Re-starting. ThoughtWorks and next steps

I will be joining ThoughtWorks Studios this month as a software developer on the sleek and sweet Gauge team in Bangalore.

TL;DR I will be part of a larger force who strongly believe in technology innovation and social impact over chasing billions in valuation. This will enable me to do more with what we have envisioned for Applait. Applait will carry on at its own pace and we are exploring alternative organization forms to put innovation before business; build it as a community and research hub, rather than a business that seeks revenues.

Why take up a job?

Two words: Financial stability.

When you try to build things on your own, things that will eventually benefit others, things that do not have tremendous revenue generation focus in the short term (though it can if you want it to), you will find that you need a peaceful mind. You do not get that peace when you have to answer extremely ridiculous questions from people with money who do not understand anything that does not grow their money manifold in a couple of years.

Financial independence is the key there. If you have enough money to sustain yourself and live a healthy life, you can do a lot more with the freed up processing cycles of your brain.

Now, this is where Deb and Nayanika will tell me, “Told you so”. But hey, you don’t get a job in a company like ThoughtWorks every other day!

Why ThoughtWorks?

Why not?

To quote Dr. John A. Zoidberg, “Why not?”

ThoughtWorks has everything I want in an organization that I would love to be a part of. Here is a concise list (in increasing order of importance):

  • They pay well.
  • They have good chairs.
  • They have flexible work hours.
  • They believe in innovation.
  • They put out a large part of their code base as open source.
  • They have unlimited coffee.
  • They have a strong focus on social impact.
  • They did not judge me by my academic background, rather tried to understand the person I am.

That last part is really, really, really important. I have been turned down by a large number of organizations in the past because I do not hold any college degree, let alone a degree from an Ivy League or equivalent institution. Few of them did not even bother to reply to my applications.

Eventually, I made up my mind to apply only to organizations that will value me for who I am, and not what my certificates say. There were only two organizations in that filter. ThoughtWorks was the first choice. The second one does not hire from India, nor was I really keen to get a job there.

What happens to Applait?

Applait was started as an experiment to push the boundaries of technology to achieve the next levels of human intelligence. We are still on that path. The good thing is, now that motto does not have to be dependent on whimsical investors and business ideas. Applait can finally be free of the “muggles of the technology world”.

In many ways, the ideas behind Applait are similar to the culture at ThoughtWorks.

We shall continue developing unicorn, the platform for unified connectivity that we have been planning and building for some time. Hopefully, we will open up most (if not all) of the components. But… But… But… Most importantly, we will be moving away from the start-up paradigm, towards becoming a community driven technology hub. Open. Distributed. Decentralized.

To be honest, that is what we wanted in the first place, and it was primarily because of my insistence that we have been trying to make a business out of this, trying to see if I can focus full-time on Applait. Our experience in the process taught us a few important lessons:

  • If you try to build something decentralized, you better have your own money.
  • If you are building a communication system, you better grab all the user data you can and lock them in.
  • If you are trying to build a community centric business model that has both B2B and B2C components, you better pick one.

Beat it, dude! We shall not do any of those! You want to see how real disruption works? Wait a couple of years.

Wait till we come up with a fully open, decentralized and federated communication platform that will break the silos of the internet. Wait till you realize we are not doing it for money. We are doing it because we can.