A Chat With Srikant of Red Matter Tech

By Anupum Pant


Experiences are precious, and learning from the experiences of others is, I think, a very efficient way of avoiding mistakes and identifying the patterns to success. I treasure them. I view it like, collecting XP (experience points) in a Pokémon game – where the game is your life and the greater XP you manage to collect, the better you do in the game.

A great man’s biography no doubt is one good source of this precious experience. A better way to go about collecting XP is by simply asking the successful person himself – by doing an interview maybe. That is what I did… (an interview once again!)

Red Matter Tech and Dabblr

I had a chat with one of the four masterminds, Srikant Rajasekharuni of, Red Matter Tech. They are the ones who chose themselves (not the traditional office cubicles) and brought in this one of its kind student companion smartphone app, Dabblr. It is creating waves in the student community. If you are a student and you have a smartphone that does not have Dabblr installed in it, you are seriously missing out on something.

It is an app which lets you carry the updates on most important college events, current affairs, open courseware, student deals, campus news,  your time-table, and more, in your pocket all the time. The interface is slick and the app is neatly polished. You’ll get addicted.

[Get it here]

The Chat

Listen to what Srikant shares with us. Pay attention because “Learn and Discover” is what we do at AweSci too.

Me: Tell us about the company.

SR: We are Red Matter Tech, a relatively young product development and marketing firm started by four friends! It’s been almost 9 months all of us quit our jobs, we work out of our own office space and plugged in most of the time.

Me: Dabblr is your first product. It seems to be more than just an app. Can you tell us more about it?

SR: Dabblr prima facie, is a student companion app. If you are a student who’s looking for an application that will provide necessary information about your curricular, co & extra curricular life! Course and aptitude related gyaan. Aggregation of content from various news feeds and event information! You can even check out your college timetable on the application!

Me: Who is the team behind your first product – Dabblr?

SR: The team consists of us, the co-founders. Bhagat handles tech. Shirish product. Rohit handles operations and sales and I handle content and marketing. All of us have prior decent experience in marketing. Shirish and I studied together in MICA, Shirish & Rohit have studied from the same engineering college. 80 % of the current team have experience in the gaming industry too. Avani, Bhagat’s much better half is the coder!

Me: Why did you feel the need for this app?

SR: As we graduated from engineering and moved out of Hyderabad for further studies, we noticed a stark difference in approach towards life from students of different states. It made us realise that education is not the same across the country and we decided to create a platform of equal opportunities and information. And completely free.

Me: What is that one big lesson you learnt while developing your first product? Something which you’d have not learnt, had you not endeavored to create this.

SR: Biggest learning would be the unconditional support that your family and friends extend when you are completely focussed on creating something on your own.

Me: Where on the web and print have you been featured?

SR: We have been on Inc42, The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle so far. All of them have been real kind to us.

Me: People who inspire you, the books you love, websites and blogs you read and your favorite pastimes. Favorite music, specific songs.

SR: Inspirations:  B R Ambedkar, Rajnikanth.
Books I Love: The Foundation Series, Sandman (Graphic Novels)
Websites: Reddit, of course. Business insider. Awesci.

Me: Before you go, share with us an interesting piece of science trivia for the day

SR: Total Eclipses are possible only because the sun and moon appear the same size from earth. That’s possible only because the sun’s diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon – Amazingly, if you think coincidences don’t happen, the sun is also about 400 times farther away. Mind blowing!

[Dabblr Website] [Facebook Page]

A Chat With Jaan Altosaar From Useful Science

By Anupum Pant

Today is a special day on Awesci because I’m publishing the first ever interview that has been done especially for the website – A talk with one of the creators of Useful Science, Jaan Altosaar. I hope I keep bringing more of these interesting talks in the future.

Useful Science – Background

Useful Science is a super-hit science website run by a team of grad students from some of the world’s top universities like MIT, McGill, UCSB, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins. The website does exactly what its name says – Publishes practically useful science research summaries (every of them is cited) that can be understood by anyone in 5 seconds or less – a marvelous concept, I must say.

Make sure you finish reading our talk because in the end Jaan shares a great piece of information, without which and article on AweSci wouldn’t be labeled as complete.

A: When did you start Useful Science? Could you share with us what goes behind the scenes at Useful Science?

J: We launched on January 15th, 2014. We use Trello to coordinate our team and review process, and many of us use RSS feed readers to stay on top of the latest research (e.g. we subscribe to research journals, EurekAlerts, and blog feeds). The backend (designed and run by Cameron Spencer at lab43.com) is built on Drupal. We use Google Analytics for tracking stats, Hootsuite for managing our social media profiles, and Mailchimp for our email list (subscribe here!).

A: How did all of you guys meet?

J: Most of us are connected through McGill (our alma mater) and more specifically, we lived together in Douglas Hall in first year! I reached out to the rest of the contributors after meeting them at graduate school open houses.

A: Where else on the web do the team members write?

J: A few of us have personal websites; they’re listed on Useful Science’s about page.

A: What advice will you give to the thousands of Indians who apply to graduate school every year?

J: I found the process time-consuming but worth it, and tried to organize my thoughts into a resource in the form of a blog post (focused on graduate school).

A: Why did you feel the need to start Useful Science?

J: We felt there was a gap in science communication. The question was: what would a website look like if every sentence on it was cited?

A: Judging from your backgrounds, you people just love science too much and do it for the joy of it, but do you ever wish to make money out of useful science?

 J: We’d wish to make only enough to make the website sustainable. We are non-profit and any funds we receive through donations go directly to upkeep of the website (e.g. server costs and new features).

A: What revenue sources do you have in mind?

J: We’re hoping to integrate with Shirts.io so that anyone can order any of the one sentence summaries on a t-shirt.

A: I’ve read about you on Lifehacker, where else on the web, have you been featured?

J: We’ve been lucky to have been featured in BoingBoing, the McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal’s blog, BetaKit, McGill’s Office for Science and Society blog, ITworld, the McGill Reporter, and Computerworld.

A: Before you go, could you share with us an interesting piece of science trivia for the day from any of your favorite areas?

J: One of my favorite areas of research focuses on the importance of mindset. Specifically, believing that intelligence is malleable and not fixed (i.e. it can be improved with practice) has been shown to improve grades. It’s great motivation for overcoming failure and pursuing deliberate practice.

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