How my laptop stickers gained me new friends

I often work while sipping some coffee at Starbucks. The coffee is admittedly expensive, but pretty decent to get work done. Mainly because they give decently fast WIFI and also they get the lighting right.

Once such day, someone approached me. He was wearing a “something very nice about Open-source” t-shirt. He introduced himself and asked if I worked remotely. He handed me a card very formally, told me that his wife runs a co-working space in the same building and I could check it out.

I took the card and later visited their website. Reserved-Bit came across as a very hacky, open and friendly space to co-work in. So I signed up.

Many days months later, I have had several good discussions with them over politics, feminism, equality, education and most often on open-source culture. They revealed to me later, the reason they approached me in the cafe was because I had “WordPress” stickers on my laptop.

The stickers meant I was a fan of “WordPress” and by extension possibly a fan of open-source. Long story short, the kind of people they wanted to co-work with.

The good friends I made in this story are Siddhesh and Nisha.

Yeah!! Yapapaya!

Early in July, I quit my old job of almost 7 years. Around the same time, Ganesh, a friend also quit and started to work on building a WordPress based company in Pune. It’s name Yapapaya. Among the folks at YapapayaGanesh Kerkar and Saurabh Shukla are probably the best friends I have in Pune.

Since I was friends with them, I started to enjoy watching their struggles (not in a Schadenfreude way), their discussions and philosophy around which they were building a company.

So sometime in mid-August, I thought, I would like to work for such a company. New, different and full of ideas that I was interested in. So I asked them if they wanted a partner aboard.

After some discussions we decided, I should be a part of Yapapaya. 🙂

And  thus, a new phase of life for me has started, and yes the name really is Yapapaya.

Chief Culture Office – The weird title!

One morning, Saurabh called me and asked me about what should be my title. I have always found job titles a bit silly. With a general dislike for strict hierarchies and pyramid style organisations, though I guess in some industries it matters.

I feel there is a lot of unnecessary reverence shown to titles. So  I thought it should be something irreverent and speak more about doing something rather than sounding authoritative.

Hence ‘Culture’.

I would be managing internal and external communications, interacting with the WordPress community, ensuring an environment that was open, free, safe and respectful of each individual and also helping at marketing by having a million interesting conversations with people around the world.

Here are my colleagues with whom I work with.

Goodbye rtCamp and “Hello World!”

Almost seven years ago, I joined the merry band at rtCamp with 6 founders and couple of us more. For a few years now, other than the two remaining founders, I was the oldest employee at rtCamp.

Yes, you read it right! I “was” the oldest employee at rtCamp.

Three months ago, I put in my papers. Served the notice and today was my last day with rtCamp.

I am thankful for many things there. I learned a lot over the last few years about how a company evolves. I have experienced joyous times, disappointing times and most importantly lot of freedom. Freedom at rtCamp, allowed me to do a lot of things I did not think I would have ever looked up let alone get involved. A big example of that is the WordPress and open-source community in general.

That freedom allowed me to bring some of the things I learned and experienced back into rtCamp.

I moved to Pune, recently to work from rtCamp’s office which is based in Pune. Those were major life changes. I won’t be returning to Mumbai, I will be staying in Pune for atleast the next few months.

Wait am I crazy?

Some might think I am a bit crazy to quit my job without landing another one. But since rtCamp and the ideas around it were so dear to me, I had to be sure, I was not just quitting for an extra 10% raise (not that there is anything wrong in leaving a job for a raise) or something similar.

That would not have been the right treatment to my time with rtCamp. I feel good about leaving, I am leaving with a lot of good memories and good friendships.

I am looking forward to freelancing.

So what’s the future!

I have been very involved with the WordPress community that is local in Mumbai and Pune. I hope to give more time over the next few months to the WordPress open-source community in India and more. I am also looking forward to giving more to the global WordPress community.

Also a few months ago, I have become a contributor to JaiWP.com. I want to interview people, search for stories that involve WordPress from around India and possibly all over South Asia.

I will be writing a lot more on this blog. So keep in touch here.

I also want to spend a few days home in Mumbai, catch up with old friends there and simply chill out a bit!

Here are some photos over the past 7 years in rtCamp.

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Six years at a company

In the mayhem of 2009 (the global meltdown etc), I ended up working as a blogger for a startup company. It’s name, rtCamp. For someone who was never paid to write, this was a really odd sounding job.

I got into rtCamp on the basis of a blog post I wrote on this blog. 🙂

Today, I complete six years at rtCamp. I never realised, I would work in a single place for that long. I don’t really plan that far ahead but it has been a good ride so far and I am enjoying new gigs, getting to learn new things even after six years.

What happened in the past six years!

A lot. I won’t talk about a glowing tribute to rtCamp. Actually since I am the Marketing – Head at the place, that is sort of my job, but I wont do it here.

  • I learnt to appreciate the FOSS movement.
  • I learned to appreciate anarchism as a political philosophy (listen to a leading philosopher on it).
  • I moved towards becoming a more thoughtful writer (I think!) than being more rantful (is this even a word! So much for being thoughtful)
  • I taught myself a lot of things.
  • I now know how software projects are born, live and die.
  • I learned that good people and good practices can co-exist with profitable business practices.
  • I became less prone to put out my views on everything and more prone to listen first.

I would not credit rtCamp for almost all these life changing things over the last six years. The point is I laugh at some of the naivety of the six years ago me, but I still find space in this company.

But rtCamp allowed me freedom in many ways to go explore these topics and sometimes bring them back to the company. It also offered me colleagues and former colleagues who are wonderful thinkers, philosophers, artists and human beings.

So here’s to six more? Well I do not plan that far ahead but one never knows.