Starting a new innings

by Yash 0 Comments

I am hanging up my entrepreneur boots (for now) and beginning a new phase of my career. I have joined Schoolguru Eduserve as their VP of technology. SchoolGuru partners with leading universities and provides end to end online learning solutions.
I have run Uconomix for 10+ years and I have spent 13 years in the  building software applications for various platforms. Building software is my passion. I love it. I did that at Uconomix but my last idea PhotoKeeper did not take off. So I think it is time for me to take break from the rigors of entrepreneurship and utilise my skills at another organisation and luckily I found an opportunity at Schoolguru.

A new journey begins.

PhotoKeeper is dead

by Yash 0 Comments

PhotoKeeper has been shut down. One and a half years of labour gone waste. Just 3 months into the launch. 12000 visitors to the site in the last 3 months, 300 signups, 12 paying subscribers. Visitors to subscribers ratio of 0.1%. That is not sustainable.

A had a captive target market of photographers who were already using my watermarking product uMark. More than 100000 email ids at launch. Don’t assume if you have a target audience they will still want your product. Do they really have a problem that you are solving? Even if they have the problem is your product really the one that solves it? When even photography blogs don’t bother covering your product despite repeated attempts you know you have created a product nobody wants.

Above all do you have money to carry on for a long period if your initial assumptions do not work out? If not do you have connections to raise funds? If you have neither don’t bother.

The joys and sorrows of being an entrepreneur! – share photos on multiple platforms at once – share photos on multiple platforms at once

We have just launched a new product – It is a web app to post photos on multiple platforms at once. Right now it can post photos on Facebook, Twitter, 500px and Flickr. What is special about is that you can select platform specific properties for photos while posting them. So you can set keywords which will be used by 500px and Flickr and select a category for 500px. you can connect a Facebook profile, a Facebook page, a Twitter, 500px account and Flickr accounts. Once you have connected your various social profiles with Snapcast,in you can select up to 10 photos and post them at once on the selected platforms.


The idea came to my mind for during my 365 project. Initially when I started the 365 project I used to go to each site manually and post my photo there. But doing that every day became cumbersome so eventually I stopped posting on other sites and was posting only on Facebook. Existing tools like Buffer do not have option of posting on 500px and Flickr.

Check out

Modi, RSS and secularism

by Yash
Modi, RSS and secularism

Narendra Modi on his tour of Ireland saw children reciting Sanskrit shlokas and he had this to say – “Irish children here sang Sanskrit Shlokas to welcome me… In India, this would have raised questions about secularism”.

This is not the first time. Earlier too he had berated secularism during his tour to Japan. I am sure this is not the last time either.

What Modi is implying here is that seculars of India hate Hindus and they are against anything related to Hinduism. He is not alone in having such a myopic view of secularism. It’s an idea of the RSS. Modi being sanghi to the core is just rattling off what he has been taught.

In the west secularism means separation of church and state. That the government be separate from the religion and government has to be neutral in the matters of religion. In India though secularism has a slightly different meaning – the state is not completely indifferent to religion. India has different personal laws that apply to citizens based on their religion (something that creates a problem for us atheists). Indian secularism means giving equal space to each religion. Indian constitution treats all religions equally vs giving special treatment to one specific religion. That is where RSS has an issue with secularism.

RSS wants a Hindu Rashtra. A nation of Hindus, for Hindus, by Hindus. In 1947 Muslim League got its Pakistan, but RSS could not get its Hindu Rashtra. Instead what it got was a secular government headed by an atheist Nehru. RSS hates Nehru to the core to this day. However Nehru wasn’t the only secular in India. Majority of Indians are seculars. Live and let live is the mantra of majority of the Indians. That is another thing that RSS is not able to digest.

Hindutva is the guiding principal of RSS and their raison d’être. But RSS knows fully well they cannot win elections in the name of Hindutva. So they have to pay token lip service to secularism and ask for votes in the name of development and achchhe din. But in reality they hate secularism. They cannot see other religions being treated equally. They perceive any steps taken for betterment of religious minorities as anti-Hindu and try to paint it as such.

It’s a strategy of the Sangh to declare anyone who does not subscribe to their narrow ideology as being anti-Hindu, anti-India – a traitor. It’s a concerted effort by RSS and BJP to propagate the idea of secularism being anti majority. The term they have coined – sickukars – shows their mindset. According to them secularism is a decease. Another favourite term used by them is pseudo-seculars, although that term applies more to Sanghis themselves.

The term pseudo is used to describe something which pretends to be something but it’s actually not. For instance pseudo-science. Something which claims to be science but is not – like astrology or homeopathy. So Sanghis who claim to be seculars but in reality are not should be called pseudo-seculars. Narendra Modi is one of them.

I tried to engage with some of BJP’s Twitter human-bots to see what they reply. The stock copy pasted replies are an indicator of what RSS intends to convey.

RSS’s ideology is a poison, and to sell that ideology they mix it with nationalism. Message is clear – you can be a true patriot only if you are a Hindu, a vegetarian, worship cow, hate Muslims and Christians, recite Sanskrit Shlokas, perform yoga and do whatever else RSS thinks makes an ideal Hindu. If you happen to disagree with them – straightaway you are a traitor, anti-Hindu and the only place for you to be is Pakistan.

We need to get rid of the death penalty

by Yash 0 Comments

I used to be in favour of death penalty, I am not anymore. Other than emotional appeal of retribution I can’t find any logical reason for continuing with state sanctioned murder. Especially in a country like India where the capital punishment is increasingly being used as a quick fix solution to appease the masses. Conditions that hardly justify the rarest of the rare criteria. I am still in a dilemma about what a society should do with open and shut cases like Ajmal Kasab or Delhi bus rapists but continuing with the death penalty for such cases just gives an excuse to the state to hang anyone to satisfy a mob.

Death penalty could have been avoided in two recent instances – Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon where I feel the trials were murky and two people were sacrificed just to give people an illusion of justice.

Capital punishment has to go.

But what to do with extreme cases is something we still need to figure out. Anders Behring Breivik – the  Norwegian right wing terrorist who killed 77 people is going to study political science at Oslo University from his prison cell. He’s in solitary confinement probably for the rest of his life. His quality of life in prison seems to be better than living conditions of many in India, yet he complains that his coffee is served cold, he does not have enough butter for his bread, and he is not allowed moisturiser. This baffles me.

PhotoKeeper – cloud photo backup for serious photographers

PhotoKeeper – cloud photo backup for serious photographers

We finally launched our next big product at Uconomix – PhotoKeeper. It is a cloud based photo backup and management service aimed at professional and serious hobbyist photographers.


There are dozens of cloud backup services out there, what sets PhotoKeeper apart from them is its focus on photos. Other general purpose backup services do not understand photos and they are meant for casual smartphone photographers. PhotoKeeper understands photos, it understands RAW files and it reads EXIF data and lets you search based on that data. In terms of photo organization what Lightroom does on the desktop, PhotoKeeper does in the cloud.

Here’s an introductory video of PhotoKeeper

PhotoKeeper has advanced search capabilities. You want to see all your photos taken with your Canon 5D Mk III and 70-200mm lens at ISO 100 and the aperture of f/2.8 where flash did not fire and which you have rated 3 stars and above? You can do that with PhotoKeeper!

Another unique feature of PhotoKeeper is private albums. Professional photographers will find it really useful. They can create private albums and share with their clients who can comment and annotate on the photos and provide feedback. It eliminates the need of sending photos through email or pen drives and facilitates better communication.

Check out PhotoKeeper at

My experience of buying Peak Design products from India

by Yash 0 Comments
My experience of buying Peak Design products from India

I recently purchased new camera straps – Peak Design Leash and Clutch. Peak Design is a manufacturer of some interesting camera accessories mostly straps and clips to hold the camera in various positions. They sell online and ship internationally. I ordered Leash and Clutch and paid $67.41 after applying a 10% discount coupon. I placed the order on 28 March and I received them in Mumbai, India on 7 April.

They have warehouses in Toronto, London, Hong Kong and California and they ship from a warehouse near to you. Before I placed the order I was apprehensive about shipping times and whether I will receive the product at all because they ship for free if the order is above $50 and the only service they could afford would be postal service. I had a bad experience with International postal service. Couple of months ago I had purchased something from eBay USA and the item was sent though USPS first class international mail and I never received it ultimately having to get a refund after more than a month. The seller shipped it and I could track it till it was in the US but once it left US there was no track of the item. Seller lost the item and I lost the difference in foreign exchange between order and refund.

So I wasn’t sure if I will receive my Leash and Clutch if they ship through regular postal service, so before placing the order I sent them an email asking which shipping service they use. They replied back with a link to their FAQ about shipping which I had already read. So that was of no help. I went ahead and placed the order hoping for the best. I ordered it on Saturday 28 March 2015, I got shipping notification on Monday 30 March and it was shipped through Hong Kong Post International Registered Mail. They also provided me a tracking number. I crossed my fingers and the wait began.

The tracking page on Hong Kong Post’s site doesn’t give much information about the shipment. Luckily the tracking page from India Post gives details of the progress made by the shipment. On 31st it left Hong Kong, Reached India on 4 April and it was finally delivered to me on 7 April. I had it in my hands within 8 days of shipping. That’s impressive for the postal service.

I also did not have to pay any custom duties. I feared the item might get stuck at customs or I might have to pay custom duty of as much as 30% which is what I saw was being levied on camera accessories. Above all I feared damage or total loss once it reached India. But as the tracking history shows the item wasn’t sent to customs and was sent to me directly from the foreign post office.

PD-trackingSo if you are in India and have been thinking of buying any of Peak Design’s products go on and buy it. It took 8 days to reach Mumbai, could take more for other parts of India especially non metro cities. Take a look at what Peak Design Leash and Clutch are –

Capturing the kick!

by Yash 0 Comments
Capturing the kick!

I am really enjoying my photo a day project. I think of a subject I am going to shoot for the day and shoot it once I am back home from the office. Today I decided to shoot Yaashi playing with the ball. I knew the shot was going to be tricky and I will have to protect the camera from an oncoming salvo because Yaashi can really whack the ball at times and nobody knows where the ball will fly.

I wanted to capture Yaashi hitting the ball, the action had to be captured in the click. I started with easy way – the burst mode. My camera can take up to 12 shots a second I thought I will catch a good moment. I ended up taking more than 150 images but not a single one was usable. Since I could not use Flash in burst mode and the camera was set in Auto focus Macro mode (which I realized very late) all the pictures out of focus and dark. So I took the hard way, I had to use a fast shutter speed so I needed Flash which meant I would have to time my clicks. There was a delay between when I actually pressed the shutter, camera focused and fired the Flash and took the photo, by that time the ball would go out of frame. After some clicks I figured out the delay and timed my clicks and managed to capture some usable shots.


This one is a lucky click. Yaashi hit the ball straight back at the camera and I managed to capture it milliseconds before I took evasive action and slapped the ball away.





I am not 100% satisfied but I will improve with time. I surely need an even faster shutter speed, today’s shoot was at 1/125 and 1/160 of a second. Need to go beyond 1/200 next time.