Showing posts from 2012

Crime in India

It was bound to happen at some point of time - the tragic rape of the girl and the bungling of the case by the police and the administration with the politicians non-committal and making stupid remarks about women leading to public anger. The problem is not with the law. There is no point in getting the death penalty for rape - the reason being that if the death penalty comes in then there will be more ambiguity added to the law such as "rarest of rare cases" with additional procedures such as getting a presidential assent and so on. Thus never bringing a case to an end. What we need is a strong police and administration that is fair, thorough and decisive in their action against the culprits. We need the perpetrators of the crime arrested quickly and convicted as quickly so that they are scared that in no time they will pay for their crime. Its the fear of facing the punishment that will reduce crime. Having a punishment which has no way of being implemented because the

60 seconds on the internet

Ever wondered what happens on the internet every minute? This picture gives that view so clearly. The amount of information that gets created is just incredible. Its also getting easier to find information we are looking for with a lot of specialized sites for curating the data. It is also easy now to reach out and ask people for solutions and its fantastic how random people from around the world are so enthusiastic to help out.

Online Learning

Online learning has never been more exciting than it is now. There are so many wonderful free resources out there for online learning but there are 2 specific resources that I have tried out in the last three months that I would like to talk about which I think are really amazing. The first one is Venture Lab and the other is The Khan Academy . I spoke about The Khan Academy a long time ago in this post . But a lot has changed since then. They have applied the concepts of gamification to it along with a learning path. This gives a logical path for the student to watch the videos and do the exercises and as you do the exercises and watch the videos you earn leaves and badges that keeps you motivated to continue learning. I was listening to a podcast where they were talking about how this is changing the teaching paradigms in many schools where what used to be homework is now done in the class and what used to be taught in classes is now being given as homework. How is this acc

Mindless Killing : Need for gun control

The debate around gun control has been going on for some time now but I think the US has reached a point where they have to take some hard and tough decisions around gun control. The second amendment gives the person the right to carry arms but it was written more than 200 years ago when weapons were not as lethal and accurate as they are these days. These weapons can discharge 100s of bullets in a matter of seconds with deadly accuracy and cause maximum damage in a very short while which was demonstrated in such a brutal manner in the killing of 20 innocent children. Its time to take serious decisive action against assault weapons that can discharge large number of bullets in a short time.

15 Reasons why attend Startup Weekend

Here are my 15 reasons why every person who wants to be an entrepreneur has to attend startup weekend especially if they are planning to startup in the technology space.  Get to evaluate and try out your product idea in a risk free manner. If you have an idea and don't know if it will work you can come to the event and pitch it - if you get enough votes probably there is some credibility to your idea. Connect and network with developers and marketing and business professionals who can possibly work with you in the future. You can evaluate their skills over 54 hours in the toughest circumstances and find the right person who you can work with.  Get to meet mentors and spend 1 on 1 quality time with them when in real life trying to get even a few minutes of their time is very hard. They will help you fine tune your idea even further. Ability to brainstorm with experienced professionals and fine tune your idea to something that can be taken to market. Learn how to pitch and sel

Startup Funerals

I went for a very interesting event today and its called Startup Funerals . I was surprised at the size of the audience that made it to the event and that stayed all through the event. The event had a very simple format of networking and a few speakers talking about their experiences. The event focused on startups that did not succeed, in other words they failed or they gave up. The idea of the event was to share the learning from these startups with the rest of the community.  The speakers were a couple of Hyderabad Angels who shared their experiences with the audience but the stand out speaker was K.Ramakrishna who gave a chronological history about his experiences through his entrepreneurial journey and he very openly explained about the reasons why the startups he tried out did not work out. There are not many who are very open like this about their failures. So its wonderful to see people starting to open up and explain what went wrong so that no one else makes the same mista

Galaxy S + Windows 8

Getting my Galaxy S phone connected to Windows 8 laptop has really ruined my weekend. Usually I just connect my Galaxy S phone to my laptop and it all works fine with the device showing up in Windows Explorer but after installing Windows 8 on my laptop I try it and nothing happens. So I turn to my best friend in need "Google". After Googling for a bit I ended up with some interesting solutions 1. Reinstall some drivers - Did not work. Told me all my drivers were upto date. 2. Change some registry values - could not find the values to change. 3. Open the config file of Kies (software used to connect the Samsung phone to the desktop) and make some changes in it. Could not save the changes as some program or the other was using it. 4. Finally found a blogpost on the Samsung asking me to install Kies Mini which is another version of Kies and some operators of Samsung specifically block the phone from connecting to Kies. Its easy to find content on Google if one is patient

Windows 8 and Office 2013

About 3 weeks ago I took the plunge to install Windows 8 and office 2013 on my 4 year old laptop that was crawling. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the frustration of my laptop just not responding to me. Now I don't regret that decision at all. My laptop has got a new lease of life. Its much faster and very responsive, the UI looks modern and sleek and all the software that I had on my Windows 7 OS works like a charm. I did not do an upgrade, I did a complete rebuild of my laptop with Windows 8. So that kind of cleaned out 4 years of junk that I had accumulated and I started off with a clean machine. The whole transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 including backup and restore of my data and installing all the applications I needed took me less than half a day. This is my fastest OS build ever since I started using Windows since way back in 1992. What do I like about Windows 8 1. As mentioned already its fast and responsive. All the applications open so much more

Economic Times Article


Global Startup Battle - 2012

We finally managed to get the Global Startup Battle of Startup Weekend to Hyderabad in 2012. The Global Startup Battle is 138 Startup Weekends happening across the world on two consecutive weekends where the winner from each of the startup weekends gets to upload a video which is open to a global voting. The top 15 teams in the voting get into a semifinal and finally the winner gets a trip to Rio and the Google office in the US along with a lot of other goodies. Since we were time constrained in organizing the event we had less than a month to plan for it and also it happened to be right in the middle of the holiday season and exam season in Hyderabad tickets were hard to sell. We finally managed to sell about 60 tickets with a lot of enthusiastic and excited participants making it down to the Progress office at Madhapur on Friday evening. The event started off with the surprise visit of the Hyderabad Angels who had an open Q and A session with the participants. After that we had

Build your brand and assets

Right from the beginning it is important for every startup to think about how they are going to build up the brands and the assets of the organization. If the organization starts up doing software products then this is a lot easier, but if the organization starts up by doing software services then this might seem very hard but it is important that a framework is put in place to capture and grow every asset the company is building over time. People come and go in an organization the only thing constant are the brands and the assets the company builds over time. The organization even if it is in the software services space should always think about how they are going to add to these assets because it is these assets that in the long run will build value for the organization. Building skills in the people working in the organization does not work in the long run, one cannot stop them from leaving the organization and when they leave, the knowledge that they gained which is the asset t

Beginners don’t have baggage

We have been hiring and time and time again I have come to realize that it is a lot easier to hire smart bright freshers and train them rather than hiring experienced developers. The problem with hiring freshers from databases such as Naukri and Monster is that there are a lot of profiles there that are put up by consultants who fill up the profile with fake projects and experience and it wastes a lot of your time filtering this out. What are the advantages of hiring a fresher 1. They come with no preconceived thoughts of what they want to do. They have an open mind and are willing to take up any kind of tasks. 2. They are open to listening and adopting to the company culture. They fit into the way the company works and functions a lot easier and faster. 3. They enjoy and appreciate everything that is given to them. There are no comparisons made. 4. They stay much longer in the organization and they are much more loyal. 5. They are easier to hire as all you need to judge their

6 Challenges Techies have while selling

Techies love building products but then they find there are a lot of challenges in going out into the market and selling them. Being a techie myself and now playing a sales role I completely understand these challenges. Challenge 1 : Anything can be built When a sales call is made and the client states a requirement that is not present in the product, the sales person immediately puts on his techie hat trying to figure out how to build that rather than concentrating on selling the product. Very quickly the discussion changes from a sales discussion to a technical implementation discussion. Challenge 2 : Lead evaluation Techies find it hard to evaluate the lead. They find it hard to differentiate between a hot lead and a cold lead. For the techie they believe that every customer is a hot lead and they need to satisfy it because that gives them more work to do. Challenge 3 : Does not accept that the sale is not going to happen Since techies believe that everything is possible for t

Power of intuition and experiential wisdom

In his autobiography Steve Jobs said "The people in the Indian countryside don't use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That's had a big impact on my work," Jobs later recalled to Walter Issacson, the biographer. We see this in everyday life - the Indian intuition. If you observe how traffic moves on Indian roads it looks chaotic and crazy. It looks like everyone is going to crash into one another and we are going to have one big crazy pile up. But we defy reality - there is a method in the madness, there is an implicit understanding between the drivers and pedestrians of what each one is going to do next. Before you drive on Indian roads you have this feeling that its impossible to drive and that you will probably kill a million people if you drive. Hence there is a deep reluctance to

Startup Weekend : From Participant to Organizer

The last one year has been a very exciting year for me in terms of learning and growing. In September 2011 I signed up as a participant for Startup Weekend the first time it was conducted in Hyderabad and since then I have volunteered at Startup Weekend events in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and have become an organizer at Startup Weekend Hyderabad and we are about to conduct the third event in the city which is going to be part of the Global Startup Battle. What is it about Startup Weekend?  It all starts off with the event itself - the event is in a format that facilitates one to learn in multiple levels. One learns from the speakers, getting inspired by them from what they have achieved and then from the mentors who guide and advice the participants until their ideas start to make good business sense and finally the participants who come from very diverse backgrounds with whom relationships form that carry on well past the event. The event itself is very unstructured with a gre

Engineering education in Andhra Pradesh

Way back in 1993 when I wrote EAMCET, the common entrance test for engineering one was considered brilliant if they managed to get a seat. In that year there were less than 9000 engineering seats and it was easier to get a seat in Karnataka than it was to get one in AP, but the colleges in AP were much more popular and better and everyone wanted a seat here. Fast forward to 2012, there are 340000 engineering seats and the funny part is that not more than 220000 write the entrance exams for these seats thus making the entrance exam just a farce as anyone who wants to get a seat will get one irrespective of the marks they get in the exam. Let us look how the increase of seats has been through the years Year   No. of colleges No. of seats Vacant Seats 1994 – 1995 32 9335 0 1995 – 1996 37 10155 0 1996 – 1997 37 10455 0 1997 – 1998 57 14155 0 1998 – 1999 89 19773 0 1999 – 2000 102

Programmers are getting younger and younger

I came across this TED talk today by Thomas Suarez, a 12-year-old app developer that develops apps for the ipod, ipad and iphone. In Startup Weekend Delhi I met with Evan Luthra who describes himself as a Student, President, CEO, Founder, Director, Keynote Speaker, Blogger & More. Evan is just 17 years old and he has his own company that designs and sells apps. We are seeing more and more students starting to challenge the status quo. They are challenging the tried and tested way of the 10+2+4 or the 10+2+3+3 education system. There is a lot of encouragement that they get to pursue their passions. There is so much information out there to help them learn quickly. I was born and brought up in a small town in the coastal area of Andhra Pradesh and had my first taste of computers when I was 14 years old, courtesy my school. The school, bought 2 computers to teach Computer Science as part of the ICSE syllabus that had just introduced the subject as an optional subject for th

Small victories > Big encouragement

As an entrepreneur one always goes through ups and downs and there are times you second guess yourself and wonder if you are really doing the right thing. There are little things that happen that boost your confidence and give you big time encouragement to forge ahead. These are small triumphs that give you this new energy to forge ahead. What I find important is to be able to break down things so that one can achieve these small victories that provide validation for what one is doing that gives you the motivation to keep going. A task not broken down keeps going on for a long time and looks so intimidating that it becomes very hard to keep one motivated right through the entire task.

Product Definition

Many of us are mostly developers for most of our careers and then move into project delivery roles. But very rarely do we have the opportunity to come up with a product idea, build it, market it, sell it and make money. But as an entrepreneur that is what one needs to do and if you can't define products and services and make money consistently it becomes impossible to sustain.  How do we come up with a product or service that a customer is willing to use and pay for it? The key I feel is to have a very clearly defined product or service in "bite sized" portions that are easily consumable by the end customer and provide a satisfaction to the customer that he does not think twice to pay for it and is willing to talk to his friends and family about it. This product or service should be given to the customer in bite sized portions so that he can easily understand and value. It is kind of like a restaurant - I have found that restaurants that have a very simple menu, the

Thoughts from Startup Weekend Delhi

I went back to Delhi after almost 6 years for Startup Weekend Mobile Delhi and it was really a wonderful experience. Delhi as a city has changed quite a bit for the better - for starters I am super impressed with the metro, it is very convenient, nominally priced and well connected. It was very easy to go around the city on the metro. The broad roads and the flyovers around the city was a very welcome change from Bangalore and Hyderabad where there are so many traffic bottle necks. The event by itself was very exciting in Delhi. There is a stark contrast between the same event in Hyderabad and Bangalore and some of those differences are We had only one round of pitches for ideas in Delhi and got close to 70 ideas. In Hyderabad and Bangalore we got through at least 3 rounds of pitches to get the same number of ideas. The participants in all the 3 cities was just about the same. The number of actual demoable products presented on the 3rd day was a lot more with almost every team

Ramoji Film City

An aerial view of the property After more than 12 years I went back to Ramoji Film City. It has not changed too much over the last decade or so but it has surely maintained what was there on my last visit. One is not allowed to take their cars into the premises unless you are staying there. There are two hotels inside - Tara and Sitara. I stayed in Tara 12 years ago and it is a pricey basic hotel. Tickets The tickets are one fixed price for entry and for all the shows inside - Rs. 500 for children and Rs. 600 for the adults. The ticket is valid for the full day. The ticket includes entry,  a tour of Ramoji Film City, 3 shows - a variety show at the dome theater, spirit of Ramoji show and the cow boy stunt show, a few rides are complimentary and then the children's park which has things like a play area and rain dance. The shows Set where the action cowboy scene happens The shows are at fixed timings and each show is about 15 minutes long. So plan your day accordingl

SWHYD - 2 : 54 hours of blended productivity

From winner at the last Startup Weekend at Hyderabad , to volunteer at Startup Weekend at Mumbai to Organizer at Startup Weekend at Hyderabad in the second edition - I have in the sense been through the process of moving from the front to the back of Startup Weekend over the last 1 year and what an amazing journey it has been. The experience as a participant is of complete focus on achieving the goal of building something over the weekend, molded into shape by talking to the mentors and having it validated through market surveys and interviews. As a volunteer there is so much to learn in organizing an event and understanding all the nuts and bolts that go into putting together this weekend of learning an fun. Being an organizer makes it all so worthwhile to have so many different individuals come together over a weekend and build bonds that last a lifetime and probably even create products that may go on to become the next big company. The quality of the learning through action over

Why attend Startup Weekend Hyderabad?

Startup Weekend Hyderabad is back - bigger and better this time at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad from the 13-15 of July. For those that are not familiar with Startup Weekend - read my post when I attended the last event as a participant. Watch this video preview of what happened in the last event Why attend Startup Weekend?  Startup Weekend is an event where ideas that have been nagging you for a long long time can be tried out and evaluated. Come to the event pitch your idea, if you get enough votes for it - the idea is immediately validated. For people who have a clear idea on what they want to do but dont have the team to execute it - Startup Weekend is the perfect place to seed this team. You get to work with your team for a full 54 hours in a very exciting and focused manner - giving you a great insight into your future team. The event is the perfect place to help fine tune the idea with many experts who have started and exited many startups suc

50 Programs for software engineers looking for jobs

Loops and Variables Write a program to swap two numbers without using an additional variable. Solution : Write a program to find the biggest number in n numbers without using arrays. Solution : Write a program to find the second biggest number in n numbers without using arrays. Write a program to find the smallest number in n numbers without using arrays. Write a program to find out m * n without using the * operator. Write a program to find out m / n without using the / operator. Write a program to find out m ^ n without using the ^ operator. Write a program to find out m % n without using the % operator. Write a program to find out the average of n numbers. Convert a number in String format to integer - Number entered as "1234" should come as 1234 and "1234a" should come as an error. Write a program to find the factorial of a number. Write a program to find out 1+2+3+4+...+n Write a program that sums up the digits of a number until it i