Year in Review — 2018

Yan Chummar
Nov 10, 2019 · 6 min read

As a continuation of my Year in Review series, this is me writing about all the highlights that have taken place in my life in 2018.

To newer opportunities and quality.

I’ll say 2018 has been a year of progress, adding more maturity to the things I’ve been doing. I was transcending from 14 to 15 years during 2018.

FlipTable

I started 2018 by being on building a product around table reservation. The idea was to create an app for restaurant table reservation which would ideally operate in Kerala, having less to no similars in Kerala. I was pretty invested in the idea and worked on it for about 2 months or less, and had got an impressive app built and completed which was ready to be live given restaurants were on board.

I always cared a big deal about design so this is how the app looked like 👇

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But… due to some odd but trivial reasons, there was a change of plans and ended up open-sourcing the entire project.

That is all the code from the design, backend, server-side code and even the code for the restaurant’s app is openly available for anyone’s use. You’ll find it here.

After not being able to launch FlipTable I was extremely disappointed, to give a fair idea of how much — I had multiple business models devised, I had set up a clear product roadmap with timelines and had vague estimates of the financial timelines and even to an extent had plans for a phase 2 product features — in short a little too much of preparation.

But… now when I look back I would’ve regretted it if I hadn’t open-sourced it, because open-sourcing the project had just opened a bigger door for me.

My first ever Internship

I had met this amazing person Malaikannan at a hackathon in Kochi in 2017 (of which I’ve written here), he was the host at the hackathon and is now the VP of AI Research at Saama Technologies. We have been friends on facebook ever since the hackathon. In March 2018 I had made a Facebook post about the open-sourcing FlipTable, to my ultimate luck Malai saw the post and invited me for an internship at Saama as a part of his R&D team. I was blown off, crazy blown off tbh. In 2019 when I’m writing this I can clearly say it was more than just an internship.

There is a crazy lot to write about the internship that it could be a whole another blog post. But to keep things short here, it was my first ever actual internship/work that I was rendering for another company, my first-ever contract, my first ever stipend. All at the age of 14 was pretty crazy to believe for me considering how I started everything a few years ago just for the happiness of building stuff. After almost 3–4 years of building websites and apps, I had a sense of accomplishment when I made my first ever hard-earned dollar, this meant a lot to me particularly because of the financial trouble I had when I was starting

A lot more to the story actually, but to sum up the internship. I got to work with some of the brightest and most brilliant people I’ve ever met as a part of Malai’s team, that year I was mainly in-charge building an android app. But more than the internship, Malai has been a key person in my life, in not just supporting but also by taking time out of his busy schedule to guide me and give me the right advice and often time his decisions have given me huge learnings and insights. In an attempt to not make it cliche or anything I’ll jump to the next topic. But overall the internship had and has a big role to play. (more in next year’s review 😉)

Lamina

After my learning at the internship at Saama, I had to work on the next thing and then it turned out to be Lamina craved out of my bias towards building a SaaS around Machine Learning. Even though I knew I wasn’t addressing a major problem, I wanted to try out building something that I didn’t particularly expertise in and made it from idea to product in 2 months or less. This time, it was damn exciting trying to figure out payment services offering recurring billings in India for individuals, ended up using PayPal. But not the point, I enjoyed building the Deep Learning models, building that custom REST service, putting together that website and dashboard. It was a lovable journey of product building.

And I launched it on ProductHunt. I called it “AI as an API”, got a lot of positive feedback and people loved the idea but didn’t potentially find an actual use case. It was among the top 10 on ProductHunt that day, I’m not sure of the exact position but people liked it (got over 400 upvotes). And I had fun building it.

And the most surprising element that I got out of the launch was two people offering to fund an amount from $10k-20k for scaling Lamina, though I can’t confirm on the authenticity of the offer. I turned it down, after seeking advice from the people in my network and my mentors. And no regrets on that.

Lamina even from the day of inception inclined more to being a learning-project than a fully-dwelled-into product. Not having acquired any customers along a couple of months lead me to turn down the servers and Lamina is no longer functional. But stays close to me. Oh, and Lamina got featured on an online maker news website.

Oh and of course…

My daily life went on to be the same old school days with me working on all my free hours to building projects and products and learning new things.

While still participating in the events, networking, growing myself as a person and in terms of network and skills. Even in 2018, I was taking talks and sessions at colleges, companies and events. I even got to inaugurate an initiative at UST Global, these are all such dear-to-heart memories.

Summing up

I’ve fortunately had the privilege to try and do things differently at a young age mainly due to contributions from people like Malai, Shibin and a lot more. And with great respect, I’m ever grateful to everyone who has helped me along the journey. And certainly grateful to my Mom and Dad who let me be experimental with things and has undoubtedly trusted me on my adventures.

For the love of working! ❤️

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