Saturday, November 26, 2011

Indian startups, Can we change the world?

Can your startup change the world for better?....

Of late, there is a lot of talk in the media (the section of the media that covers entrepreneurship) about the shift in focus of the technology entrepreneurs in India from a service-based model to a product based model. It seems Indian IT industry is going through a metamorphosis that would transform it from being an outsourcing destination to being a builder of products that is differentiated by intellectual property and uniqueness. These two articles,  Why Silicon Valley should fear India and Indian Software Startups Similar to Excitement of Late-90s Silicon Valley that was published in Washington Post and the NASSCOM Emerge Forum makes a good case of the point. The articles also highlight the success stories of Indian start-up companies in the product space. All that is good.

The point that I would like to discuss in this blog is not whether Indian startups can build products that can compete with Silicon Valley products and get a market share. The point to ponder is whether we can build products that could change the world, or more importantly, do we BELIEVE that we can build products that can change the world. The emphasis is on belief because we are only as good as what we believe we are, all our abilities and strengths are of no use if we don't believe in ourselves. Building products that are good enough to compete in the market will only create acquisition targets, not market beaters.

Look at how India participated in the Olympics and other international sports events up till the last five or six years. The athletes who competed in the events never believed that they had any chance of getting a medal, being called an Olympian was the highest accolade to hope for. People took to sports because they could get a job in the government sector. Once in a while a Milka Singh or P T Usha will come along to give us hope, a glimpse of what we could be if that something that we missed was there.

That approach did not make us the greatest sporting nation in the world and neither will it help us to dethrone Silicon Valley, the market leader in innovation. To do that the Indian entrepreneur should have the ambition to change the world for the better. There should be a belief that it can be done, with smart thinking, hard work and never letting it go. The idea of changing the world should be woven into the thought process of the entrepreneur. The difference between a world-changing product and the second best is the difference between Google and Yahoo, Facebook and Myspace. The saying, "Winner takes it all", has never been truer than now, in the internet world.

Now to answer the question, Can your startup change the world for the better?

My answer >> Yes, We  Can!!!

What is your answer?

Rajesh Sukumaran
Finahub Internet Services.