Rap Genius, I'd love to work with you.
I think you're doing something really incredible, so I wrote you a rap (tried, at least), reimagined the RG design (see below), outlined two ways I could serve the team, and poured my heart into this site. Enjoy.
from Long Island, New York came this young brotha
who thought he could name his website like jigga
all because two years ago, he learned the meaning
of “freaks and geeks,”
so he started fiending
to learn a little more - not only rappin stuff
but literature, history, poetry stuff.

then he learned a little of what design was about
and built some stuff that paved a route;
to the moment he noticed rap genius wasn't just rap,
and he thought, "whoa, the world could change in a snap."

they’re trying to annotate everything,
make us all smarter,
next level wiki shiz,
I couldn't not bother.


“Hola' Ankito,” 
Ankit Shah
[Verse 1 - Design and Front End Dev]
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years learning how to design products (which you can take a look at here), and I want to apply my learning from those experiences to Rap Genius.

As Rap Genius grows to more users, more diverse content — philosophical texts, science journals, classics — and more use cases, the site will need to support consistent user experience and visual identity for new and existing users alike. I have a few concepts to bring to the table to increase traffic, retention, and diverse community development through
  1. homepage design,
  2. navigation interface,
  3. search experience, and
  4. content delivery, and
  5. of course, SEO.
For now, here’s a redesign I did of the lyrics interface. Here, I wrote about the design process and why I made the decisions I did in the design.
[Verse 2 - Growth and Branding]
As RG grows more fully into its eventual arms, with poetry, law, historical documents, literature, etc. the products will appeal to different markets and be used in completely different ways.

The user experience and design of the site need to be maintained throughout it all, especially when lines are drawn between content of one family into another (“99 Problems” into Law Genius, for example).


The management of that growth is also paired with building a strong community of thought leaders – politicians, poets, theologians, scientists, philosophers, etc. – and followers, similar to how the hip hop community grew through Verified Rappers, Blog Souljas, and RG Editors. I would love to help bring those communities together, and in the future, create dynamic interaction across communities.
[Freestyle - I love Rap Genius and its future.]
I can break down and recite lyrics to any Kanye, Gambino, Macklemore or Logic track, but I don’t know anything about next-level rap — A$AP, Kendrick, or Mac. I don’t consider myself a rap genius.

But I love RG for what lies beyond rap. To get our generation to learn and understand Shakespeare, Dickens, or what Obama’s always talking about, the content needs to be approachable but not watered down. Rap Genius sugarcoats vegetables and saves the nutrients. It’s bringing sexy back with Poe, Lincoln, Hemingway, and the Supreme Court – to nerds and degenerates alike. All the while, we’re going to gain perspective, understanding, and giant brains. That’s why I love it.

[Verse 3 - Why me?]
My experiences are diverse.

There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
— The Art of War, Sun Tzu
In the last few years, I've --
  1. crafted a full fledged online marketing campaign and branding initiative, #BLOCKFRIDAY, for Holstee during a semester off,
  2. lived in an Indian village for three months, built a school and health program that’s been running for the last two years,
  3. expanded a social impact program at Penn to help smart kids realize they could change the world,
  4. built a few web products, taught myself how to design and code front end,
  5. researched stem cells and built vascular grafts,
  6. taught myself how to play classical guitar,
  7. ran a few half marathons,

I learn fast.

Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week.
"Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)," Jay-Z
A lot of work is slowed because of too much thinking or hesitation. I’d try and fail before overthinking and doing nothing. Working hard and not fearing experimentation has worked for me.

I balance.

Too many Urkels on your team, that’s why your wins’ low.
"Dark Fantasy," Kanye West
Steve Jobs once said, "Creativity is connecting the dots." I don't know if I'm good at connecting dots, but if anything, I collect lots of dots. For me, that means I draw regularly, play some guitar, watch lots of superhero movies, and dance weekly. The extensions of my life beyond design and work give me more to work with when I'm back at the drawing board.

All that said...

Hey!
I just met you,
And this is crazy!
But here's my number...
"Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen
And my email address.
And my facebook page.
And my twitter page.
And some hugs.

Thanks!
Close [X]

Long Island, New York


Close [X]

name his website like jigga

jigga is another name for Jay-Z, who produced the original Blueprint in 2001
"[killas] make the same shit, me I make the Blueprint," from "on to the next one"

Close [X]

all because two years ago, he learned the meaning
of “freaks and geeks,”

seriously. see this email dated 3/18/11:

Close [X]

not only rappin stuff

rap is only a fraction of the equation. I'm incredibly excited for the content on the Genius platform to grow far beyond music.

Close [X]

but literature, history, poetry stuff.

As Notorious B.I.G. discovered years ago, there are pretty much no words that rhyme with stuff

Close [X]

he learned a little of what design was about

I taught myself how to design and build front-end on my own over the last few years and have continued growing without any formal "training"

Close [X]

built some stuff that paved a route

I'd say that each step in my journey as a designer and learner in general brought me, in some part, to my desire to work with RG

Close [X]

rap genius wasn't just rap,

My interest in RG as a consumer came with the rap critiques, but when I noticed the growth beyond that single dimension of content, I knew it was something I wanted to help grow.

Close [X]

they’re trying to annotate everything,


Close [X]

I couldn't not bother.

honestly, I think you guys could accomplish something special in making knowledge more accessible, and I think I could help in an awesome way to help build that future and make it a reality

Close [X]

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years learning how to design products

LOOK AT ME GO:

Close [X]

more users, more diverse content, and more use cases


Close [X]

consistent user experience and visual identity for new and existing users alike

These guys do a good job

Close [X]

navigation interface,


Close [X]

content delivery.

I've never once used the phrase, "what can brown do for you?" but it's fitting here

Close [X]

why I made the decisions I did in the design.

I also created a black version of the design in keeping with current aesthetic, also visible here.

Close [X]

eventual arms,


Close [X]

when lines are drawn between content of one family into another (“99 Problems” into Law Genius, for example).

Jigga man makes a ton of references to the law, and this happens a lot in rap. Just one example of how different branches of the eventual Genius sites could tie together.

Mahbod once said something like, "everything is hip hop, if you think about it." I'm...thinking about it.

Close [X]

politicians


Close [X]

poets

william carlos williams is a poet:

Close [X]

help bring those communities together

  1. through meetups, conferences, livestreaming conversations,
  2. campaigns to engage the different Genius communities and get them to interact with one another
  3. featuring superstar users or explanations,
  4. publishing books or merchandising explanations in a creative way, and
  5. building an API to give the developers in the community access to data to create cool products with RG content

Close [X]

create dynamic interaction across communities.

Comedians + Spiritual leaders uniting:

Close [X]

I can break down and recite lyrics to any Kanye


Close [X]

I don’t consider myself a rap genius.


Close [X]

To get our generation to learn and understand Shakespeare, Dickens, or what Obama’s always talking about, the content needs to be approachable but not watered down.

I barely understand any of these things. I actually want Rap Genius for myself, even if no one else reads those explanations.

Close [X]

sugarcoats vegetables and saves the nutrients

Apples aren't vegetables, but these are DELICIOUS.

Close [X]

sexy back

referencing a little known artist by the name of Justin Timberlake.

This is also a reference to Justin's line from "Bye Bye Bye": "It's gonna be May," when I'm graduating from Penn + would be ready to join the RG team if welcomed.

Close [X]

degenerates alike

I was voted School Sleepyhead in high school.

...and Most Likely to Change the World.

Close [X]

five primary colours

False. There are three primary colors.

Close [X]

— The Art of War, Sun Tzu

I was actually raised a Jain and learned that nonviolence is the best policy, so this reference is a little ironic
Hipsters dig irony

Close [X]

In the last few years, I’ve --

This is Ankit's last chance at seeming impressive to his potential employer, so he makes a list of other cool things that have little to do with the job.

Close [X]

researched stem cells and built vascular grafts,

I spent a summer at Yale working with science geniuses to save babies with congenital heart defects. All the RG founders went to Yale. It's like a match made in heaven.

Close [X]

expanded a social impact program at Penn to help smart kids realize they could change the world,

the Wharton Program for Social Impact had some resources they wanted to use to change the world. I worked with the Social Entrepreneurship Movement at Penn to convince them that Wharton should put the responsibility in our hands to do the work for them.

Close [X]

crafted a full fledged online marketing campaign and branding initiative, #BLOCKFRIDAY, for Holstee

You might be familiar. I'm talking about the guys that created this thing:

Close [X]

lived in a village that has never seen an American for three months, built a school and health program for 50 kids that’s been running for two years,

I didn't really know what I was doing, but I used what resources I had, raised buckets of money from people who read my blog and now these kids are looking fresh, feeling great, and growing up smart. And it's still growing. Awesome? Awesome.

Close [X]

ran a few half marathons,

I like finding reasons to talk about running. It's one of the few things I can say I'm good at without having to build a website to prove it.

Close [X]

Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week.

There's little I don't think I can learn very quickly if I were required or wanted to. I have a thing for habits and Pareto's Principle (20% work -> 80% results).

If RG needed me to pick up new skills to build something or execute on a new project, I'd be good about ensuring I had the chops to do it if I didn't already.

Close [X]

Almost all of that is irrelevant to RG, but in expansion, perspective and understanding of different communities and how people who have varied passions live and learn will be helpful in growing RG beyond hip hop lovers.

And then he argues that they are relevant to the job after noting that they are irrelevant to the job.
(But really, I do think they would make me a stronger asset to the team)

Close [X]

My work is my playtime.

Ankit has fun when working! He's sure that this would make other people at the RG office happy too.

Close [X]

Helps me learn faster.

Ankit sometimes thinks he's like Jay-Z and often cites the line, 'Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week," although he does not sell kilos of coke.
Also, there is pretty much nothing he doesn't think he can learn very quickly if he was required to. He has a thing for habits and Pareto's Principle.

Close [X]

Too many Urkels on your team, that’s why your wins’ low.

A one dimensional candidate who may be incredible at something but has little breadth of character would probably be less successful and, over time, less flexible, than I would

Close [X]

In my extensive experience as a human being

Ankit is 21. He sometimes uses sarcasm but is afraid that people don't get it.

Close [X]

The Dark Knight series on repeat

If he doesn't think he's Jay-Z, Ankit thinks he's Bruce Wayne. Watching the movies gets him in the zone.

Close [X]

dancing weekly

The girls love it. Obviously.

Close [X]

my life beyond design and work give me more to work with when I'm back at the drawing board.

There's gotta be some constellations here somewhere.

Close [X]

number...

646 339 7020

Close [X]

email address

Close [X]

facebook page

Close [X]

twitter page

Close [X]

some hugs


Close [X]

Thanks!

No really though. Thank you so much for even taking the time to look through this. It means the world to me, and there's few things that would make me happier than to have the chance to join your team once college is over. The greater mission of RG is one that I resonate with strongly, and I would pick up whatever I needed to to help continue the trajectory it's looking at and turn it into a reality.

And for anyone that's not part of RG and looking at this -- I'm sure you hold your time in high regard. That you would spend an inkling of it with me (kind of) is amazing. In the words of Jay-Z, "You could be anywhere in the world, but you're here with me, and I appreciate that" (H to the Izzo, obviously).

WHO?
I'm 21 years young and currently finishing up senior year at UPenn with a major in Marketing and Operations after taking a semester off to spend time in India, Europe, and work in branding and marketing at Holstee. Some of my past work can be seen here.
MORE FROM ANKIT SHAH