Momo Chennai – A report


Mobile Monday Chennai happened today at IIT Madras. The meet was scheduled for 3 hours starting at 10 am. However, since the venue was practically not accessible for it was hidden in between a forest without any sign-board to help the participants, the event got delayed by half an hour waiting for folks to come. I personally had to run down to the main road a couple of times to get my friends who were lost. I am sure a few participants got lost/fed up trying to find the place and left.

On a Sunday morning, in a building which was almost impossible to locate, in the Chennai summer heat at the third floor there assembled 50 undeterred enthusiastic souls, which kind of surprised me.

So this edition of Momo Chennai had the theme “Mobile Web Applications“, where mobile buffs could jam in and learn about it. Andy, Ramanujam, Thyagarajan and I from BotHack attended this, to learn something in this space as we had no clue about it.

But we got four horribly boring sessions. Asif Ali of MobileWorx gave a talk on ads thro’ mobile web apps and its future. Which was pretty interesting to listen to but nevertheless out of the theme. Yes, it did have mobile web apps, but the talk soon shifted to how the ads in web apps will work better than TV advertisements etc.

Then we had Anand Kannan of who basically did a sales pitch, Atul Chitnis of Geodesic Information System, who gave a talk on “Challenges of Mobile Internet” which was pretty humorous but nevertheless out of the theme. Navjot Pawera of Opera Software who gave a talk on Mobile web and user friendly interfaces.

Where did Momo Chennai lose out? Well if it was a mobile web apps theme, then they should have taught us how to make one. All four of the guys talked about user friendly interfaces. Wait a min. isn’t that like talking about “maximizing profit and cutting down on costs in a company” even before they teach you how to start a company or what company to start?

The most important aspect of such meetings are, that they spark a thread which you can develop on when you go back home. But here none of us took back home anything apart from:

1) Mobile internet is the next big thing.

Like we didn’t know. Why would I attend this event on a Sunday morning, if I didn’t think mobile was the next big thing?

2) GPRS is slow and unreliable and costly.

Duh! Thanks Einstein, I didn’t know that too…

3) All web apps have to be user friendly.

Oh! That makes a lot of sense. But wait a min. I don’t even know how to make a web application, so wouldn’t it be useless for me to know why my non-existent web application should be user friendly.

I would have at least been happy if they taught me how to make a web app more user-friendly instead of talking about why usability is important, which all of us already knew.

We guys are home and I have nothing to work on. No lead, no idea, no knowledge to develop on. I am as good as I was before this event. Had the venue been less of a classroom setting, I would have at least enjoyed the social networking. But even that went to dogs as we had proper classroom (see above picture) setting where it was hard to even turn around and speak.

At one point when Atul was speaking about usability, the only three active participants were Navjot, Asif and Anand, the rest were literally sleeping. Now the only common thing between these three is the fact that all of them have made their own web application, so usability made more sense to them.

Yes! We had big names as speakers, but it was useless. I would have rather preferred Aswin or Varun teach me how to make a web app.

22 Responses to “Momo Chennai – A report”

  1. I liked the last presentation by Navjot. It was probably more interesting to me because I had worked a lot on mobile browsers in my previous company.

    Although not new for me, the demo of how you can make the same site (same html) display differently for screen and handheld was pretty cool.

    I think a lot of the audience would have been interested in how they can use multiple css files and do the same thing for their website/blog. Unfortunately, that part was left out :-\

  2. 2 Gokul Krishna S

    It was 9:40 in the morning when i woke up and i realized it’z too late and i aint gonna make it to the MoMo Chennai and spoke to Ganesh over phone and told him that im not coming and thought i’m gonna miss lotta stuff and fun…
    But now i realize…i din miss a goddamn thing…
    We r expecting a better sunday…

  3. 3 Varun

    Hey Gapp,

    MoMo is known to more on the business side of things than on the tech side .

    Appreciate your feedback. Probably we must have a separate event for techies called MobCamp with zero business content and 100% hands on demos.

  4. 4 Sagaro

    That is because it started at Nokia, where people already knew the tech side (how to code apps et al). So it made more sense to discuss the business model for them.

    But when you get the event into desi format, where 6 out of the fifty odd audience knew how to code the application it is stupid to discuss the business model.

    So instead of having a separate event, we should have only one event where we groom a breed of next gen mobile developers. Because if you are even planning to conduct another momo with business as the theme, apart from the speakers and the 30 odd organizers from TKF, I don;t see anybody attending it.

    Please do understand, we organize events because there is demand. Don’t organize events because it is hep to organize it even if no one cares a shit about what the speakers had to say.

  5. Hello Ganesh APP :

    We did release a GPRS speed test indicator and requested audience to form a community project for measuring GPRS quality throughout India across operators, phone models and locations.

    Currently, it is in BETA version, you can find more from
    Anybody with GPRS can download it from

    My suggestion to MoMo is offer breakfast before the event, that will collect people early and offer networking opportunity. It will also push the speakers to match audience expectations. Without knowing what the audience wants, it is tough to make an interesting presentation.


  6. 6 Sagaro

    Yes you did offer the audience some gyaan on GPRS quality testing, but what I fail to understand is how does “community project on gprs testing” conform to the theme “developing mobile web apps”?

    I do totally agree with you on the breakfast part so that the speakers get to know what they are here for and what the audience’s iq is.

    And we don’t want an interesting presentation, we want a hands on demo.

  7. Ganesh, Are you talking about a code development demo or an application design demo?
    We can take this as a starting point for doing something at the next MoMo, if enough people endorse your viewpoint.

    We have done a lot of user experience optimizations based on our understanding of GPRS quality dynamics. Any mobile web app developer who plays with the GPRS quality indicator will be able to learn a lot towards doing this. GPRS is at the heart of the mobile Web, for some time to come.

    BTW, I am not able to put a face to your name. Are you the SVCE chap who spoke to me at proto? Can you put a bigger picture?


  8. @Anand:
    //Any mobile web app developer who plays with the GPRS quality indicator will be able to learn a lot towards doing this

    But like you noticed during the event only 4 hands shot up when you asked how many had developed an application. Like you have stated a mobile web app developer can get a lot of the GPRS quality indicator (which I have no qualms with), but the keywords being a mobile web app developer, which most of us weren’t.

    I agree Momo started in Nokia and it was more towards quality/business model et al. But in Nokia the peeps already knew how to code an application and do funky stuff with mobiles. They however needed to share knowledge on quality testing, business model, usability.

    But when you are applying the same momo to Chennai, you have to get local make it desi and run it. First momo should cultivate next gen mobile developers. Then it should talk about usability/quality. Then the third momo can be on business model et al. So the audience grows with the event…

    //We can take this as a starting point for doing something at the next MoMo, if enough people endorse your viewpoint.

    Oh sure! More than 3/4ths of the audience was pissed with the first momo, if you consider that as votes then I guess we should move on with the model I suggested 😀

    //BTW, I am not able to put a face to your name. Are you the SVCE chap who spoke to me at proto? Can you put a bigger picture? It is a scary pic. couldn’t find anything better online… I am from SVCE but there were a few more from SVCE at Proto.

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