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AirCTO - My journey back to LaunchYard

25 Nov 2017

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A square peg in a round hole

Unlike most people out there, I was not raised by my parents. I was incredibly lucky to have been raised by my grandparents. Which helped me look at the world with different eyes than most people. To give you a taste of what it feels like, consider left-handed people.

To the people who are left handed, right/left click of a mouse is different from what it usually means. While most people just read a documentation and just accept it, left-handed people see it for what it really is! It’s not really left/right click. It does not have anything to do with the side of the button as much it is about the finger that you are using. It should really be called index/middle finger click. Or more precisely primary/secondary click.

They are able to step outside the system of left/right, realize that is a common mistake and remap it to primary and secondary clicks. In short, while the regular people overlook the mistake, the people who are different notice it naturally. My thought patterns evolved differently (just because of the way that I was brought up by my grandparents and great grandparents) and hence my perspective of the world is wildly different from that of others.


My grandpa is not really a big fan of schools and colleges. He was okay with me not getting good grades - it did not bother him much. But what bothered him the most is the kind of guy that I would grow up to be. He taught me that the purpose of human life is a simple one: to leave the world a better place than that we found it in. He said that it does not matter how small the change is, as long as it is a positive one in the long run. For him, it is important to be kind and compassionate than to be smart and intelligent. He taught me that it’s better to be the head of a Cat than to be the tail of a Lion. These are some of the principles that got me so far in my life. I have tried to stick with them as much as I possibly could.


For the past 3 years, things have been incredible at Appknox. We helped make your digital life safer - whether you realize it or not. If you use some of the banking apps (who are our clients) you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that you won’t lose your money. We helped your bank secure that App for you. We built a product that is far more superior to our competitors. And that is not a subjective statement. It’s an objective one.

What we had built was years ahead of our competitors. We had things like a Device Farm (made up of a bunch of iOS and Android devices) hosted on our premise, that none of our competitors had. We were able to scale our apps to scan and analyze 1.2TB of Apps in less than 24 hours. And I had built the entire product from scratch. Of course, none of it would not be useful without Subho Halder’s (Co-Founder & CTO, Appknox) security skills, but I am just saying that I was capable of making his dream a reality.


I am not a visionary. Neither am I a very smart person. I am just another developer with above average intellect and skill-set. The one thing that my grandpa never taught me is to give up. For what I lack with my intellect, I make it up with passion, hard-work, and determination. I want to leave behind a mark. A mark that people can remember me by. So naturally, I wanted to work with some amazing people. So that I can learn a thing or two from them. But hiring such talent proved to be very difficult.

With our team

That is when I learned that Atif Haider was building AirCTO. I immediately understood the importance of a product like AirCTO. A company is only as good as your team. And it’s really difficult to do two things at same time and be good at it: building an awesome product all in while trying to hire smart people to help you with the same. I believe in Atif’s vision. And I am here to help make it a reality. And I am very excited to take this journey.

Some History

LaunchYard (the parent company of AirCTO) and I had a long association. I joined LaunchYard at the very early stage (2013) when perhaps not many people knew about the company. Atif and I worked on some interesting projects. I really loved the way that Atif got things running. We were building this tool called Delight.

It’s a project management tool for dev-shops. But Atif did not want to build random features. So he assumed the role of what would one day be Delight’s clients. We were a dev-shop ourselves. We were technical-partners for startups. We built Delight to solve our problems. So basically dog-fooding. It also helped us not go looking for Investments as we were always getting paid for the projects we were building.

Later, I had to leave LaunchYard because of some personal reasons. But Atif and I remained in contact. Every now and then we would exchange conversation about tech and personal life. We eventually became family friends and started sharing deep respect and understanding for each other. So Here I am. Back with LaunchYard - and we are building AirCTO. And we hope we can bring about a change in the hiring landscape.


When you think of Indian tech companies, there is only really a handful of tech companies that you can think of who have an awesome tech team and product. You can probably count them with all your fingers. My vision, as a CTO, is for us to be one such company. When people think AirCTO, they should be able to associate us with a fantastic team and product.

I mean, how can we convince others that we can help them hire top tech talent if we are not one ourselves? AirCTO already has pretty awesome guys on board who already are talented and have a good attitude. But I want us to be the elite of the elites. But these are just vague statements. Anyone can say anything. Do you have a plan, you ask? Well, I am glad that you asked. We will start with this one: Coding Interview University.

Starting from next month, we plan on having weekly meetups/workshop planned to go through the Repo top to bottom. I have a bunch of books that are must-read for any Programmer. We will have sessions to discuss that. I will talk more about this in subsequent engineering blog posts. As for the product, when you have one of the best teams on the planet, you will eventually end up building one of the best products on the planet. I want us to follow the best practices. Will try improving the architecture of the product to be able to better handle traffic and scale with least amount of problems. But be sure to stay tuned to our engineering channel. We will write more about these stories there as we progress through our goals.

Oh. That’s me! :)


Like the great philosopher Noam Chomsky once said:

If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.

PS: All letters of the name, "dhilipsiva", are lowercased. This is NOT a typo. I prefer my name lowercased.

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