Going ahead, there are a few key bets that I am making. At the end of the day, these are just ideas. Execution is key if Netcore and the other companies I am involved in have to succeed. But for me, the ideas are important starting points.
The first bet is that emerging markets like India are going to be the big markets. We do not have to follow the same technology progression as users in developed markets have done. We can leapfrog. Being based in India gives us an important advantage over others because we are closer to the future markets. If we can make ideas work here, it will be easier to roll them out to other emerging markets and even perhaps to the developed markets.
The second bet is around a mobile-centric future. I tend to use the higher-end phones now a complete switch from two years ago. This gives me a glimpse of what the mass market will expect in a couple of years or less. There is little doubt that the mobile is a transformational device and an incredible opportunity. The challenge is to think through how people’s lives and businesses can benefit from mobiles which will essentially be multimedia computers, connected to the Internet over high-speed networks, and equipped with high-resolution screens.
The third is a world where broadband is a reality. In India, unfortunately, this still seems distant. But one has to assume it will happen. How can computing be reinvented in a world where connectivity is ubiquitous, cheap and high-speed? What kind of content and services will users want? How will entertainment be different?
This world view of mobility and broadband in emerging markets is at the centre of my thinking, my entrepreneurial activities and my investing. It is a world where the second-order effects will be more powerful than the first-order ones. It is more than just Web 2.0, user-generated content, video, social networking and pay-per-click. The real power of this digital infrastructure will come when it is applied to rethink vertical industries like education and healthcare. That will still take some time, but it is something which will happen sooner than we can imagine.
For me, the past fifteen years are a foundation on which to build for the future. These years have helped me build mental models which I now need to apply and leverage in the businesses I am involved in. As an entrepreneur, I have to ensure these businesses succeed. My track record on that front hasn’t been great so far, though. Hopefully, I can set some of these things right in the next fifteen!
TECH TALK 15 Years as an Entrepreneur+T