What have I been up to lately?
Apr 16, 2006 § 8 Comments
As I promised in my previous blog post that I’ll use the blog to keep you all updated about what’s happening at my end …Here you go…
After I left Euclid (the 1st start up I cofounded, just 3yrs after my undergrad) in July 2004, I took about a year off …practically did nothing on the business front …but dabbled with a lot of other interesting things.
While the list is certainly quite long, some of the unsuccessful attempts include:
- Learning to play guitar
- Learning Hindustani vocal music from the Maestro Ali Akbar Khan (I actually enrolled for a quarter at his school and drove long miles several times a week)
- Setting up technical finishing schools in India to help bridge the IT talent supply chain gap (between the quality of in take Industry expects and the quality of the engineers being made available by colleges esp. Tier 2 and Tier 3 engineering colleges)
- Promoting the concept of Health and Wellness through a chain of Ayurvedic Cafes – “Starbucks for Ayurveda”
- Setting up an Online Learning Community – “eBay for Learning”
- Setting up Grameen style Micro Finance program at my home town in India (I read and researched a lot about Grameen, Micro Finance and Social Entrepreneurship programs around the world and I am a big fan of Prof. Muhammad Yunus)
Some of the successful ones include:
- Spending 3 months of quality time with my family in India
- Cofounding and launching Jayakrishna Foundation a non-profit initiative with my family members to serve the underdeveloped rural areas in and around my home town in India
- Training to be a Phase 1 Art of Living Teacher (and all the voluntary work associated with it)
(Note – Most of you who have been mailing me – Are you married? Kids? Nope – not yet. But, I don’t know whether I should put that in the unsuccessful or successful bucket:-))
During this time, I realized that each one of us is truly gifted with some things and it is very important for us to honor these gifts and share them with the world. The principle of nature seems to be – those who have more shall be given. So, it’s all about realizing the gifts you have and honoring and putting them to good use!!! This is Swadharma (more on this later).
Technology is some thing that I am very passionate about and I decided to get back to business to do another startup. As a second time entrepreneur, I wanted do things a little bit differently. Having been closely involved with defining, developing and launching products for over 10 years – I have realized that the work that happens in Product Development Organizations around the world is mostly just good Engineering!!! Where as, most of the disruptive inventions and innovations are born out of Academic Institutions and Research Organizations. I am a big fan of all the success stories that sprung up from Stanford and PARC …few notable ones among them include Apple, Sun, Yahoo and of course the one and only Google.
While, I spent the first decade of my career delivering products and services for businesses – touching the lives of millions of Consumers is some thing that I have always been very passionate about. So, I decided to do some thing for Consumers this time.
During the time I took off, I used to spend a lot of time on the Internet to read, research and keep track of a lot of different things covering my professional and personal interests. Gosh, I was spending tons of time searching for information and going from site to site!!! Of course, I had lots of time to do that. I wondered if people all over the world were facing a similar problem – spending lots of time searching for information and hopping from one link to another to find that. To my amazement I found a Pew Internet research study that said people esp. in Corporate America were spending about 2.8hrs a day searching for Information. There you go – solving this pain became the core idea for my next start up!!!
Next few months went into thinking hard and discussing with various Friends and Advisors on – How do I solve this Information Overload problem for users globally by connecting them to the most relevant information? Is it by a method of intelligent search? Is there a way I can help them Search less and Find more? Is it possible to develop an Infomediary who understands my interests and can get me the latest News around the Web and the World?
I wanted to see if there was any research being conducted in this area at IIT Kharagpur (School where I did my undergrad; Check out this CBS News 60 minutes coverage about IITs). I found Dr. Sudeshna Sarkar was doing some cutting edge research work in this area for the past several years. I got in touch with PPC (Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti – Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy and a renowned Computer Science Guru) and then we worked on putting together a deal with IIT KGP.
PPC and Sudeshna helped me put together a team of 8 brilliant guys and we have been working hard during the last six months. So the past 6 months it has been a lot of travel back to India (3 trips) and I spent half my time in India during the last 6months; and of course almost 7 trips to KGP and 45 days on the Campus. The progress we have made is amazing!!! Working with the team and IIT on this piece of cutting edge technology has been really a great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
So, that’s how my new startup Minekey was born. Do check out Minekey’s web site (www.minekey.com) and the blog (read the blog post on why we chose Minekey name). We currently have the Alpha version of the Minekey product and we will be launching the Public Beta around end June. Stay tuned.