25

Today, I turned 25. To some, this may not seem like an amazing feat, but for me, this is a great accomplishment. Why, you ask? Because this is the oldest I’ve ever been! It’s an amazing feeling!

But more than amazing, it’s humbling. It’s humbling because while on the outset, I’m this young kid who’s got his whole life ahead of himself, inside, I am well aware that I have about 25 years of experience which, though most of it has been forgotten, dictates who I am as a person. Continue reading

The guy in the rain

http://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/transportation/bike

Image Courtesy CU Boulder

About two years ago, when not one month had passed since I had entered the US, I once got a free bike from CU Boulder’s Bike Station. It’s a great service where any student or faculty member can rent a bike for forty-eight hours, for free. Since it was time to return it, I cycled up to the UMC, near which the bike station sits under a large tree. As I was returning the bike, it started to rain. Afraid for the newly bought iPhone in my pocket, I went into the shed and hid from the rain. Two guys were working at the station that day. The one on the inside showed me a Lenovo laptop that was basically everything proof – shock, water and temperature. It was given to the bike station specifically because it faces all the elements on nature all the time. Continue reading

My First Fourteener: The Cheats way to an Existential Dilemma

Today, I made my way to my first fourteener on Pikes peak. My friends and Colorado residents who are reading this will already have guessed that I did not actually complete this monumental feat on foot. I sat on a cog rail for about an hour and half each side and journeyed comfortably to the top of the mountain at 14,110 feet. Regardless of my blatant disregard for physical pain, there was something profound about the place that made me feel rather insignificant while also making me feel part of a greater humanity. The sheer height of the mountain gets your blood racing (as much as it can in sub-zero temperature) and makes you think hard about what your life means in the sea of lives that you are aware teems in the cities below. You can see far and wide, feeling the expanse of the land around you, the great nation of America which has been given an amazing gift in this diverse and challenging piece of the continent. Continue reading

The thing about Shoes.

Today, after I came back from office, I took out my wallet and keys and kept them on the side table. Then, as I was about to take off my shoes, I realized something – I realized the value of wearing shoes. You see, whenever we have a long or an important task ahead of us, we get ready. If it is a mental task like an interview or an exam, we cool our minds and prepare for the next few hours. When we are going for a trek or for camping, we pack the right gear and wear the right kind of boots. Yes, boots.

I realized that to me, wearing shoes means that I am ready for action. Many people in my family and even in my friends often tell me that my practice of wearing shoes in the house long after the day has ended, is kind of irritating. Well, I got this habit from my Dad and as I come to think of it, he is also always prepared for action. 🙂

Being prepared for anything is always important. It is not necessary to wear shoes in your sleep, but mentally, your shoes should always be on and ready for action, because in life, preparation could mean survival.

Why not this Life?

I was thinking today about how some people spend their entire lives exploring the wild or climbing mountains, not caring about money or taxes on different things, products, or even the energy they consume. This, as opposed to people like us who spend their days in offices and nights dreaming of being our own boss. Every life has its own hardships. Then I thought of those who paint or sing, spending their life in worship of their arts. They often live in poverty, not knowing fame or fortune, but knowing that they are doing what they love.

Why can’t the ordinary person be like that? Why can’t we just break free of death and taxes?

Maybe we can. We have just this one life. We need to use it to do everything we ever thought of doing, otherwise it’s a life well wasted. No point in that.

So, don’t do that job that pays better instead of that which you love. Don’t be stuck in the traffic when you really want to be climbing rocks. Don’t sit writing financial statements when you really want to be writing poetry!

Or maybe I am thinking these thoughts because I have a job and know it pays off the debt.

Open Source Ideas

There are a lot of ideas floating around on the Internet. In fact, the Internet seems to be the single most important communication medium that got people’s voices out in the open. Most of the ideas that we see on the Internet are in some state of execution. People have thought of services, networks, tools or just fun topics and have built websites around them. Those ideas are in a great state. They have been conceived and brought to some level of fruition. But what about ideas without a parent? In other words, what about ideas that have been conceived, but the conceiver doesn’t have the resources – time, money or programming knowledge, to execute them? Do these ideas lay dormant or is something done about them?

A general trend on the Internet is that of asking help. In fact, most earliest forms of the Internet were based exactly on this – scientists, engineers or geeks looking for help to achieve a goal. The Internet thus is a great place to go and ask for whatever it is that you need. If its money that you need, there’s a solution for that. If you’re looking for knowledge or experience, you’ll get that too. So what do you do when you have an idea but lack one of the few things needed to bring that idea into the world?

Money

Kickstarter

If money is what you’re after and you have all the technical know-how and the time to do it, you’re in luck. Just head over to a website like kickstarter and you can start your own project. Then, depending on how much of a following you have or the interest you can generate about the idea, you’ll get the money you need to make a wonderful reality from your fledgling ideas. Mind you, kickstarter is just one out of a thousand crowdfunding sites that will get you the money that you need. A quick search on one of my favorite software search websites reveals a comprehensive list of sites you can go to with your idea.

Kickstarter and its alternatives

Learning

Of course, money isn’t everything. Some times you just don’t have the technical know-how of how things are done. This too, is a simple task of putting the time in to learn what’s needed. Don’t know how to code? Head over to Codecademy for free lessons in programming –

Codecademy

Want to make your own cabinet? Learn some carpentry –

Learn Woodworking Videos | Howcast.com – Learn carpentry and how to do simple woodworking projects with the step-by-step instructions in this Howcast video series. Expert Featured Guides

Perhaps you’re not good with DJing but want to learn. You can head over to YouTube… You get my point.

Executing

That covers learning new trades to get things done. But what if after all of this learning and finding the funding, you just don’t have the time? Well, perhaps you need to visit the Digital Point Forums. You can find someone to do your job for you and you can agree on a price too –

Digital Point Forum

Or perhaps, you want someone local. Then how about just advertising in Craigslist or issuing a call on Twitter for help. People do come forward.

Ideating

That all talks about how easy it is with the Internet to find the right resources to actualize an idea. But what if you’ve hit a block right there? What if you’re out of ideas? You’re creative genes are bursting, you want to go ahead and make something magnificent. But, what? What to make? That’s one of the biggest issues you’ll face if you’ve not dipped a toe into creative problem solving ever before this.

Most would suggest to look around you. Indeed, this is the best way of getting ideas. Find a problem around you and start working towards a solution. It may not be original, it may not be perfect, but at least you’re doing something. Maybe you’ll approach it differently than others and something of value will come out of it. Maybe not. But at the very least, you’ll have learnt something and you would have solved a problem that you yourself or someone in your friends or family faces everyday. They’ll be thankful.

But what if?! What if you look around don’t find anything worth fixing? Perhaps people around you are already working on problems and you don’t want to disrupt their work. Perhaps you live in Utopia where everything is awesome. Then what? Once again, the Internet to the rescue!

When software first got written in the world of computers, it was done by large corporations. The kind which, at the end of the day, look at the balance sheet and decide if they’ve done well. All of this software was thus, hidden from the public’s eyes. No one should know what was the code lest they steal it and make their own software. Then someone sitting in an office, bored out of their life, had the brilliant idea to write code and release it freely and openly to the world. This was the birth of OpenSource software. Open source software comes with a special license. You as a user can look at it, run it, modify it and then pass it on, with attribution. It’s a gift to the world because way too much stuff on the Internet now happens on open source software.

Just like someone had that brilliant idea, a couple of people had another brilliant idea. They were busy people, working, building, coding or just living on. They wanted to see things happen in the world, but did not have the time or the inclination to get cracking on their ideas. Thus was born, the Open Source Idea. People on the Internet, giving away for free, the single most powerful thing in the world – an idea.

Where can you find such ideas? Everywhere! From cynical blog posts about what’s wrong with social networking to news reports about the latest problem the world is facing, it’s all about ideas. Ideas that people know need to be matured into a product, but do not have the time or the knowledge to do so. Some examples are –

Please Steal This Idea

When I saw this website, I was instantly struck by the name. The author is an entrepreneur and makes a living off of bringing ideas to fruition. Then why would he be asking people to steal his ideas? Simply because he has too many! Every now and then you meet a person who has his life so full that every day brings new ideas to the fore. But a person can only do so much in a day, so Andrew Magliozzi lets people have his ideas, in the hope that they’ll create something useful out of them and the world will be able to enjoy that idea in its matured form.

Dribbble – Show and tell for designers

At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I’d say that Dribbble is one of the best things to happen to the Internet. People, in their infinite wisdom, make really crappy software. The software itself is actually nice, but the interface is so bad that one doesn’t feel like using it. By letting designers have a permanent place on the Internet, the makers of Dribbble have given a marketplace to ideas that look great. So, the next time you’re looking for an icon for your next great app, look around on Dribbble. You might find something worthwhile.

Ideas We Like | How To Split An Atom

This is another great site. Though not officially an idea source, reading through Steve Spalding’s blog will literally open your brain to some new ideas about the Internet. It’s really worth a read.

Last, one of my favorite websites just to look at what people are doing in the world –

OpenIDEO – Home

OpenIDEO is the epitome of open source ideas. People come together to look at a problem and everybody gives their input. In fact, you can look at their latest problem and can start contributing right away. OpenIDEO lists all their challenges and the level at which each challenge sits right now. So, you can contribute by saying your two cents about how to solve a problem or can help them along the way at any of the many steps it needs to take an idea from inception to realization. The beauty of it is that every problem takes on “big challenges for social good”.

Everybody has ideas about how to fix things. In the world we live in, it is the completion of an idea that is valued and thank god there are so many resources to help us on every step, from seeking the money to bring the idea to fruit to seeking the inspiration to develop an idea itself. I hope all my readers enjoyed this post and I hope you will look at the world as I see it – a series of problems and solutions, each following the other, until an idea becomes a reality.

How to be awesome…

Some of you out there read LifeHacker. It recently covered an awesome story about Jerry Seinfeld’s method of being awesome at what you love. Seinfeld says, what ever it is that you’re supposed to be doing, do it everyday. If you blog, do it every day. If you want to improve on your health, run every day. That way, once you’ve been doing it a while, you’ll not want to quit.

To read the actual story go here

and to read it’s effect, go here

I read this second post yesterday morning and I thought, “Hey, I can do this with my blog. I can simply, blog everyday!” But it’s a lot more tough than that! I sat down last night, hoping to write this exact blog and starting my 366 days of being awesome. I couldn’t. It takes a lot of conviction to start something you know will take a full year and will need your attention every day. That scared me. I couldn’t even direct myself to the blog, wasting time elsewhere and hoping I’d never need to write this blog post.

When I got up today, I decided that I just had to do this. No point in dilly dallying, I’ve just got to do it! So here it begins, my 365 day trek towards a fuller blog with a lot many more posts and a more awesome me 🙂

A lot of you will think, this isn’t possible/whatever/”I can’t do that!”. Trust me, you can. The two posts above have changed my way of thinking and I’m glad for it! Here’s to hoping I pull through it and I know for sure, you’ll all be watching! 🙂

Image Courtesy – http://www.starpulse.com/Television/Seinfeld/gallery/Seinfeld-tv-sp13/