Coolie Valley

“50% Silicon Valley firms are run by Indians”, tells Raghav Kher, founder and CEO, Seventymm – India’s first online movie rental service.

The term “coolie valley” was coined as a reflection of India’s IT ecosystem. Personally speaking, I would want to see more IT/ITeS entrepreneurs in India itself. We have yet to diversify and progress from being “coders & techies” to “independent IT managers & small-business owners”.

Agreed, we have the best of the engineers leading at NASA, Microsoft, Sun and a whole bunch. Indian outsourcing companes like TCS, Wipro, Satyam and a whole other bunch, excell at providing IT enabled services and less-expensive offshoring options. But tell me ONE “global” IT product that has a “Made in India” tag on it. Do we lack the resources to build independent IT solutions on our own capabilities? I don’t think so. Do we lack the sales, marketing or support base to sell our products world-wide? I don’t think so. Then what is it that stands between us and our entrepreneur self.

I think, as professionals, and to some extent as individuals, we lack “courage” do go out there and do our own thing. This is just my personal opinion. At the grass root level, a vast majority of the IT workforce of the most progressive economy in the present time, lacks that risk taking ability. We are content to stay inside the so called “comfort zone” for some reason (maybe a social phenomenon). But we forget, opportunities stem from out-of-the-box. Risks, with mitigation, is a critical growth component in today’s competitive global market.

A couple of months back when I read Gaurav Bhatnagar’s blog, I was thrilled to see one unconventional soul. Gaurav, an IIT’ian, left his job at Microsoft to incubate Tekriti software. And there are many like Gaurav, but those numbers don’t measure up evidently.

Raghav Kher gives some good advice …

  • Go after your passion, if you have a passion for anything you will be very successful, I tell my kids also if you want a be a rock star, pursue it!
  • There are huge opportunities in India. All you need to do is prioritise your ideas and work hard.
  • Don’t be afraid to make any mistakes because you are bound to make mistakes.
  • If one start-up fails, it doesn’t mean that you will also lose, it is a great learning experience.

And yes, I’m aiming to be a budding entrepreneur myself! How? You’ll hear more on that in the next few weeks!

I am not a teacher,
only a fellow traveller of whom you asked the way.
I pointed ahead,
ahead of myself as well as of you.

[George Bernard Shaw]

Update [9th Nov]

I was talking to a good friend today, who also happens to be a technology enthusiast. He read this article of mine and asked me a simple and valuable question, “What good will entrepreneurship do?”

I explained to him what I feel on this issue:

1. Independent IT shops (product based) and small-businesses will bring in additional foreign exchange in the economy;

2. It will boost your revenue and personal income (yes, you CAN earn more than your current salary from running a small self-managed IT firm);

3. It will help you follow your passion (if you are really passionate about IT at the first place, and its not just a job for you);

4. It will help you explore your ideas and concepts in a much more open & dynamic environment;

5. You’ll be your own boss!

6. It will help you a lot in personal growth by solidifying your decision-making and risk-mitigation capabilities;

7. You’ll be promoting India’s IT dynamics, specially in the product domain.

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