2023 — Year In Review
28 min read

2023 — Year In Review

2023 — Year In Review

It's the end of another year. I am back with my 2-year-old tradition of writing a personal Year In Review. 2023 was a busy year, filled with work, travel, lots of food and learning new things that I had never thought of doing before. It was a fulfilling year.

Work and Three Ways Consulting

I started my consulting practice, Three Ways Consulting, in 2022, which has been going pretty well. It was hard in the beginning, but I feel I have a pretty good handle on how things are going. Getting back to working with smaller teams and helping them build stuff has been pretty fun, just like the old days.

The volume of work coming in now is pretty good compared to when I started. I get to say more no than yes to incoming leads either because the company doesn't suit my requirements, which is growth stage tech startups, or I don't have the bandwidth to take on more work. I also got to learn a ton about new business and problem domains, thanks to my clients ranging from a variety of sectors like B2B SaaS, e-commerce, healthcare, marketplace, fintech, entertainment, etc.

Building a startup is not easy. I have been a part of two myself, and I know how difficult it is. Working closely with the founders and especially their CTOs has been a reminder of that and a humbling experience. At the same time, I see founders repeat similar mistakes I have seen before several times, because of which they slow down and waste time, incur opportunity cost, burn out and have their teams burn out - essentially always end up being in war mode. Work should not feel like a war all the time. Even working hard should be fun. A big goal of my consulting is to turn work from feeling like a war into fun. Leaders have a big goal to play in making it happen. I wrote something about what it takes for a CTO to lead product engineering teams.

Another interesting pattern of problems I have consistently seen across all startups I have consulted with or talked to is the problem of quality, slow releases and absence of Continuous Delivery practices. I guess that's where I come in. Startups dealing with such problems end up finding me. The problem of Continuous Delivery and quality often starts with understanding how software changes are tested before releases, but it is so much more than that once you get over that hurdle. Interestingly, most teams don't even get over the first problem - automating the process of testing software changes to speed up releases. A big part of my consulting work revolves around these problems. I thought writing about how to approach solving some of these problems in a series of articles could help the teams struggling with similar problems. I have started a series of articles called Engineering Transformations, where I talk about some of these problems and how tech leadership in startups should approach them. The first article in the series is on Adopting Automated Testing as a Practice. Give it a read, and let me know what you think.

Writing Code

I wrote a lot of code in a long time and learned quite a bit as well. As you can see, I have written a lot more code in the last two years as compared to how much I was writing when I was at Blinkit because my job largely involved managing teams.

2023: 516 contributions, 2022: 275 contributions, 2021: 57 contributions

It was so refreshing! There is something about it that takes me down the rabbit hole. I also find it therapeutic, like gardening. In the process, I learned a ton of new things.

I started with TypeScript by building a simple tool to simplify working with multiple Google Tag Manager accounts, which is something that I have wanted to build since my time at Blinkit. It is almost done but not release-ready. It is such a pleasure to work in TypeScript. With proper use of types and the Intellisence experience in VSCode, I have yet to come across a programming language that is so nice to work with.

My experiences with TypeScript got me thinking that it was time to try Type Hints in Python properly (yes, I have been lagging behind for a Pythonista). Python is my first love as a programming language. I built a couple of small projects in Python 3 with Type Hints. While it was a great experience, the TypeScript experience won over the Python experience for me. I thought I'd never say it, but it is true.

I got to work a ton with several other technologies like FastAPI, Nest.js, Ruby on Rails, RSpec, Temporal, Github Actions and CircleCI.

Learning New Things

I had a chance to learn some interesting things in 2023.

I learned how to build a business website in Webflow, a low-code, no-code website builder. I have been wanting to do this for a while because I understand how important marketing is and what kind of a role a marketing website plays in it. I just have grown to not like the idea of writing code for it myself or having anyone worth their metal do it. I'm not saying that marketing is not important. However, the work of building a marketing website is tedious and distracting from the core, i.e. building the core that creates value for the business. Low-code tools can help reduce some of the unnecessary heavy lifting that goes into doing non-core stuff. Doing it hands-on myself with Webflow was mostly about turning the theory into practice. There are more such tools I would like to add to my toolbox in 2024.

I try to make my travels as worthwhile as possible. If the destinations are relevant for work as well, I try to set up some meetings. But often, I don't have a good starting point beyond the people I already know, which can be very few. We were in London, New York, Chicago and San Francisco this year. I wanted to network with people in tech in these cities. I didn't know how to get started. Somebody recommended that I should try cold messaging on Twitter. I had never thought that I would do it, mainly because I don't think I am effective in approaching people on social media. For the first time, I tried cold messaging on Twitter, LinkedIn and email. I approached it structurally like I was solving a problem. I built lists of interesting people (tech leaders, founders, VCs, etc.) in these cities (who I found using this cool tool called Apollo.io) and reached out to them on different forums. I tried different messages on different channels. Many people responded, and we connected. It was great! A mental block was lifted off. I can do this again.

The world has been all about Gen AI and LLMs this year. I am happy that I got a chance to move beyond just using Gen AI tools and build something. I built a small finance assistant to help me categorize my expenses at the end of every month for personal accounting. I wrote about my experiments with LLM in a blog post where I shared my journey, learnings and challenges. There is a lot more to learn in Gen AI, and I look forward to more experiments in 2024.

Finally, I will leave you with something light in this section. I didn't know I had it in me to be excited for a Halloween party. Thanks to our friends Nupur and Atin for coming up with the idea and hosting the party. What did I learn? YouTube is an extremely resourceful thing for learning random things, like colouring my face white for Halloween makeup. It was so much fun 👻


If you know Sonam and me, you know how much we love to travel. This year was full of travel. Sonam and I also got to travel solo as well.


The year started with Sonam’s impactful work trip to Cambodia in January 2023. She leads marketing at Watsi (YC’s first investment in a non-profit), and it’s fascinating for me to see her work connecting data and storytelling for fundraising and donor stewardship in the non-profit sector. She spent her time there with Watsi’s medical partner located in the capital city of Phnom Penh and also met many patients whose lives have been transformed by Watsi’s work. It sounds simple, but it does get really overwhelming seeing the problems first-hand, so I, in turn, helped her chill out a bit by putting together a list of places to eat in Phnom Penh. I bet she’d also recommend doing the Siem Reap Food Tour and hiking the temple walk in the majestic Angkor Wat city.

Pench National Park

In 2021, we travelled to Ranthambore for a jungle safari. It was a great experience. Since then, we have been wanting to do it again. In February, we went for another jungle safari to the beautiful jungles of Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve on our wedding anniversary. For those of you who don't know this, the comic book character Mowgli is based on Pench. So, we had to do it 😆

We stayed at Jamtara Wilderness Camp. It is perfectly located near the Jamtara Gate in Pench and is probably the only accommodation in that part of the national park, making it a peaceful place to enjoy the jungle experience. It is practically inside the jungle. Tigers often cross the camp late at night. It wasn't scary at all.

Jamtara Wilderness Camp is owned by the family of the Late Kailash Sankhala, who is also known as the father of Project Tiger. Naturally, everything at Jamtara Wilderness Camp is done with a lot of intention to allow you to be one with nature and get the best of wildlife experiences you can. Everything was so thoughtfully done (for example, they give blankets and hot water bottles for the morning jungle safari to help you stay warm). The tents are perfectly located on the property. All the amenities are provided sustainably, which means you don't get everything in the accommodation besides a comfortable bed, stunning views, fresh air, the quiet of the jungle at night and peace. Did I mention the food? Oh yes, they cooked such amazing food in the middle of nowhere. I think I had one of the best biryanis of my life, better than what I have ever had in Delhi. If you are visiting Pench, we highly recommend Jamtara Wilderness Camp.

Our safari experience was amazing, probably one of the best we have had so far. The jungle is beautiful. The national park is well managed by the authorities, who ensure that the tracks don't get too crowded and the environment is not disturbed beyond a limit. In my past safari experiences, it always gets too crowded. That wasn't the case in Pench. Also, we were super luck this time. We had two tiger sightings. The second one was so good - that's all that we could have asked for on this trip.

While I lived in Madhya Pradesh for many years during my childhood, I never had the opportunity to experience the wildlife there. It was our first time experiencing the wildlife of Madhya Pradesh. But there are so many wildlife experiences that Madhya Pradesh has to offer - Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Pench, Sanjay Dubri, and Satpura. We had such a wonderful experience at Pench that we want to go back to Madhya Pradesh again and try more intense safari experiences.


In March, Sonam went to Dubai not just for a break but to experience working from a different city. It’s something we’re lucky to be able to do. I am grateful to have friends like Divya and Harsh, who opened their homes and are always welcoming. A highlight of her trip, and my personal favourite, was when our friend Divya introduced Sonam to Tres Leches at Magnolia Bakery. Our life has changed since then, hunting down for the (next!) best one around the world.

I think the most important highlight of her Dubai trip for me was that Divya introduced Sonam to Tres Leches at Magnolia Bakery. Sonam liked it so much that she went there several times when she was in Dubai. She even got it for me...all the way from Dubai! How cool is that!

Tres Leches Bonus: You can find Tres Leches at Magnolia Bakery in Bangalore and Hyderabad as well. If you live in these cities or are planning to travel, please go and try this amazing dessert. We are lucky to have friends like Ashish Dubey, who always sign up to bring food to us from other cities, like bringing us Tres Leches from Bangalore. So lucky to have such friends!

Leh, Ladakh

While Sonam was travelling to Dubai, I wanted to get out of the city for a few days as well before starting a new project. I wanted to go to the hills, but I did not have the time to drive or take the bus. I decided to go to Leh, Ladakh. The connectivity to Leh from Delhi is amazing. There is a one-hour flight to Leh from New Delhi. And I love Ladakh. I have been there before. I absolutely loved it, and I think it is one of the most unique places in the world. I can keep going there over and over again.

The visit to Ladakh was a short one this time. I was there for only three nights, out of which I spent the first night to acclimatize. I stayed at this gem of a place called Dolkhar in Leh city. It is a beautiful luxury resort with only seven or eight cottages built in Ladakhi architecture. Everything about this place is so intentional.

They only serve vegan food, which was a catch, and I was nervous about it. But if the food is that good, who cares if they serve non-vegetarian food or not? The quality of their food and drinks matches the standards of the best restaurants in Delhi or maybe even better than most. I was so surprised that they are doing this in Leh. Everything they cooked had organic ingredients that came from carefully selected sources. The food they serve is an experience. I tried their Chef's Tasting Menu. What amazing food!

I had always known that Snow Leopard sighting is a thing in Ladakh. I had always imagined how cool it would be to see a Snow Leopard. While this was not the plan, I was lucky that the nice folks at Dolkhar arranged it for me and made it possible for me to try. Snow Leopard sighting is very difficult. One can be right in front of you, and you might not see it at all. It is a game of extreme patience. People track Snow Leopards over weeks and stay in the national park itself to increase their chances of seeing one. I was doing this for one day. So, the chances for me to actually see one were incredibly rare. I went for it still, especially after our recent experiences of wildlife safaris in Ranthambore and Pench. The wait and the thrill of the chase is an incredible feeling.

A safari in the mountains is nothing like a safari in the jungles. The safari actually happens on the roads across mountains. Spotters are deployed at different locations in a region trying to spot snow leopards. They communicate over the radio to different convoys if they see something. And then the cars rush to those spots, pretty much like wildlife safaris but on actual roads.

I didn't see any Snow Leopards, but I was not sad at all. I didn't expect much. What I didn't expect and got to see was a pack of wolves. Besides the wolves, I also got to see herds of Ibex. Apparently, spotting a pack of wolves is a rarer event than spotting snow leopards. So it wasn't nothing. Besides that, driving around in those mountains is always a great experience.

Washington DC, San Francisco and The Bay Area

It had been more than ten years since I visited the US. We were trying to visit San Francisco last year but couldn't due to visa issues. San Francisco and the Bay Area are quite familiar to Sonam and me since we have been there several times for work. However, we had never been there together. So we decided to travel there together and stay with our friend Ravit in Cole Valley. I don't think we would have ever stayed in Cole Valley if Abbie and Ravit didn't live there.

Sonam had to attend her offsite in Washington DC. She was meeting her team for the first time. I, on the other hand, didn't have any major objective other than to hang out a bit in the Bay Area, enjoy the city life, network with people in tech, catch up on the Silicon Valley tech vibes, eat great food and travel a bit. We achieved all those objectives 💪

We made a road trip to San Diego to meet Abbie. We took the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 101), one of the most scenic highways in the US. It was a beautiful drive! We saw the majestic Sequoias in Big Sur and stayed in a rustic cabin there for a night. We spent the next two nights at Abbie's mom's place in Coronado, a small island next to San Diego, which also happens to be a major US Naval base and the training centre for US Navy Seals. It is also where many scenes of Top Gun Maverick were shot. I had never seen an aircraft carrier in my life. In San Diego, we saw three at the same time! Interestingly, the US Navy and the Navy Seals were conducting training exercises when we were visiting. Exciting!

California is known for its amazing Mexican food. Both on the way to San Diego and on the way back, Sonam found us some legit Mexican food joints. One was located at such a place where eating felt like being in a scene of the deserts of Breaking Bad. We didn't know that we would enjoy Mexican food so much.

When we got back to San Francisco, we had enough time to network and absorb the city. We spent most of our time working from cafes, trying new food, meeting friends, networking with folks in tech and attending events. San Francisco and the Bay Area feel more like an extension of Bangalore in terms of just how many people we know there. I literally bumped into friends from India whom I have not met in years. Attending tech events in San Francisco almost after a decade was so funny. It felt like an episode of Silicon Valley 🤣

In the remaining time we had in San Francisco, we decided to get out to Sausalito for a night. Cute place. They have nice ice creams and great roads to walk around.


It was the first time for me in Andamans and the second time for Sonam. We were there for her birthday. It is such a beautiful place. Every Indian must visit Andaman. Beautiful, untouched white sand beaches. Beautiful tropical forests. Mangroves. History. Andaman & Nicobar Islands have so much to offer. It's unfortunate that most islands in the archipelago are inaccessible to the common public. We spent countless hours seeing these islands via satellite images. If it's so beautiful from up there, what would it be like if we got to visit? It's literally unfair.

We were in Andamans for three nights. We visited in August, which is the off-season, so it wasn't crowded at all. The weather was humid, but it was bearable. We stayed at Sanctuary in Wandoor village, which is south of Port Blair. It is rustic, raw and bare. Don't expect the comfort of a hotel. Instead, expect the experience of staying in an intentionally created personal space of a nature and adventure lover, which is probably something you can't expect. It is a different experience. It is not for everyone. If you like something different, go stay at Sanctuary. Don't complain. Enjoy the experience. The host of Sanctuary likes to stay away from the web, so I am not going to mention his name. But we learned so much about these islands, the life there, the good parts and the bad, from our conversations with him.

London, Chicago and New York

We spent the last two weeks of September and the first week of October travelling to London, Chicago and New York. This was a long trip. I had to visit London and Chicago to attend and speak at tech conferences. A trip to London to visit our friend Apoorv had been long due since last year. Sonam and I had been wanting to see London City as well. And since we had to travel to Chicago as well, we thought it wouldn't be worth the time and effort to visit Chicago and come back. We had been wanting to visit New York for a long time, so we added that to our list as well.

I had to attend conferences like SREDay London, DevOps Days London and DevOps World Chicago (I spoke here). Conferences have usually been a good learning experience for me.

A lot of what we did during this trip was inspired by a bunch of shows that we watched on Netflix, like Somebody Feed Phil and Chef's Table. Coincidentally, some of our friends from India were travelling to London around the same time. So, the trip was even more special.

London is a vibrant city which has so much to offer. It's hard to summarize our nearly ten days in London. In short, it is a beautiful city with a lot of character, nice people, great food and fun things to do. The weather was perfect when we were visiting so we could enjoy the outdoors a lot.

Key experiences include the London pub crawl in the centre on a Friday night with our friends, The Lion King theatre show, lunch at Rovi and the steak experience at Blacklock Shoreditch. Our Lion King theatre experience was out of this world. We had not experienced anything like this before. The Lion King is nostalgic. The show was magical. Also, a weekend trip to Borough Market is a must. If you go there, try the toastie at Kappacasein Dairy.

Chicago is beautiful. It has an amazing architecture and great food. We stayed in Chicago for four nights but had to extend it to five nights due to sudden rains in New York, because of which our flight got rescheduled. Key experiences include eating all kinds of Polish dogs, especially the ones at Jim's Original, modern Southern cuisine at Virtue (great food!), the original Chicago deep dish pizza at Pequod's Pizza and my favourite Detroit-style pizza at Paulee Gee's (to die for!). The Chicago architecture tour is a great way to see the city. Besides that, we also did a walking Pedway tour, an interesting way to see the lesser-known parts of Chicago. We had some good experiences in Chicago, but overall, we didn't feel that the city was safe to venture out at night without understanding where not to be and what not to do. We wish that was not the case.

I used to think about New York as just another artificial city that only had tall buildings, no culture and no greenery. I was so ignorant and wrong. I was never really excited to visit New York until last year after our friend Ben, who is a New Yorker, told me how wrong I was about New York. I started paying more attention. We watched New York in a bunch of documentaries on Netflix, and it became clear that we had to visit. We stayed in New York for four nights, one night in Manhattan and three nights in Brooklyn. This city never sleeps. Even at 2 AM at night, the subway was crowded. We were travelling. What was everyone else doing at that time? This city is active. There is so much going on. It's a fun city that has so much to offer.

Besides doing touristy things, we had a major objective - try as many different types of pizzas as possible. We went to six different pizza places. Here is our favourite list (in this order): Di Fara Pizza, L'Industrie Pizzeria, Lombardi's Pizza, Luigi's, NY Pizza Suprema and Fini Pizza. And that's not even all that is there to offer. We didn't get to go to so many pizza joints like Totono's, Scarr's, Lucali's, to name a few. Besides Pizza, which was the highlight, some of our key experiences include visiting speakeasy bars, trying Southern and Korean fried chicken, cycling in Central Park (what a beautiful park) and shopping on Fifth Avenue. I have to say, I love New York City. It is truly one of the best cities in the world.


I got the opportunity to revisit London in November to speak at the London edition of the DevOps World conference. This time, I travelled alone and decided to extend this trip to explore the tech scene in London and spend some time networking. I attended several small and big tech events and met interesting people working on some exciting things. While in London, I was continuing my consulting work in India, so during this trip, I spent most of my time either meeting people or working from different cafes in the city. It was great!

I spent almost three weeks in London. So it's not that I did nothing besides networking. I had some great food experiences again. We couldn't make a trip to Cafe Leto to try their Tres Leches cake (the same cake from Magnolia Bakery I talked about earlier in this post) in our first trip. I had to make up for the last time. So I went there three times on this trip and got as many friends along to try their Tres Leches cake. Magnolia or Cafe Leto - which one is better, you ask? I think they are both really good in their own ways. I can't take a stance yet.

London was lit because of Christmas. The city was beautifully decorated. Given the amazing theatre experience during our last visit, I went for another theatre show. It was The Mousetrap this time, which was running for the 70th consecutive year. Can you believe that? It was a conventional style of theatre, like how you would imagine a theatre show to be. And it was quite entertaining. Another great experience was the Christmas vibes and cosy food at Maltby Street Market.

Retrospecting on the year

Things that went well and I am happy about:

  • I wrote quite a lot on my blog and otherwise. Writing helps me get clarity. I am also happy that I didn't leave any posts incomplete.
  • I used to enjoy writing reviews for places I visited. I am happy that I wrote a lot of reviews on Google and Zomato this year.
  • I worked on a couple of side projects where I am progressing seriously every month if not every week. It feels good to build and cultivate something.
  • I injured my knee in 2022 because of running. I was advised to get regular physiotherapy for strengthening. I have been pretty regular this year, and my knee is getting better.
  • I attended and spoke at several tech conferences - API World 2023, DevOps World Chicago, DevOps Days London, DecOps Summit Canada and DevOps World London.
  • I got the Global Talent Visa for the UK, which allows me to move to the UK to work, start a business or study. I don't know what I will do with it. But it's good to be able to travel to London like a boss 😎

Things that didn't go so well:

  • Didn't cook much this year.
  • I didn't meet my goal of reading five books. I only finished two books.
  • I wanted to learn a new topic like finance or economics. I just started one in December, but the progress has been pretty slow.
  • While I have been regular with my physiotherapy, my knee hasn't fully healed. I have not been able to do any workouts, especially running (which I love). I have just started with upper body workouts this week. I am hoping that I can do more next year.
  • I developed some muscular problems with my right wrist, most likely due to long hours with the keyboard. That prevented me from even doing upper-body workouts.
  • I have a tendency to get attached to work, which is not a bad thing. But while consulting, it is important to draw the boundaries to be able to work across clients, ruthlessly prioritise problems that matter and not lose your sanity in all of this. I have not lost my sanity, but I haven't been able to draw the boundaries clearly. Gotta work on that.


My wife, Sonam, is my support system. Since I quit Blinkit, she has supported me in doing whatever I have wanted to do. I have gone through ups and downs. But she has always been around to support me and provide me the energy and mind space to keep trying things. She doesn't say it, but she sees what I need and just makes things happen for me. We don't explicitly talk about all those direct and indirect things she does that make living worth enjoying, especially the indirect things I think I wouldn't get the value of if she was not around. I only think about such things retrospectively and feel incredibly thankful for having her in my life. Also, I don't think anybody can keep up with my love for food the way she does (I can't think of many people in the world who would sign up for eating pizzas at six different places as the primary objective of their trip to a city). I love you ❤️

I want to thank our friends who made it possible for us to enjoy our travel experiences. Apoorv Parijat, thanks for being the roof over our heads in London twice and for all your time. Without you, London wouldn't have been half as fun. But the comfort of a home is invaluable. Abbie Strabbala and Ravit Srivastav, thanks for being such wonderful hosts in San Francisco and Coronado. We got to see the West Coast in a different way because of you guys. Again, your cosy space in San Francisco made the experience so different. We could hang around in San Francisco and live the city life like a local. That, and with all your recommendations, was a different way to experience San Francisco compared to all our past visits. Your trip to India is still due.

Konark Modi is an old friend whom I was fortunate to meet back when I was in college because of open-source communities. Konark messaged me out of the blue after a long time, and we caught up. And since then, he has been such a guiding light in my professional life. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone and given me valuable perspectives about navigating professional life. This old relationship came out to help me when I least expected it. Konark, I am eternally thankful for how you have helped me in 2023.

Looking forward to 2024

While 2023 was great, there is a lot more I wanted to do. Somewhere, I lacked the energy to keep pushing and procrastinated. I want to change that and be more committed to results for myself. I keep saying this to the teams I coach - discipline is the key to growth. The same applies to my own life as well. There is much to learn and improve.

Here are some specifics I am going to push for in 2024:

  • Learn a non-technical subject like economics. I have started a course in finance. I want to finish this by the end of February.
  • Commit to reading more often. There is no point in putting numbers yet because I do that every year. Something needs to change. I am working on it to figure out why I am not getting better at reading.
  • Start workouts again, slowly and not injure myself.
  • Cook more often. Didn't do enough of it in 2023.
  • I haven't walked Django enough in 2023. I want to get back to it.
  • Learn a new programming language because learning is fun.
  • Keep building. Building something valuable is probably one of the most important skills a person can have. So gotta keep building.

That's all, folks. I'm looking forward to an exciting 2024 and getting a lot more done this year! 🚀