Who the hell is Unicon Baba? It’s a question that venture capitalists ask at parties. It’s a question startup founders ask each other when they meet. Many dread being mentioned by this anonymous Twitter user (uni_con1). It’s insanely popular in the startup circles.
Chennai based Vijay Anand was one of the many people who have been at the receiving end of several uncharitable remarks from the Unicon Baba handle. On Thursday Anand did a bit of digging and seems to have got the identity of the person running the handle.
Let’s back up a little bit. For those who don’t know Anand, he is a startup advisor and a mentor. He also runs an e-mail newsletter. Anand told FactorDaily that he started noticing a pattern a few weeks ago. Every time he would send out an e-mail, he’d see some tweet or the other from the uni_con1 anonymous handle. He summarised that the owner of the handle was also a subscriber to his e-mail newsletter and narrowed it down to a particular batch based on the time at which he sent out e-mails to that batch.
Next he went on Twitter and tried to reset the password of the user Unicon Baba. It didn’t throw up much because it led him to an e-mail address created specifically to register on Twitter. He then went on to Gmail, and tried to reset the password of firstname.lastname@example.org (this is an e-mail address used by Unicon Baba). It gave him a partially masked e-mail email@example.com.
Anand says he looked up his database of subscribers for e-mails starting with “gup” and after a few attempts hit a match. It was an e-mail called firstname.lastname@example.org tied to one Rajan Gupta, Director at U2opia Mobile. Anand has also posted this on his Facebook timeline late in the night on Thursday. Anand confronted Gupta but has not received a response yet.
FactorDaily has reached out to Unicon Baba on the e-mail listed on the Twitter account and also to Rajan Gupta. Update: Gupta denied being Unicon Baba. “Sounds absurd to me. If your email is gup***** and you are in Vijay Anand database you are unicon baba. Anyways I am enjoying the attention,” he told FactorDaily over e-mail. Meanwhile, Unicon Baba Tweeted: I don’t have time for idiots like @vijayanands I get dos like this from my followers which I tweet or retweet based on merit.
“Most of the sane voices and venture capitalists have disappeared from Twitter because of trolls. This is such an early ecosystem and it’s hard to learn if there aren’t enough conversations,” Anand told FactorDaily.
Update #1: Some readers have pointed out that Gmail accepts any e-mail when you try to reset the password. Vijay Anand says that’s not the case unless you have removed the e-mail from your Gmail account. Here’s a video by Anand which demonstrates that Gmail rejects e-mails that don’t match. FactorDaily was able to replicate Anand’s method.
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Update: 18 May 2017, 10.45 pm IST: Added links and images that were earlier missing.
Update: 19 May 2017, 7.51 am IST: Added responses from Rajan Gupta and Unicon Baba.
Update #1: 19 May 2017, 12.15 pm IST.