Open-Source and India
I gave a presentation (PPT, 202 KB) recently in Pune on open-source at a workshop organised by the local CSI chapter. I cannot help but think that India is missing a golden opportunity when it comes to leading the world in the development of open-source software. India has the maximum to benefit, and yet we continue to hardwire Microsoft products in our tenders and curriculum. Piracy and non-consumption are not the solutions. What is needed for a few people to come together and provide leadership and co-ordination for the open-source community in India.
All it needs are a few people. Take a look at many of the revolutions that have been started. They all began with one, and others joined along the way. From Gandhi to Linux Torvalds, we have a lot to learn from these pioneers who beloved that it is possible to take on the establishment and bring about change. India needs these change leaders.
What is needed for one or a few to articulate a vision for what India should do in the field of open-source, articulate a roadmap and provide ways by which others can contribute in their own small ways. This needs top-down thinking and bottom-up execution. India and Indians should be at the leading edge in pioneering and championing the next software advances. We have the armies, what is missing are the generals.
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the difficulties one faces and the working out solutions for each of these challenges. Entrepreneurship is about imaging the impossible and making it a reality. There are many moments which one wishes one could fast-forward, but life is not a VCR. Each moment, each scene has to be played through sequentially however unpleasant it may be. These are the true tests for entrepreneurs the crucible. Each of these challenges enriches and teaches in a way no textbook or management course can.
One of the things I have found useful when faced with challenging situations is to make to someone else. It is easier said than done, because few of us like to open up with people on the outside or like to seek help. But just the talking, just the brainstorming can help the answers come out from within ourselves. I would go to the extent of saying that it would be nice if entrepreneurs could pair up (somewhat like extreme programming.) The ideal companion would be someone who is also an entrepreneur, but is no way related to the business. One should be able to periodically able to talk openly to the companion, knowing fully well that there is no hidden agenda the other person has.
Life at the top is lonely. Everyone needs a friend. Maybe some of the social networks can help pair entrepreneurs together?!
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