"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Curiosity (,s)kills (and) bad testers

Jon Bach ( brother of James Bach ) said, "It's easy to teach technology than to make the students curious" addressing students of a reputed university in United States.

I addressed Masters and PhD students who made into India's premier institute - Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai because they were more curious than others who prepared for the entrance examinations. The people to whom I spoke were also a part of incubatee company Feast Software in IIT, Mumbai. While returning to Bangalore from Mumbai, I had to spend a night in the airport waiting for the early morning flight.

Michael Bolton, had gifted me a Moleskine Note Book during our first meet and in fact Moleskine notes is something that pulled me and Michael together, more close, even before we had met.

I use the Moleskine Notes - to take notes while I test, to use my time wisely in writing something that can help me do a better testing, to capture all learning that nature has bestowed, to note down points, rants, musings, tips and tricks from testers and testing business guru's I meet.

I offered an Indian version of Moleskine to my student Sathish Kumar, who is a top blogger on testing in Cognizant Technology Solutions internal blogs.

The Moleskine notes had a busy time at airport while I kept thinking and writing a lot of stuff. One such topic that I thought, wondered and wrote is:

What has made me curious about things I hear, I see, I touch and things that I want to see, I want to hear and want to touch?

  1. In my childhood, my parents couldn't afford to get me things I wanted and it made me curious to know more about those things when I saw others using it or the ad's associated with it flashed on Television.
  2. I was forced to feel ashamed of not knowing certain things by my primary and high school teachers. I could have learned it as the information passed me.
  3. Some men appeared to be happy of knowing certain things. I wondered what kind of happiness do such men get when they gain the knowledge on something that interested them.
  4. Some people ate a food that appeared to be attractive to my tongue and brains, which I could not afford.
  5. A friend of mine claimed to enjoy something ( a toy, an experience at a theme park, a game that he played, a place to which he had been) which I could not because I could not afford it or I was not willing to go for it.
  6. Every time when I look back at my own actions, behavior, decisions, foolish stuff that I did... I wonder "why did I do that?".
  7. I couldn't be in all professions and hence learning from people in other professions interested me.
  8. I was a kid 2 decades ago. ( virtue of being curious )
  9. Sometimes I didn't have anything to do and became curious about 'what happens next?'.
  10. Knowing people, like Sir Thomas Alva Edison, my father - Soundararajan Govinda Rao, James Bach, Jerry Weinberg, Michael Bolton, Sridhar Krishnamurthy, Ravi Joshi, Sudhindra Haldodedri inspired me to think, "how could I become one such?"
  11. I was fooled, several times.
  12. I was christened "dumbo" in my teenage by my friends and high school teachers.
  13. My happiness was directly proportional to the things I knew.
  14. I enjoyed breaking rules. ( at home, school and at work - when I am testing )
  15. I always wanted to be the best (but didn't believe in getting 1st rank in school and college as the way to achieve it)
  16. I enjoyed failures and started enjoying more of it when people wondered and asked me "what makes you smile when you fail?"
  17. Since childhood, I was in love with questions.
  18. I enjoyed others curiosity.
  19. My father made me wait for over 20 years to appreciate any work that I did. ( although I could sense that he felt happy every time I shared a little achievement ). I was curious to get it out from him and the only way is to do something great that he volunteers an appreciation. I wasn't aware of what he might consider as a great work.
  20. My uncle N. Radhakrishnan, with whom I spent most of my childhood, kept inspiring me with the ways he solved problems that appeared in front of him. Today I realize, where I started off to learn "lateral thinking" .
  21. James Bach and Michael Bolton tested me against their exercises.
  22. I am curious to know what points I might have missed while listing this for you.
I doubt if you can show me a great tester who isn't curious about things but I can take a bet - "show me a bad tester, I shall help you discover a lack of curiosity in him". [ he might be curious on something else that doesn't help in testing]

Curiosity makes people to ask questions. Those who question, have more chances to become a better tester or be great problems solvers in the professions they chose.

Ben Simo, a senior tester from United States is one among the most curious people I have recently come across. You could see him write, think and comment on different and wide variety of topics in testing.

"If you are curious, you attract other curious people and hence both of your curiosity grows further". Ben and I have been attracted towards each other's work, blogs, ideas and thought process. Aren't you curious to know more about Ben Simo?

Curiosity helps in curing all diseases that stop you in becoming a good tester. Be curious, get cured!

-- Pradeep Soundararajan - http://testertested.blogspot.com - +91-98451-76817 - pradeep.srajan@gmail.com

"Pradeep's first language is not English--his first language appears to be testing." -- Michael Bolton


Anonymous said...

Pradeep, U have created gr8 curiousity through ur blog and this arctile makes me more curious about me (as a tester).

I will say one thing from heart OK...there is so much u are learning and not many are sharing like you and you write in good way. i like all and touch me directly. God bless you!

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@ One of the Indian tester,

Thanks for the comment. I must admit that this post too had grammatical mistakes that I cleared after a day of posting.

I am happy to know that you enjoy and learn from the posts and I re-iterate that I take a couple of hours for one post and my curiosity makes me question "Is this post good enough?"

God certainly has been blessing me with readers like you.

Anonymous said...

I doubt if you can show me a great tester who isn't curious about things but I can take a bet - "show me a bad tester, I shall help you discover a lack of curiosity in him". [ he might be curious on something else that doesn't help in testing]


Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep, I came across your blog recently. I must admit that your posts makes me come back to your blog again and again couple of times in a month.

I enjoy reading your posts, keep up the good work. All the best!

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Thank you!

@ Ganesh,

Thank you for coming back. I'd be more grateful to you if you also make your friends and acquaintances to also come here.

Ben Simo said...

Great stuff Pradeep. I think it was Voltaire that said we should measure a man by his questions, not his answers. Curiosity that leads to questions is essential for good testing.

A great thinker has some great things to say about curiosity.

* "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."

* “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

* "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality."

Who was this thinker? Albert Einstein

Great testers are great thinkers. Great thinkers are curious. If they weren't they wouldn't be asking the questions that lead them to think and they would not be thinking the thoughts that lead them to question.

Great testing is not driven by process and tools. Great testing is driven by curiosity-driven thought.

Great testers are passionately curious in spite of their education as the examine and question the structure of what they test.

Ben Simo

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Ben Simo,

Thanks for sharing wonderful stuff.

Thomas Alva Edison used his colleagues beard hair as a filament while experimenting with the bulb and I am sure he must have been a very curious person to do that.

I suggest all people to watch the movie "Edison - The Man". This movie changed my life downside up!
( http://www.amazon.com/Edison-Man-Spencer-Tracy/dp/6302208912)

It was during 1996,when I was considered to be dumb by more than half of the people I knew that this movie "Edison - The Man" was aired in TNT Movies midnight 2 AM IST. My dad woke me up and insisted that I see this movie. I saw the movie and at the end, I cried. I now realize why I cried - I was born again and now I am just a 11 year old kid!

There are several re-birth stories that I have had, which makes me a kid always and hence as kids have a virtue of being curious, here I am... one of the most curious tester.

Hey look! Ben made me curious about Voltaire :). I think I am going to cry again ;-)

Anonymous said...


Yesterday I was curious: What happened to Pradeep, he did not write anything for some time now. Perhaps I should email him and ask how he is doing.

Then I came here, and saw this :).

Again, nice work.

Good luck,

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I too was curious why isn't Victor commenting on my previous post and then wrote a post to make him curious enough to add a comment :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Pradeep,

I have a little story to share about curiosity. It is about a 7-8 year kid. One day his dad had bought a new table fan to beat the scorching summer heat! As a kid it was a new thing for the kid and made him curious. He was wondering how the blades almost disappear (!) once they start the fan! However, he could not investigate more into it as he was strictly warned NOT to go near the fan.

But the kid was so excited to know the secret of the disappearing blades that the very same afternoon, when everybody else were taking a nap, stealthily he went near the fan. It was ON and the blades were almost invisible! In an attempt to check (test!) if the blades had actually disappeared he inserted a finger through the grill and the rest of the story is a painful memory. :)

Fast Forward 17-18 years: Today when someone (my manager, a colleague, a friend) pats on my back encouraging me for the good work in testing, I can't help looking at the scar on my finger and smile. :)

Thanks for reminding me of an old memory. Happy Testing...

Software Testing Zone

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Awesome! I enjoyed a lot and could not control my laughter and happiness to see you be that curious about things.

However, as you are a matured tester, I expect you to put a mask to cover your face and insert a non living thing into the fan and not your fingers anymore.

Safety is important, especially when you are growing to become a good tester.