Hard to be decisive

Over the past month or so, I have had the opportunity to live fully independently for the first time. I have been working a full time backend engineering job at an amazing startup based in Toronto, taking a couple of online courses from university, taking yet another course on Coursera, and finally working at setting up a startup of my own with my cousin brother. Yet, I feel dissatisfied.

I read a post earlier today which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about – it was about the recent stockholders vote in Tesla to remove Elon Musk from the board. Though the vote failed and Musk maintained his seat, there was something else which caught my eye. Steve Blank, a business professor at Stanford and retired Silicon Valley entrepreneur, made a comment about how Musk, like Steve Jobs, is an excellent visionary and innovator. However, Tesla is no longer an innovation problem. It’s a problem of execution at scale.Β “It gets boring to execute,” he added.

Elon Musk has been one of my role models for a long time, and I have to say, believing that he goes through such struggles gives me some relief. Musk is a highly motivated human, no doubt. He puts his money where his mouth is and starts things he dreams of. He is great at showing other investors his vision and starting a company. But, it’s hard for him to settle and continue executing because he wants to keep exploring and try out new things.

I am going through something similar in my life. With so many ideas and so many things I want to learn about, I often find myself wishing there were more than 24 hours every day – but then I realize I still don’t make use of my time completely efficiently. I have recently started scheduling my days out by the hour and assigning myself enough time for all tasks I wish to take care of. To help bring more structure to my life, I also started taking an online course from Yale University on The Science of Well-Being. The course discusses the science of Psychology and aims to teach us students what practices make humans happy, and also how we can implement them in our own lives. I have a good feeling about this.


Talking about mental health

There have been a couple of deaths at my University recently. One suicide and one drug overdose which might’ve been a suicide. While I did not know the people, the stories had me thinking a lot.

This is the first time I am speaking about this on a public platform under my real name, but having had suicide attempts before, I know what it feels like to not want to live anymore. To just completely give up because that’s a much easier path. After all, there’s no pain and suffering if you die, right? Wrong.

Once someone’s mind is set on suicide, it’s hard to change it. Right now, being in a perfectly normal state of mind, I understand that when I was going through it, my friends were giving me perfectly logical reasons not to. But was I listening to them? Hell no. For me, the world was against me. I was against me. All I cared about was not having to deal with anyone anymore. It’s important though that people realize it’s only through repetition you can deal with it. I’m so very thankful to my buddies who were there for me and are very much the reason I am alive today.

I don’t know what my point of writing this was. I guess I just wanted to say you’re not alone. Whatever reason you may have, trust me, you don’t know the future, it will get better. Just give it time.

To anyone who is going through something and would like to talk, even anonymously, I would like to let you know I would love to get to know you more and just talk to you. You can email me at hhaardik@edu.uwaterloo.ca and we can chat.

I love all of you.

Features image source:Β http://pans.ns.ca/sites/default/files/mental-health-physical-health.jpg

Converting pixel art to a colourable drawing using HTML/CSS and Javascript

It was a friend’s birthday recently and I wanted to make her something special. She had recently gotten really into playing the Pixel Art mobile game where you just color numbered boxes to make a pixel art drawing. I ended up developing a colourable drawing similar toΒ this!

A brief process of how I did it is as follows:

  • Generate Pixel Art using http://pixelartcss.com/ and grab it’s CSS
  • Wrote a barebone HTML document with an empty table
  • Wrote a script to convert the box-shadow parameters to individual table cells with background colors based on box-shadow
  • Using javascript, remove the white color and border I added previously on ‘uncolored’ cells on mousedown over cells

This wasn’t a hard process, but would’ve been a lot of manual labor if I didn’t write the script to do it for me. So I got an idea, why not just write a script to generate the entire website directly from the Pixel Art CSS code.

Aaaaaaand that’s what I did πŸ˜€

Introducing Pixel Art to Drawing πŸ˜€

NOTE: This does not yet work on touchscreens.

On phases

I feel we all can relate to the feeling of having a different life before and after a certain incident. Something which completely changed the direction your life was going in. Be it because of something extremely nice or something extremely tragic, your life changed for the good or worse.

Personal experience, I don’t know how many people go through this as well, but I’ve noticed these phase changes are often associated with changing friend circles or making new friends and getting close to them while distancing yourself from your older friends. While this sounds sort of selfish, is it really? I don’t think anybody does this on purpose, I do strongly believe that you are the average of the 5 people you’re closest to – not necessarily in real life.

Also, each of these phases have their own pros and cons. With enough experience and thought putting, you can figure the pros and cons out and decide whether you want to switch to that phase or not. Life can be a lot simpler if you can think like that because in my opinion it unleashes your potential. If you can look up to someone and be like “I want to be like that person next,” and actually put your time in it to shift to that ‘phase,’ it’s gonna work out.

Recently having gone through a series of unfortunate events followed by me realizing I like this girl I have been talking to recently, it’s been a confusing few weeks. There’s only two ways the latter can go, each defining a different phase for me.

The making of HadYouBought.com


For those of you here who don’t know, I recently made HadYouBought.comΒ – a website where you can check how much money you could’ve earned had you bought $100 of a coin the other day.

The idea for this web-app came to me while I was giving some investment advice to a friend of mine. I had been asking him to purchase some VeChain (VEN) for a while. One day, the coin experienced a gain of over 20% and it was a classic “I told you so” moment for me. However, I realized I’ve been through this so many times before. Multiple times have I suggested my friends or my family to invest in a specific cryptocurrency but they didn’t and eventually it experienced gains in price. This gave me the idea of putting those gains in numbers – because visual representations speak more than words.

In the back of my head I sort of remembered visiting a website which showed you how much your investment in Bitcoin would’ve been today had you bought it on a past date – but upon a couple quick minutes of Google-ing I could not find that – so I decided to make my own.

The first step was to look for a good pricing API which offered historical pricing data for a wide range of coins. Initially, the website used CoinMetrics.io but I switched to CryptoCompare a couple of days later mainly because they have more data and just more coins in their database as well. Plus, with CryptoCompare, I didn’t have to cache the datasets anymore.

After the backbone scripts were done began the hard part. Being a backend software developer, designing good looking websites is always a struggle for me. I wanted to use a lightweight CSS framework which would assist me. I haven’t been a huge fan of Bootstrap recently so I went with MaterializeCSS instead. After a couple hours of struggling with some jQuery, I was able to make a working website.

I wish I had a screenshot of it, but the initial design looked horrible compared to what it looks like at the time of writing. I ended up adding preloader animations, switched the coin dropdown to a modal with buttons, added a FOMO warning label, and made the project open source on GitHub

Finally, I took to Reddit to promote the website. I posted links of the website to subreddits of cryptocurrencies where it’s allowed and within a couple days I stirred up some interest in the website. It has been less than a week I launched it and the website has generated over 5,000 views. I honestly didn’t even expect it to gain this much interest, it was just a tool for me to get my friends into crypto ASAP but hey, it worked πŸ˜€