Monthly Archives: March 2009

Geek Night @ Thoughtworks: IronPython, Ruby in C#, Distr. VCS – 4 April

thoughtworker logo, thoughtworksWhat: Geek Night at Thoughtworks. Three discussion – 1) IronPython 2) Writing Ruby like code in C# and 3) Distributed Version Control Systems
When: Saturday, 4th April, 2pm onwards
Where: Thoughtworks, GF-01 & MZ-01, Tower C, Panchshil Tech Park, Yerwada
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. Register here

The following 3 exhilarating talks are scheduled for this Geek Night.

1. Aroj George: “IronPython”

Aroj will take you through some cool ways you can use the power of Python in the .NET world. This talk includes a demo of embedding an IronPython engine in a .NET application to enable interactive exploration and dynamic behaviour.

2. Ravi Kumar Pasumarthy: “Why Ruby? You have C#”

Ravi’s talk is all about how to write Ruby-like code (short and less verbose) in C# without using dynamic language features. It also brings a new way of thinking about extending existing libraries to add new features. The presentation also covers topics like Extension Methods, Linq, Type inference, and Closures.

3. Shodhan Sheth and Nikhil Fernandes: “Distributed Version Control Systems”

This duo will talk about version control systems for distributed and disconnected teams. They help you think about, whether the version control system you are using is the “best tool for the job”?

Who To Contact: Pradip Hudekar at +91 9923000987

Write To:

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Talk slides: Selecting a Programming Language – Dhananjay Nene

Yesterday, Dhananjay Nene gave a presentation (or rather, led an animated discussion) on how to choose a programming language for your application – a list of issues to consider – both technical as well as managerial – before you decide which programming language is right for you. This talk was a follow-up to the related PuneTech post by him on why you can improve your ROI for web based software development and maintenance with dynamic programming languages.

Dhananjay has now posted the slides of his talk at his blog. They are reproduced here for those who missed the talk:

If you cannot see the slideshow above, you can view/download it from here.

My quick-n-dirty notes of the talk, my own observations, and a few audience questions/reactions were live-tweeted from the punetechlive twitter account, and can be viewed here. (They’re in reverse chronological order, so read from the bottom up.)

CORRECTION: Freeman Murray’s startup workshop is on 29th March

Sorry. We had mistakenly reported a wrong date for Freeman Murray’s hands on workshop for startups. The correct date is Sunday 29th March, 9:30am to 1:30pm. Details are here.

Seven tech events over the next 3 days

There are seven different events over the next 3 days in Pune that would be of interest to the Pune Tech community.

Today (Friday, 27th March), Gautam Patel of Battery ventures will be interacting with people looking for funding for their businesses.

Saturday features 5 events: 1. a talk by Dhananjay Nene on how to choose a programming language for your application/business, 2. a day long seminar at SIMC with various luminaries from all over India talking about the potential of the internet as a communications medium, 3. a hands on workshop by Freeman Murray on fleshing out the plan for your startup, 4. The Pune Google Technologies User Group will be discussing how to use various google technologies (like maps, searches, videos), and 5. Gamestorm – an MCCIA event to create awareness of the opportunities in the gaming and animation software industry.

On Sunday, Atul Chitnis will address the Pune Open Coffee Club (i.e. Pune’s startups) on how the world is changing, and how to cope with the changes.

For a full listing that is always kept updated, see

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The world is changing – how should startups cope? PoCC talk by Atul Chitnis

Atul Chitnis
Image via Wikipedia

Atul Chitnis, has been at the forefront of the software revolution in India since the 80s. He has literally seen this world change multiple times. He will address Pune’s startups on how the world is changing, again, and how to be prepared for this change. This will on Sunday, March 29, 11am to 1pm at Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR), Model Colony. (Map)

Atul is very active in the Linux and the FOSS community, he is a successful technology trend watcher, and he is also into mobile, wireless, handheld technologies. He would be happy to address any of these topics based on the interest of the audience.

Atul is the Chief Products Officer at Geodesic ( He has been at the forefront of India’s technology evolution since the 1980s, predicting and driving new technology waves such as datacommunication, networking, the Internet, wireless and mobile computing, and Open Source, among others. A hardcore products man, his focus areas include mobile and hand-held computing, wireless data networks, Linux and Open Source and entertainment technologies – topics he frequently writes about. His popular PCQuest column, COMversations, helped bootstrap Indian users into the consumer datacomm era. Atul is well known for his work with the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community, and is also the founder of FOSS.IN, one of the world’s largest grassroot technology conferences. He is also a member of several Project Review and Steering Committees with the Department of Information technology (DIT), Government of India.

For more info about Atul, see

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Flesh out a detailed plan for your startup with Freeman Murray – March 29

What: 4-hour hands-on workshop on developing your startup idea
When: Sunday March 29, 9:30am – 1:30pm
Where: Seed Infotech, Nalanda building, Opposite Gandhi Lawns, Erandwane
Registration and Fees: This is a free workshop, but open only to the first twenty teams that register. (Hurry, offer open until stocks last. Only 7 slots left!)


This is a 4 hr workshop for people interested in starting their own technology business. This workshop is for small teams of 2 or 3 people who have a clear idea of an idea they would like to work on. Participants will spend 90% of their time developing this idea.

This is not a lecture, people without their own business idea will be bored.

The workshop will have several segments of 20 – 40 minutes each. I will introduce each segment in about 5 minutes. During the remaining time people will work on that particular aspect of their own idea. Each team will setup a private wiki which they will develop during the workshop.

Segments may include:

  • personal biographies of the founders
  • over view of the space
  • overview of the idea
  • technology
    • what are the high level technical requirements for products
    • what is the proposed technology stack for doing something
    • simple architecture diagram
  • financial
    • budget, financial requirements
    • cash flow projection, when where to get money
  • marketing
    • what are the important websites
    • who are the major competitors
    • who are the luminaries
    • who are the customers
    • who are potential advisors
    • who are potential partners

About the Instructor – Freeman Murray

Freeman Murray has worked in a variety of technology startups in Silicon Valley and India and will be using this experience to guide workshop participants. This summer he will be directing the program at IIMA. More information about him is available at:

Other tech events this weekend

Also, remember that there are 6 tech events competing for your attention this weekend, including Dhananjay Nene‘s talk on strengths and weaknesses of programming languages, and Atul Chitnis on How the world is changing, and what startups should do about it. For more see the PuneTech calendar.

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GameStorm – Opportunities in the Gaming Industry – March 28

animexampleanimexample3editWhat: A half-day event organized by MCCIA to increase awareness about the gaming and animation industry
When: Saturday, 28th March, 2pm to 8pm
Where: ICC Towers, MCCIA Hall #4 and #5, Wing A, Senapati Bapat Marg, Map
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all. No registration required.

This is an event to promote awareness of the gaming industry. According to the event organizer: “We have organized sessions on the game industry and careers, game concept and content development, sound design and game testing, amongst others. We are targeting gaming enthusiasts, professionals and parents as well as these are going to help us in spreading the awareness about the career opportunities in the industry”

For the detailed schedule, see

This event is targeted towards students and professionals interested in the gaming and animation software industry.

Also, remember that there are 6 tech events competing for your attention this weekend, including Dhananjay Nene‘s talk on strengths and weaknesses of programming languages, and Atul Chitnis on How the world is changing, and what startups should do about it. For details see the PuneTech calendar.

Governance for Startups

School banner
Image via Wikipedia

Yogesh Pathak, an advisor for many startups, argues that it is very important for startup founders to clearly lay out the ethical rules that the startup is going to play by. He points out the various issues on which the founders need to make their stand clear to all concerned stakeholders.

Governance has come in spotlight again in India due to scandals like Satyam. Normally governance is talked about in the context of large companies. However governance is a fundamental quality of any institution, small or large, for-profit or nonprofit, so here’s an attempt to highlight some issues about startup governance. Basically what “ethics” is at personal level, “governance” is at an institutional level.

Founders need to agree on an ethics policy in a startup

In countries that are high on the corruption index, India included, variation in standards of ethics affect pretty much everyone in the country: industrialists, government, entrepreneurs, citizens, and so on. It is key for even a small enterprise to have an ethics policy of its own and not just react to ethical dilemmas as they arrive. Differences between ethical preferences of individuals may crop up and create periods of conflict in a startup. Some standardization of rules of engagement (and ethics) between co-founders is ideal. e.g. Being open and upfront about any conflict of interest scenarios, etc.

A hypothetical example: A startup develops a cutting edge product and takes it to emerging markets, say Africa or other countries. Many large enterprises in such countries may be owned by the government. Let’s say a sale is possible at such a customer but a bribe is asked. What if some of the founder/management time are all right about paying bribes (to build revenue scale, which is very critical for startups) while some consider it unethical. Such a situation can result in conflict and affect the overall team spirit at a startup.

Accounting policies

Most startups work in cutting-edge areas and break ground on new business models, new streams of revenues etc. Often, established definitions and norms of accounting may conflict with the context of a new market, product, or service. Such areas include

  • what are the various types of revenues, policies regarding adjustments to revenues, what is revenue for accounting purposes, etc
  • how does the company define bad debt (collections awaited from customers)
  • expense heads and related accounting policies
  • what expense items should be used when computing gross margin, operating margin, etc

At times there may be a lot of discussion between startup management, board members, auditors, etc about what norms are prudent. While being conservative is usually a safer strategy, it is also key to listen to everyone’s viewpoint and make an informed, objective decision that is fair to all stakeholders and follows the law of the land both in letter and in spirit.

Fair treatment of customers

At times, companies may get creative in their communication with customers in order to keep customers longer or maximize revenues and profits. For example, not all costs to a customer may be transparent, sometimes un-subscribing from a service may be difficult for customers to do, or sometimes customers’ confidential information with the company may be used without their consent.

Startups need to be cognizant of an average customer’s expectations on fair treatment, as well as consumer protection laws across countries, and need to build it seamlessly in their customer experience design. Again, being proactive works better than being reactive.

Fair treatment of employees

While the laws of land, best practices in HR, and a free market for labor will usually take care that employees are treated fairly, it is key for employers to consciously design ethical treatment of employees in all their HR processes.

Investor communication

Startups are always in the market to raise capital for growth and make their dreams possible. Business plans are their main communication tools with investors. It is important to convey information such that is verifiable, accurate, and generally defensible in due diligence.

Once an investment is made, investors ask for detailed financial and operating information, usually at a monthly frequency. This information is their main tool for keeping a track of the health of the business. Investors appreciate companies providing information in agreed-upon formats, data not being re-stated frequently, knowing any surprises earlier rather than later, and an easy-to-understand explanation for the business drivers behind the numbers.

While a startup board may not have lots of formal committees, VC/PE investors are usually very active on boards, and play multiple roles in terms of tracking governance, evaluating the business, and being a mentor to the management team. It is important to form governance policies with mutual discussion and then follow them in a disciplined manner.

I am sure there are more unique aspects having to do with ethics and governance depending on the nature of business of a startup (utilizing 3rd party data on the web or IP protection, are some issues that come to mind). The above is a just a starting point touching upon major areas. Entrepreneurs have a clean slate on how to develop the culture within their companies. They will be expetced to set prudent norms and then lead by example.

About the author – Yogesh Pathak

Yogesh Pathak is founder of Path Knowledge, a business research, consulting, and startup advisory firm based in Pune.

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Pune – The birthplace of the Nano, and the automotive capital of India

The interior of the Nano.
Image via Wikipedia

Normally, PuneTech covers mostly software technology. However, today, we feel an exception is warranted. The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, which could change the world, was designed entirely in Pune. On this occassion, Amit Paranjape, a proud Punekar (and also chief evangelist of PuneTech) wrote this article on his blog, about the achievements of Pune in automotive technology. It is reproduced on PuneTech with permission.

Today, India and possibly the entire automotive world commemorate the customer launch of the ‘Nano’ – the world’s cheapest car. The brainchild of the Indian corporate legend Ratan Tata is finally available to the Indian consumer. I am sure that the Nano will raise a whole bunch of debates around urban traffic-management issues; but today is not the time for those. Today is a time for celebration!

Pune too celebrates this historic occasion; but I am not sure how many Punekars realize the significance of Pune’s role in creating this and other automotive history in India.

The Nano was completely designed and developed at the Tata Motors facility in Pimpri-Chinchwad Pune. The initial manufacturing will also be carried out here.

An Auto-rickshaw in Mumbai.
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a brief list of Pune’s key automotive achievement over the decades. (In each of these milestones, Pune has played a pivotal role)

  • 1950s-60s: One of India’s earliest and most iconic automotive brands – Bajaj Scooter.
  • 1970s: India’s first moped (quite literally a motorized, pedal-based cycle that ran on a tiny 50cc engine) Luna.
  • 1970s: One of the first (and most successful) Auto Rickshaws: Bajaj Auto-Rickshaw.
  • 1980s: Manufacturing of India’s first automatic (non-geared) scooter: Kinetic Honda.
  • 1990s: India’s first fully indigenous car: Tata Indica.
  • 2008-09: Launch of world’s cheapest car: Tata Nano.

You can also add the development of India’s most popular Truck-Line to this list. Pune also leads the nation in various automotive suppliers, ancillary units and industrial equipment.

  • India’s biggest, one of the most innovative and world’s 2nd largest forging company – Bharat Forge has been at the forefront of this pack.
  • India’s largest Diesel Engines & Generator Manufacturer – Cummins has been active in Pune’s industrial landscape since the 1960s.

Research and Software for Automotive Engineering also have strong presence in Pune.

  • It’s no coincidence that all major global CAD/CAM software and services companies have significant presence in Pune: Ansys, AutoDesk, Catia, Geometric, PTC and UGS-Siemens. I doubt if there’s any city in the world that has the presence of all these entities! (See all PuneTech articles about Computer Aided Design at -ed)
  • ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) based in Pune, is the premier automotive research institute in India, that is responsible for research and testing & certification of every vehicle model on Indian roads.

I am confident that in the coming decades, Pune will continue to innovate and be at the forefront of automotive engineering in India, and the world.

So now remember – next time you see a Nano on Pune Streets (traffic jams not withstanding), it is as ‘Puneri’ as the ‘Puneri Pagdi’ or ‘Chitale Bakarwadi’!

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SIMC Seminar: Cyber Media Conclave – 28th March

What: A day long seminar on issues in internet as a communications medium, with Kiruba Shankar, Atul Chitnis, Rajesh Lalwani etc.
When: Saturday, March 28, 10am to 7pm
Where: Symbiosis Knowledge Village, Lavale, Pune
Registration and Fees: This event is open to all. For details contact Hamsini +91 90110 21853, or Deepali +91 97658 97445

The Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC) is organising National Cyber Media Conclave ’09, a media seminar on the 28th of March, in its campus at Lavale. The event will explore various aspects of the cyber medium and its vast potential. A first of its kind initiative by any educational institution, NCMC aims to bring together stalwarts from the cyber world on a common platform where they can address enthusiastic young minds interested in cyber media.

The National Cyber Media Conclave will host two panels of speakers on the potency of cyber media for knowledge sharing, social change and networking; and the emergence of the web as a medium for branding and marketing. This would be followed by a workshop conducted by Mr. Rajesh Lalwani (Founder and CEO,, and ‘Web Wunderkind’, a contest on the presentation of a business plan for the cyber medium. The winners of the contest would get cash prizes worth Rs. 15,000/-.

The following speakers are expected:
Kiruba Shankar, Co-founder, The Knowledge foundation
Namit Bhimbhat, CEO, Switch Media Services
Atul Chitnis, Senior VP, Geodesic Information Systems
Jasmeen Bhateja, Founder,
Rajesh Lalwani, Founder and CEO,

See the event page for more details.

Also, remember that there are 6 tech events competing for your attention this weekend, including Dhananjay Nene‘s talk on strengths and weaknesses of programming languages, and Atul Chitnis on How the world is changing, and what startups should do about it. For details see the PuneTech calendar.

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TiEPune Seminar: My Story – with P.P. Chabbria, Chairman, Finolex Group – 26 March

What: TiE Pune invites you to spend time with P.P. Chabbria, who built the Rs. 3000 cr Finolex Group from the ground up. He will talk about this journey
When: Thursday, 26th March, 6pm
Where: ICC Towers, Hall #4 and #5, Wing A, Senapati Bapat Road, Map
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. Register by sending an email to namita[dot]shibad[at]gmail[dot]com

A self made man, Mr. Prahlad P Chhabria started his life as a door-to-door peddler of electrical supplies. As a child he began his professional life as a cleaner in a cloth shop and later taught himself to read and write as he worked as a bill collector. But the future as Chabbria saw it, held greater promise. He followed his dream to create India’s leading cable manufacturer. Today Finolex is a Rs3,000 crore group with diversified interests. Mr Chabbria will share his experiences, insights and trace his path from being a door-to-door salesman to the Chairman and Managing Director of Finolex.

The event is open to all with no fee applicable. However as seats are limited, it is preferred if you register your presence by sending an email to: namita[dot]shibad[at]gmail[dot]com

For other tech events in Pune, check out the PuneTech calendar.

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