In50Hrs – An Enriching Experience

In case, you are not familiar, this is what happens at in50hrs (run every quarter by Vijay and The Startup Centre team):

  • People come up with ideas and present them to their peers. They give a short pitch to describe what they want to build. Some times this pitch is to validate an idea and get questions. Some times, it is to attract developers to come and work on their idea. Some  have their own development/design teams (this means, they already sold the idea and brought a few people along to slog with them over the weekend).
  • A set of designers/developers/mentors come to this event as well. Most of them actually come to help any one who needs their skills/advice.
  • After the presentations, the audience votes for their favorite ideas. This is one level of validation.
  • The participants network and form teams. Those who cannot find supporters find other teams to work with.
  • The pitches happen on a Friday evening and the demos happen on Sunday evenings. So from the time to pitch to demo is barely 50 hours.
  • During demo time, a larger audience shows up. Some of them are just curious. Some others have been to past events and enjoy being there. Some of them are regulars who can not resist being there. A small group of more experienced entrepreneurs are invited by Vijay and team to come and give feedback.
  • After each demo (which last 3 minutes), audience can ask questions, make suggestions.

Now let me tell you why I go there whenever I can.

  • Listening to ideas is always fun. But some times I get to ask questions and understand what people are trying to do. I get to make a few helpful suggestions. 
  • Some ideas are good. You want to see them as products. You do your bit for those teams.
  • I learn a lot from the discussions during the demos. When we have other experienced entrepreneurs present, some of their suggestions are useful too. Every one has  different perspective and that is very valuable.
  • The main reason I go there is to meet some really cool people. They are different from the hundreds of thousands of others in a special way. They take the initiative. Knowing such people is always a pleasure.

In50hrs tag line is “an idea to prototype in 50 hours”. But something more than that happens there. I think it is a bit of magic. I am glad to be part of it. It is an enriching experience.

TEDxKCG – One of the Best Events of This Year

Normally I don’t like events where there is no audience participation. That is why I never attended a TEDx event in Chennai. But TEDxKCG is different. To me KCG College of Engineering is an extended family. There are so many people there, I spend a lot of time with. I hang out with the students in college and in chats, I meet the faculty on several occassions. I can even predict what will be served for snacks during events :)

So I decided to attend TEDxKCG. I am glad that I did. Mrs. Annie Jacobs was kind enough to let me invite a few friends. So I did. Most of them showed up. There was one uniform reaction from all of us. Wow!

I am not going to describe the entire event. I am sure several bloggers will do that. Venkatesh already did a great job. Here is what I think is the best snippet from his article that says it all:

Whoever drew the speaker list on the theme “Ekavira, Be Original, Be Different” deserves rich compliments.

One of my favorite young participants (and I have several) is Madhu from SSN. She was there on invitation from Yuvi. There is one tweet of hers, retweeted by her friend Karthik that blew me away:

Seems like #TEDxKCG happened like how we dreamed #TEDxSSN would happen @madhuvishy #oreythetears

This tells not only her impression of the event, but also the broad mindedness of a student from an entirely different college, simply expressing, what she felt.

The story behind the story, on how TEDxKCG came about may be the most interesting of all. We need to wait and hope that some one will write it up.

I will say this. I drove away from the event, a little humbled (there was so much talent in that room and so much dedication to make a mark), extremely pleased (I know how hard the team worked) and a little wiser. It is one of those events to remember.


A copy of this exists on TEDxKCG blog page as well.

Seven Pleasant Surprises from 32hourstartup

Here are some very pleasant surprises from 32hourstartup experience.

  1. How many people actually turned up and pitched (with  less than two weeks notice)
  2. How many projects were presented (about 14)
  3. How much of time people spent helping others (instead of just working on their own projects)
  4. How powerful some of the tools are – OrangeScape’s Cloud App Builder (Mani did an awesome job and so did another team that never saw this product before the event). Krishna’s Facebook AppBuilder helped create three products and one was built in 20 minutes.
  5. How many  Social Innovation Apps were taken up.
  6. I thought only coders would turn up. I was pleasantly surprised to see business ideas, some Arduino hacking.
  7. How much learning there was – for all of us. I learned more about people I know and lot about people I have never met before this event.

When asked,  “How frequently should we do it?”, pat came the reply “as soon as we get enough sleep and ready to go again”.  That sums up the spirit.

The SSN campus  the location of 32hourstartup was really cool and very spacious. Surrounded by green grass and  lots of trees was ideal for  ideating and innovating.


Information About Information

I was jotting down ideas on the various aspects of Information that a business has to deal with. Not all of them are relevant to all businesses. However, as I was thinking about Information,  I was amazed by the number of attributes and activities related to information. Here is a list.

  1. Gathering – Identifying the Right Sources
  2. Finding – Search and Other tools
  3. Aggregating
  4. Validating – Verifying the authenticity and sources
  5. Deduplicating – Enormous overload occurs due to slightly modified versions of Information occurring over a period of time
  6. Normalizing – Reducing it to some kind of canonical form (who are the players, what is happenings etc.)
  7. Filtering – The essential tool to manage the overload and separate signal from noise. But the noise of one person may be the signal for another. So can we customize, individualize filters? What do we do with sediments left behind the filtering process?
  8. Detecting patterns – occurrence patterns and source bias patterns and other cause-effect patterns
  9. Classification  – Topic Aggregation, Topic Similarity, Topic Hierarchy
  10. Relating  – independent, interdependent, co-occurrence and correlations
  11. Analysis – contextual analysis, source context, use context, bias, analysis of language, overtones/undertones,
  12. Synthesis – Making sense of different pieces of information
  13. identifying Propagation Patterns – How does it propagate? What is the correlation of information paths to styles of information
  14. Insights – Detecting trends, velocity and currency
  15. Intelligence – Deriving actionable intelligence, mining, extracting facts, extracting entities, why/what/how/when/where analysis
  16. Layering  – how each layer maps to the organization’s layers?
  17. Flow – An analysis of flow of information. Tracing information between people, teams, departments, up and down the organization. Also flows between an organization, its partners and customers.
  18. Structuring  –  How do we link these different pieces – Unstructured, semi-structured and structured?
  19. identifying barriers to use – stovepipes/silos, lost information
  20. Supplementing/Augmenting Information – with annotations and collaborative editing
  21. Visualizing – Different levels and types of visualization
  22. Alerts and Notifications  – Smart alerts/notifications based on analysis and detection of patterns and occurrence of events based on rules. Needed for both internal and external information.
  23. Synchronizing – Updating internal information based on changes taking place external to the organization.

This is just a partial list. As the information increases dramatically, we need to think about these various aspects of Information and how we can leverage it to help an organization. What is your IIQ (Information Intelligence Quotient)?

Update June 2012

The team at Next Wave Multimedia were kind enough to create a presentation from this post.  Do you want to create your own fun presentations? You can try ComicsHead, an iPad app.

Innovation Propagation

Democracy was probably one of the greatest innovations in the world. How did it propagate? For a visualization of this story visit March of Democracy. While you are there explore other maps too.

Where has democracy dominated and where has it retreated? This map gives us a visual ballet of democracy’s march across history as the most popular form of government. From the first ancient republics to the rise of self-governing nations, see the history of democracy: 4,000 years in 90 seconds…!

This is a great and a very powerful way to track how a certain event or movement propagates around the globe. This is also a great way to teach history. Moving from the video, to the meta problem it solves, we can think of a tool to track propagation of innovation and other events. Many examples come to mind:

  1. Historic events – spread of religions, spreading of culture, propagation of ideas. These and many others originate in one or two places and spread globally over a period of time.
  2. This may also be a great tool for teaching economics, history and diffusion of various other types of innovation.
  3. I would love to see a map of the way Mathematics or Science spread.

With the advent of internet, ideas spread through packets. Bloggers, definitely are catalysts for propagating information and ideas. Hopefully, we can trace the spread at a more granular level and understand why certain ideas spread and why others dont.