Author Archive for RohitS

Twittering for a cause – Help build a library

Do children have a right to books, toys and the freedom to read, learn and imagine?

I am not sure if the constitution guarantees it but working as an entrepreneur in the Indian Education sector that is something I found missing. While we talk of revolutionizing education by the use of technology, millions wait for their first book.

Our World Our Stories (OWOS) is an initiative to do something about this. OWOS will create children books and the means to take book to all children, especially the ones usually left behind.

As a first step, please help us in building a library for the kids at Project Why – an 8 year old NGO. All you have to do is follow @owos on Twitter – http://twitter.com/owos. When the number of supporters reaches 100000, Grolier International (the Indian subsidiary of Scholastic Inc.) will donate a library to Project Why. It’s that simple!

You can also support the project on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Our-World-Our-Stories/119586777619 and learn more about it at http://ourworldourstories.com

Hope you would not let the moment pass without showing your support. Thank you and please pass on the word!

Education?!

I have always wondered who makes the government websites.

Now look at this: SAKSHAT – a “Complete Education Portal” inaugurated by our President and involves HRD ministry, Information ministry. The aim is to connect 50 crore Indians in next 5 years. I wonder what is the budget for this ambitious project. A few crores atleast? Though I am sure one can get a much better website done at RentACoder for less than 150 dollars.

The main page of the site is titled “Index”! Click on a link called Digital Literacy and you are taken to a new page titled – “Untitled document”. And lets not talk about the color scheme, usability, focus – this is “Sarkari” after all.

Who are the people who manage these projects? Have they seen the Internet of 2006? Did they even explore open source projects like Moodle? Do they really want this to serve any purpose?

Lessons from Japan

This was not supposed to be my first post on Venturewoods. But India’s soccer game against Japan at the Salt Lake stadium in which there was a power failure and a dog ran on the ground in the middle of the game made me wonder if something like this could ever happen in a game hosted in Japan. I can also not expect a less than perfect product from Toshiba or Toyota. How is it that this small nation became the benchmark for quality and efficiency?

While no doubt the Japanese quality control systems and processes have a big hand to play, I believe at the basic level its about Awareness, Pride and Simplicity. (I am not trying to preach. I am learning myself)

Awareness:
What we and our work represents and the impact it can have. Today when the entrepreneurial activity is on its highest, are we Indian entrepreneurs aware of this? Are we aware how our work can influence not only the technology sector we are involved in but also the social and economic scenario of a country that has been looking for a chance for a long time.

Pride:
This one is simple. The roads should be clean and the user interfaces the best – Because they are Indian!

Simplicity:
In doing your small bit in the best possible manner and also in ensuring the benefits reach the end customer in the simplest possible manner. “System” is a word used very often by Japanese restaurants, gyms, bars, cell phone application companies and any other service organization. In not more than 3 straight forward steps it explains everything to the customer. The same simplicity is seen in a Japanese person or organization accepting its limitations and offering only what it can deliver best.

I believe we have a chance. Today when many of us are building (or thinking of building) companies, we can also rebuild a nation. I for one do not believe that “Social Entrepreneurs” should be a separate category. What were your feelings when you started (or now when you are thinking of starting) your company? What is your main driving force? What values should be at the core of new Indian startups?

Dog at Salt Lake: