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Embracing "Deep Work" for productivity

Do you have that feeling where you worked all day but at the end it feels like you got nothing done?  In past 7 years at Egnyte to reduce burnout every 6 months to an year I have to fight this constant productivity battle. I have accumulated several habits in the process to increase productivity, some of them are:-
Give yourself scheduled time: Allocate 3 hours for creative work, I had my calendar open whole day and I would get interviews and meeting scheduled randomly all over the day. When you are on a maker's schedule this is disastrous. I recently allocated 3 hours of calendar time and I reject meeting invite unless its absolutely urgent and I am contributing to it.Walk in middle of the day: by the middle of the day brain feels tired and I cant code or focus so I started 30 min walk. I tried listening to podcast or listening music on the walk but that felt more work so I stopped doing it. I just walk and think on the current problem on hand.5 minute rule: If you can finish the …
Recent posts

IPhone will beat DSLR in long run

I started taking interest in photography recently and have accumulated a decent amount of gear but I am realizing that the ease of taking out your phone and clicking picture will beat the DSLR in long run. A friend recently visited me from NY and we wanted to take a family picture and I was setting up Tripod and Flash and doing settings changes and he was like leave all this, lets take a Selfie and that’s it, in 2 second the picture was done and he shared it on facebook in another 1 second.  Now one can argue that DSLR would have clicked a better picture but DSLR has many things going against it:-
Learning curve : I must have spent 200+hours on reading about photography but still cant take decent pictures as my bar is high. Not everyone is interested in spending this much time.Amount of gear to be carried : On hikes its a pain to carry your DSLR whereas your phone has to be anyway with you.Cognitive effort of tweaking the gear: You have to have a different lens/settings for different s…

Docker Aha moment

I had read many articles about docker before but today was the day when I realized the aha moment.  I had designed database structure of a new application where different micro-services uses their own schemas and each can be located on its own server depending on the scale requirement. Locally I had kept them on same mysql host but on production it will be used on different Google CloudSQL instances.  The aha moment for me was when I was able to fire up multiple mysql containers and map them to a different port and do end to end testing of my sharding code all on local box.

All I had to do was

docker run -p 3306:3306 -d  gcr.io/xx-us/mysql:5.6
docker run -p 3307:3306 -d  gcr.io/xx-us/mysql:5.6
docker run -p 3308:3306 -d  gcr.io/xx-us/mysql:5.6
docker run -p 3309:3306 -d  gcr.io/xx-us/mysql:5.6
docker run -p 3310:3306 -d  gcr.io/xx-us/mysql:5.6
.....

and I had many mysql servers ready to be tested.   In the VM world I would not even had dared to start 5 vm on my laptop.

7 essential questions to ask during Product Manager interview

image via https://www.wrike.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/software-product-management.png

I am an Architect at a Startup called as Egnyte and my daily job involves working closely with Product managers and translating their vision into reality.  I had interviewed hundreds of engineering candidates during my tenure at Egnyte and sometimes I am asked to interview candidates outside my role. Recently I was asked to interview a Product Manager. I was like huh its been a long time I have interviewed a one and the Startup landscape has changed a lot these days.  A good Product Manager these days can really make your product stand out from the competition and drive growth.  How do I know he is the best candidate for the job?

I was one of the interviewers and was given 30 min. I usually want one hour but that day was packed with meetings.  A day before the interview I started preparing for it and landed on to this master piece written by Ken Norton(@kennethn)How to hire a product manag…

7 tips to combat email overload and enhance workplace productivity

Email had became a productivity hog for me and I was overwhelmed by it. I am working for Egnyte since last 6 years and every year not only the team has expanded but with it the number of emails I receive has increased. New processes get added and new mailing lists get created and  someone adds you to it and now you are blasted with this news feed like twitter firehose. The longer your tenure the more mailing lists you are on. It seems I was working all day, but as a programmer/Architect by heart I was not getting satisfaction if I hadn't coded anything by the end of day or solved a meaty problem in a quarter.

Reaching to InboxZero was a mirage to me, you are this close to it and then suddenly in an hour you are blasted 20 emails and there goes another hour sifting through it to see if you have missed anything important.  Programming/Architecture is a creative field and you require decent uninterrupted hours every day to make an impact but for me I wasn’t getting satisfaction.  I …

Have I started hating mysql and falling in love with distributed databases

It seems Mysql is rock solid if you want:
TransactionsACID support So I would still recommend mysql for any thing that is mission critical data and is the primary datastore for your transactions. But what about derived data or analytical data?

I had built large scale cluster of mysql server storing metadata about billions of files and folders used by tens of thousands of customers daily and its scaling fine and working good, its still growing at a healthy rate and holding up.  But this requires a lot of baby sitting if you have 100s of nodes and you need to do
replicationadd more nodesrebalancing datamonitoring entire clusterShardingBackup/restore You have to write a lot of tooling and lot of monitoring/babysitting to scale the cluster. Plain stock Mysql will scale up to a limit but vertically scaling has its own issues. So +1 for Mysql but not everything should be stuffed there.

But recently me and my team built full text indexing on same dataset using elasticsearch and it seem…

Can you remain a fullstack developer?

I started as a full stack developer 14 years ago but these days its becoming more and more difficult to remain a one. Back in those days all you needed to know was html/css/Js/jsp/java/sql/ant/xml and some tools like tomcat, svn, eclipse and some shell scripting and you are a full stack developer. Being full stack developer means you can code from UI layer to server to database and peel any layer of onion to trace an issue.

Now a days you may need to know 20 different technologies in each area before you can easily navigate between layers. Life becomes difficult if its a distributed system. In UI you may need to know
ReactAngularJquerySASSHTML5JavascriptNode.jsGrunt and many more In server you need to know
JavaSpringHibernate or any OR toolGuavaNginxHaproxyMemcached and many more.  In Database you may need to know
MysqlNOSQL databases like Cassandra or MongoDBShardingAWS Aurora or RDSElasticSearchRedisOpenTSDBHadoop Big data services like BigQuery and many more On top of that …