About

I'm Sunil Shenoy, a programmer, UI designer and a movie buff. I currently live in Mumbai,India.

Namaste. Be Good.

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Taking time off

I love my work. A bit too much actually. The last 4 months have been really good. I have been more productive than last year and managed to learn things in these four months which would take me a year to go through before.

Having been heads down working meant that I was not prioritising my health and the urges to do things other than work. Been sick is a good reminder that your body needs rest. You cannot keep asking it to do more on a regular basis. It is also important to prioritise non work time as much as you focus on work time.

Having spent the weekend resting and recovering and still in the process of recovering, I am again reminded how I am in this for the long run and that I need to take care of my health and well being while continuing to do work that I enjoy.

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gaug.es

I enjoy looking at analytics like any other person who has a online blog or website. It is interesting to know about people who visit your website from all around the world.

Google Analytics is one of the most popular online analytics tool, but it did too much for what I wanted an analytics tool to do. There was too much information on screen, most of which did not interest me.

After looking around for an alternative and trying out a few tools, I have been using gaug.es since over a year now. It's simple, easy to use and makes analytics easy to understand. I am also now more confident about inviting client's to have a look at their website analytics.

If you are looking around for a really simple and good web analytics tool, do give gaug.es a try.

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The big three o

I usually write this a day before my birthday, but since I have been travelling the last 30 days I have not had the time to sit and put my thoughts down.

Ever since returning back to India from New Zealand in 2009, I have always wanted to return to New Zealand and spend a few days traveling around the north and south island. After 6 long years, this year December felt like the right time. Good weather, most friends and family being on vacation and a chance to turn 30 in a country I really like.

This year has been great fun. I dont remember the last 6 years going by as fast as 2015 did. I have to thank my niece Saanvi for being a big part of the reason why. Getting to spend more time with her as she grows up has been great fun. Friends who previously lived around India have now moved back to Mumbai, which was also an highlight of this year.

Spent a lot of time tweaking and making Brightpod better this year. A growing user base meant that we had to re write a lot of modules. Hoping to release the mobile app for Brightpod in 2016.

My goal last year was to travel to 6 countries in 2015, but I only managed to travel to 3. This year, I travelled to Australia, Bali and New Zealand. Thanks Sneha, Rajnikanth, Max, Vikas and Maddi for travelling with me. You guys were awesome fun to travel with. Looking forward to traveling more with you soon.

I also travelled to quite a few places in India this year. Vijaywada, Goa, Bangalore, Delhi and Nagpur.

With most of my friends now married, the pressure to also get married is now real :)

So much more to write, but this already seems like a long post. Things I want to do in 2016:

1) Build 2 iPhone apps and 1 Pebble watch app.
2) Drink more water. Avoid fizzy drinks.
3) Exercise at least 4 days a week.
4) Travel to at least 3 new countries. Japan being quite high on the list.
5) Read at least 1 book a month.
6) Make time to date someone seriously.
7) Focus on a few things.
8) Be less distracted when working.
9) Spend more time with family and friends.

Hope you all have a great 2016.

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Yours if you want it.

But you can also learn to be more empathetic, passionate, focused, consistent, persistent and twenty-seven other attitudes.
If you can learn to be better at something, it's a skill.
And if it's a skill, it's yours if you want it.

Seth Godin - Attitude is a skill

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Writing when travelling

Maintaining a writing schedule while travelling is tough. You are in a different city and have a different routine with how you spend your day. There are places to visit, people to meet and new food experiences to be had.

Writing or doing any kind of work then falls down the list. You still want to write and get work done, but now you have a limited amount of time compared to having 6-7 hours when you are at home.

Designing and programming for me have always taken priority over writing whenever I travel. But now that I am more committed to writing, I have added writing to the priority list.

Writing within limited time is something I have never done before. Each post takes me about 30-40 minutes to write and re write. Having to write while travelling is going to be a interesting challenge.

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Sharing work in progress

It's difficult to like things when you initially start developing it. The structure is not in place, the design does not resemble the image you had in mind and the final content is not part of the page as yet.

Working through the progress is a great experience though. You slowly start to see the final design take shape, you change a few things to make it look better than the design you had in mind and soon the final product looks a lot better than how you imagined it to be.

It's frustrating though when you are in the in-between phase. When things don't look as good and when you share your in progress work. People who see it are usually not happy with what you have built. You know there is more to come, but they don't. It's difficult not to be discouraged by comments people leave behind when you share your work in progress.

Maybe writing about how you envision the final design to look like is a practise I should follow more often. Or not sharing the work in progress. A choice which on some days is difficult to pick between when the project you are working on is for a client who wants regular updates.

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HTML to Wordpress

"WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog"
wordpress.org

One of my friends is a freelance graphic designer and front end developer. Being a one person shop, he often gets contacted by clients who want him to design a website. Since most of them also want to be able to manage their website content, Wordpress is a solution he often considers.

During our conversation last week, he told me how he did not like Wordpress that much. The process of converting his HTML /CSS files to a Wordpress theme is not something he enjoyed or wanted to do. There are often PHP errors he comes across which add to the pain of theme conversion.

This could be a good problem to solve. Take HTML / CSS from the end customer and deliver a Wordpress template.

If you know of a service which already does this, do let me know.

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Play the long game

I know so many people who don't play the long game. It's tough, I understand it completely. Short time benefits on most days out weight the benefits of waiting for long term results.

In not just about software, in about every aspect of life, playing the long term game is difficult. It's easier to fix the bug with this short piece of code, but difficult to patch the library which was causing the issue. It easier to not invest in employees and save that money, but difficult to keep an employee, vendor or client happy so that they stay with you for a long time.

Most people I meet, play the short game. I hope this changes over time. As much as I believe in life is short mantra, I am equally a big believer in playing the long game.

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Work can wait

We believe Work Can Wait is an important notion. 9pm on Friday night is not work time. 6am on Wednesday morning is not work time. It may be for you, but it’s not for me. And I don’t want it to be work time for my employees either.

I really like the thought behind this feature.

Basecamp 3 - Work can wait

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Your product idea matters

There are new tools, softwares and blogs being launched every day. If you follow reddit, product hunt, twitter or hackernews you will come across new products every day. These are exciting times.

2 days ago, a friend mentioned how he had a few ideas he wanted to work on, but when he researched his idea, there were other products already doing something similar. My advise to him, work on your idea and build it. Your product idea matters. Even if someone has already created what you had in mind, go ahead and build your version of the idea.

The features, design, experience you end up building would be different from the product which already exists and that might be the reason someone chooses you over hundred's of other products which exist.

Brightpod a project management tool I have been working on since the past 3 years has over 100 competitors. Yet, as a business we are doing well. People who like us, like us for the interface, the experience and customer service we provide. This along with the features we provide differentiates us from every other product.

It's tough for any software to please everyone. We also have some people tell us that our user interface is not that good and our software experience not being as good as some other tools they have tried.

We need more people to build products which are different and yet does something similar. People are still looking for the best project management system, the best bug tracking system, the best travel booking site, the best place to host their blog, the best place to buy fonts...

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