Prateek Jetly was in the 8th grade, playing games in an Indian army computer lab when the commanding officer walked in and put an end to it, saying that computers weren’t meant for games. So he came up with a solution that would shape his life for decades to come.
“That’s when the geek in me decided to learn how to program games, assuming they would have to let me test the games I programmed, right?” he recalls. “As it turned out, the programming was more interesting than the games I was playing or building — and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Jetly is a software engineer, photographer and Expedia veteran with a Masters degree in computer science from Texas A&M. (Yes, he says, he can handle Aggie jokes.) A resident of Sammamish, Wash., he has transformed himself into an entrepreneur as the founder of CoupConnect (as in, coupon connect) which aims to make it easier to track and, ultimately, trade vouchers from a variety of deals sites and services.
Meet our new Geek of the Week, and continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
What do you do, and why do you do it? I was at Expedia when I saw that my coworkers were trying to sell their groupons/livingsocial etc which were about to expire (especially when they weren’t going to be able to use them). This was happening pretty often. I had let a number of them expire, as well, and had finally stopped buying them. This led me to believe that there was a need for a secondary market and there was management problem with buying lots of these deals from various places. And so enter CoupConnect.
Here’s what we do currently:
- Provide a single app/website to store your Groupon/Livingsocial and Bloomspot deals (with more coming)
- We send you reminders 3 weeks before to use them
- You never have to leave our app to get directions/call the merchant and to redeem your vouchers.
What we’re working on right now is an integrated secondary marketplace, and a few other things that will bring some excitement back to the deals space.
Where do you find your inspiration? Curiosity and laziness and being able to have fun. It irritates me when I have to take multiple steps to do something that could be done more easily, or if I have to use scarce brain capacity to do things technology is good at. I spend a lot of time learning new things to figure out the best way to do something. As technologists, we should do the hard work so our customers don’t have to. And if it’s going to be fun, I’m in.
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? The Internet. Can you imagine how you would find your way around, find a restaurant, get help with solving problems, figure out how things work … the list is endless. There is so much talk about the time people waste on the internet, it’s probably because the internet has given them this time back by making it easy to do all the other things.
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? I work from my study at my house. I have a 27″ WideGamut monitor. Although I have a MacBook, I really like desktops — the no-compromise aspect of them. So I have two desktops in my study both running Windows. I have access to great chai and food, home-cooked at that, since I cook.
And yes, being a startup I sometimes work from cafes, largely on the Eastside. While I’m there I usually evaluate their internet speeds to decide about repeat visits.
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) If you work from home, set up a routine to get you going everyday. I get dressed and ready for work every morning to get myself kickstarted for the day.
Get some downtime. Allow some background processing to find the “eureka” solutions.
Mac, Windows or Linux? Mac. Are you allowed to have a startup without a Mac? Just kidding — I’m comfortable using any of them.
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Kirk. I saw Star Trek growing up in India on Sundays. Captain Kirk ruled.
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Time Machine. My curiosity can only be satisfied by the time machine and if I went far enough in the future, the other two would be commodities.
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … Build my team and accelerate our disruption of the deals world.
I once waited in line for … An iPhone for my wife. Now if only there was Waze for retail lines :-).
Your role models: Bill Gates. Build something great and then go do something great for others. I think he’s set a great path for what to do with success.
Greatest Game in History Ultimate Frisbee. I like it outdoors. But otherwise Testdrive since that got me started with computers.
Best Gadget Ever: 3D Printer.
First Computer: AT 386 SX with Windows 3.0
Current Phone: iPhone 4S
Favorite App: Waze and Inrix. I hate getting stuck in traffic.
Favorite Cause: Fix 3rd world corruption.
Most important technology of 2013: Tesla Battery Swap
Most important technology of 2015: Self driving cars.
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: Dont be scared, take a chance to change the world. In the worst case you will learn something, that’s what we love anyways. And there is a huge community out these to help you.
LinkedIn: Prateek Jetly
App Store: CoupConnect