State of the Internet in India (Part 2)

There are three obvious and two not-so-obvious things which need to be done to get the Internet business growing again. The obvious ones:

  • Reasonable, flat-priced (unlimited use) broadband needs to grow. I think the pricing sweet spot is somewhere around Rs 250 for unlimited use for 512 Kbps-1 Mbps connectivity. Actually, the last-mile conenctivity quality is not that much of an issue — in most cases, the pricing is. Metering Internet usage isn’t a way to explode this ecosystem.
  • Computing and Internet need to get more associated with education and entertainment. This is where families who haven’t yet done so will start getting them at homes. Services don’t necessarily need to be provided for free — ISPs can bill for “value added services” as part of the bill, and revenues can be shared with the content providers. This ensures that content providers can get subscription revenue and not be dependent only on advertising, and ISPs can get additional upside than just the flat-rate data charges.
  • Investments need to start flowing again in this space — the $500K-$2 million kind, which lets companies get started, and have enough runway for 18-24 months to show the business either works (in which case they will be profitable), or it doesn’t (in which case they fold up). A hundred companies need to flower so that we get a few to succeed, and become big.

Much of this is quite obvious to people in the space. I will add two more not-so-obvious point to this mix tomorrow.

State of the Internet in India

A week or so ago, I met a couple of VC friends and we got talking about the Internet business in India. My contention was that this is perhaps a great time to build a hybrid net-mobile consumer media business — if one is willing to invest $5+ million over the next 2-3 years, and think out-of-the-box about what needs to be done.

The current crop of portals (horizontals and verticals) are too few and for the most part, unexciting. They haven’t yet become “utilities” (daily must-visits) in our lives. The content is quite insipid, and there seems to be little innovation happening on the Internet front from the larger players. For the smaller ones, it has become almost impossible to raise any kind of capital from angels or VCs, thus leading to an almost complete stagnation of the Internet base and usage in India. This has been compounded by a fall in ad revenue for many of the companies as the economy has slowed.

What can get us out of this and where are the next set of opportunities? More on this tomorrow.

Blog Past: Mass-Market Internet

This was the column that began my Tech Talk columns in November 2000. It was a vision to get India to 100 million Internet users in 3 years. Ten years later, we are still at only half that number. This is what I wrote then:

 There are 5 components to building a mass market Internet and making it a utility service:
– Access Device: Multiple options are becoming possible for accessing the Net. What will be the mode of access? Will it be the PC, TV or cellphone?
– Access Network: The telephone company still makes Rs 25/hour when we connect to the Net — significantly more than the ISP itself! Are there alternatives?
– Community Centres: 1 million telephone lines going into PCOs serve the communications needs of 75% of India. Can something similar happen with the Internet in India?
– Payment Systems: Few Indians (about 3 million) have credit cards, fewer are keen on using them on the Net! Can we eliminate billing and use pre-paid? Are smart cards the answer?
– Applications and Services: How many Indian sites make you visit them daily?

Weekend Reading

This week’s links:

  • On Education: Two interesting posts by Koshy and Atanu.
  • Four Pillars of an Open Civic System: by John Geraci. “What we really want (or what I really want anyway) is not simply government transparency, but an open civic system – a civic system that operates, and flourishes, as a fully open system, for whatever level we happen to be talking about – federal, state, city, neighborhood, whatever. And transparency is a big part of that open civic system, but it is still only one part.”
  • Jeff Bezos at Wired conference: An interesting collection of quotes. “People over-focus on errors of commission. Companies over-emphasize how expensive failure’s going to be. Failure’s not that expensive….The big cost that most companies incur are much harder to notice, and those are errors of Omission.”
  • The Start-up Guru: Inc magazine on Paul Graham. “His company, Y Combinator, is a hybrid venture capital fund and business school that invests in, advises, and, literally, feeds 40 or so early-stage businesses a year. Investments are small — less than $25,000 per company — but Graham supplements the money with smart advice, introductions to later-stage investors, technical help, and a sense of community.”
  • The Power of Mind Mapping: from Forbes. “Mind mapping, a form of visual outlining, may seem superficial, but once mastered it provides a powerful tool for managing information overload and the hyperbolic multitasking of the modern world.”

London Vacation: Memories

I will remember this London vacation for the time I spent with Abhishek.On work days now, I hardly get to see him since he tends to sleep by 8 pm. In London, it was just him and me for the most part during the day. We would walk together for long stretches, travel on trains and buses, or just sit together eating some food in Starbucks. He was full of questions, and I did my best to patiently answer each of them. He was also a little worried at times that we hadn’t left anything behind in the taxi, bus or train – ever since I lost a bag in a Singapore taxi during our vacation a year ago.

The last day that we spent with my school friend and his family (wife and 11-year-old daughter, Nisha) was also an especially memorable one. When we temporarily parted mid-day (they had a booking to go see London Dungeon), I noticed a tinge of sadness in Abhishek’s eyes – he had gotten so friendly with Nisha. That evening, we sat in their hotel room and watched as Nisha taught Abhishek a few card games – and Abhishek actually learnt to follow the instructions given!

I don’t know what Abhishek will remember of this vacation, but for me, there are many moments which will stay on for a long time.

For much of my life, Vacations were something that I never really bothered about. Now, I am already looking forward to the next one – so I get to spend more time with Abhishek!

London Vacation: Food

Food was one of our concerns given that we eat only Jain food (no onions and garlic) and in Bhavana’s case no potatoes either. On the first day, we ate lunch and dinner at Govinda’s (near the ISKCON temple) on Soho Street. The food was excellent. Dinner for the next three days was with friends – home food on two of the days! Another couple places which we sampled were on Drummond Street (Chutney’s and Ravi Shankar). Both serve vegetarian fare, but the Jain options are very limited.On our first night in London, we had gone to the nearby Sainsbury’s and stocked ourselves with plenty of bread, cereal, fruits, chips and juice, to complement some of the stuff we had taken from India. We’d keep sandwiches with us to eat through the day along with biscuits and nuts.

So, overall, food was much less of an issue than I thought. The kitchen in the hotel ensured that we’d have our full breakfast early in the morning before we set out for the day. It also meant that Bhavana could make her very special self-made Indian tea whenever we were there! And after 17 years, I was back to doing the dishes.

Tomorrow: Memories

London Vacation: Sightseeing

I had thought of going to some of the historical destinations in London, but decided to leave it for another time when Abhishek is a little older and better able to appreciate their significance. Bhavana had seen most of these places during her previous visit (while I had done my business meetings).What we did do instead was go to Bath for a few hours. It takes 90 minutes by train and is out in the English countryside. Bhavana had visited it last time and had loved the place. The train ride is very relaxing. We took the Bath sightseeing bus ride to get a flavour of the place. Abhishek fell asleep during the 30-minute tour. Lunch was a picnic in the Garden – perhaps the first time I have done something like this. We ate our sandwiches sitting on the beach-like chairs in the shade of a tree even as some birds hovered nearby.

It was only on the last day that we did a bit more of the touristy sightseeing, as we walked on London Bridge and then to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I remembered some of these places from my 1981 visit when we had done a formal tour of London.

On our next trip, I hope we can spend some time in the museums — especially, the Science and Natural History ones.

Tomorrow: Food

London Vacation: Shopping

We all had our own shopping agendas – for Bhavana, it was looking for something different and buying gifts for the extended family, for Abhishek, it was toys and more specifically cars (Hamley’s or Imli’s as he initially called it), and for me, it was books. And we found it all in the Oxford-Regent Street areas.On our first day, with no Tube, we walked from our hotel to Oxford Street. Took about an hour and a half. But it was a nice walk diagonally through Hyde Park. Except for a little drizzle on the first day morning, the weather was just perfect through the trip.

I found plenty of bookshops – Waterstones and Borders on Oxford Street, Foley’s (it is huge – five floors of books) on Charing Cross Road, and Border’s and Blackwell opposite it. I wanted to buy a new board game “Settlers of Catan” (had read about it in a Wired magazine article a few months ago), and I found it in Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue just off Charing Cross. Border’s had Starbucks in them, so that was a good place for Abhishek and me to eat our ‘tiffin’ every once in a while.

Abhishek’s two favourites were The Disney Store (Oxford Street) and Hamley’s (Regent Street). He had left India with six of his cars to play with, and we augmented that collection by another eleven during the trip.

Bhavana spent hours walking around Oxford Street. We would leave her on her own for the most part, using SMS to co-ordinate when and where to meet again!

The other nice place we liked was Covent Garden. We had visited it during our previous trip. Abhishek loved the Transport Museum.

Tomorrow: Sightseeing

London Vacation

This was my third visit to London. I first visited London with my parents and sister as a 14-year-old as part of an SOTC package tour to Europe. The second visit was about 7-8 years to attend a Development conference organised as part of a UN body. This third one was a five-day vacation with Bhavana and four-year-old Abhishek.We took the day flights of Jet Airways both ways. It was literally quite refreshing to not be flying out of India in the middle of the night! As soon as we landed in Landon, the Tube strike started. It made travel within London that much more difficult.

We stayed at the Citadines South Kensington. Because of our food restrictions (Jain food), we like to do some bit of cooking (breakfast atleast). Citadines has service apartments. It is nicely located, a 3-minute walk from Gloucester Road Tube station. The rooms were a wee bit small. There was an internal staircase connecting the lower level living room and kitchen to the bedroom on the upper level. Abhishek loved going up and down.

We spent most of the days going around London, except for the one day we went to Bath We met with some of my friends (and their families) for dinner. The Sunday we spent with one of my closest friends (we have known each other for 30 years) walking around London and catching up on old times.

Overall, it was a very nice vacation – perhaps a little short! But then that is always the case with vacations.

Tomorrow: Shopping

Blog Past: Leadership Lessons from Lagaan

This one was one of my early Tech Talks (from 2001), and one that I enjoyed writing a lot. It was about the lessons one could learn from watching the movie “Lagaan.” I wrote it on 5 parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. An excerpt:

Lagaan is about people. Ordinary, average people, who are going about their lives – like each of us. Who, when the moment demands, do extraordinary deeds. It is about the power of a Team – the muthi (”closed fist”). As a team, they were fighting for the future of tens of thousands of their countrymen against a heartless enemy (the British). They had few resources, and little knowledge of the game of cricket. What they did not lack was fighting and team spirit, and the will to win. They were not playing a game; they were fighting a war.

The India of today, too, faces a lot of challenges. If we can learn from Bhuvan and his bunch of motley cricketers, the New India that is being built can be a different place, one which occupies pride of place in the world economy, one which is respected and feared but not ignored, one in which the community and nation come before self, one which Bhuvan’s XI would have been proud of.

Weekend Reading

This week’s links:

  • How the Web Changed the Economics of News: by Paul Bradshaw
  • The Impending Demise of the University: by Don Tapscott. “The old-style lecture, with the professor standing at the podium in front of a large group of students, is still a fixture of university life on many campuses. It’s a model that is teacher-focused, one-way, one-size-fits-all and the student is isolated in the learning process. Yet the students, who have grown up in an interactive digital world, learn differently.”
  • The New New Economy: from Wired. “The next new economy, the one rising from the ashes of this latest meltdown, will favor the small.”
  • Dotcoms are back (in India): from Business World.
  • The Global Food Crisis: from National Geographic on “the end of plenty.”

Two Questions on Empires and Scale

During my London trip, there were two questions that I started thinking over.

  • Why is it that only some countries built out empires? In this context, why did India not go outward and build out an empire? The answer matters now because I see a similar story playing out in the global business space. A related question would be: is it possible for the “next big idea/thing” to originate in India?
  • Why do we think at such a small scale in India? This hit me when I got into a ridiculously small lift at the Mumbai airport to go one level down (and bypass a big queue). The lift was for the airline crew to use. [I used the “travelling with children” line to get in.] Considering that it is for use for crew with at least one bag, the lift could barely fit 5-6 people. It was the same story at Mumbai airport’s recently constructed car pick-up point. Why do we in India think at such a small scale? This story has been repeated time and again. Can’t we think bigger? What holds us back? [On this point, as I read somewhere: The recently constructed eight-lane Bandra-Worli sea link will see four lanes merge into a single lane at a T-junction at the Worli end. Can’t we even think?]

Day International Flight Departures

I will write about my London vacation next week. I wanted to first share the joy of not taking a flight out of India in the middle of the night!

We took the 12:55 pm Jet Airways flight to London. For the first time ever, I did not end up being groggy eyed by the time I boarded the aircraft. We reached London at 5:45 pm local time, and the hotel at 7:15 pm. We had a good sleep, and were completely fresh the next morning. Yes, we theoretically lost a day in travel, but when one is on vacation, it doesn’t matter! Also, there as no jet lag that we encountered because of the day flight. So, all in all, I quite liked the fact that we now have a choice of airlines that will leave at ‘earthly’ times from Mumbai for international destinations.

On our return, we took the 9:30 am Jet flight from London which was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai at 10:50 pm local time — it ended up landing at 11:30 pm because of a delayed departure and hovering over Mumbai due to congestion. Again, it ensured that there was no jet lag since we got a good night’s sleep on our return home.

For the record, we (Bhavana, Abhishek and I) flew Economy class both ways.  Very comfortable. Jet also has very good inflight entertainment opportunities so it is quite easy to pass time. And we had Abhishek for entertainment, too!

Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 8)

Opposition Party Role: Credible and Substantive

Finally, the BJP has to accept its role as the leading Opposition Party in India for the next five years. There are three things that the party can do which can help it win back the confidence of voters who were disappointed with some of the party’s antics during the previous five years.

First, the BJP must appoint a Shadow Cabinet by taking up 10 key ministries. It needs to complement the ‘ministers’ by teams of professionals on the outside who can give appropriate inputs. This will help in showcasing the emerging talent within the BJP and also ensure that the party is seen as a credible national alternative to the Congress.

Second, the BJP needs to take up specific issues pertaining to development and governance, and raise awareness about these. For this, the party needs to segment the voter base into 8-10 buckets, and then see what issues strike a chord with people in the various segments. This will also help the party start to re-connect with the grassroots.

Third, the party needs to also consider its own Legislation in Parliament. Just because it is in Opposition doesn’t mean that it cannot do so. It needs to ensure that proper debate takes place – the Bills may not get passed, but at least it can present alternatives to the nation.

In other words, the party needs to play the role of a constructive Opposition party which takes the Indian Parliamentary system seriously.  Much of this was missing over the previous five years.

Conclusion

The BJP needs to think differently going ahead. It is going to compete in 2014 with a Congress which will have the wind behind its back, a youthful leadership, a plank of development and perhaps good governance, and no shortage of resources. Playing by the book will not get the BJP to power in 2014. It will need to think hard on what the Achilles Heel of the Congress will be (and there will be). But for it to be in a position to capitalise on that, the BJP first needs to get the basics of Ideology, Leadership, Organisation and Opposition Party role in order. Only on that foundation can it hope to mount a serious challenge to a resurgent Congress.   The decisions the BJP makes now will decide whether the BJP remains a two-decade wonder or something more potent and transformational in Independent India’s history.

Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 7)

Organisation (continued)

With this background, how is it that the BJP can create a process by which it can keep winning – and winning. Here are the elements that it needs to create:

  • On-Ground Presence: BJP needs to create Constituency-level teams that keeps working through the years, builds database of people (supporters, undecideds, etc.), and has constant visibility through the years. This helps in creating and protecting ‘market share’ for the party. Voters must be able to interact, get problems solved, etc. The team must include 1-2 ‘leaders’ with a clean, professional background who could even contest the election if needed.
  • Funding: There needs to be a way by which the BJP can collect micropayments. Currently, the party relies on a few large donors. This needs to be complemented by millions of people giving Rs 100-1000 per year. This money pool is not being tapped into. By getting people to make small contributions, the party will also get their implicit commitment and votes.

Taken together, these two components can create a strong foundation. The Funding must take care of the On-Ground Presence, and that presence will in turn provide the Funding – creating a model that can be scaled up across India.  This needs to create a presence at all 3 levels – corporation (or panchayat in rural areas), state, Lok Sabha.

In addition, the party needs to activate its sources of youth leadership (BJYM, ABVP) to expand the base to attract those in sync with the party’s ideology, work closely with the RSS through the latter’s social programmes, and create new channels like the Friends of BJP which can connect with urbanising Middle India. The party needs to start appealing to the new, younger India with a contemporary message – thus expanding its base.

The party also needs to encourage and enable lateral entry of youth and professionals into it – they will bring freshness and enthusiasm along with their own networks which can help diversify the party’s base.

The party must start ensuring that it is present in every one of the 543 constituencies of India. States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala account for about 150 seats – and the party has barely a presence there. This needs to change.

The old way of fighting and winning elections has to change. Through these initiatives, the party can create something new and modern, and something even more powerful because this will create a market share (in votes) which no other party will be easily able to break into.

Tomorrow: Opposition Party Role, Conclusion

Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 6)

Organisation: Efficient and National

With clarity of Ideology and a decisive Leader in place, half the battle will have been won for the BJP. The next step has to be start rebuilding the party organisation based on merit and morality. It also needs to expand its footprint nationally, especially in the four states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal.

If there are three values that need to permeate the organisation, they are these:

  • Integrity: there must be no compromise on honesty
  • Courage:  so one can make bold decisions without fear
  • Nation First: this is easier said than done

 There needs to be a radically different outlook to rebuilding the organisation, because the current system is broken.

A fundamental rethink needs to be done on how political parties fight elections. Let us first understand what the issues are, and then we can discuss solutions. There are three key problems that afflict political parties as they go into the elections:

  • Selection of Candidates: It seems silly but parties just cannot seem to be able to get good enough candidates to fight in most constituencies! So, they are either transplanted from other areas or taken from the opposition. In some cases, there is so much legacy that people well past retirement age continue to fight. (A related issue even for sitting MPs is that most haven’t done any real work at the constituency level and so face a tough time getting re-elected.)
  • Outreach to Voters: This comes down to actual communications and interaction with voters. To start with, a “3D map” of the constituency needs to created (location, profile, contact information) along with a feedback system to initiate and continue the conversation with the constituents. There is a message that needs to be communicated. Everyone seems to wake up only towards election time. What if this was not the case? What if this was a continuous engagement process? Parties and voters would both benefit.

Of course, there are various other factors which affect a candidate’s prospects – the opposition, caste/community issues, national perceptions (“waves”), etc. What is increasingly clear is that Indians can reward good governance least at the state level as has been seen in recent state elections. So, development can trump caste equations – at least in an increasingly larger part of India.

In a nutshell, in urbanising India, a combination of a good candidate affiliated with the right party with a deep outreach programme to voters, and complemented by adequate funding and continuing engagement through the years can create a foundation for victory. A win will not be guaranteed of course, but without these factors, one has to start relying on all kinds of other things (vote cutting candidates, caste calculations, etc.)

Tomorrow: Organisation (continued)

Blog Past: Knowledge@Wharton Interview

An excerpt from my Knowledge@Wharton interview in October 2006:

Given the way that mobile phones have taken off in India during the past four to five years, I am convinced that more people in India will access the Internet through mobile phones than through computers linked to narrowband or broadband connections. We need to start thinking about the mobile Internet differently than we do about the PC Internet.

For me, three words help define the mobile Internet. They are: now, near and new. “Now” is about what is happening right now in real time. Wherever I am, I can find the latest cricket scores or the top news stories because my mobile phone is always with me. “Near” is about location — it can be as small as a neighborhood or it could be a city. If I’m about to take a flight this evening, could I get an alert on my mobile phone if the flight is delayed? Some of this is starting to happen, but it needs to happen a lot more. It could make a real difference to people’s lives. Finally, “new” is about new stuff in which I might be interested. Just as a search engine like Google is a good way to find material that has been published in the past, the mobile phone is a great way to keep in touch with future or incremental content. If there is a sale, it should be possible for my book store to send me an alert and suggest business books that I might find interesting.

In other words, the shape of the Internet in India going forward could be rather different than it was in the past. The closest analogy I can think of is Japan during 1999-2000, when NTT DoCoMo’s i-Mode wireless Internet service took off. That happened because it was an open platform. The challenge is to open the mobile platform to content and other service providers. That’s one thing that needs to change.

Weekend Reading

This week’s links:

  • Megastudy: Bill Gurley writes about an interesting South Korean online education company.
  • How IBM Plans to Win Jeopardy!: from Technology Review. “IBM’s Watson will showcase the latest tricks in natural-language processing.”
  • Building the Smart Grid: from The Economist. “By promoting the adoption of renewable-energy technology, a smart grid would be good for the environment—and for innovation.”
  • How the Mighty Fall: by Jim Collins. A book excerpt in Business Week.
  • Cloud-based Messaging: by Fred Wilson. “Web apps are gaining the ability to be functional offline. Which makes them work as mission critical messaging systems. And messages are being hosted in the cloud which creates the kind of scalability needed for a world in where we generate hundreds of messages a day to groups not individuals and want them archived forever. Mobile is also a big part of this. For messaging, the triple play appears to be cloud based storage, a web app that can be used offline, and great mobile support.”

Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 5)

Leadership (continued)

Lest this be misunderstood, I am not asking for an authoritarian leader. I am asking for a Strong leader. And there is a difference. Strong leadership does not mean authoritarian leadership. I am asking for someone who can go out there and make the tough decisions that are needed. Someone who listens and acts — and doesn’t just try and please all around by either not making the hard decisions, or making weak decisions, or worse, not taking any decisions at all. Someone who doesn’t just sit around analysing the problem to death. Someone who inspires. I don’t have specific names in mind — what I am saying is that leadership matters. India has had weak leadership for a long time. That needs to change. This is not saying the same thing as putting an “authoritarian leader” in place.

Leaders can also be made. The BJP may not get the perfect leader, but if there is potential in someone, they need to give him the charge and let him grow into it. The party elders need to mentor him and get him ready for battle.

This decision on the New Leader can be only made by two people: LK Advani because he has the stature and legacy, and Mohan Bhagwat (who heads the RSS) because has a shared responsibility for the party’s future. Between them, they have to select the New Leader – and do so quickly. Everything else follows from this One Decision.

To make this decision, the two of them need to short-list people, and talk to them at length about their vision for the BJP, for the country, what they would do if given the responsibility. They also need to reference-checks on the people. And finally, they need to make a Decision. And get everyone else to fall in line.

Unfortunately for those in the party in their 60s and 70s, India has just skipped a generation. It is the harsh reality of life. It happens in tech, and the Indian voters just did that to our politics. The older generation has to mentor the new team through the next five years so they can take on the Congress team in 2014.

The BJP is where the Democratic Party was in the US in 2004. There too, the country re-elected their previous Head (Bush) despite misgivings of a broad section of people. And out of those depths emerged a new leader to take the country forward. 4-5 years is a long time in politics. BJP can win – and win big – in 2014. But for that, it has to recognise the depth of the problem, and be determined to make every hard decision to take us forward.  The BJP needs to find its Obama – an inspirational leader who can interface with the RSS, rally the cadre, and inspire the masses. Without the right leadership at this critical juncture, little else can be done.

Monday: Organisation

Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 4)

Leadership: Decisive and Dynamic

The BJP and RSS have to first stop living in denial. There needs to be an acceptance that there is a deep set of problems that need fixing.  This election was not one where the BJP “lost just 20-odd seats.” It has to be seen from the point that the victor got 52% more votes and 78% more seats than the BJP. The BJP’s national vote aggregate is the lowest since 1991; its ‘market share’ is falling in a growing market (of voters).

One has to get to the core to start the revival process – and that core starts with Leadership. It always has. BJP’s votebank isn’t the transactional kind (the one that votes because of some immediate financial gain), it is the aspirational kind. India is a country where, for the most part, Congress has the default vote. For the BJP to win, it needs to do more. Its voters need to be inspired. It needs to be led.

Before anything else, BJP needs to get a New Leader. A leader who is given charge of the party for the next 5 years with a free hand. A leader who can rebuild the party. This leader may or may not be the prime ministerial candidate in 2014 – that bridge can be crossed later. The first goal is to get the internal house in order and win back the trust and confidence of people, before one starts making dreams of winning the 2014 elections. That will happen if the former happens.

What are the attributes of this New Leader?

  • Achievement is his (her) hallmark, and not Surname/Dynasty.
  • Age – in the 40s or 50s. Because BJP will have to fight an election in 2014 against a 43-year-old, because more than half of India is less than 35, and because over half of India will be urban and can be reasoned or emotionally swung.
  • Moderate in stance; Right of centre thinking
  • Caste / Religion doesn’t matter
  • Excellent Oratorial (and writing) skills – in English and Hindi (at the minimum)
  • A good listener
  • One who can take critical feedback directly and improve
  • Maintains self-control
  • A life story that can enthrall; someone who has risen from an ordinary background and come up the hard way in life
  • Someone Middle India can connect to
  • One who can make tough decisions
  • One who can inspire; “infectious enthusiasm” is the need of the hour
  • One who has tremendous Learnability – because the past is no guide to the future
  • One who can think out-of-the-box – and has shown an ability to do this in the past
  • One who is willing to devote the next 10+ years to a single cause – BJP and India
  • One who is a Team player – and willing to get in better people than himself

Tomorrow: Leadership (continued)