Sunday, October 21, 2012

CPD - A Winning Strategy for Canadian Start Ups

Collaborative Product Development - A Winning Strategy for Canadian Start Ups

There is strong realization every where that innovation is key for successful future for Canadian economy. Every one is talking about innovation, research, incubators, venture funding, angel investors. The Canadian Federal as well as the Provincial governments are doing every thing possible to promote innovation. FEDDEV, IRAP, OCE, BAP and many more funding efforts by Canadian governments. Easy loans from BDC and easy learning options at every University, community colleges and Business accelerators. All these efforts are working. We have large crop of brilliant, dedicated young people with entrepreneurial ambitions, exciting ideas, super charged up teams. But taking the next step is not always easy.

Almost every new business idea revolves around building some specialized software tool and IT environment. Building that IT infrastructure and software products is the first major investment required by a Start Up. If your start up is at this stage, then you must have realized that it is very difficult to raise money for building your product. Most Angel investors will tell you, "we love your idea and we are convinced you are going to do great but please come back to us after your product is ready and successfully delivering results at a few first customer sites." To get through this initial hurdle, the Canadian Start ups have to think out of the box. A smart solution is to collaborate with an Indian Software Company.

Product development is a very technology intensive process, requires dedicated attention of experts who are very comfortable with the development tools and methodologies. The budding entrepreneur who has this vision of new product and the business around that, can not afford to spend all his/her time on technical issue resolutions. The first priority for the budding entrepreneur is customer development/ business development. Ash Maurya quotes, "Your product is NOT the "product"" An entrepreneur needs to focus on developing business model as the top priority than get bogged down with product development. The entrepreneur should be able to have completely reliable technology partner who can provide guaranteed products of excellent quality exactly on promised dates.

A collaborative Indian Software development partner can meet all requirements of a typical Canadian Start Up. The Fortune 500 large corporations have already taken full advantage of such collaborative development facilities for last few decades, but now with improved communication technologies even a small Canadian Start up can benefit as much. These Software Development Partners have thousands of man years of development experience in developing very complex and mission critical products using wide variety of development tools. The software quality assurance systems are generally very matured. This increases the probability that you will have very few product related problems in business operations.

Geographical locations give you a big advantage of continuous 24 hour work cycles, leading to fastest possible product development schedules. In your start up state, you need to get your software product as early as possible, way ahead of all other competition. A 24 hours a day work schedule can take you ahead of every one else. While you are working hard testing and delivering the product to customer your developers rest and while your developers are cracking code, you have good night sleep.

In Canada you get a lot of help to build your first product. You can hire developers and testers from Universities for free. Get market research, get mentoring, get training. But still you need a lot more for which you have to spend large sums. Collaborating with Indian software partner will help you meet this gap. An Indian Software Partner will bring on board top quality experienced professionals, export development funding, critical technology and business evaluation/guidance for your project etc.

On 26th October, you have an opportunity to present what you need to a group of Indian Software companies and check out if partnering will help you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hello Everybody,

In addition to Mr. Uppal Chakravarty already giving a course in India, Aa Ab Laut Chalen has another feather added to its cap. The Social Media Marketing workshop at World Service Cargo, Canada ended successfully on 18 January 2011. Conducted by Dr. Ashok Ranade, the workshop made the participants aware about various aspects of SMM. The workshop was highly appreciated.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hello Everyone!

In order to keep you informed in a systematic way about its activities, Aa Ab Laut Chalen will be communicating to you about its proceedings, regularly, from now on .


We as the fraternity of Aa Ab Laut Chalen firmly believe that after reading this page, you would have got some idea about the programme. However, just to provide a few snapshots from the past, for those who are unaware about Aa Ab Laut Chalen.... It is a programme led by a group of IIT alumni who have gathered years of global experience in different fields and are now ready to translate their knowledge into workable solutions for implementation of collaborative knowledge of technology and management in the various technological and management institutions in India and other countries. After a series of meetings with IIT experts from various fields, the revolution is finally taking shape and ready to boom. We invite all of you all to keep yourself abreast about the latest at Aa Ab Laut Chalen through this blog.


Aa Ab Laut Chalen is a collection of Faculty resource; faculty who already have the tag of 'best' in their field. It is a storehouse of Faculty and their courses and other services packaged to suit the requirements of the educational institutions. So, you have an opportunity to either work with us or buy from us. In both cases, it will be a win-win!


The programme has already taken off with Dr. Ashok Ranade providing his course called 'Collaboration Technologies' and Mr.Pradeep Shrivastava giving a course on ERP at Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Greater Noida ; Dr. Ashok Ranade and Mr. Pradeep Shrivastava offering a course on Social Media Innovation and Marketing at BIMTECH. The other Faculty members offering different courses are Dr. S. Venkatesh, Mr. Sanjay Seth, Mr. Timir Ghosh, Mr. Rajiv Gupte and Mr. Upal Chakravarty.

We will add and update (the existing) the other profiles soon; read on!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aa Ab Laut Chalen - UID project leads the way

The global Indians are going back and making a significant contribution to Indian developmental efforts.
UID project, under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani, has shown the way how this global energy can be channelized for significant constructive development projects.

The project will be one of the world's largest database projects which will "photograph a staggering 600 million Indians, scan 1.2 billion irises, collect six billion fingerprints and record 600 million addresses"

The poorest of the poor will become eligible for services like banking which at present can be availed of by only the privileged.

A team of about 150 has initiated the project and returning global Indians have impressive representation. "From these, 23 have come in as unpaid volunteers, 14 have taken sabbaticals from their jobs, and 23 took massive pay cuts to join the Project Management Unit (PMU) for the UIDAI"


Sanjay Swamy 
Volunteer - Financial Inclusion & Mobile Strategy
Duration - 1 year
Bio - Former CEO of mChek, a mobile payments startup; got a call from Nilekani asking him to help with financial inclusion; uses his entrepreneurial skills to convince banks, insurance companies and telcos to use UID numbers for verification and reducing customer acquisition costs.

mg_39612_sahil_kini_280x210.jpgSahil Kini
On sabbatical - Process and Operations
Tenure - I year
Bio - Graduate from IIT Madras; on loan from Mc Kinsey and Company, where he worked for two years; drawn to UIDAI because it is the world’s most ambitious project. Among other responsibilities, is helping UIDAI set up its contact center.

Raju Rajagopal
Volunteer - Civil Society Outreach
Tenure - 1 year
Bio - Worked 40 years in the US; returned to India to work in the development sector; Nadhamuni introduced him to Nilekani. He is helping UIDAI to form partnerships with NGOs around the country to make sure that the weakest sections of the society - migrant workers, nomads and children - are enrolled by the project.


D. Subhalakshmi
On sabbatical
 - HR and Operations
Tenure - 1 year
Bio - Graduate of IIM A; 11 years into her career, working at Genpact, her boss, Pramod Bhasin, recommended her to Nilekani. She drives the volunteer and sabbatical programme at UIDAI. So happy with her work that she wants to stay on an extra year.


Jagadish Babu
On sabbatical
 - Technology Hardware platform
Tenure - 1 year
Bio - IISc alumni; worked with Intel for over 12 years, with partners such as software developers, prospective customers; first met Nadhamuni in the course of his work. When UIDAI’s sabbatical programme kicked off, Nadhamuni brought him over to UIDAI to manage the devices ecosystem.
Samant Veer Kakkar
 - Communications
Duration - 2 years
Bio - An LLB and LLM; while living abroad he had become acutely aware of India’s poverty and inequality; read an article about UIDAI. Quit his job at Lefebvre Hanneman Consultancy, Brussels, and his legal career to volunteer at UIDAI so that he could help others.


Ajit V Rao
 - Biometrics
Tenure - 1 year
Bio - Has a doctorate from University of California, Santa Barbara and 12 years with Texas Instruments behind him. Attracted by UIDAI’s scope and transparency, he volunteered for the biometrics team 

Read more:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sevashram - the bonus phase of life

Hindu scriptures tell us about the 4 phases of life - "Chatur Ashram". Every human being coming to this planet has to pass through these 4 ashramas (phases) and in each ashram the individual has a specific purpose to live. Brahmacharya for getting education, Gruhasthashram to raise family, Vanaprasthshram for mentoring the next generation and finally the Sanyasashram for renunciation and moksha.

Read more at Suite101: The Four Ashrams or Life Stages: Brahmacharya, Grahasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa

The name "Vanaprasthashram" literally means that the individual will physically move to a forest (Vana), away from the busy City life. This probably is not the correct depiction of what is expected in this ashram. In Vanaprasthashram, you need not go to a jungle. You can continue to live among your family and friends but you do not have to carry on that competitive spirit, desire to conquer everything, build bigger and bigger fortune, wealth. Instead of trying to be at the center of power, you take a supportive role to help the younger generation take the leadership role. You will probably get greater pleasure to see some less fortunate people benefit than you adding something to your own bank balance. There is this basic change in attitude towards life.

I am therefore calling this Vanapransthashram by a new name - "Sevashram"

If you have graduated from IIT in 70s or earlier then you are probably already in the state of transition from Gruhasthashram to Sevashram. 

As a Sevashrami, you are probably busy helping your son/ daughter to start their own life, joined a yoga/meditation/religious group, handed over executive responsibilities to someone else. But whatever you are doing the chances are that what you are doing is with the primary motive of "Seva" to help someone else than to fight a battle to win the bigger share of the pie.

In human life, the time span for Sevashram was only about 10 years in the centuries in the past. But the life span has increased by many as 25 years in the 20th century. Read this wikipedia article. From early 20th century the life expectancy to the present in 2010 the life expectancy has gone up by almost 30 years! The life expectancy table shows that when we enter our Sevashram (say at about 60 years) we still have about 20 years to do some constructive Seva in our life. 

If only all Sevashrami IITians get organized together to channel their energies for the development of nation, we will see tremendous impact for the betterment of our next generation.

Aao Ab Laut Chalen is inviting all Sevashramis to join in and make this developing nation a better place. Please read and follow this blog at

Friday, September 3, 2010

Project Profile

It’s time we compile our thoughts together. I have made my first attempt to draft a high level project profile – I should rather call it project concept.
The Product: We propose to offer complete solution to Indian Business Schools for introducing the "Doing" part of education in their courses. ("Doing" as defined by Harvard Business School in the book "Rethinking the MBA"). "Doing" education primarily consists of training in efficient use of the Technologies that are essential for any modern business manager in their day-to-day activities of managing. Based on our analysis of 2 year MBA curriculum and what the businesses will need in next 5 to 10 years, the following courses are proposed to supplement existing courses.
First Year: (1) Collaboration Technologies (2) Essentials of Business Processes (ERP Core)  and (3) Business Intelligence
Second Year: Specialization courses ERP for Operations, Finance, HR; CRM and Social Media Marketing for marketing and sales; Project Management and Research Technologies for all streams.
With this being the main product, we will provide customized solutions to MBA Schools in improvement of the quality of the education and management of the school operations.
Organization: To deliver the solutions as stated above, we need organizational capabilities in 4 areas.
(A) Faculty Resourcing: We need dedicated and competent faculty resources for course development and delivery of courses to BSchools. We propose to leverage our IIT and IIM brand and contacts to create a steady resource stream. This organization for Facuty resourcing will be named "Aa Ab Laut Chalen" to attract NRI alumni and to make it attractive to Indian BSchools.
(B) Infrastructure: All these courses are Technology oriented and Indian BSchools do not have data center management capabilities as well as resources for inhouse development. We therefore propose to develop cloud based infrastructure service. These cloud based Technology Labs will enable the BSchools to consume services on per use basis. We will try to aggregate such existing services from other service providers but in some cases we may require to host on our own. This organization will be named "ERPLabs"
(C) Course Development: Define the solution architecture, design course profiles, develop training material, train the trainers and all such activities until the marketable product is handed over for field sales will be managed by this organization.
(D) School Management Applications: In addition to teaching these technologies to students, these BSchools also have a need to improve their own School Management Information Systems. If the Schools are using these technologies in the day-to-day operations then students automatically develop very good familiarity with these technologies.
(E) CIMTECH: Additional organizational area identified is the Canadian Operations, where we will develop Global MBA program with collaboaration from an Indian Management School.

Marketing: BSchools in India have seen an explosive growth in the last decade. From 1986 to 2010 the number of BSchools in India have increased from about 200 to more than 2000. This has seriously affected the quality of training imparted. As a reaction, the students have become very selective in their choice of BSchool. The low end of the Bschools have seen very low enrollment and hence face the threat of closure. All Bschools are very seriouslythinking how they can improve the quality. The solution proposed by AALC/ERPLabs is finding strong interest. A market survey is required to assess the market potential.

Project Status:  A pilot program is launched at the first client, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), starting December 2009. First year courses are already being offered by AALC faculty members. By 2012, the entire program consisting of all courses for both years will be operational. Marketing services of Prof Sunil Garg of IKN are being utilized to promote this concept in BSchools in National Capital Region of India. Leadeship team has been identified. Canadian operations are also initiated.
Project Phases:
Phase 1 (2009-10): Faculty Resourcing activities are already started. This activity does not require much out of pocket expenses. Already about 10 faculty members are identified and 3 faculty members are already engaged at the pilot site at BIMTECH. This activity will continue to grow even if there is no new capital introduction. These phase 1 activities are being managed on a co-operative model with all revenues directly going to the faculty. The phase 1 will result into a very clearly defined product concept, a reference client and bringing together the like mided team members.
Phase 2 (2011-12): In phase 2, we will consolidate the activities and form operating organizations to support the business development and delivery at multiple Business Schools.  Investment in market development and resourcing will help us to achieve quick growth.  Orgaanizational capabilities will be developed for Infrastructure cloud, Course Development and School Management Applications. Within a period of 2 years, we should be able to get about a dozen organizations to adopt our solutions, evolve a fully integrated solution, have trained team members who will be ready for reapid growth in the following years.
Phase 3 (2013-2018): This period will witness the cash-cow stage of project. Rapid expansion with well controlled cost structure, limited competionj and high profit margins.

Organization: The management of the organization will have key leadership positions to lead each operation area (Faculty resourcing, Infrastructure Cloud, Course Development and School Management Apps) and 3 functional leadership positions for Finance, marketing and Corporate Affairs.
During phase 1, each leader of the operational area will prepare detailed investment and business plans for approval of the investors. Ahigh level project profile will be presented to the potential investors in the last week of September. If the high level proposal has tentative approval then the operational leaders will develop detailed proposals.
Ashok Ranade is co-ordinating the Faculty Development organization.
Upal Chakravarty is leading the efforts of organizing the cloud infrastrucxture development
Pradeep Srivastava is co-ordinating the Training course material and resource development activities.
Timir Ghosh is developing the marketing starategy and organization.
Rajiv Gupte will lead the School Management Applications delivery organization.
There is a need to fill the responsibility positions to lead Financial management and Canadian Operations.

As you will notice, in the next 6 months we should primarily focus on bringing the Pilot to it's apprpriate level of completion, bring on board more faculty at additional new client locations. We can all start particpating in phase 1 in our capacity as faculty which will also provide some income but a lot more of an opportunity to consolidate our team and defining and understanding of our product.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

IIT Bombay is hiring - Assistant Professors - All Departments

Assistant Professor - IIT Bombay (

The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay invites applications for faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level in all Departments, Centers and Schools (visit for a listing).
Qualified candidates will be invited to an Interview in Santa Clara on September 26, 2010. Several faculty and Deans from IIT Bombay will be present to interview and make offers to qualified candidates. Subsidies for travel expenses to interviews in Bay Area are available to qualified candidates ...
Successful candidates will have earned a Ph.D. in relevant Engineering, Science, or Humanities and Social Science disciplines, and have an established record of independent, high quality research. A commitment to excellence in teaching and research is essential. The selected candidates are expected to conduct leading-edge research and teach classes at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Interested applicants should provide a detailed curriculum vitae, statements of research and teaching interests, transcripts (for candidates who are currently or have recently earned a PhD), and a list of three references (with telephone numbers and email addresses). Application materials must be submitted electronically by email as a single file in editable (e.g. not password protected) pdf format to the Dean (Faculty affairs), IIT Bombay (dean.fa [at]