Monday, 31 December 2012

Three Events And Cheers

Been in the thick of many a fun-filled action at work and outside. As I write the last post for this calendar year, a lot of thoughts and ideas swarm my mind. Like this one immediately after I wrote the previous sentence - what is a thought and what is an idea, and why am I using two words to describe what goes in my mind? Heck, let me stop it and get ahead with this post. I have mental notes (wow, better phrase) about technology, software development, society and life, management, and creative pursuits. Those will take considerable time to flesh out.

For now, I will just report three events I had attended during December.

First event to report -- We celebrated Rayyan’s 10th birthday on 12-12-12. Venue was Hotel My Place, located within walking distance from my apartment. (Note to myself: everything is within walking distance, even the Taj Mahal at Agra, only thing is it will take a lot of time). Invited about 50 members from family and friends. Enjoyed the small and cozy get together. Rayyan was so happy and after we returned home around midnight, he along with Ruwi were going through the gifts they received for a couple of hours. Photos of the birthday party are available on flickr.

Second event to report -- Startup Saturday event of December on 08-Dec-12. I like the small yet bubbly venue LaMakaan. There were auditions going on just at the same place for a Telugu movie “Paattshaala”. I got very positive vibes from the whole ambience and my mind wandered about the city.

About the triumph of cities in The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley writes: “Cities exist for trade. They are places where people come to divide their labour, to specialise and exchange. They grow when trade expands -- Hong Kong’s population grew by thirty times in the twentieth century -- and shrink when trade dries up. Rome declined from a million inhabitants in 100 BC to less than 20,000 in the early Middle Ages.” In Civilization : The Six Killer Apps of Western Power, Niall Ferguson writes: “A civilization, as the etymology of the word suggests, revolves around its cities, and in many ways it is cities that are the heroes of this book. But a city’s laws (civil or otherwise) are as important as its walls; its constitution and customs -- its inhabitants’ manners (civil or otherwise) -- as important as its palaces. Civilization is as much about scientists’ laboratories as it is about artists’ garrets. It is as much about form of land tenure as it is about landscapes.”

Oh yeah, we Hyderabadis have the palaces, we have the manners. We have the laboratories, we have the garrets. We know our trade - we make software and we make Telugu movies. We have all it takes to be the vanguard of a modern civilization. The city and the setting -- a combo of Technology and Tollywood, was a brief and transcendent experience. Don’t I love Hyderabad?

As usual, I took copious notes. But I wouldn't bore myself and the readers with each and every point I noted. Here are names of key speakers and takeaways from their talks --

Vijay Chandrashekhar, co-founder of Yasu (sold to SAP), and
-----> They wanted good talent, but since they couldn’t compete with big companies, they employed a very creative recruitment method. They went to IIT Madras and parked for a few days at the chai/cigarette hangout, and relied on old boys network, not through the official placement agency, to spread the word about their company. Hmmm, a startup has to do what a startup has to do!

Amit Prasad, SatNav
-----> A very down-to-earth speaker and his key point was: Stay out of the comfort zone of your beliefs. Listen to all, but remember my rule does not fit for you. Very well said, Mr. Prasad.

Vijay Gummadi, Carz (funded by Indo US Venture partners)
-----> A very interesting and inspiring story this. There was no particular key takeaway. One point is worth mentioning. A few days before they started their operations, resident(s) had gone to High Court and obtained an order staying the launch. Vijay and his partner literally parked at the High Court for weeks, before they could get the stay order vacated, in the process picking up the ropes of how to work with the Indian judicial system. However, by this time their bank loan had expired and a lot of employees quit. Oops, they had to “rebuild” their company even before “starting”.

Jay Pullur, serial tech entrepreneur (Pramati, Qontext, Socialtwist, Imaginea).
-----> He started his talk directly with questions and answers. Recently had Autodesk acquire Qontext - a cloud based social collaboration platform for enterprises. He said that the startup community has to consider the merger and acquisitions market. Global technology companies have a M&A budget, and we have to make India a place where those global giants can buy technology startups. Good vision from Mr. Pullur.

Third event to report -- Times of India held a ‘Funival’, The International Carnival (20 - 23 Dec) at Hitex grounds. This was held for the first time in Hyderabad. We were there on the 23rd. There were fire show, African acrobatics, magic show, dances etc.

Dancers were skimpily dressed. Wonder why the media or the right wing did not make any noise. There was a surreal atmosphere about some of the stalls selling goods. I thought the goods were so ordinary that the stalls were kept only to have the sales women sit there as eye candy.

Ruwi and Rayyan enjoyed the four plus hours we spent there. They had the first mocktail of their life - pink lady strawberry.

No resolutions for the new year. Not mentioning my pending reading book list, I wrote down a few things that I want to do in my spare time: 3 blog posts (on this site, not counting this one), 3 short stories, 3 essays (both on, 3 videos (, and 3 translations ( Well of course, all that may take up three months. As we enter 2013, whose last digit is 3, I think 2012 overall was good for most of us. So three cheers to it and a happy new year to all of you.

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