Events Landscape 2.0

About four months ago, most of the core volunteers that had built NASSCOM Product Conclave into a successful event gracefully handed over the keys for NPC’13 to a new team. Thereafter, in an effort to address the remaining gaps in the product ecosystem, multiple initiatives were born. Playbook Round Tables was one of them which has been immensely successful right from the word go. They have already brought unmatched experiential and peer learning to 120+ product startups.

Playbook Round Tables are an example of small, highly-curated, nation-wide events that are hyper focused on specific real-world problems most product startups face. Back in 2009, and I know it’s hard to picture this now, NPC was reimagined just along these lines. We saw it as the specialized version of the mega event of those times – the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit. In fact, we kept the format as-is and just populated it with very product-centric and highly curated content. This clicked and NPC went on to become the mega event that it is today.

Now, the wheels are turning again and further specialization is happening in the ecosystem.

UnPluggdDEMO, etc. have become places where early stage angel and VC investors get together to hear curated entrepreneurial pitches. This category came to life when the self-help volunteer community created

Now the same powerful energy is at work in building another specialized event. This will bring many global CIOs in front of dozens of curated startups. Watch out for more about this important event in the coming months!

There is another fundamental shift afoot not just here, but all over the world.

Community powered learning is becoming the new norm. This trend has been in the works in our ecosystem for years. A wonderful example of this is The Fifth Elephant, a three-day workshop and conference on big data, storage and analytics, with product demos and hacker corners.

Early next week an important new community powered learning event will be launched. This will take the Playbook Round Tables to their logical conclusion. It will be a 2-day “learning orgy” (yes, that is an acceptable phrase now!) for practicing product entrepreneurs where they’ll fluidly exchange knowledge about playbooks. It’ll be a transformative experience. To maintain high quality of peer learning, it’ll be invite only! Somebody who is already attending will need to pull you in.

Defying economic gloom, Indian Product entrepreneurs are gaining confidence.

They are now reaching out to eclectic groups beyond their immediate ecosystem in The Goa Project. They are taking a bit of Bangalore to other countries with Startup Festivals. The self-help volunteer community is on a roll. In the next few months, you will see the event game go up one more notch.

We are now creating open-source based “public goods” that small buyers (e.g. jewelers, tier 2 manufacturers, etc.) can use to drive their own learning programs. The initial pilots have gone very well. And these are leading to some powerful partnerships with trade associations. So, together with our new partners we are planning to rapidly grow the pool of informed software product buyers. We are talking about delivering our “Be an Informed Software Product Buyer” sessions to, not thousands, but hundreds of thousand small businesses in India.

There is lots of new stuff on its way.

Step by step, we are fixing critical product ecosystem gaps on our own using the pay-forward model. We, the self-help volunteer team, won’t rest till India becomes a Product Nation!

[Thanks to ThiyagaRajan, Avinash Raghava, Bala Parthasarthy, Pallav Nadhani, Sridhar Ranganathan, Vijay Anand and Kiran Jonnalagadda for reading drafts of this and suggesting improvements.]