Year 2012

This is the first of what I hope to be many of yearly review posts. I want to use these posts to assess the year and hopefully improve on it going forward.

MCQmania

While visiting home in Nepal last February, Rajesh talked to me about this idea of creating a website where students could practice questions to prepare for their medical or engineering entrance exams. At first, I thought I would just whip out a quick version for him that his students could use. But as I started working on it, I began to appreciate the idea more and more. The status of e-learning in South Asia (especially Nepal) is pretty much non-existent so it seemed like a great opportunity to help expand online education in this part of the world.

We released the website under public beta during the first week of May and have got great responses from the users. MCQmania currently has around 9,200 questions from 164 different topics. Around 2000 users have signed up for the website and practiced questions 165,000+ times since we started tracking this number in October 25. Our Facebook page currently has 440+ likes. Going forward, I plan to grow the community and make the website much more useful and effective.

Joined OnSports

I quit my job at Tritek Solutions in July this year. The just over two years that I worked at Tritek had been really great. I learned a lot about software engineering, and had good time working with my co-workers but it was time for a new adventure.

I have been thinking about working at a startup for a long time and decided this was the perfect time to make the move. After talking to a bunch of startups in the bay area, I finally decided to join OnSports, a mobile sports startup. I have been working here for almost 6 months now and I couldn’t be happier. I love everyone I work with and believe we have a great product we can build upon. I have learnt a great deal in these past few months. Using Python as my primary programming language has been nothing short of joyful. Working with different NoSQL and graph databases, and interacting with various third party web API’s have undoubtedly made me a better programmer.

I can’t wait for the months ahead where we at OnSports will continue to redefine sports betting.

Moved to San Francisco

Yes, finally. I have wanted to move to west coast for a long time now but procrastination always got the better of me. I am so glad I finally made the move this year. It has only been few months and I am already in love with this city (though it’s a bit colder than I would like). This city has a personality like no others. There is always something happening and there is so much to do in/around the city. I can easily see myself living here for a long time to come.

Travel

This year has been pretty good in terms of travel.

  • Went to Nepal twice. Visited Pokhara (bummed we could not paraglide because of bad weather) and Bhairahawa
  • West Virginia for couple days of camping/rafting
  • Costa Rica with co-workers @OnSports (I hadn’t met them in person before this trip:)). This was lot of fun and easily the best trip of the year. I learned to surf a little and not to mention an interesting experience with crabs.
  • San Francisco and some areas around it.

Sister’s Wedding

My sister got married June of this year. It’s a very strange feeling seeing your sibling get married as several emotions runs together through you. I can’t explain how truly happy I am for her. I wish her the best in this new chapter of her life.

And oh the wedding was magnificent!

Others

  • I started learning Spanish about couple months ago using Rosseta Stone and Duolingo. I haven’t been able to make much progress but I want to continue learning and am hoping that I will be ready before my next Latin American trip (whenever that is).
  • I am really disappointed in myself that I did not read much this year. I hope to change this in 2013.
  • Attended Startup school. It was a great experience being around so many entrepreneurs, hearing them speak and learning from their experiences.

Though I am quite pleased with how the year went overall, I am disappointed that I did not read much books last year. Not putting on weight and not learning to swim were other let downs (however I did learn to surf a bit). I am hoping to change that in 2013.

Design for Developers

Really awesome presentation from Johan Ronsse about design for developers. In this presentation, he provides sets of default rules to use for lots of design decisions. It’s a must watch presentation for especially developers like me.

Quick Update - Shapea

It’s been quite a while that I last posted. I had been kind of busy with work and still am. So, this is going to be a quick update. I have been working partially on my new webapp called Shapea (as in Shape Idea) - where ideas take shape :) The goal of the application is to help entrepreneurs decide which of their bazillion ideas they should pursue. We all fall deeply in love with our ideas and sometimes end up working on those that have clear dead ends. The webapp is currently trying to solve this in following ways:

  • You can better manage their ideas. The goal is to provide a personal research tool so as to shape the idea by yourself as much as possible.
  • You can share your idea publicly and receive valuable feedback from the Shapea community.
  • utomatically create a beta landing page with beta sign up forms (no programming or hosting required). The users from Shapea community can sign up for invites directly from the feedback page.

That is all for Shapea for now.

Expect a couple post in near future. I have to summarize how was 2010 (I know its already end of Jan) and experience of building a MVP. Stay tuned!

Hello World

print "Hello, World!"

Hi, I’m Sandip Agrawal. I am so happy to have finally got my own domain. A special thanks for fellow Sandip Agrawal, who owned this domain before and decided for whatever reason it was not worth it. Thanks, mate!

Top 3 reasons for starting this blog (in no particular order):

Improve my writing

Let’s make it clear. I am a horrible writer. English, not being my first language might have something to do with it. But I am committed to improve. I hope this blog is a step in the right direction. Why is writing important? Paul Graham puts it in Writing, Briefly:

Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.

Have an online presence

Through this blog, I aim to create and maintain an internet presence. Instead of me having to give my twitter, facebook, linkedin or [insert your favorite social networking site] info, I can just point people to my blog.

Share my views

Just like everyone, I have my opinion about things that surround us. Here, I will post my views on things that I care about, stuffs I have a love/hate relationship with. And of course, there will be updates on what’s happening in my life. So, stay on board!

Of course, I can’t improve without you. Yes, YOU! Please drop a line if at any point you have any comment or suggestions for me. It could be a note on my poor writing, your likes/dislikes on any topic or even if to just say Hi!