Monthly Archives: January 2009

Free Mentoring Workshop for Startups with Baba Kalyani, R Sriram etc.

Innovations 2009

TiE Pune in conjunction with Innovations 2009 is conducting “From Innovations to IPO” – a free workshop for mentoring startups on Sunday 9am to 2:30pm, at the Dewang Mehta Auditorium at Persistent Systems on S.B. Road.
TiE has limited free seats for the i2i Event, strictly on first come first served basis. To avail of the offer, please contact Namita Shibad on +919822495752. You can also register with her at
When one asks any entrepreneur what he needs to get going, the answer we get is “MONEY”. This is true for almost all young companies looking to start out. But, what most do not recognize is that besides Money, there is so much more to getting going that, when the shots hit, they knock you over. There are issues on Marketing, making of a Business Plan, options for funding – remember that a Balance Sheet must look different if you are going for either Debt or Equity, and so many more unthought-of obstacles. Hence, this workshop aims to offer guidance in both management and technology for the entire spectrum of businesses across verticals.

9.30am to 9.45am – a brief introduction to the world of TiE, followed by a Suzuki Violin presentation by very little children.
9.45am to 10.45am – a Financial Workshop by Mr. Nikhil Khattau a Private Equity Investor, who also is on the boards of Marico, Midday, Nagpur Power & Industries, Paymate, Geodesic Techniques, and with Mayfield Services. Mr. Khatau will take you through the making of a Business Plan. He will also take financials of ‘X’ company as submitted to an Investor, and project them against the same financials, reworked so as to appeal to that Investor.
10.45am to 11.45am – an important session on Marketing by the Guru. R. Sriram co-founder Next Practice Retail, and the man who started Crossword, will share his experiences and insights on Customer Based Innovation – for a decisive competitive edge. He will also talk about the ‘all-important’ Branding aspect of Marketing.
11.45am to 12.15pm – Tea
12.15pm to 1.30pm – The Chief Guest of the Mentoring program, Baba Kalyani will share his experiences and insights into `Building a Modern, Global and Sustainable Enterprise.
There will be a small Question and Answer session at the end of each session.
1.30pm to 2.30 pm – Lunch will be served.

There 5 tech events happening in Pune this weekend. Check out the PuneTech calendar for details.

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Peepaal – Bringing Industry and Academics Together

improving engineering education in PuneThis is the third 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. The second was KQInfoTech’s 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.

The third is “Peepaal – Continuous Community Learning” is an online and offline community of industry professionals, college faculty, and students that aims at providing continuous guidance to students through knowledge, best practices and processes. This is a description of Peepaal in the words of one of the founders:

1. Introduction – Bringing Industry and Academics Together

Bill Gates (Windows) , Steve Jobs(Mac, iPod, iPhone), Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google), Orkut Büyükkökten (Orkut), Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook) , Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail)  apart from being successful have one important fact in common. They were all young when they dreamed of transforming the world into a better place to live. The truth is the pioneers in the technology field have been youngsters who have time and again brought new path breaking perspectives and solutions.

After 25 years in the IT field India has become the outsourcing hub of the world albeit with some deficiencies. On the pioneering front we are still some steps behind. Why in spite having such a large pool of vastly talented students are we still lagging behind? This is a million dollar question. But the answer to the question is easy.

Our students have always learned in a vacuum far away from the reality. Firstly they only have a very distant view of the needs of the industry and secondly they have passive view on the problems faced by the people and society. Good industrial skills are needed to become successful professionals of the IT industry.  Identifying practical problems and solving them will make the leaders and pioneers of tomorrow.

Peepaal aims to become that easily accessible Bridge between the students and the industry. Peepaal aims to become that great ladder on which the pioneers and leaders of tomorrow will climb and make a difference to the society we live in. Peepaal aims to become that Guru who will always show the right path to the students. Peepaal aims to become that Family who will nurture the students to become as independent as possible. Peepaal aims to become that Friend who will bring students with similar thoughts and interest together.

2. Do our talented students need improvement? Can it be done?

The Peepaal initiative was born out of our various interactions with students, faculty and our experience with freshers entering the industry. Each of these experiences reemphasized the significant need for Industry to provide a very strong collaborative role in shaping students and supporting faculty in delivering industry relevant knowledge to students to ensure they are more well rounded professionals by the time they enter the industry. It was also clear that this is not possible without continuous support from the industry and a collaborative model for delivering knowledge, best practices and processes.

While there are a number of areas that require focus we have identified some core focus areas for Peepaal and use projects as a mechanism for being able to deliver these improvements.

Why Projects? Well Projects have been something the students have been actively working on during their course curriculum and their is a significant focus on projects among students and faculty and we think it is a great mechanism to deliver knowledge. The issue however is that the current process of executing projects leaves a lot to be desired.

We expect to significantly alter the way student projects are executed and help them in the following:

  • Innovate: Projects can be a key medium to innovate and learn new ideas and principles and apply them in real world. We expect Peepaal guided projects to be able to help students to Innovate in the real world and follow cutting edge technology trends. In addition we believe the core CS fundamental concepts are key to ensuring that students deliver value from their project. Concepts like Data Structures, DBMS, operating Systems for example have to be understand and applied well on projects so that students learn by doing.
  • Execute: If a project does not succeed, the value of the effort is reduced to naught and it turns into an academic exercise. There are various industry proven methods like “Proof of Concept” implementation which helps support this. We expect the Peepaal Barcamps and the online portal to serve as checkpoints and support mechanism to significantly increase the number of successful projects.
  • Showcase: While an Idea looks great on paper and even after it is successfully executed it all boils down to how well you can showcase it. This applies to student projects as well. There is a considerable lack of awareness of the need and techniques to successfully showcase a project to an audience. Through a continuous stream of Barcamps and presentations we expect to significantly raise the bar on project presentations.

3. Objectives of Peepaal

How does Peepaal plan to solve the problem areas? Following are the high level steps Peepaal is undertaking at a brisk pace:

  • Establish strong collaboration between students and the industry to bring the students into reality.
  • Establish strong collaboration between students in various campuses.
  • Engage the faculty in healthy discussions and suggest solutions to the problems they face to enable successful projects.
  • Help students in the entire life cycle of their projects.
  • Provide technical and industrial knowledge,best practices to the students in an easy to understand format.
  • Compliment the students academic education with the learning and applications of the latest trends and technologies.
  • Provide guidance to the students in every manner so that they do not have to reinvent the wheel like the students of the past.
  • Encourage innovative ideas from the students that will have profound effect on the society we live in.
  • Encourage discussions so that students open up to share problems and seek solutions.

4. Peepaal Online Portal

Peepaal online portal provides the much needed platform where the students, faculty and the industry come together. Following are the objectives it aims to meet:

  • Establish a strong communication mechanism between the students and the industry. Students, Faculty post questions on the discussion forums and the industry experts answer them in a simple easy to understand format.
  • Provide Students with articles that give them insight on the latest trends and technologies.
  • Prevent Students from re-inventing the wheel by suggesting them right tools,techniques and designs.
  • Provide Students with a forum to improve their interpersonal skills.
  • Provide industry experts a simple way to interact with students instead of visiting their colleges.
  • Provide industry experts to talk to a greater audience and use this greater audience in useful ways.
  • Community features that will get students with like thoughts together.

5. Peepaal Barcamps

Peepaal Barcamps are an innovative process model to guide the students in the entire life cycle of their project. Peepaal aims to be as close to students as possible in this regard. Peepaal engages face to face with the students during the course of their project through various Project BarCamps and campus events.

We have already conducted a number of BarCamps in the first season where we addresses close to 1000 students across various colleges across Pune. Starting January we will conduct an additional 18 Barcamps across 10 colleges in Pune where expect to work with close to 1500 students on their projects.

Some of the colleges that we are currently work with include Symbiosis, Nowrosjee Wadia, PICT, MIT, VIT, Fergusson, Modern, SP College.

6. Peepaal Linked-in community

Peepaal has setup a linked in community. This is the place where the industry experts, students and faculty will get together for discussions and debates. These discussions will give Peepaal great insights into the initiative and further improving the initiative.

7. Get Involved !!!

All of us are aware that our educational system needs a lot of support if we want to sow the seeds for transformation in society for the future. The source for innovation and execution lie in our future students and it is all of us as experienced professionals who are best suited to provide this support. All it would take is a few hours of your time online or offline to make this impact. You can join us in our discussions online, on the portal, in the linked in community or join us for the Barcamps.

The number of Industry professionals have grown rapidly since we have started and we have close to 50 Industry professionals registered for the initiative and over 800 students impacted by the program. We do however need a lot more industry participation to ensure we have significantly broader impact across a larger number of students. If you are an Industry Professional, Faculty or a student and if all of this makes sense to you and you would like to join us on this initiative drop us a line at and we would be happy to meet up with you to get started.

What to expect – Industry Professionals

An industry professional who wants to get involved with Peepaal should expect to:

  • Conduct Mock Interviews
  • Discuss and Refine Project Ideas
  • Mentor Projects Online
  • Own Technical Focus Areas
  • Drive Technology Trends
  • Support Campus Contact Programs
  • Collaborate with your campus
  • Discuss and Collaborate with Peers online

All you need is 2 hours a week

What to expact – Students

A student who gets involved in Peepaal can expect the following help:

  • Prepare for Placements
  • Identify, Plan and Execute Projects
  • Identify Technical and Soft Skill Needs
  • Showcase Competencies
  • Understand Technology Trends
  • Plan and execute Barcamps
  • Collaborate with Industry Experts
  • Discuss and Collaborate with Peers online

All you need is a few hours a week.

Related links:

Know any other Pune initiatives that belong to this series? Let us know.

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A perspective on The Indian Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006

Government of India - Lion Capital of IndiaOne of our favorite Pune Bloggers, Dhananjay Nene, has written a blog post analysing the the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006, that was passed by the Indian Parliament last month. He has described the important points of the bill like:

  • Wireless networks are now added to the defintion of computer networks
  • The “hacking a computer system” offense is expanded to include sending and forwarding of material that is offensive, intimidating, etc.
  • Definition of pornography is slightly expanded. (And transmission and publication is an offense, but as far as Dhananjay can make out, consumption of pornography is not an offense.)

But Dhananjay’s main reason for writing the post is the fact that this law is being widely misconstrued and/or misunderstood, and he wants to provide a contrarian view. He points out:

I wasn’t quite sure how to react to blog posts like “India Sleepwalks To Total Surveillance“. However I really can’t respect the way the bill has been represented. Some of the bold statements in the post say, “Thou shall not author a joke. Not even forward one”, “Thou shall not surf Bollywood news” and ” Thou shall not watch porn”. I really could not find any evidence to support such views whatsoever. The sad part is that such posts get picked up in articles like Blogger Writes from Inside the Newest Police State on the Planet, discussions such as slashdot – India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society and tweets such as these. I have spent about 6 years in US, and the remainder in India. I have always been very happy with the freedoms I have received in India, even though I do know that very unfortunately a small proportion of the population does get victimised or harassed due to the stringent laws from time to time. I won’t be surprised if a substantial proportion of Indian Citizens actually support the clauses against pornography. And finally the draft bill has been under discussion since 2006 so I couldn’t understand how the world’s largest democracy sleepwalked into something (though I am certain this and another bill got completely fast tracked after the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks). The fact of the matter is that this has always been a state of stringent laws, with laws which don’t always agree fully with the western world. I think we should rate our laws based on our aspirations and desires. While I shudder at the privileges the government has in terms of eavesdropping, I am quite ambivalent on the strictures against pornography and greatly welcome the enhancements related to electronic signatures and increased accountability in terms of online communication and network security maintenance. Its really a mixed bag in my opinion. If at all India is to be considered a police state as in some opinions, in my opinion it is certainly not because of this bill.

Read his whole article to understand this important development in detail.

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PuneTech’s 11 most popular articles/pages of the year

Pune TechnologyThe end of the year is time for resolutions, introspection and top-10 lists. We too got swept up in the wave, and here is our top-11 list of the most popular articles on PuneTech in the last year. PuneTech started on 6th March, 2008 and at that time, we were not sure of what directions it will take, and whether we’ll be able to sustain or grow it. It has exceeded our expectations in terms of impact and interesting new directions. But we have been a little disappointed with the amount of community-contributed content – most of the content is still put up by just one or two people – I was hoping that there would be at least 10 people contributing regularly by now. If you would like to contribute articles to PuneTech, please get in touch with us.

In any case, here are the most popular pages on PuneTech as measured by the number of people who viewed them:

  1. Building Eka, the world’s fastest privately funded supercomputer: This was one of the first articles I wrote, and has hit the #1 spot because it got picked up by slashdot. I’m fairly proud of the fact that my server survived the slashdotting without going down or even slowing down. The related page announcing this event, and the PuneTech wiki page for CRL managed to get other spots on this list due to spillover traffic, but since they are pretty much the same, I’ve not included it in the list.
  2. The PuneTech Blog main page: Not surprisingly, the main page – which essentially holds the PuneTech blog – is the second most visited page on PuneTech.  I would still prefer that people subscribe to PuneTech instead of visiting the main page – that way, there’s less chance of missing any articles.
  3. The PuneTech wiki: This page is unfortunately a distant third – I was hoping that over time this would become the “main page”, but we are still some way away from that. The problem partially is that it doesn’t get much prominence on the main page. Also, the content there needs some work. Amit Paranjape is working on a new improved categorized list of companies to spruce up the wiki, so expect more prominence for it in this year.
  4. About PuneTech: Have you read that page? If not, maybe you should look at it, to get an idea of the how any why of PuneTech.
  5. Categorized List of Companies on the wiki: While this is very far from where it should be, it is still a useful resource – and expect it to become better. Please note, you too can add your company to this list. It’s easy and free.
  6. The list of all company overview articles on the PuneTech blog: The PuneTech blog has categorized listing pages that you can browse by clicking on the “More Links” bar at the top.
  7. Pune-based Animation Studio: To be frank, I have no idea why this one is so high up on the list. In any case, animation is a hot and happening area for tech in Pune, and I am hoping that one of these days, someone will write an nice in-depth article on this area, covering the important technologies, companies and organizations in Pune in this area. Anyone up for the challenge?
  8. Vision for Pune – 2015: Specific projects – This page, and the companion article giving the broader, longer-term Vision for Pune was written by Anupam Saraph, CIO of Pune, at the insistence of PuneTech. I’m glad to report Anupam has found some collaborators for some of these projects due to the appearance of these articles and at least one pilot project is under way already.
  9. Data Leakage Prevention overview: While it might not be obvious from this list, overview articles like this one, which introduce our readers to a new technology area are some of our most popular articles – and they do form a bulk of the #11 to #20 on the most popular list. One of my favorite such articles is the overview of SCM, (which is not on the list possibly because it is “too young”). I’m hoping for more such articles this year. Look out for overviews of CAD, CAM, CAE, life sciences, animation, etc. Suggest your own areas for an overview like this. Or best, write one such article.
  10. Narendra Karmarkar’s recent research: Karmarkar revolutionized linear programming by his Interior Point Method. After this, he worked on a new architecture for supercomputing, based on concepts from projective geometry. Currently, he is based in Pune and is synthesizing these concepts with some new ideas he calls sculpturing free space (a non-linear analogue of what has has popularly been described as folding the perfect corner). This approach allows him to extend this work to the physical design of machines. This article on PuneTech and the corresponding PDF represent the first public disclosure of his new ideas.
  11. Category:Events: I had to extend this list to 11 instead of 10 because I could bear to leave out the events page. PuneTech has easily become the most comprehensive source of information about interesting technology events happening in the city. There are various different ways in which you can keep track. All tech events that we find interesting are added to the PuneTech calendar. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or email alerts. Additionally, we’ve found that people prefer to be reminded of events by SMS, hence we’ve started the (free) PuneTech SMS reminder service. And, of course, if you are aware of an event that is not listed, please let us know.

There is much more in store for 2009, so stay tuned.

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Tweet for Pune

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

In Barcamp Pune 5, I gave a presentation on why you should be on twitter. I also asked Ranjit Gadgil and Anupam Saraph to give a presentation on the Pune Governance wiki that they have been nurturing for the last 6 months. As a result of these presentations, various twitter related initiatives are getting started with respect to e-governance in Pune. Pravin Nirmal implemented a system where every ward page on the Pune Governance wiki shows the latest tweets related to that ward. (See for example, the bottom of the Aundh Ward page.) Pune Mirror also has a story on other such initiatives.

Last week, Anupam Saraph wrote this post on how everybody should “tweet for Pune”. We are reproducing it here:

Imagine you could SMS to everyone. Imagine you could let everyone know there is a traffic jam at the University circle. Imagine you could send out an invite to the tree-planting drive on the Baner Hill. Imagine you could message the world that admissions open for the educational course you have been waiting for. Imagine you message out reports of malaria in your neighborhood or choose to report births, deaths, suspicious activities, new shops, sale offers, rentals….

Imagine as a government agency you message out water closures. Imagine you message out flood alerts, road closures or diversions, bus, train and air departures or arrivals, waste collection notices, new project announcements, vip visits, dates of elections, urls of actionable sites…

That’s like a twitter of birds- hundreds of messages all at once…No wonder that these public messages sent on the internet are called tweets.

Of course you do not want to have thousands of tweets clogging up your life and that’s why tweeters like @pravinnirmal are enabling location specific tweets on pages at the governance wiki. See the tweets at the bottom of this page on the governance wiki. Give it a try. This way you can see the tweets sent by anyone on a location on a page devoted to that location. You can even go edit that page and add your two-cents worth.

You can also signup on tweeter and choose to follow tweeters like myself, Barack Obama or anyone else! By following a tweeter you can see all the tweets the person sends out. Others interested in your tweets may choose to follow you too.

With the White House tweets, the US senate floor tweets, the US house floor and even the US Supreme Courts on twitter tweeting away, should the rest of the world be behind?

Cities in the US have begun tweeting. Look at: San Marcos, Texas, Greensborocity, North Carolina, Killeen, Texas, Round Rock, Texas, McAllen, Texas, Plano, Texas. The Police in Austin, Texas, are using tweets for law and order advisories, notices and quick reassurances.

Can we have our ward officers, the Pune Police, the Pune RTO, the Pune Collector, the PMC, the PCMC, the Cantonment Boards, the MIDC, the PWD, the telecom companies in Pune, the Income Tax commissionerate, the Service tax commissionerate, the Pune University and even the businesses in Pune tweet?

All this is simple and free. Just sign into Twitter and start listening to the whole world- or talking too! Well not exactly the whole world, but to the whole world signed into twitter. If you are a government agency or a business in Pune you may qualify for some help and customization to get your tweets increasing your impact and effectiveness. Just email to request your office to show the way to the rest of India.

About the Author – Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph is the CIO of Pune City. What that basically means is that

In January 2008, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Software Exporter’s Association of Pune (SEAP) announced the appointment of Dr. Anupam Saraph as the “CIO of Pune”. Dr. Saraph’s appointment has been made with the objective of providing expert guidance to various e-governance initiatives that are underway in Pune, to build a vision for Pune to transform into one of the most technologically advanced cities of the future.

Dr. Saraph has a Ph.D. in Informatics from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen University in Netherlands, and is a co-founder of a think-tank and a management consultancy. You can follow him on twitter, his blog, and soon on the under-construction site

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