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Saturday, March 31, 2007

When Vinnie met Vivek...

I was reading vinnie mirchandani’s excellent article on India’s inflexion point in terms of our `illusion of control’ ( Vinnie credits Vivek Paul with that coinage ). Read and enjoy. Some excerpts -

“ I met Vivek Paul at the Enterprise conference a couple of weeks ago. Vivek, now an investor, was the number two guy at Wipro and helped grow its US operations rapidly in the first half of this decade. Vivek ribbed the work I do for clients in helping source technology - "You give customers the illusion of control".

We both laughed, but I walked away thinking Vivek's "illusion of control" was a more apt description of where Indian firms like Wipro find themselves after the last few years of sustained success. Their growth was particularly striking in contrast to the flat or negative growth at many Western firms.

The core strength of Indian firms continues to be in application maintenance. They have not made meaningful dents in the systems integration market - especially in projects which call for complex program management, industry knowledge or change management (something their focus on engineering talent has actually prevented them from developing organically).

But as Vivek would say - a good first step would be to get over their "illusion of control" over the IT services market.”

A real good read on the current Indian IT scene.

I have always maintained that when at least 15% of our population ( 1.1 billion that is ) take to internet for at least 50% of their daily needs of education, healthcare, shopping, career, business, leisure, travel etc., we’ll have our internet inflexion point.

Currently it is widely held that less than 2% of our population are active computer users. Most of it still use it only for routine word processing, e-mail or IM chats. This needs to improve significantly to make a dent.

That said, my benchmarks for an inflexion point/era in Indian Internet space should be viewed from a mass adoption perspective. It could be when -

a) even a kirana shopkeeper is as efficiently networked with his suppliers and customers as much as the back end of a large shopping mall.

b) we show the world how to start "positive" internet epidemics of their own in new applications ( like how we try to ape Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook etc.). The virtue of an epidemic, after all, is that just a little input is enough to get it started, and it can spread very, very quickly.

c) The ideas and local talent available tempt even Valley VCs ( the John Doerr, Paul Graham, Peter Rip types ) to open their de facto branches in India, shifting in with their bag and baggage.

d) A few internet startups made on shoestring budgets end up making hundreds of millions of dollars and we are not surprised.

Is that too much to ask ?

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Anonymous Peter Rip said...


Thanks for the mention, but you do John a disservice to group him with me and Paul Graham. John is the most brilliant VC in the history of the profession. Paul and I are just smart guys with blogs. Don't confuse notoriety for accomplishment.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Krish said...


Your single minded devotion to semantic web is well known. That focus, that commitment is highly regarded by us. Add to that the enormous sense conveyed by the thematic contents of some of the truly outstanding blog posts that you make - for me, you are a legend of course.

Despite all the hype over India's IT prowess (not entirely without merit, I agree) I know we still have a long way to go to be regarded as a serious contender globally. Recognizing our weaknesses would keep the fire burning within us and encourage us to improve our all-round delivery capabilities, not just in IT services.

On that humble note, each of you John, Paul and yourself are Gurus from whom we've gotta' learn an awesome lot. The relative pedigrees are hardly relevant since from where we stand, you guys stand way high up to notice the difference and for that to matter much.

9:25 PM  

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