One of the most happiest day of my life was in Feb, when we were blessed with a second child. My son is thrilled to have a girl chilD to play with. He calls her Barbie doll and princess among other names.
Category Archives: Pune
ELK stands for ElasticSearch, Logstash and Kibana. I had become acquainted with this during MongoDB Day – Bangalore on 19 May 2014 by Susheel Zaveri’s excellent talk. So, I was overjoyed, when the Elasticsearch Meetup Bangalore’s First Meetup coincided with my trip on 27 Sep 2014. Elasticsearch has got an open, RESTful API that makes it easy to build applications on top of it. It can process both structured and unstructured data, so you can derive insights from log files to Tweets to plain old CSV files, all in near real-time. Best of all, you can ingest data from all these disparate sources easily into Logstash, then search and analyze across all of these types of data with Elasticsearch, visualizing the results using Kibana. This stack makes these insights available to anyone in an organization through Kibana’s dashboards, which are share-able and don’t require programming know-how to use effectively.
These features – plus many more – make the ELK stack so flexible that it meets the big data challenges of a wide variety of verticals. A major financial company uses the ELK stack to do anomaly detection and root out credit card fraud. Another one performs analytics and sentiment analysis across social media data. Yet another one detects hacking on their networks, and yet another for full-text search across e-commerce sites with billions of entries.
The meetup was held at SpringPeople Software Pvt Ltd, Sector 7, HSR Layout, Bengaluru, Karnataka. It had 2 speakers: Suyog Rao, Vedang Manerikar. It was free of cost, but required registration in a Google Form. Suyog Rao (@suyograo) started with an introduction to ELK. He started describing ElasticSearch as a schema-free, REST and JSON document store. The salient points of his talk were:
- The popularity of ElasticSearch can be gauged from the total number of downloads, which stands at 10M in last 2 years.
- An Elastic Search cluster can contain multiple Indices(databases), which in turn contain multiple Types(tables). These types hold multiple Documents (rows), and each document has Properties(columns). [Terms in bracket are relational counterpart]
- It uses replication for high availability and performance. For horizontal scalability, it uses sharding.
- It supports:
- Unstructured as well as Faceted, structured search
- Enrichment and sorting
- Pagination and Aggregation
He covered Logstash and Kibana next.
- Logstash is a ruby app, which runs on JVM.
- It allows one to collect, parse, enrich and store logs and events.
- Kibana allows one to have beautiful visualization on top of Elasticsearch index with zero code.
- The new version makes use D3 library.
He showed a quick demo. Actually covered a lot of stuff in short time.
Vedang Manerikar (@vedang) works with Helpshift, a mobile CRM company based out of Pune and San Francisco. [It’s a company, which has unique hiring practices. Refer my earlier blogpost on Building Silicon Valley culture in India]
The customer-facing side of Helpshift product is a simple chat feature within the app using the Helpshift mobile SDK. The business-facing side is a complex agent dashboard that helps the agent in processing as many issues as quickly as possible. This business-facing side is built on top of Elasticsearch. He shared the following nuggets of wisdom with us:
- Elasticsearch does not have a book on it, although it will soon be solved. There are good references and videos, but nothing structured like a book yet.
- Don’t use Elasticsearch as a primary database. The data should first go into mysql, MongoDB or other transactional datastore.
- Though ES allows one to have a mixed mode node with both meta data and data, it is best to separate master and data nodes.
- For multi-tenant index like Helpshift’s usecase, an index per customer is not a good idea, but something based on the index size.
- He said helpful steps about bulk loading like controlling replica count etc, but I did not catch it fully.
- Rolling upgrade of ES is fraught with risks, so it is better to spin up new cluster and decommission old one. [This was contested by Suyog and Drew]
- Benchmarking is hugely important and should be done at staging and development phase to prevent aches during production. He mentioned about a tool called Tsung, which helped them benchmark percolators. Percolators allowed live notifications of new issues.
- During runtime, a lot of debugging can be done using cat API’s, so make use of them.
- Tune JVM parameters, like allocate more memory for young generation.
- ES uses Lucene under the hood, so some troubleshooting might require understanding its working as well
- RTFM – Basically read manual carefully. Pay special attention to the unit, whether a particular number refers to ms or seconds.
- Advanced ES users make use of filters to make complex views.
- There were many others, but I guess we have to wait for the presentation to arrive.
Foodservice includes the following formats.
- express counters
- food stalls
- ice-cream parlours
- fast-food joints
- casual and fine dines
- juice bars
The organized players are the following and their presence is shown in the table below:
|Retailer||No of outlets||No of cities|
|Yum! Restaurants India||507||50|
|Cafe Coffee Day||1350||185|
|McDonalds – North||130||32|
|McDonalds – West||140||13|
|Mad Over Donuts||38||4|
|Lite Bite Foods||65||7|
While global biggies, like McDonalds, KFC, Subway have entered India in a big way, there have been desi startups, who jumped into the bandwagon as well. Global biggies have modified western menu to accommodate Indian palette – KFC selling vegetarian products, pizzasselling tandoori variants etc. I will cover the journey of Jumboking (Vada pav), Subway, Mast Kalandar, Faasos (next post) etc and lessons one can draw from them based on their own account at Startup Saturday Bangalore and Startup Summit 2013 Mumbai edition by Franchise India.
Dheeraj Gupta is a 2nd generation entrepreneur based in Mumbai, who set out to start a vada pav chain in 1998. He was inspired by Mcdonalds: Behind the arches book, esp how they started a new price point of burger. He made a visit to UK to learn the nuances of fast food, chain business. He stayed with a Burger Chain franchise owner during his stay and even worked in a Mcdonalds for 10 days – talk about dedication! The vada pav market, mostly unorganized is Rs.20Cr per day in Mumbai and Thane alone. That translates to 7,300 Cr per annum!! He priced it at Rs.5 against street food price of Rs.2. He signed up Bharat Petroleum, HP, IRCTC in 2007 for setting these at their premises. [If any reader has spotted them at these, please provide it’s address, photo in comment or email prasoon DOT kumar AT gmail DOT com]. Jumbo King has 38 outlets in Mumbai and Thane (20 self-owned and 18 franchises). This compared to 20,000 vada pav stalls is only about 2% marketshare of the business in Mumbai.
Another great promising QSR is North Indian food serving joint, Mast Kalandar. Pallavi Gupta is co-founder and COO of the company. She worked in IT company as business analyst in Bangalore and abroad with long hours and would live on pizza. Her husband, Gaurav Jain was in sales function at IT company as well. They came up with an idea that even hot and piping paratha should come in a box. They started their first outlet in Bennarghatta Rd in 2004. Next outlet was started in Indiranagar. By 2008, they had 8 outlets and VC started showing interest. Post 1st round of funding chaos ensued and things did not go as planned. They were able to grow from 7 to 11 from that instead of the target of 30. By 2011, they had 25 branches, growing to 40 in 2012. As of July 2014, they have 47 branches in Bangalore, 7 branches in Chennai, 2 in Hyderabad and 5 in Pune.
Within the Rs 8000-crore organised eating out market in India, QSRs are witnessing the fastest growth of nearly 25% annually. Key reasons for this growth include a high number of nuclear families and urban migrant population, a growing preference for vegetarian food, especially, North Indian and a spike in the number of people “eating out”. We have seen Ammi’s biryani and Box8 (earlier Poncho) getting funded as well.
Amazon had forayed into India as online product comparison avatar, Junglee. Online shops had listed the product prices over there. Now, it has started showing offline shops for mobile and TV products in the following cities: Bangalore, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon. It just lists store addresses and phone number, but doesn’t show the availability or price.
It is an interesting route for world’s biggest marketplace Amazon and a different model as well. Amazon USA, UK etc have 2 models:
- An inventory-based model, where they sell, what they have in their warehouses.
- Additionally, it has a marketplace model, where they allow sellers to list their products in the marketplace and the website visitors can buy on the platform.
The latter is very successful in emerging markets esp BRICS (Brzil, Russia, India, China) as well as Korea, Indonesia etc.
The 3rd model, wherein a location-based price comparison sites show prices from offline stores near you is interesting one in country like India. As a first cut, Junglee Nerby aims to drive web users to make a call to the stores and drive footfalls. I can not find any monetization built into the product as yet.
Comparison of services
|Junglee by Amazon||Feb 2012 (site launch). May 2013 Nearby Launch||2 categories, mobile and TV||Bangalore, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon||Handful||Coming from Amazon|
|PriceBaba||2012||Electronic Items||Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon, Noida||400||Stores are listed post personal visit by verification team|
|Wicfy||2011||Multiple||Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata||Lots||Patented iso-pricing technology and interesting retailer-crowdsourcing model|
500 Startups recently funded Pricebaba.Another player is Pune-based Wicfy, which takes crowd-sourcing model to find cheapest price for a product and had raised money from Eco System Ventures. Naaptol have an Android app listing prices of product from stores, which never expanded beyond Mumbai. MySmartPrice also lists products from e-retailers. A yet-to-be launched portal, IndiaOrders will launch with 60 stores of Mumbai showing their wares for online buying. It takes slightly different route of enabling a buyer to get the products delivered to their homes. Interesting twist here is that a buyer can go to the store for queries, refunds, exchanges as well. It is an interesting segment with increasing middle class of India, but getting constantly updated price from retailers is a challenge. IPO-bound Justdial had a portal called Quick Quotes in works, which they had announced in Feb, 2012. That got coverage from Medianama in Sep and other portals as well. But, that page has been taken off Justdial website since.
Nexus Venture Partners (NVP) is an early and growth stage VC fund looking at Indian start-ups going after global market esp. US as well as US companies looking to enter India. PeepalSys follows Y-Combinator model into talent recruitment space. So, when both of these put together an extremely relevant topic of bringing Silicon Valley culture into Indian companies with a panel of extremely successful technology leaders from NVP portfolio companies, it attracted a packed house in Sumant Mangalkar auditorium, MCCIA, ICC Towers, Pune.
NVP managing director Jishnu Bhattacharjee (Linkedin profile, @b_jishnu) introduced the topic to us. He clarified that we should bring good habits of Silicon Valley culture into Indian companies and also supplement it with our own elements. Silicon Valley has proven to be a successful model for innovation with a culture fostering flexible hours, meritocracy, and rewards using stock option. NVP had made its first investment in a Pune company back in 2000 in Sigma, which worked out of Pune IT Park, Aundh. More recently, they have invested in Druva, started by ex-Veritas (later acquired by Symantec), which provides backup solutions. He introduced the panelists to us, which I will sprinkle as I describe each talk. It was followed by a presentation from all 5 panelists of 3-minutes each, before Q&A panel discussion started between Jishnu, audience on one side and the panelists on the other side.
Abinash Tripathy from HelpShift recruits SpecialOps guy
Helpshift makes it easy to create that exceptional customer support experience in native mobile apps, transforming customers into the most passionate sales team. Abinash Tripathy (@abinashtripathy)is the founder and CEO. He led another company called Infinity Beta, a thinktank of startup ideas like Paisa.Com. He recalled that they began talking about company culture even before they began working on product, wow! He illustrated the culture of city with a picture of Pune landmarks, festival, food etc. Culture is value system of a group of individuals, in this case startup employees. He contrasted an army vs special operations team. Whereas an army has the following characteristics: a large number of individuals, hierarchy, obedience, defined roles, and uses mandated tools; the special ops team has high-potential soldiers, only a handful of them, who would use innovative tools, will generally possess high IQ and make their own decisions towards a mission. Building such a culture starts with recruiting high-potential employees. Helpshift values attitude rather than skills. They have inverted the traditional recruitment model by making it inbound. So, instead of HR or external recruitment team reaching out to many engineers, the company pages and its work act as a magnet for the kind of talent, they want. It actually scares engineers with faint heart. This way instead of spending 2 valuable days just filtering out numerous resumes, Abinash and BG are able to focus on high probable. Paisa.com did not have a careers page. Instead it was extremely well architect-ed, so an inquisitive and interested soul would examine it and find it in some HTML tag an email for this purpose. And, that would be just start of a 3-months long recruitment cycle. Everyone was surprised including the host Jishnu, when he mentioned that. He then went on to describe kinds of questions and tasks in the interview process. They look for people, who can learn new skills, they have never used before, quickly come up to speed and accomplish a fairly non-trivial task with it. Prior experience (existing skills) don’t matter to them. One such example is: Using Arduino to build a Build Process Signal, innovative, very, very innovative. So, the candidate learns its device driver and integrates continuous integration system like Jenkins with it. Please
read this comment made by AB in his blog AB’s (the blog is now private) answer on Quora for “How did Helpshift hire talented developers” for unadulterated version.
If one were to walk into Helpshift’s office, it’d look like a playground with foosball, video-games, mini-gym within the office. Some objects, which all of them possessed included:
- Amazon Kindle: All Helpshifters are avid readers. In this digital age, when many professionals I know have moved on just snacking on Twitter, blogs for keeping up with new trends, learning new professional and life skills, it is refreshing to know that company encourages such habits among employees.
- Emacs: With a plethora IDEs and WYSIWG editors, plain text editors like VI( M) and emacs rule geeks like Helpshifters. I remember meeting a Symbiosis Design student working at InfinityBeta bemoaning this fact , that he wasn’t allowed Dreamweaver or something, rather had to use emacs!
- Clojure: Geeks at Helpshift love functional language running atop JVM.
- Raspberry Pi: DIY kit for making your own computer.
- Bitcoin: World’s alternative currency
- Special interest outside of work: Be it Maths, Guitar, robotics or Mahabharata, you have got to be of high calibre in one of your hobbies, that you pursue outside of work.
- Continuous learning and technology eco-system involvement: [Self observation] You’d find Helpshifters at Coursera, local Emacs group etc.
Their role models included Steve jobs, Richard Stallman and 7 more, which audience could barely identify. You will find such quotes like: Real artists ship.
A software engineer at Helpshift is expected to be self-didactic, whose definition none from audience was able to specify. In jest, I say that AB inverted panel discussion by making audiences answer, while he put forth questions! I’d say the audience including me were lousy by his high standards. Coming back to the culture, at Helpshift, the software developers also act as customer support in addition to product development. This way they are aware how their code performs in the field. Recruiting and appreciating employees is quite important in such cases. Otherwise, as noted in The Five Languages of Appreciation:
- Lack of praise and recognition leads to low job satisfaction
- Lower job satisfaction leads to higher turnover
- Higher turnover has a negative impact on customer satisfaction.
Jonah from Indix builds a team of ants for heavy data lifting
Jonah Stephen Jeremiah (Linkedin profile) said the mission of Indix is to store a vast amount of data and make sense of it, derive interesting inferences from it. They have over billion product prices database and a market intelligence system on top of it. They are 35-member team and have an office ready to accommodate 35 more. In parallel with the metaphor of special ops, Indix has ants, who do heavy lifting well beyond their capacities. Indix fosters transparency right from office setup having no opaque walls for managers, even meeting rooms. He did not describe his recruitment funnel from start, but somebody in advance stage spends a full day in the office before (s) he joins.
Gaurav from ScaleArc impresses candidates by its work
Gaurav took the talks further, but the panel started digressing from Silicon Valley culture to company work and their recruitment efforts (We, audience also helped this change of course, but the discussions were stimulating nonetheless, so no big regret from my side). He started by describing how external circumstances like family and society view startups in India. He described how his dad consoled him on his startup job with words: You will get a a job in big company soon! Many marriageable aged boys and girls would take up an MNC jobs to boost their attractiveness to in-laws and potential partners. <Self observation> Many fresh graduates themselves seem to take a startup job as last resort after having been rejected by MNC, as a stepping stone to MNC. They screw up the startup and don’t give their 100% to their current employer. Instead prepare for interviews or MBA’s. On the other side, many MNC engineers will tell startups that they need higher salaries, because they are compromising on the brand of their company by coming to your startup </Self Observation>. The way ScaleArc would approach recruitment would be making founder accessible to the potential candidate, describing the great work they are doing, which the candidate should be able to fathom being technically adept herself/himself. Then, they would talk about the kind of clients using it already – likes of Flipkart, Microsoft, Kixeye (Zynga’s competitor), which would put any arguments to rest.
Ankit Pruthi from Unicommerce looks for ethical hacker
Unicommerce looks for ethical hackers, who is an equivalent of 100 programmers. With a team of 4 developers, they are managing a large scale SAAS order fulfillment system, being used by 1000 concurrent users, for 40 warehouses to ship 50K products everyday across India (Snapdeal, Jabong), SouthEast Asia (Lazada), even Pakistan and Canada. Ankit, the youngest panellist at 26 years of age talked about the custom scripting language they have created to help customers come up to speed quickly on their product.
Atul Phadnis of WhatsOn India builds a cross-functional team without silos
WhatsOn was ably presented by Atul Phadnis as a company, who are further along in their startup journey than rest of panelists. That POV (point of view) gave a glimpse of what you’d do, when you go beyond 30-70’s in employee strength. He was visibly proud of having hired best talents from large companies, two in recent past from Airtel and another one, I don’t remember. He spoke of the high energy atmosphere within the company, which was observed by potential recruits to be a reason for the same. I really liked the fact that he democratically chose an office inside or very near mall in Worli, which many companies are shy of doing lest their employees get distracted. He spoke of a road-show in bay area, where WhatsOn showcased their technical prowess to equally competent silicon Valley crowd and got nod for good work. He also talked about expanding his company to South East (Indonesia) and Middle East (Jordan) Asia and integrating them into WhatsOn culture, very mature POV coming from him.
Q & A
It became more interactive towards latter half by design. I’d leave that for a new blog post in future.
Clarion venture partner
My story background
Earlier talks covered wide array of speakers, including Puneri brands like Gits food. Interactive breakfast is another activity of TIE Pune, which has seen immese participation and benefit for all. All Asia business plan competition in association with Praj was a resounding success. Then, there is a series of full-day workshops as a part of Nurture initiative – Ajay Bhagwat. Business model evaluation among them was extremely beneficial to one and all.
Paying Rs. 10k for one My Story session gives you a kiosk, 3k emails with logo in form, handout branding, etc. It is not just for big companies, but even startups looking for exposure can consider it.
Anubhav from payleaf gave a lucid introduction of the speaker Anand Khandsar. He began by recollecting a speeach by a visionary to his company men 10 years ago, which included Anubhav. He said one should become catalyst of change for the society. The man was no other than Nandan Nilekani, who after successful stint at Infosys is spearheading the Aadhar project, which aims to bring smiles and prosperity to the billion people. Anubhav had met Anand many a times to understand his journey and said Anand is also in the same league as Nandan, who make revolutionary change and are sensitive to the society, they operate in.
Then Anand was presented a bouquet by MCCIA. Anand and Anubhav then took seats and so began the story.
He is from a family of teachers, and did edcuation in Fergusson College. His parents laid equal emphasis on physical education. One of the lessons, which stood him good many years after was the tradition of scout doing one good deal everyday, kind of service to community. During engineeering days later he was a part of COEP boat club and swimming club. He got Gold medal for his performance. This is one of many Gold medals, he has amassed in his academic and professional life. In 3rd year, Navy selected him to join him, so with pressure off, he needed to pass to get into navy. He topped in the engineering. He got the Lieutenant rank from Naval forces during the last year. He went on to do 25 yr stint in navy.
Transition – His wife is a successful paedatrician. Child’s education led him to take up private job. It took 5 years to secure release from Navy. Veena, his wife was still in Navy. He joined Meltron (Maharashtra State Electronics Corporation ) from May’85 till Dec’88.
Teamwork during navy was carried to MELTRON. Get best out of whatever resources you got, solve yourself, spirit of innovation. Meltron – telephone system, railways grew during his 4 yrs from 4 cr to 80 cr . CDOT exchange. Sam Pitroda. Digital Exchange. 4 units. Engineers from same region – Konkan, Marathwada, Andheri
Yojna in Seepz, Mumbai. Unisys cofounder . CCI instead of STPI. 100% EOU. Bank loan. For sw, headquarter gives loan, not branch. Same file to Tara Deshpande. 3 months.
SK Firodia visited every month from MCCIA. 3 exchanges to upload file. Compuserve network. Windows 3.0 beta version. Professional forum. Video related work, message post (like email). Interview from Detroit. Ravi Gopte left Telco. Had to convince his father, who had resigned.
Magnificent 7 – first employees.
Yojna had tie up with Motorola. It did not materialize in 1991. Offshore development. Coding standard, testing. 6sigma sw unit. SW is mercurial. Motorola lab became sei 5. Grow it to 400. 6 weeks of process. P-CMM.
Friendship cultivate. Linkedin, FB. Raymond Vikary. Clinton admin. User interface on mob had to be closed bc ppl cud not visualize.
Illionia Inst of Tech, mtech tie up.
Family is in Pune. Suhas Patil. Syslogic. Mutha Chambers-1996. Chip design. Parallel development. Mpeg2, graphics. Compress time. Configuration mgmt system. Later became Nvidia. Monthly project review. Reuse. Promotion consideration. Govt bodies to get city on map. After 30 yrs, huge diff between Pune n Bangalore. Mot would do anthropological. 4 attributes – entrepreneurship + education.
Video on mobile. 2m pounds from Irish angel investors. No need to go to silicon valley to do work. 2004 camcorder sw of samsung. 35 ppl. 800 in Nvidia. Navy seal. Training. Warrior elite. Distillation of human spirit into. Mentored companies. Fully commited, training (r and d budget) professional, managerial. Live in tent. Simulate adversity, fear. Share feelings. Share weaknesses with colleague, competitor. Mentor – HR intervention, network.
IT + art, culture = animation. Flick tennis. Anujay. Ebook into animation. Curran Deshmukh VFX Chicago Richard Gere. Dance.
ATT head of sales in 1998. Failure with ppl. Do I give up theme of trusting? Linkedin says retired life, grandchildren. Yoyoed between MNC n startup. Good for scaling up. Value system. For all managers across 200k employees, 85 countries.
21 ppl in 1 week. Pune, hyd, Bangalore. 2000 pace silicon.
Market capturing idea with conviction. Create market or expand. Arbitrary projection. Committed core team. Captain’s rock -48hrs. Rope in angel investor. Key processes of governance. Fallback on friends for recruitment. Anand.firstname.lastname@example.org
Abhay Vaidya, exDNA editor. Vandana Gadia press. Saikat Dutta.
500 in Breakfast, 2000 in My story, 150 in workshop. Hpc for cross functional area. True evangelist at work