Breakfast Club


How vital it is for any startup ecosystem to have communities that facilitate peer learning was my biggest takeaway from my Rajeev Circle Fellowship experience. (The community gatherings at Startup Village were modelled on the lines of the Rajeev Circle meetups that happens at Asha’s residence). And a community of founders that honours a culture of open sharing and pay it forward needs to be a central pillar if we are serious about building a good tech startup ecosystem.

Community gatherings at Startup Village

Curating communities is one of the things I have engaged myself with since Startup Village days and for the most part, this is where a fair share of my efforts have been directed towards over the last 3 years . It’s been a bit more than a year now since one of the initiatives (from among a series of experiments ofcourse), Breakfast Club emerged.

I was in constant touch with few of the founders from Startup Village and have been spending time with them individually. When with few of them, (Aronin, Nikhil, Jibin etc with whom I had a near advisory relationship), the time commitments started increasing and when their facilitation needs also starting increasing in complexity, we switched to a forum model wherein we all would look to meet up once a week for an hour or two. The conversations were always open ended and there would be no fixed agenda. The best part of such a open ended and informal model is the camaraderie and the trust that also gets formed along the way between the founders — not to mention the high quality information sharing and relationship building that takes place if sustained over a relatively longer period of time.

As soon as we started this, the value of peer learning and the role of initiatives like Community Gathering in facilitating information flow dawned on me all over again. And the fact that lot of other good founders and the ecosystem as a whole could benefit from a curated forum functioning well. And that is when, teaming up with Yadukrishnan, we decided to experiment with opening up the forum for few other founders as well from within our networks.

First few months, we opened it up only a handful of founders. Found the exercise promising enough that we started opening it to more and more founders since, albeit in a very careful manner and at a slow pace. I recall that people like Sandith & Jithin were among the founders who we invited to join in during that stage. Both Sandith & Jithin have been regular attendees and ardent supporters of the model ever since.

Detailing out below our approach till date: We look to meet every Friday for an hour — start around 815am and look to wrap up by around 930am. Discussions are open ended and we still work with the model of having no fixed agenda for our meetups. Not all founders drop in on all weeks. They do every now and then and as and when their schedules permit them. On average, we find founders drop by once or twice a month. The ones who are a lot more busier building their startups and the ones who are not physically located in Cochin, we tend to see them drop in once a quarter. There are some who are yet to be able to make it — we are working on that. There are few who are yet to be brought into the forum — we are working on that as well. We are also working on figuring out how best to sustain and grow engagement. We have a WhatsApp group and we have just recently put together a mail group system also in place. We typically keep it strictly founder only, but from time to time, we have had few invited guests also join in (Saji Gopnath of KSM, Pranay Gupta of 91Springboard etc). And yes, the forum absolutely remains strictly curated — We believe the value is in the curation.

Having early morning as the meetup time was Yadu’s suggestion. He had picked up the thought from the book Startup Communities by Brad Feld. Well, I am a morning person in any case and I love breakfasts, so it was a straightforward for me to back that suggestion also. Moreover, ഈ രാത്രി കാലങ്ങളിൽ മാത്രമേ ഈ founders ഒക്കെ അനങ്ങാറുള്ളു എന്ന ദുഷ്പേരും, അല്ലെങ്കിൽ after sunset മാത്രമേ startup events ആകാവൂ എന്ന തെറ്റിദ്ധാരണയും അല്പമെങ്കിലും അങ്ങനെയെങ്കിലും മാറിക്കോട്ടെ അതുവഴി എന്നും കരുതി .

And as on date, this curated Mallu Founder Collective which we decided to name Breakfast Club (on suggestion from Aby James — he loves the movie by that name evidently) is at 44 founders. Will continue to discover and curate more founders and will continue to evolve the platform as we go along. Those who wish to know more can reach out to me or Yadu — or to any one of the founders mentioned in the list above

Why I decided to delete my bottr bot

3 reasons. Listed below in the increasing order of importance

  1. It was getting slower. Bot responses were increasingly taking longer and longer and the relevance of the responses also starting suffering. Having said that, this was the least of my concerns and wouldn’t have prompted me to move quickly with my delete decision
  2. I wasn’t knowing who was asking what. There was no way for me to know who was asking what and this severely impacts my ability to understand my audience and engage them better. As I keep repeating, context is everything and one should always be designing for maximising learning
  3. While point number 2 was a major concern in itself, the death knell was when the ugly side that anonymity enables started surfacing. I soon found myself spending most of my time and / or attention dealing with the kind of questions and engaging in writing responses which should not even have made it to my attention in the first place. And bottr didn’t seem to offer any tools to bring sanity to this behaviour or blacklist account that display errant behaviour. Tools should help us work better so that we can be more productive and focus on the things I really want to — this bottr implementation clearly failed this test.

And hence I’m back to good old twitter & emails — Best way to reach me. Those who wish to engage me can write to me on email. I can agree that anonymity has its value in certain contexts. I don’t agree that this is such a context and hence my decision to engage with people who can identify themselves and bring their opinions forward stands (To provide better context, I’m someone who has gone ahead and switched off comments and analytics on my personal website). However much contradictory these opinions may be, while I may not agree with them, I will give it the respect and the attention it deserves. And yes, we can always agree to disagree — that’s a sign of a mature conversation, while anonymous trolling is clearly not.


Notes:

  • Questions either started turning personal in nature — age, relationship status, sexual orientation (are you gay) etc or starting becoming random inane ones and / or lacking sufficient context.
  • It was far worse in the case of my colleague Arya Murali (do you have a boyfriend, how much do you charge, so basically a slut were few a just so that you have context) who also proceeded to promptly delete her bot.
  • While bottr did not provide a direct option to delete, they did mention in their FAQ that we only need to write to them if we wish to have our bot deleted. We did write to them and yes, they were fairly prompt to delete them as well.

Update:

The founder of bottr had reached out requesting for feedback. This is a good gesture on their part and in the right direction. Bottr seemed a platform which showed a lot of promise and looked like that they were on to something. Just that given the context provided above, it was not even an option to just stay dormant on the platform and hence the decision to delete. I do hope they figure out this bit and come out stronger. Best wishes Abhimanyu Godara!

Patrons

Patron contributions are what we rely on to power our activities at Rethink.

Patron contributions

  1. Financial contribution of 1000 INR per month
  2. Time contribution of 1 hour a month to building out the organisation
  3. Advocacy and referral to identify 1 additional patron

100 patrons contributing 1000 INR each will see us comfortably cover our initial cost of operations. . We hope to get to this point at the earliest, hopefully this month itself — we are at 70 now.

All our financials are transparent and public — accessible from our Wiki

What we are looking to build is a patron driven model — people stepping up as a way of giving back and / or paying it forward.

Roundup Update to Patrons #3

Subject: Roundup of activities

Dear Patrons,

Another month has passed and time for another semi formal roundup of activities (fairly longish one — advance warning).

General updates

— The GHCI scholarship number stands at 39 now (It was 29 when I mailed you last time). Since my last update to you, few more girls have received confirmation emails from ABI and we can even expect the number to go up by a few more in the days to come. Predictably, Arya is elated!

— The Google Venkat Panchapakesan Scholarship results are out. Our Felix from GEC Thrissur is one of the recipients. He was also one of the volunteers on this scholarship project at Rethink. You can learn more from his medium posts E-Meeting 6 VP Scholars and How I won Google Scholarship — True to our cultural ethos as outlined in our Credo, Felix has open sourced all the knowledge and information that he has gained in the process — and will continue to do so. He is visiting Silicon Vally towards end of this month and will be there for a week.

— These two outcomes (GHCI scholarships & Google VP scholarship) coming in back to back, has really helped boost morale and momentum across the board. We have been fortunate to have such outcomes in the first two focussed initiatives itself that we undertook.

— Arya is now fully leading the Opportunity Project. Presently, the focus is on the Adobe Women in Tech scholarship. From what I have been witnessing and hearing from Arya, we can expect nothing less than 100 applications to come in from Kerala (if not more).

— Soon after the Adobe scholarship effort, Arya will be taking up a focussed project of having resumes submitted to GHCI database as part of their career fare. Arya is looking to work with 1000 girls across our top 25 colleges to get their CVs done up as part of this focussed initiative. She is already making great strides in this direction. You only need take a look at what she managed to pull off in GEC Sreekrishnapuram to understand the good work that is happening on the ground — you can read her own narrative of the experience from this Medium post of hers. Suffice to say, almost all the girls that attended the event on that day (~70) have started working on their resumes and their applications for Adobe scholarship. And they will also be working with Arya to get all the other girls in their college as well to work towards these opportunities.

— We attempted an experiment. Instead of travelling to GEC Sreekrishnapuram to give a talk, I offered to do an FB Live for the audience gathered — Link to Live. Turned out to be an interesting experience and a truly scalable model once we perfect the implementation & adoption.

— Our guidance mechanism (Ask Rethink) is also showing increased adoption and traction. You can take a look at the threads in this Google group for you to get a feel of the kind of queries / facilitation requests that get to us and the kind of guidance response that we offer — Link to Google groups.

— On my personal front, I’ve successfully wrapped up my first ever course as faculty. Overall it was an intellectually stimulating experience for me and the course was also received well by the students. Course comments from students can be checked out from this Medium post. I had also attempted an open book + open laptop + open internet exam pattern for their end terms, the experience and the student response to which is captured in this Medium post.

Request for help

Should someone know anyone in the leadership team of Adobe India, would be great to get a reference or even a name. We have been trying to locate past winners of Adobe scholarship to request to do a Live with us but haven’t succeeded yet in sourcing this information. Writing to their contact us emails did not work either. And hence this call for help to our patron circle.

Some more key org updates

— I had informed last month that Yadu had joined on board full time as a team member. This engagement had to be suspended though after the initial couple of weeks itself. Owing to a series of developments in his personal life, he needs to take a break and is now busy preparing for his GRE. For now, we have decided to call off the engagement and revisit in a month or two.

— We had made a Stage 1 qualification to the N/Core program by the Nudge Foundation. Unfortunately, we did not qualify in Stage 2 — the reason provided that we did not satisfy their filter theme of poverty alleviation.

— Having said that, we have applied to Y Combinator (yes, they have started accepting non profits) and it would be fair to say that we did manage to put in a good application that reads well. Link to application draft. We should know the Stage 1 results by the 23rd. This deadline for submission was the 3rd of October and this partly explains the delay in you all receiving this update.

— We have also managed to cover good ground on our commitment to transparency. (YC also cares very deeply when it comes to financial transparency of non profits). All are financials, governance & communication is public (Link to respective information can be accessed from our Wiki homepage). My personal insistence of having this completed before I write to you was another reason for the delay in this roundup update getting to you all.

— Aby has done a splendid job of organising our Wiki homepage. I loved it. The brilliance is in its simplicity — You should also check it out.

— We have started onboarding volunteers for our projects on a more active basis. Our initial cohort of approx 100 is in place and we are looking to do the first meetup of volunteers sometime next weekend. We have started seeing a trickle of people directly reaching out to us also expressing interest in volunteering.

Wrapping up, housekeeping & staying in conversation

— We will need all your PAN numbers. This is for us to prepare receipts for your financial contributions. Arya has also prepared a neat system using Google Apps Script to automate preparation and mailing of receipts — Its actually quite slick!

— We will also be initiating request for patron contributions for the month of October between today and tomorrow. Wanted to have the accounts roundup and financial transparency bit done before we did so.

— Those of who can advance the contributions for the months in this year (Till Dec), it would be great if you could consider doing so — this will help us manage cashflow better. Our expenses are in the 70k — 80k range and our patron count is only catching up still. Moreover, the inordinate delay in having our bank opened saw me advancing over 2L from my personal savings (and another 50k by Zach) to cover the costs during the first few months. Some of you have already done this by transferring 5k at one go. It’s only a request — feel free to ignore this request if its even mildly inconvenient to you.

— I will also be creating a WhatsApp group for patrons to stay better updated. Bite sized nuggets of information on a regular basis would anyday be better than attempting to convey all matters together in one single big update. I will also look to introduce all patrons to each other when I do so. Will also enable us to quickly reach out for help when needed (Like the Adobe leadership connect).

— Would be great if you could also start providing references to potential individuals who we could consider getting on board as patrons. I will look to start reaching out to them starting this month. Annie and Sandeep have already provided references. Will look to see if there could be names that others can also refer.

— I will look to catch up with you all over a call over the next couple of weeks. Will also share a deck that captures the information on how to Navigate Rethink.

Regards, SKG

Sijo Kuruvilla George

Roundup update to Patrons #1

Subject: Quick updates

At the onset, thanks for agreeing to come onboard as a patron!

Few quick updates

#1

We had got through the first round of N/Core program by Nudge Foundation. N/Core is an accelerator program for non profits. Next submission is on the 17th (day after)

Basically there was only 1 key question. The question and our response copied in this Medium link for easy reference

About N/Core program

Full application that we submitted

#2

We have started with our weekly Live talk series. First of which happened on Saturday with Praveen Sridhar (Link to Praveen’s profile on our Wiki). He was the winner of the IBM Openpower developer challenge and in his Live he talks about his program experience. You can watch the video here. Going forward, we will look to have a Live talk every Saturday at 11am. This is structured as an exposure piece. For deeper engagement, we will be looking at having an AMA layer on our Reddit

#3

Our wiki is slowly getting into shape — http://wiki.rethinkfoundation.in/Main_Page.

Primarily, we have page each for opportunities, people & projects

Arya is eagerly working away on this, with ample support being extended by Aby

#4

Our Reddit board is also showing early signs of activity. This serves as a repository of all information discovered by our community

#5

Started working on our website too. Its a work in progress and what we have now is very rudimentary

The patron page will be up in a couple of days — waiting to have all pics mailed in

#6

Zach has quickly put together a very simple and nice app for us. You can get it from the Platstore should you wish to check it out — Ask Rethink. PS: Do take a look at the app description and let me know what you think ;)

#7

Our bank account opening took inordinate time. Finally, we have that resolved and also got our UPI configured -rethink@icici. Yet to reflect on BHIM app — once that has been resolved, we will look to configure rethink@upi

#8

Looking to get to 100 patrons this month. At about 50 now and my priority focus will be on this itself this month.

#9

We had picked up a small space on seaport airport road — to serve as a workspace for us and for our volunteers.

Do make sure you drop by when you are in this side of town next

#10

Arya joined in about a two months back. Yadu is expected to join in a week

Thats pretty much it for now

Will keep you posted

And do keep your suggestions and comments pouring in

Regards, SKG

Sijo Kuruvilla George

Roundup update to Patrons #2

Subject: Updates & some good news for Onam

Patrons,

Have some good news for us all on the occasion on Onam. One of the activities that we had taken up at the onset in June was an outreach engagement for GHCI student scholarship. Arya had led this piece and our objective was to get as many students from Kerala to apply. The confirmations has started going out since yesterday and as per the information with us, 29 of our girls have been offered GHCI scholarships (the number could still go up). The girls understandably are very excited. To better understand the context, nearly 15% of the total 220 scholarships that ABI gives out have been secured by the girls from our state.

Outcomes like these validate our very reason for existence and the impact it stands to create. A large segment of girls who ended up applying was not even aware of GHCI student scholarships when we started engaging with them and for a good majority of them it was also their first ever application to a program as such. In 2015, our count of GHCI scholarships was hovering around 6. As a result of interventions on our part, we have managed to get this to 20+ last year and ~30 this year. (The full list of our scholarship recipients is available on our Wiki page for GHCI). We will now look to set ourselves an ambitious target of 100 scholarships for 2018 :)

A brief note on GHCI scholarships for those who are not familiar

GHCI scholarships are offered to girl students by ABI India. This year only final year students were eligible to apply. Full scholarship covers passes to the GHCI conference along with stay and travel. Partial scholarship are also offered which only provides conference passes. GHCI is the largest technical conference in India for women professionals. It happens every year in Bangalore and is attended by over 3000 women professionals from across the country. The conference is a fantastic exposure opportunity and most of the major companies from the tech industry participates in the conference. Arya was herself a GHCI scholar last year and you can listen to some of our previous scholars narrating their GHCI experience in their respective FB Lives.

1. Anu Abraham, CET

2. Keerthana, CUSAT

3. Fausya, MEC

4. Arya, GEC Thrissur

Live talk series with previous winners was organised by Arya as part of the outreach efforts. An application walkthrough Live was also done to ensure that all our students put in a good application.

Aside of the fact the impact GHCI engagement is going to have in the developing the capabilities and altering the mindsets of our girls, by way of 30 scholarships coming our way, even at a conservative value estimate of 10k per scholarship, we have also been able to generate tangible value of above 3L. Going forward, we will look to identify several such opportunities and work towards ensuring that more and more of our students do apply and get into such programs. The list of programs that we have identified and curated so far have been populated in Wiki page for opportunities. I hope to share more and more such good news in the days and years to come

Other org updates

- Operational activities falling into place one by one

- We are at close to 50 patrons now. Looking to get it to 100 before end of this month

- Yadu has joined the team

- Steps initiated to have all accounts and related paperwork taken care of well.

- Internal auditor will be formally appointed soon and audit of finances to date to also be completed this month

- FB Lives are happening on a weekly basis: the property is getting into a good shape

- Focus for this month will be on content generation: Blog & Wiki

- I am also attaching a brief note herewith to serve as a quick overview of activities for your perusal

- And last but not the least, our patron page is up — http://rethinkfoundation.in/patrons/. Thanks to all for sharing your pics. Rest will also be updated

In terms of specific help this month, would be great to have help in developing our property of weekly FB Lives — Rethink talks. Do also make aware the respective communities that could benefit from it. For instance, the most recent Live was by Jibin on the Next Big Idea opportunity — a program for early stage startup founders. Sandeep ensured that his juniors in SCT who were pursued knew about it and also encouraged them to take advantage of it. The schedule for will be available and updated from time to time on its Wiki page — https://wiki.rethinkfoundation.in/Live_Series

Thats all for now. Let me know should you need any further information on any matter. Thoughts and suggestions also welcome. Wishing you all a happy & prosperous Onam.

Regards, SKG

Sijo Kuruvilla George

Rethink Y Combinator application

Hello sijokuruvilla,

Your Y Combinator Winter 2018 application for Rethink Foundation has been submitted for review. Though reviewers may start looking at your application right away, you can continue to edit your application until the application deadline (Oct 03, 8PM PT).

We’ve included the text of your application below.

Thanks,
YC

https://www.ycombinator.com/apply


ORGANIZATION

Organization name:

Rethink Foundation

Organization url, if any:

http://rethinkfoundation.in/

If you have a demo, what’s the url? For non-software, demo can be a video.

(Please don’t password protect it; just use an obscure url.)

[BLANK]

Describe your organization in 50 characters or less.

Civic engagement platform for youth

What will your organization do?

The organisation looks to positively impact the economic, social & political outcomes of the youth of the state. Organisation will continuously look to bring together individuals (patrons, volunteers) who have a desire and the ability to contribute to the development of the state — to leverage technology to engage them & to tap into their cognitive surplus to collectively create public goods.

The development of any state is deeply linked to how best it develops its human capital and particularly the youth. Organisation will look to engage the the youth to stay back, contribute to the development of the state, get involved in policy making and assume leadership positions. We believe that what we have in society today is a crisis of leadership and the organisation will work towards addressing that.

Voice of youth is not represented in policy and leadership. Youth has risen into an economic power, but not into the proportionate social and political influence. A case in point being that the youth constitute 33% of the state but the number of legislators that represent this audience in our 144 strong state legislature is insignificant if not non existent. We look to fix this anomaly and to democratise opportunities for civic participation.

Which category best applies to your organization?

Community

Where do you live now, and where would the organization be based after YC?

Cochin, Kerala, India

CONTACT

Email address of the founder who is filling out this application:

skg@sijokuruvilla.in

Phone number(s):

+91 8848825206

FOUNDERS

Founders

Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founders. (Follow the Video Guidelines.)

http://rethinkfoundation.in/ycombinator.html

Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together. Include urls if possible.

NA

How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?

NA

PROGRESS

How far along are you?

Early validation. We are at the phase of doing things that don’t scale. We have manually recruited our first set of patrons (~100) and volunteers (~200). We also have few of our projects running — the Opportunity project, the Alumni project & the ENT101 project.

The Opportunity project (https://wiki.rethinkfoundation.in/Opportunities) is where our priority focus is now. The project impact spans the students of the top 25 engineering colleges in the state (~40,000 students). To cite an instance of the validation of our approach and our frameworks, our 33 students now constitute 15% of the scholarships offered by GHCI this year — two years back in 2015, this number of students from Kerala who were awarded GHCI scholarship was 6. One of our students being awarded the Google Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship is also a validation of the frameworks & the methodology that we adopt.

I am also methodically building out the team. I have my initial team of 3 core members in place. We also have a functional office space of about 1000 square feet.

How long have each of you been working on this? Have you been part-time or full-time? Please explain.

I have been working on this in my individual capacity and on a full-time basis for 3 years now — ever since I moved out of my Startup Village role. The underlying philosophies and principles formed during my years at Startup Village (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_Village) which then got refined over the course of years post that. The organisation was only officially registered a few months back on the 25th of April, 2017.

Which of the following best describes your progress?

Public Beta

How many active users or customers do you have? If you have some particularly valuable customers, who are they?

Our active users are our initial set of patrons, volunteers and the audience that we work with in the top 25 engineering colleges of the state. Among these, the particularly valuable customers are the students that have already been recipients of scholarships (34) as a direct result of our engagements with them.

Do you have revenue?

Yes

What was your revenue in the last full calendar month?

(Please use USD. If none, enter ‘0’)

869

Your revenue 2 months ago?

625

Your revenue 3 months ago?

0

Your revenue 4 months ago?

0

Your revenue 5 months ago?

0

Your revenue 6 months ago?

[BLANK]

Do you generate direct program revenue or does it comes from donors? If both, what’s the split?

We don’t generate direct program revenue. All revenue comes from donors. All donors are our patrons.

How much money do you spend per month?

1000

How much money does your company have in the bank now?

800

How long is your runway?

(e.g. 5 months)

Practically 15 months — till end of 2018. Theoretically — infinite & self-perpetuating.

If you’ve applied previously with the same idea, how much progress have you made since the last time you applied? Anything change?

NA

If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, “accelerator” or “pre-accelerator” program, please tell us about it.

No

IDEA

Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know this is going to work?

During my tenure at Startup Village I realized the kind of impact it really made. A lot of my deep sense of conviction comes from then. From humble beginnings we got to a point where we shaped the policies of the state. In a state where people were considering whether entrepreneurship will be accepted, we brought about a cultural shift in the way people looked at the concept to the point of where the government made a commitment of 100M$ to develop the sector and we actively handcrafted and played the role in bringing into life the entire thing.

My domain expertise is a function of my body of work and my deep relations that I enjoy with stakeholders across the spectrum and the unfair advantage I bring to the table.

I know this is going to work because I have experienced firsthand how much just exposure, information and a supportive community went on to create the disproportionate impact. We have early validation also based on the activities we have undertaken — we have been able to capture the imagination of the audience that we work with and strike a resonance with them. And even if I didn’t know this for sure, if this is all it takes to bring about a cultural change in our society, I don’t see any reason why it should not be pursued.

What’s new about what you plan to do?

How we are leveraging technology (internet, mobile) as a way to power our execution is what is new about what we plan to do. We are actively embracing technology in everything that we do and making it as the central fulcrum of how we are going about building our organisation.

Technology has matured to a stage where it allows society to operate in a participatory democracy model and the youth are the forefront of the adoption of technology. We are looking to bring about a paradigm shift in perspective by getting the youth to actively engage in policy, governance and civic leadership leveraging technology. We believe then that this engaged and committed youth, will provide leadership to the state to move into the 21st century and embrace fully the opportunities & the possibilities that it offers.

FORMATION

Have you incorporated, or formed any legal entity (like an LLC) yet?

Yes

What kind of entity and in what state or country was the entity formed?

(e.g. Delaware C Corp)

Section 8 company (Non profit), Kerala, India

If you’re already incorporated, when were you? If you’ve had funding, how much and from whom?

Date of incorporation: April 25th 2017.
Total funding of 1500 USD till date
Rest of the expenses till date have been met through my personal savings

Financial transparency — https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1barB5RY07UUiwgGz6wJgl0uJHgHLWCiCENZsQuDPJ38/edit?ts=59d3b4df#gid=0

Have you obtained your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status yet?

No

Please provide any other relevant information about the structure or formation of the company.

We will soon be filing 12A and 80G which will accord our organization with the tax exemption status.

OTHERS

If you had any other ideas you considered applying with, please list them. One may be something we’ve been waiting for.

No

Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.

(The answer need not be related to your project.)

I was equally proud and appalled at the extent and the ease with which we got policies of the State. It was surprising or amusing that someone like me, who didn’t even understand that I was working on policy back then, could actually influence so much when it came to Government policy (or someone like me should not have been able to influence policy so easily rather). While it reminded me of the Steve Jobs message that the thing that we have around us called life was built by people no smarter than us, I was appalled to see the incompetence and callousness of the have been entrusted with drafting policies & safeguarding our interests.

CURIOUS

What convinced you to apply to Y Combinator?

It was a fairly straight forward decision which didn’t require any convincing. Y Combinator is an organisation I have been following for quite sometime now. I have also seen the way the organisation has shaped up and the underpinning philosophies and principles. Things like Y Combinator’s deep interest in democracy and transparency are particularly the ones that deeply resonates with me.

With Startup Village, my interest in figuring out the non profit sector grew and further deepened during my IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program) of Department of State, USA. The theme of the IVLP cohort that I was part of was “Influential voices: getting youth involved in policy”. It is somewhere around the same time that I started noticing YC also developing an interest in the non profits. Furthermore, the kind of organisations that YC has backed as part of the non profit program are some of the organisations that I have been either looking up to and / or have been looking to emulate (ACLU, DemocracyOS etc).

How did you hear about Y Combinator?

Word of mouth

Feel free to mute me on Twitter


Let me clarify how I approach Twitter — that should help understand the context of this post better. I make use of Twitter in the following three ways

  1. As my public email
  2. As my thoughts scribbler — micro blogging, taking notes etc
  3. Getting the good work of people in our circle — through Retweets

In summary, I’m primarily looking to make use of a Twitter as a tool to converse with myself and people in my circles (and not to the world out there)

Given the context, I also do not intend to follow any handles. So if you wish to bring anything to my attention, you will need to tag me.

Also, wish to have each & everyone from our circle to collectively join in on #3

It’s only recently I made a full switch to Twitter. Granted, I took me a look of time to get a sense of the platform and how make it work for me.

PS: I’ve gotten out of FB messaging completely & almost completely out of LinkedIn messaging as well. With Twitter approach working out well, I’ll also be exploring getting out of email.

Good thing being, given its public nature, Twitter feed is also searchable.


Sharing examples of all 3 approaches from my tweets as reference


Public email — Use case #1: Guidance

Public email — Use case #2: Connects

Thoughts — Use case #2: Micro blogging

Thoughts - Use case #2: Note taking

Doing my bit — Use case #1: Congrats (Exhibit A)

Doing my bit — Use case #1: Congrats (Exhibit B)

Doing my bit — Use case #2: Appreciating good work

Doing my bit — Use case #3: Lend a helping hand


Facilitating guidance over emails

As part of the WeTech Qualcomm scholarship application facilitation, guidance was extended remotely to all students who had expressed interest in working towards putting in a good application. One of the central mechanisms of how we navigated this was by sending daily mails (the other being Slack chats). The document embedded below captures all the mails that were sent out.

Facilitation mail for sWeTech Qualcomm Scholarship application

The whole exercise was one fascinating experiment and a rewarding one that too. And it so happened that yesterday that these emails came up when Karthika Baiju brought it up in one of the conversations with Arya Murali in relation to a similar facilitation engagement they are now working on for Adobe Scholarship.

Karthika has now taken it upon herself to send daily emails on similar lines to all students from her college that are interested in working towards this Adobe Scholarship. She is also sharing the content of these emails on her Medium so that it may be available for any other student out there who wishes to benefit from it.