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Rebooting PuneTech

Regular readers would have noticed that PuneTech has not been updated in a while. We're are back now.

Allow me a few minutes today to talk at length about the past and future of PuneTech. The executive summary is that PuneTech is coming back with some changes, but hopefully nothing that will change the overall experience significantly. Feel free to skip the the rest of this article – it talks mainly about why the change, and what the changes are going to be.

Basically I (i.e. Navin) had taken an unscheduled break from PuneTech for the last month or so while I was trying to figure out my priorities. In the last 6 months or so, I realized that I had become rather busy with too many different activities and realized that I wasn't doing a good job of many of them, I was always behind on my work, and had started "dropping packets." I realized that this situation could not continue for too long and something needed to be done.

Specifically, as regards PuneTech, this means that I cannot spend as much time on PuneTech as I used to spend earlier. Amit and I have been doing PuneTech for more than 2-1/2 years now. PuneTech has grown in a lot of ways, reaches lots of people, and we've done lots of experiments, some of which failed, but some have succeeded spectacularly. We're proud of what we have achieved, and we will definitely keep it going. However, one of the things that we haven't managed to figure out how to do, is to get other people writing articles regularly for PuneTech. Yes, we've had the occasional guest authors, we've also re-posted from blogs of other Punekars, but that remains the exception. In general, it takes too much of an effort to get someone else to write an article. For me personally, this is one of the biggest problems, because it means that I end up writing most of the articles that appear on PuneTech, and this used to take up a lot of my time. What made me doubly sad was that there are so many interesting stories about companies and people doing tech work in Pune that need to be told – but haven't been told because I don't have the time to write them down. Some of them have been sitting in my head for more than an year, but I haven't managed to get it out because of lack of time.

Regular readers of PuneTech will be aware that PuneTech is a completely non-commercial activity. We don't make any money in any form from PuneTech and we don't intend to. Which meas that we have full-time day jobs and we can only work on PuneTech in our free time – because we love doing so. A corollary of the non-commercial-ness is that we don't spend too much money on PuneTech; that means no hired writers, no hired low-level admin folks, etc. I run the website, Amit runs the PuneTech linked-in group, and we do a lot of meeting people, connecting people, encouraging and helping other activities in the background. All of this happens as and when we get time. And sometimes it doesn't happen at all. Such is life.

So, what's the fix?

I think I can significantly reduce the time I spend on a PuneTech article by essentially making you, the readers, do more work. This is what I'm planning to do:

  • From now on, articles are likely to be much more raw, much less polished. I'll be spending less time re-writing articles, finding spelling mistakes, and structuring the overall flow of the article. I'll pretty much spit out the information I have, or the thoughts I've gathered. So the overall structure of the article is likely to be a little less coherent. But I'm hoping that even in "ex-tempore" mode, I am a good enough writer that the articles will still be good enough for most of the readers. For example, this article has been written in this ad hoc style.
  • Much fewer links and images in articles. In my opinion, inserting hyperlinks to relevant information in articles does add significant value, but takes up a lot of time. So, for now on, I'm not putting links except in a few, necessary cases. For the rest, you'll need to start using google yourself. Sorry. And no more images, in most cases.
  • More quick-n-dirty, one paragraph articles. Often I try to wait until I've gathered enough information about a topic to create a good full-length article. This takes up time, mental bandwidth, and many smaller pieces of information get lost because they never amounted to more than a paragraph. For a while, I'm going to change my tactics and start posting shorter pieces, which have less information content, but are still useful. This will result in an increase in the number of PuneTech posts. I'm hoping to be able to do that without significantly damaging the signal-to-noise ratio of PuneTech. So, the current plan is to try this for a few months and then solicit feedback from the readers as to whether it is an overall positive or a negative. If you get PuneTech via email, then you'll continue to get one email per day, but each email might contain multiple articles – so keep that in mind and scroll down till the bottom of the email before marking it as read. Those following via RSS will see multiple smaller articles showing up during the day (hopefully). If you're not subscribed via email/rss, what's wrong with you? Please subscribe!!
  • The PuneTech wiki is officially deprecated. One of my dreams when I started PuneTech was to create a wiki for tech information about Pune which would be updated by people from the community. However, I never was able to crack that – and the wiki never really took off. Sure, there have been some good pages that we managed to create: like the Pune User Groups and Organizations page, the Top-ranked Websites in Pune page, etc. But those are few and far between. So, the PuneTech wiki, which has anyway crawled along anaemically for a while is now officially put in coma. The wiki will continue to exist, and the existing pages will remain, but we're no longer putting any effort into it. Oh well. One of the experiments which failed.
  • The PuneTech calendar is, we believe, one of the experiments that worked really well, and we'll continue to keep updating it. But it is work, and we would like to ask our readers to help us out here. It would really reduce our workload if you could add events to the upcoming PuneTech page directly. The instructions for adding an event are given on that page, and if you add the event to the PuneTech group (as given in the instructions), it will automatically show up in the PuneTech calendar. (Yes, we know that the calendar has not really been updated in a while, but we'll hopefully fix that in a few days…)

That's all for now. Let the experiment begin. If you have any suggestions, or other feedback, please let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

5 responses to Rebooting PuneTech

  1. Ruchika says:

    I think its a good idea to go brief but more regular. PuneTech has been doing a great job updating everyone with entrepreneurship and tech in Pune. Have always come across interesting startups through you. Hope this works out for you!

  2. Mukul Kumar says:

    Hey Navin – this is a good idea. Let me know if you need help.

    Mukul.

    • navin says:

      @Mukul, Thanks!

      You can start by writing a series of technical articles on the most interesting technical challenges you had to overcome for Pubmatic, and also a 50000-feet overview of the algorithms that go into doing what Pubmatic is doing. :-)

  3. Hi Navin,

    I could see this coming. It is not fair to expect you to take all the load while all enjoy the fruits of the toil equally.

    I feel that your article is a step in the right direction. If people –and that includes me– do not like what they see (unpolished articles), then someone will emerge and offer a helping hand.

    On behalf of the punetech community, I must say that we appreciate that you are not totally shrugging it off your shoulders (because that would kill it). You are merely saying that you would continue to do what you have been doing, but without a lot of polishing or fine-tuning. That should be perfectly fine, until more people offer a helping hand.

    I hereby commit to write at least a couple of articles for PuneTech –to start with, as you have identified that as a pain area.

    Wish you all the best for putting together your activities. Give me a shout if I could help.

    /Ashish

  4. Amit Karpe says:

    Hi Navin,
    Please continue the work you are doing for http://punetech.com/. This site have great potential to become magazine/physical news letter. Which is far better & relevant for wider audience. Please delegate few task to PuneTech volunteers. Also you can ask me to do low-level admin tasks.

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