November 19, 2011

Pissed off at unpluggd

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:14 pm by chait83

So recently been to this event startup event on startups called unpluggd. There was an element of anxiety since my startup made in the final 10 startups who would be presenting in front of Angles and VC firms.

When short-listed as a finalist I don’t expect the organisers holding a bouquet for me at the entrance, but at least I expect them to turn up before hand at the venue and provide some briefing as to how they have planned the sessions, dos and donts, etc. Well the organiser were themselves late. My queries might be stupid or obvious, but someone from the organisers need to address those.

Well things get delayed in India, that’s the way we Indians are. That’s the way our bureaucracy is, our politicians are and so is the traffic ! It is so easy to blame the whole system for that and we won’t change the way we are. Still no issues. What really pissed me off was so called Mr Ashish, one of the organisers/volunteers of the event turning cold shoulders when I introduce myself. OK I am not expecting organisers to give me red carpet treatment, but ‘Hi Chaitannya Nice to see you.. XYZ would brief you about presentation.’ would have been sufficient. Instead you just turn around ! WOW ! I had been to Nasscom Conclave and there some of these volunteers who owned more than million $$ businesses were so courteous. There was a warmth in their behavior. I was there just attending the event, not even as a speaker and in terms of revenue nobody. That didn’t matter to them, they valued all their attendees as they much as they valued their speakers.

 Next shockers was folks presenting their product had to pay as well. “We had emailed you” Stop lying ! I didn’t get any such email. I don’t mind paying, but prior notification is very essential. Just a week back I paid 1500 bucks for Nasscom conclave and there were a 1000+ startups who happily did that. Even after paying 700 bucks, you had to write your own name in their database, on your Name tag, collect your notepad , pen , etc. Good enough, but at least look into the eyes of the person and with a smile say ‘Hi, welcome … something.. something’. Very similar to movies where you see a prisoner who has to collect his stuff and move on. Reception guys at Nasscom welcomed warmly 1000+ people to the venue. Can’t you say ‘Hi’ to 100 odd people here.

 As usual the session got delayed. Next shockers was no diversity in the presentations.

Facebook + linkedin + deals + geo locations + hiring + education + SaaS → you make a bhel and VOILA ! That’s your next billion $$$ startup. I have nothing personal with these startups, you folks chase your dreams, build great organisations.  The organisers should have taken care to have startups from diverse background. I know companies in Pune, doing excellent products in Medical electronics field, DSP, embedded systems, critical electromechanical domains. Aren’t these startups ? Don’t they deserve platform to pitch their products and companies ? They are not on facebook and linkedin, you have to reach out to them through phone. If you are interested only in Social Media, why not make your agenda very clear. Why not shortlist only those startups for the event. What was a guy like me from Embedded Systems doing there ? When I presented , all I saw was blank faces. My presentation made no sense to people from non-embedded systems background. I didn’t get any traction from the event. When we organise ‘Startup Saturday’ here at Pune, Sandeep Saxena from Acton Biotech would spend hours and hours making sure we have speakers from diverse segments of the industry and motivate us to do the same. At Nasscom, the volunteers spent around a month with speakers of the likes of Vinod Khosla, Naveen Jain, Vivek Paul reviewing their presentations, making sure that there is no conflict in terms of content., timing their presentation, pushing for  creativity,etc. They put in every bit of effort to make sure, they had speakers from diverse segments and their talk delivered 100% value to the audience .

Before my presentation I had a few queries, but some Mr. Pratyaush was busy discussing best places to booze around and made me wait for ten mins.

The intention here is not to compare this event Nasscom Conclave or Startup Saturday (Far better than your event),  all I would request you is to be courteous and attentive to people who turn up for the event. It helps a lot even if you smile and say Hello when they greet you.



  1. Not at all surprised. Had one of the worst experience with Ashish Sinha from pluggdin/unpluggd during the last event. He had emailed (3 times) that shortlisted companies will get a call to know more about them. Then I saw a twit saying they are shortlisting companies right now. So I tweeted him asking what happened to call? After that he emailed me with some questions which seems to be made up on the spot after seeing my tweet. Anyways – I am always happy to answer questions, but then I was on road had already driven 450Km so I told him I cant do it right now. Afterwords I reached out to few other companies that were participating, realized this guy is just a bully who uses his media presence in all sorts of wrong ways. Decided its just better not to associate with such events and companies and people at all. Before that had scheduled a call with him, on time of call phone turned off and never replied to my email asking if he wants to reschedule.

    Having said so – these are the kind of people you will bump into all the time in India. Financial corruption in India is only because of people like these. Their tag line is we love startups and the kind of treatment they give to startups is so pathetic it makes me want to puke. Best is to just ignore them, work on your stuff. FWIW – I submitted my last startup to one of the premiere tech events in US, didnt even have product ready. They shortlisted us and 4 people from organizer made international calls to us (had unreliable broadband so couldnt do skype). Same with proto.

    • chait83 said,

      Yup best to ignore and focus on your stuff. Sadly these events would flourish in future IMO, since that’s the hot trend.

    • Rayback said,

      Ashish Sinha is a cheap guy. Last year he announced he will hand over tickets to best guest post writers before a TiE event. He wrote you have a ticket, but never sent the details!!

      Focus on building your product and presenting to people who care about innovation. Avinash Raghav from Nasscom is the best example.

  2. pragnesh said,

    i think your talk did not make people interested in initially 5 min even though it is related.

    • chait83 said,

      Were you there at the presentation. Your feedback would be very valuable. Few of my friends had reviewed the presentation and that’s what we thought would deliver clear message.

      Also only a live demo would have cleared the air and I was requesting them to present it on my laptop, but Mr. Pratyaush was more interest in booze than sincere requests from Mr. Nobody.

  3. Kapil said,

    good post and good blog

  4. Pankaj Sharma said,

    It was a huge disappointment.

    Ashish seemed a little uptight, but it could also be that he just talks a little less. Didn’t see him talking to people too often.

    Pratyush should be an engineer somewhere and should not be organizing events. It’s just not his thing.

    It seemed that the presentation time for companies had reduced, so the ones who were better prepared like JusBill or WebEngage seemed to not finish up in time.

    The WebEngate guy seemed really good initially, but he felt like a jerk after he started with his stupid question series. Whenever any of the guest speakers finished, it was interesting to see him run across the hall, so that he could be the first guy to give them his card.

    Also, it must be one of the only tech conference without WIFI. Is it really hard to get those?

    • avlesh said,

      Whoever you are, did I give you my card? I am sorry if I didn’t. BTW, I am Avlesh from WebEngage.

    • Shashi said,

      Looking at the tweets of Kiran from HasGeek days before the jsfoo conf at Bangalore, I would say YES. It IS a big pain to get wifi at some venues.

    • Pratyush said,

      Pankaj – can you qualify the disappointment? I dont see any valid points here

      ALso I DO run a startup (hence engineer and blogger) and I dont organize events. We are not a feel good startup event but where people come for quality – not red carpet welcomes with buxom babes. Go to Nasscom if you like those.

      Lastly – feedback on presentation well taken.

      • chait83 said,

        WHOA ! Where did buxom babes come from (figment of your imagination) and where did I mention red carpet treatment from Nasscom.
        You shd read the blog carefully, wherein I mentioned .. ” I don’t except red carpet treatment” ..
        Few of people the people I interacted offline did talk of below par quality of event management. I don’t want to take this any further. You folks can take this blog as criticism and make amends for the next event or you can take this personally as some kind of bitching act. It’s upto you, I am frank and direct with my opinions that’s it !
        You feel this is the best possible event organised ever and no improvement is required .. Good luck to you SIR !

      • Philip said,

        Pratyush – It’s not fair to criticize NASSCOM by referring it as buxom babes. I have attended product conclave and can say it’s one of the best events out there. Also every event has their own focus but your stand shouldn’t be like we are “cool startup guys” and others are useless.

  5. ashish said,

    Thanks for your candid views. Let me share a few things here:
    1. Regd entry ticket : We clearly mentioned (when we announced Unpluggd) and also over emails that ‘we don’t charge presentation fee (some orgs charge 10K just to demo at the event), but all finalists will have to pay the entry fee – just like any other participant.
    2. Talking about cold shoulders/no hello/hi, well – I don’t know whats the big deal here (I mean, I couldn’t speak to a lot of people I wanted to talk the whole team was extremely busy managing operations ensuring everything works very well).
    3. As a matter of fact, you should have mentioned that I gave you 3-4 chances while we were deciding on UnPluggd finalists. We gave you deadlines (thrice, right?) to reply back and you didn’t. Even though you did (which was 6 hrs after the deadline), we HAD TO redo the entire brochure (we added your startup details in the brochure) because of which one of our team member missed his flight (the brochure delivery was delayed) and had to come by bus. Did we even tell you how painful your unresponsive behaviour was? No. we didn’t (and am sharing this because you started the thread).
    4. “At Nasscom, the volunteers spent around a month with speakers of the likes of Vinod Khosla, Naveen Jain, Vivek Paul reviewing their presentations, making sure that there is no conflict in terms of content., timing their presentation, pushing for creativity,etc.” – you are the first one who is telling that speakers at UnPluggd were of no great quality (if that’s what you meant). sorry buddy, but you are grossly wrong. For me, getting somebody whom a lot of entrepreneurs can related to (ppl like Anand/Vijay/Mukul etc) is more imp than getting big branded names (who will always share ‘What you should do”, instead of ‘What I did’) – i.e. more gyaan/more fluff//
    5. Talking about your presentation, since last edition – we decided not to handhold entrepreneurs and let them demo as they want to. And you should have read my notes/instructions on what works/what doesn’t. In short, your presentation needed improvement and you also delayed sending the ppt to us for review.

    Long story short, the biggest trait of an entrepreneur is to keep one’s eyes/ears open for learning/experiencing new things – and that has been our assumption with UnPluggd – that entrepreneurs come to listen to others, checkout interesting demos. Sorry if you didn’t fall in this category.

    All the best to you.


    • chait83 said,

      Some people are not on the mail 24×7. You sent a mail in the morning, saying deadline is today at 6 pm.
      Wouldn’t a phone call been a more appropriate way to do communicate if things are urgent.

      Granted all the criticisms were misinterpretations and my presentation sucked, where was the diversity ? Startup culture is way beyond facebook and linkedin.

      I know it is difficult to organize an event and easy to criticize, I would sincerely request that you make this event as a Online and mobile based startups only event. Lot of these startups would have got the kind of traction they were looking for.

  6. ashish said,

    Speakers: Founders of Ad Network, VAS (+ Mobile Internet),Storage, Brewrie, & a Hardware product..
    Talking about startup demos – LBS, Education, internet, enterprise, App, Cloud.

    Sorry if its not diversity for you. But if you were looking for more diversity, you should have been to a ‘circus’ (and not unpluggd).

    All the best to you.

    • Ashish T said,

      Looks like “All the best” is in fashion!

  7. chait83 said,

    Diversity as in startups who demoed .. I have clearly mentioned that in the blog.. Also Doolaly was the only IT startup startup who presented.

  8. ashish said,

    why are you worried about ‘diversity’. none of the VCs who attended complaint of that (if 6 industry categories out of 10 isn’t diversity?)

    Like Mukul recalled at his talk “Let main thing be the main thing:. If you goofed up, take responsibility/work on it. Not accepting your own mistakes and blaming others is a sign of immaturity. We could have gone ahead and saved atleast 10K of our money by NOT having you in the demo slot – but we wanted to give your startup a chance, as the value prop is very compelling.

    By going openly about ‘I AM PISSED OFF” and not taking responsibilty on your own side, you have just brought down your own value/your startup perception of being mature enough to handle such situation.

    Anyways, that was my last comment on this thread.

    All the best to you for your future endeavors.

    • chait83 said,

      Mukul’s advice goes for both of us… Thanks for reminding that.

      The bitterness is about event management and nothing personal. I would have openly appreciated the event if it would have been better experience. I wrote about my Nasscom experience and other startup saturday experiences as well. You can check the nasscom blog here ..
      The second line mentions that “There were a few minor glitches which I chose to ignore.”… Again nothing personal here.. This is what I felt about your event.

      So I guess this blog is no different than the others and doesn’t reflect my immaturity. I keep writing about events.

  9. foo said,

    abe yaar! you seem like a little cry baby. you are better off working as a consultant. Entrepreneurship is not your cup of tea. Believe me.

  10. Pratyush said,


    All it takes from your side is to come and ask. 10 other startups got their point across and came and talked to me / Ashish.

    Also I recall you gave the wrong number while registering. Which is why when we tried to call you for your demo – the number didnt connect. Talk about careless applicants.

    Most importantly the choice of startups is through a process where esteemed investors like Sequoia, Nexus, Catamaran etc along woith eminent Angel investors have helped out in the past. The range of startups therefore is not something we have full control on. COnsidering is an internet / mobile tech focussed blog, it is not surprising such companies are more in vogue.

    Lastly – I am not sure when you surreptitously came in an asked inputs. I guess you have to speak up a bit more and come and talk to people. The sheer fact that I was talking to someone about drinking in the evening and that pissed you off – is testimony that you didnt try to even meet more than once.

    • chait83 said,

      I guess you folks have impression that this is some kind of a bitching act. Fine ! I cannot help it, if you take criticism personally. What you are doing is fighting me tooth and nail at personal level. I reckon you might have put in your best efforts to make it successful, but the folks present there did not felt that way. You decide if you want to bridge that communication gap.

      MY sincere best wishes to pluggd for their future endeavours, request you not to take the criticism personally. I feel I have been harsh with blog, but I am always direct with my opinion.

  11. Remember !!! said,

    Don’t expect anything from events..!

    Here is my experience , not as participant but as a sponsor.!

    As a sponsor , you would expect more and more visibility from the event.

    They don’t know that , providing Sponsors/ Partners an Image with no link backs to Sponsor’s website is completely fail.

    They didn’t responded timely, they didn’t communicated properly when we asked to certain operations after event.

    It’s like, you will provide them money for doing nothing.!

  12. Remeber !! said,

    Yes, we are also not happy with event and way it was handled. It was very poor quality event.

    – Participants needed to pay money, and we got to know of it at last minute – very valid.
    – They don’t communicate well – very valid. Most of mails very vague.
    – Even date for announcement changed so many a times. For event of such type this is not expected.

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