Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BlogCamp 2006

How do I feel now? Great!. If you were at the BlogCamp, you'd know what I'm talking about.

BlogCamp un-happened. The success of this meet was no mean feat considering the novel nature of this event. The fact that it was an unconference and attracted around 200 participants from all over India speaks volumes about the passion bloggers share towards blogging. Before I forget to mention and later commit sucide, only to be sent back to earth by Yamraj that I didn't blog enough in my lifetime, hats off to Kiruba. This man made just about everything possible and with such ease. You are the man. Peter, Dina, Neha, Jace, Syed handled just about everything with wiki-ease. Now, I do not know what wiki-ease is. Do not ask me. And I am not stoned, Nehaji!

[Nehaji talking to students from ASJ and I listening to it, while passing off as recording the conversation]

To me,quality conversations and discussions were the biggest gains out of the unconference. Opportunities to learn, contribute and experience were plenty be it the technical sessions by the Bothack junta or the open sessions on Blogs and freedom of expresson,Are comments important?. The best conversations of course happened over coffee or over lunch. Meeting and sharing ideas, experiences with people- geeks, journalists, consultants, journalists, analysts was a great experience.

Personally, I was there to understand and explore the reasons behind people's passion for blogging. And it was definitely heart-warming to meet in person people who take their blogging seriously. Amit Agarwal, for example. Commanding a readership running into millions and retaining it is not an easy job. But then blogging is his job. Amit writes about the interesting people he met at the BlogCamp here. Thanks for the mention and it was a fantastic experience spending time with you, Amit. BeachCamp by the night was great fun!

Talking of the BeachCamp, which was wonderful, for the fact that we had the entire beach for us, the bloggers. So many things happened with bloggers in high spirits that I'm now thinking of making a movie on bloggers to be titled 'Bloggers' Beach' on the lines of Joggers' park. Sad, Perizaad Zorabian doesn't blog. But Bipasha Basu does blog here.And did I mention the free food and the booze at the BeachCamp?!;)

On a more serious note, the high-spirited discussion with
Rahul about media, technology, business, retail and just about everything will definitely hold me in good stead for a long time to come. Thanks Rahul for all the encouragement. There was a nice little discussion brewing between Rahul, Amit and Om[ from Page Traffic] of which I enjoyed every bit. Awesome time with Karan, Vikram and Nidhi from
WebChutney. More on Nidhi(to be referred to a Chutney henceforth) in the following posts. She accompanied me to Pondicherry and spent two days here. Vikram, the chaos in your head right now is definitely leading to something big! Work on it.

Wonderful was the time spent at the BeachCamp with what I'd like to call the Tam geek gang. No offence meant, but somehow I find the name funny and interesting. These guys were the backbone of the BlogCamp and they deserve every bit of the credit and appreciation. Ganesh, Ganesh[ Rupya], Aswin, Arpit, Bhargav, Satish and the rest of the junta's energy and zeal was infectious. The long drawn discussion with Arpit, lasting till 3:00 a.m. gave some shape to a few ideas brewing in my mind. These hopefully should see the light of the day soon. We saw the light of day really early at 6:30 in the morning. Sleep, I did though yesterday. Straight for 17 hours. Thanks to the energy I invested at the BlogCamp and in the next two days following that, taking Chutney around Pondicherry.

[Sunil Gavaskar at the BlogCamp.]

On day 2, it was a wonderful experience meeting with Shailaja Neelakanthan of GigaOm, with GigaOm being one of my favourite sources for news on technology and start-ups. At the stalls set up at the venue, it was interesting exchanging ideas with people from merinews and Zoho. Great to see activities happening in India in the media scene. But there's still a long way to go in community formation and delivering to their needs, and in return getting the community to work for you. Rajesh from Zoho, writes about my organization PlanetRead on his blog here. It was good meeting interesting people doing some really cool work like you, Rajesh.

Osama Manzar of the Digital Empowerment Foundation and the Manthan Award was at the unconference with his son Abner. Our venture
BookBox won a special mention at last year's Manthan awards and Osama was happy to see me and know about BookBox's progress.

Also met Garima from Watblog, Preetam Rai from Global Voices Online and Jammy over coffee, lunch and IRC, not respectively. Prayas and Ashwan from pinstorm were there too.

But as Subhash Rai of India Online Journalism mentions in his post here, the best conversation happened in the smokers' corner with Dr. Subho Ray of IAMAI, Mr. Sukumar of eZeeBags.com, Samrat Choudhary from Hindustan Times and Rajesh from The Week. Though I listened for most of the time , it was truly an enlightening and enriching experience. The wote of thanks
by Babloojee was interesting.

Chutney and I teamed up for the quiz and missed qualifying for the finals by a couple of answers. A decent quiz that was, with a couple of T-shirts flying our way for the audience questions. Felt great coming back to quizzing after a long time.I then headed to my relatives' place and Chutney to her relatives'. Finding that place wasn't all that difficult for me, but identifying me was definitely difficult for them. Yes it was. They were seeing me after 12 years!

The next day, Chutney and I headed to Pondicherry carrying wonderful memories of the BlogCamp, with some questions answered and a lot more popping out in our heads. Coming posts to talk about the time we had in Pondicherry!

Photos conveniently flick(r)ed from Jace, Neha and dream.chaser. Thanks. Some more BlogCamp photos on Flickr here

Tag :

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tamizh Rock, doctors and etcetera.

[ This is the last time I'm announcing my return to regular blogging. Here are the comeback posts, 1 and 2]

It's definitely fun here in Pondicherry. More often than not it's funny too. Funny was how Ganesh Visarjan was done here, or for that matter how Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated here. Funny was smelling fresh flowers on long plaited hair during a rock show. Ok, maybe I did not get that close to any Tamizh woman to actually smell the flowers. But it is indeed strange, the sight of many women in the traditional Tamizh appearance in a rock show. One definitely expects smell and sight of something better in a rock show.

Here are the details. The venue was JIPMER and the occasion, their annual fest - Spandan. A very funny name to begin with. Not that the names of the fests conducted in the college I did my engineering from were any better. Sparsh and Kashish sounded dangerously close to names of characters in K-serials.

Having attended rock shows and performances in engineering, architecture and management institutes, it was funny watching doctors organise an event. We engineers are good at problem-solving, hence take care of a problem as and when it arises. Also, go to any extent possible in solving the problem. Even if it means ending up in jail, which happened in my college.

But doctors you see, are very clinical in their approach. At the entrance,they brand you with indelible ink on your wrists as a mark of identification of entry. Later it dawns on you that it is infact a wonderful medical idea. The mark is to identify the right vein in the wrist to give an injection in case there's any complication because of drug overdose, or if the subject dozes off due to lack of interest. They make sure they don't make you over-excited by being a little more enthusiastic while introducing a show. You might get a heart-attack for all you know. Doctors know better. Then I realised that most of crowd was seated for the entire show. They did not want to put their best foot forward and enjoy the show.

Personally, I did enjoy the show. There was good music - a very good band, a wannabe band and a band whom we didn't watch for their entire duration. Motherjane was the very good band, Moksha , we really didn't get hear much because we had to leave by then. Having spent close to three hours in a doctors' place, we believed that it was in our best interest to follow the 'Early to bed, early to rise' principle. There was another college band - Junkyard Brew apparently, which really did not make me enthused enough. They were trying to hard to be rock stars and the music wasn't really polished. Motherjane on the other hand played excellent music for one and a half hours. It was definitely not a mean feat considering the fact that their music was more compact, more polished and more organised. Wish they had a CD stall at the venue. The Dream Theater influence was unmistakable,and that perhaps was the right dose for me. Not having heard John Petrucci for a long time had left a void which Motherjane definitely made up to a certain extent.

This rock show brought back memories of the days when I was the manager of the college band! Mrinabh, Joji, Chinsi and Shubham. Short-lived though my stint was, it was indeed great fun. Also brought back wonderful memories of the Chaos experience at IIM-A. Those were indeed the best days of my life. More importantly, in some way or the other those few days have instilled some sense of madness and craze in me, which have better best days for me in the future!

Related/ Unrelated blabber.

Bloody stye in my eye troubling me again. This time though, I have read Catcher in the Rye.
Here is the limerick when a similar stye had troubled me.

Arjun Sharma
is not attending the BlogCamp
as he is busy MOCKing CATs. Irli bidi Sharma avare, innond saari sigona. MOCK maadi. Looking forward to meeting some interesting people there.

Had a long PJ session with Ram after a long long time. Time so long that our watches would've grown really long, if they could grow.

Analyse these -

i. Which TV channel will Inzamam appear on?
A. Zee, because he is In-zy.

ii. Which biscuits will Inzamam give you?
A. Priya Gold. Because 'Haq se maango, Priya Gold'.

iii. What did the ICC tell Inzamam?
A. Stop scratching your balls. Otherwise you'll land in trouble.

Funny, aren't they? :D

Bharath writes about our
meeting with Kiran Karnik in his latest post. I think that was the day we realised that our key to success is our madness.

Bharath apparently has a friend who is crazy about stocks and shares. I
decided to learn some lessons so that I could test my knowledge when the meeting
happens. Here are my initial lessons -

i. Sensex has no relation whatsoever with having sex with any of the Sens-Sushmita,Riya or Reema. About sex with Rimi and Raima, I am not too sure. The whole Sen actress' group is so insane and so confusing.

ii. There is no problem in wearing stockings to a stock exchange. But be careful if you happen to do that. One cannot exchange stockings in a stock exchange.

Not bad for a novice, eh?

Bunker 13 is an incredible fun ride. MM has to be the man. I'd definitely want to be born as Shantaram in my next birth, but do not mind if I'm born as MM.Just that I really do not want to be the person who he turns out to be in the end,but the experiences he goes through and the life he lives are outrageously amazing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What are you writing about?

[ OK, I have returned to regular blogging. Here is the comeback post ]

Now, there are few important decisions I have to make. Of course, some decisions I've made previously have proved costly. One of them for example was my decision to buy Maximum City . About sixty pages into the book and I realised that it was indeed a costly decision, about sixty rupees maybe. But even with books like this come with good memories. I bought that book when Bharath and I met Kiran Karnik in Hubli at the IT Investors' Meet.Like every book has a story to tell, which even Maximum City has, there's a wonderful story behind our meeting with Mr.Karnik. Bharath has agreed to write a post on that soon.
But somehow I feel I should have paid some attention to Kaak when he asked me not to buy it. Somehow Suketubhai is too harsh on Mumbai. Having called Mumbai my jaan in an earlier post on my blog here, I really couldnot digest Suketubhai's verbal abuse of Mumbai. I may someday complete reading the entire book and tone down my disregard for Maximum City. But until then, it can rest on the table. Or is it on the shelf already? Great. I am now really desperate to get my hands on Sacred Games. If you committed that costly(time-wise) decision of reading that post, you'd know that I did mention about Sacred Games there.

But then sometimes costly decisions turn out to be really worthwhile. Buying Bunker 13 turned out to be one such decision. So I while I headed out for lunch trying to look for Sacred Games on the way, Bunker 13 waiting right there to be picked by me. The first fifty pages, in no uncertain terms, make me believe that it's definitely worth the wait and the weight. Rupees Two Hundred Sixtynine only, is the weight. It was almost like MM telling me - "Fuck the weight, pick up the bait!". Who is MM? Read the book.

So talking of decisions to be made, I have decided that I should blog about something new. Apart from playing predictable word-games with puns on my blog, there are many other useful things that I can write about. It'd be great if I could run a colla-blog with a fellow blogger. I know my earlier attempts like this didn't really take off, but I'm still ready to give it another shot. Here are a few subjects that I'd like to start another blog on.

1. Technology start-ups in India [ Entrepreneurship in India ]
2. The retail industry in India.
3. Business opportunities in Tier -II cities and towns in India.

I know these would require a lot of investment of time and resources, but I'll
still give it a try.

I think I'll got to bed now.To sleep, definitely not Arjun Sharma ishtyle like this. Enantheera Sharma avare?

P.S. I am planning to attend the Bloggers' Unconference at Chennai. Details
here. Anybody coming?


Lovely. Just like those days!

Wonderful. Pandit, Ankush and I will go to school again!