We lost a couple of weeks trying to code with MVC model and finally decided to come back to simple PHP.
The important problem with these decisions are that they are costly. Any mistake you make in deciding the software stack is gonna hurt you real bad if it doesn’t suit you and you have to change it after a few months.

Now that you are working for your startup, will you be working 7 days a week? Or even worse, 8 days a week?

No. You have to understand one thing. A startup is not a short sprint, it is a marathon. You need to build an empire, which means you need to run for more than 10 years. And working 20 hours a day is not going to help that. What we have in mind is to work for 5 days a week, 1 day just to learn new technology/skills and a day off. Sounds perfect now, but the difficult part will be forcing ourselves not to work on the 7th day!

You sound like a geek/programmer to me, who likes only to code. Will you be able to manage marketing/business and every other non-technical stuff?

Didn’t I tell you? I want to learn EVERYTHING. I will make my own mistakes and learn from them.

14 Comments

  1. Wonderful Post !
    I always thought you guys had lots of passion and guts to go for a startup, which is so tough for many of us !
    All the best for startup and All the best for learning everything πŸ™‚
    You guys were the trend setters back in college. Wish you the same in this field too. πŸ™‚

  2. Hari, Great post. I love your approach to things and your point of view on the working hrs and days. I’ll wait a couple of months before i quiz u on this one again πŸ™‚ For now, Good Luck! Go Steady! Create Value!

  3. Wow.. You don’t really sound like only-an-year-old-in-the-industry. All the best for your big leap. Please give me a treat in two years or million dollars (hopefully that would be earlier than two years).
    And yes, MVC is confusing πŸ˜€

  4. Shivraj

    Hey Hari

    Very inspiring post ! You seem to be on right path ! Looking forward to know from you how you learnt other things apart geeky stuff πŸ™‚
    All the best .

    Cheers
    Shivraj

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