Reflecting back on my life in 2014

All ready to cheer for the girlfriend @dani_darko28 and her team @riotgirlstcrg #rollerderbyThat’s my girlfriend’s Roller Derby team T-Shirt

Last year I wrote a blog post about reflecting back on my life in 2013 and described a year in which some of the most profound events of my life – good and awful – happened. 2014 on the other hand turned out to be a great year of growth and healing for me. Here is a summary:

1. Started Meditating

As a kid I used to mediate a lot. Back then I was hoping to develop telekinetic and telepathic powers. Of course that never happened, but I develop great abilities to manage my anxieties. At that time my family was going through a difficult time and my father was starting and growing his company which turned out to be quite successful eventually.

Last year I did some reading about meditation and scientific evidence of how it could benefit the mind. So I started meditating again and this time for the purpose of developing a stronger mind. A mind which can focus sharply and naturally calm down the stress, anxiety, and depression. Those 3 are entrepreneurs’ worst plagues. Meditation is something that I really recommend. Get enough sleep, meditate, and take weekly times to recharge and heal the mental and emotional wounds.

2. My company launched 6 apps

Celebrating another #mobileapp launch with the @rmdstudio team #vancouver

Celebrating App Launches with Sushi

rmdStudio is a mobile and web app development company that I founded in Vancouver several years ago. Last year we’ve had one of the most successful years and launched 6 apps. One for a local startup and 5 enterprise apps:

  1. HealthConnection iOS App and Web App
  2. Lafarge ePod for Android
  3. Lafarge ePod for iOS
  4. WiFi Actuator Controller for Android
  5. WiFi Actuator Controller for iOS
  6. Hyve iOS App for a local startup that promotes bars and restaurants to college and university students.

My special thanks to River, Bosco, and Naomi for being such great team members. If you have inquiries please contact us

3. Two Anahita Birth releases

Anahita is an open-source social networking platform and framework that I founded years ago and last year we had two Birth releases of Anahita 3.0 and 4.0. Anahita is well on its way to becoming a technology for building insightful knowledge-sharing apps and services. Currently, we are working on rewriting all the javascript libraries in JQuery and then rebuilding all the user interfaces following the MobileFirst approach in HTML5.

4. Gave Talks at Technology Events

Connecting The Dots at LaunchAcademy, Gastown, VancouverConnecting The Dots at LaunchAcademy, Gastown, Vancouver

Last year I had the pleasure of delivering my talk called “Connecting The Dots” which was about a new approach to developing apps that learn and get smarter over time. I first deliver this talk at LaunchAcademy in Vancouver to an audience of 20+ developers and entrepreneurs.

I was given the prize for the best talk "Connecting The Dots" at #NookuJam14 thank you #nooku tribe for your votes. #AnahitaConnecting The Dots at NookuJam2014

Two weeks later I travelled 8000 miles to Belgium and delivered the same talk at the NookuJam2014 where it was voted the best talk by an audience of 23 hackers and developers from 10 different countries. I also got to be with the amazing brothers Johan and Tom Janssens and they did everything they could to make me feel welcomed and comfortable. I can’t wait to see them again and the rest of the hackers and hackerpreneurs for the NookuJam2015.

5. Learned Blues Dance

Last evening's #blues #dance

I’ve been doing Swing, Lindy Hop, and Balboa for the past few years. We have a great social dance scene in Vancouver. Then one of my friends invited me to a fusion dance night which was happening from 10:00 PM to 03:00 AM that evening and I got hooked, except I was terrible at it. All were wobbly and confused on the dance floor. That was until I got picked out by some very good dance instructors: Jerry Hamburgers and Tamara Cohen. I started learning and practicing Blues dance 10-15 hours a week throughout the summer. I like to think of Jerry and Tamara as my Blues foster parents who raised me to become a Blues warrior and I was later sworn in by Diane Garceau who taught us Fusion dance turns and how to dip properly.

Blues dance is a lot like tango, but it is more grounded. The connection between the lead and follow is intimate and strong but it allows room for freedom. The relationships between the lead and follow are more gender-equal. It is much like a modern romance where the lead provides a reliable frame and the follow chooses whether to connect or not. I really like the Blues style of connection since Swing, Tango, and Latin dances seem to be based on traditional gender roles.

Best of all the Blues dance community is simply amazing. Every week I get to meet a large room full of people who are happy to see me and dance.

6. Found Love

Being an entrepreneur means your social life diminishes over time, but one of the most wonderful aspects of last year was that I met this wonderful woman who is very kind, charismatic, creative, smart, witty, and fashionable. She plays roller derby and is learning how to dance. I feel blessed to have her in my life and I really hope that our relationship is nourished and nurtured for a very very long time. Oh … and she has this wonderful black lab puppy called Hank. I got myself a 2 for 1 deal.

Update: it didn’t work out unfortunately

7. Launched a New Startup

The announcement was made a week ago, but we launched the landing page in mid-December. We are building an open science platform using Anahita. It is called which is a network for scientists to share their raw scientific data and make it available as an API. The concept of connecting the dots and network graphs have been a passion of mine for the past few years and out of all the business ideas that I have been researching and experimenting with I decided that serving science is where my heart is at. So I officially picked my battle.

So its all good right?

It is never as simple as it seems. Entrepreneurship is hard work and I have been through things that I don’t wish for my enemies, but I must say that looking back 2014 was an incredible year for me. In the meantime, I have major battles ahead for the new year. I guess that’s what the meaning of life is, or at least for me: that is to learn, experience, and grow so I can leave a positive social impact someday.

Banu makes it possible to share raw scientific data as API

Banu Open Science Network

I have an exciting announcement to make. It’s been a longtime dream for me to build a knowledge network and to do that I decided to start with data. I have invested the last few years in developing the open-source Anahita platform which is a social networking infrastructure for building knowledge-sharing apps and services. But now that the scientific community has been inspired by the open-source movement and starting to be more open, it is time that I contribute my experience in open source to science. I think this is a cause worth fighting for and I am looking forward to it. While Anahita remains to be a place of innovation and open-source software development, Banu will be an infrastructure developed using Anahita to liberate science and data.

We are building which is an Open Science and Open Data network for citizens and professional scientists so they can easily share their raw data as API so other scientists and developers can use it in their papers, reports, and apps.

If you are a scientist and researcher, please sign up and help us build the best open science network there is.

Follow @banu_io on Twitter for updates

My Green Space is Crowd Funding

My friends in LaunchAcademy are crowd funding their startup on Indiegogo. It is called My Green Space which is aiming to make it possible for us to grow food no matter where we are. They will be offering web and mobile apps to manage your own urban garden and the mobile app will notify you and keep you updated on how to take care of your greens. In fact their mission is to cover 100,000 acres of urban space one garden box at a time. Their goal is to raise $20,000 initial funds. So if you want to support an awesome Vancouver startup, here is a good one. You can also follow them on twitter @mygreenspacevan, Instagram @mygreenspacevan and their facebook page.