March 14, 2008

The Story of PI

The PI is a fascinating mathematical constant approximately equal to 3.1459.... Its transcendental in itself meaning no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers could ever produce it.

Why am I elaborating so much on the value of PI and its significance, something which 13-14 year olds would have had drilled into their heads by teachers practicing the "Rote" method of education system ? Well the story is as follows ( The following scene is taking place at my work place). There was a meeting regarding the launch of our gaming portal – Presino.

A little about Presino.... Cant help bragging about it as I am one of the members of the development team that put together Presino. Our portal aims to be the "Fantasy Gaming Platform" and is targeted currently at an audience comprising of sports enthusiasts. We also have in the pipeline, games on Bollywood, Literature, Quizzes etc etc for the rest of us. The plan is to cover all major sporting events, the entertainment itinerary and pretty much everything.

Lest all of you out there start thinking that this a free advertisement for Presino, let me pause and resume my story. Yeah, so were at the meeting and it was decided that Presino will be launched on March 14th. Discussions were on about further improvements and enhancements when talks steered towards the scoring system, ranking and the leader boards. With one thing leading to another, there rose a question as to what should the unit of scoring be called. We wanted something original, innovative yet not too serious.

Amidst ideas springing up everywhere like "Matrix Agents", the ones that made the cut were

a. COWRIES - These are shells belonging to a group of small to large sea snails. Most people find the very rounded, shiny, porcelain like shells of cowries very pleasing to look at and handle(explanation courtesy Wikipedia). Also cowries had been used as currency in several parts of the world in the past and present and had a significant purpose in ceremonies.]
This did not have many takers though and cowries got passed over :(

b. VIDS - This was suggested as an acronym for ((Virtual Dollars)). Though the expansion was catchy, it sounded very American and not many warmed up to it. I did not like it one bit. Thankfully it suffered a quick and painless death.

c. PRESINO POINTS - This was downright simple and was rejected instantly.

d. PIP - This was a hot favorite as it was shown to depict ((Presino Incentive Points)). "Google-The-Great" threw up Picture-In-Picture as the first link and Wikipedia coughed up the following meanings-
i>the smallest unit in forex trading by which a currency may change value,
ii>the seed of several fruits such as apples and oranges,
iii>a disease of birds characterized by a thick mucous discharge that forms a crust in the mouth and throat.

Now this last explanation was reason enough for its unceremonious yet painful departure from the list. Painful because it came millimeters close to being chosen. So Near and Yet so Far..... More Sighing

As more options kept getting rejected, PI made a surprise entry and suddenly people were silent. Now nobody remembers whose idea it was and so it is everybody's idea :). I believe all is well that ends well and so Pi came to be and we got an expansion for it - Presino Incentives .

And PI came to to be symbolic because of the following reasons. Firstly the day we had chosen to launch Presino was "March 14th" which we accidentally found out was the PI day. And also March 14th - being the third month and 14th day – equaled the approximate PI value. More reasons for cheer.... :)

The creation of the PI "icon" was a whole new story. We wanted to base it on the PI symbol and lend our creative touch to it. The idea was to make it more significant . So if you look closely, you will see a P and I in the two legs of the icon. Though it looks simple, it took long hours to get the final look.

We launched Presino and everyone's reaction on seeing the icon(in the beginning of the blog) was one word - CLEVER :)

March 14th will be a day I will remember for a long time.