GreenThumb app for tracking field tasks: 3rd Place award @ #AppsForAg Hackathon

Happy to report we participated as Team GreenThumb at the 2nd AppsForAg‬ hackathon, and received the 3rd place award — maybe third time will be the charm, so look out for us at the upcoming 3rd AppsForAg hackathon in March (if we don’t release a product before then 🙂


Team GreenThumb (from L: Tom Bowen, Justin Bowen, Sandeep Giri, Justin Dutra) with AppForAg event organizer Patrick Dosier on far left


Screenshot: a Grower’s view of the app showing various tasks (apply fertilizer/pesticides, take soil/tissue samples, irrigation, etc) over their field map


Team GreenThumb hard at work at a steakhouse

Our hackathon project GreenThumb was a mobile app to assign and verify common field tasks like applying fertilizers/pesticides, soil/tissue sampling, irrigation, etc, and build a database of these events to enable historical data analytics. This significantly improves communication among crop advisors, growers, and foremen, re-inforces safety/security requirements, and improves productivity by cutting down hours for record-keeping, while enabling field-level analytics for increasing yield.

Get Rid of Duplicate Contacts in Marketo

We see this often with clients using Marketo — while it is a great marketing automation solution, chances are that you have a lot of duplicate contact records in your Marketo customer data set.

Here is what happens — you load an initial customer list into Marketo, and over time as you add new customer records to that list, Marketo may fail to check for duplicate email addresses, and instead of records getting updated or merged, you get multiple records with same email address.

And this is costly — if you are paying by the number of contacts managed within Marketo, you pay multiple times for the same person — and you also incur the infamous customer wrath of receiving multiple campaign emails from you.

How do you fix this? Hire us, of course 🙂

But seriously, we have done this enough times for customers, and now we are contemplating providing this as an automated service for Marketo customers. Our simple fix process is as follows:

  • Working with our partner company Empathy Logic, we maintain a transient customer data store for data consolidation and cleansing — which includes de-duplication and householding
  • We have connectors built to Marketo’s platform so upon your security authorization, we can pull in all your customer data from Marketo to our platform and run our de-duplication routines to flag all the duplicate records.
  • We then send the list of fixed records to Marketo platform so all the duplicates are removed from your customer data set

The time to apply this fix depends on the size of your customer data set, and speed of Marketo’s record update process – we find that it is faster to update the entire customer data set rather than making batch fixes.

We are also curious to learn if this has happened to you. and what solution approaches you have found to be effective. Would love to hear from Marketo folks as well as to what are some best practices to avoid duplicates in the first place.

NuTreeSource by Team Almond Brothers: 3rd Place award @ #AppsForAg Hackathon

“Hey guys — I’m not a techie, but I keep track of all of my farm visits and application of fertilizers and pesticides using OneNotes .. let me show you on my iPhone .. “, with that Justin Butra had us hooked on working with him at the first ever AppsForAg AgTech hackathon (in the world?) hosted at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, CA.

Justin is what they called a “grower” at this event. His life is immersed in agriculture. He advises hundreds of farm owners about managing nutrients and fertilizer, about pesticides, about irrigation. Each hackathon team needed to have a grower. We were lucky to have Justin (actually 2 Justin’s – Mr Dutra the “grower” and Mr Bowen the “hacker extraordinaire”)


He also managed scope creep: “of course we could do a lot of things – but let’s focus on 1 crop (Almond), and 1 nutrient (Nitrogen, the most important, and also most difficult to manage well)”

And we gave our team a name — The Almond Brothers!

Our app NuTreeSource would do smart budgeting and tracking of how much nitrogen to apply to Almond crops to maximize yield (and reduce groundwater consumption – every bit counts in these days of drought in California)

And we would do it all within a span of 24 hours. This is what it looked like:




Team Almond Brothers hard at work



Justin Dutra (Grower) and Sandeep Giri (representing Developer) posing in front of their masterpiece – whiteboard specs and mockups for NuTreeSource app

And on Sunday 11:30 – we submitted our app and our presentation. There were 6 other great teams along with us who presented. They were all great, and we learned so much from each one of them, almost in awe of how well everyone knew the space, and their innovative approaches to each problem.

We are happy to report that we received the third place award. And more importantly, we received valuable feedback on how to improve our app, which we certainly intend to.

Team Almond Brothers receiving their 3rd place award for NuTreeSource

Above all, what a great experience – to go in on a Friday evening (after 4.5 hours of driving through heavy traffic from San Francisco), and by Sunday, come up with not only application ideas vetted by a (committed) user group of growers, but also a working prototype that we can improve upon.

The smiles in this group picture tell it all. Thanks everyone!



Meet Us at Apps for Ag Hackathon

Lately we have been fascinated with the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture sector. So, we couldn’t really stay away from the Apps for Ag Hackathon in Coalinga, CA (apparently the Harris Ranch, place where all attendees are staying, has the best steaks in the planet, but I digress 🙂


Anyway, the suggested projects are pretty fun –

Come by and meet our team – Tom, Justin, and I – and if you want to join our hackathon team, even better. We will keep you posted. Cheers!

OpenI 3.0.1 is here (Pentaho Plugin for OLAP Data Visualization)

Dear OpenI Community,

We are happy to announce the release of OpenI 3.0.1 as a plug-in for Pentaho CE. With this release, we will focus more on developing new features on top of Pentaho (and perhaps Jasper) instead of OpenI being a BI Server in itself.

The OpenI plugin for Pentaho provides a simple and clean user interface to visualize data in OLAP cubes. It supports both direct Mondrian and xmla based connections like Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), plus provides OpenI specific features like:

  • Explore OLAP cube data – point to a cube, choose a metric, and instantly chart the metric against all available dimensions
  • Write custom SQL for drillthrough to return more detailed data sets (instead of just identifiers)
  • Post drillthrough results directly to an external web service (instead of always having to download to local machine)
  • and many more..

A demo video is available at –

You can download it at –

Documentation is at –

We would love to hear your feedback.


Sandeep Giri
Project Lead, OpenI.Org

Replace Jaspersoft OLAP UI with OpenI Plug-In

I am happy to announce some fun and exciting changes at OpenI, and the alpha release of our team’s work over last couple of months.

First – OpenI as a “BI platform” on its own will discontinue. Instead, we will use Pentaho and Jasper as our base platforms as needed. The approach is to release “OpenI plug-ins” for Jasper and Pentaho — so that they behave/appear in a manner very similar to OpenI.

Our first step in this direction is our “Plug-In” for Jasper that replaces its JasperSoft OLAP (aka JasperAnalysis) UI, which is basically JPivot as-is, with OpenI’s UI. We believe this is a greatly improved UI for JasperServer users who need better interface for OLAP reporting and exploratory analysis . Here is a screenshot:

OpenI Plug-In Replaces JasperAnalysis UI

OpenI Plug-In Replaces JasperAnalysis UI

You can also check out a live demo here: (Use the demo user account “user/user” or “demo/demo” to get logged into the system)

Currently this is an alpha release. You can download binaries or source code here –

Let us know what you think. If you need help, etc. – use the support forum.

The general thinking is – if you deploy Pentaho or Jasper with OpenI plug-in, you will get the lightness, easy-to-use look-and-feel, plus features that are unique to OpenI which are not available in Jasper or Pentaho (such as exploring cube data). We may also have to create our own installers that makes their installation/deployment process easier.

So – that’s the general direction.

Although Jasper was an easy pick for this first release, we are looking for similar approaches with Pentaho. Now, Pentaho already has efforts underway to replace JPivot UI (2 different approaches though – their open source version has Pentaho Analysis Tool (going through a rewrite at the moment), and proprietary version Pentaho Analyzer which is pretty decent) — so not sure, how much value-add will it be to put OpenI’s UI as a Pentaho plug-in, but there might be other features that may be better suited for an OpenI plug-in for Pentaho.

Pentaho is pretty impressive because they take a platform approach, not just a reporting server. So even though each individual component may not be as fully developed as it needs to be – architecturally I think they have a sound approach. The work we will do with Pentaho will be more along the lines of how can we make it easier to use – whether that will be via plug-ins, or embedding Pentaho in our own build, we will try that out and see what makes sense.

Stay tuned, and of course, your feedback is much appreciated, as always.


In Commercial Open Source, Partners = Community

What wowed me most at the Pentaho Global Partner Submit (#PGPS in Twitter) was, well.. the partners, or the partner program, I should say.

Back in the day, when we submitted our open source projects to sourceforge – we would sit there checking the number of downloads almost every minute, obsessing over the daily downloads and sourceforge ranking. A lot of this was driven by (besides the desire to be famous and get geek cred) the belief that more downloads = larger community = more “contribution” from the community.

This did not turn out to be true.

And not just for us, but for most open source enterprise applications out there, number of downloads has nothing to do with community participation. For that, you have to go beyond the realms of sourceforge forums and tracker – and actually actively build a community.

How do you do that? Well, after spending 2 days at PGPS, I am deeply impressed how great of a job Pentaho has done in building a thriving community via their partnership program. What we expected back in the day from our downloaders, Pentaho is exactly getting that from their partners. Partners are writing new features (e.g. Community Dashboard Framework, integration to CMS, single sign on, etc etc), they are fixing major bugs, they are writing books, they are even actively participating in shaping the roadmap. Simply amazing!

Whether this is a phenomenon unique to “commercial open source” – we don’t know, but look – for almost every enterprise open source project, at some point, reality kicks in, and we have to worry about monetization – so many of us become “commercial”. Of course, that immediately brings a tension between the users of the “free” version versus the “premium” version – as in, “why did you put feature ABC only in premium, and not in the free one, you greedy capitalistic pig?”

Well, one answer – “free” doesn’t pay the bills, “premium” does. “Free” is also probably justifiable if there was some contribution, but as we have seen – most of the people download and use open source for free, but they don’t contribute anything. Over time, this becomes unbearably taxing for the core developers of the open source project.

But amazingly, you can get more contributors to your “premium” version (and “free” version as well by extension) if you build a great partnership program around it like Pentaho has done. This is because not only the “premium” version pays Pentaho’s rent, it also helps their partners to pay their rent as well.

So yes, this isn’t the good old open source where it was all about freedom, peace, and love. This one is definitely about the money, but the twist is — it does share the wealth AND the open source bit makes it much easier for partner to participate and contribute. And in doing so, it brings back the extremely sought-after “community contribution” back in the game, which is the life/death factor for any open source project.

So Pentaho  – hats off to you guys for showing how to build a thriving community around commercial open source via a great partner program. Don’t ever go to the dark side 🙂