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

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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 third eye

Hey guys! I am back after a week of 24×7 fun, food and festivity of the ‘Durga Puja’. ‘Durga Puja’ is the biggest and the most awaited festival of the Bengalis because it gives them an opportunity to indulge in food, clothes and get-togethers with friends and family, without any hindrance. During ‘Durga Puja’, the streets of Kolkata are lit up with string lights and littered with ‘pandals’ (temporary canopies) of all shapes, sizes and decors. People throng to different ‘pandals’ to see and enjoy the artistry. The decor of each ‘pandal’ is based on a particular theme which conveys a social message and is a visual feast to look at.
I visited one such ‘pandal’ and the message it conveyed will forever be embedded in my mind. It celebrated the “extraordinary in the ordinary woman”. The ‘pandal’ was littered with portraits of ordinary women like simple housewives, fruit sellers or office going women. However each woman’s portrait had a third eye painted on her forehead. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva, a Hindu God, has three eyes. The Third Eye on his forehead symbolises eternal knowledge and truth.
The Third Eye in the portraits depicted and highlighted the power of knowledge, education and truth which every woman possesses. It celebrated the progress women had made in the past century, overcoming social hurdles, patriarchal mindsets and irrational suppressions. The concept of depicting every ordinary woman with a Third Eye is a tribute to all those women who have fought relentlessly for gender equality and equal social rights. Those portraits were truly the correct symbolism of a woman’s power.
-Amritaya

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 “Cheesy” Article on Adventure

So, I am literally posting my English speaking skills exam speech because I don’t know why but I like it. We were given a bunch of topics to choose from and I chose adventure. Five minutes after that I felt like a fool, yes adventure is amazing, cool, yada, yada but how am I supposed speak on it for an entire minute?! But I did cook up something and surprisingly it came out well, according to me at least (some people think it’s cheesy…OK it IS a bit cheesy🙃)

So, what is adventure? Adventure is simply something which causes adrenaline to surge through your body and the hair on the back of your neck to shoot up. When you feel that uncontainable energy swell up and the hunger for more growl louder by the second, you know it’s your sense of adventure in play. Everyone has their own definition of adventure. For a one year old his first piggyback ride is an adventure and for an astronaut, his first journey into the vast universe. Adventure is like challenging your fear to a fight and the joy of beating it by going right through the tunnel of fear is inexplicable. Be it a hair raising roller-coaster or a trek through the woods, adventure adds that little spice to our lives. A sense of novelty and wonder arises when on an adventure. Adventure is like an abstract piece of art, that one has to create on his own. It may not make any sense, but it provides pleasure all the more. It’s an experience that one can cling onto for the rest of his life.
-Tanvi

The Fight for Survival

Today is International Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a day to pay tribute to all those women who not only have fought for their rights and against the social crimes committed by society towards a female (like every woman has to at some point in her life), but also fought against Breast Cancer, a disease to which one can succumb to at any moment.
These women are aware that the clock of life can stop at any moment for them, that their loved ones can lose them at any moment, and ‘they have to live like tomorrow doesn’t exist’. Everyday is a battle for them, and also a victory! Although 78% women can’t survive Breast Cancer for more than five years after diagnosis yet the death rate due to Breast Cancer has decreased relatively. A few famous faces like Christina Applegate, Former U.S First Lady Nancy Reagan and actress Cynthia Nixon were diagnosed with Breast Cancer at a very young age. However with medical treatment, will power and love they were able to come out victorious from this struggle and now their stories are a great inspiration for patients of Breast Cancer all over the world. These women battling for life (and in most cases winning too) prove to the world how a woman can fend for herself and to put down the spirit of a woman is impossible. They have not only faced the challenges which come with being a woman but have also fought and survived one of the most deadly diseases.
Readers, thank you for sparing two minutes of your day to read this blog and I hope you spare another minute to pay tribute to such special women all over the world and spread awareness. Thank you!
-Amritaya