Lot Of Excitement In LDRP Students For Open Source Technologies – Drupal, Ruby On Rails And Zencart

Our office got a call from student division of LDRP, Gandhinagar last week – a relatively new engineering college inviting us to present in Drupal, Rails and Open Source technologies in general. I had never heard of this college earlier and didn’t pay serious attention to this request.

Few days later, I got a call on my cell from the same Student wing asking me for my time. They showed a lot of enthusiasm in Open Source technologies and their research showed that Gloscon was imparting free education, information to students in Gujarat in Open Source technologies. I couldn’t refuse. In next 1 hour, they drove from Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad and we had a discussion for about 1 hour.

I assured them that I will arrange a team of speakers from my company to their college and also bring in external help to give them another perspective. Our strength has always lied around Drupal and Ruby on Rails. While the students were in my office, I called Rushik Shah, Alakmalak technologies and asked whether he would be willing to spare time for Students. Rushik and his company has been doing some fantastic stuff in open source and it would be a great thing for a new college like LDRP to listen to him. Rushik instantly said “Yes”. I suggested Saturday but Students had exams then and wanted us to present on Tuesday. We usually do not present on any other day except Saturdays. I said Yes. I immediately called Ujval – our Project Manager and planned for sessions and speakers. Barinder was going to cover Drupal Fundamentals and Opportunities and Smit was to present on Ruby on Rails Fundamentals and Opportunities. Rushik opted to speak on Open Source and opportunities using Zencart. I wanted to ignite a different spark in students so I chose – How to start your own outsourcing business. We commited to be there from 10:00AM till 3:00PM. College promised that they will arrange for transportation and meals for speakers.

On Tuesday, we were picked up from our office early and we reached LDRP. IT/CE department Head briefed us on college background, how they started, their vision, etc. He was almost 70 years of age and probably was surprised to see every speaker in 20’s and I can tell you that I saw in his eyes – sort of nervousness on the event.

We went in the seminar hall at 10:15. There were about 70 students from IT/CE and MCA batch waiting for us. After a brief prayer, and introduction speech, I was given the opportunity to speak first. I wanted it to be interactive session so I asked “Do you want a deep tech session or a business session”. The response was “Deep tech” session. I had to step down even before I could begin because I was not expected to speak tech. Rushik took over and enlightened everyone with a great 40 minute presentation. LDRP faculty members also attended this session and this set the stage for other two sessions.

Barinder Singh was next. He briefed the students on Drupal Terminology, Features, Capabilities, Ref Sites and work that Gloscon does in Drupal while Smit Shah did the same for Ruby on Rails.

And then it was my turn. Contrary to others, I did not carry PPT slides. It was my bad. I still wanted to ignite the spark of entrepreneurship. I started with a question – “Suppose there are 3 companies that come to your college right now for recruitment a) Infosys with package of Rs. 4 Lakhs pa b) an established small outsourcing firm with package of Rs. 1 lakh pa and c) An individual with an idea and looking to build initial team with pay of Rs. 50,000 pa plus equity – Who would you go for?” – I was surprised to see that majority of them chose c). This never happened in my earlier sessions. I realized that this college students were different. I was excited and then I gave them some food for thought which they will remember for the rest of their lives.When I finished my 40 min session, there was huge applause. My session was not technical but it did ignite their minds on how to start and grow a business. Students took my business cards. Faculty apologized that they did not expect that we will be able to do justice to this and they did not feel like this when we reached the college but they really appreciated what we delivered. We also agreed that I will come again to LDRP and take week long session on Entrepreneurship.

Few students, faculty and my team with Rushik went for lunch. We had informal conversation during lunch on various social problems and how technology can solve them. I gave some real world examples. When we were about to leave back to Ahmedabad, three students approached me and said – “We want to start a company”

I thought my time spent with students was worth it now and I rushed back to office to get drowned in my pile of emails and day to day business.

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