In line with my previous post, I’m glad to inform you that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) course got 32 participants enrolled, which is more than enough registration to offer the course at the Center for Continuing Education (CCE)at IISc as part of Proficiency Programme. Yesterday CCE had arranged a meeting with all the faculty members of various courses. I had the privilege to attend the meeting as a faculty in the same institute where I joined for a master’s degree nearly eleven years back . We were given logistical guidelines for conducting the course, like in terms of attendance, tests, exams, etc. I also had the opportunity to interact with other faculty members. My first class was scheduled just after the meeting at the Center.
I started my first class by giving my own introduction. I shared my background and my experience in the Industry and my association with the Institute. After giving an elaborate introduction about various jobs and some important projects that I did in a career spanning a decade, I requested the participants to give their introduction too. I also requested them to share the reason they opted this particular course. I was thrilled to see the diversity of the participants in the class room. I could see a 2015 batch engineering graduate to a person with 30+ years experience in industry in my class. We have participants from Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics and Software engineering background. Each one of them had interesting objective in mind before registering the course. I could infer that hardly a few with the objective of only certification from IISc as the primary reason for taking up the course. For my first attempt as a faculty at this center, I must say that this class seems quite promising.
In the second hour of the session I shared FluxGen’s work in last five years. I presented three projects that involved significant Industrial IoT share. I’m very thankful to my friend and batch mate from IISc (2006 -2008) Yatish, who currently works with MSME, for assisting me in conducting this course. He shared his experience as a product development engineer in the past and also about various government initiatives for supporting startups and product development activities. He also conducted a simple survey on how many participants took the course with entrepreneurship in IoT as the main objective — which turned out to be 40%.
I concluded the class by giving an assignment to the participants, which is to contact a person working in a factory, preferably a manufacturing facility and have a detailed discussion about how they can possibly increase the productivity or cut down cost by the application of IoT. This assignment is very crucial for the success of course in terms of its objective. I’m hoping to pick about eight problem statements where application of IoT is very decisive.
In case you have a problem statement from your manufacturing plant or factory that you think is worth solving in my class then kindly let me know. We’ll be more than happy to solve and hopefully develop a product around it: firstname.lastname@example.org
The IEEE Bangalore section organized a two day smarttech workshop with the theme “Smart Technologies for the Smart living” at Vivanta by Taj (MG Road, Bangalore) on 18th and 19th November 2016. The organizers were able to attract distinguished speakers from Industry, universities and startups in the area of automotive, healthcare, Smart cites/villages, connectivity, retail and data science. The workshop was designed to give a neat understanding of the key emerging technologies, their applications and the impact they will have on us, our lifestyle and our living spaces. I’m thankful to the organizers for giving me an opportunity to share our (FluxGen’s) work in the field of energy and water management at the workshop.
My talk was featured in the Smart cities and Smart villages section on the first day. I started my presentation by explaining the concept of micro-grid and its application for energy and water management in local community setup such as a village, an apartment or even a factory. I picked three projects that we had executed in last couple of years as part of my company FluxGen that helped me share the technology that we have developed in the micro-grid space using IoT(internet of things)tools. The first project was the rural electrification project that we had executed in a small village in Belgaum district of Karnataka state, where I could share the execution challenges in setting up a solar PV plant to power houses in the village and also to continuously monitor the energy and weather parameters for scientific study. The second project was about the solar powered water management system for an enterprise customer, who wanted to conserve water by measuring water flow and water level at multiple locations in a large campus. The third project that I shared was about the large scale solar PV farm health monitoring that involves automatic tracking of fault at a particular location(string) in a solar plant.
While this workshop gave me an opportunity to share the stage with some of the prominent technology leaders, it also connected me to some of the prospective customers and people with whom we could partner in further strengthening our technology. I’m also glad the organizers gave us the opportunity to exhibit the demo model of our IoT enabled energy and water management system to the participants, which I must say gathered lot of attention during lunch and tea breaks. Please feel free to write to me on email@example.com to know more about the work we have been doing in conserving energy and water.
I’m writing this post to share about inauguration of Smart Grid and Renewable Energy Laboratory that we (FluxGen) commissioned at R V College of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore. The lab was inaugurated by Dr. M K Panduranga Setty — President, Rashtriya Shikshana Samithi Trust (R V Educational Institutes), which runs 26 education institutes in India. The Principal of RVCE, Prof. K. N. Subramanya, Advisor Prof. K. N. Raja Rao, Head of the Department of Electrical & Electronics Engineering(EEE), Prof. Jayapal, other professor and my colleagues from FluxGen were also present during the event. After the inauguration we had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Setty and other senior professors of the college. The principal of RVCE and I signed the joint MoU on behalf of RVCE and FluxGen for collaborative development in the field of Renewable Energy Systems, Smart Grid, Micro-Grids, Power Electronics and Internet of Things for Energy management.
The laboratory is developed with the vision to do cutting edge research and product development in the field of Smart Grid and Renewable Energy Systems. Considering the fact the mentioned field has extraordinary growth potential in the sub-continent, the lab will act as a powerful platform for the students and faculty to take their ideas to next stages such as research findings/publication, patenting, product design, proof of concept, prototyping etc. At a high level the lab consists of Solar PV system (static and single axis tracking), Wind Energy System, Smart Weather Monitoring System, Energy Monitoring System, Smart Grid analysis kits, Intelligent (IoT based) prototyping/development kits and a DC break out box. RVCE EEE department and FluxGen will be rolling out various workshops and training programs at the lab next month — will keep you posted about the development as and when possible. I must say that we are very excited about the plans and prospects.
Fifteen years back I joined RVCE as a student with a dream and fire to become a successful Engineer, to do something worth while for my country and also to make my parents proud. I see that setting up this lab as a huge step in that direction ‘cause I’m confident that this lab will produce some great engineers, scientists and technopreneurs in the field. We at FluxGen are thankful to many people in making this dream come true. One person I’d like to mention here is my teacher Prof. K N Raja Rao Sir, who has been my mentor from the time I joined RVCE as a student. His encouragement and strong support, despite the fact I was little notorious in some ways during my college days, is the reason I’ve been able to make some progress in my work.
Thanks for going through this post. If you want us to setup similar lab at your facility you can please feel free to write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to share yet another strategic development from our side. After becoming part of the NASSCOM CoE-IoT eco-system, we have been getting incredible visibility in various technology fairs, exhibitions and conferences. One such event was NASSCOM Design and Engineering Summit 2016, which gave us the opportunity to showcase our product “Energy and Water Manager — EWM”to Engineering R&D professionals, practitioners, functional leads and C-suite executives.
Apart from the fact the platform was perfect for marketing our products to the enterprise customers, this event was very strategic because we are now looking out for incubation support and also external investment to scale our business. Our product demonstration was thoroughly appreciated by the visitors of our stall. Through this event we realized the worth of water conservation and energy conservation from some of the leaders of leading corporations such as Accenture, GE, Tata, TechMahindra etc. We got valuable feedback to make the product more suitable for their needs. We are now in touch with some of these companies who are also keen in supporting us through their start-up programs (more updates on this in my next post).
Besides the event, I’m very glad our product EWM is featured in YOURSTORY as one of the 6 innovative products out of 100+ IoT products that were exhibited at IoT India Congress 2016. Please go through the below article and let us know if EWM is of some use to you.
Since the inception of FluxGen we have focused on developing energy management solutions. In the due course we shared our leanings and findings in various platforms. Some of these sharing has also resulted in publication. Here are the papers that we worked on so far. Do go through the same and feel free to contact me if you need any of these papers for your reference:
Advanced Solar-Irrigation Scheduling for Sustainable Rural Development: A Case of India (Book chapter: Decentralized Solutions for Developing Economies,Part of the series Springer Proceedings in Energy pp 123–131) — The paper was also presented at UC, Berkley as part of MES2014 Conference. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15964-5_11
Baseline measurements of an AC solar photovoltaic micro-grid system in a reserve forest of India: A pilot implementation for operational and behavioral analysis of decentralized energy systems ( Presented at IEEE Smartgridcomm 2015, Miami, Florida — one of the two Indian Companies to present, other being Tata sons) http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7436372/
A practical implementation of energy harvesting, monitoring and analysis system for solar photovoltaic terrestrial vehicles in Indian scenarios: A case of pilot implementation in the Indian Railways (in collaboration with IISc, Bangalore) http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7443989/
Smart Renewable Energy Micro-Grid (Runner-up at the global level for NI Engineering Impact Award — Energy Category 2015 — presented at Austin, TX and winner of the NI Engineering Impact Award at India level 2014): http://sine.ni.com/cs/app/doc/p/id/cs-16647
I’m super glad that my Alma-mater, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has given me an opportunity to offer the course Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a guest faculty. This course is a part of the proficiency course at Center for Continuing Education (CCE). The course is open to the public and will be to held every Friday 6PM to 8PM at the IISc, Bangalore campus. Engineering graduates (BE/BTech) of any branch irrespective of when you have graduated can apply for the course as IIoT is a multidisciplinary field. The course will be starting from the 2nd week of January 2017. More info about the course content and registration can be found here (Course no.20 is IIoT):http://iisc.online/admissions/home.html
The course will have a blend of the Engineering and Business aspects of IIoT. The aim of the course is to help students (read: participants) understand various technologies, platforms and tools available to implement IIoT systems along with the business models associated to make it marketable and profitable. Participants from various occupational backgrounds, such as Electrical, Marketing, Electronics, Computer Science, Mechanical, Finance, Communication, Instrumentation etc can take up this course. While I’ll be delivering lectures on IIoT, I’m keen in making it more of a participant centric course and envision a role akin to a moderator of the course. I’ll also be inviting experts in various domains from Industry and Universities every week for a 20 min talk to share their knowledge in their respective domains. I’ll also invite people from Business backgrounds to share their experience in starting and running an enterprise. My ultimate aim is see a bunch of participants pursue entrepreneurship in IIoT after completing the course.
To make the course hands-on, I’ll be starting a hypothetical IIoT start-up called as 14WEEKS IoT Technologies Private limited for participants of the course. The class will be divided into various teams depending up on their primary focus area. The focus area could be embedded systems, mobile app development, business development, marketing, cloud computing, electronics circuits, web development etc. Focus area based assignments will be given in such a way that 14WEEKS will have products to sell in the IIoT market at the end of course. Tests will also be conducted in a similar manner testing the practical and business knowledge of the participants. The end goal of 14WEEKS IoT Tech is to become a real company and raise funds from the investors. Based on the performance and involvement of the participants, I’ll be happy to share the equity of the startup.
It’s been eleven years since I graduated and five years sinceI started FluxGen. In these years I found my true calling in inspiring and igniting people’s mind to convert an idea into reality. I must say I’ve met some amazing minds in the process, who have inspired me to do things that I would have never imagined to do. This course is one such humble pursuit and I hope you take up this course for the benefit of yourself, the classroom and the entrepreneurial world. I hope we create products that will change the way the Industry works and mankind lives.
About two months back or so I got an email from a person from CoE-IoT (NASSCOM) that IET India is conducting the first edition of the IoT India Congress. After going through the website I registered immediately for the event as I could sense a great learning and business opportunity in the IoT space. I was also keen on exhibiting our (FluxGen’s) products but I did not wish to go ahead, as the cost for the exhibition stall space was more than what we spend on our office rent for the entire year. About three to four weeks back I got another email from the same person regarding the participation for IoT India Startup Award at the event IoT Congress. On the eve of deadline date, I did a night out filling the details of our product, business plan, projects executed using the product and the company, and shared the same with my colleagues and our Chairman Dr. Gopal. About fifteen minutes before the deadline, we some how managed to submit our application to the IoT India congress awards team.
Three days before the event we got an email from the awards team stating that we were among the Top 10 nominees shortlisted for IoT Start-up Awards, and the email also mentioned that the Top 3 IoT Start-ups would be announced and awarded as part of the start-up awards session of IoT India Congress. With this nomination, we got exhibition stall space free and four complementary delegate/exhibitor passes. We were thrilled to hear the news and at the same time my team which mainly compromises of engineers in their early twenties didn’t want to settle anything less than top three. While I was little apprehensive about their obsession for winning the award, I was also super glad to see extreme enthusiasm at action. As you’d perhaps agree that enthusiasm is contagious, I did get affected in the process.
After working hard for three consecutive days and burning the midnight oil, we came up with an interesting demo of our products at the event, which was held in Hotel Lalith Ashok in Kumarakrupa road. We planned on tons of features for the demo and it all worked great without failing at the exhibition. The visitors of our stall were blown and many said that our demo was intriguing. Apart from the jury, we presented our work to the government officials, which include the Principal secretary of Telecommunication Ministry and Secretary of Industry and Commerce Ministry, super keynote and keynote speakers, delegates from various Indian and multinational companies, academicians from all over India and to other startups like us. We thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the visitors, the encouragement for our work from the jury members and not to forget the five-star hotel deserts:P
The climax of the event was the award ceremony. Three out of seven jury turned up at the stall and the remaining four were to evaluate based on the business plan that we had sent to the pre-jury. While we were confident about the demo and presentation we gave, but the business plan was not prepared with great care and as mentioned earlier it was sent in a hurry. The organizers called all the top ten start-ups to give a one-minute business pitch to the assembled audience and later asked them to guess the winner. We were thrilled to hear a person shout FLUXGEN and said our work was very important, very relevant to the society, and hence we deserved the award. At that moment itself we felt like winners. The actual result which was announced a minute later was again in our favor and we were super thrilled to hear that as well. An experience that we will cherish for a long long time.
Thanks for reading this story, I’ll be glad to hear from you. Here is a short description of our product which may be useful to you. We have developed a low-cost and local IoT solution for Energy and Water management called as EWM. The EWM measures the energy and water consumed at your facility and sends the data over wireless channel so that you can get a personalized energy and water bill just like your mobile phone bill. The mobile and web application gives you useful tips to conserve energy and water at your facility (like leak detection, excessive consumption alert, etc). The EWM is very suitable for rural electrification projects using solar/wind Micro-Grids, apartment complex(where the consumer doesn’t get personalized water bill but averaged water bill), Heavy electricity and water consuming factories, Mines etc. Please feel free to write to me on email@example.com if you are in need of our products.
A post that I was unable to finish for more than a year. Finally completed it today, here it is:
It all started with a Facebook update (July ’12):”Hey, this update is regarding a trip to Himachal or Nepal or Uttarakhand or some such fancy place – which I’m super keen in undertaking this August. I’d say a hitchhiking to make it sound a little adventures – though the idea is to make the trip super economical. One more thing I’d say is to plan very little or not at all plan for anything – full on ad-hoc basis. As of now I’m going alone – if you like the idea, and also feel like joining the expedition, then feel free to let me know.” (1)
Hari (my close pal and also colleague) and I wanted to blow off steam from our work, which took great deal of our attention for nearly ten months. I wanted to do this trip no matter what. Thankfully, Hari also agreed to do the trip and the crazy facebook post did attract my two friends, Christell and Amit. They both were ready to join however they were very particular in doing the hitchhiking in Nepal alone. So Nepal it was
It was 3rd August 2012. We (Hari and I) were about to leave our respective places in an hours time to the railway station and we got a call from a lady who represented a technology multi-national company that had helped us by providing the hardware and software for our business. She wanted to know if Hari or I could speak in an international conference in Austin, Texas given an opportunity. We both told her that we were leaving to Nepal to take a break from work. Though she wanted one of us to change our plan, that is to stay back in Bangalore, but at the same time she wasn’t sure if the plan to invite us will be confirmed. She told us to consider it as an urgent request and make it to Austin if confirmed. Besides, Hari didn’t have a US VISA where as I had one (thanks to GE – my previous employer) and the conference was in less than four days time. So it was me who was suppose to make the decision of staying back in Bangalore or not. I told her that I’ll not stay back in Bangalore since it was too short notice and can’t take a chance in missing the Nepal trip. I also told her that we will be traveling to Kolkota by train and in case the invitation gets confirmed then I’ll try to take a flight to Austin from there itself.
My best friends, Vinod, Vinayendra and Rakesh, had come over to my place to convey their best wishes for the trip when I was leaving my place. With all the apprehensions till that last minute we, that is, Amit, Christell, Hari and I started our journey from Bangalore railway station. We were pretty lucky to get the tickets to Kolkota that too in sleeper berth considering the fact that we all decided to do the trip to Nepal in less than a weeks time. The journey to Kolkota was fun. We had lots of fun discussion while pulling each others leg. I also got many calls from the US regarding the conference but unfortunately I wasn’t able to speak to them continuously even for a short duration as the mobile network coverage was very intermittent and also the mobile phone battery was getting drained. Finally the invitation to speak at that conference got confirmed after a chat with the organizers of the event and I accepted to speak at the event. I knew that it was an opportunity that will not come often and at the same time I didn’t want to miss the Nepal trip. I told Hari, Amit and Christell that I would some how try to join them at Nepal even if I miss the significant part of the trip.
Since I didn’t have access to internet nor continues mobile coverage in the train, my close pal, Vinod did all the talking and mailed my details, such as passport number and other personal details, with the people from that company once the plan to US got confirmed . When I reached Kolkota all that I had to inform was my flight plan to that company’s travel coordinator. The invitation to stay in the US was for one week which included food and accommodation. Initially I was tempted to stay in the US for the whole week but in that case I’d have missed the complete hitchhiking trip that I desperately wanted to do for so long. As giving that talk in that forum was the most important activity of my visit to the US, I got the return tickets booked just after the day of my talk, which meant that my stay in the US was confined to less than 3 days. I didn’t think much about it once I got the tickets booked as I knew that I’d be making a lot of overseas travel as part of my work in the future.
Though I made the decision to fly to the US in no time, my preparation for the trip was absolutely zero. Thanks to my friend (lab mate from IISc) in Kolkota, Madhurima and her husband Nirupam for their kind help, without them I wouldn’t have done any shopping before leaving the country. It was my first trip outside Asia and second trip outside India. I must say that there was little apprehension before I left Kolkota as I didn’t have the print out of the air tickets and the invitation letter, and to my bad luck all the browsing centers were closed near the airport since it was a Sunday. Anyway, I later learnt from a friend that all I needed was the PNR number of the flight and getting a ticket printed at the airport is no brainier. As there weren’t appropriate flights from Kolkota, I had to take a flight to Bombay and from there to Frankfurt and from there to Washington airport at Dulles. After arriving at Dulles I had to kill nearly six hours to board a flight to Austin.
A lady from the security department at Washington airport informed me about a famous museum which was near to the airport. I got deeply thrilled about visiting the museum when she told that I should be able to see it and still safely board the flight to Austin. With the help of other airport officials I could figure out the logistics to the museum and I did visit. It eventually turned out that my visit to Smithsonian’s National Air and Space museum was the only significant place I could see during my trip to the US. The time spent at the museum was great, as an engineer who had worked in aviation industry for some time I could appreciate the technological advancement in the field. There were space shuttles, aircrafts, missiles, gliders and many more. I also saw the first generation computers used in the flight management and control system that was displayed over there – remember UNIVAC (any computer science geeks reading this post)?
I did reach Austin without much difficulty. It was little funny during the check in and check out of luggage at various airports as I had this tent, sleeping bag and other trekking gears with me through out the trip. Thankfully the immigration department didn’t ask me the reason behind it. The company which had sponsored my complete trip to the US had arranged a cab at the airport to the hotel as well. I was pretty excited when I reached the hotel. It was a five star hotel. It was the first time in my life I was staying in such a posh hotel. I tried my best to take great advantage of the facilities provided in the hotel, I started off with the telephone. I made a three hour long phone call to a good friend in Michigan and only when I left the hotel I figured out that making phone calls weren’t part of the deal.
Next day morning I went to the conference location, that is Austin convention center. I had a nice breakfast and met people from that company with whom I had earlier interacted as part of work. There were thousands of people from all over the world attending the mega annual event organized by the company. There were people from Industries, academia, government setups, media and what not. After attending the key note by the CEO of that company I got in touch with two ladies who offered to assist me for my talk which was scheduled the next day morning. I prepared the presentation in one of their laptops, which didn’t take much time as all the stuff I wanted for the presentation were stored in the web – all thanks to google mail and dropbox. I discussed the content with one more lady who was in charge of the event in which I was a speaker. She didn’t alter the content much but told me clearly to wrap up the talk in seven minutes. She also directed me to a video interview the very same day. The interview was good fun. The two american ladies asked me many questions which were related to my work and the business that I managed and co-founded. I candidly answered all the questions, the best part was that they didn’t influence me or prompt me, they just recorded what ever I said. It was for about twenty minutes. Some months back I saw a minute video that was made from that interview to promote a social initiative by the company in the developing countries, perhaps you can consider watching the video (2). The day ended with me having dinner at a posh restaurant with the India team of that company.
I got up at around 8’O clock on the day of my talk. I was suppose to speak at 11 PM hence I wasn’t in any rush. I glanced through the print out of my presentation while having my breakfast in the hotel where I was put up. I did think about the journey that I had taken to reach the point where I was sitting. I did remember the time when I was slipping while pursuing my entrepreneurial dream. I also remembered the time I left my job at GE, a big MNC where I was having a safe and neat career. I felt damn good. I didn’t have to give a dazzling presentation to impress the crowd as I had a story to tell which itself was fairly interesting. However confident I thought I was, the truth was that I did become little nerves when I actually went to speak. I started of my talk with the statement ” Hello, I’m doing this for the first time. Please have a smile on your face so that I feel comfortable while I go through this”. The whole crowd laughed at it – that acknowledgement was a very positive feeling and I nearly cracked the talk then alone. In fact they did like my story, my sense of humor and most importantly my passion for work. I ended the speech (3) by saying ” 400 million Indians are deprived of electricity. It’s a concern as a countryman and opportunity as an engineer”. There were nearly two hundred and odd people in the hall and many came over to congratulate me after the event. I knew that I had done quite a lot of grammatical mistakes in my speech and didn’t distribute my time efficiently but what I cared and what mattered was that I did present it as a story of a dreamer who had a real desire to do things for a worthy cause. After the talk I got pictures (4) with dignitaries present there which included Sir Robert Swan – the first man to go to both the north and the south pole. It was awesome to meet such people. After the event I didn’t want to talk to anyone or meet any one, I just wanted to enjoy the moment with myself. I can’t really articulate how I felt at that time.
I spent the rest of my time at the conference by checking out the exhibition area where there was a grand display of amazing engineering systems. I got a chance to talk to some of the level headed engineers from across the globe who had built robots, medical equipments, earth movers, aerospace machinery and other fascinating stuff. Since I was leaving to India next day I thought of checking out some places near the hotel. Though my initial plan was to cycle around Austin downtown, thankfully, I found some guys, from the conference with whom I had dinner previous night. They were going to a place called Congress avenue bridge which was on the Colorado river that flows on the middle of the Austin city. The interesting thing about that bridge is that about one million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats live there. These bats migrate to Mexico in the winter and spend the rest of the year below the bridge. We could see these birds flying in huge number once it became dark.
Meanwhile I had got updates from my friends, Hari, Amit and Christell, with whom I was going to Nepal. Hari had mailed me about the place they were staying. They apparently had a crazy hitching hiking experience from Kolkota to Kathmandu while I was traveling to the west. They decided to camp at a place called Pokhra as suggested by the Nepali localities. I mailed him back about my return to India and subsequently to Nepal. I was looking forward to join them at the earliest.
My last day in the US wasn’t of any importance as I had nothing in specific to do or visit. It had all worked out fine. It so happened that the maximum money spent in the US was on phone calls and I came to know of it only when I was checking out from my hotel room in the morning. I was left with just two dollars when I left the hotel. Thankfully there was a cab arranged by the company to the airport. When I entered the airport I had only one dollar as I gave the other dollar as a tip to the driver who did a neat job. My return journey to India wasn’t much different from my journey to the US. I reached New Delhi airport in the middle of the night (at about 1AM). I called my home and also my friends – luckily they were awake or got up to pick the call.
The second episode of this trip wasn’t less exciting, must say reaching Pokhra in Nepal itself was sort of an adventure. Here goes the short description of the Nepal escapade.
Fortunately I got a flight to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, at an affordable price from New Delhi by around six in the morning and reached safely in a few hours. The immigration check hardly asked for the passport and didn’t bother to even check the luggage – anyway I didn’t face trouble until I got out of the airport. Kathmandu people were observing road transportation strike that day. It was almost impossible for me to reach Pokhra that day and I was planning to stay at Kathmandu, but then I came to know about the flight service between Kathmandu and Pokhra. After lots of running around and bargaining I some how managed to get a seat in a 10-seater small airplane. I really enjoyed sitting next to a window in that small airplane which maneuvered in the sky like a bird and that too at a fairly low altitude – I could see hills, people, houses and valleys so clearly. It was spectacular!
Meeting Hari, Amit and Christell at Pokhra was very delightful and felt very nice to keep up with the promise of joining back in spite of all the temptations of staying back for some more days in the land of opportunities (read: America). For next three days we did the Ghorepani trek in the Annapurna region to reach the peak of Phoon hill. We saw the beautiful Mt. Annapurna (8091m) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m) from Phoon hill top. The view was extraordinary. Hope some day I climb these mountains which are considered as tough as climbing Mt. Everest. I’ll not be able articulate the beauty of the place, you can check the pictures which is pasted in the bottom of this post (5). We even managed to go to Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha after the three day trek. We got cycles to roam around the place and see Buddhist monasteries setup by various nations. The Mayadevi temple, the exact birth place of Buddha, was a peaceful place to spend some quality time. We took the Sunauli (near Ghorakpur) route by bus to reach India and later managed to get a train to Delhi from Ghorakpur (in Uttar Pradesh). The train journey from Delhi to Bangalore shall always be remembered for innumerable card games we played and all the funny names we kept as a penalty for losing the games. It was helluva fun I must say!
Well, I still can’t believe the universe choose all these events to happen in a span of fifteen days but yeah I’m certainly glad that I did have a role to play in making it happen.
(1) The FB post led to a lot of interaction, people started asking me lot of questions on travel and logistics for which one of my response was something like this:
“”Here is the rough idea: Lets say we get a train to Culcutta or Delhi. If we choose Delhi, then we shall check out for buses and trains available to places where there are mountains and valleys. Let say there are tickets available to Shimla and Uttarkashi. Assume, I prefer Uttarkashi and you prefer Shimla then we have two options, either to toss a coin or I go to Uttarkashi and you to Shimla. Lets say we go for tossing the coin and you win. According to your choice, we’ll reach Shimla. Then lets talk to people there and find out places there and then perhaps leave to a place where we can do some trekking or mounting climbing or river crossing or any fancy adventure, if both of us find it interesting. When we are there if we hear about another place very close and tempting then lets go there as well. As per cash, I prefer keeping money aside for train tickets and rest not much at all, I don’t mind begging for shelter/food/transport there – if in case thr is some way to make money there I don’t mind spending a day on it. As per time, when we really miss doing the work we do for our living then lets return back. With this info, I leave you to do the math on the budget and the duration. so what say boy?”
(after seeing this comment not many wished to join though many liked the comment )
Here is a speech Ganesh gave to the students of National Institute of Technology, Jaipur on Entrepreneurship.
I have learnt some of the greatest lessons in my life by embarking on adventuresome activities, such as going on a long distance cycling expedition. I have applied those lessons in entrepreneurship and in some way I feel entrepreneurship is like long distance cycling. I’ll tell you why I feel so.
Last year, that is year 2011, some time during February or March I was not associated with any organization either as an employee or as a student. I was pretty much on my own. I had not started FluxGen but I was doing some minor experiments on solar and stuff. I was in no hurry hence I was taking my own time in going about setting up the business. During that time I came to know that a friend of mine, Jonathan Fernandez, was planning to do a cycle trip to his home that is Goa, from Bangalore – well it is about 600 and odd kilometers.
Being an adventure seeker, I was thrilled about the whole idea. I met Jonathan soon after hearing the idea and we started discussing. Considering the fact that none of us had done much of cycling for many years we decided to do some short trips before planning for the Goa expedition. In next couple of months, we did couple of one day trips of about 150kms and then did a three day trip to Chennai (from Bangalore)- it’s about 350kms. We did a few more expeditions with other friends as well. And finally we were ready to do the Goa expedition.
We did it pretty much like we had dreamt of doing it. It was a fantastic experience. I still think about that trip a lot. I am going to share with you few interesting instances during our Bangalore- Goa cycling expedition..
The first day of the expedition, when Jon and I had completed about 80kms, we met a person by name Uday on the road. He was going on a scooter. He was kind of curious to know about us and our expedition. He enquired about it. When I told him that we were going to Goa he was thrilled and was keen in assisting us in some way. He offered us lunch at his place and also spoke to his friend who was about 70kms from that place to give us shelter and arrange dinner for that night. Well his friend, who was an absolute stranger just like Uday, took good care of us that night. We could only thank those gentlemen.
There is another incident I remember very well. Jon and I at times had very asymmetric speed, sometimes he was ahead and sometimes me. Once when Jon was very ahead of me, about 10kms distance, my cycle got punctured. I had the puncture kit but I had never used it before. I was trying to somehow fix it and then there were some villagers who came to my rescue. With their help I could get the puncture fixed. Similar incidents happened a few more time during the trip, and we could crack it with the help of people around. Long distance cycling is prone to uncertainties and with experience a cyclist would learn to tackle it.
The last thing I would like to share about the trip with you is the stuff we carried during our entire journey . We had planned to complete the expedition in four to five days. Since all through out the trip we had to carry the luggage on our shoulders or on the cycle, we had to be very economical on the weight we carried. Jon and I did a very calculated decision on carrying necessary stuff, because of which we had to compromise on our daily comfort. After the whole trip we hardly found it as any kind of discomfort. The life style that I got used to during my time on such expeditions has pretty much changed my lifestyle forever. The point that I am trying to make here is that our prime focus was in completing the expedition in a stipulated time limit and we managed to complete the expedition with the least possible we could do with.
Coming to the entrepreneurship part, which is what I’m supposed to speak, here is what I see the similarity with the long distance cycling. There are some things that are very obvious which I leave you guys to figure out but things that I really want to emphasis I’ll speak here
I believe, the stuff you want to do should definitely be daring and exciting. If it doesn’t excite your mind then probably you will not be able to go for long. Goa trip would not have happened had I was not super excited about it. And another thing, it will happen, you shouldn’t be thinking about it all the time, you’ll sooner or later feel the excitement on some stuff you come across and then you may wish to take it tothe next level.
The first step you take matters a lot. It could be a tiny tiny step, but it still matters.The first step may not be taken with complete logic or planning. Most of the time, thefirst step is taken with faith.
Once you have taken the big leap of starting a business, you will be encountered with several problems and issues. I believe, any issue or a problem can be divided into smaller and smaller parts which may be solved by applying first principles. The confidence to divide any problem statement into multiple small problems will make you capable of tackling any problem that you come across or the problem you define.
While you become confident of taking up a tough venture, you will always find people around you willing to assist you. I’d like to mention a Sanskrit quote :“Dhaiyramsarvathra sadhanam” – Courage is applicable everywhere. Courage for a good cause is that kind of human spirit that will always be appreciated and encouraged– so don’t feel alone when you are doing something that makes sense with a bit ofcourage.
While you will find many people interested in assisting you out, I should also warn you that the formulas that you will hear from people for success are many but what would fit into your equations is your job to figure out. Sometimes you may have to do all the mistakes yourself to figure out, while sometimes you may be in a position to just learn from others mistakes but what you should remember is that no two realworld problems are exactly same.
Coming to the most important part, the focus on what you want to do is very important for many reasons. You may be limited by factors like money, time,expertise etc. With these limitations sometimes you may think you are in a deadlock.But the truth is everybody comes with some or the other limitations. I believe, that with a focused attention and taking calculated risk on things that you really want to do you will be able overcome any limitation and many a times you will convert your disadvantage to some advantage – I’ll not tell you how, I’ll leave you to experiencethat thing yourself.
With this gyan that I may have acquired during last couple of years I’ll end my talk. All the best, take care!
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(The speaker wishes to thank Dr. Mathur for giving an opportunity to speak, Nikhil and Mitavachan for introducing Dr. Mathur, Rishika for insisting the speaker to prepare for the talk and Nitesh for correcting the grammatical mistakes in the speech)