IdeaCampPune – a Report

These are the quick-n-dirty notes that I took during IdeaCampPune. (Actually, they are my live-tweets of the event.) I’ve tried to include relevant links where I could find them.

Generally, I think it went rather well. The organizers had stopped registration after 80 entries (there were a bunch of other people who wanted to get in, but couldn’t) – so I guess about 80 people attended. All the sessions were attended by a roomful of people and many sessions had lots of discussion and audience participation.

If you find any one of these initiatives interesting, and need help with getting in touch with the relevant person, let me know and I can try to put you in touch.


  • First hour spent in “corridor discussions”. About a dozen ideas listed on the board so far.
  • Kaushik R ( et al trying to create a platform for structured participation of Industry in (Pune) colleges
  • IIT-B Alumni association inviting nominations for Innovations-2009 ( I’ve heard good things about the Innovations program from a number of people. (Beware, it is not all IT/Tech, some of the innovations might be in a different field. But still interesting.)
  • Srikanth Sunderarajan (COO, Persistent) pushing people to be serious about their ideas – to think everything through.
  • Anupam Saraph, CIO of Pune, talking about “Design for Pune” ( – competition/game to design Pune of the future. Competition will have participants using SimCity ( Possible first prize – spend a day with Will Wright (top game designer). See my recent article about some of the initiatives that Anupam is currently spending his time on. 
  • Abhay Shete ( talking about the Semantic Web (; faceted browsing (
  • A couple of students from COEP talking about Swarm Intelligence ( Complex behavior from simple pieces.
  • Anurag Agarwal is creating the “Mentor India Program”. Pick promising students from colleges and mentor them for a few years.
  • Shashikant Kore ( talking about SMS based micropayments. I wonder if his new company (still in stealth) is about this
  • The Design for Pune ( presentation repeated by popular demand (for those who missed it)
  • Aparna talking about “India, I Care” – Lots of audience participation
  • Entrepreneurship cell IIT-B; promoting entrepreneurship amongst youth. – funding, incubation, showcase, etc.
  • Freeman, talking about the use of mp3 players in (rural?) education (the “one mp3 player per child” project). is using radio to run an english teaching program. Digital Hall provides videos that teachers can use to run lessons. Teacher only has to answer questions/doubts. OLPC classroom near Karjat is also rather cool. Also see a wikipedia for curricula. All of these have some problems. That’s where mp3pc comes in. The web has a large amount of audio web content that is freely downloadable. Usable for education. use cheap chinese mp3 players for education! Easy to use, cheap, sturdy, easy to carry around. Many hours of education. Can use even while the child is doing something else (e.g. walking 5km to school). Freeman is hoping to do a pilot program with the 15 mp3 players he bought. Looking for a good institute where to run it. 
  • Aditi talking about “Generating Rural Income”. Can we tap traditional abilities of villagers/tribals to generate income? A number of interesting NGOs were mentioned during this talk, but I was unable to capture their names. Hopefully someone will blog about this in more detail.
  • Shyamal leads a discussion on various ways of saving power (mainly about our use of computers)
  • My own discussion on what we can do to improve participation in tech community events in Pune. Some interesting ideas that I hope to try out in the near future
  • Guna talking about “Lean Thinking”. The Toyota way. How to incorporate lean thinking in your own startup. Identify waste, measure it, and eliminate it.
  • One presentation on a single website where you can go to see all your e-mail. Everybody jumped on the poor guy. Surprisingly, in a day full of unconferenced talks, this was the only presentation that did not have interesting content.
  • bosky101 conducting a session on brainstorming. Creating random patterns of different ideas. Everybody having fun coming up with unrelated terms/areas/activities. 
  • Since a lot of the ideas presented today have been about social responsibility, Anurag felt that the audience would be interested in the other activity that he has been a part of for the last year. – the program he started for creating libraries for disadvantaged kids. They have created 50 libraries so far (using, 40 to 50 people across 5 chapters). He hopes to double the numbers this year.
  • There was a wrap up session in the end where people talked about which ideas they liked the best. Design for Pune was the clearly one the ideas that people were most excited about. Other honourable mentions: SMS micropayments, Mentor India, 1MP3PC.

8 thoughts on “IdeaCampPune – a Report

  1. You are right, Shardul. I was in the parallel track at that time. I did hear, though that you might be helping out “India, I Care” set up their website with Joomla or something similar. I think that would really be great.


  2. “One presentation on a single website where you can go to see all your e-mail.”

    i left early so couldnt sit for this session.

    however if his idea was similar to this (,

    there are others in the valley who think its not such a bad idea after all.

    not that i am in favor of the idea personally , it goes to show that ideas become very difficult to judge at the initial stages.

    case in point:
    if someone had given a presentation on a twitter-like service (before twitter was made), would we have said its a good idea?
    i wouldnt , (and still dont) but i guess a million+ active twitter users disagree with me.

  3. @rajesh, there is a significant difference between that that person was talking about and orgoo. That was pitched mainly as an aggregator for your e-mail. As far as I could tell, that proposal did not have enough of an improvement over existing mechanisms to do that.

    In contrast, orgoo sounds significantly more useful as it would allow me to aggregate together a lot more content in addition to e-mails: i.e. sms, IMs, video comments (like seesmic?). That would provide something that does not exist today.

    But generally, I agree that it is very difficult to judge an idea at initial stages. Even after twitter had become very popular, it still took me about 3 months of using it before I really understood its value. I am now a huge believer in the value of twitter. I am making interesting contacts and finding useful information that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. For example, Jason Goldberg’s talk and my recent archival/e-discovery article are a result of people I found on twitter. (By the way, I am ngkabra on twitter, and see here for a list of Pune twitterers).

    But coming back to the main point – yes, it is very possible that you have a good idea but in the initial stages people might scoff at it. In my opinion, one of the key requirements for being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to believe in yourself, even if “experienced” people give you negative feedback.

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