Happy Falconversary, Chennai

Here are a few thoughts on one whole amazing year since the Falcon.io acquisition of Unmetric last October!

Personally, I’ve been doing some of the most significant work of my career over the last couple of months. I’m not allowed to disclose details but I’ve had to really stretch myself and learn so much from everyone around me. Engineers, designers, product managers — everyone here’s at another level. In particular, I’ve become so much better at design discovery, which has never been my strong suit. I’ve also had to unlearn a lot — mainly misconceptions about building products and design’s role therein — which I’m immensely grateful for.

The unbelievable part is that all of this has happened in the midst of a global pandemic with everyone working from home. I’ve realised how tools like Zoom, Miro and Figma have nearly eliminated geographic distances and perceived timezone differences to the point where it feels like we’re almost in the same physical office space shipping world-class pixels and code, sprint after sprint.

One of the things the Falcon.io team has proved to be really strong with is process. I’m in constant awe of how there’s processes, tools and documentation for every single thing an employee could possibly need help with … it’s crazy.

Culture is another thing to boast about. Every Falconeer is super helpful, and goes out of their way to assist other folks. Communication and collaboration are our bulwark. Our Slack channels are constant proof of this — any small achievement by any team is announced and celebrated like we’re all family.

I’m not going to lie — I had a few fears after the acquisition announcement. I was mainly scared about becoming just another faceless cog in the machine” doing 9‑to‑6 in a 300+ person company. But after a year, I can confidently say that every Falconeer in every department is given enough autonomy and enough transparency to realise how even the small things eventually connect to Falcon.io’s larger vision for its product and customers. It’s this sort of feeling that gets me up every morning!

Falcon Chennai

None of this would be possible without my amazing crew currently spread across Europe, so a hat-tip to you all — Justina, Lasse, Jakub, Rob, Veli and Zainab! I have such a rich and diverse team to interact with on a daily basis, and it feels funny to have never met most of you in person due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. But here’s hoping we can finally meet again in 2021. You folks are awesome.

Upward and onward!

Hasgeek Content Web: Getting Started with Web Typography

I was invited by Hasgeek couple of weeks ago to give a short talk on the fundamentals of web typography, as part of their Content Web Saturday Sessions. Hasgeek is the community behind Meta Refresh, JSFoo, The Fifth Elephant, Rootconf and other annual staples in the design and tech scene in India.

The talk lasted about 30 minutes and was followed by audience Q&A, which I thought went well. The session was moderated by Hamsa Ganesh. We covered topics like:

  • Why web typography is a big deal
  • The long winding road to webfont adoption
  • Selecting typefaces for the web
  • Webfont licensing and deployment

This was a first for me, and I really enjoyed the experience! Check out the recording above if you enjoy geeking about web typography as well.

I think Apple Music’s bio of Leeland is the most accurate description of their sound:

… folding the pleading choruses of praise and worship into the sorts of celestial pianos and achingly high harmonies made popular by Coldplay and Muse.

This live version of Way Maker gave me goosebumps for a full 8 minutes.

New worship music for a new generation.

Now Playing

Modern Love

A real gem I stumbled across the other night on Prime Video — Modern Love is a collection of real stories from the column of the same name in the New York Times, which is what piqued my interest.

Vinnie and I finished Season 1 over just a few nights, and I can validate that the 8‑something rating it currently has on IMDb is not hype. The episodes depict love in its various forms — romantic, parental, platonic and filial.

I loved all the episodes, although Ep 2 (“When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist”) — I should really watch more stuff starring Dev Patel — and Ep 1 (“When the Doorman Is Your Main Man”) were outstanding. Ep 8 tied everything together nicely in the end and had us both anxiously waiting for Season 2.

Now Playing

Divinity: Original Sin EE

I was hesitant about trying out another old-school RPG after what happened with Pillars Of Eternity. While I reported a great initial experience, I actually abandoned it after 50 hours mainly because the realtime-with-pause” combat system with a party of 6 became unmanageable. And although my opinion of every other aspect of the game remains dead-on, I just couldn’t get through battles after a point.

Which led to me spending several hours on Reddit and Steam looking for alternatives. Divinity: Original Sin came highly recommended as an RPG inspired by Baldur’s Gate and other classic cRPGs. So I decided to give it a shot.

TL;DR I finished Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition last night after just over 120 hours. I’d give this a solid 4 stars out of 5 and I’m sharing this amazing experience here for anyone else interested in picking up this gem.

My party heading toward The First Garden

First off — combat. D:OS features (what I know now is) tactical turn-based combat. Every character gets a fixed set of Action Points. Roll die. Character with highest initiative begins. Use APs to get said character to move into position or attack. Next character takes a turn: be it from your party or the enemy’s. It’s so simple and it just works! I really cannot understand why every RPG doesn’t work this way.

I cannot pick up a RPG that doesn’t feature a great story and D:OS doesn’t disappoint. While the writing isn’t as good as PoE both in terms of quality and depth, it still is fantastic. Both the main storyline and sidequests feature plots that made me want to engage with the world and interesting characters I wanted to interact with.

The gameplay mechanics are awesome, although inventory management is a little tedious. Also, the way the journal updates itself isn’t always clear as to what the next steps are. There were about 6 to 8 points in the game where I had to seek help from the forums to advance.

Graphics and audio are great, and not very demanding on hardware. A little better than PoE, I think. Phantom Forest and the First Garden were my favourite areas of the entire game. The soundtrack too nicely sets the mood for exploration or combat, depending on what you’re currently engaged in.

Another addictive aspect of D:OS is the loot. I honestly find the prospect of finding an item or weapon better than you currently have equipped too tantalising to resist! It pushed me to explore every inch of the map and open every chest I could find. My favourite weapon of the entire game was easily the Sword Of Holy Flame, which I equipped on my tank early on. Although it is just Level 13, no other mêlée weapon came close even at level 18 or 19. And that special attribute list is pure fire!

What a beast of a two-handed sword this is!

All in all, kudos to Larian Studios — they’ve done an amazing job with this! D:OS really captures the essence of classic RPGs and really makes me reminisce about titles like Septerra Core that made me a fan of the genre in the first place. And from what I’ve read, D:OS 2 is even better. It’s already in my Steam Library, and I can hardly wait!

I think I’ll take a break from the fantasy genre though, and take on something different first. I’m currently eyeing either Wasteland 2 or Shadowrun: Hong Kong, most likely the latter. Got em both on a huge discount during Steam’s summer sale and they’re both similar to D:OS in terms of gameplay and combat.

Good times!

21-day lockdown begins today

Quite a bold move by the Prime Minister, and one that is warranted in a nation with a population of 1.3 billion. Although this is going to be difficult with 3 kids to manage fulltime (now that schools will be shut), I look at what has happened in Italy and Spain so far, and I believe that this is the best decision we as a country could take at this time.

OPL Award

Some good news in the middle of this pandemic — my namesake dotcom got featured on One Page Love this week! Going to get this one framed.

Now Playing

Contagion

The Verge reported that this Steven Soderbergh film from 2011 based on the SARS pandemic is being widely downloaded via torrent these days, so I had to take a look.

I’m guessing it’s mostly out of curiosity — most people are afraid of the unknown and take comfort in knowing what to expect in times of a global disaster or pandemic.

Anyway, I streamed it via Prime Video and it’s worth a watch on account of the ensemble cast and great performances in particular from Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne. It looks at the pandemic from several different points of view — scientists and researchers, world governments, media, healthcare workers and others.

If you’re one, however, who gets paranoid in times like these, I do not recommend you watch this.

Sasha 6yo

Each passing day is a gift

6 years of her infectious smile and laughter.

I got pretty emotional this week thinking about how quickly Sasha’s growing up. As they say, the nights are long but the years are short.

I love how sensitive and smart she is.
How she cares for her two little sisters.
Talented beyond measure. Wise beyond her years.

Every firstborn changes their parents’ lives forever, and Sasha was no different. She’s still teaching us so much about parenthood.

Also this week, a work associate — someone I greatly respect — shared that his eldest son was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. A smart kid and college athlete is now confined to the ICU, unable to move his hands and feet. I can only imagine what parents go through on an emotional level during such times. My heart ached thinking about their family.


It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day that we forget just how short our time here is, what our priorities should be, and what we are eventually destined for. All we can do is make the most of the time we have. Leave this world a little better than you found it.

You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14

Happy birthday darling Sasha. It’s been such a fulfilling experience watching you grow in mind, body and spirit. Know that only God can love you more than we do.

Each passing day is a gift. Carpe diem—there’s no other way to live.

Unmetric gets acquired by Falcon.io, joins Cision group

Our official post regarding the acquisition is now up on the Unmetric Blog.

Now that the embargo on communication has been lifted via our official channels, I’m allowed to finally share my thoughts on last week’s historic milestone.

I feel proud to be part of this product team that has gone from strength to strength since its humble origins in the spare bedroom of Lux’s Chennai apartment in 2010. Unmetric is today one of the leading competitive benchmarking tools, and counts marquee brands like General Motors, Unilever, Pepsi, Oppo, Sony Pictures and others.

I’m personally thrilled as this is my first experience of an acquisition as an employee. Though I came onboard just over a year ago, it feels like I’ve been part of the crew for much longer. Getting acquired by Falcon.io is a big deal, as they themselves have a world-class platform built by 300+ folks spread across 6 cities around the world. Chennai now becomes their base in India and their newest global office.

As an aside, Falcon.io is itself part of Cision, a global comms and PR media company which was recently taken private in a deal worth $2.74B.

All this means that the future is very promising! In fact, I’m just back from our Chennai office where the official announcement was made. After having conversations with key folks from the Falcon team, I realise our teams are so alike in terms of culture, synergy and product expertise.

Just thinking about all the possibilities this opens up for our products and customers has me grinning like a Bond villain.

The best is yet to come!