Forced to drop out of school, teen turns tech genius
This is one more of those brilliant whiz kid stories. Pulkit Madan is an 18 year old Grade 12 student based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh who has launched Coffee.io. Coffee.io is a collaboration tool for developers; in layman terms, Google Docs for Coders. Pulkit started coding himself back in the 8th grade and has an interesting story that led to the inception of Coffee.io.
Back in 9th grade, Pulkit suffered from an ailment due to which he had to take a lot of holidays from school. As per standard procedures, he applied for leaves because doctors couldn’t find the reason behind his ailment (serious skin allergy) and he couldn’t attend school. Then came standard 10th board exams and the principal rejected his form due to excessive holidays. On the other hand, the vice-principal informed him that the board authorities were fine by it and he would be allowed to sit. But politics kicked in and due to some reason, he wasn’t allowed to take his exams.
This forced him to take up NIOS (National Institute of open schooling) and this turned out to be fortunate in a way because he had a lot of time at his hand and this when the coding and designing bug bit him.
Coffee.io is a real time collaboration tool for developers. “We help a group of developers work together without any hassle of setting up things on their local machine and exchanging files again and again. Suppose, I am working on a project with two other developers and we have to work on a same file. In that case , normally only one developer starts the work and when he is finished he has to send the file to the other developer who will then make sure to set everything on his local machine and continue working on the project. But sometimes the second developer faces problems with the coding done by the first developer and then they have to start again with the same thing. To solve this problem , what coffee.io does is let the first developer start the project and then other developers can join the project in the same time and work together,” explains Pulkit.
Coffee.io provide them with a real time code-editor which shows each developer where exactly the other developer is working in the project , an online terminal and ability to create MYSQL or MongoDB databases with just a click so that they don’t have to set things again and again. “As we don’t want to force the developer’s to host their project on our platform , they can actually download the whole project in zip format with a click of a button and then they can host it anywhere they want,” adds Pulkit.
Coffee.io currently supports 75 programming languages and more will be added soon. The project is funded by his father and partly from his freelancing money that Pulkit earns. As a very matured sign off note Pulkit says, “I would like to mention that age really doesn’t matter. Don’t keep yourself limited because of it or else you will be losing many good things around.”
Read on to know more about Mr Madan and his fabulous journey so far.
1) Tell us something about yourself, your story so far?
My name is Pulkit Madan and I am the Founder of Backit.co – One click website backup solution and Coffee.io – Real time collaboration tool for developers. It all started back when I was in the 8th Standard and joined a sort of class/competition after the school in which they teach you the basics of flash for 2 weeks. At the end of that course we needed to create a flash movie on the topic they assign us to and the best movie was to win the prize. I won, and started getting more interested in multimedia. I landed on photoshop’s tutorials and finally made a shift to coding.
2) How did you get the idea for Coffee.io & Backit.co? What inspired or motivated you to get into coding?
So my first venture was a small hosting company. It soon started to attract people but as the more clients you get the more pressure you have on you to make sure their data and website is always up. And in case of a hardware failure , it really use to become a serious problem to restore each and every client’s data. So what i started that time as a concept was Backit.co ! It was known by a different name and soon i started to get some positive feedbacks regarding the concept. Soon after that i decided to make it a valuable product and started to make it alot better than it was before. As a result , Backit.co was born :)
3) You started your first venture Coffee.io when you were only 18. In your opinion what are the pros and cons of starting up early?
Ok, there seems to be a little mistake in the question. Coffee.io was actually started in Sept 2012. My first venture was a small hosting company trying to make some bucks. To be true , there are a lot of benefits to start early but the major point is that: # You have nothing to lose. This not only help’s you keep getting forward but lets you take risks and innovate. In the cons :-# It can actually divert you from your studies if a balance is not maintained.
4) How is the traction/numbers so far for both startups?
We have got a prompt response for both the startups. I cannot tell you the exact numbers but yes they are not small .
5) What is an average workday like for you?
I general start work late because of working late at nights but everyday in morning i make a goal to sleep early tonight and wake up in morning and start early. Hopefully will complete that goal soon ;)
6) What is your favourite book/movie of all time?
My favorite book so far is the “Start with Why” from Simon Sinek and the favorite movie is “Life of Pi”.
7) Which inspiring personality past/present would you like to have a dinner conversation with? Why?
If i ever get a chance , i will definitely have dinner conversation with Jack Dorsey. He is an awesome entrepreneur with a passion to change things.
8) Who are your mentors? What do you think are the most important things that you have learnt from your mentor?
To be true , my real mentor is my dad. I have seen him working really hard to get us the comfortable life we are living. The most important thing i have learnt from him is that there are no shortcuts in life. To make something successfully , you will need to take risk and work hard.
9) Finally, what is your advice to other young entrepreneurs?
My advice to the other young entrepreneur is to work hard and believe in your product. The day you stop believing in the thing you are working on, it is dead. Indeed death befalls a plan in whom its ideator loses faith.Remember Steve Jobs when he said that one can never connect the dots looking forward, what you can however accomplish is to follow and succeed in your ideas, however inconsequential they may seem at that moment. Never back down.