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Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

31 Things I’ve Learned Being On A Startup

In my 22-year career as a technologist, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of several startups. Some didn’t get off the ground, some flattered to deceive, while others managed to get further along and become successful enough to be acquired.

Despite a less than stellar success rate in general, and the significant risks associated with startups, I’ve always gravitated towards them. Why you ask?

The success rate, the risks, the ups and downs notwithstanding, you can count on coming out at the other end of startups with precious career and life lessons. You’re afforded the luxury and the freedom to mold culture, to be creative, to innovate – something that isn’t exactly easy to do at conventional organizations, even if you are an intrapreneur.

Being part of the entrepreneurial team means you work with like, open-minded people who think differently, trigger inspiration and have the zeal for creating new products and services, that have the propensity for disruption.

It takes a certain type of disposition to work at a startup. You have an appetite for risk taking, a willingness to make financial sacrifices, with the hope of a payday sometime in the future, and – this is very important – resolute support of your family. You’re self-driven, and you possess an all-consuming desire to make yourself and the people around you better every day.

It’s been almost two years since I followed the white rabbit and embarked on a journey down the rabbit hole, taking on the role of Chief Technologist for OptionsPlay, a FinTech startup with the objective of demystifying Options and making them easy “for the rest of us” to understand and trade. This right here is a winner, folks!

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If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time.

– Robert Doisneau

Crowdsourcing For A Good Cause

Now, I’m no pro photographer, but I’d like to believe that I take good pictures that on occasion grab people’s attention.

As great as it feels for your work to be recognized and appreciated, it is a whole different thing when you can contribute some of that work towards more than a good feeling.

I’ve recently been approached to see if I’d be interested in displaying some of my pictures at a gallery, for a school fundraiser, the proceeds of which will go towards a good cause. I want to ensure that only the very best of my best gets up on that gallery, so I can maximize my fundraising ability.

I’ve picked 36 images from my portfolio that I think can go up there, but I’d like to narrow it down to 10. To do that, I’d like to get your opinion – a sentiment analysis of sorts – on which ones you think I should pick.

So, would you be kind enough to spend a few minutes, look through this list, and pick the ones you “Like”? The ones with the most likes would be shortlisted to get up on that gallery.

What’s in it for me, you ask? You would be left with this warm and wonderful feeling of having contributed in your own way towards a good cause.

Clicking on the first thumbnail image will bring it up in a “lightbox.” You can then use the right and left arrow keys to navigate through the gallery, and “Like” the ones you think make the cut.

Thanks for your participation!

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?

– Jean Cocteau

X-Ray Vision

X-Ray Vision

These daisies, with their translucent petals look like they’re at the airport screener, but no, unlike those high fliers, these flowers were merely set against a brightly lit window. The outline of the petals still hold definition despite most of the highlights being blown out, and that’s what adds impact to this image. What do you think?

Perhaps this is what flowers look like for Superman when he views them through his X-Ray vision?

Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically.

That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe.

We are in the universe and the universe is in us.

Can The Right Camera Equipment Alone Produce Powerful Photographs?

All that EXIF data is a goldmine that one can gain a ton of insight from, into what equipment and settings the photographer was using when she shot that award winning picture. So, you’ve got to commend Reddit users hallbuzz for compiling all that data, and mathiasa for turning that data into interesting visualizations, so people can get a sense for the “magic” that goes into some of the most powerful photographs.

Now, while the intent of the original Redditor was “to absorb what I can from the data,” and it wasn’t to “prove a point,” you can see how others can interpret the same data as…

“Ah, this is exactly what I need to make great photographs!”

The Camera and Settings that captured this years best photos“, screams the Gizmodo headline, making it seem like that’s all there is to taking the best photos – cameras and settings! Really?

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Break Out Of Password Hell

You navigate to a website that you haven’t been to in a while, and you’re prompted for your user id and password, neither of which you can remember. “Oh great! What credentials did I use?” you think as you desperately try to remember them. You try a few that come to mind, but none of them work.

So you click on the “forgot my password” link to get your password reset. Only problem is you can’t remember the email id you used, so they can’t send you the password, or the reset instructions.

“Don’t use passwords that are easy for a hacker to guess,” the security experts said.  So you went with a cacophony of letters, numbers and symbols that would make the password complex enough to thwart a hacker… and in the process… yourself? Nice!

“I should’ve just used the same goddamned password” you think to yourself, but then the experts did say “Don’t use the same credentials everywhere, either!”

Sound familiar? Yeah, I’ve been there several times, to that place I call… “password hell,” but I managed to break out of it, and you can too!

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Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.