As an entrepreneur, I love the fact that bootstrapping your idea is now getting easier and cheaper than anytime in human history. Anyone with a good idea and some programming skills can now create services that can rival big companies.
Kalpesh Solanki is a creator and a hacker at heart. He spends most of his time thinking about the future of technology and how to use it to empower people. He was born and raised in India. He graduated from USC with a degree in Computer Science. For 8 years he was working at Caltech on the research project building Earthquake Early Warning System for California. He always wanted to be an entrepreneur so he quit his job in 2011 to work fulltime on building web and mobile apps. He started ResidencyMail.com, a web service for medical students to find them suitable medical residency programs and fellowships. He has also built several iPhone Apps. He is currently fully engaged in building mobile apps for iOS platform.
What are you working on right now?
I recently released a photography app Popmatic and working on improving it. I am also doing consulting work.
Where did the idea for Popmatic come from?
I love Instagram, it has pretty cool filters to make photos look great. But it has limited number of filters and I wanted more. So I set down tinkering on my computer and developed the algorithm to make unlimited filters. My friends really loved the idea, so I made the app.
What does your typical day look like?
My day starts out by checking emails and reading interesting posts on Hacker News. During the coding phase of product development, I do coding all day. When I am not coding, I spend time reading and learning about marketing and new technologies.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I only pick ideas that I enjoy bringing to life. It is very important to enjoy the process. Once I pick the idea, I write down a short paragraph and start visualizing. Visualizing primes your mind to start thinking about implementation. Then, I build the Prototype (or Minimum Viable Product) and improve upon it. Start small and build the momentum.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
There are so many it is hard to pick one. As an entrepreneur, I love the fact that bootstrapping your idea is now getting easier and cheaper than anytime in human history. Anyone with a good idea and some programming skills can now create services that can rival big companies.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My worst job was at a big investment bank on Wall Street. The place lacked creativity and the walls screamed boredom. I was hired as a software developer but my boss gave me tasks related to data entry. I quit that job in 2 months. I learned not to pick money over interesting work.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Learn marketing. As an engineer I ignored marketing most of my life, because it was something that other people did. Since I am a full time entrepreneur now, I realized its huge importance. Its not only a set of tactics to sell more products but also a way to feel empathy towards other human beings and solve their problems.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I don’t consume mainstream news. I am on “news diet” for more than 2 years. This allows my mind to consume better things. You can read more about it on my blog.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I launched the first version of residencymail.com, it was very simple and it was making good sales. In the excitement of it all, I made it complex by adding more features, so the sales went down. I had to reverse back to its simplicity to improve the sales, but in the meantime i lost many customers.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t have any particular business idea in mind but I am fascinated by the idea of simplicity. I think simplicity is a form of commodity. There is a huge demand for it. Just by making your product simple you can increase its value.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Way too many people are doing jobs they don’t like. It’s a terrible waste of their talents and time. I wish everyone could live to their full potential and experience bliss by working on things they love. If we can do that, we as a society can come out of mass-depression and tackle much more difficult problems. We can solve this problem by creating solutions that can eliminate drudgery and allow people to focus on creative tasks.
Tell us a secret.
I can’t park my car in reverse.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is pretty good.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Last night, I was watching Tom and Jerry.
Who is your hero?