So, what can we do to think better and right? Firstly, we need to fix the education system in India. Secondly, we need to fix our own thinking. Fixing the education system requires systemic changes to the way we are educating our youth. The problems are two-fold: changing the way teaching is done and learning happens, and also ensuring that no child is left behind. Educating a mass of nearly 200 million students requires disruptive innovations quickly if India is not to become, as Business Week speculated, a nation of dropouts. We will discuss the education challenge shortly. Lets start with our own minds.
When I look back at my formative years, I think I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to read widely. We didnt have the Internet in the 1970s and 1980s. But they did ensure that I was exposed to a wide variety of books and magazines from different areas. We could economise on other expenditures, but not on knowledge. My father, a civil engineer by profession who ran his own structural engineering consultancy, also bought a computer in the office in 1982. He had no idea how to use it himself. But he had a belief that it would be very important in the future and that emanated from his own thinking. He encouraged my mother and me to learn how to use it.
It was this multi-dimensional view of life as seen through different lenses which has helped me at different stages in my life. When I struggled with an existing business in 1993-94, it was my reading which helped me make an early bet on services delivered via the Internet. For the past few years, the discipline of the blog and the daily Tech Talk columns have helped provide a birds eye view of the technology world and a sense of how different things fit together. It has also helped connect me to people whom otherwise I would probably never have been able to meet in the normal course of life.
Atanu Dey is one such person a direct result of the blog and a connection made by Reuben Abraham. Atanu brings a different set of mental models which have helped influence some of my thinking. Also, for the past three years, a monthly Book Club meeting with three brilliant minds (Abhay Bhagat, Chetan Parikh and Karthik) has helped widen what I read and how I think.
As I think about my own mental models, the past four years have seen me expand on these and have helped build a framework to think about the next platforms for computing. What I want us to do in Netcore and its allied ecosystem companies is nothing short of reinventing computing for the next billion users. I am able to think along these lines because of the multiple mental models that have coalesced in a single space. Whether I succeed or fail is besides the point. (Obviously, Id prefer success over failure!) The key point is that because of the magnitude of the problem that we are addressing, it is important to have the right mental framework because even a small decision can be quite fatal for an entrepreneurial start-up like ours.
Tomorrow: What We Can Do
TECH TALK Multi-Model Minds+T