Introducing “EK Scoops”

Zahir Koradia

Z… says!

With three people working full time at EncycloKidia we have taken the first steps towards building an organization. This is a good time to start on my new pet project EK Scoops.

With EK Scoops I hope to bring to you stories about how we work, deal with challenges, and take our decisions. EK Scoops will let you, our customer, know us better and help other startups following the same path avoid the mistakes we made and learnt from.

Today, I start with a techie’s (my) experiences of entering the parent world. I call it world because it is indeed a different world! In the past three months I have read more about potty training and breast feeding than about AngularJS (technology used to build websites). I have discussed more about choosing between two nurseries for a kid than about choosing between Elasticsearch and Solr (software that builds search engines). Having no kids of my own (yet), EncycloKidia has exposed me to a dimension I’d never considered before. I still remember cringing at the idea of a parent smelling the back side of his/her kid at a dinning table, which I now understand is very common when you have kids in diapers. Why am I keen to learn everything about parenthood? Because a techie needs to understand his/her users, and boy has this been an entertaining ride for me.

Through the myriad posts I have read on parenting groups and the discussions I’ve had with Shefali, a mother of a 2-year old herself, I have come to an immensely sobering realization. EncycloKidia serves parents and providers of children’s services. The decisions parents make using EncycloKidia impact the lives of their precious little ones. That puts a huge responsibility on our shoulders. As a software craftsman I am often required to think about how the user will use the software. But before EncycloKidia I have never had to worry about how the software impacts the personal life of the user.

So how does this responsibility translate into our business?

  • Firstly, EncycloKidia needs to be extremely quick and easy to use. In addition, it needs to be supportive of parents facing a variety of constraints. Like a super sophisticated Siri that listens to a parent’s needs and then guides him/her through the best choices available.
  • Secondly, accuracy of reviews, ratings and information becomes so much more critical for EncycloKidia. In September 2014, a California court declared that Yelp may adjust ratings for commercial gain. We could never allow that. The selection of a nursery or math tutor using outdated information or “adjusted” ratings can be disastrous!
  • Finally, service providers need to be recognised not as vendors but as partners equally interested in our children’s welfare. We all want the best for the kids and a collaborative platform serves the purpose much better. EncycloKidia’s review system needs to enable conversations between parents and service providers, where parents can talk openly about what they liked and disliked about a service and providers can engage the parents to improve their services.

While these sound simple in theory, I know it will take months of work on the drawing board to build a platform that will do this just right. And even then, we may fail.

Everyone working at EncycloKidia, whether a parent or not, puts in a constant effort to understand parenting challenges and puts children’s welfare at the forefront of decision-making. As the technology lead at EncycloKidia, I hope to build my team that is emphatic about this in addition to being smart and skilled. It isn’t always easy to find such people. So I have chosen to build a distributed technology team removing geographical barriers, making it easier for great people, with the right ethics to work together. If you want to be a part of this team, feel free to get in touch.

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