It would be annoying to few people when i boast about a text editor. If its okay to boast about bikes, if its okay to boast about jewels, then what’s wrong to boast about something which i use everyday?
What makes Samurai stand apart from other fighters? His skill ? And his sword?! From Painter to Sculptor, the tool one uses really matters. It also applies to Programming.
Vim is the text editor that saved my ass!
Vim is like Aladdin’s lamp, it will look simple and worthless. Once you get your hands on the lamp, tada!! you would discover a monster/spirit. You can do all most anything you want once you discover Vim is a monster.
Vim is like a state of art gun. You need to explore and make the best use of it. It might look simple but it is a complex one. And i am learning each day to master the gun to be a ninja.
I don’t know if God exists. But I believe some Hacker is programming this whole world. Things work on that algorithm.
I risked too much. I even risked my family who looked to me as a ray of hope after years of crisis.
I gave up all the fun in organizing events in my university. My heart broke when my friends Facebook friended good looking junior girls, just because they were organizers!. I hit my head and asked to myself, “Do i really need to startup?”.
I gave life to my idea. But i executed poorly. Starting from posting in Hacker News to getting response from Facebook friends or making my app public(should have made invite only). I failed over and over again.
I should have known when people said my app is amateurish. I should have known when people reminded me about my obligations. I should have known when people told me to attend job interviews at least to have it as a backup. I should have known when people said, it does not solve a problem. I should have known, this is going to fail.
My eyes popped out when i saw the server cost for this month. I could hear the words “over optimization kills startups” which i read some where. Again a poor execution.
Then I decided, I should stop my servers and find a job.
When I made this decision, it was almost early morning. And i had an event(may be last of any such events in my college life) in my university that day. I left to my university, I was introspecting whatever i did related with my app during the journey.
Before going to my university, i received a call from an incubator which I had applied, they asked my school name and hung up. I was puzzled, I decided to quit, but this call again got me thinking, what if I receive some support? I could do whatever i wanted. Then i reached my university, I forgot about my app and was with friends spending my time.
This College event had an hackathon which would start in the evening and continue next day morning. I chose to attend this hackathon as few of my juniors insisted, in fact that is the sole reason i came to that college event. I joined my juniors who were developing a Python app and an Android app. The python group had some errors which was not getting solved. I said, dump this app, learn rails and lets make an app and deploy.
As we were doing our rails app, the nearby persons started talking with us. During the talk, i told them about Submify. They gave their thoughts. This talk was one of the best I have ever had regarding my app. Because of the timing that i decided to quit. They told about various successful apps and the stories behind it. He enlightened me that it takes time for the app to gain traction as it depends on network effect. Meanwhile, my juniors pulled me from back and wanted to do the app. I continued doing our app with my juniors. But these persons had given me an awesome piece of advice that i could not resist from showing them my app. I turned over, I asked them “Could you take a look at my app and tell me how you feel and what sucks?” The inputs/suggestions were enlightening as i expected. You guys from justpay if you are reading this, “Thank you!”.
Okay, now i am convinced my app needs a network effect, how about the cost? It was rocketing outside my budget, it would sound death knell :) My friend suggested me move to Heroku or other services to cut the cost. Making this transition is bit painful but i had no choice. After some days, i received an email from Amazon(where i have my servers). The email said, Amazon was cutting costs. I was like, “Whaaaaaat?” I soon got a reserved instance for a year which can be used for 2 months if used continuously which costed me the same amount as this month’s cost. But then again i messed up :D as usual. (For people who would use Amazon ec2) I chose instance of different region, Amazon automatically converts a demand instance to reserved instance if you chose the appropriate region. Anyway, i figured it now and configuring my server as i write this post.
Also, I saw many new people signing up and posting links. Some even contacted me to join the team. Everything was upside down.
Trying to quit after starting up is like trying to suicide. You can end your worries, apprehensions in a second. Just postpone your decision to quit. Each day might not be the same.
Readers:Follows topics to see what’s happening in the web related to their interested topics
Writers: Shares(submit) what they have read in the web with appropriate topic followers.
Executors or Creators: Push one’s blog or article to submify and its topic followers.
Publish your blog or content: eg. If i have a site vysakh dot com and write an article about startups, how would i get the word about it? I should share it in my facebook page or twitter page with my followers? With submify i should be able to tag my post with a topic (through submify) in my site, it should reach the people who follow that topics.
Share about a link across multiple topic communities: You could share your own link or other interesting link across topic communities and get a solid discussion. Discussion will not be split if “A” submits a link to topic X and “B” submits the same link to topic Y, the comments remains the same. This would have viewpoints across the topic followers eg: If there is a link “Microsoft Office coming to linux” a microsfoft fan would submit it under topic “Microsoft” which would have discussion favoring Microsoft, if a linux fan submits the same link to topic “Linux” the linux topic followers would get to see the discussion already made by Microsoft fans and could continue the discussion in the same thread.
Get links in web based on one’s interest: Finally if you have no search terms to Google and learn cool stuff in internet, you could come to submify follow some of your interested topics and get yourself served with the content from this awesome internet.
Ads based on the topics you follow. (Pay per click)
Sponsored links to appear in the feed.
Hope this would have given some idea about business model canvas and about submify’s use case.
For the past few days i am seeing unexpected consistent new traffic to my site. One of the main source is my blog.
Why blogging? :
Some articles say blogging is one of the best way to reach/get new users.
Every time i make a blog post, i could see a sudden spike in my Google analytics graph! Whoah!, i should blog blog blog at least to have these spikes often!!!
If i blog i could silently promote my app and always have an excuse to make a tweet or status.
Thoughts are completely messed up when it is inside your brains, writing that down directs your thought process, your plan.
Sometimes my posts serve as a motivation, answer to my questions and doubts.
Finally, Blogging is awesome!
If you have a startup start sharing your thoughts! :)
And one more thing
Be thankful to the people who motivate you:
I had been talking about the haters all the time in my blog posts and did not take some time to thank those who motivated me.
Being a student entrepreneur:
The number of people who motivated me is unimaginably high, this is one of the big advantage of being a student entrepreneur.
I cannot thank individually as some people might be left out. Haters won’t complain for being mentioned, but the people who motivates you always look for a “shout out” in your blog.
I have been receiving support from my college mates, juniors, seniors, school mates, professor(one of my professor just signed up my app, yaay!! she even promoted to her students to contribute and has a link to my app’s github page in her site), people i never met in real life but through social networking site and few others.
And special thanks to Alagunambi Welkin who spent more time than anybody else in giving suggestions/advice/motivation :)
“Familiarity breeds contempt” just because some one is accessible or replies to your messages does not mean that you are super cool, awesome personality! it means the replying person is super cool and an awesome personality! You will never realize their value unless they are not part of your life, just keep that in mind :) (reminding this to myself and a piece of advice to the readers :) )
Whenever you ask anyone starting up why they chose to do, their reply would be
“ want to make a dent in the universe(may be its some Steve Jobs quote)”
For the past two days the thought that my app is not disruptive got into my mind and was in a state of confusion. But all of a sudden i feel refreshing, some thrill that it is indeed an awesome app(in future). I am writing this post to introspect and gain more thrill to myself.
Tired of social media related apps, please build something useful like Tesla car or internet of things or Big data related products:
This is the thought that often comes to my mind after creating my app(What is the best thing you saw on the Internet today?. Lets go..) . Yeah, Tesla Car or Internet of things or Big Data Analysis are absolutely disruptive and would take science and technology to the next level. And why should i make a social media app? Is this millionth app which has user making/receiving the content? Why should i make this millionth app, for heaven sake why another web application, the World Wide Web has enough social media related apps, please get a life to build something which is really useful.
These thoughts get aggravated when i see or read more about the so called “disruptive” technologies and would lose hope, would think of a suitable time to make a Facebook status update of
I tried, if i had succeeded it would have been my first startup but now it is my first try.
I am just too imaginative :)
So what is my point?
Yeah it is a billionth web application.
But web needs more applications, but what do we have? Almost 90% of apps are made by someone in US? Ooh! we need more, more!
Yeah, it is a millionth social media type app.
I wont say we need more, it won’t hurt if we have an innovative or better social media app, remember Google had 10+ search engines before it was launched? , remember there was MySpace, Orkut(for those in India) before Facebook? and we do need better apps.
So what is that i got new ?:
Look at your Twitter/Google+(if you use it regularly) feed, what do you see? Do you see most of the posts are some links which the person found it useful or worthy enough to share?
Do you wish you have some search terms that you could Google often and read stuff in internet?
Do you wish that you should share the links/web content you read with the people who need it ?
I don’t know if you could visualize what i am saying, so again a small example to make you understand.
Do you see Facebook app activity related with web? eg. Vysakh liked this link or Vysakh recommended this link or Vysakh commented on this link etc? I am just doing that into my app, simple! Why should i make a dedicated app similar to Facebook app activity related with web? because Facebook is for fun, insanity, stupidity and not to continuously keep telling people(who wants to know about your personal life or your thoughts) what you are doing in the web.
Submify will be a place where it is normal to share links and the web activity, coz it is the app you want to use if you do not have any search terms to Google :)
My project itself is a combination of code given out as free by fellow developers. I do not want to hide my little logic under seat and claim patent for the modified, polished work. Whenever i wanted to make a module there was someone out there who gave out his code for free, the kind of joy/help he/she gave with their sharing was beyond words and i want to give the same to someone who might have similar purpose.
There is too much repeated works bringing down the speed of innovation, if most projects are free(not just opensource) people could use it, extend and steer forward the field of Computer science.
And free software can make money, free software is not just meant for academicians, it can win bread to entrepreneurs too. How? Wikipedia is an example but they have not chosen to make money though they are well capable of making huge money. And there are various similar Projects.
Problem with non-free software:
If Tim-Berners Lee had decided not to give his project for free we would not live in a world where information reaches every part of the world every second. Tim-Berners Lee could have been smart or even greedier like Bill Gates and make you sign up EULA to create/visit websites, these would have been fatal both to Computer Science and to the world. The only reason for continuous disruptive technologies is due to the modification, extension of already existing shared works not because of Steve Jobs(i respect this guy for his entrepreneurial(without giving up) life but not for his efforts related with Technology) or other guys.
Just assume Google is a free project, we would have a search engine 1000 times smarter than Google now. Why? there are too many efforts by different people, some people are even starting from scratch(what a great waste of time) to innovate in web search. Same goes with every field, i am not smart enough to get into every details by citing different articles or books, but i am smart enough to understand that Einstein cannot come up with Theory of Relativity if there was no Newton or Leibnitz or many others before and without sharing their works.
Why i gave my project for free? :
This is not a fun project, i am in my school(college) now and have not taken any other job interviews, and my life depends on the project. I gave my project free because
it is not at all a great thing to build something like this, any Rails developer could do this easily.
with my code shared, i have greater level of improvment with the help of fellow developers.
different people with different ideas contribute to your project not just your employees, so again the rate of growth is phenomenal. eg. Linux or other related projects.
What about competition? Meh, I am sharing this under GPL which means if you are using my code and starting something similar you are also bound to share that :P I have no problem if you could come up with your own version of polished submify as you are anyway going to share it under GPL which i will make it use in my project.(Actually this has less relevance to me but for others who might feel their works should not be misused)
I don’t know why i am explaining all these, there are people who wants to copyright every single code and patent every single algorithm these days and this post is dedicated to those “Bill gates” wannabees and those guys are not actual Hackers or Programmers, they are greedy bozos living in fantasy world powered by Lawyers :)
I made this tweet few minutes back and my friend replied to the tweet, “same doubt for me”.
I wanted to make my project free (for those who don’t understand i am referring free as some bigger form of opensource) next week or the coming weeks but I cannot continue alone in doing what i intend to do. So I am making the project free as soon as possible to work collaboratively to make a disruptive project.
With this project you could contribute, learn, copy, redistribute(with the same licence). By free i don’t mean that i am turning this project into a non-profit or not-for profit project as one of the aim in the project is to build better ads with the web activity.
If you are wondering whether or not to contribute to the project, some information about the project:
Link you submit is unique, gets submitted only once under a topic.
Your feed will have links from the topics/people you follow.
The person who posted that link(in this case its me :) )would submit the link under “entrepreneurship” in submify, which would reach the people who follow that topic,(make few comments say “5”) if the link is worthy people would vote, if not it is downvoted it will be hidden from home feed and topic feed. And someone else might submit the same link under the topic “Startup” which would reach the people following that startup, this time the number of comments (5) not 0 and votes,downvotes differ based on the topic followers.
When i visit that parent link i should see(in this case benefits the parent links as they will reach the appropriate community and will also prevent discussion from scattering)
Vysakh submitted to Entrepreneurship 4 votes
Richard submitted to Startups 10 votes
To make this happen, the site should have these info allowed(similar to facbeook, twitter,share) which also lets the user to comment which will appear both in the submify site and in the actual site. I know its very difficult to make at least one site to do(only if i am in silicon valley or some reputed person shouts out for me :) ), the other way is to make a chrome/firefox extension/addon to make the same.(i just started to make chrome extension)
Now assume, you have either embedd(of stats in any web page) or extension, whenever a user votes on that it will reach the news feed of his followers who wants to know what’s happening right now in web.
What you can contribute:
I have just made a small portion of making a dashboard of web, you can further make features or enhance feed similar to Quora/Facebook where it shows “abc, xyz voted on this link” etc
You can make a chrome/firefox extension.
You can even redesign the app.
I have not refactored my code or tried to optimize, you can try to refactor/optimize.
There are so much to do, I would really appreciate if you could contribute to the project.
If you want to contribute but do not know Rails:
If you are in Chennai we could meet and i will teach you Rails(to the best extent i could do).
Small explanation of a major feature in Submify: Link Submission
Since Amit in Google+ asked me on this, i will give some guide about the logic i used.
I keep saying links are unique in submify, so we have to ensure that whenever a user submits a link it does not get submitted twice under the same topic, if it is submitted already in another topic it has to be fetched and linked with a new topic.
Problems: (See Linkshelper file)
The user may submit shortened url, this is fixed with open (a ruby function) which results the final url(which can be saved in database if the url validity is established in subsequent steps.)
But again the open function had issues when the url directed from http to https (I dont remember the error). For this some body had a nice solution in the form of a gem safe uri redirections.
Before saving url, i have removed “http” or “https” or “www” associated with the url so that it is easy for db index performance(not sure if it is :) )
I also would remove the end fragments like “#part” from the url before saving to the database to preserver the uniqueness of url.
I have used Nokogiri gem to extract information about the link.(mostly from og tags)
And websites like slideshare would often give an “Timed out error/ Connection reset error” while trying to open the link, got a nice solution from stackoverflow which is to have rescue block on the error “Errno:ECONNRESET”, this rescue block retries 10 times. And it worked!
If you have any doubts you could contact me in Google+ or Twitter, I would be happy to help or you could mail me vysakh [at] submify [dot] com.
When i started to recall things which i am going to write down now, I laughed! continuously laughed!. Please forget this post after you read, the initial part would be boring :D
Let me split up the dreaming part- a real dream(during night) and day dream when i am awake.
Programmer’s night dream:
I have already said in my post about development time. I had to travel 2 hours sometimes 4 hours from School(College) to home. So, I would do most of the coding part while sitting inside the bus staring through the windows. As soon as I reach my home, the code exactly works like what i thought. Not only in bus, but in every possible time, i would be thinking of the ruby code for a specific module, sometimes i would think to refactor the code (i know still the code is super dirty :D )
So this thinking got into my dream too :) Yeah, i sometimes would code in my dream and i don’t remember if i ever implemented a module with the dream code. But i remember this, I would get nightmares with my code logic which is impossible to solve unless I wake up. This was crazy, too much thinking about my app code got into my grey matter. In the morning after the code dream/nightmares i would feel happy that i am not the worst programmer and it would be refreshing as if i got a new programming life :) This is something similar to the morning when you realize you are still alive after you are killed in your dream.
Entrepreneur’s day dream:
This is going to be long :)
I wanted to start on my own, reason: web/mobile startup needs very less investment at the same time you have huge market(the whole world) and possible revenue. I thought i would be a fool if i am not capitalizing it.
I started development as i said, started to dream about the development but then i started to day dream as well.
Day Dreaming before deployment:
After I almost completed my work and waited for deployment, day dreaming begun.
I thought if i submitted about my app in Hacker news as Show HN it would reach the front page and potentially get 1000 followers.
Since i had my facebook open graph ready, I thought the 1000 users’ activity would bring in 10 new sign ups per user. Now i would have had 10 X 1000 users :) wow!
And then i thought i would submit about my link in beta list or crunch base, and have my application techrunched or in verge or tnw or readwriteweb or mashable :) This time resulting in a surge of users, may be 50000 users. Now how much users do i have? 60000? :D Now multiply the graph search equation, now? 600000? Yes i have got 600000 users this time.
Then i thought i would make a deal with Sequoia or Vinod Khosla and retaining a giant share because i already have my app with user traction.
Then its business time, with web activity I thought i would innovate ad business with an amazing revenue model.
Then i thought i would be one of the billionaires.
Then i thought i would be globe trotting with “How to be a successful entrepreneur lecture series”
Then i thought i would be on the “Time” magazine
Finally i thought some bollywood director would make a “social network” type movie about me and I thought i should act myself, why do i need someone else to play a character about me?:P
Now it was time for deployment, I deployed
Reality after deployment:
After deployment i went to hacker news and entered my site url with the description i prepared over a week. When i clicked the submit button, it did not work! i tried again, i tried again, some five times, I thought it must be a server issue. Then in my sixth attempt it redirected to a page(i was elated in this redirecting time ) the redirected page showed “You are too new to submit a link”. Wow! i lost my 1000 users now(which i dreamt).
Then i found my facebook open graph did not publish action for others as i have messed up asking permission. So the 10X factor was gone now.
I thought messaging my friends and making them use my app would be a better idea, sadly half of them did not reply. In the mean time i got a comment which said my site was amateurish(which i have talked in this post and he has reached out to me in twitter and offered me to help, so i am happy now).
I tried posting in some Google+ communities but never got any response (though the community is a vibrant one)
In the mean time, i was told there was a startup event in my school(college) one of my friend told me to apply, I applied and was told “your startup is too young :P :P byeeee “
I said about Techrunch in my dream part? So, I went to beta list first, i filled up the form, took screenshots of my app and when i entered submit button, it redirected to a page(i was not elated this time, i was anxious), the page showed ” we are not accepting public beta app” (again byeeee :P :P) Then the possibility to get into every other similar site was remote.
During this period, when I woke the first thought in my mind would be on the number of new users who would have signed up during the time i slept. I would wish for some magic article or blog post like Paul Graham wrote about reddit and get a dramatic traffic.
I started to look at the horoscope predictions every day, and anxiously i would read all the predictions for the month. I and my mom have same zodiac sign, i would tell her “mom, today the prediction for my sign was success but it never worked for me” and my mom replied “but it was indeed a successful day for me”. And i was like “Whaaattt?” even these stupid predictions are against me!? :/
A month after deployment and seeing the reality:
I thought my facebook activity would reach some people and they would know about my site, i am not sure how many people in my friend list know that i am not attending job interviews but have started my web application. I posted my blog posts, and would get 3% like from my friend list, i even tried editing my profile as “Founder at submify” only 5 likes? I was confused, is facebook’s edge rank acting against me? like every other odds ???
And someone read my blog post and sent me a message with the same word “amateurish” (in the post i said the word hurt me) The message said “the site design was simple” (while design has to be simple, i scribbled 300 pages from complex/crap design to arrive at this simple design), also said “what hacker work does the site involve”(though the blog post had the first line explaining what a hacker is, but this guy still thinks i referred hacker as a cracker). When i saw the message i was surprised, I never knew people would be ridiculing me like this! He could have said the color, font or other things sucks or even could have shown me some other web app and said my app is useless but this guy wanted to ridicule me without proper comments .
I realized for the first time, there are people like this!!! I was prepared to take negative comments so that i could make changes to my app but i was not yet ready for the ridicule, i never knew there were people like this! I should get myself ready for ridicule and hate.
Whatever, i again continued to post in some groups and messaged few people. Again when i posted about my site with some explanation of sorts in a Google+ community a few week back, i had zero response. But when i visited the site two days back, i saw someone make a link post about his app and it had 10 +1s and some shares, comments “Your app is addictive”, “Your app is awesome”, “The thing i like about the app is…”.. I was stunned, i scrolled the page i saw my post all alone! Now the question that struck me was “Am i building something which nobody wants?” I have seen Steve Jobs in his videos saying this often and in many other videos startup guys would say “never build a product which nobody wants”. But even before i started development i asked this question to me a several thousand times. But now again i had to ask this question though i had all the possible counter answers. I started to develop some kind of fear, a fear which i never had. And like some magic i see an email from quora telling me “New answer to “Entrepreneurship: What are some great “must-watch” videoson Youtube for entrepreneurs?” and i see this
Now these videos were consoling, motivating and i again started to try.
During this period when i wake up, the first thing i think is “how many people would have visited my site” and i would check google analytics first.
Now i have to sleep for a sweet dream!:) If you have any comments, post it here.
This blog is a mixture of both technical and non-technical posts related to submify.com . I have split the blog into technical(http://submify-tech.quora.com/) and non-technical part(http://vysakh.quora.com/)