Here is a roundup of some of the events during the barcamp. There was so much stuff going on that there were quite a few times when I wanted to be in two or three places at the same time, and ended up missing some interesting stuff.
The first presentation was by Sandeep Singhal from Sequoia Capital. He talked about what they look for in the companies in which they invest, and proceeded to give ten points that they look for — addressing large markets, good team DNA, clarity of purpose, rich customers, insane customer focus, they are pain killers, think differently, agility, frugality and they disrupt the market.
It seems to me that VCs are pretty interested in investing. On the second day, Kiruba had a session on Proto.in. I had mentioned Proto.in previously in my blog, and its coming up next month in Chennai. It's a chance for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a group of VCs in ten minutes by showing a demo/prototype.
There were a couple of talks on social entrepreneurship as well. These were based on Dr.C.K.Prahalad's book, "The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid". Harinath Pudipeddi discussed social entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry, while Siva Prasad spoke about microfinance.
By the way, there is a business plan competition for social entrepreneurship called Genesis which is being conducted by IIT Madras, MIT and a few others. The contest takes place through Jan and Feb. The schedule is available on the website.
Jonathan Boutelle had an interesting session on how they scaled Slideshare. Slideshare is a place where you can upload presentations and they share them, embed them in blogs and so on. It's positioned as YouTube for Powerpoint, and the whole thing was done using Ruby on Rails and Amazon S3.
It was done with just a few people (less than 10) in Delhi in six months. Another cool thing is that they serve the flash content directly from S3. This means that if there is a huge spike in viewing presentations, all that traffic is handled by Amazon. In fact, even if the slideshare site goes down, you can still view presentations embedded in blogs, because they come straight from Amazon.
A theme that I noticed was that there were quite a few companies using Amazon services. It was something that I didn't expect. Apparently, a number of photo sharing sites use the S3 service to store their data. I met Manish from Picsquare and he said that they stored all their high-res photos on S3. He also mentioned that some other companies kept their data backups on S3! I had no idea that Amazon services were so popular.
Aditya Mishra from TCS had a session on innovation in large IT services company, where he made an interesting point about what innovation means for a services company. After all, someone else gives the requirements, and you deliver for those requirements, so what does it mean to be innovative? He gave a number of examples where TCS has been innovative with business models and development processes. He made a point that the entire outsourcing industry is a result of TCS innovation in succeeding with outsourcing in the 1970s when no one believed that such a thing could be done.
There were a couple of discussions that I had about Agile. Marco Janson from Thoughtworks had an introductory session on Agile, but I also had some interesting coversations with a lot of people from thoughtworks, as well as Sowmya from Aditi. There were some more sessions on agile, mostly by various people from thoughtworks.
There were a few Python related sessions. I attended one by Anand Chitipothu on web.py. One of the interesting things was that Anand is doing a rewrite of Infogami. web.py was initially written by Aaron Swartz for Infogami.
Aashish Solanki had a session on his new site YBangalore.com, which is a site to have user generated content about Bangalore. There were a number of other sessions on other sites that have been developed or are in beta. I didn't attend many sessions on Day 2, as I was in the corridor discussions that were taking place. As a result I missed many sessions.
Another session from Day 1 was Jay Fichialos talking about how they implemented HackDay at Sabre. Sabre is the company that owns travelocity and a number of travel and hotel related sites. Jay got the idea for HackDay after talking to Chad Dickerson at the first Bangalore Barcamp. Chad had just finished the HackDay for Yahoo at that point. Jay then implemented HackDay at Sabre and it was a huge success.
Taylor Cowan, also from Sabre had a session on an experiment he is doing with Sabre Labs. Sabre has huge databases of information on hotels availability, car rentals, airports, flights and so on. The idea is to make all this data available via an open REST API. Once the API is released, developers will be able to take this data and create their own mashups. This is very exciting. The whole thing will launch at opencontenttravel.com sometime in mid-Jan.
Another interesting discussion was with Jace, Shreyas, Amit Pande and Harish about Bangalore culture and sociology.
Shreyas also had a presentation on RadioVerve, a site that presents streaming music of independent indian music. You should check it out.
I also met Manoj Govindan and Ravi Mohan in a discussion on cellphones, dungeons and dragons, and wargaming. I last met Ravi back at Agile India 2005.
Finally, I gave a presentation on the stuff that I'm currently working on. I'll elaborate more on this in the next post.
A big thanks to the organisers and sponsors who did an awesome job in setting up this barcamp!