I’m a dreamer. An over-analyzer. I’m the type of guy who can paint a picture with words. I’ve been blogging in some capacity now for over 15 years. Whereas my posts used to be more personal, my passions the past 6 years have skewed far more toward technology, marketing, and social science, hence I needed a space for these thoughts, which is why, in 2008, I started DailyDoseofPras.com.
I’ve always been passionate about building technology – from an early obsession with lego, to the magical moment when I watched the saucer separation on an episode of Star Trek: TNG. I’ve lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, Plano, Texas, attended the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley (Go Bears), worked for Microsoft in the Government & Education group, and have spent six years becoming a student of consumer-, student-, and education-marketing.
In 2011, I joined BookRenter.com, a later-stage startup that is often described as Netflix-for-textbooks. in March of 2012, BookRenter spun-out parent-company Rafter.com that will pursue a broader vision of disrupting the textbook industry by delivering new technology solutions to educators and universities, and already has over 600 campus bookstores using the Rafter platform to deliver textbook rentals to their students. As of May 2012 BookRenter and Rafter have already saved students over $170 Million on their textbooks.
In 2010 I lead the marketing team through the launch of the Kno tablet, a completely-vertically-integrated tablet with software, hardware, and a digital textbook store. The company raised $55Million in Venture Capital, lead by Andreessen-Horowitz, to change the nature of education and build a base among students in the nascent tablet category. Our launch got tremendous national press attention and resulted in the Kno being nominated for a Crunchie Award for Best New Device of 2010. Although we lost to Apple’s juggernaut iPad, it was an honor to be nominated.
As part of our social media efforts, my team created this video of a Lego Robot testing the Kno tablet’s hardware, which went viral, garnering over 100,000 views in a matter of weeks. The video’s was taken down after Kno pivoted toward an iPad app and away from our own hardware, but here’s the coverage.
In August of 2010, as President of the Network of Indian Professionals (Seattle), NetIP hosted it’s 19th Annual North America conference in Seattle. 500+ attendees from across North America networked for 3 days and met notables including:
• Aasiv Mandvi (Actor, The Daily Show)
• Suneel Gupta (VP Product Development, Groupon)
• Vijay Amritraj (renown Indian tennis pro)
• Kunal Nayar (Actor, Big Bang Theory)
In March of 2010, I was interviewed by Seattle Magazine for creating a Facebook group called Secret Seattle that overnight grew to over 35,000 members in just a few short weeks.
Part of passion is being on the forefront of emerging trends in social media. So when the SecretCities phenomon emerged – practically overnight – beginning with SecretLondon and SecretNewYork, I was the person who created & grew SecretSeattle (and SecretSanJose) to critical mass. Seattle Magazine interviewed me about the Facebook-phenomenon. Later, both Groupon and LivingSocial both approached me about taking the group off my hands (I declined).
In 2009, I oversaw Microsoft’s Back-to-School campaign, launching an integrated marketing campaign across online channels, retail partners, and our own nationwide campus tour, which also received national press coverage.
In 2008, I launched Microsoft’s TheUltimateSteal.com, Microsoft’s first foray into ecommerce. If you can believe it, this was the first time anyone had tried selling Microsoft Office as an online download, and eventually the program paved the way for the Microsoft Store and the Windows App Store.
In 2005, as Marketing Director of Indus, I oversaw a marketing campaign that drove over 3000 attended to Berkeley’s Indus Culture Show – considered the largest south asian culture show on the West Coast.
Also in 2005, as the Marketing Director for Indus – we hosted Anahat – the first South Asian A Cappella competition in America. Since them Anahat has continued to grow into one of the biggest south asian events on the West Coast.
In 2004, as President of TiE Berkeley (the first student chapter of the world’s largest entrepreneurial network), I launched a startup career fair – the first such event at Berkeley – to connect Berkeley students with summer internships at Silicon Valley startups in the mobile and social space. We also hosted the first-ever Berkeley Entrepreneurship Conference with the support of Haas’ Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Berkeley Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.
After 4 years away in Seattle and another year down in Santa Clara, I’ve finally moved back to the city where I left my heart: San Francisco. Come find me.