Another “Super” Saturday with a Couple of Twists

When I like something nowadays, I keep saying “Super”. Super takes the spot along with “Awesome”, “Great” and “Cool”. I don’t know where or how I picked up this habit, but it seems to be here to stay.

There is another (slightly different) “Super” around the corner. It is TiE Chennai Super Saturday – an event I always look forward to. It is turning out to be really “Super”.

We received over 16 pitches and we are going to do about 10 of them (due to time constraints) in the morning PitchFest. We will have another session for the rest of the pitches, during the Unconference track. PitchFest is a bit unique. The Top 3 will get some cool sponsorships.

We are going to have an awesome session by Raghu Rajagopal. Raghu is a serial entrepreneur and a startup evangelist. He also runs an incubator. He runs several companies (not sure how he manages that) and interviews entrepreneurs for his column in Business Line. He is going to share with us a lot of the lessons of entrepreneurship – his own and the ones from the entrepreneurs he talks to. I am really looking forward to that session.

We also have one of the best minds of marketing teaching us Marketing 101. When I heard J K Iyer (popularly known among us as JK), I was simply blown away. He was a professor then.He is with Consim, now ( His style of teaching is unique, informal and very conversational. I look forward to meeting him and eager to hear his views now that he is part of the industry.

We have an unconference session in the after-noon. I love this session because we hear the voice of the audience – YOU. These sessions are always full of surprises and lots of learning.

If you have not registered, please do so immediately. Look forward to seeing you there on Saturday (2nd).

TiE Chennai Startup Super Saturday on March 2nd at IITM Research Park, Taramani.


On Programming as a Profession

The author of Learn Python The Hard Way has some great advice in “Advice from an Old Programmer.

Programming as an intellectual activity is the only art form that allows you to create interactive art. You can create projects that other people can play with, and you can talk to them indirectly. No other art form is quite this interactive. Movies flow to the audience in one direction. Paintings do not move. Code goes both ways.

Programming as a profession is only moderately interesting. It can be a good job, but you could make about the same money and be happier running a fast food joint. You’re much better off using code as your secret weapon in another profession.

People who can code in the world of technology companies are a dime a dozen and get no respect. People who can code in biology, medicine, government, sociology, physics, history, and mathematics are respected and can do amazing things to advance those disciplines.

Of course, all of this advice is pointless. If you liked learning to write software with this book, you should try to use it to improve your life any way you can. Go out and explore this weird wonderful new intellectual pursuit that barely anyone in the last 50 years has been able to explore. Might as well enjoy it while you can.

Finally, I’ll say that learning to create software changes you and makes you different. Not better or worse, just different. You may find that people treat you harshly because you can create software, maybe using words like “nerd”. Maybe you’ll find that because you can dissect their logic that they hate arguing with you. You may even find that simply knowing how a computer works makes you annoying and weird to them.

To this I have just one piece of advice: they can go to hell. The world needs more weird people who know how things work and who love to figure it all out. When they treat you like this, just remember that this is your journey, not theirs. Being different is not a crime, and people who tell you it is are just jealous that you’ve picked up a skill they never in their wildest dreams could acquire.

You can code. They cannot. That is pretty damn cool.


My Favorite 4 from 16 Rules of Social Media Optimization

From 16 Rules of Social Media Optimization a free white paper (requires registration).

4.Help Your Content Travel
6. Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn’t Help You
10. Create Content
11. Be Real

The white paper covers SEO and SMO (social media optimization) and provides good advice. The only funny thing is that this site violates one of their own rules. I will let you find out which. If you do, let me know.

India’s IT and ITeS Services

From India Budget Services Sector:

India’s IT and ITeS services with exponential growth are a unique export-led success story which has put India on the global map. While India has achieved a brand identity in this sector, other developing countries are trying to emulate India’s
example. Besides its impact on growth (both direct and indirect), it is also a provider of skilled employment both in India and abroad, generating direct employment for nearly 2.8 million persons and indirect employment of around 8.9 million in 2011-
12. The IT-ITeS industry has four major subcomponents: IT services, business process outsourcing (BPO), engineering services and R&D, and software products.

The IT and ITeS sector has started facing competition from any developing countries. While the EU has the highest share in computer and information services exports, followed by India and the USA, many new competitors like China, Israel and the Philippines have emerged in recent years. Between 2005 and 2011, the annual average growth of computer services was
69 per cent in the Philippines, 28 per cent in Sri Lanka, 59 per cent in Ukraine, 27 per cent in the Russian Federation, 37 per
cent in Argentina and 35 per cent in Costa Rica. Even if in some cases the export values are relatively low, the average annual
growth of computer services in these economies is well above the average of the top exporters.

TiE Chennai Super Saturday Mar 2013

This event is something you cannot afford to miss. There are several reasons:

A few companies from Chennai – OrangeScape, FreshDesk etc. benefitted from Sramana’s 1M/1M program. The advice and the PR they received from her were very valuable.

We thought that we should make it available for a few entrepreneurs in Chennai. So we went ahead and did two things.

  1. Requested Sramana to give a discount on her premium membership and she was kind enough to agree.
  2. We also found a few sponsors to pay 50% of the remaining amount for the top 3 companies who are selected during Pitchfest on March 2nd.

In addition, we are assembling a good team to share some marketing and sales ideas for growth. We do have the unconference sessions that all of us enjoy so much. You can find more details and a registration link here. Registration deadline for pitches is Feb 25.

Multiple Roles of a Teacher

The ten roles of modern day teacherFrom Fixing The Schools a Sketchbook from Kauffman Foundation.

Teachers need to play multiple roles since they have a mix of students coming from very different backgrounds. Students have:

  • Different levels of knowledge
  • Different learning styles
  • Different levels and different types of intelligence (see multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner)
  • Come from different family backgrounds, resulting in different levels of involvement by parents

To handle a mix of students, teachers need to:

  • Knows the subject matter well and in depth
  • Have the ability to answer why questions
  • Need to use multiple techniques to deal with learning styles and learning approaches

This picture is a great depiction of how a teacher needs to play multiple roles.

Once in a While, I Slip Into a Fantasy World

Once in a while, I slip into a fantasy world. Normally it is triggered by some article or book  I read or some movie I watch.

  • It may be because I love SciFi  – though, I am not finding time to doing much of that nowadays.
  • It may be because I was crazy about the Space programs in mid nineties and used to read up everything I could get from the American Library
  • It may be because there is an inherent geek in me that believes in break through scientific discoveries
  • It may also be because I am always fascinated by Science – both the Science I know and the Science I have no clue about

It does not matter why. I kind of like being a bit of a nut, hoping to see galactic travel in the next couple of decades by humans. Now that I know about 100yss my hope has gone up a couple of notches.

Innovation Log: Power Beaming Technology

It is nice to see challenge winners turning into product builders. It is nicer to see innovations that push the limits of what we can do. A news story about LaserMotive:

It’s the first commercial product to be offered for sale by LaserMotive, which was founded in 2007 by a group of physicists and engineers, winning the NASA Centennial Challenges Power Beaming Challenge in 2009. LaserMotive has received NASA contracts and partnered with companies including Lockheed Martin in the process of developing and testing its power-beaming technology.

I have a couple of students working on some cool power beaming technology as well. But that is low power and is on a very small budget. Right now it is very experimental. Once we have a small demonstrable prototype, will write more about it.

Tools for Computational Molecular Biology


The Biopython Project is a collection of freely available Python tools for computational molecular biology. The web site provides an online resource for modules, scripts, and web links for developers of Python-based software for life science research.

From the Tutorial and Cookbook on Biopython:



  • The ability to parse bioinformatics files into Python utilizable data structures
  • Code to deal with popular on-line bioinformatics
  • Interfaces to common bio-informatics programs
  • A standard sequence class that deals with sequences, ids on sequences, and sequence features.
  • Code to perform classification of data using k Nearest Neighbors, Naive Bayes or Support Vector Machines.
  • Code for dealing with alignments, including a standard way to create and deal with substitution matrices.
  • Code making it easy to split up parallelizable tasks into separate processes.
  • GUI-based programs to do basic sequence manipulations, translations, BLASTing, etc..
  • Integration with BioSQL, a sequence database schema also supported by the BioPerl and BioJava projects.


via TopicMinder alerts for Python.

App Log: IBM Watson, BIg Data and Treatment for Cancer

It is heartening to see emerging technologies like Big Data Analytics, Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence combined into powerful tools to solve real problems. IBM Watson is an example. From Wikipedia

Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM‘s DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci.

From Watson provides cancer treatment options to doctors in seconds

Watson has ingested more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from 42 medical journals and clinical trials in the area of oncology research.   Watson has the power to sift through 1.5 million patient records representing decades of cancer treatment history, such as medical records and patient outcomes, and provide to physicians evidence based treatment options all in a matter of seconds.

Starting with 1,500 lung cancer cases, Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinicians and analysts are training Watson to extract and interpret physician notes, lab results and clinical research, while sharing its profound expertise and experiences in treating hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer.

The core of the technology is available through Apache Foundation’s UIMA Project.

UIMA – a framework for  analyzing  large volumes of unstructured information and discover relevant knowledge  to a user

You can look at sites and services that take advantage of UIMA’s capabilities.


Applog is a series of curated links of innovation applications of emerging technologies.