Monthly Archives: May 2013

Roundtable Meet on Building a global software product company from India

iSPIRT is a group/forum/think-tank of software professionals in India who are focused on strengthening India’s Software Product industry. More information about iSPIRT is here.

iSPIRT is organizing a couple of events in Pune in June to help take the discussion forward. One of them is a roundtable discussion on the challenges with building a global software product company from India, on 15th June, from 1pm to 5:30pm, at Sapience office in Shivajinagar.

This roundtable will focus on companies that are selling beyond India’s borders. It will address the challenges faced with building global operations for a software product company. Topics include product management, sales, marketing, product development, infrastructure, hiring, timings and cross-border communication. While the topics can be varied, the unifying theme is challenge of cross-border operation for various functions. This roundtable is brought to you by iSPIRT. One of the initiatives of iSPIRT is to convert conversations into playbook for product entrepreneurs.

The main objective is to enable a free exchange of ideas and best practices to help attendees in running cross-border functions in their company more effectively. The roundtable will be highly interactive. Though not necessary, attendees can derive the most benefit if they are pre-prepared some notes prior to the roundtable.

A 30-min presentation by Samir Palnitkar including interactive Q&A. This presentation will summarize Samir Palnitkar’s personal experiences in setting up cross-border operations in two companies, ShopSocially and AirTight Networks.

There are only 12 companies which will get to attend this RoundTable. If you are interested, please fill this form and we will confirm your participation. More details can be found here

Book: Digital Republic: India’s rise to IT Power – by Mathai Joseph

Mathai Joseph is one of the most respected people in Pune’s software industry. An EVP at TCS, Director of TRDDC, visiting prof at CUM, Eindhoven, Warwick and York, he has experience at the top levels of both industry and academia, and he has seen the rise of India’s software industry from it’s birth.

Power Publisher’s has just released a book, “Digital Republic: India’s rise to IT Power” by Mathai Joseph which should be an interesting read for anyone in this field. Here is a description of the book:

This book analyses the rise of Indian computing. Interleaving history and memoir, it describes key moments and decisions that led to the slowdown in the 1960s and 1970s and the changes in the 1980s that fuelled the ascent of the software industry to pre-eminence in what has become one of the world’s most important industries. Along the way the author reflects on the nature of science, the importance of computing and the interplay of theory, experiment and technology. He discusses the wide differences in the academic perception of computing in India and the rest of the world and how it affected the growth of Indian computer science as well as the computing industry.This memoir is not a technical history and reading it does not need technical knowledge. It is a personal account of the unparalleled explosion of an industry seen through the eyes of someone who was there from the beginning.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

‘You realize every job you create in India is one less job here,’ said my American friend Luke. ‘Does that worry you?’

Luke patriotically drove a Detroit monster of a car. I asked him where the sub-assemblies for his car came from.

‘Many from outside the US nowadays,’ he admitted. ‘Designed by a US company, manufactured elsewhere. Costs here are too high for component companies to operate successfully.’

Not so different from what is happening in the IT industry, I said.

‘Come on,’ he said disbelievingly, ‘Manufacturing has been stratified over the years into layers to give companies manufacturing scale and an international market. How can you even compare that with the IT industry?’

The IT industry is also being stratified, I said. It no longer makes sense to design, implement and maintain a large system in the US or Europe: the costs are too high to keep a system running by paying US salaries. You have to keep lowering the costs of your product to stay competitive; moving system maintenance to countries where it can be done more economically is one way of doing this.

‘It’s not just maintenance: new software system development is also being sent outside the country.’

No one complained when the manufacture of auto components grew in other countries, I said. Why this concern about the same thing happening in the IT industry?

‘Because the jobs you are now taking are from people like me, not from an anonymous blue-collar worker in Missouri or Kansas.’

More excerpts are here and here

Here is Mathai talking about why he wrote the book:

The question I am asked most often is ‘What made you write this book?’ I know of two good answers (and there must be many more). First, we now take the success of computing and information technology in India for granted but things were very different when we started. It is important to have an account of what computing was really like in its early days in India. Second, most events are about people, so knowing more about them helps to understand what happened, and why. The people who seemed to play a central role in an era may be forgotten in a few years while those responsible for creating the changes that have endured are the ones who really matter.

Another answer is really a question: information technology now accounts to close to 8% of India’s GDP and employs over three million people. Yet there are just three books about this phenomenon that I know about (they are listed in the Acknowledgements). Just three books about an industry and a technology that have changed India more than any other?

Many will disagree with what I have written and I will try and respond to them here. My real plea to them is: write your own account of computing in India. The more that is written about this phenomenon, the better history will be able to draw conclusions.

About the Author – Mathai Joseph

Mathai Joseph did his PhD at the University of Cambridge and joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1968. He was appointed to a Chair in Computer Science at the University of Warwick in 1985. He joined TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) in 1997 as an Executive Vice President and was also Executive Director of TRDDC (Tata Research Development and Design Centre) until his retirement in 2007. At various times, he has been a visiting professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Warwick and University of York. He was Chairman of the Board of the International Institute for Software Technology from 2005-2007. He has written several books and numerous papers. Mathai Joseph was the first person from India to be elected as a Member-at-Large of the ACM Council in 2008.

For more information, see

(Anyone interested in writing a detailed review of the book for PuneTech, please get in touch. Thanks.)

Pune’s Vivek Kulkarni, Architect at Persistent, publishes book on Theory of Computation

The Persistent Systems Blog has just published an article about Vivek Kulkarni, a Principal Architect at Persistent, who has published a book, “Theory of Computation” with Oxford university press.

Here is the description of the book:

The book begins with basic concepts such as symbols, alphabets, sets, relations, graphs, strings, and languages. It then delves into the important topics including separate chapters on finite state machine, regular expressions, grammars, pushdown stack, Turing machine, parsing techniques, Post machine, undecidability, and complexity of problems. A chapter on production systems encompasses a computational model which is different from the Turing model, called Markov and labelled Markov algorithms. At the end, the chapter on implementations provides implementation of some key concepts especially related to regular languages using C program codes. A highly detailed pedagogy entailing plenty of solved examples, figures, notes, flowcharts, and end-chapter exercises makes the text student-friendly and easy to understand.

Vivek has written 15 textbooks used in Indian colleges. His latest book is his first with an international publisher. More about his background:

He has more than 18 years of experience in academia and software industry. He has served as a subject chairman for multiple subjects for the Board of Computer Engineering, University of Pune. He has also worked in organizations such as BMC Software, Symantec Corporation, and Tech-Mahindra.

On how he got into writing textbooks:

In my 3rd year as a Computer Engineering student, I was studying Computational Theory and I couldn’t find any reputable Theory of Computationbooks in the market. 5 days prior to the final exam, I finally found a book. Despite being a tough read, I managed to study for the examination. In those 5 days I realized the importance of computational theory for any Computer Science graduate. As a result of this influence, I decided to take up teaching after graduation. My first job was at Cummins Engineering College in Pune, India where I taught only Computational Theory. Few years down the line, I also served as subject chairman on the Board of Computer Engineering, University of Pune.

In 1998, I published my first book on the subject and now with over 15 books on the subject used widely across throughout universities, I wanted to write a reference book, which would be followed by all the Computer Engineering/Science graduates across India and also as a reference book for those who would wish to learn the subject. I am extremely passionate about the subject and still very active as an academician. I voluntarily teach this subject to many engineering graduates from Pune.

And on how was it writing a book with a full-time job:

Hectic is the simple answer. I worked on all Saturdays and Sundays since August 2011 till March 2013, including holidays. Together with many other personal responsibilities, it was a tireless period.

Read the full article