Friday, February 21, 2014

Our "Instagrammed" Retrospect

With Facebook taking over Whatsapp for $19bn, people are raving about the "poetic justice" the Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton should gloat about. Tech geeks have unearthed Acton's tweets from 2009 that record job rejections he received from Facebook and Twitter. "It's a $3bn loss for Zuckerberg!" It's not the first time an entrepreneur-turned-billionaire has a history of setbacks from his very own competitors (Google guys, but that really was Microsoft's mistake), and every such story is followed by social media updates on how fate has its interesting ways of turning things around. Let me poke this bubble of yours - in all likelihood, Acton would have been fired from or quit those company jobs in 6 months anyway. And the world would have been deprived of a free cross-platform chatting service for at least two more years. Here's why...

Let's go back to 2009 for a bit. Acton is looking for a job. He knows his skills lie in coding and he's confident his ideas are worth a listen by big names in the field. His brain is figuratively bursting, because his vision is clear and ready to be materialized...or maybe he is just broke. These companies are looking for a candidate who is smart, knows his stuff extremely well, and would make a good employee in their team-driven environment. They had a job profile in mind and were really looking for a guy that fit the bill. Acton meets them for interviews and they like his genius, but maybe there's something about him that doesn't really meet their requirements. So they turn him down. Those very reasons are probably what set him, and Mark Zuckerberg for that matter, apart from the guy who actually got hired instead. Acton and Zuckerberg are entrepreneurs and you can't tie them down to a chair and a desk for others.

In my opinion, it's just the difference between an entrepreneur and an employable person that worked out in everyone's favor. There's nothing wrong with being either. I, for one, think that I belong to the latter kind. Share your idea with me and I'll help you bring it to fruition. I will give you my ideas and ask you to paint a vision out of it. Facebook did not miss an opportunity to own the intellectual patent behind Whatsapp by not hiring Acton, they probably helped sow the seeds for its development. You may argue that Whatsapp could have been born in a cubicle at a Facebook office, but my guess is that that would have taken longer. The world is more often bestowed with a boon every time a smart guy is put in a tight spot than when he is comfortable on a couch watching TV. In the past, when Acton was unemployed and dejected, things did look bad and nobody knew how the future would unfold. In retrospect, however, it sounds cool to say "burn!", but there is no reason why it should go down in history that Acton was vindicated and Zuckerberg had made a mistake. In the grand scheme of things, it could not have gone down in a better way.

We 20-somethings are fortunate to have friends who are entrepreneurs. I know a few, and I know they are just different. All of them have been unemployed, broke, rejected. But it's not something you can change by employing them in a company. They'll pull the whole thing down and start afresh or just run away.

If we do want to take something home from this, it's that no startup app is worth THAT insane amount of money.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Little White Porcelain

I'm just a little piece of white porcelain
Sitting on the mantlepiece, often wonderin'
That how the world turns to the left or the right
Everytime you pull a book out from behind.

It's nice to feel belonged n loved whenever you see me
And wrap me in your fingers, to dust the shelf underneath
And when you proudly tell the story of how we met
They always pick me up to check my bum instead.

On days that you come home right when the hours are wee
I make a mental note of where you dump your keys.
And try to fight my porcelainity to help you find
The next day when you frantically lose your mind.

I see your friends are here, both the good ones and the creepy
The bond you share with them is beyond my plasticity.
Coz they come here they talk they laugh, you hear more than you say
But I'm your sole supporter on your rainy day.

THIS one of yours is just a piece of work
I fail to find a way to pass you on the word
As she stands next to me n waves a finger at thee
She's threatening to weaponize the shit out of me!

I hope against hope she's just checking my bum
But she flings me right at you and her aim just sucks.
I end up as a pile of mud, my broken self then prays
She stumbles on her way out, cracks her hollow head.