At Mobile World congress – chairing – Where the Money Meets the Talent – Mobile Monday – GrowVC







At Mobile World congress – I am chairing – Where the Money Meets the Talent

Organised by Mobile Monday and the Grow VC Group – Mobile Monday – GrowVC – at Mobile World Congress 2013 – Where money meets Talent, this is a unique event about mobile startup funding at the Mobile World Congress 2013. The event will be a part of the “Bringing The Community Together” event on Thursday 28th, February 09:40 to 15:00 in Hall 8.0 Theatre District, Theatre D.

From the press release:

Since 2008 it has been particularly difficult to raise money from and to VC funds. VC’s have had issues to raise more capital; it has also caused issues to fund companies that are already in their portfolio. At the same time capital efficiency has increased, that is startups can start with smaller initial capital. Many governments and local stakeholders also want to invest in building better startup ecosystems locally and want to participate in funding or attracting investors to operate locally.

Crowd funding and ‘open market places’ are emerging. There are also more local business angel networks, and for example governments have created tax benefits to attract more people to invest in startups. But the issue persists, how to get these to work together. Many startups prominently target the US market, when it has offered the best funding opportunities and exit market. At the same time emerging markets could offer easier routes to generate revenue and lead to organic growth.

The funding market has many issues, opportunities and new models. The conference has a top-level group of industry experts to talk about funding from several different angels.



Ajit Jaokar , Chairman – Founder, Futuretext and Feynlabs, Author

Krishna Visvanathan – Partner, DFJ Esprit

Jouko Ahvenainen – Founder and Chairman, Grow VC Group

Kevin McManus – Head of Creative and Digital at Liverpool Vision and Director of ACME, Liverpool Region Development Agency

Gary Stewart – Executive director of Wayra Spain

Rahim Adatia – Director, Mobile and Presentation Platform at PayPal

Artturi Tarjanne – Partner, Nexit Ventures

Pekka Sivonen – Head of AppCampus

Lionel Slusney – Founder, Loft Finance and Board Member, European Crowdfunding Network


The discussion looks for answers, for example, to the following questions:

  • How do we see the future of VC funds?
  • Do we have hype in the trend of incubators and local startup funding?
  • How can we find models that different kind of investors could better work together?
  • What kind of companies will make big success stories in mobile business during the next 2 years?


The Soho Loft Capital Creation Events, Forum Oxford, mobile education program of University of Oxford, and Webinos, a European cross-platform service industry and research project, are promotional partners for the conference. More information at Mobile Monday – GrowVC – at Mobile World Congress 2013 – Where money meets Talent




President Obama addresses the patent trolls issue – Admits That Patent Trolls Just Try To Extort Money and Reform Needed..













Via Techdirt

I LIKE a president who addresses this issue ..

President Obama addresses the patent trolls issue – Admits That Patent Trolls Just Try To Extort Money and Reform Needed..

Question: High tech startups are an important engine of the American economy. When I go around and talk to other enterpreneurs, what I hear is that they’re afraid that if they become successful, they’re going to be targeted by patent trolls… What are you planning to do to limit the abuse of software patents?…

Obama: A couple years ago we began a process of patent reform. We actually passed some legislation that made progress on some of these issues. But it hasn’t captured all the problems.

The folks that you’re talking about are a classic example. They don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them. Sometimes these things are challenging. Because we also want to make sure that patents are long enough, and that people’s intellectual property is protected. We’ve got to balance that with making sure that they’re not so long that innovation is reduced.

But I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go. What we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.

This is true, by the way, across the board, when it comes to high tech issues. The technology is changing so fast, we want to protect privacy, we want to protect people’s civil liberties. We want to make sure the internet stays open. I’m an ardent believer that what’s powerful about the internet is its openness and the capacity for people to get out there and introduce a new idea with low barriers to entry. We also want to make sure that people’s intellectual property is protected. Whether it’s how we’re dealing with copyright, how we’re dealing with patents, how we’re dealing with piracy issues. What we’ve tried to do is be an honest broker between the various stakeholders and to continue to refine it — hopefully keeping up with the technology — which doesn’t mean that there won’t be some problems that we still haven’t identified and that we have to keep working on.

See the  Techdirt for the Google hangout

Computer-based maths in Estonia








Founded by Conrad Wolfram, has partnered with the first country ready for a new kind of maths education – Estonia.

From their press release:
This collaborative project will address school statistics, using computer-based techniques to write a completely new and innovative curriculum. Focusing on equipping students with the skills and abilities needed for a twenty-first-century economy, the Minister of Education and Research in Estonia, Jaak Aaviksoo, states that now is the time for computer-based maths: “We believe in the enthusiasm and potential of the Internet generation–they are ready for computer based mathematics. It will also give them a competitive advantage in the labour market.”

The full press release is available here:

Conrad Wolfram’s blog post is available here:

More at Computer based math

Feynlabs – Using the Raspberry Pi to teach Computer Science












This will be a long three part blog about how we are using the Raspberry Pi in the Feynlabs program as a way to introduce Computer science to kids

The Raspberry Pi is a platform – and as it’s creators have always indicated – it is the community which will drive it’s direction and evolution. Feynlabs is using the Raspberry Pi to teach the concepts of programming languages to kids and in doing so, creating a new way in which deep principles of Computer Science can be introduced to kids.

Feynlabs is the first initiative to teach the concepts of programming languages to kids  (as opposed to a specific programming language). By abstracting the common elements of programming languages, our aim is to rapidly learn any programming language

To get a background of my thinking, you should have a look at these three articles on which I will build upon

1) Five Principles to Radically Transform How We Teach Computer Programming – part One

2) Five Principles to Radically Transform How We Teach Computer Programming – part Two

3) How will next generation computing labs in schools look like?

As you can imagine, to achieve our goals of teaching the Concepts of Programming Languages to kids – we have to explore deep into Computer Science.

So, in this set of three articles, I will cover

a)      An outline of Computer Science for kids

b)      Our approach to teach computer science by abstracting the concepts of programming languages

c)       How we are using the Raspberry Pi in our work to teach the Concepts of Programming Languages

Some more introductory notes:

a)      feynlabs is addressing a unique (not yet addressed) problem – which I can encapsulate as ‘How do we take learners from 0 to 60 fast?’ i.e. accelerate the computer science learning stage so that they don’t get bogged down and can quickly see the ‘vista’ so to speak i.e. the big picture vision’. From a learning standpoint this would be a success because once the participant can see the big picture, they can add their own unique contribution/imagination to learning

b)      From our early trials, we can say that teaching ‘concepts of programming languages’ to kids is a unique experience because you have to start with the abstract (which can be more complex in some ways) – and then move to the concrete and finally move back to the abstract again i.e. move back to concepts. Specifically, our current approach is to start with the concepts (including the question of what is a ‘concept’) – then address the concrete implementation using Raspberry Pi and Python. This allows us to explore many aspects of Computer Science through Pi-face, Pygames etc.

c)       Finally, we move back to the abstract domain by looking at a classification of programming languages and specific implementations in other languages such as Processing, C, Java Script and others.

d)      This approach allows us to do some unique things such as co-relate programming to concrete examples, take a systems led approach etc.

Thus, Feynlabs is creating a set of unique techniques to teach computer science to kids based on

a)      Teaching the concepts of Programming Languages to kids and

b)      Using the Raspberry Pi and other devices to introduce the ideas we are developing so that the participants understand Computer Science

c)       We will evolve these techniques through the trails we are working with in the community

In this sense, our work through Feynlabs is far more complex than merely teaching programming.

So, in this context, what is computer science?

Here, I am building upon some excellent work in a paper called Computer Science: A curriculum for schools by the Computing at School Working Group endorsed by BCS, Microsoft, Google and Intellect – March 2012. You can read the full paper – Computer Science: A curriculum for schools

I will summarise the key ideas in this paper which we will build upon in the next two parts of this set of articles (emphasis mine)

  • Computer Science is the study of principles and practices that underpin an understanding and modelling of computation, and of their application in the development of computer systems. At its heart lies the notion of computational thinking: a mode of thought that goes well beyond software and hardware, and that provides a framework within which to reason about systems and problems. This mode of thinking is supported and complemented by a substantial body of theoretical and practical knowledge, and by a set of powerful techniques for analysing, modelling and solving problems.
  • Computer Science is deeply concerned with how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed.
  • Pupils studying computing gain insight into computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers.
  • Computational thinking influences fields such as biology, chemistry, linguistics, psychology, economics and statistics.
  • It allows us to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.
  • Computer Science is a practical subject, where invention and resourcefulness are encouraged.
  • Computer Science is a discipline. To do this, education aspires primarily to teach disciplines with long-term value, rather than skills with short-term usefulness, although the latter are certainly useful. A “discipline” is characterised by: A body of knowledge, A set of techniques and methods, A way of thinking and working, Longevity:, Independence from specific technologies especially those that have a short shelf-life.
  • Computer Science is a quintessential STEM discipline, sharing attributes with Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and Technology:  It has its own theoretical foundations and mathematical underpinnings, and involves the application of logic and reasoning. It embraces a scientific approach to measurement and experiment. It involves the design, construction, and testing of purposeful artefacts. It requires understanding, appreciation, and application of a wide range of technologies.
  • Computer Science provides pupils with insights into other STEM disciplines, and with skills and knowledge that can be applied to the solution of problems in those disciplines. Although they are invisible and intangible, software systems are among the largest and most complex artefacts ever created by human beings. The marriage between software and hardware that is necessary to realize computer-based systems increases the level of complexity, and the complex web of inter-relationships between different systems increases it yet further. Understanding this complexity and bringing it under control is the central challenge of our discipline.
  • In a world where computer-based systems have become all pervasive, those individuals and societies that are best equipped to meet this challenge will have a competitive edge.
  • Computer Science and Information Technology are complementary, but they are not the same. Computer Science and Information Technology are complementary subjects. Computer Science teaches a pupil how to be an effective author of computational tools (i.e. software), while IT teaches how to be a thoughtful user of those tools. This neat juxtaposition is only part of the truth, because it focuses too narrowly on computers as a technology, and computing is much broader than that. As Dijkstra famously remarked, “Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes
  • We want our children to understand and play an active role in the digital world that surrounds them, not to be passive consumers of an opaque and mysterious technology. A sound understanding of computing concepts will help them see how to get the best from the systems they use, and how to solve problems when things go wrong. Moreover, citizens able to think in computational terms would be able to understand and rationally argue about issues involving computation, such as software patents, identity theft, genetic engineering, electronic voting systems for elections, and so on. In a world suffused by computation, every school-leaver should have an understanding of computing.
  • A number of key concepts arise repeatedly in computing. They are grouped here under Languages, machines, and computation, Data and representation, Communication and coordination, Abstraction and design. It would not be sensible to teach these concepts as discrete topics in their own right. Rather, they constitute unifying themes that can be used as a way to understand and organise computing knowledge, and are more easily recognised by pupils after they have encountered several concrete examples of the concept in action.
  • Much of the power of computers comes from their ability to store and manipulate very large quantities of data. The way in which this data is stored and manipulated can make enormous differences to the speed, robustness, and security of a computer system. This area of computing includes: How data is represented using bit patterns: including numbers, text, music, pictures. How data is stored and transmitted, including: redundancy, error checking, error correction; data compression and information theory; and encryption. How data is organised, for example, in data structures or in databases. How digital data is used to represent analogue measures, such as temperature, light intensity and sound. How analogue measures are converted to digital values and vice versa and how digital computers may be used to control other devices.
  • Computers are communication devices. They enable human-to-human communication by way of machine-to-machine communication: a mobile phone computes in order to help us communicate. The design and implementation of these communications systems is a recurrent theme in computing:
  • Abstraction is the main mechanism used to deal with complexity and enabling computerisation. Abstraction is both presenting a simplified version through information hiding and making an analysis to identify the essence or essential features.  The process of categorisation or classification that breaks down a complex system into a systematic analysis or representation.
  • Computer systems have a profound impact on the society we live in, and computational thinking offers a new “lens” through which to look at ourselves and our world. The themes here are very open-ended, taking the form of questions that a thoughtful person might debate, rather than answers that a clever person might know. Intelligence and consciousness. The natural world. DNA encodes the sequence of amino acids that make up proteins. Creativity and intellectual property. Games, music, movies, gallery installations and performing arts are all transformed by computing and online experiences would not be possible without it. Should artistic ways of working be integrated with computational thinking?
  • A key challenge in computational thinking is the scale and complexity of the systems we study or build. The main technique used to manage this complexity is abstraction5. The process of abstraction takes many specific forms, such as modelling, decomposing, and generalising. In each case, complexity is dealt with by hiding complicated details behind a simple abstraction, or model, of the situation. Modelling, Decomposing Generalising and classifying
  • Computer Science is more than programming, but programming is an absolutely central process for Computer Science. In an educational context, programming encourages creativity, logical thought, precision and problem-solving, and helps foster the personal, learning and thinking skills required in the modern school curriculum. Every pupil should have repeated opportunities to design, write, run, and debug, executable programs. The ability to understand and explain a program is much more important than the ability to produce working but incomprehensible code.
  • Depending on level, pupils should be able to: Design and write programs that include Sequencing: doing one step after another, o Selection (if-then-else): doing either one thing or another, Repetition (Iterative loops or recursion), Language constructs that support abstraction: wrapping up a computation in a named abstraction, so that it can be re-used. (The most common form of abstraction is the notion of a “procedure” or “function” with parameters.), Some form of interaction with the program’s environment, such as input/output, or event-based programming.
In the next two parts of this article, I will discuss
  • Our approach to teach computer science by abstracting the concepts of programming languages
  •  How we are using the Raspberry Pi in our work to teach the Concepts of Programming Languages

comments and feedback welcome at ajit.jaokar at 

Image source: Raspberry Pi foundation

Deusto Business School – Masters in Business Innovation

I was contacted by the Deusto Business School, University of Deusto about their new MBI program in partnership with the Cambridge Judge Business school. I am somewhat familiar with Spanish MBA programs.  One of the students I mentor from Brazil studied in a Madrid based eMBA – and then went on to greater things in her native Brazil. Also, because of feynlabs, I have been covering education here – especially the evolution of education (which is happening globally)

You can see more in the orientation video.

So, my review of this program is in the context of how education models are evolving especially in a recession

This particular program (Masters in Business Innovation) is aligned to the Judge Business School in the UK which is well known.  So, in that sense, the structure itself is internationally recognised.

From an innovation standpoint, it is not a traditional program and it allows you to combine education and work and one of the goals is to take a good idea to innovation.

According to their program outline – “Another unique feature of the MBI is that it allows you to develop you own innovation project as an entrepreneur, or an innovation project for your company. Do it throughout the programme, with the tutoring and coaching you need. The Programme is designed for executives who are interested in Creating new markets and Adopting new business models

In this sense, it could be a new trend where a company or entrepreneur could essentially ‘outsource’ an innovation project in an MBA format – combining education in a very practical


Hosting the IBM worklight and hybrid apps mobile hackathon at Mobile World Congress






Eager to get your hands on IBM Worklight and develop a cool hybrid app while at Mobile World Congress?

I am hosting the IBM worklight and hybrid apps mobile hackathon at Mobile World Congress. If you are there, very happy to meet up. Details from their site below

Join IBM Mobile (@IBMMobile) and host Ajit Jaokar (@AjitJaokar) for a mobile app hackathon on Monday, February 25th from 3-5pm in Hall 8, Theatre D. Ajit brings his wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to this hackathon combining his background from research, academia and technology.

This hackathon presents a unique opportunity to interact with IBM Worklight experts, and experiment with advanced capabilities of the IBM Worklight mobile application development platform. Use push notifications, geo location, hybrid capabilities and other mobile services to build compelling apps with rich user experience.

Afterward, we encourage you to stay from 5-7pm for IBM’s technical conference to learn about our latest announcements and capabilities in the mobile space including testing, dev ops, analytics, management and security. The session will end with Ajit showing off your apps to the hundreds of attendees in attendance.

We’ll Supply: Food to keep you motivated and caffeine to keep you awake! We’ll also give you a brief tutorial of Worklight beforehand and Worklight SMEs will be on-site to help you navigate the interface and perhaps even fix some of your code errors so that you have something presentable to show at the end of the day!

You’ll Supply: Your laptop preloaded with Worklight and your knowledge to build a show-worthy app in 2 hours.

Get started now with IBM Worklight:

Download a step-by-step guide to get started | View a series of how-to videos

Register today to take part in this exciting opportunity.  Then, we’ll be in touch with further instructions & training before you arrive on-site in Barcelona.

Don’t Wait! We will only be accepting the first 10 people to register, so sign up now via Good luck and we’ll see you at MWC!

I am a top 5% viewed profile on Linkedin

I was a bit surprised by this .. but I like it

I have been becoming more active on Linkedin and I like the changes they have made over the last year

So, this is welcome :)