I Built ReadStudio, Here’s Why It Failed

Update: ReadStudio is back! A whole new experience and interface enables you to share seamlessly.
ReadStudio was supposed to be a community of readers, a place that connects readers and allows them to find books and borrow. It never reached where we expected it to. This post explains my views on why it failed. Let’s start with the origins…
In 4th grade, I had started a miniature book club with one of my friends. It slowly grew popular in our section but we never expanded to other sections. There were always problems regarding management that led to the resistance against expansion. In grade 8, I wanted to make something big, something that was ahead of what I knew. So, I told a few friends, some that agreed and some that thought we was too young. I however stayed stuck on the idea. After 3 months, long discussions, lots of ideas and decisions, we came up with the idea for ReadStudio. It was something derived from the earlier book club that my friend and I had started. So, we started building with a lot of excitement and another 3 months later, we had built our first social website. 
This time, the time nearing the launch of the website, another website launched from our school. It was launched a few weeks before ReadStudio was. When ReadStudio launched, the other website had gained lots of fame and there was a whirlwind of attention going on around it.
So,  finally here are the 3 reasons that led to the zero growth of RS:

  1. We had 0 experience in the field of making websites and were very new to the field of programming one too.
  2. Although the idea seemed fun and interactive, the internet has a different meaning entirely. The internet means connecting people. Our website failed at that one point of actually communicating between people and getting to know each other.
  3. The timing of the launch was bad. There was no scope for advertising left in the middle of the other website that had launched before.

And here’s what I learnt:

  • No one can stop you from doing something if you put your mind into it.
  • Experience is a powerful thing and is essential when building businesses.
  • An idea doesn’t count for anything unless its presented in a engaging way.
  • Selecting the kind of people you want to work with is also an important part in the journey from the idea to the product.

P.S. No offence, “other website” creator

The Constant Battle Between India And Pakistan

India and Pakistan are very different in thinking and act like constant arch-enemies. What led to this?
The rivalry between India and Pakistan is largely embedded in the relationship between the two countries. While no conflict is ever inevitable, the handling of the problems by the leaders of both the countries, many of whom view Indo-Pakistan relations as a game where the gain of one is seen as the loss of the other, has ensured that the rivalry persists, and that it has become deeply ingrained in the politics of the two neighbors. The rivalry is too deep-rooted either to disappear easily or to be capable of a rational solution. Here’s some history (some)…
In the August of 1947 the British would leave India broken in two halves. The leaders of India and Pakistan would soon need to figure out the central idea around which the country would be built. In the last thirty years of British rule, the Muslims were worried that a Westminster style democracy that India was heading toward (with elections in provinces) could disenfranchise a minority that was sizable and spread throughout the country. The top leaders of both the countries choose to make their nation a secular state. These would be the Hindu-majority secular India and the Muslim-majority secular Pakistan.
Since both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, any consortium of international powers cannot enforce international consensus on either country as they did in Afghanistan or Iraq. ​Strategically India is in an advantageous position with existing situation. Pakistan is not. Therefore Pakistan pursues a proxy war declaring Kashmir as a jihad and funding religious radicals to execute acts of terrorism. This monster has grown beyond the control of Pakistan State and is a threat to both India and Pakistan.
The part that’s important here is that both countries are disadvantaged by these rival relations. India cannot emerge as an economic super-power unless it improves its bonds with its neighbor. India has to send signals to assure that it has no intention to break up Pakistan and work toward resolving Kashmir instead of taking advantage of status quo.  Pakistan has to understand that terrorism is a greater threat to itself than any other country. It can ruin the population and ethics of the nation. 
Another important factor here are the people themselves. They, ultimately, are the ones who make decisions by choosing their leaders in India. They have to learn to respect the other country and treat them as their brethren, which they originally were.

the road to success…

Optimism and hard-work is the key to success. And there’s no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs. This means you will trip, someplace or the other. These points where you trip are the ones where you have to look up at the target, make an effort to reach it.
I believe problem-solving plays a big part in gaining success. Your problem-solving skills judge your capacity to overcome hurdles and a find a way out. You take one problem, you review it, find a solution. You move on to the next problem. This way you climb the staircase to success.
Another great example is of course by Tanvi. It’s her wolf question that she mentioned in one of the earlier posts. She said ‘There are two wolves. One is light and hope, and the other is darkness and despair. Which one wins?’. I thought for a while and said the dark wolf because of the influence of books and movies that makes us think that all bad guys are more powerful. The answer, though, simply was ‘The one you feed’.
I personally keep looking for new ideas. I have this constant urge to create something big, something that affects many people. Something that grabs attention. I want to change the world. What do you want to do?
P. S. I constantly keep looking for people to gather a team of like minded people. People who want to make a difference, get out there, do something. Are you one of those? If so, find me in 9A.
​-Naman

“Take up one idea, make that one idea your life. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
-Swami Vivekananda

A Trip to The Holocaust

Concentration camps and the holocaust are a constant reminder of the horrors of the war for supremacy and religion. Here’s a story from hell
Auschwitz Camp, 1942
The transport arrived by rail at the unloading ramp near the camp, full of Jews. From there they were escorted by the SS to the courtyard of the crematorium. In the meantime, all approach and transit roads were cleared and closed.
After undressing, the victims were led into the chamber, where they were told they were going to have to wash themselves, after which they would receive a meal and be assigned to work.
The inside of the room was made of concrete and water taps came out of the wall. Did any of them suspect, while washing themselves after a long journey, what would happen to them after a few minutes? After the washing was over, they were asked to go into the next room. At this point, even the most unsuspecting would have started to wonder, for the ‘next room’ was a series of large square concrete structures, each about one quarter the size of the bath-house and unlike it, had no windows. The people were now forced into these concrete boxes and the door was closed behind them. It was completely dark there except from a small light in the ceiling and the spy-hole in the door. Then, with 200-250 people in a box, the process began. One could hear the distant sound of a motor outside, used for drowning out the screams and groans of the people. First, some hot air was pumped in from the ceiling and then the pretty-blue crystals of Zyklon B were showered on the people, and in the hot air they rapidly evaporated. In anything from two to ten minutes, the screams of the people inside were replaced by a deadly silence; the people were dead.
What cries, what curses, what prayers perhaps had been uttered inside those gas chambers only minutes before?…
Picture

Auschwitz gas chamber The blue tint on the walls is residue from the poisonous gas, Zyklon B.

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
― Primo Levi

-Naman

The dawn of ai

Okay, you probably will have a basic idea of what an artificial intelligence (ai) is, by now. You might even have used one in the form of Siri, Google Now or Cortana. AI in fact is growing so powerful, it can replace humans in all kinds of jobs in the not so far future. It means giving a computer the ability to automate, think and take decisions.
Recently, I was watching ‘The Imitation Game‘, a biopic of Alan Turing, a celebrated mathematician. Now, Sir Turing here gave humans the very first idea of what an artificial intelligence is like. He explained this idea with a game. The game is simple, there is a judge and a client. The client may or may not be human. The aim of the client side is to fool the judge into believing a human is talking to him. This idea was clearly misunderstood by the people behind the Terminator series. Skynet (main villain AI) doesn’t sound that safe. But we already are starting to develop intelligence so powerful, it won’t be fast before it grows conscious. This could be a good thing or a bad thing of course. The good part you probably already know or can guess. The bad one is my focus. Let’s imagine a world filled with robots and extremely intelligent computers controlling everything. It is a world where you are not the one in control, your creations are. Jobs are gone, automated by AI. Everything is served to you, done for you. But this won’t be possible. The economy is in crisis. No jobs means no earning. Poverty is on the rise. Rebellions and chaos raging. The AI sees this as a threat to its existence, of course. What happens next, you can guess. So, the question is – are we really ready for this new wave of technology and power?

Happy Rakhi!

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is a ancient Hindu festival, in which sisters tie ‘rakhis’ on their brother’s hand. In return, the brother promises to protect his sister.

History
The history of Raksha Bandhan is quite deep-rooted and is connected to several mythological and historical stories. The most popular one is linked to the story of Rani Karnavati of Chittorgarh and Mughal King Humayun.

Chittorgarh was once attacked by Bahadur Shah and it was not possible for widowed Rani Karnavati to save her empire from the mighty force of Bahadur Shah. She sent a rakhi to Humayun and pleaded to save her and the empire.
Overcome by emotions, Humayun, along with his force, immediately rushed to Chittorgarh to protect the queen. Though he could not save Karnavati as she and all other womenfolk there had committed suicide before he could reach, Humayun fought against Bahadur Shah and saved Chittorgarh from his invasion. Later, he handed over the empire to Karnavati’s son Vikramjeet Singh.
There are many mythological stories linked to Raksha Bandhan’s origin. One about Hindu mythological characters Krishna and Draupadi is very popular. According to the story, when Krishna cut his finger once, Draupadi covered the cut by tearing a piece of cloth from her saree. Krishna then promised to save her whenever she needs his help. He kept his vow in all circumstances.
Another mythological story links the festival with demon king Bali and Goddess Laxmi. According to the story, Laxmi’s husband Vishnu was asked by Bali to live in his palace, which Laxmi did not want. She tied a thread on Bali’s wrist and thus made him her brother. When Bali asked her what she wants in return, the Goddess asked him to free Vishnu from the moral binding of staying in his palace, which Bali granted.
So, this is a festival signifying love, goodness, and happiness. Okay then, festivities call me.
Cheers!
-Naman