"I make my own rules. I set my Own Goals. I follow the path less followed. I am What I Am!"
My own modification of the Reebok campaign line pretty much summarizes me. Right from my college days doing my engineering in electronics from a premier college, I was interested in being my own boss by starting my own company.
Being a tech enthusiast, it used to be tough to find and talk to fellow enthusiasts in India as there wasn't any Indian technology community — most technology forums then were American and catered to the US market. The only community board in India was run by Digit magazine and it was unmoderated, dominated by discussions on pirated software and games. All this gave me an idea to start a technology discussion community for Indians along with some of my friends whom I had met on various International websites.
However, having neither the money nor the technical knowledge to run one, I sought the help of a person who had set up communities for foreign clients. He agreed to set up one for us with me as a staff member. This was a great learning experience for me and during this period I picked up the basics of running a community, communicating with people who were funding the community, and learning the underlying software technologies. This was also the time I started doing work for International clients on a freelance basis.
A year on, I realized that I could run a much better community if the costs of the hosting and software licenses could be arranged. With the support of two of my closest online friends, Sumit Chowdhury and Rahul Rakesh, and a group of highly enthusiastic staff members, we started TechEnclave.com, spending initially from our own pockets.
With growing Internet penetration, I knew that there was a market out there to be tapped and a lot of people were turning to the net for computer help and support. As a community-driven website, TechEnclave's aim was to establish itself as an unbiased forum where users were free to talk about any brand and help fellow users decide hardware and software configurations.
TechEnclave's formative years were extremely tough as we competed with some of the big players in the industry like Digit, Chip and Techtree, who had huge budgets at their disposal. Getting users to sign up for a new site required offering them something different and unique, which in turn required a lot of hours to be devoted to the site. This proved difficult since I was in college, and although my parents were supportive, studies were always top priority.
It meant that I was working late nights on the website after completing my college work, missing out on much of college life, discussing on IM's with my fellow colleagues in what became our late night meetings. I took part during this time in many technical competitions on foreign websites and won lifetime licenses for the software we use on TechEnclave. The hosting cost, however, was required to be paid every month and was one of the most frustrating things we dealt with.