Sunday, January 28, 2007

Google was not founded in India

Why not?

So - why has India consistently failed to come up with a notable innovation or idea in the field of Software - a field in which india is supposed to be pretty good.

Well - India may have failed - Indians have not. THAT is a difference thats important to understand. Indians seem to perform quite well in foreign climates, and seem to be ordinay when it comes to innovations and idea's in India.

This in my opinion is a direct result of 'Climate'. There is no dearth of ideas even within India, but when it comes to spinning these ideas into successful commercial products or companies, there is miserable failure. The climate referred here is the entire system - required to support and grow a innovative company or for that any company! The problems that indian entrepreneurs face have been documented well by many people, and referred to in the past on this blog too.. so will leave out that.

But - lets see what caused a hypothetical Google's early demise when it was being founded in India :
  • The company registration clerk got smart - and kept delaying registration.
  • The ordinary office space had no reliable supply of electricity, unless they moved to a posh location.
  • Working out of garage or such low cost means was not permitted because of govt. regulations.
  • When the search engine gained some popularity - someone used it to search porn. A lawyer sitting in small town filed a series of PILs against the company accusing it of providing a platform for searching porn. The CEO was summoned by the legal system.
  • Inspite of explaining that google (remember bazee?) was just a search engine and people could use it for any purpose. Just as govt. cannot be held accountable for someone using the road to break traffic laws - just because it happened to build that road, google cannot be held accountable for someone using it for searching porn.
  • But the difference was lost in special legal clauses, and CEO was to directed attend hearings for next few years regularly without fail. (If i am not mistaken the fine for filing a frivolous PIL is something in tune of a few thousand Rupees. Oh well...)

    Google was shut down, and 100 other companies with crazy ideas, shut shop immediately. Most moved abroad.

Would Lakshmi Mittal be the same man today - if he had chosen to do his entrepreneurial stuff in India? Almost all his successful ventures when he was growing really fast - are stories from abroad. Perhaps things are changing.. but is this pace of change good enough?

p.s: Anyone seen Guru?


At 11:30 AM, Blogger DeepBlue said...

Was thinking about this movie 'Guru ' while going through your blog and then saw that written in your p.s!!
Somebody tells me it is based on Dhirubhai's rise but have to see it myself.
Back to your post :
Explore the success stories of the people who have made it big in India itself ?? Making it big in such a 'climate' is a bigger challenge and is more probably more fulfilling if you do it in your country !
But - We do need a revolution to change this 'climate' and we people passionate about bringing this change need to be a part of this !!

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Musings on India said...

deep blue i agree that doing something in one's own country might be more satisfying but i dont think anyone would mind the government getting some brains and make life easier for entrepreneurs rather than putting roadblocks that can dwarf mt. everest. being an entrepreneur is a huge challenge in itself. i hope we are not confusing patriotism with the ease of doing business.

At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Sajith M said...

Guru is almost 90% inspired by Dhirubhai's life :-)

Yes, it is about he rose to great heights and in the process twists/turns/bends a few rules and regulations. The fact that in those years you needed a permit to set up machinery, had a quota of how much you could produce, and in effect needed government permission to make profit, justifies the means (IMO)

Back to the article, the registration is not that tough (I know one guy who recently registered a company without much trouble), but setting up a company in a garage might be illegal (Delhi sealing comes to mind), and of course it does not help that the law makes an ass of itself on anything related to technology (Bazee and Orkut come to mind)

If you compare the present climate to the one that existed in 70s and 80s, things have improved. Sadly, many hurdles still remain.

At 3:23 AM, Blogger Pegasus said...

man u have some acid in your tongue... good to know that there are people like me who are frustrated with the system...but still have not lost their hope...
they use the blogs to increase the awareness


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