Hmm…. where to start, well let’s go to the very beginning, I wasn’t born to be an engineer, I was born to create. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the real story.
I was one of the lucky ones who got plucked right from college and thrown right in to work, or so I was led to believe. My placement? As a Web Designer at a Global IT Solutions company which provides Outsourced Software Development services. Some would say a place where designers go to die a slow painful death. With its vast list of Arab clients, people who still believe in glossy buttons, and leather textures, design plays a crucial role in its service list, for me this meant a great learning experience, but an excruciating one.
After more than a year at a company like that, I did what any other sane person would do, Job Hunting. I nailed two of the three interview attended, although I wasn’t entirely happy about it. One was at an infamous Web & Mobility product solutions firm, a place that made my previous company look like a fairy tale land with candy clouds and unicorns running about. The other, was in the capital city of Trivandrum. For me, a Kochite, born and raised, the capital was a place to avoid at all costs.
Now I had two job offers and no job, but all the peace in the world. In all this freedom however, two months went by in a flash. This meant only one thing, “The last transaction was cancelled due to insufficient funds”. So with two expired offers I began the hunt yet again, my absolutely mind blowing performance the last time around, made me believe that this sort of thing was gonna be a cakewalk. That bubble bust very fast. Hopeless and exhausted, I turned to my friends; this play got me three more interviews and two less friends. One interview was at a design company, well technically it wasn’t a company, it was more or less an agency that did designs for an Australian Cruise Liner, so that was a strict no no. The other two was thrown at me by a friend who works at Infopark. The first one I botched completely, the other however was at RapidValue, a company with a growing reputation for excellent designs, a company which I had tried to get into, but failed, several times in the past. This, to me, seemed like a “last straw” kind of a deal. This interview, like many others before it, seemed to go fine, but past experience had taught me to not to get my hopes up. After just two days the HR called me, she told me that I’d got the job; everything she said after was heard by no one, I was in the other room, jumping on my bed, like a kid about to go to Disneyland.
Finally, after a couple of months of RnR, I was back in it, back to work, back to the monotone of home-work-home, or so I thought. The first day of work was just like it was meant to be, new office, new colleagues, new work station, but there was nothing monotonous about this place. This was evident from my first Town Hall meeting, which was held during my first week there. Another fact that dawned on me was that, the design team, the team that I am a part of, was The Most Important team of the entire company, as my friend Cyril so elegantly put it; “Dude, you’re so sc*w*ed, UI is THE team at RapidValue”. The other major thing that happened in that first week, was my first ever outing from the company, my first outing from any company. This only heightened my already peaked enthusiasm.
I adorn a variety of roles at RapidValue:
- I work as a UI Designer
- I am a UI/UX Developer
- A GFX/Print Designer
- A party Planner
- An educator
- A presenter
The Team and their Captain
After a first week, which I can only describe as being “dreamlike”, the second week started to bring me some work. Some hard work,but it wasn’t so bad, the only taunting thing was the amount of work, the work itself wasn’t as hard, and moreover it dint matter, I was happy. The main reason for that was the team, not many people can say this about their team, but I can; I am part of an awesome team, lead by one of the most inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. This team works like a clock all because of this man who can wind the springs just right, “Melvin Thambi”. His brilliance is evident in his work, but that is not the factor that draws people to him, it was his ability to bring out the best in others. There are all sorts of men out there, but there are few men like him.
Hold on, I’m getting sidetracked here, back to work, literally. After the first few days, I got used to new project I was assigned, it was well organised and well thought out by the men in charge, Anupeattan and his trusty sidekick Nithin, or “Kuttan” as we call him. After a brief stint as a regular in that team, I was given other works which had more of a development side to it, this brings us to our next character, Sujith Kumar, or “Zuchit” as he calls himself. A mastermind when it comes to development; he sees code like you or I would see English. There is also his love to ride and click, a love which I too share. Under his guidance I got into development, a lot of in-house collaterals and web maintenance. Among these collateral works, there were works where I had to design also, which brought me under the jurisdiction of another design team great, Rony Anand, Melvin’s second in command. A true master of design, his eye for detail is matched by none. When it comes to design, he will take no quarter, only the best can satisfy him.
It was around this time that Melvin came up with the idea of holding seminars three days a week, and I was given first blood. My topic, as I thought it would be, was ‘communication’. I had loathed the idea of taking seminars ever since college and my topic only made it worse. If it were a technical subject one could simply plow on, but what can a guy talk about communication, that too for a month. In all I decided to wing it, to go back to the basics, just a skeleton slide, only points no sentences. The feedback from the first seminar was startling, the team absolutely loved it, and they wanted more. This made me happy, cause for the first time other people were actually learning something, from me. A month of well-planned seminars and communication exercises later, the team was confident enough to take seminars on their own. Next in-line was Saranya Remanan. She did a brilliant seminar spree with a grand finale at the end, a true interactive experience. I thought that was great, but the next one caught us all by surprise. Alen Sunny Stephen blew us all away with his classes on Android front-end development. Notice how I used classes instead of seminars? It was because he did not present to us, he actually taught us.
These were the exciting times. To make things even more exciting, the company decided to send Bibin, Vishnu, Sujith and myself to #HTML5Defcon, a first of its kind Web developer conference, a weekend of fun and learning only geeks like us could appreciate. Back at RapidValue, I took a seminar on what I learned there. It was attended by the design team and a few others; among them was one of the Senior Project Managers, one of my closest friend in the company, a man who goes by the name Arun Krishna. This man had no interest in HTML, no reason to be there, but he came anyway, to give me support. After the presentation he came up to me and commended me on my effort. People like him are rare, one in a million you could say. People like Melvin and him give me hope that the world we live in is not so bad after all.
During all this I was put on a project, meant to be finished in a week, an iOS Dev team initiative. This however was meant to be more than just an initiative. Sujith and I saw this as an opportunity, to build something bigger, to give to company its own developer network. This idea caught on, Melvin was on board from the get go, with his tactics we roped in the Knowledge Management (KM) Team, consisting of three Senior Project Managers. Soon I made the wireframes and a working WordPress prototype with a few functionalities. Then upon Melvin’s instructions I presented the idea to Rinish, the CTO and one of the co-founders of RapidValue . He bought it, and gave the idea a green light, we are now in the first stages of developing phase-I.
I’ve been droning on about the work part at RapidValue, now for the fun part; Gems. Melvin’s brainchild, to brand the entire design team. Together we are a design collective, we do all sorts of stuff, my friend Prasil would be offended by my usage of the word stuff, but I’ll use it none the less. Just because he can identify every font in the web, doesn’t mean that he can ask me to quit using one of the most popular words in the English vocabulary. All this time two people have been hiding in the shadows, the David and Goliath pair of Anugeeth and Rahul. My Ex-colleagues (with me at my previous company) like Saranya, Rony and Sujith, they make the already fun team even better. Rahul can be compared to a RADAR receiver; always on the lookout for any unidentified objects. Anugeeth is singer, or so he likes to believe. At first glance this boy of barely 5 feet (just kidding he’s actually 5’ 1”) may seem useless, but he is an amazing designer, but not a good singer. He is usually seen practicing, with his partner in crime, Rony . Together they create the most amazing of sounds. In the midst of all this fun, a six member team, including me, was put in charge of “Pakalpooram”; a monthly event that brings every employee in the Kochi faction together for two hours of fun and games. Taking part in one of these brings you immense joy, but organizing one is a different game in itself. The Pooram Committee is not only charged with Pakalpooram, but with every fun activity that happens during their three month period. Just when you think you are done with one thing, the next one creeps up from behind. Needless to say, the design team and I brought a new feel to the Pooram, which was praised by many. With only one pooram left to be held, the committee and I are planning to hand the batons over to the next set.
Challenges – Its for Good!
I’ve faced many challenges along the way but never did they slow me down, they only made me stronger. The projects I’ve worked on, as I described, vary from Marketing collaterals to multinational medical applications;
- Posters, Newsletters, Web pages etc.
- Dashboards designs
- Wireframes, UI /UX Design and HTML5 Development
- Android UI front end
It is never just work here, just doing your job doesn’t cut it, you have to be innovative, creative, always ready, you have to live at RapidValue. Life, hence, at RapidValue is fun, do not misunderstand this as a conclusion, to conclude would mean to end. I don’t want it to end, I want my life at RapidValue to continue, continue to go on, and continue to be awesome.