Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Some more thoughts on the past few months

As I have recapped here, one of my primary objectives after leaving Babajob was to make myself comfortable in using a tech stack other than Windows, as well as learn Android development. The best way to do this was to build something small but useful, something which I felt was needed by people and they would use if it was built for them.

Of the many ideas I had, I started with Tweet Smart because I sensed there was an unmet need for such a utility. On twitter, I had come across several instances of people starting tweet storms and numbering the tweets as 1/n,2/n.... and then finishing the tweet storm by revealing in the last tweet the value of n. You can search twitter for "1/n" and you will find that there are people every day who tweet like that. I myself had wondered how did some people, or specifically @JP_LokSatta, compose a series of tweets which were numbered perfectly. I tried to do so myself and felt it was not an easy thing to do, which explained why many more people were numbering tweets as 1/n, 2/n... Thus, my hypothesis that there was an unmet need and if I built something that met this need then people would use it.

With this hypothesis, I started work. In a Lean Startup, the primary objective would be to test this hypothesis as cheaply and quickly as possible.  But my primary objective over here was to learn a tech stack and perhaps build a public portfolio of small hacks/products which would help others evaluate my code and the way I thought about products. At the same time, it was important to finish one project completely and rather than have multiple ideas as work in progress. For example, another idea which I thought I would ship was to build an app which alerts me when a Groupon becomes hot, i.e. it is bought by a lot of people in a short span of time, or a simple Math game which I have in mind. But having a 1000 users install and use TweetSmart would be more valuable to me than to have built two apps/services which no one was using. Thus, while I have been tempted from time to time, to pick up other ideas, I have resisted such temptations and stuck with TweetSmart for the time being. If my hypothesis for TweetSmart is true, then how many people can I get to install the chrome extension? 100, 500, 1000 or more? How many TweetStorms are people going to compose using my service in a duration of 30 days? Answers to such questions intrigue me more at this point of time rather than building newer apps/services. Thus the primary objective of learning new tech stack/android development had to be achieved within the constraints of the secondary objective : iterate on a single product/idea and build something that people use.

With this perspective in mind, I spent more time learning technologies rather than just validating whether my hypothesis was correct. For example I spent time building a Chrome extension, a website as well as an Android app for the same use case. A reason why I did this was to break out and do something new when I got stuck. Working alone can be monotonous and a challenge if you get stuck. Learning new skills such as Android development kept me engaged and made me feel I was making the days count, even though I was stuck on the  development of the website due to some stupid mistake. But I did not start work on any new ideas.

The website was something which I finished first and released. By release, I mean tweet about it and send an email informing some friends to check out what I had made. But it was far from ready to be publicized because of some obvious bugs and deficiencies. I was solving my own pain point, and I felt that my solution, though a step in the right direction, was incomplete.

The correct thing to do at this point would have been to continue work on the site and finish some of the features I felt were necessary for this Minimum Product to be Viable. However, I decided to get the Android app as well as Chrome extension to the same feature parity. The argument I had for such a decision at that point was that users were likely to forget the name of the site and not come back, making something like a Chrome extension attractive as once it is installed, it is easily accessible. In hindsight I am not sure how well does this argument stand. It is in instances like these that I feel better decisions would have been made if working with a team.

Anyway, I worked on the extension and shipped what I felt was a suitable MVP. I felt that I could now publicize the Chrome extension and indeed did so to a few strangers as well as people I follow on twitter. Two people to whom I tweeted about the extension, favorited the tweet. However, they did not install it. Since Chrome extensions cannot be installed on a mobile browser, I wondered if that was the reason. Thinking that to be a highly probable reason, I decided to focus on the mobile site rather than the Android app. While building the Android app would add to my portfolio, I felt I could delay that slightly and focus on getting people to actually use what I had built.

In the past few weeks, whenever I have had the time to work, I have focused on bringing the mobile site to the same MVP feature set as the extension. With the Chrome extension and now the mobile site as well in a much better shape, I am confident of going ahead with publicizing the extension and site and check how do people respond.

I also took some time to reflect on what I would do differently if I were to do a similar project in the future. I would share those thoughts in another post soon. However, I am quite certain that working absolutely alone is not very productive. Thus I am going to be actively looking for opportunities now, something about which I was rather passive in the past few months.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reflecting on the last few months

In the week gone by, I finally published a version of the Tweet Smart Chrome extension which is visible to the general public. On hitting this milestone, though a bit late, I ended up reflecting on what was the progress in the past few months and whether I could have saved time by doing things differently. The fact that there doesn't seem to be many people enthused by the extension made me question my own judgement and made me wonder whether I had built something that people did not want. I keep professing The Lean Startup principles to everybody, but here I was with a tool that not many people seemed to be enthused about and I spent a considerable time developing it. Couldn't I have just learned that without all that coding?

I have a terrible habit of questioning everything, including my own judgement. It is a trait which became a habit when I first started out on my own. Life is inherently uncertain, but living in a relatively secure and certain society, one's instinct to question the way things are weakens and gives way to an instinct of assuming. This works well when one is on a relatively well trodden path. But the moment you plunge into the sea of unknown - with the knowledge of the destination you want to reach but without any idea of how to get there - this instinct of assumption gives way to an instinct of questioning and inquiry. Because as time passes and you try and measure your progress, you invariably find that you have no idea whether you are heading for your destination or just drifting along. The metrics and principles to measure progress in the environment of uncertainty are different.

Back in 2009, as I quit and started on my own and as time passed, I started to realize the many assumptions that I had about how startup life would be. I have previously blogged about some of my epiphanies such as here. Even before The Lean Startup became the movement that it is, I came across the idea and latched onto it as it provided a very good template of how to think, understand and evaluate in conditions of uncertainty.

Anyway, as I questioned myself about my endeavors for the last few months I came to the following conclusions:

1. The idea to build tweet smart came as I saw that a lot of people number tweets in their tweetstorms as 1/n,2/n etc without knowing in the beginning what that n would be. When I released the chrome extension to the general public, I did that by tweeting about it, sharing with a few friends on email as well as posting on the notcrud.com community. The feedback from friends who used it was positive. But given that there are only six users till now made me feel that I had built something that people did not need. However, still doing a search of tweets containing "1/n" I found that there were a few people who still tweet that way. So the need seems to be there, but perhaps I have reached out to the wrong set of users. Or maybe its too early to say that what I build is not needed. I need to reach out to more people in a targeted way.

2. I suspect many people would be accessing twitter on their mobiles so perhaps it makes sense to finish the android app and then reach out to people. I tweeted out to 3 people who had numbered their tweet storms as 1/n but did not get a response from them. It could be because I told them that I had built a chrome extension which is not very useful if you are using an android app. Of course it makes me question whether switching to the android app just to number your tweet storm would be an acceptable proposition for people.

3. The central goal behind building this was to learn new technologies. I had never built a chrome extension before. Neither an android app. And had never built an end to end product while using linux. While this certainly is not an end to end product, I can say that I am now much more comfortable using ubuntu than I ever was and can approach a team working on these technologies with a certain confidence, which was lacking a few months ago due to the years of working on .NET and Windows.

4. I chose React to build out the extension as it's the new rage. And rightly so. I loved it. But as my aim was to build an extension and an android app, perhaps there was no need for me to build the feature to run on a website as well. To do that I wasted time to get it to work by building remote api's using Express. However, as the code of the extension calls the twitter api directly, there was no need for me to build the remote api I built. At Babajob, I would have questioned and stopped something like this if my team was taking this approach. However, working alone, I got did not critically analyze my decision and just went with flow, which was a mistake. It was waste in Lean Startup terms.

Anyway, the extension is published in the Chrome Web Store. I have set myself a target of 1000 installs by mid January. One of the toughest things to do when you build something is to take it from Zero users to a certain number of active users. That means you really built something useful. My hypothesis is that I can do that with TweetSmart as I feel it solves a pain point.

In my first startup, CATNINJA, I got around 450+  people to install the facebook app that we had built in a span of two months. We were largely able to do that because of people sharing to their wall from within the app and we got people to use the app by using FB ads. That was back in 2009. At Babajob, when I joined in 2011, the company already had a decent traction and people using it.

Thus, I have had this feeling that I have not yet experienced how to grow from zero to 1000 users (I chose 1000 as a threshold because by that time, I expect there should be enough people giving feedback on how to improve your product.) So I look forward to go from zero to 1000 and experience first hand the pains when doing so!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Challenges when working alone on a new product

Working alone has its own set of challenges.

And by alone, I don't mean working remotely, where you are physically alone but connected virtually to your team. I am talking about the time when you don't have a team. 

Over the years people have talked about, and I myself have experienced it so many times, how explaining a problem to somebody else helps in finding a solution to the problem yourself. Interestingly, explaining a solution to a problem might also expose potential flaws that it might have. Which is why startups in stealth mode generally don't make much sense. 

As a programmer, being alone can be helpful. Quiet time without distractions is a factor which helps you get in the zone and/or help you stay there. But that is just one among many other factors. Having no one to talk to about what you are doing can inhibit your performance when the task that you are trying to do is something which you haven't done before and are learning for the first time. Its easy to get stuck and with no second pair of eyes to look at the problem, precious hours may be lost banging your head trying to solve what in the end may be a trivial problem due to a trivial mistake. 

Having access to structured information in such instances can be helpful. For example, I bought a Book on Android programming because one of the reviews on Amazon said that one could easily save 4 hours a day worth of time by just referring the book rather than searching for the best online resource. That struck a chord more than the 4 star review that the book had on Amazon. 

Distraction is another challenge and sometimes out of your control. The ideal thing would be design your environment to be distraction free, but that is not always possible. In the last one year, a technique that I have started following more and more is to write down or serialize my train of thought into notes that I write on Asana/Trello for the task that I am currently doing. By doing so, I have been able to reduce the cost of an interruption. I have made it cheaper to get back to work after getting distracted rather than trying not to get distracted at all. 

But today I noticed another challenge, where the fact that I was alone proved to be a handicap. I am in the process of shipping my first android app to the Play Store. Nothing too fancy, just a simple Android port of the tweetsmart.in functionality, which would be an easy way to familiarize myself with developing for Android. When you are building something like this alone, you are playing the role of the Product Manager as well as the Developer. This leads to very interesting conversations with myself. 

The Product Manager in me looks at app as it currently is and observes that we need to show the picture of the signed in user along with the user name, the way it is shown for the Twitter android app. The Product Manager in me also wants to ship the MVP in ASAP and thus asks the developer in me whether that can be achieved in a day. The developer in me thinks it shouldn't be too difficult, but is basically learning android from scratch so can't say definitively. He googles a bit and after an hour of research says to cut off that feature. The twitter api client that comes with fabric does not seem to have a built in way to get the User's picture. While it may be possible to get it by just calling the REST API, he feels the time will be better spent trying to fix the issue where the View is not refreshed after signing out. This dual thinking mode where I am arguing with myself gets to me sometimes and I get stuck in a rut, unable to arrive at a decision. 

I have faced this challenge before but I never saw it the way I saw it today. And I felt that with another member on the team, either of the two would have happened:

1. I would have figured out quickly how to get the picture to display in the manner in which I wanted. 
2. I would have decided to cut off that feature from the first release quicker.

But being a single member team currently, none of the above happened. Instead, I ended up writing this blog post!   

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An idea for Grofers

I just got an order delivered from Grofers. It was the second time that I used the service and I already know what I like about it the most. It makes me feel less guilty.

No, I am not the fat, lazy husband that they depict in their ads, feeling guilty about not contributing to the household work. I am an individual who is conscious about the excessive use (or should I say abuse) of plastic bags in our daily lives.

I generally try to avoid using plastic bags as much as I can and am mindful of when I end up asking the shop for one. Most of the time, it when buying groceries that I end up asking for a plastic bag. I have thought about why this happens and it mostly happens because most of my grocery shopping is unplanned spur of the moment thing, which is why I am not always carrying my own bag when I end up at the local kirana store and end up asking for one.

With Grofers, the spur of the moment shopping happens on the app rather than going to the store. And they deliver the goods in nice environment friendly bags. So when the bread and eggs they delivered today did not come in a plastic bag, I was happy. The one use case, the spur of the moment grocery shopping, where I invariably ended up using plastic bags, now had an alternative user experience where I could get what I wanted within a reasonable time without having to use plastic bags. I used the term user experience because from a design perspective buying from an app should be as friction less as buying from a grocery store.

However, as I emptied the environment friendly Grofers bags, I realized that I already had the couple of bags stowed away from the last time that I ordered and that I really did not need the bags from the second order. It made me wonder, why does Grofer not take back the bags and recycle/re use them. I mean the delivery guy is right there and I could have handed it to him. Environment friendly is not simply less plastics but also recycle and reuse. Perhaps, Grofers could hand out reward points to customers who return bags and thus encourage environment friendly behavior.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Developer Switches from Windows to LAMP Part 3: Project Dagobah

The best way to learn any new language/platform/library etc. is to get your hands dirty playing with it. Build something useful , not merely a todo list, but something similar which has a utility, yet does not have a large scope in terms of use cases. But do it end to end: i.e. don't just have a working version on your development machine, deploy it to a server and make it readily available to the whole world. 

In April, from among the many ideas that I had, I chose to build a tool which would help you number your tweet storms. Even this phrase "number your tweet storms" is a result of multiple revisions. I did not even know what a tweet storm was back in April! Of course, there was a massive and a much needed break from mid April through May as I went back home for my sister's wedding and then went on a trek to the Himalayas. So I really started work on this in mid June after I was back in Bangalore. I will write in more detail about how I went about developing it, but right now I want to announce the first release of TweetSmart. As of today, it is only a web application. But very soon I hope to have built it into a chrome extension as well as an android app. 

This post, however, was not meant just for the announcement of the release of the app. It is meant to be a high level recap of my experience developing and deploying my first app on Linux, or to be more specific, Ubuntu. 

I originally envisioned TweetSmart as only a Chrome extension. Thus I started with Getting Started with Chrome Extension Development. Building a simple Hello World extension was easy. But I now wanted to build the TweetSmart compose box and that meant a a lot of javascript code. An immediate choice I had to make was to choose a javascript framework such as Angularjs, Emberjs etc. to build this. Having a bit of experience with Angularjs I was inclined to choose Ember but had heard a lot of good things about React. I decided to spend sometime familiarizing myself with React and understand its benefits. In the process I learnt about Flux as well. The uni-directional data flow in Flux architecture made sense to me. I also read many posts by people who were astonished by how much cleaner their code was due to using React and Flux. So I decided to proceed with Flux+React and not get bogged down by trying to make the perfect choice of framework. 

Till now, the choice of Flux+React has nothing to do with developing on Linux. I could very well have developed this extension on a Windows machine while using React+Flux. However, the first place that the difference becomes apparent is the choice of the IDE. On Windows, I would be using Visual Studio. On Ubuntu, I had started to learn Vim and thought the terminal and vim are going to be all that I need to code. However, a very important aim while coding is to be fast - i.e. use tools and extensions for productivity. E.g. you can significantly reduce the number of keystrokes in Visual Studio by using code-snippets for common code constructs such as if-else, function(){} etc. I am sure expert vim users would know a way to do that in Vim, but as a newbie, it was taking me time. 

As it is important to ship the MVP as soon as possible,  I looked at options where the learning curve was slightly less. Interestingly, Microsoft had just come out with Code, a new code editor for all platforms, but since it was pretty new on the block I looked at other options - Atom from Github and Brackets from Adobe. Both of them are very similar but it seemed Brackets had a more active plugin development community with much more plugins, which made me select Brackets. 

I felt at home with Brackets and quickly started adding code snippets which I would use frequently, such as rcc for React.createClass. I also installed plugins such as Emmet and Beautify to speed up coding. However, as I later realized, since I was using React, the Emmet plugin did not prove to be very useful there.

Next, I wanted to set up a local web server and chose Apache over nginx for some random reason I don't even remember. However later on, as I was building an API using expressjs, I had to use node behind an nginx server and thus I ended up using nginx and removed apache. I did this on my local system as well as my production server, a micro ubuntu instance running on AWS. It was a nice change from using the Inetmgr to configure the IIS, though not without issues. 

As I realized that to integrate with twitter I would have to build my own api, the question of which framework/language to use came up. The options in my mind were ruby with sinatra and python with flask. But I had a conversation with a friend who suggested to go with node and expressjs. And I happy that I did. 

So that is a high level recap of some of the decisions that were made when using ubuntu/linux. These might seem very trivial to many, but for a person who has been coding using the IIS, Windows, ASP.NET and Visual Studio, these were new choices which took a bit of time to research and arrive at a decision. 

I am definitely now more at home using ubuntu, desktop as well as server. I have much more confidence that I can quickly get up to speed with a team working on a variant of the LAMP stack.  I can only get better from here. 

Upwards and onwards. 

When learning something new

As a developer with some experience, many questions come up in my mind when learning something new. e.g. How do I write tests and automate builds? What are the shortcuts I can use to speed up my development? What are some expert level tricks that I can learn to churn out code faster?

However, it is important to realize that all of these things cannot be learnt in the first attempt itself. The goal should be to get the MVP out and not worry too much about learning everything there is to learn about the new platform/technology. That is because often, such information is not compiled and presented in one spot but is present at various blog posts, stackoverflow questions, google group threads etc. and one cannot expect to learn many of the tricks of the trade right at the beginning. It takes time and practise to become a master.

However, by not shipping the MVP a disappointing sense of lack of accomplishment/results starts to set in. This is very dangerous as this sometimes leads one to abandon the pursuit one had undertaken. And all the mighty tricks that one tried to learn on the way become useless and eventually forgotten, as one discovers when trying to take another shot at the failed project.

So, the right balance between learning and shipping has to be kept. Of course, I am assuming that one is working hard and that lack of progress in learning or shipping is not because of lack of hard work. But if you are in a dilemma, always err on the side of shipping. The motivation and sense of accomplishment that one gets after shipping can help speed up the process of learning as well.   

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Posting from Android

I dropped my Lumia for the umpteenth time and after months of working on a cracked screen,  the device finally gave up and stopped  responding.  As I am currently travelling,  I did not have the time to get it repaired and this forced me to finally do what I have been contemplating for months.

I bought an android device - Xiaomi to be specific. I am quite liking the variety of apps on the play store.  I am writing this post using the blogger app while I wait for a doctor at a Dehradun hospital. This is  also the first time I am writing a blog post by swiping rather than the usual typing. 

Posting to this blog via the phone might open up interesting possibilities,  perhaps leading to shorter but frequent posts.  We will have to wait and see.  For now,  I am excited that I finally have an android phone which I can use for  developing apps.  

My trek begins this weekend and I am really looking forward to it.  Once done,  I look forward to getting back to finishing some of the hacks/mini projects that I started. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A developer switches from Windows to LAMP Part 2 : Project Dagobah

It has been an interesting past few days familiarizing myself with Ubuntu. As I had written in my previous post, the best way to do this is, is to code a small project on ubuntu and make it live. The obstacles one comes across in the process really help in the learning process.  

I also intend to learn Android programming so I thought I would start first with a couple of simple Android apps. I downloaded Android Studio and unpacked it and was following the lectures of the Udacity course UD853 - Android Fundamentals. In the process, another simpler idea popped up in my head, to allow people to compose tweets of the form 1/n, 2/n .... n/n easily. This could be a nice Google Chrome extension. Since the idea is to make these hacks public, I also bought a domain. I bought another domain for my Android app idea as well. 

I always used ZnetLive to buy domains, but they seem to have made changes where for you to buy a domain, you have to buy hosting from them as well. This is a pain. So I tried GoDaddy to buy my first domain. But I found the domain control panel confusing and somewhat limiting for a person like me. I want to be able to make all kinds of changes that I deem fit. But many vendors do not expose all the options on their Control Panels, for fear that a noob user may end up inadvertently changing something that may cause issues later. I have faced similar issues with Znet and Yahoo earlier.

Amazon AWS provides an option to buy domains and since I intend to use AWS for hosting and its Route53 service for DNS management, I decided to buy the domain directly using AWS. The price of the domain on AWS per year was the same as on GoDaddy, but GoDaddy did provide a discounted price if you bought for multiple years. But for me the hassle of free experience of AWS is worth the discount that I am losing out.

After buying the domains, I decided to start work on the tweetsmart Chrome extension. I installed git and set up a git repository and successfully checked in a Readme.md file to the remote repository I set up on github. To make changes to the Readme.md I used vim and I realized that this was something new and I needed to learn this.

I spent time learning vim. For this I went through a few tutorials and also played the game vim-adventures.com which I felt was very useful in getting started with an understanding of vim and saved a lot of time for me.

However, when I eventually got to putting my learnings to practice I realized I had just touched the tip of the iceberg and that there was so much more to learn. For example, the simple operation of copy from a webpage and paste in vim is not easy. Being used to writing code in an IDE with Intellisense, I also wanted similar benefits in vim and came across this post which suggested some plugins to install to make javascript coding in vim easier.

The steep learning curve here makes me wonder whether I should look at alternatives such as Sublime Text. However I found quite a few blog posts where
the authors mention how they have been super happy learning vim and how it has made them more productive.  I have to admit that vim has intrigued me and thus I intend to spend more time learning it. Moreover Visual Studio also has an extension, VsVim, which allows for Vim key bindings inside Visual Studio.  Now that is an interesting proposition to be tried in the future. For now, I am learning vim and my next post shall be more specific to things I learnt about vim, the good and the bad.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A developer switches from Windows to LAMP Part 1 : Project Dagobah

One of the objectives that I have set for myself over the course of the next couple of months is to familiarize myself with *NIX environment and become proficient enough to make the switch to the LAMP stack. In the process, I am going to write down some of things which I learn.This is meant for my own reference and does not serve as a tutorial of any sort, though if you find the info here useful, well and good! Of course, I am calling this Project Dagobah, because as Master Yoda put it in his years of exile on The Dagobah System

"You must unlearn what you have learned"

The way I have decided to approach this task is to develop some simple app completely on the LAMP stack. I am not sure which is the app that I will end up building, even though I have a few ideas in mind. However, I have started by installing Ubuntu on my machine.My previous attempts at this involved using a Virtual Machine on top of Windows. That somehow never led to the progress I wished so I thought of being completely radical.

Installing Ubuntu was very easy, though I did view a couple of tutorials on Youtube before I started. I freed up about 40 GB of space on my SSD before I started installation. After installation, I went to Windows and checked how has the disk been used by the Linux setup. I found that Ubuntu seems to have created 2 partitions, a small one where some system level stuff has been put and another where other stuff goes. I wanted to see this on Ubuntu. For this I used the df command.

To capture the above screen shot, I used shutter. When I first tried to install shutter, the package could not be found, so I updated packages using the command

sudo apt-get update

It took a while for this operation to finish and it seemed to me that this should be done once on a new Ubuntu installation.

I had also googled for some Linux tutorials to familiarize myself with some basic bash commands and decided on the one here. I used wget to download the tutorial in my Downloads folder. In my Windows, the Downloads folder is at C:\Users\Shashi\Downloads and after downloading a zip file I usually copy it to D:\ and then unzip it. Since I just have one partition here, I just created another directory /home/works which I thought I will use as the equivalent of D:\.

However, I quickly realized the stupidity of this assumption.

By running the df command with the given path I see that /home/works is on the same partition. D:\ on Windows is a different partition. The one lesson that we learnt while playing with our systems back in our college was to keep the data on a different partition. If one has to reinstall the OS, and that used to be quite frequent back in those days, you do not end up erasing your data. Thus I realized that /home/works needs to be on a different partition. So I decided to partition the current drive into two. I would have ideally done this when installing but the screen where one gets to select the partitions did not show up. I spent some time trying to learn how to partition but I cannot find the tool for that on Ubuntu, Gparted.

So for now, /home/works will have to stay on this partition. I am not too worried about it at the moment as I have played a bit on Aws ubuntu instances with multiple partitions.

I then went through the tutorial that I had downloaded. I opened the tutorial html files from the terminal using


which opens a file in the default program associated with it.

I also came across this Youtube channel which I found has interesting video tutorials for people just getting started with Ubuntu.

Well, that was a start. Next, I have to decide on what app I am going to build and what tools to install to start programming. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Coming Back To Life

In the month of Jan, I visited this blog and thought its been a while since I wrote anything here. I was feeling a bit exhausted and low that day and perhaps that's why I spent some time reading some of my very old posts which I had written way back in 2007-08. It felt nice to read those and felt sad that I had stopped writing, specially since I had more to write about now than before. I was heartened to see the curiosity, inquisitiveness, wonder and simplicity that I had back then. Somewhere along the line it seems to have gotten lost. I drew a plot of the frequency with which I posted.

While there is variation between 2007 and 2011, 2012 onwards clearly has been a different picture. And understandably so. With more and more challenges at work, I was in a different zone and never really came to a point where I was in the flow to write. My blogger posts dashboard is filled with draft posts, including this one. So its not as if I never sat down to write, but I never really got in the flow to write and thus many of my draft posts are just one sentence with a headline. Now that I am taking some time off, I realize just how much of my mind was on other issues, both professional as well as personal. I am slowly trying to get back in the zone and getting into a routine, finishing off things which are a distraction (taxes etc.) and trying to focus on my health as well as other things that matter.  One of those is writing. It was so nice to be able to read how the 25 year old me saw the world as well as how the world was at that time. I wont be able to do that 5 years from now about the 32 year old me, if I don't continue to write. Also, writing needs practice and it is a skill where I seem to have lost a bit of touch. So hopefully, with this, I get some practice and discipline going! Cheers!