This page includes toy projects as well as proper side projects that I’ve been working on/worked on previously. You might also want to look at the project ideas list, which is basically my random project idea dump.
I always have made mid/shit(in real sense) projects in the past and on top of that I have not made anything significant at all in last 5 years or in forever. I forgot about most of them, so it’s good that atleast I have started making a list of the ones that I remember. Hopefully, 2022 is the year when I start making something in the direction of good.
Consider checking my experiments page as-well.
📥: Archived, 💰: Monitized, 💀: Shutdown, 🏃: WIP
|A beautifully crafted planner & guide to help you and your loved ones navigate mortality.
|A design company
|A fontpairing app h/t dk&ab
|Get paid subscribers for free :)
|🏃 💰 📥
|A many of a kind calendar, coming to your desk 2023
|It was an exciting start, lot of improvements we can do. Will pickup again when we get time.
|A web-comic turned accessories brand
|The people behind this are good friends, I am just helping them make things sexier
|A collection of nerdy interviews of interesting people from North East India who are doing what they love.
|Was fun, we still have some posts in draft. Can resume sometime.
|tw bookmarks when bookmarks were not available on the web
|It was useful for me when I was using it.
|A GitHub based blog engine
|I used it on my blog for about a year till i realized bro no.
|Browser extension to add author Image for Amazon and Flipkart
|This has become space debris by now.
|Social Interview Youtube channel
|We started cringing at our own videos. Killed it within a year.
|A wordpress blog with automated video curation
|We made some money but had to kill because exams
How do I go about building? #
Make good art
And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.
And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that’s been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.
And Fifthly, while you are at it, make your art. Do the stuff that only you can do.
The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that’s not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. ~ Neil Gaiman
🦄 Why do I build? #
At the end of the day, it is night. At the end of death, there is light. The only way I know how, is to build shit with all my might. That’s probably the cringiest thing I ever wrote but there’s truth in it.
In the past, I built stupid things for the love of it but also because it would look good on my portfolio. Then I stopped building things for a while, I got meself a job that did not suit me too well. After all these years, I’ve found that learning things that I am interested in and building things around that or building things just for the fuck of it is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
I decided to have this section because there’s a change in perspective and I wanted to keep a record. Following are the changes(non-exhaustive):
- Absolute 0 care about someone stealing idea
- Absolute 0 care about what others(non users) think about what I am working on or have built
- Sleep is important, it’s part of the project, a step in the build toolchain, if you will
- Gaining foundational knowledge is important, reading the manual is important, knowing how to use my tools properly is important
- Gathering requirements is important, thinking real hard is important, keeping it simple is important
- Ruthless prioritization is the only way h/t ashu
- What I build does not confine itself to technical realm, it can be making someone’s day, I have no constraints on what I build as long as I am interested in building it and I have the bandwidth for it.
- never stop learning, never stop building .
- Design first, formally if possible. Think of design and implementation separately.
- Beautiful and functional, both important.
- Ship early, tell the story. Skateboard MVP. 🏄 🚢
📅 How do I decide what to work on? #
Well, previously I did whatever came to my mind and thought was cool. Since now I want to work on a large volume of things, I’ve created a project pipeline to decide which projects should I work on, what to prioritize etc. I have to be working on multiple projects at once, sometimes they are independent, sometimes they depend on each other.
The Creative Process
Nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish somebody had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? It’s not that great. It’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?
A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point, they quit. And the thing I would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be — they knew it fell short, it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have.
And the thing I would say to you is everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase — you gotta know it’s totally normal.
And the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. It takes a while, it’s gonna take you a while — it’s normal to take a while. And you just have to fight your way through that, okay? ~ Ira Glass
I absolutely freeze and throw myself into a bootloop if the context switch is too high. So it’s very important for me to manage this and make some mechanism which can sort of automatically make the decision for me.
The process is no magic, consider a loop, idea can be anything. It’s simply me capturing the idea whenever it comes to my mind, sitting on the idea for a while when my system tells me to, checking how well it fits current situation, talking to concerned people about it, prioritizing it accordingly, working on the idea when my system tells me to, shipping it. repeat. Just the interesting bit is that, this happens for each of my ideas and project ideas without making me feel that I am bUsY while maintaining my sanity.
🌊 What is this project pipeline? #
I’ve mentioned it in my operation plan that I have basically two frameworks, one for organizing information and another for executing things on that information. These two compliment each other.
I am simply using
org-mode for organizing information related to my projects, I started using emacs recently and I do not know how I lived this long without trying out
org-mode. It’s the best thing ever. The table on top of this page? that’s generated by 10 lines of absolute garbage elisp which lives in the same page. How cool is that!
I’ve not yet built the execution framework yet, but it’ll mostly be the infrastructure which will let me test and launch my projects real fast for the mega-simp I am for fast feedback loops.
🌱 How do I maintain projects? #
What I build should not just stay there. It needs to grow. If I birthed something, I need to take proper care of it or put it to a good long peaceful sleep. Putting things to sleep is not so hard but growing something or improving something needs care. It’s a popular thing to say, but “what I cannot measure, I cannot improve”. no cap 👒. I build trash, I keep building trash. But I need to be know if I am building the right trash. 3 primary things I want to keep both eyes on:
- External metrics: User feedback though dynamic storytelling
- Observation: Any side effects? any serendipitous opportunity?
- Internal metrics: Feedback from the project itself through metrics collection systems
I am currently using linear to keep track of project issues. I’ll try to use it for couple of months, I am pretty happy with it as of the moment.
💸 What about monetization? #
I use money to buy freedom and then use freedom to do things that would make me feel alive. So if my main motivation is just to feel alive, I can directly jump cut to building things because that also make me feel alive. But building things is just one of the ways I feel alive, I also feel alive when I eat momo, and I love eating momo and I don’t know how to make momo so I have to buy momo, and to buy momo I need money. So money is important.
So whenever I feel like an idea has any potential to make a penny, I’ll try to monetize it. Pros and cons of monetization according to yours truly:
- monie 💰
- YoUr nEtWoRk iS yOuR nEtWoRth. I’ll probably have to meet/talk to people from different areas to make the money flow. Which I think is good.
- I treat all projects equal from technical perspective but wanting to monetize something might lead to better code quality and documentation because I know I might have to come back to this in an emergency. Same goes if I want to make something opensource and take up actively maintaining it.
- Because I’ll be expecting money, I’ll be disappointed if my monie don’t jiggle jiggle let alone fold. So, the mindset to keep when trying to monetize is to expect nothing but put like 200% effort, because I think the learning is not worthless.
- I might spend more time on projects that I think will make money compared to other projects. My prioritization framework should help me here.
Bespoke Garbage #
2020 Lockdowns #
Ah, the absolute shit year. I thought that my time has come and it’ll be nothing but tragic if homie in the sky calls me over for a beer. I actually hand-wrote letter for people I care about(some of them I still have, rest I burnt). I thought to myself, I really need to be better prepared for something so natural like death. Then I carried on with my life.
I was re-organizing my notes and creating my new homepage when I thought, I need to include something about my death since I am adding so much bullshit into my homepage anyway.
So I created the deathnote page, but it was not sufficient in so many levels. There are things I do not want to be public obviously, there are things that only certain people need to know, there are things that everyone can know but only after my wicket is out, things I cannot really put in a text and so on. I decided maybe should just add it to the project ideas list, so I did.
I decided to finally start building and while discussing the ideas list with abhilash , the deathnote idea seemed like a good first pick. So we started working on it and decided to name it betterkeep. Abhilash to work on everything design, I’ll work on everything tech, everything else we’ll see to it when we need it.
Soon we realized that it goes deeper than we initially assumed it to be. Even though it’s an utility service that I would use, care about and want to build. The whole thing is somewhat serious. If you know me in person, you know I am an absolute jackass. So we definetly needed some other more fun projects to work with, so we brainstormed on few more ideas as we kept working on this.
In the first week of september, we launched the landing page . It was a soft launch, Abhilash promoted it on instagram and made a couple tweets. I retweeted it on my dead twitter account. We got 0 responses so far. This was not good. The intention of the landing page was to get interested people to fill a form so that we can do user interviews with them while we work on the product.
We then sent the landing page to few nice folks we know of:
- One guy told that we need to figure out where to find our target audience and I’ve been thinking about it eversince.
- This guy said, pretty cool shit and says he cannot wait to try it out but didn’t fill the form only. So we’re like, fuck the form, we’ll interact with him directly about it
- Other people were on with their best wishes which we are very grateful for
- Another guy said, “Checked it out, looks good so far. I wonder how you’ll market it since the whole premise is kinda morbid”. I am thinking about it as well.
So once the landing page was out, we started thinking about diversifying the efforts and we started picking 2-3 more projects. This impacted the effort and time we put into betterkeep more than we thought it would.
One good progress we did was that we did layout the information architecture for the first version of the product.
Extremely slow progress on betterkeep for the month of October. Almost two weeks 0 progress. Most effort went into other projects. We got a few interested people but we are not able to get back to them because efforts are in other places.
Dog slow. Abhilash texts me with “is sher ko kab jagana hai?”
Okay not much can be said about this at the moment.
- We brainstormed the v1 of it, it’ll be a type suggestion client only web application. Debanga and Abhilash prepared some mocks on figma
- It’s a compact thing, we defined the definition of done with it.
- So all that’s remaining is for me to write this sucker. I’ve not written a webapp in a while, I do want to explore </> htmx and the likes but I’ll go with react and some state management library for now as last few projects I’ve used them and have some idea about.
- I really want this to go out to the public before December 31st'22.
Found the domain and twitter username available and decided need to build something with it. I like what I came up with.
Shipping soon. going to take a while.
my friend and I tried starting an online stationary shop.
- We did some initial brainstorming on what kind of calendar to create and what is the competition, why people would want one etc.
- We then went ahead and created the SM for it.
- Lot of this involved experimenting with stable diffusion as we wanted to see if stable diffusion could be used for illustration needs.
- We launched the discord server
- We figured out few things which probably should not have taken this long like paper sizes, types, initial calendar types, printing and paper sources etc.
- What we’re really struggling with is building an audience. We’re posting AI imagery to our SM and not sure how great that’s working out.
- Now our primary priority is getting people to know about 365 as an art content page and to build the community around it.
- I suggested canva to abhilash he did not entertain the idea and went ahead with illustator and figma
- Posting daily on instagram and twitter with very low engagement. Both of us realized that social media is not our game. And also decided that we will not play this game.
- We really got tired of posting daily on threesixfive, so we took a break.
- Paper arrived, we did some test prints. Some optimism.
- After iterations, we finalized on three calendars. Type, Square one and Nirupam(if that happens)
- The most exciting parts are when we discuss features on the calendar. The nice thing about designing(like the calendar design we’re doing) is you can prototype quickly and see the results
- We’re thinking of packaging and in the final stages of finalizing the calendar designs and variation.
- Up next will be the website, I already got the shopify sub.
- Now we did some final printing here and discovered that the cutting process is something that we never tested before and is an absolute disaster at the place where we were trying to get the printing done.
- At this point we already started sending few oddly cut calendar sets to people for feedbacks.
- Another set back was that we realized the original plan of giving a dock with the calendar was not going to work out. We could not find a suitable manufacturer on time.
- First week I was in Bangalore to meet some old friends, I had a buffer day and that’s the day I got all the prints done at Kolorkode. Great service and good quality.
- Came back, we decided to finally wire bind both of the calendars.
- At this point, we realized that we had the wrong url printed all over our cards. Fortunately, the wrong url was available and we bought it and setup all the redirects etc.
- All good to go. The calendar has a online counterpart which is the Daily Digest , which is work in progress so a wait page there.
- We launched the store, just posted on instagram and not anything fancy.
- We got about more orders than we expected on day1. I honestly didn’t expect even 1 order, but it feels so f’ing guilty to take money from friends idk how to process it.
- Friends purchasing the calendar is awesome but one thing I wanted to experiment with this project was to put ads on social media.
- But this is the immediate circle, guess this is the moment we were waiting for and what all of this was about, to learn how to sell things online.
- Let’s see how things go from here.
Ahilapaati Etyadi #
Primary domain expired but the site is still accessible on netlify (there’s some issue on the english version, easily fixable but i am too lazy to fix it now, will fix later).
I was in college and created this headless github org called buildandtell with some nice people, thought could build a developer community out of it here in Guwahati. Eventually did not have the bandwidth to build the community and also do all the other things I was doing.
I basically got inspired buy usesthis.com and wanted to something similar but limited to the people of NE. It’s a pretty neat thing. So we published it under buildandtell. Anubhav came up with the name and did a lot of work on it initially too.📿 Later a brilliant guy(unfortunately I cannot seem to recall his name, he had a beautiful name) joined us to help us with the translation, he told us we had so many mistakes in the translation, so we knew we had work to do.
Eventually, all of us had to do other things and the project got abandoned. But it’s still one that I deeply care about, so might bring it back to life soon. :)
I was frustrated how the blue bird site at that time didn’t have any way to access bookmarks on the web but had the feature in the mobile version. This was just a hack so that I get access to my bookmarks on the web thing. Twitter thankfully after a couple of months introduced the native feature and I did not have to use this anymore. Here’s the archived source if you’re interested, I don’t even have to look at it to say that it’ll be absolute shit code.
I saw someone blog using github issues. I thought it would be neat to have a full blog around it by using the github api because I loved to play with rest apis at that point in time. In hindsight, it was a borderline terrible idea. Nonetheless, I had lot of fun working with it. Source can be found here .
I am one of those people who always is curious about the real person behind something. When browsing books on Amazon or Flipkart(then most popular ecomm store in India), I would always wonder what if suddenly come across the author of this book in the street and I miss the opportunity to greet them. I was way too lazy to google each of the author. This extension came handy but I don’t think I used it more than a day. source .
Back then only TVF and Being Indian videos were trending on Indian Youtube. We thought, we could do it too. We were wrong. We did a pretty good job post shoot. But shoot and the content itself is the hard part. Learnt a lot from it though.