The reason I failed at helping people

I was myself battling with COVID when I noticed the opportunity to use my computer science skills to help out people in distress. I along with my colleague made covidbeds.online to help people of our city (Vadodara) find nearest hospitals with required facilities (ICU, Oxygen, etc).

Unlike most dashboards, we had a quick and easy interface that gave ranked results based on location and bed availability. We got an unprecedented response and within 1 week of launch, we had served more than 30,000 requests. And while that number might not seem too large, the fact that each request could potentially save a life filled our hearts with pride.

The next goal was to expand this model to other cities of India. However, I couldn’t scale up fast enough. Probably I was expecting a little too much from my COVID impacted body. Every day I would promise myself to wake up re-energized and ready to slog but the fever, coughing, and weakness just won’t go away. 100°F had become my new standard body temperature for almost 25 days. That's when my overprotective mother made me go through additional tests and we got to know that I had got pneumonia after COVID. As if COVID alone wasn’t enough to test me -_-

While I was down with ailments, I genuinely believed that our simplistic and intuitive UI helped people better compared to other online services. I believed that it’s my moral responsibility to scale up my service as fast as possible to help people. So I reach out to a group of 3 people from India’s “elite institute” (who were solving a similar problem) hoping that they would collaborate and possibly share their data ingestion pipeline for other cities. Turns out their intent wasn’t elite enough. While they preached philanthropy and social good, they prioritized preserving their “intellectual property” against helping people. They simply ghosted me and never responded to my requests. I was disappointed to know that there are people who try to be saviors just for their own publicity or benefit. In contrast, my code for public initiatives has always been open-sourced on my Github.

Meanwhile, I encountered another organization covidpune.com/reach that had developed a decent UI along with support for most major cities. This allowed me to relax and recover from my ailments without having to worry about scaling up my service. I will be redirecting my site traffic to covidpune.com/reach so that people are helped in the best way possible.

You should find me up and kicking soon ;)