What technology do you guys work in?

August 21, 2010

This is a question that we get asked quite often – especially when candidates call on us for job interviews.
Our answer to  this generally is: “Whatever it takes”

We, at ThinkingSpace, consider ourselves to be a product engineering company.
Most of the projects that we undertake – solve a specific problem. We do take up projects in which the specs are drafted out and we just have to implement the solution – but most of our major projects are for traditional businesses which we need to get a feel of first before proposing our solution. In such projects, the entire requirements gathering cycle to writing specs to choosing the technology is done by us.

Technology wise, in the past 3 years, we have dabbled and worked with a plethora of technologies.
C++, Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, ASP.Net, C#, Visual Basic just to name a few.

However, this decision changes from project to project depending on what will best work for a particular project – given various requirements and constraints.

All of us being engineers, it generally does not matter which technology we build the system on as even newer technologies (or different ones) take a maximum of a week or two for someone to pick up.

It is true, that we have our own favourite stack (.Net) and we are awesome in it – but we’ve done plenty of work in many technologies to be able to say that we can pick up anything and run with it in a decent amount of time — and so should you if you aspire to work at here.

Hence,  it is disheartening to see so many people factor technology as an important criteria in choosing the companies in which they want to work with.
In my opinion, it shouldn’t matter at all as the technology stack can very well change tomorrow – but what sticks is your concepts and engineering knowledge that makes it a cinch to move from technology to technology and platform to platform.


We’re a full house now!

August 16, 2010

Glad to announce that we are running at full steam at the moment with Pramod Suryawanshi joining the ranks of ThinkingSpace today.
This brings our total count to 8 and the end of our latest hiring exercise.

Pramod will be joining the development team at ThinkingSpace.

Hiring for a startup – when you have to do everything yourself – is pretty intense — and at the same time exhilarating experience!
We’ve tested and interviewed so many candidates for the two positions that we’ve filled up recently. Some promising, others not so much. So many stories and even more experiences!

Startups have their own share of challenges and more that getting the really smart guys on board, it becomes as important to get people with the right attitude on.
Being a small company, it is very easy for a bad hiring decision to affect the morale of the company and team in a big way.

Our office, for the first time, seemed a little crowded today and we think it might be time to move to a bigger place.
And that is definitely a good thing (I think).

So thats all for the update. A shout out goes to our newest team-mate, welcoming him  to Team ThinkingSpace.
More news later …


Long time, no see …

August 4, 2010

In case you have been wondering where we have been all  these months — well, we are still here.
We’ve just been very, very busy – which is always a good thing for a growing startup.

A non-updated blog is always a sore sight and we promise to update this blog more often to let you guys know about the “saving-the-world-from-total-annihilation”  jobs that we keep doing every now and then.

As for updates, we have two new members in our team – Mahesh Magar – who will be leading the QA efforts at the company – ensuring that the software we develop is shinier than ever. Akshay Deshpande also joins us. He is a ThinkingSpace month old and will be joining the software development team.

We’ve had a member leaving for her MS degree – thus bringing our total count to 7.
We are also looking (hard) for a person to fill another slot in our software dev team – which will bring our team size to 8 people soon.

Growing is always exciting and challenging as you are busy hammering down the processes in place to induct new members into the team more easily along with a million different things (7 people is a small number – but still). However, this is discussion for another day.

Here is to welcoming our two newest team members and making an effort to update the blog more often.
A website update is coming soon as well :o)


Knowing your date format and other small details

February 9, 2010

I had gone to  a local multiplex in Pune last week. To be precise the date was 3rd February 2010. I bought the ticket, confirmed the date even though the show was starting in 5 minutes (old habit) and found the date to be printed as 2/3/2010. For a second, I thought the date is 2nd March 2010 and soon I realized that the date was printed in ‘mm/dd/yyyy’ format.

Whats wrong ? Well, the standard for date format in India is ‘dd/mm/yyyy’ format. I am sure that the local multiplex had bought its Ticket Booking Management Application from a local software company. Even if the vendor was non-local, they should have considered the location of the customer before developing and deploying it for him.

I guess no one involved in the whole project found this bug.  Or maybe while making the use-case diagram, the designers forgot that the person buying the ticket is also an actor in the project, even though the ticket seller is operating the application. And what about the security guard or the usher tearing the ticket ? Are they aware of the date format ? Should they be considered while designing the application ?

There are some things which can help in development like knowing  who the end user is. If the developers have the end user in mind and codes accordingly, many small bugs get eliminated at the source. Rather than waiting for the Team Leader or the QC guys to report the bug, which the developer will then fix and report back, I think its better to sit once with the developers and give them a detail know-how about the end users of the application. Details could include age group, sex, geography, technical knowledge, regional standards (like the date format) etc.

It would also help to know the business operation or user scenarios. Like in this case, possible user scenario could be –  A persons goes to the ticket counter, requests for a ticket from the operator, the operator sells him the ticket, the buyer (person becomes a buyer now) goes to the screen, shows the ticket to the usher, the usher checks the ticket (date, time and seat no.) and shows him his seat. Then the movie starts and maybe one user scenario ends.


ThinkingSpace makes it to Headstart Summer 09 finals

June 12, 2009

There is some good news!
We have made it for the finals of the Headstart Conference Summer 09 to be held on June 20.

HeadStart is one of the two premium startup showcases in India (the other being Proto) – and we have been selected to present one of our products (EventShelf) – along with 15 other startups selected from all over India.

EventShelf is still in a very beta stage at the moment and we’re still building up some features and its database – but I think we should be in a very presentable and demo-able stage by June 20.

Getting feedback and seeing if the demo and presentation sticks will be interesting.

If you are in Mumbai on June 20, please feel free to drop in, check out our stall and chat with us.
The entry is free for the demo-pit area.

The event is going to be held at (updated):
Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research
L N Road
Matunga (Cr)
Mumbai, Maharashtra
India

L N Road
Matunga (Cr),
Mumbai, Maharashtra
India

and the demo-pit area will be thrown open from 12:30 PM till about 5:30 PM.

A map to the place can be found here.

More information about the finalists event can be found here.


Welcoming new members to Team ThinkingSpace!

February 11, 2009

We would like to welcome three new members to the ThinkingSpace Team.
45 grueling interviews and many, many coding challenges later, we were able to select three candidates to join our team at ThinkingSpace Technologies.

We will get these folks to introduce themselves in more depth in the coming days on this blog, but for now, I will briefly introduce them here:

[drumrolls …..]

The first person to join us (on 1st December 2008) was Nikhil Fuge.
Nikhil graduated with a Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the JS College of Engineering (University of Pune) in 2008 and ThinkingSpace will be his first company.

The second person to make the cut was Hardik Savaliya – again from the JS College of Engineering, Pune who graduated with Nikhil and also holds a Bachelors in Computer Engineering.

And finally, we have Anushree Patil from the Cummins College of Engineering who having graduated with a bachelors in Computer Engineering joined us along with Hardik on the 15th of January, 2009.

ThinkingSpace being the first company for all these guys, we wish all of them, all the best and look forward to working with them on cool, new and exciting things.

As a matter of fact, we are already cooking up something new to be launched by the first week of March.
Watch this space for more!


How Do We Market Ourselves ?

January 3, 2009

We have been asked this question time and again: How do you market yourself?  Our friends, cousins, past colleagues, budding entrepreneurs, people doing surveys have asked us the same question time and again since we started. To which we reply – “We haven’t, yet”.

Maybe they are under the impression that we are a core IT services company who do projects for clients from US, UK and India.  They are half-right, as we do Product Engineering services, providing end-to-end solutions for a business and helping it grow, particularly in the Internet space.

We started ThinkingSpace Technologies in April 2007 with our main goal to become a successful  Software Products Company from India. Hence we started work on ActiveCiti (v2) and launched it on 8th June, 2007. We got  good response for the site from many bloggers and reviewers, and of course, our older Activeciti users. After the launch, one client approached us wanting a tool very similar to ActiveCiti for sending out invitations and RSVP. Thus emerged http://www.rsvpindia.com – built on ActiveCiti engine. Similarly, one client wanted a professional networking site for TV Professionals with feature sets similar to ActiveCiti. Hence, we created http://www.imin-tv.com. And so on and so forth.

Did we make ActiveCiti with the intention of growing our Services?  No.
We did the best we could, to the best of our knowledge, to the best of our capabilities and launched ActiveCiti.

We got some projects from networking and some from word of mouth –  Viral Marketing. Updating your company/product blog, getting people to write reviews and blogs on your product, being active on forums and blogs, attending local start-up communities, seminars and conferences – all these help a lot. They go a long way in building your name and credibility. And the best thing is – it doesn’t cost much. You don’t need to allocate a budget for this channel.

Marketing specifically for our products and building traction for the same is a challenging task which we are learning. Will post our experiences in another post.


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