Prateek Dayal

Breaking the silence one random blog post at a time

Hobbies

When I was a kid in school I loved extra curricular activities. I was never really much into sports (except for a little bit of football) but I really had my heart in electronics. Our school gave us 2 hours a week for activities and I opted for electronics (since it was hard to get into computers back then anyway). I started by building small LED toys (we called them disco lights since they would switch from 3 reds to 3 greens and that was my perception of a disco back then!). Slowly I started tinkering more and built a small synthesizer (I think it was 22 keys) and a cassette player and eventually I built a 200 Watts inverter for my house (we used it for many years and then I built a bigger one which we used for many years as well).

Ofcourse I was terrible at it initially. Unlike software, wrong experiments would end up in blown up transistors and overheated and short circuited diodes. It was an exciting time for me though (and an expensive one for my parents). I couldn’t wait to get back home from school and start soldering stuff and testing circuits. I also saved up a lot of my pocket money to buy tools over time. Things like soldering irons and multi-meters and a set of resistors, transistors and other small components. Sometimes I would be out of a component and I would pull one out of another working circuit. I always found a way to keep building. I wasn’t doing it to build a startup or sell circuits to my friends in school or anything. I was just doing it because it was exciting.

I kept tinkering with electronics through college but once I graduated and started working I slowly lost touch. I picked up photography a little bit later but once I started working on Muziboo, everything slowly faded into the background. I focused all my creative energies on building Muziboo and then later SupportBee. However now when I take a break from work and I try to engage myself with an activity, I find myself mostly dis-interested in it (or very superficially interested in it). Every now and then a book engages me but I find it very hard to be absorbed by any activity in particular.

When I look back, I can see what happened. For many years, I just kept working non-stop and in the process never paid attention to any other hobby. I found out the hard way that hobbies need to be nurtured or they fade away. It’s easy to get obsessed with work and not only burn yourself out but also lose interest in things. For the last year or so, I have been taking more time off and trying different stuff and I am hoping that I’ll find something engaging. For now, I’ll keep looking.

Feeling Inspired

In my younger days, I found inspiration only in a very limited number of things – seeing great technology in action, reading a great book and ofcourse in Founders at Work. I had a hard time appreciating great work in industries or domains that I was not familiar with. What’s more, I really felt no need to look deeper elsewhere. That changed in the last few years as I traveled more and talked to more people from different walks of life. Conversations with people outside technology or startup world helped me see new perspectives on things I had always interacted with before, but never paid much attention to. Things like well cooked meals, an attention to the lights in a restaurant or a bar or just better run airlines and more well designed real life systems. It was amazing to me how much difference attention to details in these things mattered and changed your experience as a consumer. Just like it’s always amazing to watch great programmers code and talk about code, I was amazed watching a great hairdresser in action or an office manager at work.

I still look up to Jack Dorsey or Elon Musk for inspiration but now I also find it around me in people and things that I did not observe closely before. They inspire me to do great work and serve my customers better as much as the role models I have in the startup world.

New Thoughts - New Blog

Over the last few years, I almost neglected my personal blog. I got busy with SupportBee and travel but the bigger reason was that I wasn’t sure of what to write about on my blog. A lot of my writing involved SupportBee and technology and went on the SupportBee Blog and Devblog. Also short thoughts went on to Twitter.

The last time I wrote about a new experience was back in September 2010 when I wrote about the cafe culture in Vietnam. Since then I have traveled a lot more, met a lot more people and had a chance to think about life and work. Lately, I feel the urge to write again and write about more things. Not just startups but many other experiences and perspectives. Since this is a very different theme from my old blog, I have decided to archive my old blog and start afresh. I welcome you to my new blog. I hope to post atleast once a month on things that interest me personally. Thank you for reading :)

I am using Octopress for this blog, which was very easy to install and setup on Github. Thank you Octopress!