Tale of 2 Fora : Proto.in, BarCamp Bangalore 4

Last weekend, proto.in at IIT, Madras. Organized in great detail, 22 finalists (Zook amongst them) and a a dozen and some more VCs. Crisp 6 minute presentations, lots of interactions with the investor community and a humid tho not unpleasant by its usual standards Chennai. The meet was more focused towards goals of attracting investors, partners and potential employees, and creating some buzz about one's product or offering. In that order. For me it also turned into a great opportunity to stretch my recently renovated car's legs on an excellent highway - whose primary drawback seems to be the lack of good refuelling stops - for both the car and the occupants - between Krishnagiri and Kancheepuram.

Proto's first day was a little bit of a lost cause from our point of view. We never really got to know (about) the other participants - and the real networking had to be compressed into the few hours after the main presentations on day-2.

And I cannot take Chennai's stuffiness, even though the IIT campus was amazingly pretty; this when the weather very pleasant if the Chennaites protestations are to be believed :)

Yesterday and today : Barcamp Bangalore 4. This was the hugest crowd BCB has ever seen - over 650 registrations on day1 by someone's reckoning. All the usual suspects were around, plus a whole lot of first timers, including non techies. The event was "federated" into collectives, and there were plenty, including an unBand and a cycling collective. The low ratio of rooms:collectives ensured a good amount of confusion, and we missed out on making one of our presentations.

We also "world-premiered" Zook tees at this event :D

Sunday saw better sessions - I loved the enthu of the pakd.net guys, and offered them some advice. The semantics session by the guys from Brainwave was interesting and has many parallels to what we're doing at Ziva - with of course a different dataset and scale focus.

Also met this guy from Swajana.com - this is a video blog capturing India on film. Its a very interesting start - could become a very comprehensive source to "see India". Maybe I could do something while at Jamshedpur - the Durga Puja celebrations will be on in full swing then.

Finally met Kiruba - one of the bigger blogging names in India - and he interviewed Ashwin of Mapunity and then me. Seemed very clear about how to wrap up a podcast in 10 mins flat.

My friend from college, Indus, also did a session on EC2 which a lot many were curious about.

We did our presentation about why Mobile Search needs fresh thinking and a non-incremental effort over "regular" websearch on day 1. However, I was a little dissapointed with the low interest in the mobile collective overall (especially as compared to BCB3) and especially with the level of participation from the audience. Last time around we could hardly stop the questions' flow - and had to nearly "split" the room into two or three parts to engage the 80+ crowd in there. There were less than a third of those this time, and it was mostly a monologue, except for some interesting questions from just 2 guys.
Was it because the session was not about features and usage (we didnt want to plug Zook too much again) but a tech-oriented discussion ?

Anyhow, I'm sure the tees ensured some visibility, and the opportunity to see and understand the numerous new things that are happening in the Indian startup and tech scene was worth a sacrificed weekend. And the lovely weather Bangalore charmed everyone with yet again just highlighted the contrast with the previous Chennai weekend. Proto.in will need to happen in Blore too, soon :)

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