Works and Days



Gloopen: Emma Miller, Winter Shadow 2016

This winter, I spent a week working with Arun, Ranjan, two other Reed externs, and one Lafayette extern. Working from 3 continents, 4 time zones, and 5 cities, we met each morning (PT) by video call to try to build a web application through our collected efforts.

Arun and Ranjan are about 6 months into their startup, Gloopen Inc., which is an extremely versatile communication platform. Their guidance helped us simulate a startup experience.

On the first day we thought of our product: a web application that allowed users to comment on and create events on a Google map.  Next we took the idea to the "drawing board” (a.k.a a Gloopad), and fleshed it out with code. This involved programming in HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, and learning how to use MongoDB and Node.js. Our goal was to exemplify what strategies and frameworks real tech companies use to create their products. A big challenge was working under the time constraint imposed by the externship. Building a web application can take months, so we were severely limited by how much we could accomplish. Nonetheless, I feel proud of what we were able to accomplish, and am really glad to have had the opportunity to learn how to design and program collaboratively.

Gloopen, Alec Kosik, Winter Shadow 2016

I spent two weeks of this past winter break engrossed in a shadow like no other.  No, my winter shadow with Gloopen did not involve much shadowing at all in fact.  Instead, founders of Gloopen, Arun Sagar and Ranjan Chaudhuri, challenged us externs to develop our own startup.  More accurately, they asked us to start a startup.  Though there remains much to be done before we can release our project onto a Reed server, it is awesome that we can even speak about doing so—in the sense that we are amazed at what we accomplished in two weeks and terrified what will come of our idea.

Terrified too of the legal quarrels looming over every startup’s head, about which we had several conversations that I found particularly enlightening.  Luckily such quarrels may not be that relevant to our current project but just to have a general idea of things like the patent process, with all of its unspoken requirements (such as hiring someone to write the patent), makes me a little more confident in being able to play the game of startups.

On the technical side, Arun told us about emerging technologies as well as software histories.  Because I began programming after many technologies had been created it is always revealing to hear how and why those technologies were created.  For example, the conglomeration of HTML, CSS, and JS was not made all at once but rather was built upon over time as demands for dynamic webpages were solved with JavaScript (JS) and demands for style were addressed by Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).