Reality of Life

31 12 2006

My latest reading is “End of Poverty” by Jeffery Sachs. This is a very good book giving details on reality bites of Poverty. I am just 25% done with the book, but am getting to understand few grass root concepts of Poverty. Probably, by the end of the book, I can get few ideas on how I can personally contribute to the idea of Ending Poverty in our life times. Poverty is not about living above the poverty line and making a living. Poverty in terms of quality of life. We have always known the 3 basic necessities of life – Food, Clothing and Shelter. However, I would like to add 1 more necessity which can address the above 3 with umberalla activities – HealthCare.

When I started to dream about entrepreneurship, I always wanted to create something which can improve the Quality of Living of individuals along with making money for myself and others around me. As I started 2006, my dream was coming to reality, we registered our organization and were very strong in our minds that 31 Dec 2006, we would be working for ourselves. As on date (31 Dec 2006) our dreams many not have matured physically as an organization, but sure we have matured as individuals and drawing a blue print for our future.

Reality Bite
I was speaking to my cousin couple of days back and discussing aspects of Social Entrepreneurship. He works with a charitable organization and his area of focus is primary education in rural areas of Visakhapatnam District in Andhra Pradesh. When speaking about “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, he mentioned that he is not too excited about the idea. I was curious and continued our discussion. He mentioned, “Look, we are speaking about e-Choupals and selling small quantity of branded goods to consumers in the rural areas and there by organizations making a forture, but let me tell you a reality – Will you believe that the cost of a bag of rice has not changed in the last 14 Years!” I was dumb struck. I still cannot believe this, but he said that this is the truth. Cost of seeds, pesticides and rent of land have been increasing with the increase in consumer goods costs, but the farmer is still getting the same price for the bag of rice for last 14 years. As I was on a phone line, I could not get into the statistics and facts, but when I meet him next time I am going to understand more of this and share with you all.
PS: The above context is with respect to Indian and espically local to Andhra Pradesh.

I wish all my readers a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2007. May this year bring in more light to all our lives.

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Ashoka

14 12 2006

www.ashoka.org – an organization dedicated to encourage and support Social Entrepreneurship around the Globe.

Ashoka supports Social Entrepreneurship in three ways – Supporting Social Entrepreneurs, Promoting Group Entrepreneurship and Building infrastructure for the Sector.

It is a very interesting site and any one who think on these lines should visit.





BarCamp, BLR 2 – Day 2 Summary

3 12 2006

Temperature last night in Bangalore was around 14.6 degrees (as per the newspaper). My home is surrounded by open environment and I was a bit lazy to get up and came to ThoughtWorks (Venue of BarCamp) by 9:30 AM. There was a lot of buzz around and key Campers are already running around for arrangements. Had my breakfast (sponsored by TCS) and now hooked on to the net to start another exciting day ahead.

The best thing which can happen this morning is that one person from Pittsburg has contacted me mentioning that he has seen my slides on http://slideshare.net (All BarCamp Bangalore 2 presentations can be found under the Tag heading “barcampbangalore2”). I am so very happy this morning to be a part of this exciting camp.

There are quite a good number of interesting sessions today and will try to give my best shot to provide as much information as I can when I attend sessions…

WiMax – Sujai
· According to DoT, there are 1.2 Million Broadband users in India (~1.2% of total population)
· Only 4 Million subscribers can go DSL because of various concerns.
· WiMax makes sense because people can get Wireless without Broadband. This is also inexpensive.
· WiMax is rapidly picking up. There are many organization pitching in for WiMax because of many advantages.
· WiMax comes on a WAN..

Sujai explains few myths about WiMax.

RFID – Short Distance
BlueTooth – Lot of hype, but we realized it fails in many situations.
WiFi – LAN, small area.
MAN – WiMax comes into picture.
GSM – 10-12 KM Radius.

· Sujai has shown a complete detailed slide on various frequencies.
· WiMax comes in various frequencies and various flavors.
· Timelines (A Bit old data)
○ 2006/7 – Deployment of Fixed “Outdoor” Wireless
○ 2008/9 – Fixed WiMax “Indoor”
○ 2009/10 – Mobile WiMax.

· Visit Sujai’s presentation (he mentioned that he would put it up there) on http://slideshare.net (under Tag barcampbangalore2) . Its worth a visit.

Commute Easy – Car Pooling in Bangalore

www.CommuteEasy.com – is a website for a social cause. Like Bangalore, many other metros in India and over the world have real traffic problems.

This is a very good site, with a pure social cause and not-for-profit. There are already 2400 registered users and ~200 active car pool’s through this site already!

What are you waiting for? Save fuel – Save Environment…..

SlideShare – Jon, CTO, SlideShare
http://slideshare.net – A common place to share and run your presentations online. Example, all the presentations at Bar Camp, Bangalore 2 are available on this site with the tag name

· You cannot currently download the presentations – SS is working on this.
· No Privacy – Do not post private/confidential presentations – SS is working on this.

Microfinance 2.0: How web 2.0 is helping to explore the Fortune at the Bottom – Siva Prasad

http://shivp.wordpress.com
· Provided an insight into Dr. CKP’s Pyramid.
· Size of a loan ranges from Rs.3000 – Rs.12,000.
· Without MF, clients pay from 50%-100% annualized interest rate (Money lender system)
· MFI’s charge 12%-24%
· Repayment rates are above 99%.
· Agency for rating MFI – Example, http://www.m-cril.com/rating-microfinance-rating-methodology.html

Characteristics of Web 2.0
· An architecture of participation and democracy
· Users exercise control over the data
· Network as a platform
· Some social networking aspects
· A rich, interactive, user-friendly interface.

How Web 2.0 is useful for MF?
· Is a bridge for world wide fund investors and the beneficiary.
· Agents like Papal etc will help in mediating the money which is flowing to the MFI.
· The opportunity here is that instead of investing money in banks or financial institutions, Web can play a role in mediating and providing an opportunity for people to invest in Micro financing for better/equivalent returns.

Existing Models
· www.Kiva.org· http://www.fundable.org
· www.microplace.com

PictureSquare.com – An initiative by 2 IIT Mumbai guys

This is similar to flickr or any other photo storing solutions.

Problem: How to connect back to home (India) with pictures – HardCopy… thats interesting.

Solution: http://www.PicSqaure.com

USP: You can upload, share and print picutres which can be delivered home.

I think today really added value to my exposure. Definitely made new contacts and am waiting to see if I can be of help to anyone.

BarCamp Bangalore 2.0 is almost closing and am waiting for the BarCamp Bangalore 3.0





BarCamp, BLR 2 – Day 1 Summary

2 12 2006

I was trying to go around meet with people and also attend sessions. Here is a summary of the sessions I attended on Day 1 of BarCamp Bangalore 2.

Project Management @ ThoughtsWorks – Marco Jansen

4 Principals binding the Agile Development Methodology

Principal 1: Individuals and Interaction over processes and tools.

Stand up meeting with three questions – What did you do yesterday, what will you do today? And what is stopping your work today.

Principal 2: Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation.

Principal 3: Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

Principal 4: Responding to change over following a plan.

Eye Donation Awareness – Pradeep Sudharshan

Pradeep’s vision is to create awareness about eye donation, its advantages and its NEED. You will get all the required information from his website- http://www.giftyoursight.info/.

How corporations emerge from Nature – Sudarshan

Sudarshan explains this concept using Game Theory.

There are four aspects to look at – CC (Cooperating & Cooperating), DC (Defecting & Cooperative), DD (Defecting & Defecting), CD (Cooperating & Defecting).

Assigning Points:

DC > CC

CC > DD

DD > CD

DC > CC > DD > CD

5 3 1 0

With the game theory graph, Sudarshan shows that:

“Always Cooperative” is slowly diminishing and heading towards being distinct.

“Random” is also slowing diminishing.

“Defector” is slowly growing.

There are permutations and combinations of population distribution. Sudharhan explains various cases when he distributes population percentage between – Always Cooperative, Tit-for-Tat, Always Defective and Random.

New Player – Pavlov – He is always changing his approach based on the situation. He is like a Tit-for-Tat.

Now, we distribute the complete population between the 5 categories (Always Cooperative, Tit-for-Tat, Always Defective, Random and Pavlov). The graph shows that Tit-for-tat, Always Cooperate and Pavlov survive and others become distinct.

Pointers – Prisoner’s Dilemma, Author’s like Richard Dockins, Steven Wolfram, Roger Penrose, Dainea Dennet.

Mingle Box – Kavitha Iyer

Kavitha says that they have seen a very good growth in the last 3 months of MingleBox’s launch. As per the feedback she received from customers (showed on the slide) she feels the key of their success is – easy Navigation and feeling safer to be on MingleBox rather than on Orkut.

Kavitha feels that the audience they are looking is below 25 and currently they have 75% people less than 25 on their site today. MingleBox is currently a 14 Member Team and they are looking for people sharing the same passion who can help the orgnization grow.





Being ‘ActiveMobs’ and having ‘InactivMoney’

2 12 2006

Kesav (one of BarCamp Bangalore2 organizers) introduced me to Sidu, Mostly Harmless (His VCard is reading this).

Are you tired of tracking where your money is going or are you tired of organizing an event with family or friends, Sidu has a great solution for us.

http://www.rachnabhat.net/activmobs/ – ActiveMobs is a solution, where you can register your mobile number and also your friends/family with a common tag and when you would want to communicate to all, send a SMS to the common number (9844622848) and lo! Your message is sent to all numbers which are registered with the site. Great way to communicate…

http://inactiv.com/ – Track spending your money. Its simple, register yourself and send a SMS to 9844622848. The server remembers all your messages and generates a report as to where you are spending your money….
Yes, it does remember the number of SMS’s you sent and the money you spent in tracking your money 🙂





Social Entrepreneurship Competition

2 12 2006

‘Genesis’ is a Social Entrepreneurship Competition collectively brought in by TCS, IIT Madras and MIT to come up with innovative ideas which are socially relevent and feasible.

http://www.genesis.iitm.ac.in/ – Go check it out….





BarCamp Bangalore 2 – Started

2 12 2006

I am here at the BarCamp Bangalore right now. It is yet to begin and already the room is filled…..I am sort of excited to be here and I am quite sure there is lots in store for today and tomorrow.

I really appreciate all the efforts of the Organizers – arrangements are too good.

I also would like to thank the sponsors for providing opportunities for people like me to ‘connect’ and ‘innovate’.

More to come as the day goes by…will keep posting….

BTW, here are few pictures before we start – http://www.flickr.com/photos/arunram