Aravind Ravi, Founder, Scrollback - who swears by Open Source [Techie Tuesday]


It is not an easy decision for anyone to put out their company’s source code in public. Aravind Ravi Sulekha is one such braveheart who made his company, Scrollback, an Open Source company.

Aravind is an IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad alumni, who has always been fascinated by the startup ecosystem.

Scrollback is inspired by Twitter and Internet Relay Chat. It transforms forums into micro-forums -- making them lightweight, real-time and built for mobile, where shorter messages are preferred.

Mozilla India has adopted Scrollback to ensure real time chat can take place so that large open communities like Mozilla can have persistent conversations that can be moderated, shared, embedded, browsed and searched.

Aravind believes that the primary assets for a service like Scrollback are community, content and code. He places code in the third place. According to him, making it open source has little impact on business model defensibility. On the other hand, he mentions that they have been benefited greatly from using open source, and it would be an idiotic move to not give back to the community.

Aravind was influenced right from college through various coding clubs by participating in fests and also organizing it. At IIT Kharagpur, he was involved with their tech-fest (Kshitij), developing its website and that pulled him into the world of computers.

After IIT, he went on to do an MBA from the coveted IIM Ahmedabad. Even today at Scrollback, he handles the tech aspect of the company whereas his Co-founder Gaurav Srivastava takes care of the business side of the company.

Aravind was introduced to computers in his sixth standard. He recalls having won a contest and the prize was a one-month programming course where he was taught the BASIC language. He also mentions the time when computers had green screens, no hard disks, and were booting MSDOS from one 5 1/4” floppy. He excitedly tells us how he loved playing ‘Dangerous Dave’.

He has been using open source software (Linux) since the early 2000s and most of the tools and libraries he uses tend to be open source. He started publishing on GitHub sometime in 2012, starting with some node.js libraries he built for askabt.

Aravind is greatly influenced by his parents and considers his wife to be his greatest support system. He devotes all his success to them.

Aravind in the end signs off by saying that be it a techie or a business mind, when you do something for the community, everyone benefits.