The Organization Kid

Read this: The Organization Kid and sample this:

The world they live in seems fundamentally just. If you work hard, behave pleasantly, explore your interests, volunteer your time, obey the codes of political correctness, and take the right pills to balance your brain chemistry, you will be rewarded with a wonderful ascent in the social hierarchy. You will get into Princeton and have all sorts of genuinely interesting experiences open to you. You will make a lot of money—but more important, you will be able to improve yourself. You will be a good friend and parent. You will be caring and conscientious. You will learn to value the really important things in life. There is a fundamental order to the universe, and it works. If you play by its rules and defer to its requirements, you will lead a pretty fantastic life.

As I read through this I find many similarities in the way the middle class urban ethos as a common thread there in Princeton and here in India. That a 10th class kid weak at academics is branded a lose for life – schools, teachers, parents, friends, by almost everyone. The amount of emphasis that is laid on achievement – sometimes rather unjustifiably on education. And sometimes I see parents who just wouldn’t let their children go – handholding them, precautions and instructions, what to eat, not to eat, drive or not to. Where education is seen as a sure way of insuring your future life and a job as the best way to a perfect mode to the ascend to social hierarchy. How blissfully naive and how realistically blind. At least entrepreneurship has taught me that much. How much that we lose for the cost of safety and security – the tradeoffs that are inherent in life.Breeding/creating a generation of yesmen. And finally the ambition of parents that is the same everywhere – their kids as drivers of their unaccomplished ambitions and wanting the best for their kids from the parent’s PoV.

I see change now, in the number of young folks wanting to take risks – sometimes bigger than they can afford to take, learning, falling and rising along the way.

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BarcampHyderabad5 – The Good, the bad and the ugly.

Finally, we managed to pull of the BarcampHyderabad5 today. Quite a lot of effort put and no small terms thanks to the effort by the Google guys – Sashidhar and Syed. This one holds a special mention especially because the participants to listeners ratio was higher (marginally I guess) and a host of other reasons which I mention below

The Good

  • The numbers and the ratios: 311 registered by the time we decided to close off the registrations. In spite of that by the end of day of 15th we had 350 people registering! Now compare that to the number of sessions [about 20] which boiled down to a participants[200-225] ratio of about 1:10! Not bad for Hyderabad.
  • Google: Amazing (free) food. Amazing place. Free snacks. Free cafeteria. Free Wifi. Great ambiance. Great employees. Great work culture. Loved the T-Shirt. FoosBall table. And the bean bags. And some of the myths about Google are absolutely true. The whole experience… wow! I can roll off many more but I think I will stop singing my paeans for now.
  • Parallel tracks: During our barcamp planning sessions, we had decided upon four tracks in our Wiki – OpenSource, Demos, Startups, Technology. By the morning of barcamp, we decided to just do a sequential set of sessions[considering the thin list of participants, ergo presenters] and add to the list as and when the speakers keep coming. One and a half hour into the Camp and it was clear that we had to have a parallel track. And we decided to go parallel – Startups + Demos, OpenSource + Technology. The big hall was allocated to the former and the small conference room for the latter. It was very clear that many people were here for demos and to listen about/to startups, bloggers than about technology. And in hindsight what a great decision it was do it that way.
  • OpenSource track: Comparing the notes, found out that the opensource track was much more barcampish than the other. Lots of discussions, some really good talks and a pretty small room and a great set of listeners. And a great talk by Saifi.
  • Whiteboard: The whiteboard really sweated it out. The number of sessions that got created, arranging, scheduling… all and on the fly; not much action was seen in Hyderabad BarCamp circuit as had been today.
  • HydBlogs.in: Finally the first solid step towards blogroll creation for the Hyderabad Bloggers has been taken – one of our long unaccomplished motives since Barcamp1. Announcing for the first time here, the creation of the HydBlogs.in – the Hyderabad Blogger Blogroll. To keep track of whats happening in Hyderabad Blog Circuit just jump to www.hydblogs.in. Full credits to Suryakant[base code] and yours truly [design and donation of the domain ;D] and most importantly to SMR for the generous donation of hosting space. If you a blogger from Hyderabad, please jump over to the site and add your blog to the list. This is just version 0.1; hopefully we will be able to donate sometime on the site and make it more usable. Oh and any volunteers?! Design – Code – Maintenance? drop a comment or shoot a mail over to me.
  • ProductBarCamp: March 8th with IIIT & HYSEA bring to you the Product Barcamp which showcases 32 product companies of Hyderabad and each showcasing their product in a 5 min demo and a 2 min Q & A.
  • Organizing Team: Lots of new members that weren’t part of the team of 1,2,3,4 were here in BCH5. Its gratifying to see the interest in the folks to create a thriving tech ecosystem in Hyderabad. Once again, thanks and many cheers to all ye’ folks!

The Bad

  • Bad presentations: Some of the presentations in open source track were downright boring (my opinion) and definitely not barcamp material. Sessions on Rails architecture, 10 best reasons to use Rails, unrelated case studies, deceptively titled presentations are not what a barcamp audience expects to see. Rails would have been great in BarcampHyderabad1 – two years ago – but definitely not now. Its like saying Bush is an idiot now when everyone [almost] admits it is a mistake!
  • Parallel tracks: Because of having to sit in the Open Source sessions running parallel to the Demo & Startup tracks, I missed three particular presentations I was looking forward to – Demos by Brainwave & R-KnowSys and the talk by Kavita Vemuri and which I heard turned out to be really goood. Guys if any of you guys are reading this post, can you forward me your ppts/pdfs/videos?
  • Clueless/Disinterested Audience: The whole point of the barcamp is to have the audience listen-participate-discuss-contribute to the proceeding than just be a pair of idle ears. From what I heard from the Demo track, the audience started loitering around the rooms and having their jolly share of snacks, etc instead of even participating in the event – which kills any enthusiasm of the presenter. Come on guys, behave yourself!

The Ugly

  • Unruly registrants/Cannibals: From the city of nawabs comes the most disgraceful habit of not having the basic courtesy to listen-follow-comprehend simple instructions. When we said ‘Do not add any more names to the list‘ it was meant to be understood and be followed as is – no where does it mean that it is ok to add the names to the list and keep pushing this instruction down. Or the practice of cannibalizing the early registrants by replacing their names with your own. Sad though, which essentially means that people need more policing – exactly what barcamp was not supposed to be needing.
  • Discourteous Takers: The T-Shirt from Google is great. The water bottle from Progress downright droolworthy. But in no way does that justify folks take two-three-four Tees & bottles per person. Sadly, many participants, presenters and even members of the organizing team had no goodies to take home. And that too, when the goodies were in surplus[25%] of the participants!

Best sessions of the camp

LiveBlogging from BCH5 – 5

Collaboration with SpiceBird – Prasad Sunkari – Synovel

  • definition of collaboration
  • a step ahead to just emails and calendars. tightly bonding the disparate systems – email with blog, date with CMS
  • open source as a perfect strategy for startups – low marketing expenses, minimal brandbuilding effort, reduced dev effort [bugs, feedback, translations]. already being called a competitor to outlook and are indirectly a cause for change in thunderbird’s roadmap ahead.
  • more info on http://www.spicebird.com

Domain Specific Languages in Ruby – Suman Karthik

  • Internal/External

And, we are done!!!

LiveBlogging from BCH5 – 4

NewGenLib – New Generation Library automation – Suneel V – A Case Study in OpenSource

  • Two people – Core functional guy with 18 yrs of library management.
  • Companies involved – Verus Solutions Pvt Ltd and Kesavan Institute of Knowledge Management.
  • VTLS – best library automation software in US
  • 13 lacs – cost of the lib automation back at least a decade ago
  • First breakthrough Goa Library.
  • 150 installations by 2007. Idea took shape in 2002. Development ended in 2004.
  • In Jan 2008, NewGenLib was declared OpenSource. In the period following it, they had more than a couple of thousand downloads. [3500+]
  • Ramesh asked this question “Would they have the same amount of downloads if the software was declared free but not opensource?”

Django Web Framework – Shabd – Ex-Oracle guy

  • Demo session for building a blog/project management solution in Django.
  • Time limit: 20 mins.

LiveBlogging from BCH5 – 3

Hardcore way to do your startup – Nanda – www.atuitu.com.

About AtuItu: Social Network for telugu folks. Built on Ruby on Rails.

  • Describe your product/startup in one single line
  • Breakup your work into very small parts – modules – task for the days – not codes
  • Every problem is a challenge – every achieved challenge gives a sense of achievement
  • Do mistakes. Don’t worry about them.
  • Be in the market and keep changing it based on the feedback.
  • Focus on getting your product out. Let the users give you the response and feedback.
  • Only dependent on yourself.
  • Distractions – money to sustain, depressions. Be very guarded from any distraction.
  • All about persistence.

Relevance of Rails to startups – Sumanth Krishna A

  • One person – one idea – product.
  • And basically the top ten of Rails – the usual drumming that is given for rails – DRY, convention over configuration, ActionModel, CRUD, partials, helpers, etc…
  • Agile Development
  • Huge debate on Rails vs PHP vs Ruby vs Django
    • It quickly moved onto saying PHP is a language and Rails is a framework, blah blah. But then finally it boiled down to whoever already knew the language/framework and whoever was comfortable with the other.

LiveBlogging from BCH5 – 2

Branching out to the OpenSource/Tech Track

1. SaifiKhan – OpenSource Development Model

  • How to increase contribution to OpenSource in India. Students/Developers.
  • No one owns – Everyone owns – Becomes a heritage – Incorruptible
    • Sanskrit
    • Yoga
    • Idli
  • Development Models – Industrial[TopDown], Community[Gardening/Aggregate],
  • Checkins happen anytime => all the time. Two CVS servers available. Stewards
  • OpenSource Dynamic model in an organization
  • Register an organization -protect the individual – no restraining orders on individual – Helps build your community – Students interested in certificates/affiliation for the project : Better suited for Indian situation
  • Cannibalization happens – as is normal in the biological evolution – 97% OS projects fail
  • Why people do OpenSource
    • EOLD – Most dreaded word for vendors
    • Delivery of truth delayed by normal process – Person to file the bug is the one to fix it
  • How are stewards identified?
    • Grow from within the model
    • Had been a developer
  • In case of issues in closed model – Telescope model [Telescoping into the organization] – Move from support -> developer -> team lead -> director …
  • Looking at OpenSource Model as a cross of people communication + biological evolutions/mutation. Psychology + Biology. Social + Evolution. Centered around Community.
  • Talk | Engage | Involve
  • Small additions – Payloads – Plugins architectures
  • Ruby’s Black Swan: Apple:Cocoa goes out
  • Case Studies: iptable/filter, KDE4, Drupal conf organizer
  • GPL vs LGPL vs Free BSD vs public vs GPLv3 vs dual licensing

Overall, a very very energetic talk. The experience of having worked in a lot of open source projects comes through – many anecdotes, experiences, understanding the people focus comes through.

The track started off with about 20 people and it grew gradually to take all chairs available and now we have the room overflowing and at least 10-20 people standing and many sitting on the ground.

Barcamping Time in Hyderabad @ Google

Its that time of the year again that we folks here call the BarcampHyderabad. And Google has graciously accepted to give us some good space, free food and some goodies to let this get going. Hopefully, we will be able to sneak out some photos of the spanking new Google campus near Kondapur.The lead team planning out and spreading the message is quite a few this time and hopefully that reflects in the turnouts & participants too.

BarcampHyderabad5

Technologies, demos and startups- betting on Web2.0, Social web, Semantics Web and beyond!

Thats prolly the longest ever Barcamp topic ever! Anyways so if you are a startup guy, a been there done that guy, a research dude or a company eager to show their baby – make it a point to drop in for the party. Hopefully, yours truly too can make some presentation thats worth something.

More Details and SignUp : Here!