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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

The Dark Side of Services

Thursday, December 07, 2006

If there is one standout sector in the new economy of India, its Information Technology Services and they ecosystem of Enabled services (ITES) they have spawned. It has created millions of jobs for young graduates, created wealth for them, has been a major factor in the Real Estate boom, contributed to a high spending middle class consumer base and most of all, given India a brand name. The back office of the world! The TCS's, Wipro's and the Infosys' of the India have captured the imagination of people all around the globe. They are great companies, something every Indian should be proud of.

But it has come at a price. The price of Innovation. Services has been such a big money puller that the product making startups in India have been laid by the wayside. They have sucked in talent, set the bar too low for them, given them mundane work and ruined their careers. For the average Ramu who has been in the industry for around 5 years, he's doing good if he is into people management, owns a Apartment somewhere, has a car and a 9 to 5 job. He is right on the path of becoming a email processor, excel sheet expert with a good knowledge of CMMI.

Unfortunately that is not what is needed to create world class products. Passion and sweat is. You have to put your ass down, write the code, test it and do the work. And keep doing the same thing for nights and nights without end. Marketing and everything else always follow the work. This is an alien culture for the vast majority of workforce out there who are just happy with a 9 to 5 job which involves handling a few fire fights, sending mails and indulging in some office politics. They cannot code and do not want to code. And they fail spectacularly when put in a situation where they are in charge.

So it came as no surprise to me when the organizers of Barcamp drew up a list and found that there are only around 100 of product startups in India. 100? Thats the number of startups which start and wind up in Silicon valley in a month I guess! This is not the only factor, but one of the major one's in my view. But the attendance of Barcamp (around 300) also proved that people are revolting against this. They are the one's on which our hopes depend. They are the harbingers change, of a brave new world.
posted by Rajiv, 1:28 AM


Good post.
I agree with most of what is said. Having worked in a startup for a reasonable amount of time and in a startup kind of atmosphere for the entire duration of my exp. I fully agree that you have to sit and do actual work to come up with world class products.
But, I don't feel that the Services industry is to be blamed fully for what is happening. The people have to take a fair amount of that blame. Coz, they chose to be there and do that kind of stuff without telling their superiors that they didn't like it. But, this sort of a question can go in circles as the question of if not this, then what would come up.
Anyway, I would be interested in knowing whether you have a list of those startups?
Said Anonymous Ramki, 5:03 AM  

you'll have to contact the barcamp or proto.in organizers for that list. i think several such lists are floating about right now.
Said Blogger Rajiv, 5:48 AM  

Hey Rajiv,

Nice point indeed. Know what, our thoughts seem to be in sync :). I was preparing to write a post on similar lines, based on the amount of research I had put into compiling that startup list. Good to see ur post. Will link to ur post from the one I will write. Gr8 job dude!

Hi Ramki,

I had prepared that startup list. Ping me just in case u need it. ( pune2th AT gmail dot com
Said Anonymous Puneeth, 9:13 PM  

Hi Rajiv,

Have added the startup list on my blog at http://puneeth.wordpress.com/2007/01/14/startups-in-india/.
Said Anonymous Puneeth, 3:21 AM  

In case you didn't know already, Slideshare has a presentation on the products that were presented at Proto.in. Check it out here.

Any idea where the next session of MoMo will happen? Wasn't able to make it to the last one.
Said Anonymous Ramki, 2:35 AM  

The next event is on March 24th. Will be good if you can make it.

I had followed PROTO.IN pretty closely. Even nominated Sloka Telecom. And also got panned for asking if anyone's gonna get funding there. :). It was a good success judging by the value it created for product startups in India. A good begining.
Said Blogger Rajiv, 2:51 AM  

Nice points from all. Product based startup has a long way to go in India. But services has sucked in the talent is not the only reason for this. There are many reasons why trend for product based startup is less:

1. Prime need is Funds - Funds to survive till your first product comes out in the market. Getting sound investors within India is not as easy as getting in Silicon valley.
2. You need experienced talent which is very costly. 1-2 year old kids cant do much.
3. Good product marketing..I have worked for a startup which was failing, but then they modified their product for a different market segment and survived.

just my thoughts.
Said Blogger subhash, 4:46 AM  

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