QuickSchools in Review

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I have been working with QuickSchools for close to 8 years now. The journey has definitely been interesting, as I reflect back on our accomplishments over the years. Here’s what my journey has looked like so far:

Year 1 (2009-2010)

My first day at QuickSchools, we only have a handful of early adopters to our name, and I’m tasked with onboarding these schools. We launch the product in August, and hit the conference trail hard to try and get more customers, all the while looking at the market on what to develop next.

Year 2 (2010-2011)

With the help of our customers, we improve and release new features, like the Student and Parent Portals. We continue to hit the conference trail hard in search of new customers. Around this time, we hone our target market to smaller schools, and my role as Account Manager slowly evolves to Head of Support, which incorporates an element of Product Development (mainly because I spend a lot of time speaking with customers).

Year 3 (2011-2012)

We continue to see growth year-after-year. We open our new office in Sunnyvale CA. We start work on transitioning QuickSchools from Flash to HTML5. And we begin to focus less on conferences and more on online traffic. We transition our website to Weebly, we start split testing, and spend more on online marketing campaigns. We launch our “Teacher of the Year” marketing campaign. More

Thank you 2016

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Despite 2016 being a tough year, there were still quite a few things to be grateful for. After dinner on New Year’s Day, I took the family out to McDonald’s for some dessert. We reflected on the year. Photos on my smart phone were a good source for reflection. So as a reminder, I thought I’d post some highlights for 2016 down below (just the good stuff):

BBQ with Friends

We hosted several barbecues throughout the year. And although most of them have returned to Malaysia, we’ll hopefully host more in 2017.

 

 

Science Fair – April 1

 

Melur won second prize for the “Queen’s University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Award”, while Arman won the Bronze Medal in the “Physical and Mathematical Sciences Division Award – Junior Age Category”. More

Good Bye 2016, Hello 2017

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I guess it’s important to reflect on your life every now and again. You can learn from mistakes made, feel good about accomplishments, and be thankful for the good (and the challenges) that happens in life… And what better time to do this, then at the end/beginning of the year.

The first time I heard the phrase “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” was from the movie Trading Places, where Eddie Murphy’s character quotes German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Those words have been paraphrased many times – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. And every time I hear it, it rings true to me.

This year in particular has been challenging both personally and professionally. Sure, it was not all bad. But it wasn’t a walk in the park either. I’d like to say I’ve emerged stronger from the experience, but I think I’m still reeling, not quite ready to regroup and start over (although I know I should).

Is this all a test? More

Why write a blog

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It’s been over 3 and half years since my last blog entry (basically when I stopped playing chess at the chess club). It’s been a pretty crazy 3 and half years. Some updates, which I hope to write about at some point in the future:

  • I bought and moved to a new place – a townhouse central to Kingston
  • My role within QuickSchools.com has evolved immensely. I’m now Head of Engineering (instead of Head of Support). This alone has provided me with a lot of interesting and difficult challenges personally and professionally.
  • I visited my brother’s family and sister in-law (on my wife’s side) in Houston. They moved to Houston just 1 – 2 years prior.
  • I took my kids back to Malaysia this past summer, to rekindle their relationship with their home country and their extended family
  • My brother came to stay with me for about a month and a half (first time one of my extended family members came to stay over). We had a chance to reconnect, where we realized that we were really never that close to begin with.

So back to why I write/keep a blog. Looking back at my previous entries, it’s like keeping a diary. I get to see not only what I’ve done in the past, but also my thought processes, changes in perspectives and motivations, as well as my goals and accomplishments. Facebook certainly does a good job of keeping track of my previous activities. Although it does allow me to reflect on the past, I haven’t quite utilized it as a means to record my thoughts and reflections. And the sheer volume of activity in Facebook makes it difficult to go back and look at previous posts. Hence, I think a separate blog would do a better job.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I’m gonna start writing again, and hopefully not just about chess, but on more personal subjects and reflections. And some time in the future, I’ll hopefully look back on this day and thank myself for making this effort.

Personal Goals for 2013

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In my recent post about Family Goals, I noted that 2012 was not such a good year in terms of achieving my personal goals, but it has been a good year for me nonetheless. Some things that I am grateful for in 2012:

  • Work at QuickSchools has been great!
  • Ayu has been making progress with her PhD (2 conference papers at ICIS)
  • We started paying less rent (thank you Mary), and have made improvements to our living situation
  • Melur and Arman have continued focus on studies, religion, swimming, music and other extra-curricular activities.
  • Although we didn’t reach his target 1300 rating, Arman’s CMA rating started improving towards the end of the year, and we also got Arman a new IM chess coach
  • We had a 2-month trip to Malaysia this summer, to re-connect with extended family (although we didn’t even blog about it)

So my goals for this year are mainly to do with my health (I’ve gained a lot of weight recently) and the Qur’an (I didn’t get much reading in last year): More

Family Goals for 2013

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So 2012 has come and gone, pretty fast I might add. And I can’t say that I’ve accomplished many of my goals from last year. But it has been a good year nonetheless. And I’m happy with how things are going. I’m very grateful for all that I have – Alhamdulillah.

But now that the New Year has come, as most people do this time of the year, I can reflect on my life and assess how things are going – assess and calibrate. For the first time, my wife and I have included the kids in planning our family goals. And if we achieve our goals, I think we should be rewarded for them, just to keep things interesting.

Here are some family goals we’ve decided: More

Why I love working for QuickSchools

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Recently, my wife was having some doubts about the career choice she made to pursue her PhD. She was feeling very down, and very pre-occupied with all the obstacles and difficult experiences, while now in her third year of her program. I’m of the firm belief that when things are good, you only remember the good times, and when things are bad, you only remember the bad times. It’s a part of human nature. And this was one of those moments. My wife was really starting to doubt what all her efforts were for.

And so I suggested to her that she list out all the reasons why she wanted to pursuit her PhD in the first place. It was actually a pretty lengthy process for her, as she soul-searched for most of the day. Her first attempt missed the mark, but by the end of the day, she finally was able to put everything together. And I must say she came up with a pretty comprehensive list. And in my view, this list will help remind her of her long term goals, so she does not get too pre-occupied with the short-term obstacles she will undoubtedly face.

So after watching (and assisting in) that process, I thought it’d be good for me to do the same. I may not be in a rut right now, but it helps to occasionally access and evaluate where I am, so that I do have a long term goal in mind.

So here are my top 10 reasons for my chosen path, to work with QuickSchools (which I have since May 2009): More

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