Posts Tagged With ‘events&8217

Experience attending "The Goa Project"

Beginning this year I’ve already planned for my trip to India in February to meet our Indian team and to meet up few people in Microsoft IDC at Hyderabad. The trip was planned for about 3 weeks. Being a citizen of Indian origin and having setup an office now in India, I was very curious to learn and understand what’s going on in the Indian Start-up/Entrepreneurial  community. The only way (or may the fastest way) for me to get to know this is by attending an event where I can see lot of those companies, entrepreneurs and like minded people at one place. I was doing some research and came across “The Goa Project” via twitter, since it’s only two day event, close to the weekend I decided to attend.

“The Goa Project” is basically not a typical start-up/entrepreneurs conference, they call it “Unconference” meaning it consist of diverse tracks across various fields. You end up meeting people from various backgrounds like music, social, technology, etc. The event is organised by volunteers who have passion and interest in various areas.

One of those great things about events like this is, you’ll be amazed how you end up meeting some of the people, whom you would have never met (or would not have a chance to meet). This is not the first time it happened to me,  I had couple of incidents that just blown my mind away in this event as well.

Meeting Pawan Kumar/Siddhartha Nuni

On the second day of the event, I went to the breakfast area around 9am, there were few people hanging out here and there and enjoying their breakfast with nice view of Goa sea view/mountain. There were 3 guys sitting on a table finished their breakfast and having their coffee, I just joined them. We all got introduced. Both these guys (Pawan/Siddhartha) introduced themselves and  mentioned they are doing something in the media industry. The third person introduced himself as Ravi Gururaj. I know little at that time about these guys. We were chatting for about 30 mins, and I realised Pawan is going to do one of the keynotes that morning. We discussed lot of stuff about Apple, Google, entrepreneurial scene/improvements in India, Pawan/Siddhartha explaining about some of corruptions in media industry, challenges around distribution to single view/multiplex cinemas, etc., etc.

Once Pawan started his presentation about “Lucia” the first crowd funded Kanada (Indian language) movie, and started going through his slides I came to know Pawan is the film director and Siddhartha is the cinematographer of the movie. After few slides it became very clear what a disruption he has created on the general movie industry in India and his vision of connecting the audience with the film makers directly and more importantly how he executed it successfully. He looked at the real problem, simplified it and connected both parties (audience/film maker) together. The logic is simple, everyone got their own taste, and you’ll have lot of like minded people across the globe, as a film maker (similar to start-up founder) you pitch for the idea and if the audience (investor(s)) is happy they fund (crowd fund) the project.

The most amazing part for me is, first he managed to get the 5 million Indian rupees he needed for the project in some 27 days and the whole process of transparency, how he engaged with the audience in every part of the process using the power of social media (youtube and facebook) ex: Designing the poster, creating a brand t-shirt design, using the same audience for group shots, asking for various resources in crowd sourced way (two wheeler, car, house, flat, etc). Even though the project was finished within Rs. 5 million budget, if you have paid for all the crowd funded items, the end budget would have been 10x higher.

It’s was a great inspiration and shows how you can clearly think outside the box. Later I went to both of them to congratulate and took couple of snaps. 

Pawan Kumar - Lucia Siddhartha Nuni - Lucia

Meeting Girish Mathrubootham

Girish is the founder of Freshdesk a customer support product company based out of Chennai, India. I knew Girish via online medium for a long time. I have never exchanged any conversations with him in the past, but I’m one of the vivid followers of his activities as an Entrepreneur. I didn’t know he is coming to the event, when I saw him in the event I was bit surprised and we connected instantly.

I had pretty much spend my entire time during the conference with Girish and couple more people. I personally feel what Girish and Freshdesk has done to the Indian startup ecosystem is immense. Indian software industry is always projected as service based market for cheap work force. There is always complains about the quality of product/service you get from India. The only way you can change that image and prove to the outside world, we are ready for the international market is not by speaking but by delivering something like Freshdesk. There are two things, at one end you may be doing amazing work quietly and disrupting an industry, but on the other end being vocal and visible in the community and exposing what you have done to the outside world is very important in developing countries like India. I feel that’s exactly what Girish has done it, inspiring lot of young talents and showing them you can fight with rest of the world. 

General Takeaways

The above two scenarios are just traces of big picture, there were lot of small exciting things happened through out the conference. Another small example: I met an interesting young chap called Kevin William David (yes he got 3 first names), during our conversation he just spilled such a powerful tip, how he make sure his important emails are read by his key contacts. He basically watch out for his contacts online activities like, for example if they tweet or make a facebook update, that just confirms they are online and he immediately  sends that important email. His theory is when you are online it’s more likely you will read the email and it worked for him many times.

I’ve met lot of great people with great leadership qualities. One of the key aspect you’ll notice with all these great guys is, they pretty much give away (share) all their knowledge. They are not afraid of sharing their secrets, which they might have learned the hard way. 

As Jim Collins mentioned in his book “Good to Great” about Level 5 leaders

Level 5 leaders are a study of duality: modest and wilful, humble and fearless. It wasn’t just false modesty, good-to-great leaders continually used words like quite, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated, did not believe his own clippings and so forth – Jim Collins

I have seen lot of people in the conference who could potentially become Level 5 leaders in the future.

During my two days here I came across various interesting people and learned lot of exciting stuff they are doing not necessarily just on technology side but other areas like media film making, social, political, travel, fitness, health, finance etc. It may not be possible to write about all the experience in a single blog post. For me the reason of attending any conference is to

Learn new stuff, meet lot of people, connect with few selected ones, and have fun. The Goa Project definitely fulfilled all of them.

I thank “The GOA Project” organising committee for pulling together such a great event, kudos to you guys. There will always be some people complaining about this and that (ex: “could have given coke during the day, could have arranged for a fan in the venue etc”), but don’t worry. It’s difficult to please everyone 🙂 you did an amazing job in building this platform for people to meet.