Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

Chennai Facebook Developer Garage

The first Facebook Developer Garage in Chennai takes place today (March 15th) at 2PM. Its a community event in an unconference mode where we get a chance to explore, get gritty, tinker, experiment, and test out ideas for Facebook Platform. The idea is to get our hands dirty, and explore fresh ideas and solutions.

The event is not just for hardcore techies but also for business folks who would like to know how to leverage social networks effectively. Social Networks can be potent tools for building online communities, PR, brand building, talent scouting & recruitment amongst others.

Thomas Jestin, who is the winner of the Facebook App Contest will be demoing his app. Philip Urech, a Swiss national, will present his experience on how United Nations used Facebook and social networks in their Nuclear Disarmament campaign.

Photon has been kind enough to offer their office space as the venue. Here’s the address.

Photon Infotech
No. 2/102, Photon Towers,
Old Mahabalipuram Road, Karapakkam,
Chennai.

Here’s the direction to the venue.

For more information on directions and venue, please call Vasanth at 98409 59948 or me at 98415 97744.

Here are the other logos that we designed for the Garage.


The Epicurean Encore

I vividly remember the first meeting with Jigyasa Giri & Pratibha Jain. It was a couple of years ago when they had invited me home for a wonderful spread of absolutely yummy home-cooked meal. The recipe for each of the food item was taken from their best selling, award winning book, ‘Cooking at Home with Pedatha’. The book went on to win the prestigious ‘Gourmand’ Award for the ‘The Best Vegetarian Book in the World’ in 2006.

The success of their first book encouraged them to publish their second book titled ‘Sukham Ayu’, a carefully researched book which is the quintessence of an ayuvedic diet. The book is a wonderful collection of recipes consisting of simple, vegetarian dishes with the goodness of Ayurvedic insights.

From left to right : Pratibha Jain (standing behind the podium) is a Ph.D in Languages and runs a language translation service. Jigyasa Giri (with the mic) is a Kathak dancer and choreographer. To her left is Latha Menon, documentary and adfilm maker and wife of Rajeev Menon, famed cinematographer and film maker. Next to her is Andrea Jeremiah, model, Jazz musician, singer, theatre personality and actress. Right most is me, singularly representing the male community, having been overpowered by a very eloquent, multi-talented, beautiful women.

When my turn came to speak, it was rather easy for me. I spoke from my heart. Not only was I impressed with Jigyasa’s and Pratibha’s passion for food and their ability to author books, I was quite impressed with their marketing ability. While writing a book is tough ( oh, just ask me!) , getting the book marketed is even tougher. I personally think that both of them did an outstanding work in using the Internet to get the word around.

They were also living my dream. I always wanted to document my grandmothers’ lives so that their rich experiences and fond memories can be passed on to my daughters and their kids. It always remained a wish list and when I meet someone who walked the talk, they instantly gain my respect.

The book is based on extensive research done at KARE, a health retreat in Pune. Dr.Prakash Kalmadi, Founder and Medical Director at KARE was so impressed with their first book, ‘Cooking at Home with Pedatha’, that he invited the authors to his retreat to start work on an Ayuvedic cookbook.

Just before the event was about to start at the Landmark bookstore in Nungambakkam, an old friend bumped into me. He happened to be there at the bookshop and when he learned that I was there for the book launch function, he asked me, “What’s the connection with you and cooking?”. He caught me off guard and I sheepishly replied, “Eating”!


User revolt pays off

Facebook recently kicked up a huge storm over the privacy debate when it tweaked its terms and conditions a bit. The tweak may have been small but its repercussions were so huge and Facebook had to retract the changes immediately.

So, what did Facebook do? Simple, it said it now owns anything you post on its website. It wants to have the right to use your content, including your photos, your writings, and your friends’ contact details for whatever purpose, including advertising. And it can use it forever, even if you delete your account.

Actually, it looks a lot more scary if you read the clause in legalese. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide licence (with the right to sublicence) to:

* Use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any user content you post on or in connection with the Facebook service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or enable a user to post, including by offering a Share Link on your website;

* Use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising. And that’s just one part of the clause

With so much legalese thrown at you, it’s no wonder people got nervous. Facebook eventually buckled, when it noticed the huge user uproar and mass deletions of accounts.

In this article, I’d like to take a balanced debate over the entire privacy issue. So, I asked my blog readers to voice their honest opinion on what they think of it. Anirudh certainly isn’t happy with someone else claiming ownership over his creation. He says, “If you create something, then you are the owner of it. As the creator, you have the full right to decide who to show or share it with. Facebook now is forcefully trying to take my data that I created”.

Chinamyi, a popular singer in AR Rahman’s troupe, says that it’s for precisely this reason that she will never upload and share the music she creates on sites like Facebook. I can sense the bitterness when she opines, “We are not used to intellectual property rights. We are used to being exploited, not credited, not paid for, especially in the creative field. That’s where most of the plagiarism exists”.

There are folks who understand the rationale behind Facebook’s move. Rish G says, Facebook is not wrong in claiming that it owns your content. “The terms of service are similar to those when you join a company–you sign an agreement that says anything that you create/invent/develop is proprietary to the company. You join Facebook, anything that you write or post would by default be owned by Facebook. Heck, it’s their servers. If one is worried is that whatever they write is owned by Facebook, they are free to create their websites and own what they write by adding the copyright disclaimer.”

To me, it sounded like a very valid argument. Another reader, Pratiksha wants people to ‘chill’ and not over react. She points out that the Facebook clause does not say it owns your data and it only says it wants to use your data. In other words, it’s like you are granting Facebook a non-exclusive licence and as the creator, you can still use the data however you want.

Anuradha points out that the fundamental problem crops up when we don’t bother to read the terms and conditions. She asks, “How many of us read the T&C before agreeing to install software or open a mail/blog/file sharing account?” The answer, sadly, is almost none. And I’m not surprised why. Why would anyone want to read 16 pages of long, verbose legal speak which is written not to be understood.

Kausik warns that there might be more serious terms tucked in between the swarm of legal speak. Ram thinks that the entire issue is overblown and a big media hype. A few others, who are indifferent to the entire brouhaha, wonder what’s there to make a fuss. They argue that we all created a bigger ruckus on privacy when GMail started placing contextual ads in our email messages. But we still continue to use GMail and the world continues to revolve around the sun.

Move on, is the message. On his part, Mark Zukerberg defended the site’s action of keeping the content even if the guy deletes the account by drawing the email analogy. He says, “When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person’s sent messages box and the other in the friend’s inbox. Even if the person deactivates his/her account, the friend still has a copy of that message.”

Partiban says that keeping messages are fine but he completely disagrees when it comes to photos and blog posts. He says, “Photos and posts are not sent to friends. They are published in my account and I should have the right to delete them permanently if I want to.”

Shrav, an engineering student, issues a warning that should Facebook implement the new law, he will move away from Facebook as will thousands of others. But it doesn’t look like Facebook is in any hurry!

Source- http://www.financialexpress.com/news/user-revolt-pays-off/428028/0


Writing for The Financial Express on Facebook. What’s Your View?

The Financial Times has requested me to write a balanced story on the whole Facebook privacy issue.  What’s the issue?   Facebook claims that whatever your write is theirs.
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute any User Content you post.

I’d like to get your view on what you think of this.  Are you feeling insecure with what Facebook can do with your content?  Is it right for Facebook to own what is rightfully yours?  Or are we unnecessarily crying foul considering that most of the sites anyways has the same clause from the beginning? Maybe its just media hype to fill the space and air time?
Whatever your views are, however strong and critical they may be, do send them to me. If you are OK with it, I may use your opinion in the article. Please make sure to type in your full name and your designation. On the contrary if you don’t want to get printed, please explicitly state that as well. I respect your right to privacy!

You can either leave your opinion as a comment to this post or mail it to me at Kiruba @ Kiruba.com. Thanks in advance.


My Speaking Schedule : Walking My Talk

One of my goals for 2009 is to get better at public speaking. While many say that they have enjoyed my talks, deep inside me, I know I could’ve done much better. Way better.   My heart always cringes when I miss an opportunity to deliver a knock-out performance (and not just a good performance).  I think there’s a sea of difference between a good performance and a Knock-out performance.  My ex-boss calls it “hitting the ball out of the park”.  �

Unfortunately, a knock-out performance also requires an extraordinary effort. Quite honestly, I’ve never been the sort of guy to prepare for a talk weeks in advance. It’s always been a slog-over effort. While that’s sufficient for a ‘good performance’, its just is never good enough to hit that sixer.
Over the next few weeks and months,  I’ll be putting on an honest effort to correct myself, imbibe the qualities that I’ve admired in other speakers and to do justice to the qualities that what people believe I have. I’ll document my efforts, tricks, pitfalls of my journey and hope to learn from you all.
Thankfully, I’ve had a few opportunities lined up and I *really* hope to walk my talk.  Here’s what my schedule looks like.


The Entrepreneurship Cell at IIT Bombay is organizing the annual The Entrepreneurship Summit on 7th Feb. The event hosts Eureka’08, Asia’s biggest business plan competition. I’ve been invited to be a mentor and look forward to sharing my expertise and helping the folks out.

At the same event, I’ll be the moderator for a panel discussion titled ‘What are the pitfalls to avoid before starting up’. I’ve got a kickarse panelists of successful entrepreneurs and a great audience.  Moderating panels is a bit more challenging than speaking at a panel and look forward to it.

It’s the biggest NASSCOM event with the who’s who of CXOs.  I’ve been invited as the official podcaster for the event and look forward to interacting with some of the best minds in the industry.

It’s the biggest annual PR event for PRCAI ( Public Relations Consultants Association of India) and I’m a panelist for a session titled, ‘New Media v/s Traditional Media‘.  My hands are already itching!  Can’t wait.

After a long time, there’s a session from STC Chennai taking place and I’m speaking on how Technical Writers can benefit from Social Media.  The event takes place on 21st February.

The talk should’ve happened last week if the TamilNadu govt would not have announced a blanket shut down of all colleges because of the SriLankan crisis.  I’m told my talk at the college has been pushed to next week and I’ll be speaking on ‘Making the most of the Downturn’.

The biggest SEO and SEM event in India makes a comeback after a successful show in 2007. The event is happening on Feb 28th & March 1st.  I’m co-organizing the event as part of The Knowledge Foundation and will also speak on how Social Media can help enhance your Web footprint resulting in better search results.

The 2nd Facebook Developers Garage in India will take place in Chennai. Again an event I’m helping co-organize as part of The Knowledge Foundation.  Hoping to get the development community together and share my experiences on how best to leverage the power of Facebook as a platform. The event takes place on March 15th.

I’m told that the Symbiosis students really liked my talk at the ‘FootPrints’ event in Chennai and have invited me back to their annual event called ‘Cyber Media Conclave’ taking place at their beautiful campus in Pune.  Don’t know the exact dates but I’m told its scheduled for mid-year.

The event that really captured my attention is this PR 2.0  event that will take place in Tehran, Iran. It’s organized by the Iran PR professionals and pleasantly surprised by how much interest they have in leveraging the Net as a medium.  I’ll be keynoting at this event and will be speaking on how Govt organizations can leverage the power of Social Media. The event takes place on July 9th.



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