Pratham Books is looking for a Chief Technical Officer (CTO)

Pratham Books, a not-for-profit children’s book publisher is looking for a CTO to lead their open-source Crowdsourcing Story Publishing Platform (SPP) and Crowdsourced Library Fund Raising Platform. (FRP)
About the Story Publishing and Fund Raising Platform:Till date Pratham Books has reached millions of children but we are still very far from the goal of seeing ‘a book in every child’s hand’. In-order to scale-up and tackle this problem head-on a collaborative story publishing seems to be the best way forward.
The project at hand will build collaborative web platforms that solve the three major problems that affect children in India – a very low number of books available for them, a lack of linguistic diversity of books and a lack of access to funding for libraries and books so that children can experience the joy of reading. We will leverage communities to solve these problems and use our openly licensed content as a catalyst for these initiatives.
The first platform, SPP, will allow readers and content creators participate collaboratively, creatively and in mutually beneficial ways to translate, remix and create entirely new books using our openly licensed illustrations and stories as a starting point and make the resultant works available in a variety of standard compliant formats for reach across both digital and print mediums while providing open access to a library of digitized stories and illustrations.
The second platform, FRP, will seek to leverage the communities we have fostered to crowd-fund libraries for children where they are needed most and for whom they are needed most. The FRP idea came about as we realised that there are a number of organisations out there that are in need of books and libraries and may or may not have the social capital to raise funds to pay for. Also, we have discovered that it is hard to find
a single resource of organisations that can absorb books and libraries and are credible enough to feature on a funding platform. The work on FRP has already started.

In three years, our project will enable the continuous creation of new content in multiple languages and allow physical books to reach otherwise marginalised populations of children via crowd-funded libraries and this will help create a nation where we can begin to envisage a book in every child’s hand. All of these will be built through open source technologies and collaborations with various organisations who have already done parts of the same.

For the purpose of the SPP we need a CTO who will be a key player in the delivery of this platform. This role requires a seasoned manager and technologist who can work effectively, both independently and collaboratively, in a team environment where not everyone has a technology background. More importantly this individual needs to believe in ‘out-of-the box- solutions to tackle mass problems and should be a strong believer and propagator of use of open technologies. The idea is not to build a platform from scratch but if possible build-upon already available open source modules. The individual will be responsible for the end to end delivery of the platform. The platform has various verticals and the individual will need to work closely with the teams leading all the verticals to understand the usage scenarios. The individual will report to the project lead that will guide the direction of the project from the organization’s overall mission and goal. The
responsibility to deliver the entire platform will lie with this role along-with certain project management roles like hiring people for the backend, deciding on vendors, vendor management, keeping tabs on the budgets etc. Please see Booktype by Sourcefabric as an example of what we might want to create.
The individual will be responsible for all the following:
• Platform deliverables:
Preparing the user stories, documentation and compiling all the platform requirement and specs documents, creating the workflow maps etc
• Delivery of platform:
Deciding the key technologies to be used and why
Research to see existing modules available
Collaborating with organizations doing similar work
• People, Vendor & budget management:
Liaising with the finalized vendor working on the project
Hiring internal resources on a need-case basis
Ensuring the project is done within the budgeted resources – time, money and people
• Overall deliverables:
Ensuring the vision of the platform is never compromised
Managing the release schedules, time lines and versions
Roadmap for the future
Nice to have but not mandatory:
• A track record of leading and delivering projects, preferably open source ones.
• Experience working with non-profits.
• Domain knowledge in publishing industry, Indic language experience and digital publishing
For the FRP, while the platform is currently being developed by a group of designers and technologists mostly on a pro-bono basis, the CTO will need to be involved with future versions of this platform and managing the development of the same.
Pratham Books also has an estore and website. Regular inputs on upgrading these would also be part of the profile.
Location: Position is based out of Bangalore and is full-time. Project is expected to complete within a 18 – 24 month time-frame.
Salary: Will commensurate with experience. We are looking for a passionate individual who wants to make a difference.
Write to us: This position has been filled
Interested? Read more about what we do and why we do what we do:Research reveals that 1 in 3 school-going children cannot read fluently. Children who are unable to read are unable to learn, as they can’t understand what is being taught to them. And that contributes to the high dropout rates in schools. Fortunately many non-profit organizations are aware of this problem, and are working towards getting children to read. However, once children do learn to read, it is critical to nurture that habit, so that they begin to enjoy it, and continue to read. To cultivate a reading habit, it is essential for
children to have access to books and libraries.
In India there is a large gap for good quality affordable books in languages that our children read and learn in. Pratham Books was set up to fill this gap. As a not-for-profit publisher, our dream is to see a country where every child wants to read, is able to read, and has something good to read.
Till date, Pratham Books has published over 260 titles in English and 10 other Indian languages. That’s over 1600 books, most of which are priced below Rs 35. We have printed over 11 million books, over 10 million story cards and have a readership of nearly 50 million. Our vision is to reach 200 million children in India, and we hope to someday put ‘a book in every child’s hand’.

NOTE : This position has now been filled.


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DISCLAIMER :Everything here is the personal opinions of the authors and is not read or approved by pratham books before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here