How inclusive are tech meetups, hackathons

I attend and participate in meetups and technical events on Saturday. I started to observe the presence of more men than women in these events. The ratio of men to women looked like  75: 25 or 80:20. In last few week, I was involved in few activities and experienced some new learning and sharing the same here.

diversityI am father of 2 daughters. Last few years, my wife started to work and some Saturday morning, she needs to attend events at her work, where I offer to take care of my children. Few weeks ago, my wife had planned work for whole of Saturday and I was leading event at my office on the same day. When both of us discussed to take care of children, I decided to take my children to my office. (they hanged with my cousin for large hours across lunch). While i was happy that i can keep my children with me, they shared with me that it was exciting initially and felt bored and restless after few hours.

My personal experience made me look at our volunteers. We had one female employee to volunteer. She was one year experienced and that made it easy for her to come.   I looked at male employees and asked myself ” Who was taking care of their children in their homes?  Are their wife house-wife’s?”. Felt good when a manger brought his son for few hours to event.  I found volunteers were mainly men. I was surprised with lady HR executive who stayed whole event, possibly she is recently married.

Our whole day event(9 to 8)  got delayed by 30 minutes. My wife came and picked children around 6 pm and I was left to come home late. A mother would have found it tricky to balance delay in event and needs of her children.  My own daughters become uneasy and uncomfortable when mother come few minutes late from promised time.

In another technical meetup conduced, a female colleagues and women had come. When thanked for their participation on weekend in their busy schedules. they shared ” Event was closet to my home for me to attend”. If you look at Bangalore, more of events happen in Koramangala or IndiraNagar. What is percentage of weekends events that happen around ITPL ? When I inquired women about joining session online, they said “Not easy to join webinar. kids allow father to do office work and not mothers”. Reminded of ex-colleague who takes conference calls being  present in bathroom to reduce disturbance.

While I  consider hackathon helps to identify talent applying knowledge rather than only being good theory and enable hiring of diverse talent. How much hackathon help companies to recruit qualified  2 to 5 years experienced IT women professionals, married and mothers. Do companies miss to hire women employees using hackathons? On a different note, women employees stay for long time in their jobs compared to men. To leverage short-term benefit, are we sacrificing long-term benefit?

On Google of  words “hackathon Bangalore  women”, here are few result links.

I observe that  above were single day hackathon. Recommend companies who want to hire diverse mix of candidates to have 1-day hackathon compared to 2 -day hackathon ( Friday evening to Sunday evening). While  48 hour schedule  favors men than women, i acknowledge that married men & fathers want to spend weekend with their families.

Happy to see lot more inclusiveness  in paid events  TechSparks events are on Friday and Saturday, completes early evening, allow  participants to return home/families. HasGeek events are more on week days.  NPC events are mainly on weekdays, with night networking on the first event day. Can we measure the number of women who stay to network ? Let me thanks them for allowing Sundays to the participant families.

Move beyond competition, Create value.


[For sharing with my children]

“Everything ends in competition. Hence be ready to take part in competition” seems to be what most of us are saying to ourselves. New age philosophy takes it to next level as “If you need to grow,  be ready to live a life that contradicts with what you believe. It does not matter what your values are and what is important is to win competition”

Does Clash of Opposite’s only create or lead to growth? No. Man and Women collaborate and live peacefully to give birth to a child. No proof that man and women competed and gave birth to a child.  There are more worldly examples to demonstrates that collaboration between living beings (not restricted to humans) creates more value for all

Can we think for moment what would be the result  if earth and moon decide to competes to prove whose gravitational force is best?  Close to home, How would you feel if cats, dogs and other living organism around house start to compete with humans? Did we even think in this way?  We take what does not compete to be granted.

Let me say where we created competition more than anywhere. It is creation of food. The more we consume the food created through competition, more sense of competition is developing among humans.

Nature has provided good to humans, insects and worms.  Corp-orates produce fertilizers and pesticides and also made us to believe that insects and worm’s are our competitors. Humans have become pawn in the competition with insects and worms in farm, equipped with fertilizers and pesticides to eradicate insects and worms.  What happens to activities that insects and worm were doing to maintain balance in the environment? May be plants that die get decayed and enrich the soil as natural manure for plants.  How will soil get enriched when there are no worms and insects? Corporates have helped humans with easy answer ” User more fertilizers and pesticides”.

Observer that humans with 6 senses have attempted to eradicate insects and living creatures with 3 senses and still have not succeeded  in eradicating insects completely. Instead of accepting our failure in competition, we try to compete by using even more fertilizers and pesticides. Effectively, We are responsible to expose our food to more and more chemicals and our land has lost its original richness of minerals and We have worked to make our land to become barren or dependent on chemicals.  Do we realize this?

All living beings mostly live together as group or herd and also live dual approach of both being together and being alone. They share beyond what is needed to survive for that day and have not build any physical or artificial walls. A tiger eaten its prey to its full is not eager to attack deer or cattle walking closeby for next day good, next week food and next year food.  May be that is what makes animals to coexist together in herds or groups.

While animals with less senses live together, humans with six senses find more and more difficulty to live together. In a century, brothers and sisters have started to live separate and in last 2 or 3 decades, parents and children have started to live separately. Competition between their egos has caused separation in relationship. Do we realize that we have lost the benefits of being in stronger relationship ? May be we need to think how will it be if our 5 senses compete with each other?

Let us remind our-self that we have things to receive from people both similar to us and who are opposite’s to us. There are things that we can provide/give to other people, including people from whom we receive.  Only humans defined that two things are opposite’s. Nature did not define them as opposite’s. Nature wants them to coexist.

We do not need to agree with opinions, judgement and wishes of another person?  There is not need to agree. We can disagree and still live with differences and create growth.







What do you use? Email? SMS? IM? Phone?F2F?

Today  multiple modes of communication are leveraged in our professional and personal lives. E-mail, SMS , IMs or Chats, Phone call and In-person F2F meeting. Are you leveraging the right communication channel? Are your leveraging right communication channel best suited  for real life scenario? Here is my attempt to answer.

Email  are used to communicate for non-urgent matters and  scales fairly well, being asynchronous. As emails document facts, emails  qualify to be considered formal and are suitable to be prioritized, free of pressure to respond immediately. The sender is aware that he would obtain response based on receiver priority. Receiver is aware that he can schedule time to check and respond emails. Easier for both parties to develop a disciplined approach for communication over emails

Emails are ill-suited when people use emails to resolve conflicts. Emails can become nuisance when emails are used to assign tasks to individuals. In these scenarios, it is better to talk or meet person in F2F mode or Phone mode

SMS are for short messages and for asynchronous communication. Used communicate quick status or interest to other person. Examples are like reached place and do not see other person at scheduled time, keep informed of delay to arrive to F2F meeting and so on.

IMs are suited for quick short informal messages prior to F2F or phone discussion(using voice) when both parties show attention to IM,  IM becomes more efficient than a candid back-and-forth email thread.

During conference call, IM are used to share quick facts on a topic  and IM can be treated as confirmation of facts across conference call.  IMs allow teams to collaborate internally better with exchange of private messages within the team, even during a joint call with multiple teams. Any IM interaction for more than a minute or two may become tricky and for IM interaction more than two or three minutes, explore options to move to voice based IM or phone call. Let us accept that  voice is quicker/cleaner than typing!

IM Pop-ups can be distraction( Remember to set ” do-not-disturb” when necessary). They are not good to document formal responses and are to be limited to internal team discussions. IMs are efficient with customers with IM federation enabled IM of customer.

Phone calls are useful when both parties cannot wait for F2F meeting to occur, or critical issues cannot wait to be scheduled F2F. Please schedules phone calls, being aware of time loss due to unscheduled Phone calls. Either answer  unscheduled calls for less than a minute to schedule or call back unscheduled calls in planned hour. While one needs to be aware of distraction on one’s focus due to unscheduled calls, there are times where one needs to  pick up phone and  talk, instead of long  back-and-forth e-mail threads.

F2F meetings are most suited to resolve conflicts or brainstorming sessions. Too many F2F meetings can be a time-killer. Schedule F2F meetings that are truly necessary with a clear agenda communicated in advance so everyone has time to prepare. Take meeting notes and documents action items. Send notes and action items to all invitees/participants for F2F meeting. if  the magnitude of conflict increase, it is very important to have F2F meeting as soon as possible, as it has potential not to let any problems linger around!

To end, please remind yourself of the cost of the meeting to the company. Remind yourself mentally with everyone’s salary  engaged in conversation. Ensure to finish meeting early when agenda of the meeting is completed. When key person required for a meeting is not able to attend, please postpone or reschedule meeting.

No email.jpg

Big data is not the master

Extract tangible business value & insights from quality and integrated data is more important than volume, velocity or variety of Big Data. Business users who consume Big data don’t know or care about its bigness. They want the right data applicable to their particular business problem, and also want to trust that data and analysis derived from it.

Data and models lie in the context of a larger decision support system. The quality of the data, and quality of the model are two independent limiting factors of such a system and one always begin the decision support process with questions like.
• What problems must the business address?
• What questions does the business need answered?
• What insights does the business need for innovation?
• What business decisions and actions need quantitative support?

First, Develop models to support above business needs and then  decide to pursue for  the required data. Big data is the servant, not the master. The real value in decision making is highly influenced by organizational decision support process in  2 ways.

Start with assumption, instead of a hypothesis (Similar to being in a mission to “Prove” something). Team perceive an outcome and try to align data, analysis and do everything necessary to achieve outcome that syncs with assumption. Starting with assumptions make people cherry-pick data, models, algorithms, visualizations, and even share information with objective to “prove”.

Start with a hypothesis to be proved or disproved. Testing happens. Verification happens. Multiple models are generally used instead of one. Here more focus is spend on “whys” in addition to the “whats.” Teams that are open for critical thinking have the risk of slipping in to bias here, while the genuine focus still continues on the accuracy of result.

Big Data Cycle

Big Data brings focus to three “V’s” (volume, velocity, and variety); More  value from Big Data comes from variety. With little or no domain expertise, techies  focus system design to handle larger data volume . Hence business folks need to focus/emphasis on  data variety and needs to be educated to forget more of big volume and focus on big variety.

  • Get value out of your variety is data integration task. Ensure that no Big Silos gets created and first integrate existing data silos.
  • Integrate far flung disparate systems to generate insights with a holistic view of customer and product attributes along with sales data by channel, region and brand.

When Variety takes precedence over volume, exponential data still gets collected, we need to address data error correction on an exception basis. We cannot scale manual data correction to keep up with our increased data volumes. We must automate data quality processes to catch and fix those errors up front with tools at least as robust as our data collection and storage resources. For unstructured data too, we need to apply  the same data quality standards that is applied to more traditional transaction data.  To achieve data quality, it is important to understand how  business users interact with the data.

Traditionally, applications were designed and developed and  consumed by users until it becomes apparent that applications need to be modified or replaced. Computing played role to tells us what happened in the past and allow humans to speculate what happens in future. Today predictive analytics make machine to speculate about the future and allows humans to take decision/action.

Predictive analytics needs continuous process evolution towards “It is not requirement followed by solution.  It is a process and a journey and not a project. It is not plugging in some technology” When predictive analytics helps to get better understanding of customers, focus is needed to “get inside their souls.” and to continually tune adaption to changes in the business and customer activity.

  • How to  prioritize, data present in the report or person consuming the report?
  • Does applying analytics change things for you in role of a professional and in role of a citizen? Are you agreeable with  new change in both roles?
  • What you did with data 5 years ago compared to what you are doing with it today?
  • As effective data usage is a moving target,  Does “more data”  become a more realistic desire than “all data.”
  • Does velocity matter more than having data in a format that’s actionable and in a format that maps to business objectives?

Are social networks addictive?

Do I become more happy on seeing more readers read my blog or there are new comments on the blog. I have seen this practice in last few months, where I check whether more visitors are coming compared to previous month. This had made me question of my own priority “Do I blog to express my own idea and thoughts with indirectly influence on others?” or “Do I blog to influence others? Is expressing myself in all topics really important?”. The first thing I did was to stop sharing my new blog posts to LinkedIn.


Known to lot of you, I have kept myself away from WhatsApp. Answering to others on my absence in WhatsApp, I questions myself whether I need to join whatsApp to be in touch with my friends. I observe work related discussions happen on WhatsApp and there are no emails on the same topic. May be I am losing some work related interaction, being absent in WhatsApp. My mind asks me this question “Am I being missed out?” and answers “I have made choice and should learn to live with it.” Occassionaly I check WhatsApp for NGO in my wife’s phone and she is part of NGO group too.

With all social networks, I observe that “When one login to social networks and browse to a different page and return to social network page, you are already logged-in.”. Having seen this as benefit  earlier, now-a-days, I see this feature as disadvantage. Is there setting to expire session of social network login after a configured interval?

With LinkedIn, I observed more articles arriving directly on first position by email. The email has list of articles from friends to read. On click of article link, you are directed to login to LinkedIn. Is it not enough for LinkedIn that I receive emails from LinkedIn and read articles in LinkedIn? Why do they force me login to LinkedIn. Can LinkedIn notification emails not have access to public URLs to allow me view message without login? I do not like getting forced login to read article of a friend.

On analysis, I observe that I follow large number of public persons in LinkedIn Pulse and found option to unfollow public persons. Some of them I chose to explicitly follow and some had no clue why I am following. Pruned the same. Asked myself question “Should I leave leave LinkedIn?” and found answer “Reduce noise interactions on LinkedIn. Follow few people and maintain LinkedIn profile for professional purpose. Get glimpse in to other people’s backgrounds, prior to meeting and plan my conversation better”. I like when people with a past relationship respond to your private messages. I hate when experience people send invitation and when you respond sending message after accepting, they do not respond.

Earlier I used Facebook effectively for my charity campaigns. Realized spending more time on Facebook reading other updates, I started first to stop adding comments on others posts in Facebook. In last 60 days, I have disabled my Facebook account thrice, with a promise not to enable the same. Twice, I got pushed to login to Facebook and became aware of what I have done only after login. This awareness had helped me to be away from Facebook for last month and resist to log-in.

Once I disable Facebook, I am sure that my blog updates are not published as part of my Facebook feed and are not visible to my friends.

I continue to use twitter. Twitter also notifies to email address to pull you come online and login. Is there option, where i can stop twitter not to send messages? Why am I sharing updates on twitter of what I read? Is it not possible to leave all social network?

I find my book reading, listening to songs have come down and time spend on social networks has increased. I need to become more aware and make changes that are important to me.

Can we fill & take our own water bottle ?

Have we moved away from the question “why there are no clean drinking water facility?” to  “Why we purchase bottled water?” to “Which brand of bottled water to buy?” No one knows whether bottled water is safe for drinking or clear of source of the bottled  water and conditions under which water packed.

There are very few times we have bought water and mostly, we  avoid purchase of bottled drinking water. At times my daughters do not want to carry their own water, I or my wife carry water. My second daughter asks me “while others purchase water, why we carry water from home?”

I want to remind that school children have habit to take water bottle to school every day. The children have cultivated a habit to carry their own water. Do chilren cultivate a conflicting habit when they consume purchased bottled water?

We started to carry water for our children from home when we leave home. Today, my daughter is 13 years old and the practice still continues. When we go on long time vacation, we check with hotels for aqua-guard water and carry water for the whole day.

You see that hotel bearer does not ask me whether I need water, instead asks whether I need bottled water. We respond that ” We drink the same normal water that he drinks. The children drink from their own water bottles.”

Today travel takes time with long transit hours,on the way from home to work or work to home, either in car or in bus. When I travel by bus,  I carry water. On bus, I carry bag with pouch for water bottle and at times carry a separate bag for water.  I would think it is easier for people who leave their homes or work to fill bottle with water.

Today, when I go to office and ask for water, I am provided with sealed bottled water. Very rarely water is provided in a glass or tumbler. When I refuse to take bottled water and ask for glass of water, others express a surprised look. Some times, people provide me a glass to pour bottled water, assuming that I am looking to pour and drink. What is difficulty for business offices to have water glasses?

May be people sip water from glass keeping their mouth, may lead to diseases. I find some office follow a practice where fresh bottle of water filled by office boy is kept at every employee’s desk before start of work day. Companies project reason to keep bottled water is to ensure that employees, less sensitive to  hygiene and health care are taken care

When I go to mall and not have my water bottle, I have to purchase water or go to restroom that is far away from food court or shops to get water. It looks that mall setup has been developed to induce or make sure that people purchase water. I can observe urge in me to purchase water or another drink and avoid trip to go and get water.

When you go to Tamil Nadu, we need Amma neer. Why is government not thinking of having a good number of drinking water outlets and maintain them clean? Seems they are more busy to decide brand of water bottle and the business around the same.

When I go to Railway station, there is Rail Neer. Facilities to get drinking water are less in number compared to shops that sell Rail Neer. Some people point out that the water is unhygienic and they purchase water. What stops from bringing water from their home?

When we are  more concerned about bottled water brand, we have already moved ourselves far from both the water and the menace of plastic water bottle that we have created.  I think awareness to water and waste created from water bottle needs to happen at home, at community places and at our offices.


Privacy Vs Security In A Big Data World

[Copied article contents Privacy Vs Security In A Big Data World for my reference]

What I do know, however — and I thank him for this — is that Snowden helped bring the discussion of big data privacy and security to the public square — and not just the American public square, but the global one as well. This is a good thing, because in this era of big data, not to mention the Internet of Things, we can no longer relegate this discussion to the privacy freaks and security geeks in the back room. It’s a discussion in which we all should participate.

To understand it better, let’s take a brief look at some of the privacy and security issues in the context of the (big) data lifecycle.

In data security circles, the six stages of the data lifecycle are well known: create, store, use, share, archive, and destroy. While these six stages have a strong foundation in security, an interesting thing to note is the fact that the two privacy-related stages — use and share — are situated squarely in the middle. Is it just a coincidence that privacy is at the heart of the matter?

If data is not collected and/or created, there is no need to secure it. This may seem obvious, but it’s astonishing how many websites and apps forget or disregard this point. They collect it all “just in case” –- with little consideration on how the data may be handled downstream.
Why this matters: Data security begins at the point of creation or collection. Organizations need to be deliberate in the data they request or receive, and individuals should be mindful of the data they’re sharing — whether it’s sensitive data on a financial site or a viral video on YouTube. If this data is not secured, it could end up in the wrong hands.

With the volume of big data being generated these days, it’s not just a question of what data to store, but also how to store it all without blowing the budget. Open-source big data technologies are helping to greatly reduce the cost of data storage, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Why this matters: If an organization creates or collects data, it becomes their responsibility -– not the individuals’ -– to secure and protect it from corruption, destruction, interception, loss, or unauthorized access. Some organizations take this responsibility more seriously than others.

When an individual sets up a new account with an organization through its website/app, the individual is asked to read and agree to the terms of service and/or privacy policy. This legal contract typically defines how the individual’s data will be managed and used inside and outside the organization. Granted, few people read this legalese, but our expectation is that the organization will use our data “responsibly,” and when this usage changes, we expect to be notified.
Why this matters: It’s the usage — not the collection or storage — of data that concerns most people. It’s this stage where individuals want to be in control. For example, they want to set the dial on how public or private their data should be, who can access their data, and whether their data (aggregated or not) can be sold or rented to third parties. In this big data era, when organizations don’t provide this level of privacy control, they risk losing the loyalty and trust of their customers and users.

Organizations continue to share data between internal systems and external partners, but with the advent of social networks and “smart” devices, sharing data has become a public pastime — even to the point of “selfie” narcissism.
Why this matters: On one hand, individuals want control on how their personal data is being used. Yet some of these same individuals show little to no constraint on what personal data they’re sharing. Even though it’s the responsibility of the organization behind the website or app to secure users’ data and respect privacy settings (if they exist), it’s up to the individual to determine what and how much information they’re willing to share. If you put it on the Internet, it’s not a question of if, but when, your information may be used in unintended ways.

Between big data technologies and the cloud, it’s become relatively cost-effective for organizations to store data for longer periods of time, if not indefinitely. In some cases, regulations stipulate how long certain data will live — like in the US financial and health industries — but, in most cases, the budget and space constraints are being alleviated.
Why this matters: Being able to store more data for longer periods of time at a fraction of the cost is an appealing proposition for organizations. The more exciting proposition, however, is the ability to analyze even more data over greater periods of time to discover new questions, patterns, trends, and anomalies. The gotcha here is: The more data an organization stores and archives, the more data it has to secure.

If and when data is tagged for destruction, the question is to what extent. For example, if a website user requests that his account be deleted, what does this mean? Is it just the access to his account/data removed (so that he can request access later if he changes his mind) or does a deletion request trigger the destruction of all his data, including archived data? The answer most likely lies somewhere in between for most organizations.
Why this matters: Regulations and governance policies will dictate the extent to which data may be destroyed for many organizations. The data that does not get destroyed must then be secured. So using the example above, if a website user requests that his account be deleted, and he receives an email notification to that effect, what he doesn’t know is what personal data, if any, still exists in the organization’s systems. He may still be vulnerable to a potential data breach, long after he’s been deleted.
It cuts both ways
While a citizen’s right to privacy and freedom from government surveillance has been top of mind for Edward Snowden, national security has been top of mind for the US government.

And therein lies the rub: security cuts both ways. On one hand, it’s the responsibility of an organization to secure and protect any digital information it collects, stores, and transmits. But on the other hand, our governments are knocking on organizations’ doors demanding access to this protected information — all in the name of preserving national security.