The Fringe: Live on the Edge
This is where you have no limits. This is the part of TGP 2016 where you can truly be what you want to be and express yourself about anything. This is where the rebels and nonconformists gather and talk about anything and everything.
Fringe/Geekery is the track which hosts the content that doesn’t fit anywhere else. If your talk is the square peg and the other tracks are round, come to Fringe and find your place - we’ll talk about anything that you’re passionate about and want to tell us about. The zanier and more offbeat the better - we don’t have guidelines for Fringe, because there aren’t any - there is no content limitation and no restriction - come and tell us about your passion (except for the overall restrictions placed on politics and religion).
In particular, the geekery aspect of this track is unique: While modern civilisation may exist purely due to technology and the inventions of the gifted geeks among us, there are few platforms where geeks get to communicate and discuss their vision of what can be, and what must be.
This year, we hope to touch upon forward-looking sessions, participate in sessions that bridge the gap between where we are today and the fantastic future that geekdom is envisioning and creating: Renewable energy and the end of the oil economy, Elon Musk, Artificial Intelligence and interplanetary diaspora, and perhaps the end of electronic privacy as a concept.
Proposals with a flavor of futurism, rather than a rehashing of the present, are especially welcome for this track. Promote geekdom, adopt a babygeek today!
Practical Lessons from the Gita for modern life: Entrepreneurship, Relationships, Social Media
Modern life is quite different from the world our parents grew up in; and a lot of what we do in our lives and careers has no parallels in what they did. So it appears that we’re on our own as far as navigating this new world is concerned. I take timeless advice from the Gita and show how, with appropriate mappings to modern concepts, the advice is surprisingly effective. And I show how it parallels advice from gurus like Paul Graham, Marc Andreessen, and Scott Adams. This is not about ancient-India-was-great, but practical, useful tips to bring order to the chaos of the internet-enabled life.
While we’ve all grown up hearing quotes from the Gita (including Karmanye vaadhikaraste), I found that applications of those to daily life were not common. Some years ago, I decided to seriously read the Gita and then see what parts of it could actually be applied to modern life, and whether any of it appeals to my (modern/western/atheistic) sensibilities.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that if you’re just paying attention, there is a lot of actionable advice in there. It applies to common situations you regularly run into as an entrepreneur; as someone active on social media; as someone who has to maintain professional relationships with all kinds of people. I’ve also noticed that some of the advice initially goes against my instincts, but makes a lot of sense if I’m able to step back and analyse it in terms of the long-term, instead of the short term.
In the talk, I’ll pick out selected passages from the Gita (there’s a lot I rejected as not being relevant to this talk, and to my sensibilities as a materialistic atheist). For each one of those, I will give examples of situations from entrepreneurship, or professional/family relationships, or even simply social media management. The Gita’s wisdom is a useful framework to evaluate alternative courses of action. In some cases, there will also be examples of advice from Graham/Andreessen/Adams that is roughly equivalent.
An open mind, tolerance, a willingness to ask questions, and a willingness to share. The focus is not on dissecting the Gita, or debate historical accuracies, but rather to extract actionable insights that we can take home.
I am currently a co-founder and CTO at ReliScore, a startup focused on helping companies filter job candidates based on evaluation of actual job-related skills. I am also one of the creators of PuneTech.com, a portal for the tech community in Pune, India, and PuneConnect.com, one of the largest start-up showcases in Pune. In the past I’ve worked for large companies, and small; worked in India and in the US; experienced a successful exit and a dotcom failure; been involved with product development and also research labs; written consumer and enterprise software; and been a developer, an architect, and a manager (but hated it). I’ve been a top writer on Quora for 2 years in a row before I gave up Quora.
I have a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Wisconsin, USA, a B.Tech. in Computer Sciences from IIT-Bombay before that; I have 19 patents in the US, 2 in Europe, and 1 in Japan; but for some reason, people are most impressed by the fact that I had a JEE rank of 14 28 years ago.