Monthly Archives: December 2008

Win two entry passes to Innovations 2009 – PuneTech Exclusive

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Update: Yogesh Pathak and Ravi are the winners. Congratulations, instructions have been sent to you by email.

Innovations 2009Every year, the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association of Pune holds their flagship event, Innovations, which showcases 16 of the most interesting innovations from across India. This year, Innovations 2009, will he held on January 10 and 11 from 9am to 6:30pm at the Dewang Mehta auditorium, Persistent Systems.

PuneTech has teamed up with IITBAA to give two of our readers a chance to win free delegate passes, which would otherwise cost you Rs. 1000 each. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post as to why you would like to attend Innovations, and how you expect to benefit from attending. (If you are a blogger, and would like to send some google juice our way, blog about this, and link to this post. Your trackback/pingback appearing in the comments sections will be considered an entry into this contest.) The two most interesting responses, as determined by the IITBAA executive committee in consultation with PuneTech editors will get one free entry pass each. Contest ends on Monday, 5th January, midnight (Indian time).

What to expect at Innovations 2009

Innovations 2009 will be a two day event

Day 1 will start with keynote speech, followed by 16 fast-paced presentations by the innovators, a visit to the exhibits, and Q&A with all the innovators. In the evening, there will be a networking dinner for innovators with special invitees.

Day 2 will be an i2i (Innovation to IPO) Workshop. i2i is a concentrated learning capsule of 4-5 hours on the vital aspects of starting a new enterprise. The innovators and would be entrepreneurs are exposed to ‘how to’ – create a business plan, explore funding options, create a go to market strategy, deal with legal/regulatory aspects and more. Renowned experts from diverse fields share their experiences & expertise in 45 min sessions (3-4 of such sessions are planned) and help innovators create their own roadmap to success.

Why we think you should attend

Amit Paranjape, primary advisor to PuneTech, has attended the last two Innovations events, is a fan of this event and the reason why we talked the IITBAA into running this contest for our readers. Both of us (i.e. Amit and Navin) are attending Innovations (with our own money). We this this will be a great place to meet a whole lot of very interesting people from the startup ecosystem in India (although, technically, Innovations is not limited just to startups – even innovations in big companies are eligible.)

The innovations website gives these reasons for why you should attend.

Approximately 350 invitees consisting of VC’s, bankers, corporate executives, academicians, scientists, media, and other professionals are expected to attend this event. The organizers believe that there are a number of reasons why an invitee will be compelled to attend such an event. They are:

  • Meet multiple innovators to learn about what it took to put the innovation in practice. The attendees will acquire an interdisciplinary perspective on the process of innovation and on how to pitch an innovation.
  • Listen to an industry leader’s perspective on the process of innovation.
  • Have one-on-one sessions  at the exhibits and set up subsequent dialogs. The exhibition  booths will highlight  the key aspects of each innovation. The organizers expect that individuals closest to the innovations presented are available to interact with the attendees.

So try to come up with different reasons as to why you want to attend – maybe something specific to what you want to get out of this event. If you’ve attended this event in the past and have interesting stories to share, you would have an unfair advantage. So be it – life is unfair.

And let your friends know. PuneTech is a free, non-commercial, for the community and by the community site which depends only upon word-of-mouth advertising.

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Govt. of India’s Technopreneur Promotion Programme

Yesterday, Dr. A.S. Rao, of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) was in Pune, to meet with innovators of Pune and talk to them about DSIR’s Technopreneur Promotion Programme. This was immediately after NASSCOM’s innovation awards roadshow (liveblogged by Manas Garg (part 1, part 2)).

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) is a part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and has a mandate to carry out the activities relating to indigenous technology promotion, development, utilization and transfer. The primary endeavour of DSIR is to promote R&D by the industries, support a larger cross section of small and medium industrial units to develop state-of-the art globally competitive technologies of high commercial potential, catalyze faster commercialization of lab-scale R&D, enhance the share of technology intensive exports in overall exports, strengthen industrial consultancy & technology management capabilities and establish user friendly information network to facilitate scientific and industrial research in the country.

The Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP) TePP along with its network partners provide grants, technical guidance and mentoring to independent innovators to emerge as entrepreneurs by incubating their idea and enterprise in two phases. Till date 250 innovations have been supported. Proposals are now invited on for support in the year 2008-09.

PuneTechies Amit Paranjape (of PuneTech!) and Unmesh Mayekar (of SadakMap) who attended the event sent in the following notes of the meeting for the benefit of PuneTech readers.

Amit writes:

TEPP Program can provide grants upto Rs. 60 Lakhs to entrepreneurs. Note these are ‘grants’. For further details on the application process and other details, please checkout the following website:

Also checkout Dr. Rao’s blog that contains a lot of other relevant information regarding the TEPP program.

The TEPP Program does not directly cover software companies (All companies that develop some ‘hardware’ are covered). An exception is made in case of software companies in the ‘Security’ area.

However, TEPP/allied programs can help software entrepreneurs in patents/copyright protection related expenses, upto Rs. 15 Lakhs.

Unmesh adds:

  • Rs. 60 lakhs is given in 2 phases of 15 and 45 (the second phase funds becoming available if the first phase is successful)
  • The process takes from 3 to 6 months. It takes time to prepare the application for the grant. The acceptance rate is low.
  • It helps to have patents. The IP stays with the innovator.
  • There is a students entrepreneur program that funds upto Rs. 75000 for projects.
  • Other tidbits:

Moral of the story: If you are an innovative entrepreneur, check out the TePP. And if you are attending some tech event in Pune, please take notes and send it to us, for the benefit of the larger community.

Nickhil Jakatdar’s advice for entrepreneurs

Last Saturday, the Pune OpenCoffee Club invited 4-time entrepreneur Nickhil Jakatdar to give advice to Pune’s entrepreneurs on the DOs and DONTs for startups. Shashikant Kore, co-founder of Pune-based startup has written up this report of the meeting

Chetan Pungalia, co-founder of Kaboodle, introduced Nickhil Jakatdar. The one line introduction was “A guy who sold 3 companies with cumulative valuation of 9-digit (a few hundred million) US dollars.”

Nickhil did his PhD from Berkeley, and around the end of his PhD, he and a friend decided to start a startup – since everybody else was doing so. They went ahead and created a company (paying $2000 to a lawyer by maxing out 4 credit cards) even though they had no idea what they would do.

They toyed with many dotcom ideas for few months, but many of the companies were already working on those ideas. They finally decided to do something in the area they knew extremely well – semicondutors. They decided to convert their PhD thesis in the company. The topic of PhD thesis itself had come to them during their internship. They talked to AMD about the product. The company exec told they might be interested in it. But being an optimistic entrepreneur, they heard it a resounding Yes. They built the prototype in next three months and went back. When asked about the price, they thought they should charge $4,000 as that was the expense they had incurred till then. After listening to contradictory opinions from friends, he decided to put a price tag of $25,000. The thinking behind this approach was to quote high and get a No rather than saying Yes and not knowing if it was underpriced. As it turned out, even $25,000 was a low price and the company asked for two units.

Later, they secured $300k VC funding for the company. But, they decided to stay small and hired only one person in 14 months. This was when other companies were hiring ten employees every week and going public. When the downturn hit, their approach got a nod of respect. Just before the downturn, they did raise another round of $3 million. They hired a professional CEO, with track record of multiple successful startups, to take the company to the next level. Initially, they were very impressed by him, but within six months some of the activities of CEO didn’t come across as clean. He was building his another bigger company of his own while he still was CEO of Timbre. At a board meeting, CEO proposed acquisition of Timbre by his company. The board gave Nickhil choice of either merging with that company and be part of his success, or run on his own with a high chance of bankruptcy. Nickhil had already assembled a team with a promise of being together in success and failure. He decided to run the company on his own as he wanted to face his team without any guilt. At the end of the meeting CEO was out of the company. The lesson here being doing the right thing irrespective of the consequences.

Over next few months, they had a team of 10 at the company with revenues of $300k. Some companies got whiff of Timbre from their customers. They offered to buy Timbre. Nickhil and team declined the offer saying they want to continue on their own. The companies got back saying there must be a price at which he is ready to sell. After a week of thinking they presented their plan – more than $100 million in cash, independence for the company, keeping all the employees, stock options in the company to employees and other terms. Everybody laughed at this proposal. And yet, in the next week, 2 of the 3 companies got back with a Yes and they inked the deal with one of them.

He stayed with the company for next 3 years as he enjoyed working with company. He stayed with the company because every day was exciting. If you are excited about your work in the morning you are at the right place. After 3 years, since he thought he was merely keeping things going instead of innovating, he decide to move.

“Be passionate about what you are doing. The cool-to-do things don’t fly. When you are running a startup, you will hear bad news on 60% of days. If you are passionate, you will face heat and not throw in the towel. If you are not committed, you will be out.”

Nickhil also stressed importance of having big goals. It’s not same as being unrealistic. The worst thing that could happen to your startup is failure. But there is always a job to go back to. He said out of 100 wannpreneurs only 1 starts up. Everbody thinks they have the next idea but very few take the plunge. The ideas are plenty, but it’s the execution that counts. He briefly mentioned about their neighbours, a startup by Stanford graduates. While Timbre was successful, the neighbours were even more successful. That company is Google.

He cited poor execution and poor chemistry in the team as major reason for failures.

On execution front, he suggested that startup should put together a conservative business plan. Since entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic, multiply time to market by two, costs by two and devide the revenue by two. That would be real conservative estimate. A startup has only credibility to talk about. And failure to meet the expectations puts a dent on credibility. So, startup must be able to deliver on its promise.

On building the team with right chemistry, he said hiring early employees is “tricky.” People are good at cracking interviews. Hence interview need to be rigourous to weed out those who are not passionate about the startup. They put together a hiring process to ensure only the people with right attitude are hired. First interview is on phone where Nickhil offers reasons not to join the startup saying its risky and might fail. If the candidate is still interested technical rounds are conducted to check the competence. The third round is a presentation by candidate on a topic of mutual interest. The team attending presentation is diverse so variety of questions are tossed. If the candidate handles the team nicely, he/she is a right fit. The fourth round is introducing candiate to each member of the team to see if anybody spots a red flag. In the final round he offers candiate two options – high salary with low options and low salary with option heavy package. Those who prefer salary are rejected. In one year of running current startup, they don’t have any attrition till the date. That is a proof of their hiring process being strong.

In the Q&A session, a question about his evaluation criteria for various ideas came from audience. He said, all ideas sound great at the beginning and holes appear only after some time. It’s important to have a passionate and committed team.

How did he pitch the VCs was the next question. For latest startup, Vuclip, his pitch consisted of five slides – market size, demo of the product, competitive landspace, their expenses and revenue forecast. On revenue slide he said they will figure out ways to make money. There was an appendix of 15 slides with more data.

How do you convince VC that you can do it better than others? He cited example of Timbre, where two big players were working on the same idea. But, those companies did not want to pursue it aggressively as it would have cannibalized their own product. This conflict of interest meant Timbre would be able to do it better than competition.

About the Author – Shashikant Kore

Shashikant is a co-founder of Pune-based startup Discrete Log Technologies. In the first week of November 2008, they launched their first product, a matrimony search engine. Previously, Shashikant has worked for internet startup Webaroo, and for storage software company Veritas.

Network Security Workshop by “Null” – Dec 21

What: Workshop on Network Security by security awareness group “Null
When: Sunday, 21st December, 10am to 1:30pm
Where: I2IT, Hinjewadi
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all. No registration required.


Null, a Network Security
group, is organizing an event on the 21st of December, 2008 at
International Institute of Information Technology, Hinjewadi, Pune.

The seminars which would be held are as below:




10 AM – 10:30 AM

Introduction to Null
and Network Security

Mr. Aseem Jakhar

10:30 AM – 11:30 PM

Wireless Security

Mr. Rohit

11:30 PM – 12:30 PM

Application Security

Mr. Ajit Hatti

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


Mr. Murtuja

Null is a Network Security community for ethical hackers, security
professionals and security enthusiasts, born out of the need for a centralized
knowledge base in security and the fact that security is treated as an add-on
and ignored many a times. It is a step to move towards immunity from security.

Apart from having fun, we also:

          Share security related knowledge

          Create a disclosure platform

          Design/Develop innovative ideas to combat current threats

          Define a “Must-Have” security knowledge-base for different roles (programmers, QA, admin, end user)

          Spread security awareness

          Organize Meetings/Conferences/Training

For further information:

          Contact: Mr. Aseem Jakhar ( )

          Visit the website:


1. Aseem Jakhar (Founder: NULL security community)
A network security and open source enthusiast (and a system programmer
for living). He has contributed to the development of various security products
and networking/security modules including:

– Firewall
– Regex filters.
– Baysian filters.
– Heuristic filters.
– Genetic Algorithm based score generator for heuristic filters.
– Advanced attachment filters.
– Multicast packet-reflection daemon.
– SMTP engine.
– DNSBL engine.

Aseem is an active speaker at security/open source conferences like Blackhat
Europe 2008, ClubHack 2008, Gnunify 2007. He was also invited to speak at
Inbox/Outbox UK 2008. He is a C|EH from Ec-Council and is actively involved in security research. He has also given security advisories
to various organizations including banks.

2. Murtuja Bharmal (Co-founder – NULL)
Murtuja is a Linux Kernel and Network Security
maniac. Earning livelihood by working as a System Programmer. He has been
contributing in development of various Network Security
like Firewall, VPN, Application Proxies, and Authentication
Modules for the past 5 years. Murtuja is a C|EH from EC-Council, is
actively involved in Security practices, development, consultancy, with
prestigious organizations. He has single handedly developed firewall product
and got it compliant with ICSA-Labs and also has expertise in
customization, security patching and integration of open
source products
like SQUID, IPTables,
VRRP, and OpenSwan.

3. Rohit Srivastwa (Member – NULL)
Founder of ClubHack, has several years experience in providing consultancy and
training in the fields of Information security, Cyber Crime Investigation and Penetration Testing. He
is actively involved advising and teaching several military agencies, law enforcement
personnel, Corporates and Government bodies in these fields

4. Ajit Hatti (Member – NULL)

Ajit Hatti is a “Software Architect &

System Programmer” by profession and “Network Security, Linux Enthusiast”. From last 4 years he has been
contributing in research & development of security products like
IPS/UTM/Mail Security & Network Scanners with various renowned
Organizations. Ajit is also actively contributing in vulnerability research of
various protocol implementations and has been researching on modern techniques
of Fingerprinting & Application/OS detection. Ajit is also associated with
PLUG, CSI, and Ubuntu’s development and testing.

NASSCOM Showcase of Start-up Innovative Companies

What: NASSCOM Innovation Awards 2008 for Startups – Startup showcase and awards function
When: Tuesday, 23rd December, 10am to 3pm
Where: ICC Trade Towers, A Wing, hall no 5. Senapati Bapat Marg
Registration and Fees: This is free for all. No registration required.

Set off in 2004, the NASSCOM Innovation Awards 2008 will mark the fifth edition of the Awards. With several organizations realizing the value of Innovation and actively nurturing it, we are sure that the past year has been one where the Indian IT Industry has broken established precepts with path breaking ideas that have brought value to both its customers and itself. To continue their growth and to attain newer heights, Indian firms need to recognize the importance of “Innovation” for maintaining their competitive edge and driving further growth.

The NASSCOM Innovation Awards, currently in its fifth edition, is a key initiative by NASSCOM to highlight the true innovators in the Indian IT industry. Through this initiative, we hope that the award winners will provide a ‘light house’ effect and further spur the innovation movement in India.

On December 23rd, we will showcase start-up companies who have been short listed in the Business Innovation, Market Facing category for the NASSCOM Innovation Awards 2008. This category includes innovations made a company for go to market strategies, delivery models, methodologies etc to realize significant value to itself. This category also includes the creation of ‘new to the world’ or ‘new to the market’ technology that will help a customer realize value.

The Showcase session will include presentations by 6 short listed companies who through an interactive session will demonstrate the uniqueness of their product or services, new customer segments, business models, etc. Innovations in this area have typically a direct correlation with the revenue of a firm and have an impact on the firm’s markets. The other short listed companies can be accessed online at or at

As an industry player and a leader of your organisation, we request you to participate at this interactive session and be part of the Indian IT industry’s innovation journey.

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Upcoming events (Dec 20): OpenSocial conference; Entrepreneurial wisdom; Economic Crisis

This promises to be another action packed Saturday for techies in Pune.

The day kicks off with the OpenSocial Developer Garage conference for – you guessed – developers of the OpenSocial API. With a schedule packed with two tracks of talks from morning to evening, it is the place to be if you are interested in web-2.0, and social networking (both kinds: online and offline).

In the evening, you have to choose between getting words of wisdom from a successful entrepreneur who has already sold 3 companies, or attending a panel discussion on the economic crisis: myth vs. reality. The first is a Pune OpenCoffee Club meeting, at SICSR at 5:30pm and is a talk by Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO of, a Silicon Valley based mobile video startup, and COEP alumnus. He will talk about the DOs and DONTs of startups, with anecdotes from his experiences to support each. For details, see our full post about this event.

The panel discussion has been arranged by the Project Management Institute of Pune, and the idea is this: “Considering the current economic situation and various news spread all across, we sincerely feel presenting correct information and right perspective for all the industry leaders, project managers is very important.” This is at Cummins Auditorium, Navi Peth, from 4pm to 7pm. For details, see the PuneTech calendar entry for this event.

Sign up for the PuneTech sms reminders service to be reminded of such events by SMS.

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Do an industry-supported “free” PG Diploma in Systems Programming

This is the second in PuneTech’s Improving Education series of posts detailing the efforts being taken by people in the tech industry in Pune to give our students a chance at giving their career a solid foundation by acquiring skills that are valued in the industry with guidance from experienced mentors from the industry. The first in the series was, a program to nurture the passions of students by guiding them to implement specific, and interesting projects. Today we cover KQInfoTech’s idea of having a Post Graduate Diploma in Systems Programming where the students don’t actually pay for the course, but end up being funded by industry in return for completing projects.

KQInfoTech was started by Anurag Agarwal and Anand Mitra, both of whom chucked high-paying jobs in the industry because they felt that there was a desperate need to work on the quality of students that is being churned out by our colleges. For the last year or so, they have been trying various experiements in education, at the engineering college level. All their experiments are based on one basic premise: students’ ability to pay should not be a deterrent – in other words, the offerings should be free for the students; KQInfoTech focuses on finding alternative ways to pay for the costs of running the course. Their latest offering is the KQInfoTech PG Diploma in Systems programming which they explain thus:

This PG Diploma is for the people looking for making a career in the system programming.

It is a program in the “Gurukul” tradition of education. There are two unique features to this program :

  • Cost: Your education does not depend on your capacity to pay. This course is effectively free. Your education gets paid by your work during this program.
  • Work experience: You are also getting real industry work experience during your education. During this course, you will get one year worth industry experience.

Does working in Linux Kernel, writing device drivers for Unix and Windows, writing system level programs that interacts closely with operating system interests you? But you don’t have the right skill set for this.

KQInfotech is lead by people who have spent decades working in the area of file system, kernel programming, Linux kernel etc. They are ready to educate you in “Art of System Programming”. Are you ready for all the hard and interesting work required?

It is a unique post graduate program of one year, which would provide you education as well as work experience. This program will cover Unix internals, Linux kernel programming, Multi-threading, Windows internals, Writing device drivers etc.
1. Industry Experience

Experience gained working on live industry project is more important than just theory based education. Two third of this program’s duration will be spent on real industry project as interns. Beside gaining industry experience, internship makes this program free for participants.
2. Course Details

Experience of Unix or System Programming is not a pre-requisite for the course.

The course is divided into three broad areas namely Unix internals, Linux Kernel and Windows System programming. To cement the concepts candidate will have to submit a month long project or thesis in each area. Whole course is divided into a number of modules. These modules are:

  • Introduction of Unix
  • Advance system programming in Unix
  • Rapid development tools
  • POSIX multi threading
  • Linux Kernel internals
  • Linux device driver development
  • WinAPI
  • Windows device driver development

Each module will be covered over a duration of 4 to 6 weeks and each project will run for 4 weeks.The program stresses on imparting knowledge through practicals and hence more than 50% of the time will be spent on programming.

3. Eligibility

Participants with following qualifications can apply for this course.

  • BCS, or BSc with Computer Science
  • MCS/MCA final year students
  • BE in any field
  • People with industry experience

4. Selection Process

Candidates will be selected on the basis of a written technical and aptitude test, followed by a technical and personal interview. Syllabus for technical test contains :

  • C programming language
  • Data structure and algorithms
  • Operating system concepts

Entrance exam will be held on 20th Jan at 10:00 AM. Duration of exam will be 2 hours.

Diploma course will start from 2nd Feb.

Next batch will start from 3rd Aug. Corresponding entrance exam will be held on 20th July.
5. Logistics

It is an intense program with 12 hours of daily commitment for one year. One third of that time would be training and the rest will be internship.

There will be security deposit of 10,000/- (Ten thousand) rupees for this course. On completion of this course, deposit will be returned to the participant. Every participant needs to have a laptop for this course, participant can bring their own laptop, or we can arrange one for them for a security deposit of 25,000/- (Twenty five thousand). At the end of the course, the participant can return the laptop to get back the deposit.

6. Placement

Market for system programming is huge. There are a large number of companies looking for people with these skills. Symantec, Symphony, Calsoft, Persistent, Marvell, KPIT, Wipro, Infosys are to name few of them.

We will provide placement assistance to all participants.

The website for this course is here. For more details on Anurag and Anand’s background see the about us page on KQInfoTech.

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OpenSocial Developers Conference in Pune – 20th Dec

What: A conference for all OpenSocial Developers
When: 20th December 9:30am to 6:30pm
Where: Tower C, Panchshil Tech Park, Yerwada Pune – 411006      View Map
Registration and Fees: This is a free conference, but attendance is by invitation only. If you register now, you might still get an invitation.


A group of OpenSocial enthusiasts from Pune have come together to create this conference. The event is aimed to unite all the OpenSocial Application Developers from all over the country and just share/code/have fun and maybe inspire others to take up OpenSocial Development.

This event will also help towards awareness of OpenSocial and building a strong OpenSocial developers community.

Who should attend?

Anyone who developed any application based on OpenSocial platform or anyone who want to learn how to create OpenSocial Applications.

What’s the menu?

There are two tracks of speakers going on at two different halls. See the detailed schedule for more information. Another section is dedicated to codelab. A few developers will develop an application for the “India I Care” NGO. If you want to participate, just the organizers know on the Developer Garage Mailing list. At the end there will be an “Application show case” where OpenSocial application owners can demo their application.

Blogging and Twittering

Follow @devgarage on twitter for official Developer Garage updates. In general, people blogging or tweeting about this event are expected to use the odgpune tag, which means that searching for this term will give you everything you wanted to know about this event. (And please use that term in your own blogs or tweets.)

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DOs and DONTs for startups from a 4-time entrepreneur – 20 Dec

Pune’s Universities have given the world some of its best minds, and we are fortunate that they take time out of their busy schedules to visit Pune. And when that happens, we must grab that opportunity to learn from their experiences. One such distinguished alumnus of Pune is Nickhil Jakatdar, successful serial entrepreneur. Nickhil has successfully sold 3 startups, and is now on to his 4th one. The Pune OpenCoffee Club has arranged for a talk by Nickhil at 5:30pm on Saturday, 20th December, at SICSR, Model Colony. He will talk about the DOs and DONTs for startups, with anecdotes supporting each one of them based on his vast experience.

Chetan Pungaliya, co-founder of Kaboodle, (and himself a successful entrepreneur), says this about Nickhil:

Nickhil is a great guy to listen to. He is an advisor and friend to startups in the US and India. I personally find Nickhil’s experiences insightful and it is always a pleasure talking to him. He has done talks like these in Berkeley, Stanford, Symbiosis and COEP in the past and people love it. Even though this is last minute, you should definitely try to attend the talk.

Here are some highlights of Nickhil’s background:

  • Nickhil is currently the CEO and Co-founder of mobile video search and delivery startup Vuclip. For details, see TechCrunch Mobile’s interview with Nickhil.
  • Earlier, Nickhil was the President and COO of Praesagus, a MIT incubated start-up that he helped grow to becoming the most widely used design-to-manufacturing modeling software in its class, before its acquisition by Cadence Design Systems. Post-acquisition, Nickhil became Engineering Group Director at Cadence where he ran the entire Manufacturing Modeling Group.
  • Nickhil helped found and served on the board of directors of CommandCAD, an electrical CAD company that was acquired two years after its founding.
  • Nickhil co-founded Timbre Technologies, a semiconductor manufacturing start-up, that won the first-ever Berkeley Business Plan competition, leading to a successful venture-backed financing. Nickhil served as CTO and VP of Marketing and Products as the company grew to become the industry standard in the field of scatterometry, before being acquired by Tokyo Electron Ltd. Nickhil remained at TEL for 3 years as Sr. Director of Technology and Marketing.
  • Nickhil has an M.S. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and has been the recipient of many awards from various organizations, including the IEEE Best Paper Award in the area of Transactions in Semiconductor Manufacturing for 2001, the Berkeley Distinguished Pioneer Award, the NSF and MICRO fellowships.
  • Nickhil is a student of COEP, and had won the Most Outstanding Student award when he graduated.
  • Nickhil has been featured in several articles published in the United States and in India.
  • Nickhil has to his credit more than 30 patents and 20 conference papers.
  • Vuclip was earlier known as – and that was a bad business decision, and they ended up having to change their name to Can you guess why?
  • Vuclip went from a few thousand users to over a million users in just a few months, without any advertising. How?

What: Presentation by Nickhil Jakatdar, “DOs and DONTs for Startups”
When: 5:30pm, Saturday 20th December
Where: 7th follor, Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Atur Chambers, Model Colony, Pune. Map.
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all. No registration required.

Please forward this to anybody who might be interested in one day starting their own startup.

Be informed of such distinguished visitors and other tech events in Pune by subscribing for our PuneTech updates via RSS, Email, twitter, or SMS.

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POCC Meeting Report – SEO, Web Scalability and Olio

Dhananjay Nene wrote this detailed report on the Pune OpenCoffee Club meeting last Saturday, which covered Search Engine Optimization by Dimakh Sahasrabuddhe, and Web Scalability by Hashamkha Pathan of SUN. We have reproduced it here with his permission for the benefit of PuneTech readers.

Went to the Pune OpenCoffee Club meet yesterday. It was supposed to focus on Search Engine Optimisation, Web Scalability and Sun Startup Essentials Program.

Search Engine Optimisation – Dimakh Sahasrabuddhe, Dimakh Consultants

I really liked this session. It is always refreshing to see a very down to earth speaker explain things broken down in a very simple way (tinge of jealousy at my end ?). While I feel like a ??? ????? (half doctor or amatuer) on this topic since I know only parts of it, I came back with some more insights into the space and some comfort in knowledge that the little I knew wasn’t way off the mark.

Anyways, here’s what Dimakh had to say on the topic :

Make sure you know what keywords you are conducting the SEO. Don’t forget the site name itself in the process. For good SEO, focus on the following issues (listed in a descending priority as per Dimakh, he said Google hasn’t ever published the priorities)

  • Content : It is important to make sure your content is in tune with the desired topics and keywords. Make sure the keywords (and sometimes even the phrases) you want to optimise for are covered in the content. Google does look at the keyword density in the content and that can influence your site rankings.
  • Domain : It is preferable to have the important word or two about your site in the domain itself. eg. You may consider having a site domain as instead of (I am not sure if he would’ve preferred the hyphens there – just applying my own thoughts here).
  • Filename : Make sure your filenames (ie. those in the URL) actually reflect the content.
  • Tags : Ensure that the tags (meta?) reflect the content appropriately
  • Alt Tags : Use the alt tags to enrich the information available to the search engine to better understand the images or hyperlinks. Keep them short but give enough info to the search engine eg. in a link to a file called enquiry.html, have the alt tag mention “Enquiry for Motors”.
  • Internal Links : Make sure it is easy for the spider to traverse through your site using the various links. Sometimes you may want to provide an alternative navigation mechanism if the default mechanism is not easily understood by a search engine (I assume he was referring to things like a Flash based navigation)
  • External Links : I really couldn’t understand what he implied here (probably because I got a little lost into thinking when I should’ve been listening), but some could help fill out the stuff in the comments below.

Finally Dimakh mentioned Seo Root and Google Rankings as sites to visit for further learnings. On the whole a very helpful session. One more karma point Pune Open Coffee Club earned in my books.

Web Scalability by Sun Microsystems :

(I missed the first couple of mins, hence didn’t catch the presenter names). (The presenter was Hashamkha Pathan from Sun. -Navin) The presentation focused on a toolkit designed for prototyping various technical and architectural issues around web 2.0 applications called Olio. Its a very nice and capable tool which in the words of the web site can be used for the following activities :

  • Understand how to use various web2.0 technologies such as AJAX, memcached, mogileFS etc. in the creation of your own application. Use the code in the application to understand the subtle complexities involved and how to get around issues with these technologies.
  • Evaluate the differences in the three implementations: php, ruby and java to understand which might best work for your situation.
  • Within each implementation, evaluate different infrastructure technologies by changing the servers used (e.g: apache vs lighttpd, mysql vs postgre, ruby vs Jruby etc.)
  • Drive load against the application to evaluate the performance and scalability of the chosen platform.
  • Experiment with different algorithms (e.g. memcache locking, a different DB access API) by replacing portions of code in the application.

An excellent piece of content that was poorly targeted imho. Sun has an extended amount of experience dealing with enterprise architects, and this was a really wonderful presentation which most enterprise architects would’ve understood easily. This particular community of people often need to do their homework very well, and usually are allowed a fair amount of time and money to do their homework, and in many cases also have access to a body of people who are also equally capable in working out various issues related to architecture.

I really think this is a useful tool which can be used by startups but that they shall need to spend the time to understand the tool and what it could do for them. However it is not a point and shoot kind of a tool. Based on the questions I could very easily understand that most persons very quickly ended up assuming that the tool could do much more than what the tool authors ever intended, and then felt disappointed. This was really a situation of positioning gone awry and I think Sun will need some more effort in positioning the presentation in its early stages to prevent disappointment later.

Finally as in a question I did ask quite explicitly, the reason why it makes sense for Sun to invest in and open source such a tool, is that this tool really forces you to do your homework well in the first place. If you were to do your homework well in the first place and focus on performance and scalability early on, the tool usage would tell you to either focus on Java or more infrastructure to handle high load or low read percentage scenarios. These are very reasonable and sensible outputs of the tool. What olio does not tell you is the set of tradeoffs which are outside its scope, impact of the various choices of languages and toolkits on spead of release, agility, robustness and maintainability – that is something that the startup architect will need to come to some decision independently.

Finally sun talked about its Startup Essentials Program which offered various promotional incentives to startups. Very useful incentives, though I would advise people to evaluate if usage of such incentives introduces a small degree of lockin onto open solaris (I like opensolaris – just would ensure that I would use it in a manner that doesn’t introduce too much lock in), and also the post production cost implications including support. There were a fair degree of questions through the session, and I think as an audience it makes sense to pause and take the matter offline if the proceedings continue to be stuck at a stage after two or three questions.

Update: A presentation similar to the one presented can be found on Olio site at Olio Presentation

In parting

All in all a very useful session, and a left me with the desire to attend more sessions subsequently. Thanks POCC and all the organisers.

About the Author – Dhananjay Nene

Dhananjay is a Pune-based software Engineer with 17 years in the field. Passionate about software engineering, programming, design and architecture. For more info, check out his PuneTech wiki profile. He blogs about software engineering and programming languages at /var/log/mind, and other more general topics at /home/dhananjay.

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