An interview with Yagnesh Shah : 1 year @ Moolya

The same day we interviewed Manju, we also interviewed Yagnesh. Dhanasekar (a.k.a DS) came to me and said, “We should hire this guy, he is cool”. So, I decided to speak to him. He didn’t seem to be nervous at all.  If we had not hired him that day, this chap would have walked home as happy as he did when we hired him. That tells a lot about how cool he is. We need cool people but we also need much more than coolness. Did Yagnesh have what it needed to be a Moolyavan?

He almost got himself fired before he got himself hired :). When speaking about salary, he mentioned, “The salary you are offering would be as much as my current my pocket money” and I was taken aback. I started to wonder if he is quite rich that no matter what we pay him, he would always feel it is small. While I tried to speak with him, I found confidence and calmness in decision making.

I explained to him that we are a garage startup and he should not be expecting a hifi facility as what Infosys or Wipro would have. He said he was interested at joining us and I could not believe it. I thought let me put the test on him. I offered him the same salary as he thought would be the pocket expenses. I was wondering if this chap would run away after a month thinking there is way too much of work (and learning) to do to earn pocket money. I revised his pocket, later. Last year, we were paying him lesser than what a part-timer would be paid in McDonalds. As a matter of fact, he brought in the comparison with McDonalds part-time salary versus Moolya full-time salary 🙂

The guy whom I thought would runaway has stayed on to be a Moolyan that the entire Moolya celebrates today. Yagnesh brings in lots of positive energy into Moolya. He has made everyone smile and laugh out loud. He is not a jester but allows people to be a jester around him. If you crack a joke on him, he would laugh out loud as though you cracked a joke on somebody else. Speaking from experience, I have reminded him at times that the joke was about him and he would laugh for that as well.

So, this fella is more than what you would imagine him to be. He is a fast-paced learner, an extrovert, a chocolate lover, an ethical thief (who steals chocolates and sweets), cooks only curry at home and depends on others to bring bread, someone whom you can go to for help, passionate tester, blogger, loves mentoring people, a most patient listener, excellent communicator, a great friend and makes you feel comfortable around him.

This guy didn’t just stick to testing in Moolya. Being a startup, there is always work that is not testing as well, at times. Yagnesh volunteered for quite a number of things. We don’t have a purchase department so when we needed a Mac Mini for a project urgently and was not available in Bangalore, Yagnesh and Sunil went to Chennai to get one. Yagnesh also helped us a great deal in E-sparks conference stall setup, marketing and other stuff. While he did all this, he also picked up great stuff with testing and did not compromise one bit. I am amazed how he did this.

He has several nick names. Yash, Yagnesh, Yagnesh Bhai, Jignesh, Jiggy, Shah, Shahji, Yagnesh Harshadbhai,  and what not. He is responsible for a trend in Moolya to say, “Whaaaaaaaat Sirrrrrrrrrrrr?”. Only Moolyavans know what it means and why we all say it, almost every day, to each other. Whenever we say “Whaaaaaat Sirrrrrrrr?”, there is happiness and more people than the two in the conversation smiling. I consider him to be highly influential and can potentially grow to be an influential person in the testing community. He is pursuing his Masters in Computers while working in Moolya. He is also pursuing the Master of Pranks in Moolya and also helps in organizing birthday parties and out of office events. He organized our first company wide movie and bowling outing and he ended up making all of us miss the important 15 minutes of Ice Age 4. DS and I are pissed off with him for it 🙂 . Speaking of movies, he is the one stop solution to all movies you may want to watch. He has a great collection of movies and loves to watch movies first day first show, no maybe the evening show.

Work wise, he works with Sunil and Vipin. More recently with Mani and Kushal. He self taught Selenium and Sahi. He does it good enough. To the extent that he was able to mentor a new joiner who then in turn did valuable things for another project we were working on. The project that Yash is working on right now started in November 2011 and the customer from United States is so happy with the work we as a company have produced so far that our contracts are extended till 2013. A great reason why it happened is also because of Yagnesh and the confidence he gave our customers about Moolya. He has delivered great value so far working on multiple sub projects for our customer and many a times individually handling things.

Yagnesh’s role in Moolya is more than just a tester on the project. I personally see him as someone who helps in retaining a fun culture within the company. He makes people speak to each other and spreads happiness. To such a great guy, there is one trouble he has in office – that’s me. Testers like Yagnesh can re-define the world. They need to be pushed at times, I play that role. To balance out things, Yash reaches out to Sunil, another cool guy of Moolya. I know you would be eagerly looking forward to hear what Yash has to say and here it goes:

PS: Yagnesh, describe to us how has the journey for you with Moolya has been so far?

So far I have seen many unusual things happening in Moolya. This is a place were crazy stuff happens, be it in work or fun. I have observed people getting crazy ideas & implementing the same & I like it J. I believe this is the most happening & lively place for passionate testers.

PS: When you joined us we were in a garage and what were your first impressions visiting the garage office? How much did you like working in a garage setup?

Hmm, I got a lot of help from Pari to find the office – Google Map, Descriptive directions of route in the welcome mail, Telephonic help. Even then I went to the wrong lane while finding the office J

The office is surrounded by different garages & as far as my memory goes, I felt little different while entering the office. But, the way Pari gave me the tour of Office, International coffee maker, Conference room was ZZZuper & I was happy with the kind of welcome I received.

I will always miss working in that garage office. Describing the International coffee maker, conference room to new joinees after me. Those late night work & songs with Sunil/Santhosh, the way we used to get mad by singing songs loudly once everyone left 😉 Our official lunch place Aditya. My 1-on-1 with PS at Tea stalls. Making arrangements for E-sparks conference, Interview drive in hotel. Buying Mac Mini from Chennai. The Guhantara resort trip & every other little bit moments of the garage… The list goes on…

We all call the old office as garage place in fun, but I will remember that as a place where seeds are sprouted for passionate testers to make a change in the world & is known as Moolya.

PS: Testing your memory: Do you still remember how your first day in Moolya was? If yes, tell us how did that day go?

Yes, my memory could be blurred but I do remember. My first task was to read Moolya website, reading blogs, & get familiar with the kind of work Moolavans does for adding value to customers. Apart from working a “little bit” on the first day I had a lot of fun moments & the credit for that goes to Pari as she has the power of making anyone comfortable in new environment. Sunil was a quite person when we met but as time passed we have a lot of fun memories. J

Moolya has its way of welcoming new joinees & that is wonderful. Got few goodies like Moolya Mug, T-shirt, Chocolates, & beautiful flower bouquet J Got a brand new Sony VAIO lappy for work. Morning session was full of fun & then a sweet Lunch treat from the company. I do remember what PS said to me & Manju at the EOD when we were working beyond 6 PM- “Its 6 PM!! you should go home & have fun instead of working on your first day” (Pardon me PS, for weak memory on not recalling exact words J )

PS: You joined us fresh out of college and today you are a role model for many freshers joining us, how did you do that?

Moolya has provided me a great platform for learning. I was always encouraged for learning new stuffs/technology from everyone. Pari & Sunil has supported me for presenting what I learn in front of everyone. Santhosh, Mr. Hacker of Moolya, has forced Me to cross my thinking limit for creating test ideas & of-course gave me a bad habit of writing Blog & Tweeting 🙂

I have always liked learning new technologies & observing the way Moolyavans work has aided me to great extents. I also have a side passion of teaching things to everyone which I inherited from my dear Mom & has helped me a lot while presenting sessions @Moolya.

PS: Tell us about your nice and not so nice experiences with people in Moolya.

I have a lot of nice experiences with Moolyavans, having fun with them, Karaoke events, organizing for team outings, workshops, bangalore testers monthly meets, late night works, night-out in office with friends, pizzas, ammi’s biryani, support from everyone to make me part of Moolya family. Oops!! how can I forget Nakshatra parties which could be replaced sometimes by Terrace parties 🙂

Now comes the turn for “not so nice” experience with Moolyavans. The 1-on-1 meetings with PS @Tea stalls are little awkward. I do have fun with him at such meetings but at the same time I always feel nervous for some reason. I have got some harsh words from him sometimes, but in the end if I think now it was always for my good & has made me push my limits. Well this is no more my secret now 🙁

Note from PS: Dude, lets meet in the tea stall and I want to talk to you about what should be publicly stated and what should not 🙂 )

PS: If you were to describe the skills you picked in the last one year, what would it be?

Hmm, following would be the hi-lights of the skills I picked up in last one year:

  • Technical:
    • Web testing
    • Web Services
    • Java Scripting, PHP
    • Browser Add-ons
    • Usability/Accessibility
    • Little bit of Security testing
    • Automation – Sahi, Selenium Web driver
    • Setting up/troubleshooting local environments using git
    • Little bit of Release engineering process
  • Non-Technical:
    • Blogging, Tweeting
    • Polishing my presentation skills
    • Creating Test Plan, Ideas, Reporting
    • Observation skills
    • Interacting with clients
    • Asking questions
    • Little bit of Networking with people
    • Accepting critics as part of life when we put forward our ideas
    • Not much of reading books activities but I would like to mention that “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is one of the best novel I read in my life.
    • Having Fun with work 🙂

PS: You set a trend in Moolya of saying “Whaaaaatt _Person_Name_”. How do you feel about it?

If something I do makes people happy & enjoy the moment then I feel great of having such feelings J

PS: Being critical, what do you think Moolya is doing to its employees to help them be successful?

There are countless efforts made by Moolya to help their employees(co-owners J ) become successful & few of them are:

  • Learning environment
  • Friendly work platform
  • Encouraging & supporting to explore what we are interested in
  • Networking with Testers around the world – Twitter, Facebook, Bangalore Testers Monthly Meet
  • Blogging
  • Pushing Moolyavans to new limits
  • Bug Bashes, Testing challenges, Puzzles
  • Supporting Moolyavans to attend Workshops, Conferences, Testing events like Zappers Meetup, Weekend Testing, Bug.De.Bug, E-Sparks, etc
  • Testing Discussion/Debates
  • Crafting test ideas, reporting
  • Work packed with fun-tastic events

PS: You mentored a fresher and he did great on the project he worked. How did you feel when he got the appreciation? What kind of responsibility does that add to you?

When someone does even a small bit of good when I mentor them, that gives me a smile on my face. I feel like he will be able to pass on what I started & learned from my mentors or friends.

This also gives me the responsibility of my own continuous learning progress, so I can do better & better each time I mentor freshers. Freshers will always surpass their mentors in some way, these gives me challenge to keep up with them as well 🙂

PS: Tell us some funny moments at Moolya you remember over the last one year?

The top funny moments @Moolya I can think of now are:

  • Trend created by Me of saying “Whaaat_Person_Name”
  • “Little Bit” dialogue from Mampi
  • Yet another famous dialogue from Kushal “Sab Apna Apna Karo” J
  • Fun memories with Sunil of saying dialogue “Dard ko Samjho” – is a dialogue we picked up from movie “Rockstar”
  • Having family moments when Pari gets sweets/cookies for everyone @Moolya
  • Rocking with Santhosh
  • Sometimes debating with Vipinbhai 😉
  • Biking with Abhi & searching for dinner at 3AM mid night
  • Few moments when we used to make fun of “Steve Jobs” whenever we found any difficulties in operating Mac OS
  • Taking “Group photos” everywhere
  • Terrace Party
  • Bug Bash followed by Karaoke songs event

And the list goes on……

PS: You started blogging after joining Moolya? Tell us how did you get into the trap of blogging and your journey :P?

The culprit for trapping me into blogging is none other than Mr. Rockstar of Moolya, Santhosh Tuppad.

The first two comments for my first post comes from Dhanasekar & Santhosh at around 5:30 AM in the morning. Me being a lazy person to wake up early morning, I was kind of surprised that this Moolyavans are reading blogs at so early morning.

Blogging has improved my observation, writing skills. Helped me share my ideas & connecting with people. Blogging has given me recognition among few Testers. Although, I am not consistent in this activity as of now J I will try to do my best from today to share my experience with everyone.

PS: Whom do you want to thank and for what over the last one year journey?

My first Thanks will go to Sunil for being there with me in work & becoming my best enemy J And my second thanks goes to every Moolyavan for supporting & making a better part of me + having fun together as a family.

PS: What are your accomplishments over the last one year?

Few of my accomplishments would be:

  • The short list of skills I picked as mentioned above
  • Blogging & sharing my experience
  • Mentored few Fresher’s
  • Presenting talks/sessions within Moolya

PS: What is your advice to Moolya? What is your advice to those who recently joined or going to be joining?

“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person” ~ Paul Shane Spear

If everyone of us are able to change the testing world of one person, & that person in turn changes the world for another, then there will be a ripple effect in the ocean of testers to make an impact by the way we test.

I would love it, if every new joinee reads the novel “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” in case he has not already come across this novel. I will also add the following quote from the same:

“”You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.””

PS: What do you want to achieve by your 2nd year completion?

  • Getting a recognition from the good Testers world wide
  • Would like to make effort to help college fresher’s understand the art of testing with a different approach from traditional University syllabus books
  • Become another Mr. Hacker of Moolya
  • Improve my mentoring skills
  • Create a team for blended Automation testers in Moolya
  • Organizing large-scale testing bug bashes/events, taking public seminars
  •  Learning better testing – this is a life long journey for me J

_end of interview_

I would like to think that every company needs a Yagnesh. Am glad Moolya found one in the name of Yagnesh itself. It is people like Yagnesh who make me believe that Moolya is nurturing a greater leadership for its own future. I am confident that when Yagnesh grows up to my current age, he would be a much better leader than me and hence more useful to the community of software testing.

We love you Yagnesh. There can be more than one Mr Rockstar in every organization and you are definitely one of them. You have had a great start and I wish you a great time ahead.

Now, come, lets go to the tea stall, I want to discuss a few things with you. 😛

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