Vaddadi Kartick

IIT | Google | Founder | Advisor | Consultant

After graduating from IIT with an M.Tech. in Computer Engineering, I worked at Google for almost 9 years on many critical products — Google search, ads, Youtube, Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Google News, Orkut and more.

Along the way, I advised four startups.

I run my startup Futurecam, an advanced computational photography camera app for photography enthusiasts.

I now work as a Technical Consultant, helping other companies with my insights.

Some benefits of working with me are:

  • I’ve worked with different technologies like mobile, backend, frontend and SRE/DevOps, so you’re getting a highly versatile and skilled engineer.
  • I have deep knowledge of engineering, and also engineering management. I’ve met some good engineers who can’t manage well, and some good managers who aren’t good engineers anymore, but few people who can do both well. I bring both these skills to the table, putting in place the right tech, team, process and culture at your company.
  • I’ve worked across disciplines like engineering, UX, project management, product management and business. I can connect tech to business and suggest the right tech based on the business need, not tech as an end to itself. As a simple example, there are a lot of people who can churn out an iOS app. But, depending on what you need, an iOS app may be the right or wrong answer, and I’ll help you figure it out.
  • I’ve worked with companies in different sectors like photography, fintech and health, and you’ll benefit from this experience.
  • I can effectively execute a given plan, and I can also decide what should be done. You’ll be working with a leader, not just a follower.
  • When you work with me, you’re hiring a team rather than having to assemble it yourself. Just as you want to buy a car, not buy a steering wheel, engine and brakes and assemble them yourself.
  • After leaving Google, I maintained Google hiring standards. I evaluate 50 candidates before hiring one. My team consists of people you won’t find in an outsourcing company (or many startups for that matter). You can leverage this team when you work with me.
  • Hiring an employee takes a month or two to find the right person, followed by a month or two for him to join, at which point he may shop around your offer and not join, so you’re back to square one. By contrast, when you work with me, we can start executing your project today.
  • Having been a founder, I have a deep and personal understanding of what problems startups face, so if you’re running a startup, I’ll be your partner, not just a person to outsource work to.
  • I know the right amount of emphasis to put on code quality, depending on your needs. You’ll be able to enhance the code we deliver as business needs change, rather than have to throw it away and start from scratch, or risk not being able to meet your business needs because the tech couldn’t keep up. Working with us results in a lower Total Cost of Ownership.
  • I’ve worked with companies of varying sizes from one founder and one employee to Saif Partners to Google, so I know what’s right for companies at different stages, not one-size-fits-all.
  • You pay only when we work on your projects, rather than a fixed cost irrespective of work done. You won’t have overheads that employees come with, like vacation, sick leave, public holidays, equipment like laptops, office rent, life and medical insurance, being responsible for their career growth, and so on. Focus on your work, and leave these to me.

Whatsapp | LinkedIn | Github

Testimonials

I have helped companies in various domains like fin-tech, home automation, recruiting, digital health, and more. Here are some testimonials:

Rohan Rai Gupta
CEO, Homad
I was introduced to Kartick by a common friend from Sequoia. I would often ping Kartick about questions related to the tech stack and product capabilities. He has not only answered those questions for me but also taught me how to think and approach those questions effectively. He has a deep technical understanding and an eye for business nuances.
Vaddadi Kartick has contributed to multiple areas: staying on top of the evolving fin-tech landscape, brainstorming products and features to build, planning our roadmap, pricing, making introductions to relevant people, helping with a vendor relationship…
Lakshmi Narasimham
former Head of Eng, Loktra
Kart has given significant inputs to the company work culture which fixed the gaps and improved work culture a lot. He pulled couple of engineers from his network in short notice and helped Loktra to fill the urgent opening in just 3 days. He has helped Loktra in key hiring. Kart is an excellent critic and provides constructive feedback to resolve conflict/issues which he did several times at Loktra. He is a great value addition.
Kartick has contributed significantly to evaluating new platforms and understanding their capabilities, debugging, optimisation, hiring, engineering management, mentoring employees, brainstorming production direction, and more.

Services I Offer

Development

I’ll build an app (or other product) for you, be it mobile, backend or frontend, with my high-quality team of full-stack engineers. This will have good code quality, and will be flexible for you to adapt to meet unanticipated business needs in the future, rather than having to throw it away and start afresh, thus resulting in a lower Total Cost of Ownership.

Architecture Review

taking a look at your architecture from a fresh point of view. For example, one client had two problems: new engineers took a long time to get productive, and debugging took a long time, too. I determined that the code quality was reasonably good, but identified a few specific things to improve that will have a significant benefit. I illustrated my suggestions in the context of their code, to make it easy for them to understand, and worked with them to implement these changes in a phased manner. Importantly, I told them what’s already good and doesn’t need changing.

Streamlining Team Processes

Should you do code reviews? How should you plan sprints? There are a lot of opinions out there, and I’ll help you identify what’s right for you. I’ll start from problems you’re facing, getting all stakeholders’ perspectives. For example, one client was unable to launch anything for months. I’ll dig in, identify where things are going wrong, and set up the right amount of process to fix the problems you’re facing. But not too much, which would reduce speed and demotivate engineers.

Hiring

Different companies need different skills from their engineers. There’s no such thing as a good engineer; there’s a good engineer for your company. I’ll help you identify what that means. Then write a JD to attract skilled engineers, set up a hiring process, interview candidates, evaluate technical and non-technical aspects of a candidate, advise you on how to negotiate...

Mentoring

I can mentor people from individual contributors all the way up to the CEO, giving each person relevant, actionable advice for their role. For example, I advised a frontend engineer not to block his work for the backend engineer, and showed him how to proceed in parallel. I advised the CTO that his job is not to personally sign off on all decisions himself (that made him a bottleneck) but to empower others to make decisions, stepping in personally only for critical decisions. I advised the CEO that the company culture is going bad, which will cause talented people to leave, and where exactly to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Training

Is your team being held back because they don’t have knowledge in specific technologies? I can work with you identify what those are, and train them in a varied set of technologies and other topics.

External CTO

As an External CTO, in addition to all the services above, I’ll do whatever else you need from a CTO, like giving technical input into key product decisions. I can do development, or work with your engineering team on development, providing leadership. Whatever is best for you.

Other Successes

I delivered the first public launch on a client project in the second week of our engagement, that too on a platform we didn't work on before.

Prior Work

I graduated from IIT Bombay with an M.Tech. in Computer Science, worked at Google for more than 8 years, on a variety of products: Google Search, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail, Google Drive, Google News, Youtube…

In addition to my consultancy, I head a product startup, Futurecam where we built three apps. I also built a Reverse Tax Calculator for Mac, iPhone and an open-source version.

Skills

Within engineering, I have experience in variety of technologies like iOS, macOS (both Catalyst and command-line apps), Android, Front-end, backend, computational photography, Angular, microservices, REST, JSON, XML, JSON-RPC, cloud, Google-App Engine, Swift, Objective-C, Java, C++, Python, Ruby, Rails, C#, .Net, Haskell, C, javascript, Firebase, API design and implementation, asynchronous API's and multithreading, web security, scalability, distributed systems, Borg (Google's internal cloud), unit testing, end-to-end testing, Chrome extensions, content blocking APIs on multiple platforms (iOS, macOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge), PDF internals, Analytics, SRE, UX design, project management...

For more, see my resume.

How I Work

  1. I’ll understand your requirements.
  2. We'll sketch the UX on paper so we're all on the same page.
  3. We'll identify which features are must-have vs nice-to-have.
  4. We'll prioritise those features in order of business value.
  5. We'll give an estimate, but that's just a guess, not a commitment. The actual time it takes depends on the work, which is never known at the beginning of the project.
  6. We'll have weekly milestones, so that any problems are flagged early, estimation isn't too inaccurate and we keep making visible progress.
  7. Once the milestone is reached, we’ll repeat the process with subsequent milestones.

How I Charge

  1. I charge hourly.
  2. You buy a certain number of hours, like 100, by paying in advance. I'll commit to you to finish those within a month, for example, thus prioritising your work over other clients.
  3. When those hours are finished, you can buy more, for the work to continue. I'll inform you when the hours are close to exhaustion so that work can continue without delay.
  4. The hours you purchased don't expire after a month or anything like that. They can be used later.
  5. I will be increasing my prices as time goes by. However, if you buy more hours at once, like 300, you will get the benefit of the current rate for all 300 hours. By contrast, you can buy 30 hours each time, but in that case, price increases will apply to the next pack of 30 hours that you buy.

Ethics

  1. I’ll be as clear as possible about what I will and won’t deliver, at the beginning of the project.
  2. I won’t lie in any way, such as by claiming to have worked with any technology that I actually didn’t.
  3. I'll always tell you what I believe is true, not what you want to hear. For example, an estimate is a guess, not a commitment.
  4. I won’t make an estimate I know is unrealistic in order to get the project.
  5. I'll track time using an app, to make sure you're getting what you paid for. If you paid for 200 hours, you should get 200 hours, not 180. Any inaccuracy in tracking will be resolved in your favor. For example, if I worked between 180 and 200 hours, but I'm not sure how much, I'll bill you for 180, not 200.
  6. If multiple engineers are available, I'll try to assign the person who has the best skills for your project, rather than deliberately assigning someone else to learn at your expense.
  7. In the unlikely event of me taking on a project and not delivering, I will make it right, such as by giving you extra time free, a partial refund, or a full refund, as I see fit. I should get paid only if I meet my commitments.

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