Making Indians Richer

Karun Philip: “My projects are aimed more at making Indians (and other developing countries) richer rather than technology cheaper. In short, imagine if the rupee reached 10 rupees to the dollar…India-domiciled wealth would be 5 times more valuable and technology would be affordable by a huge number of people. In the book , I show how to potentially do this while increasing jobs at the same time.”

Karun’s an old friend…good to get back in touch with him. The theories should be interesting to read, especially for those of us who can remember the USD dollar at Rs 8 or so (vs its Rs 50 now)! Personally, I know more about technology than finance. The end-objectives are the same: how can emerging markets and their people grow, afford new technology and enrich their quality of lives. Either their purchasing power becomes greater (Karun’s viewpoint in K-Capital) or lower-cost technology needs to be developed (what Emergic is about). A mix of both is perhaps what’s needed.

Real-time Weblogs

Dave Winer on Real-time blogs: “In no more than a couple of years, probably a lot less, conferences will seek out people who write weblogs to broaden the reach of their conferences.”

For people who are in some of the emerging markets of the world, weblogs and audio/video broadcasts are bridging the digital divide. While conferences enable great networking and there’s no replacement for the face-to-face interactions, from a knowledge-gathering and mind-broadening point of view, reading the blogs and listening to the talks via the Internet is a great help. Through bloggers, one can get multiple viewpoints of the presentation in near-real-time. This type of feedback mechanism isn’t possible easily even at a conference.

TECH TALK: Can We Change (Part 2)

Think and Act Entrepreneurially: Use the means on hand to devise ways to get to the goals. There are plenty of things we can do if we are willing to win differently, think disruptively. Why should our technology be dollar-denominated? Why cannot India build software products? Why cannot our exports grow faster? Listen to some ideas from Clay Christensen, Mark Johnson and Darrell Rigby in Foundations for Growth: How to Identify and Build New Businesses in Sloan Management Review (Spring 2002): Companies seeking to create disruptive growth should first search for ways to compete against non-consumption: peoples inability to use products or services because they are too expensive or complicated. Its much easier to target potential customers who arent buying at all than to steal customers from an entrenched competitor. India has plenty of non-consumers. Turn them into consumers and there are a billion others who are potential customers. No market research is going to help these markets dont even exist! Ready-Fire-Aim.

Separate Indians from India: This may seem a crazy, secessionist idea, but wait! What I mean is that we have to forget the surroundings we live in and create pockets of excellence around us, and in our work and lives. Think of ourselves as ants, who go about doing their activities, relying on local feedback and interactions. The higher-level colonies emerge. India needs to become an emergent system, where the whole becomes smarter than the sum of the parts. But for that, the parts — the Indians have to do their bit.

Write a Weblog: Write what we think. It may not be perfect, it never will be. But lets write and share our ideas. Let a million bloggers bloom. Lets show the world that what they can do, we can do better. Lets get our stories out. Ideas are commodities. If we can all talk about what we are doing, it will not only save others plenty of thinking time, but it also gives them the base on which to build on. Its like a relay. Today, we force each other to go to the starting line again and again with the result that no one finishes the race. Lets bootstrap. Theres enough of a big wide world. Lets kill the competition, not each other.

Im a strong believer in the power of ideas and individuals. It is we who make up India. Today, India is much less than the sum of what Indians can do. This is what has to change. For that, each of us has to start, in the words of Paulo Coelho, listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along lifes path and above all following our dreams.

This is why alchemy exists, the boy said. So, that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in former life. Lead will play its role until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself into gold. Thats what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse.Each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new destiny. [The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho]

Only then will Indias Anguish become Indias Alchemy.