The time around Christmas and New Year is when one ends up meeting a number of friends who are settled abroad. This year was no different. And there were three topics which were common in most discussions: Satyam, Pakistan and the Slowdown. Here is a summary of what I would say on each of them:
Satyam: There had to have been some deeper reason for Raju to make the decision he did. I have met him twice – in 1999 (a short meeting when Sify, a separate Internet company founded by Satyam, bought my company) and 2000 (when I was invited to participate in a 3-day Executive Leadership session led by Harvard faculty at the Hyderabad campus). I came away deeply impressed with Raju on both occasions – especially, his openness, his intellect, his willingness to think long and make bold bets (Sify was one such venture). Perhaps, there was a cash crunch which necessitated a bailout at the Maytas companies. It will probably help Satyam and Raju if he stated (blogged?!) the real reasons – and then let everyone decide whether he did right or wrong.
Pakistan: War is not the solution. The only effective response India can probably give is to create an undercover team that goes after the perpetrators wherever they are. This is something we have to learn from Israel and also the covert CIA operations globally. (Maybe I have been reading too many fictionalised accounts of these!) We can beg and plead of the US and Pakistan for help but nothing is going to happen.
Slowdown: Yes, there is one. And it will stay for some time. But businesses like ours are too small and insignificant to really be impacted by it. And while other bigger players are distracted, it is a great opportunity to build innovative products and solutions. As a small company, one can only cut costs up to a point. At the end, the only thing that matters is revenue growth. And that will always happen if one has the right solutions and the right pitch to potential customers.