nth loop

Or, what I have been up to for the last three months.

I quit my job last December, and took a few weeks off. Since January, me and Srivatsan have been building nth loop, our startup company dream new thing. Working for ourselves has always been our dream, and taking the plunge was long overdue.

We don’t really have a single plan about what we want to do. The past few months were spent mainly on sketching ideas, learning things, planning, ‘incorporating’ ourselves, some actual work (!), and brewing lots and lots of tea. Oh, and coming up with the name.


Name games

Deciding upon a name is hard. We couldn’t come up with any direct ideas, and were getting quite frustrated. I ended up writing this small utility (Linux/Mac only!):

# Load the dict file, remove words with apostrophe,
# and any words larger than 6 characters (tweak as necessary).
# Finally, from the remaining words, pick two at random and print them.
$ alias r2="cat /usr/share/dict/words       |\
  grep -v \'                                |\
  grep -iv '[a-z][a-z][a-z][a-z][a-z][a-z]' |\
  shuf -n 2"

# Repeat until you see something you like!
$ while true; do r2; echo; sleep 1; done

This basically prints two random words from a dictionary every second. We literally spent hours looking at the output, and received gems like “vexed elk”, “aptly few”, “shy anon” and my personal favorite, “rainy log”.

nth loop was inspired from a couple of weird combinations that came up, one after the other. The moment we put it together, we knew it was the right name for us.


Plans, and work

We are focusing on building web and mobile applications. Since March, especially, we’ve really been quite productive and you can expect a announcement soon! We also spent some time building small applications and utilities, just for fun.

Bowerbird is a Chrome extension that allows you to tweak webpage colors on the fly: built for designers that want to get immediate feedback about their color choices, or for readers who are really annoyed with jarring colors or low contrast on a page they want to read. It’s available on the Web Store, and you check out Bowerbird in action below:

Another small app we created is called Herold: it hasn’t been released yet (mainly due to laziness on my part), but it’s basically a bridge between Twitter and HipChat — allows you to get HipChat notifications about tweets by certain people, or for mentions of certain people or search terms.


Learning

I have spent the last few months learning a bit about Objective-C and iOS and Mac application development1. I’m still a complete novice, of course (haven’t even bought a Mac yet!), but so far, it’s been great fun.

On the webapp side, it’s been a joy to look at node.js — I love JavaScript with all its idiosyncrasies, and really enjoy the simplicity of most node server-side frameworks. Unlike say Java EE, node really allows me to understand each and everything that goes-on in my app.


Incorporation

Out of all the different incorporation options in India, forming a LLP makes the most sense for us. The guys at vakilsearch.com have been quite helpful with this. I would recommend them to anyone who doesn’t have a CA/Lawyer in the family. Oh, we should be a legal entity within the month, I think. Corporate person-hood, and all!


Tea, coffee and food

Srivatsan is a tea fan, while I’m a coffee person. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer a day with me without my morning cup of coffee, true, but I do limit myself to just a cup of coffee a day. I get too addicted otherwise.

I’ve learned to love (good) tea nearly as much as coffee. And by tea, I mean real tea, with actual tea leaves (not that CTC crap), from Assam/Darjeeling and well, China. Protip: if you really want experiment, Tea From Taiwan and Yunan Sourcing 2 both deliver to India, and seem to have passed the customs gauntlet.

As for food, well, I love cooking. I try to make a couple of dishes a week: take a look at my Food Experiments Flickr set to see a few examples.


Oh, I can confirm that time does fly when you’re having fun. It’s April already, but to me it seems that we just started our little adventure a couple of weeks ago…


  1. "We’ve actually built a small Mac app that Srivatsan finds very useful, but I’m not sure if I’ll embarrass myself by releasing such a half-baked thing online!"  

  2. "Srivatsan in fact convinced the guys at Yunan Sourcing to start shipping to India, and we were their first customers here!"