Big Change

I am writing this as I am travelling to Red Fort for my last photowalk in Delhi, for I am shifting to Bangalore 2 days later! Everything seems to fit right now…. the first photowalk I had gone for after buying my DSLR was at Red Fort and today before leaving Delhi, I am sort of completing a circle. I’ve been living in Gurgaon (Delhi) for the last 20+ years and I love it being here, it’s the best city! and this fact won’t change for me, it’s too late to stop loving Dilli I shouldn’t be this dramatic but yes.. I will surely miss Dilli and my home ofcourse :’)

It’s a big step for me to shift to Bangalore. I am joining Exxon-Mobil as a Planning Analyst and have been posted at their Bangalore office. I got the job from campus placement offers at BITS Pilani and I was lucky to have one of the best jobs offered on campus! I think it’s a right career move as I’m passionate about data analysis and business planning. Plus Exxon-Mobil as an organisation seems really great! The reason I feel it’s a good choice is that I feel happy to be moving towards it..

What does this mean for Photowalkrs?
Well, I’m loving photography and travel more than ever, no doubt about that… I am on my way to a photowalk as I am writing these words. But I’ve spent a lot of time on judging whether Photowalkrs can be a full-time startup right now or not…. The more I think about it, the more I think that it’s best to keep it as a weekend project. I’ll tell you why – I believe photowalkrs is a little ahead of its time atleast for Indian Market. And I’m not saying this to brag about the idea, I really wish this wasn’t the case, but unfortunately it is.. I can tell from my experiences with people who were my test cases that they still need spend a couple of years with technology to be able to use photowalkrs effectively. Also, internet is still not fast enough to make use of realtime updates,  no-one wants to wait for more than 10 seconds to open a page to be just able to click on a link and repeat the same process again.

We can make the app, infact we’ve already made a prototype, but if there are hardly people who can use photowalkrs, then it’s really difficult for us to sustain ourselves. The conversations I’ve had with photographers in the US, we might have a good chance there but not enough expertise to start operations in the US as per today. This has been a little demotivating to be frank… As a result I’ve decided to spend more time on studying and observing the photography scene. I’ve redesigned the photowalkrs blog as a feature magazine on this hobby space. I’ve been writing about the news and updates from around the globe and I’m also featuring local groups/clubs and individuals who have been leading photowalks and trips. Photowalkrs is more like Schrödinger’s cat right now!

Now that I’ve started on this road.. another thing that went in the wrong direction for starting up photowalkrs full-time is the founding team…. Well, it is difficult to write about people with whom you’re friends but i should.. Photowalkrs team might be a really strong functional team but we don’t have the X-factor required for that bond as a startup-founding-team. I am probably high on passion but not so good when it comes to the tech part – coding. I am, what they say, the Business guy but without any experience and working on just trial and error basis. You can take a guess that my technically skilled partners dont care as much about the photographers and travelers as they do about the efficiency of their code. Also, a team of 4 maybe is a good idea for a college band but not so for a startup. We should’ve been 2 people but I dont think which 2 of the 4 could’ve been the best. It’s a messy situation and we’re sort of stuck right now between our jobs, which seem to be really good, and photowalkrs and life’s goals in the long run.

As a matter of fact, three of us – Me, Shrinidhi and Jalaj got one of the best job offers in our batch i.e. Exxon-Mobil, Citibank and Schlumberger respectively and Kazi is doing his internship at Morgan-Stanley. So our team is really strong functionally, I’m not just saying it… I think it’s only logical to focus greater part of our time and energy which are promising not just now but in the long run as well. We have to be smart as well along with being passionate. The worst thing would be to work part-time, dislocated in 4 different cities, still not be able to gain traction and along with it sucking at our regular jobs. It’s better to choose the battles we should fight and the ones which are more rewarding.

So, yes, this is a big step for me as I am taking a step off to change directions. I am looking forward to the new life at Bangalore, take up the job and the challenges there, learn new things at the office and yes, ofcourse… explore the weekend photography and travel scene in Bangalore. I’ll continue writing on the photowalkrs blog and feature various interesting groups and share updates. We’ll try launching a test version of photowalkrs to test out our hypotheses about the users, hopefully the results would be better for Banglaorean photowalkrs, maybe that’ll give us a kickstart.

Either ways, I am looking forward to the weekdays more than the weekends, now as I am finishing the piece I had left in the metro, I have my flight to Bangalore tomorrow. I should go to sleep as tomorrow a new life starts for me.. a big change!