Product Camp brings hot product topics to the fore

Product camp is a unique event format where attendees get to drive the agenda. It is borne out of the bar-camp or un-conference movement that started in US and spread to other countries across the world a decade back. Traditional conferences do not allow attendees to provide inputs to the agenda. P-Camp gives them a direct opportunity to create the agenda, choose the topics and the speakers.  Product camps have spread in popularity across the world.

The next P-Camp, hosted by eBay/PayPal and supported by ecosystem partners iSPIRT, NASSCOM and OCC is on Sunday September 7th 2014, starting 9:30 am. Anyone can register for FREE.

This is the third product camp happening in Bangalore, organized by IPMA, and only the fourth in India. Here is a peek into the agenda that is still shaping up on with top 4 voted topics.

Product Camp

These are the issues that the community is grappling with and would like to learn more from others who are doing it really well.

This Product Camp is seeing a total of 23 topics proposed by the community. 23 is a healthy number and the highest we have seen so far.  However, due to limited time only the top 9 will be chosen. The P-Camp organizers including the team at eBay/PayPal have pulled out all stops to ensure a smooth and fun day that includes lunch and beverages for hundreds of eager campers, surprise goodies and office spaces for break out sessions.

Attendees also get to meet and hear from Ravi Gururaj (NPC Chair) Ram Narayanan (GM eBay/PayPal) and Piyush Shah (VP of Products, inMobi) as well.

So, this Sunday, forget the malls and TV and the couch. Instead, camp out with your product guys and gals at the eBay office in Bangalore.


Aadhaar and the 7 principles of Product Management

Sanjay Jain, Entrepreneur in Residence, Khosla Labs spoke at the IPMA 2nd annual event. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is an agency responsible for implementing the AADHAAR scheme, a unique identification project. It was established in February 2009, with an aim to provide a unique identification number to all Indians, by eliminating duplicate and fake identities. Biometrics features are selected to be the primary mechanism for ensuring uniqueness.

The primary reason for the UID project was to establish the bona fide identity of a person. Lack of an identity proof often excludes people from many facilities and formal systems in society such as opening a bank account or access to public distribution system (PDS).  In most cases the rural poor find it difficult to even produce birth records to prove their identity even to claim their (legitimate) privileges.

Sanjay Jain who spoke at the IPMA second annual event which was held on the 8th of December, was the chief product manager for this project.  He spoke about 7 principles of Product Management and mapped it to Aadhaar, the ambitious Government Project.

Below is an excerpt from the presentation where Sanjay Jain took the 7 Principles of Product Management elucidated by Deep Nishar (at the NASSCOM Product Conclave earlier this year) and looked at Aadhaar through that lens:

The 7 Principles of Product bliss:

  1. Know thy User
  2. Simplicity is a feature
  3. Embrace Constraints
  4. Data is your guide
  5. Innovation is not instant
  6. Adapt
  7. Manifest Destiny

Know thy user: Aadhaar has a process called ‘Know Your Resident’ which is about proving the identity of a resident of India. So it has information like their name, finger print, gender, date of birth, where they live, who is their parents etc. which helps knowing the resident intimately through the data collected.

Simplicity is a Feature:  What could be simpler than one person – one Aadhaar Id. The principle that Biometrics doesn’t change even with time and they are unique to a person is the basis for issuing Aadhaar.
The biometric of a person – impression of all the 10 fingers and the iris scan are the authentication or the proof of identity. There is no need for an

Aadhaar card, the 12 digit identification number and the biometric of the person are the authentication.
Embrace Constraints: There were many constraints; public funds were used so the accountability was to public as the policies and principles were sacrosanct. So a bunch of architectural principles were defined to guide the project and they were not to be violated. Some of them are:

  • To use open source technologies where ever prudent
  • The decision not to lock-in any vendor
  • Performance matrices are made public
  • Strong end-to-end security was ensured

A committee was put in place to take decisions. First data definition standards and biometric data standards were created and a broad concurrence from across the government was obtained to implement the same.

Data is your Guide: A public portal was created which gives complete visibility and transparency to anybody at any time, satisfying RTI norms.  A person who has applied for Aadhaar can check status on the UIDAI website by entering his/her 14 digit enrollment id.

The UIDAI being a part of the Central government agency works with the partners whom the state government outsources the work to; they are 3 levels away from central body, so everybody in the chain gets complete visibility to all information. So the processes are standard and details of contracts are available on the partner portal. The operators had to go through rigorous training and certification before they were activated.
Innovation is not instant: Innovation takes time. Central identity repository (CIDR) is the repository where all the identity data pertaining to Biometric subsystem, Demographic data, Business analytics, Infrastructure management, Application servers etc. resides.

The attempt is to build the world’s largest biometric database, India’s current population is 1.21 billion and the UID scheme aims to cover all the residents. No country has attempted an identification and verification system on this massive scale.

The method adopted is ‘the best fingerprint technology’, the resident provides all 10 fingerprints, 2 best finger prints are taken and the success rate is 95%.

Adapt: Competition brought in a drop in prices; for example when the project started the price of the fingerprint scanners, like the ones used in the US immigration, was 5000 USD; it came down to INR 25,000.

Manifest Destiny:
To take up a project of this magnitude needed conviction – One needs to believe one can do it, believe in success and work backwards.

Contributed by Mangal D Karnad, Tally Solutions

Be a part of the journey to Product Nirvana!

There has been a huge upstart in the number of product companies in India in the last 12 months. 700% is the estimate according to Zinnov Consulting. Most of them, as one keynote speaker at the recently held NASSCOM Product Conclave 2012 said ominously or more from experience being in the Silicon Valley, “will fail”. Why startups fail can be due to any number of reasons but the chances of succeeding is unarguably high if employees get product management right! So, what is Product Management? It is the art and science of creating the right product for the right user at the right time and in the process create a successful business! It is the functional domain which asks the questions what products do we build, who is it for, why do they need it, will they buy if we build it and how will the product work?

India Product Management Association (IPMA) is a voluntary, grassroots organization that is dedicated to helping product management as a function grow in maturity and capability all across the country. It is mostly focused on IT products for now. IPMA is organizing, in its second year after launch, the flagship annual event which brings together industry veterans to speak about various product management topics. This year’s theme, built on the confidence in the growth of product companies is, Journey to Product Nirvana! Journey to Product Nirvana takes the attendees from dissecting the nuances of product management across platforms and products to highlighting successes to sharing advice on specific challenges!

All this in a few hours with networking over lunch on Saturday December 8, at Microsoft office on Lavelle Road, Bangalore. The highlight of the event is the keynote by Ram Narayanan, a product management veteran on “Building customer centric product strategy”, a craft, very few get it right! The event also features Mukund Mohan, Pallav Nadhani, Pinkesh Shah, Saran Chatterjee, Sanjay Jain, Sarit Arora, Dhimant Parekh etc on panels.

IPMA has chapters in Bangalore, Pune and one more coming up in New Delhi soon. Visit for details or better yet register for this annual event before the limited seating runs out:

The event is sponsored by Confianzys and Tally Solutions and hosted by Microsoft.