Archive for April, 2007

Young Innovation

I was impressed with what I saw at an Amity school in Noida. In the Maths area there were some excellent and fun brain teasers and puzzles put together by the teachers and kids quite a few of which stumped a “late 40 to early fifties ” bunch of IIT folks ( I was one of them).

One room was devoted to Nanotechnology. Not my field but it was all presented in a fun way that stimulated learning . I now know the difference between nano and pico technology and why peackock feathers do not lose color.

Some of the kids presented their exhibits in a rehearsed and coached manner but done quite well.

It is nice to see innovation in teaching at the school level.

My son grew up in USA and as parents when we visited India we got quite concerned because he seemed to know much less than his peers. When we returned to USA I visited his third grade class and returned quite reassured that it was just a different system. In third grade he had to write a report on whales ( what do whales eat, who eats/kills whales etc. ) with a bibliography and present it. Other students had to listen, question and they were judged on their class participation and on their own work. The presentations were recorded and the teacher plus students gave feedback on improvements.

If you have ever wondered why a lot of people in USA are very good at presentation then you now know they start very early.

Fear of Failure/ Work Ethic

This is a pet theory of mine and I happily acknowledge it could be wrong. A difference I noticed in how I was raised and how I think kids in USA are raised was that for me it was always ” If you do not do xyz then pqr will happen” Xyz was like drinking milk. PQR was like Gabbar will come or XYZ was studying hard and PQR was like being on the streets.

The result was that I had a strong fear of failure and a strong work ethic. In America there is a sense of optimism and self esteem with the result being a very low fear of failure and a relatively poorer work ethic.

Of course these are broad generalizations but I think I am seeing a difference in the way kids are being raised today in India which is a little more balanced.

Do people agree that fear of failure should be less ?I tend to think in an entrepreneurial society failure has to be an option. ? Is this fear decreasing in India ?

Any comments on work ethic ? My observation is that Silicon Valley startup productivity is atleast 2X what I have observed in India. True ?

This post was inspired by a visit to a school exhibition which I will cover in the next post.

Announcing Proto Summer Edition 2007

logoproto.jpgI am happy to announce the summer edition of to the Venturewoods community. This is slated for 21-22 July at Chennai and is in continuation of its first edition that took place in January earlier this year. For those who came in late, Proto is intended to be a springboard for upcoming startups in India. Modeled on the hugely successful DEMO that is held in Silicon Valley, Proto is organized by the Knowledge Foundation, a non-profit body started by a group of like minded tech enthusiasts.

The first edition of Proto was a good stepping stone. We did some things right, while there were some areas where we could have done better. We intend to leverage on its learnings and make sure that the second edition is a more compelling experience for all participants- startups, technologists, investors, media etc.

So how will ProtoSE be different? For starters, the event is being thrown open to startups from other Asian countries & we expect participation from South East Asia. We are expecting more widespread representation from the investor community, having received confirmations from quite a few VC firms. Prominent industry/academic bodies like IAMAI, TiE, TeNeT, ASES (Incubation Cell Network based out of Stanford University), The Technopreneur Development Division of Malaysia (TeDD), IDA of Singapore have confimed their support as well. More details on the Proto blog.

The format of the event is likely to be the same as before – anybody can nominate, but only 30 chosen startups (selected by a expert panel) will get to take the stage during the event. The nominations are now open, so if you are a startup wanting to tell the world what you have created, go file your nominations right now. There is a participation fee of 10K, but only if you are in the final 30. Registration for attendees will open shortly. The website for Proto SE07 is currently work in progress and should be ready in a week. We are also looking for event sponsors, so if that is you, drop us an email.

We look forward to support from Venturewoods community for this event. We are also open to suggestions about how we can take this event to the next level.

Second Life tour

On Friday, 27 April 2007 5 PM, I will be conducting a small tour of interesting places to go and things to do in the virtual world of Second Life, for anyone who is interested. In case you are a member, please IM me and I’ll send you a TP link.

To those who have not registered but are interested, please go to and click on the big orange ‘Join Now’ button on the upper left. This will take you through a number of basic steps in choosing your avatar name and basic appearance, as well as asking you to download the 30 MB client/browser through which you will interact with the world.

Once you’re in Second Life, please click on the ‘search’ button on the bottom center of your browser, and enter ‘Rowl Electricteeth’ in there, which will bring up a small window giving you my profile. On that, there is a button marked ‘Send IM’ which sends messages directly to me wherever I am, just click and ask me to teleport you. I can then send you a teleport link, which is basically a popup window that offers to bring you instantly to my location. Once we catch up, I can explain the basics of navigation and usage of both the browser and the world.

We will be visiting commercial, educational and entertainment-based spaces, as well as things like art galleries, museums and clubs. We can end the evening with an informal get-together at the AT island lounge (ATGS is one of our development collaborators) or even in virtual Amsterdam or Dublin, maybe catch a live music performance.

Canaan leads investment in iYogi

iYogi logo I am happy to share that Canaan Partners and SVB have invested $3.1m in iYogi. iYogi provides multi-vendor desktop support to consumers and SMBs around the globe, using delivery capability in India. We have spoken in the past about the way Indian BPO industry is evolving (here and here), and one of the key aspects is ownership of end-consumer brands and relationships — iYogi is an example of that evolution. It brings together the power of Internet in terms of market reach, and the proven delivery capability out of India. iYogi is addressing an underserved multi-billion dollar market, using the disruptions created by these two factors.

iYogi is an early stage investment in a company led by very energetic and enthusiastic founders in Uday and Vishal. I invite you in joining me to wishing them the very best of luck!

Rebuttal – Social Networking a Waste of Time in India?

Just saw this article from Avnish, Matrix Partners. Avnish, I know you are around somewhere on venturewoods, so please do participate in this friendly discussion!

A followup would be unnecessary if I agreed with this statement. However, I must say that I myself do believe that the “kids hanging out” variety of social networks are premature in India. These businesses are essentially media businesses, and reach and engagement levels are the key metrics. Besides the internet penetration being low in the country, kids are not spending hours at end on the internet — the engagement levels simply arent there as yet. The only hope for these is a strong and simple mobile addon.

And now for the exciting part — some social networks will fly in India, IMHO. I believe these will be driven by specific tangible benefits, rather than being “hangouts”. I will afford a couple of examples. The first one is referral based recruitments. The Indian e-recruitment technology is 10 years old (no, there are no company wars here! I mean this across the board.) Global sites like linkedin, simplyhired, jobster and so on have demonstrated how social networking can be tied into recruiting very effectively. The Indian model is going to be different from these, and I believe there is a significant market there.

The second example that I would afford is networks for buying services (I am yet to see a good model around product ecommerce) — services are intangible, and often very fragmented. Think of hiring a printer for printing visiting cards. These selections are essentially social in nature, and I believe translating them to the web will be productive.

I am sure there are a lot more examples — social internet is waiting to be discovered in India. And like any other business, the customer is a good place to start from.

Druvaa Replicator – Competitive Edge

from my last post “continuous data availability”, most ppl sent email expressing these confusing over “how the hell it actually works and differs from traditional methods” :)

For the working part we are publishing technical papers (on website) and for the rest -

Let me know, if anyone needs more information (and sorry for a re-post).

New life, anyone?

Hello. I’m brand new here. Just met Alok in Second Life, and we got to discussing the different ways people and businesses can interact there.
Second Life, for the uninitiated, is a three-dimensional virtual world where users can fly, shop with virtual money, set up offices and educational institutions, and a whole lot more. It has faced incredible growth since the last quarter of 2006, something like 30% a month. Why is this so?
Basically, millions of people are finding out that a 2-D interface is just clunky. Especially when it comes to many people interacting simultaneously. The potential for E-learning alone is almost infinite.
My question here is…are there any people interested in exploring the potential for virtual worlds like Second Life in real-world business and education? Would anyone be open to a seminar which discusses all these issues?
An interesting tidbit…if you look at the Internet itself in the 90′s, the parallels are exciting. 30% growth per month, couple million USD being spent every day in transactions, the potential to meet and make friends from anywhere in the world, the business opportunities available to anyone with a little bit of foresight…now, how many of you saw the Internet grow from a tiny obscure little entity to the way of life it is today? And if someone told you that this is the future of interaction, of business, of education, would you believe them?
Let’s talk about it :) Cheers.

– Continuous Data Availability –

Key to any business continuity solution is continuous availability of critical data. And with up-coming SOX and Basel compliance regulations it would be even more necessary for SMEs and enterprises to have a data availability and disaster recovery plan in action.

While there are a bunch of software/hardware for the same (from EMC, Netapp and Veritas), but their TCO (which goes over a million dollar) and complex integration efforts drive interested companies away. On top of it, most of these software based solutions cater to limited operating systems and applications.

Druvaa would like to bring in a paradigm shift in how business reduce their risk. Druvaa Replicator a product in its beta stage, near-synchronously and non-disruptively replicates product data over heterogeneous network, storage and operating systems and applications. It works with IP network and commodity-hardware to provide a application and OS agnostic solution which costs over 1/10 of other existing solutions.

Data Backup consolidation (from heterogeneous operating environments) and disaster recovery (over IP) are the keys features being targeted in the first release of the product. And we surely have an interesting road ahead …

And we seek VC funding and value added resellers to market this product in Asia-pacific market. Please contact me at or give a call at +91 9890712226


The site is up. Still a work in progress.

It is nice that atleast for some people if they have the merit means will not be a problem.

The idea of having a lifelong relationship with scholars is also interesting and may induce some of them to give back.

anyone with ideas/suggestions please contact the founder directly.