[Techie Tuesdays] Amar Prabhu - The techie without a profile picture

16th Oct 2013
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Amar interacting with Jimmy Wales at Wiki Conference
Amar interacting with Jimmy Wales at Wiki Conference

Well if you've been on Quora for over a year, and don't know who Amar Prabhu is, then sorry, you are not an active user of Quora. I met Amar at the first Quora Bangalore Meetup and he was already well known in the community by then. Amar has worked on various projects including designing games, extracting bio diesel from plants, programming embedded systems, building robots, GPS guidance systems, had an unsuccessful startup in medical electronics, built predictive supply chain models for some of the top retail stores in the world.

Being a programming hyperglot, Amar always emphasizes on "build to learn" principle and prefers to stay away from tutorials. As with many Techie Tuesdays, Amar also is not a CS grad but an engineer who started with learning mechanical engineering and moved to electronics.

Early life

Amar's first introduction with coding was not when he got a computer at home, nor was it that he wanted to learn computers. It was when Amar's dad wanted to learn computers and he took Amar and his mom along, to the computer centre, and the entire family learnt to code then. The relationship with the blue screen of Turbo C had begun.

Amar owes his current geekiness to his librarian in school Shivram .T, who lent him some great books to read and introduced him to the works of John Gribbin which would became the foundation for his everlasting curiosity. It was after his 10th grade Amar faced the dilemma about his future. Though he was good in biology, the idea that somebody might get killed because of his mistake scared him enough not to become a doctor.

College and quiz

Amar joined mechanical engineering but had to leave the college after a few months, and he joined another college and pursued electronics engineering. As he had already developed great reading habits, quizzes were a no-brainer for him and thus used to participate in a lot of quizzes nationally and internationally, winning most of them. We used to earn around 50K in a semester in prize money, it was a lot of fun, says Amar candidly. During this period, Amar wrote a lot of research papers as well, which were presented in various conferences both nationally and internationally.

It was during college they came across game development as part for an annual international game development competition known as "Dare to be Digital" as a part of which they had to design a game. So they learnt software like Maya and 3DS max and started coding on it.

Starting up

The intersection of software, electronics and mechanics has always been a big fascination for Amar, which led him to learn robotics and started designing robots. He started designing them during the course of which he designed symmetrical robots, self learning robots and missile guided systems using geolocation and GPS; and that finally led him to starting up GreySense (Amalgamation of Grey Matter and Sixth Sense). It was a startup which built medical electronics devices that transmits patient vitals over WiFi to the doctor. The startup didn't work out but essential lessons were learnt in the process.

Post this, Amar took up a job with Collabera and worked on predictive supply chain models for their clients among other things. Amar credits a lot of his learnings to the open environment at Collabera.

Quora and second innings in starting up

The idea for his second startup was born at the first Quora Meetup in Bangalore which was finally happening after over 3 months of deliberation and planning, most of the people who dropped in at the Meetup were there to see who Amar Prabhu was (This is the only picture of him online so far, which was also not uploaded by him and he does not use facebook as well). At this Quora Meetup Amar met Rajan Chandi and both of them went on to start Classmint. Classmint is a blazingly fast online note taking application which uses the concept of Cornell notes for better learning. And yes it is catching up a lot of investor interest apart from people using it from across the world. Give it a try here.

Talking about his future plans, Amar wants to get Classmint to the next level and again become active on Quora.

While you find him Quora, we wish Amar a great future in his endeavors.

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