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Posted on: Monday, September 10, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Geek Awesomeness: Constraints.


  1. Encourage innovation.
  2. Push you to work harder.
  3. Limit your choices there-by simplifying the paradox of choice and making you happier.
  4. Help you focus on your real priorities rather than unimportant noise, bells and whistles.
  5. Make you that much more brighter and stronger.
  6. Make you that much more happier when the end result is just as good or better than it would have been had you worked unconstrained.

This is not just about embracing constraints or learning to work in a world of constraints. It's about seeing constraints as opportunities for innovation. And making the most of them? Nothing but pure geek awesomeness.

posted on Monday, September 10, 2012 12:09:21 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [1]
Posted on: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Hard Times And Teams.

This article covering Beautiful Teams by Scott Berkun explains how ugly software development can get:

Pop quiz: given the choice between two job candidates, one a prodigy with a perfect 4.0 GPA and the other a possibly brilliant but "selectively motivated" 2.7 GPA candidate (two As and four Cs),[3] who would you hire? All other considerations being equal, we'd all pick the "beautiful," perfect candidate.

No one gets fired for hiring the beautiful candidate. What could be better, or more beautiful, than perfect scores? If we go beneath the superficial, perfect grades often mean the perfect following of someone else's rules. They are not good indicators of passionate, free-thinking, risk-taking minds. More important is that a team comprising only 4.0 GPA prodigies will never get ugly.

They will never take big risks, never make big mistakes, and therefore never pull one another out of a fire. Without risks, mistakes, and mutual rescue, the chemical bonds of deep personal trust cannot grow. For a team to make something beautiful there must be some ugliness along the way. The tragedy of a team of perfect people is that they will all be so desperate to maintain their sense of perfection, their 4.0 in life, that when faced with the pressure of an important project their selfish drives will tear the team apart.

Beautiful people are afraid of scars: they don't have the imagination to see how beautiful scars can be.

And if you haven't witnessed this ugliness first hand.... together, as a unified team, are you really as closely knit a team as you think you are? Just a little something to think about.

(And here's a BIG FAT thank you if you've worked with me through this ugliness and have stuck around.)

posted on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 10:50:19 AM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Sunday, May 27, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Geek Awesomeness: The Power Of Progress.

"I was feeling sick when I came in! Now that I've got some much done I'm feeling some serious energy".

(Overhead at work).

The pleasure of being productive and making progress, is for lack of a better word, magical.

Pure Geek Awesomeness.

(Back to work now).

posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 1:31:56 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Success Vs. Television (Part 1)

Silent eyes staring at the monitor for hours doesn't make good Television.

Maybe that is why Television is littered with glamorous stories of success.

Maybe that is why all Steve Steve Jobs has to do is steal from Xerox.

Maybe that is why all Mark Zuckerberg has to do is steal an idea and diddle a friend.

Every time TV shows you success chances are, the true reasons behind the success story have been camouflaged and overshadowed by spicier distractions.

The story of silent people staring at computer screen for hours and typing away silently day after day for weeks, months or years, doesn't make a best selling novel or a movie that tops the charts or good television.

But it does make a successful business.

And sometimes, history.

posted on Thursday, March 1, 2012 7:50:52 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Monday, February 27, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Deals Vs. Dreams.

When equals in talents and contributing capability get together they get down to business.

The question of doing elaborate agreements, putting things down on paper, getting signatures on the dotted lines, doesn't come up. No lies, no complicated contracts.

The entire focus is on building art, shipping stuff and at times, even changing the world. Not on writing CYA documents or haggling about who gets an extra five percent on profits.

Every time you hear excessive stress on agreements or documents even before you've started something gorgeous it is often a sign of insecurity.

Or an indication that one or more (or all) parties are incompetent.

I am not saying every agreement is a sign of incompetence but if you can connect on a shared cause that is larger than pettiness, you'll see magic.

People working for free to get the project live, people contributing in open source projects they like, entrepreneurs putting in personal money to keep the business alive, developers responding to support requests on forums.


Because all parties are competent. All parties are just as capable of making it on their own. All parties don't have insecurities about being diddled out of a deal.

Or maybe, its because everyone understands, that it isn't a deal that they are working on.

It's a dream.

And that's fundamentally different.

posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 5:46:01 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Thursday, January 26, 2012 by Rajiv Popat

Geek Awesomeness: Deep Intellectual Conversations.

Geeks aren’t wired like the rest of the race. Even their awesomeness is different from the rest of the race. While you might love to party, your geek craves a deep intellectual meaningful conversation with just a couple of friends around small table in an open air food joint serving wholesome food.

No loud music. No distractions. No Dance. No risk of bumping into that socially awkward moment. That and a topic that is deeply intellectual and very intimate. That or just a ruthless battle of wits.

If socializing is what makes your geek more human, deep intellectual conversations with near and dear ones, are what make him who he is. If you really want to connect to your inner geek, find a friendly open air food joint with no distractions, invite a couple of close friends and trigger a deep intellectual conversation.

Watching hours melt away as you munch on wholesome food, enjoy the fresh air and enter into an inspirational or a deeply intellectual conversation with friends; pure geek awesomeness.

posted on Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:31:55 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [1]
Posted on: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Leadership Tip: Let Go Of Your Pettiness.

Famous dialogs from Godfather, which is one of my all time favorite books and movies, form the foundations of business and management.

Take for instance this dialog for example spoken by the Drug Mafia, Sollozzo:

''I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is expensive.''

Taking the crime aspect of it out of the statement, the point, is a compelling one: when you grow, you give up stuff.

The aspect of giving stuff up as you grow holds true in virtually anything you do, particularly management and leadership.

Grow as a leader and you end up giving up stuff like:

  1. Drama (No shouting or public intimidation even if you are on the right side of the situation).
  2. Power (No use of power to make them them work late or to do that classic "push").
  3. Politics (No bitching. No whining).
  4. Insecurities (No information hoarding. No blind copied emails, no blind forwards, no keeping records of chat conversations and then forwarding them to irrelevant people. No randomly including new people in email trails to embarrass the ones who started it.)

The list of stuff you need to give up in order to lead with conviction is long but the point is short and simple:

If you want to lead you need to give up on your pettiness and believe in a cause that's larger than you.

I am not talking morals, ethics, emotional maturity or general goodness here.

What I am talking about is simple *economics* of leadership.

Take the godfather dialog for instance, translate it to the context of leadership and it will quiet literally translate to:

''We don't like pettiness. Pettiness is expensive.''

Like it or not, if your organization or team wants to indulge in meaningful leadership people need to drop their pettiness.

And you know it has to start with you.

posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 9:04:08 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

A Humble Attempt At Helping New Programmers Or Non-Programmers With Programming.

There are hundreds of comments on the "why can't programmers program" post by Jeff Atwood where he talks about the fizz buzz problem being the stairway to heaven of programming and how most programmers cannot code it.

While that's useful information, the real question is what are you doing to help train a better breed of programmers for tomorrow?

Jeff's attempt is stack overflow. A place where programmers can help other programmers get better at their craft.

Others are contributing their bit by answering questions there, but what are you, the person who has developed applications for ten years, doing for the non programmer who is passionate and wants to take up programming as a career or a hobby?

While I was working on my entity framework videos, I decided to take a stab at talking about the very basics of programming using C#.

Here are the videos.

It has already turned into a mini series on getting started with programming using C#; a couple have been uploaded and more videos will be added soon.

It is not the kind of video you might enjoy yourself if you code for a living, but the kind that you give to your uncle, your HR manager or that QA person in your office who always wanted to learn a little bit of programming and a little bit of C#.

Like I said, the important question here isn't why can't programmers program. The important question is: what are we doing to help folks who can't but really want to?

Consider this my humble attempt at answering that question.

Happy learning.

posted on Monday, October 24, 2011 8:42:14 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]