Manish Reddy

Product Manager at Passionate about Internet Startups & Product Design

Is it good to take risk joining a startup in India, What will be the risk factors involved if i join in such startups?

Answer by Manish Reddy:

It depends based on what you want out of the startup. Startups are always risky, even if the team has a raised some capital. Even if the founders give you equity or ESOPs, they are only worth if the startup gets acquired or does an IPO. The chance of that happening in India as per the stats, is fairly low. So, If you solely working there so that you might get rich if that startup succeeds, don’t bother to join one.

As a startup employee, you are more like investor. You are not investing any money as such but you are investing time, energy and probably taking a pay cut to join them. You need a exit strategy in mind for the worst case scenario.

You have to take a  call whether you want to join based on some factors.
  1. How good are the founders? Do they have good skillset to implement their vision?
  2. How good is the team? Do they have the diverse skills needed to make the startup to next level?
  3. Do you feel connected to what the startup wants to achieve in the long term?
  4. What do they expect out of you? Is that worth learning/doing?
  5. Is the pay cut worth the learning experience the startup is going to provide?
  6. Will your skillset improve if you wish to move on after a year or so? Will other companies value what you have learnt? 

If you are able to answer the above questions with a yes, they you don’t have to think much as they cash to manage for 2 years.

View Answer on Quora

What’s it like to be an intern at an Indian startup?

Answer by Manish Reddy:

Short Version:
It is a very good learning experience. You can explore, learn a lot, get to know a few people working in your area of interest. 

Long Version:
I had interned at a startup, Technium Labs, in Second Year Summer (May 2011). I couldn’t get an internship via the formal internship cell. So, I decided to try via websites with internship postings. Came across an web developer internship on LetMeKnow. I was able to learn the basics of Web - HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python in 2 months and was able to make some design work side by side. I got to new know a few things about startups, met some interesting people, learnt a lot in 2 months.

A piece of advice:
Internship at a startup in First or Second Year could be a good learning experience. Assuming Third year is for Core/University Research Internship depending on your preferences.

Generally, interns are hired for 2 reasons by startups.
1. To find potential employees from interns
2. Do work which full-time employees find boring and turns out to be costly for the startup.

Look for the startup internships of first kind and Avoid the second type of internships. Look for the ones which want to invest time on you and see you as a potential employee. Have clear idea of what you will work on during the internship period and Don’t work for free.

P.S: I was offered an internship during my third year summer at another startup and at a Big Company (Fortune 500, Leader in their vertical). I decided to ditch the startup for the Big Company and turned out that they didn’t care much their interns. Though I enjoyed a lot during those 2 months in Bangalore, it was no where near what I learnt during the previous summer.
View Answer on Quora

Become a Programmer, Motherfucker

I came across this website recently. The name is unusual for such a website. The website has links to the websites containing the reference material. All the resources they listed are free to use. 

I simply loved their manifesto. 

Programming, Motherfucker

Do you speak it?

We are a community of motherfucking programmers who have beenhumiliated by software development methodologies for years.

We are tired of XPScrumKanbanWaterfallSoftware Craftsmanship(aka XP-Lite) and anything else getting in the way of…Programming, Motherfucker.

We are tired of being told we’re autistic idiots who need to be manipulated to work in a Forced Pair Programming chain gang without any time to be creative because none of the 10 managers on the project can do… Programming, Motherfucker.

We must destroy these methodologies that get in the way of…Programming, Motherfucker.

checkout the website –

A Student’s Guide to Startups by Paul Graham

IMO, there is no one in the startup world who puts his points across better than him. Here is an essay by Paul Graham on student startups.

PG addresses the issue of student startups. Should/shouldn’t one startup while he is in college? If so what are the pros and cons? What is the ideal age to startup?

According to PG, mid-twenties is the sweet spot for starting up.

1. Access to co-founders
2. Not much expenses
3. Stamina
4. Ignorance

1. Failure isn’t a big deal. So, hard to find motivation.
2. Building startups as if they were class projects.
a) Going after unreal problems.
b) Lack of intensity
3. Lack of work experience

So, PG answer to you if you want to startup is – No! Succeeding as a musician takes determination as well as talent, so this answer works out to be the right advice for everyone. The ones who are uncertain believe it and give up, and the ones who are sufficiently determined think “screw that, I’ll succeed anyway.” If you are the determined type, you better startup now.

So what now? Suppose you think you might start a startup at some point. One thing you can do while you’re still in school is to learn how startups work. Working for a startup give you a chance to understand how startups work. It gives you an oppurtunity to understand what works and what doesn’t. These could be the most important lessons, which might help you when you finally startup.


Startups by IITians

startups by iitians

Before a year, if anyone asked me how many IITians startup, then I probably would have said, I donno know exactly. 4-5 startups per batch? After reading a lot on blogs about startups, I came to know how wrong I was. The answer is quite a lot than I actually thought. Of course, it is compared to other Indian colleges.. etc etc. Now, I am actually wondering can I get a rough figure of number of IITians who started up? I am trying to create a log of all IIT startups I come across. So far I came across 40-50 startups by IITians. As of now, I have made a log of 30 of them. In the coming days I will update this log and hopefully I will be able to get a complete list of them.

Here is a list of startups whose founders are alumni of  IIT-Bombay between years 2005 and 2012.

Here is the Quora board which contains all those 30 startups – This list consists of startups in India. Considering the number of startups outside India, I thought it would be better to create a new board. Here is the other board containing startups outside India –

P.S: Next week I am planning to write about how many IITians are going to US these days compared to the old times.

IIT Bombay Alumni LinkedIn data analysis

Over the last 53 years (since its inception in 1958), around 39,000 engineers and scientists have graduated from IIT bombay. The general questions one would like to know are – Where do they live? Where do they work? What do they do? I doubt if there were any exact data to answer these questions before. Thankfully, now LinkedIn provides some of the data we need. I had spent some time to analyse these data and get insights into these questions. Have a look.

Around 25,000 Alumni are on LinkedIn. Seems like a decent stat to infer insights. Most of the Alumni who passed out after 2007 have not updated their profiles. So, I looked up till 2005/2007. Have a look at this.

1958 – 2007
Nearly 20,000 Alumni. I have not included the people with no dates specified. Turns out IT, Engineering, Consulting are the careers which most Alumni are pursuing. TCS, IBM, Microsoft are the companies most Alumni work for.

IIT Bombay Alumni Linkedin Data -1

1958 – 2007 is a very long time span to look at. So, here is a break up of the total time span.

1958 – 1980
Note that Entrepreneur is second most in ‘what they do’ column. Also, it seems like some of the Alumni have not updated their profile. IBM, Intel are the companies most Alumni work for.
 IIT Bombay Alumni Linkedin Data


The top comapies remain almost same. Infosys (started in 1981) rises into the top 3.

IIT Bombay Alumni Linkedin Data - 2

2000 – 2005

The number of Alumni going to US decreased after 2000. Hence we can see a decrease in the number in the ‘Where they live column’.

IIT Bombay Alumni Linkedin Data - 4

Here is the actual link to the Linkedin Page of college Alumni.

My views on digital education

This my opinion on the article  ‘Digital Music to Digital Education‘ from edtechly blog. You can also read this opinion here too.

I still remember the days I was listening to music on casette player in my home. With in a few years digitalization and my dad got a phone with music player as a gift. It completely changed the way I consumed music daily. I no longer needed to buy music. I downloaded them off internet or a friend shared his music collection on a CD. I got access to a very large collection of music. At present, we are in a stage where all our songs are synced on all our devises effortlessly.

Without a doubt websites like Coursera and Udacity will be the future of online course content. Having used Coursera for a couple of months now, I can see why Indian government is trying hard to bring a lost cost tablet to schools and colleges. With these tablets we don’t need a great or even good teachers in every school/college. Great content can be created and distributed with ease. Even in India all Indian Institutes of Technologies are trying to create content by recording videos in classrooms. Soon there won’t be shortage of textbooks/teachers in future. One will be truly experience the potential of online education once quality devices are easily accessible to masses.

Assuming the problem of availability of great content will be solved, comes the need to discuss. Discuss what we have learnt and what we are currently learning, with people who learning the same thing. Social networks would not serve the purpose as they are already filled with a lot of non-educational content. There is a lot of scope in bridging this gap. As we can already see a few startups have already started tring to solve this problem. Hope one of them succeed in doing this.

1 MIN READING: The fisherman and the businessman

Most of us have already read this popular story, but this is for those who haven’t already read it. I love the simplicity of the story. It tells you that life is about being content with what ever you have.


The Businessman and the Fisherman story:

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

My journey as a rookie programmer – part1

Well, exactly a year back I started learning programming. This post is about how far I have come now and here is how it went.

I am from a non computer sciences (Chemical Engg) background and did just one course on C++ in my first year of college which I didn’t take seriously. The web always fascinated me. I could never understand how a piece of code could change everything that I am looking. I Didn’t have a clue what a programming language is. I completed my second year of college without much interest in the subjects I am reading. I always felt that programming is tough and never looked up what it actually is. My interest to understand how things work propelled me to understand what is web and how it is works.

I started off with HTML and CSS. I read those tutorials from W3schools. Learning HTML was a great experience. I mean it. I had a mentor who was helping with any difficulties I faced. It took around a week to learn basics of HTML and CSS. After a week I was able to basic websites! Well, that was the easiest part. Then I moved onto Javascript and tried to learn mootools framework without trying to get a good grip on Javascript. I looked at some websites and tried to understand how they wrote their website code. I just read it through and didn’t practice any tough Javascript examples and never tried to build something from scratch. So, I pretty much forgot what I picked up in a couple of months.

My Startup Weekend, Mumbai experience

I was super excited when I read about startup weekend for the first time. I loved the whole concept, but didn’t know such events even happened in India. After going through some blogs I came to know that it was happening for the first time in Mumbai. Bigrock was sponsoring the event and was being held at Directiplex. The ticket was priced at 3,400rs for either Developer/Deisgner/Business people! Earlybird discount is 10% and a few tickets are sponsored based on the write up you send them. The student ticket costs 1000rs. I was a little skeptical about spending 1000rs on a weekend event which I didn’t know much about. I saw a few videos of Startup weekend, bangalore on youtube and finally decided to attend the event. I was super excited when I finally bought a student ticket which cost me 1000rs! And btw I was attending my first startup event…
     The SW doesn’t consist of 54 hours of startup experience as portrayed by them. Infact the 54hours are spread over 3 days, from friday night to sunday night. I wasn’t very good at design/coding as such but had a little experience using photoshop and had used it for a year. So, I decided to participate as an UI/UX guy. The event started around 7pm on friday with pitches from participants. Each particpant was given 1min to pitch their idea before the other participants. I decided to skip my pitch as I haven’t planned it before.  Around 60 people were present on that day and out of them 20 pitched their ideas. Few of the pitches were interesting.
The first 6 hours of SWMUM


Each participant has 5 votes to choose the ideas he liked and based on the overall voting top 7-8 ideas we selected. Each participant could join any team they like, but the number must not exceed 7-8 people.  I joined a team of 2 coders, 3 Business guys and the idea was about a daily deal aggregator. The day ending with each of us getting to know each other.
Day1. Saturday 
Did I mentioned that 1000rs was including the fooding for the 3days? Well, the food was sponsored and was pretty good! My team reached at around 10am and we started thinking how should be go about the idea. Initially, we decided to make a facebook/web app. Upon our interaction with mentors (part of SW) our idea went thorough a complete change over. After brainstorming for 3hrs   we decided to stick with the facebook app idea. The whole brainstorming was a great learning experience. The 2 coders started their part and my part was to make the UI and logo for the web app. The b__ in the evening made a survey for the idea validation.
I made the logo and everyone loved it! It was the second time I was making one and without much hazzle :) One of my teammates made a launch page using launchrock and got a few people registered for the website. The day ended with all of us exhausted and we thought we will be able to launch a basic version by the next day.
Ossum logo
Day2. Sunday
Just like the previous we got together around 10am and tried to complete a basic version. I completed the UI design in photoshop looking at a few other websites. Then interacted with a couple of mentors. By lunch time It was almost clear was we won’t be able to make the basic version for presentation. So we decided to let go of the coding part and started working on the presentation part. The presentation didn’t require a working model, so we decided to show them the UI and logo and pitch it. The Bus__ made the presentation and the coder gave the presentation.
               The presentations started by 5pm and everyone was given 5min to pitch it infront of the VCs. The presentations were decent. Few teams had a working website and videos in their presentations. The results were announced just 10min after the presentations. We came 2nd!! The winners were given Bigrock 1 year hosting and .in domain free coupons. We got an opportunity to talk to the VCs in person about taking this idea further. The day ended with some of us and team members heading to a restaurant where we had a couple of drinks.
Team OSSUM – 2nd at SWMUM!
That concludes my SW experience. Well, I think the whole point of startup events is not make some startups out of it, but rather meeting people with different backgrounds enthusiastic about startups. It was a great experience for me personally and got to meet some awesome people and interact as a team. It was money well spent.

Across the Universe

Here is a scene from the movie Across the universe which makes me ponder every time I think about it…

At the dinner table –

Max’s Father: Goddammit, Max! Get serious, for once! What are you going to DO with your life?

Max: Why is it always what will I do? “What will he do”, “What will he do,” “Oh, my god what will he do”, Do, do, do, do, do. Why isn’t the issue here who I am?

Uncle Teddy: Because, Maxwell, what you do defines who you are.

Max: No, Uncle Teddy. Who you are defines what you do. Right Jude?

Jude: [awkward] … Well, surely it’s not what you do, but the, uh… the way that you do it.

I wonder what is it?

What you do defines who you are or

Who you are defines what you do or

It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it

The High-Performance Entrepreneur: Awesome read!

I recently completed this book. It was an awesome read! In this book Subroto Bagachi describes the ‘Golden Rules For Success In Today’s World’.  This is certainly one of the best I have read on entrepreneurship. The Bagachi explains what it takes to build a world class company from his experiences while building Mind Tree.

I really loved the part where he explains how to decide when one is ready to launch an enterprise , selecting a team, values of the company. He talks about the values on which great companies are built. This book is a must read for all those who dream of building a great company someday.

After reading this book, I am very eager to get my hands on his other books, ‘Go kiss the world’ and ‘The Professional’.

Code Year – Learn to code

I just completed the first week assignment of Code Year! It was pretty simple and took around a couple of hours to complete. According to the website around 335,000 people registered for the weekly lessons! Amazing isn’t it? The first chapter was Getting started with programming was very easy. The tutorial starts with having to print your name using a variable. Making a small game called FizzBuzz was part of this week’s lesson. Easy for a beginner too.

Code Year is an initiative by Codecademy, which has interactive coding tutorials. Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code. It’s interactive, fun, and you can do it with your friends. The badges are always cool. At present they have coding tutorials only on Javascript, but I think other tutorials will be out soon. I think interactive way is the best way of learning something on web. Its very easy to move from step to step.

Do check it out even if you are not a programmer and just want to learn some basics.

code year