Thoughts and musings

by Kashif Zaidi

Infected with the startup bug. sharing my thoughts, blog by blog.

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Best HN Comments

 bdunn on justifying your costs as a freelancer

“Justifying your costs by basing what you charge against the costs of a similar employee is a good start, and in my experience it’s how most of us start (the old "divide by 2000” trick). I like that Andy makes note that you need to include overhead (prospecting, writing proposals, …), which a lot of new freelancers tend to miss.

However, I think the big takeaway is realizing that the formula presented establishes a minimum threshold. It shouldn’t be used to figure out what you charge. My rates are way north of what the a developer/marketer would command on the open market, but I don’t contextualize my costs against the equivalent costs of an employee; instead, I anchor my costs against the upside that a successful delivery of a project would yield for my client.
The single best way to substantially make more money consulting is to stop

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Consulting Checklist

  1. Start a freelance practice.
  2. Raise your rates.
  3. As you work for clients, keep a sharp eye for opportunities to build specialty practices. If you get to work on a project involving Mongodb, spend some extra time and effort to get Mongodb under your belt. If you get a project for a law firm, spend some extra time thinking about how to develop applications that deal with contracts or boilerplates or PDF generation or document management.
  4. Raise your rates.
  5. Start refusing hourly-rate projects. Your new minimum billable increment is a day.
  6. Take end-to-end responsibility for the business objectives of whatever you build. This sounds fuzzy, like, “be able to talk in a board room”, but it isn’t! It’s mechanically simple and you can do it immediately: Stop counting hours and days. Stop pushing back when your client changes scope. Your remedy for clients who abuse your flexibility with regards to

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why we made currica

Training new hires is a problem that startups and corporations face alike. Since we do offer apprentice programs (if you’re looking check this out), we have that process too, Before making currica, we had curated training material in markdown files, so whenever we had a new hire; each day, we manually selected the tasks for the day in an email to let the person know, then we took time personally to get the updates on progress and problems.

This worked out fine for us for quite a long time (quite longer then we expected), but as we are growing, this is turning out to be counterproductive due to the time being invested by the trainer in tasks that are fairly simple and repetitive, so we thought its time to automate this, we looked out for content curation systems that offer reviews and scoring to make use of / build upon, but found none that catered to our needs, So we made currica!

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TL;DR RESUME

I write mobile/web apps, startups excite me, big time Led Zeppelin fan, failed once, now working at Loops Digital | web app development & mobile solutions.

I love doing side projects, been part of making utm.io | google analytics compatible url shortener, Mobile Compare | compare mobile phones, Universal Credit Calculator | benefits calculator, Neighbour app | Discover your neighbourhood, among others

you can read my mind here.

find me -> Twitter | Hacker News | Facebook | Quora

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Starting a “Product” company in Pakistan.

Pakistan has managed to secure limelight in prime time news for many years now and for all the wrong reasons, war-on-terror, corruption, extremism. That’s the part everyone has heard about; amidst this shoddiness, a better side of the country is rather ignored. In the past decade, Tech scene in Pakistan has flourished, boomed. There is still a lot more needed to be done, but If you have to pick the right horse, Tech is the best contender.

To facilitate the scene, Incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have popped up and startups are really making there mark. We’ve seen successes in terms of groopic, popinjay, hometown etc, Not to mention the service industry which has roughly a market share of $ 2.8 Billion.

I was lucky to be a part of the second cycle of Plan9 (the tech incubator). We were making a social shopping app that connects people’s experiences and curates products

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Thoughts on Privacy: The right way forward.

 Read the TL;DR version

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Discuss on Hacker News

Retrospectively, my never ending awe for computers began when I played role playing games like police vs thieves , some of the participants got to be the police while the others would be the thieves. The game progresses by telling stories and the opponents finding errors and improvise to get the other. We tried to catch thieves using all the fancy equipment that you now see in movies. I remember making a computer out of two pillows. one standing up and the one lying down. It would be my perfect keyboard. We used to run background checks, track people in realtime, access the databases for their priors, validate their alibi’s, see where they were living, what they were doing without any information of how the computer would actually do that and the thieves when caught use to complain, that there is no way on earth that a computer would

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Why start a startup

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I had a chance to watch Sinek’s Ted talk some time earlier and i have been trying to find an answer or should I say a rationally arguable reason. Given the case that ‘Why’ is the question that should inspire action, the thought of why would someone leave all the opportunities and go start a venture where the only beginning goal is survival seemed odd in the least.

May be it is money. I’d be lying if I said no. I’d like some cash around now wouldn’t I. But is it 'The’ factor for which i will start a startup? may be not. However the question i really asked myself while thinking about it was do i really want money? will the purpose behind all the hard work would be materialistic accumulation or will it really stand for something.

As PG puts it, there is a difference between money and wealth and I see that a lot of us are confused in between. Money is just a intermediate process to

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