Saturday, November 20, 2010

Can India Build A Silicon Valley?

Before going further, I want to set my own definitions of Silicon Valley right. By Silicon Valley, I do not refer to a bunch of start-ups & multi-billion corporations providing services to the world with almost no innovation to touch the lives of common people. I specifically mean a bunch of start-ups & big corporations that rely heavily on innovation and research to produce world-class products, services and utilities. Even two decades after its foray into the world of Information Technology, it’s sad and surprising that India wasn’t able to come up with it’s own Google, Microsoft, Apple, FourSquare, Ebay and so on. I am not neglecting few of the startups that did – but remained mostly limited to specific regions or India. There are few start-ups that need time, however they are so scarce in number compared to the number of engineers work in the IT.
I believe in any country, start-ups are majorly responsible for bringing innovation and economic growth. For if a start-up is successful, it generates wealth & employment. I believe India has most of the the basic ingredients necessary for building its own silicon valley except the social acceptance of failure of entrepreneurs. There are thousands of talented entrepreneurs in India, with many Earth-Shattering start-up ideas working in Indian MNCs but they won’t quit their jobs to build start-ups on their ideas.
The reason behind this reluctance to work for star-ups or build their own start-ups comes from the social pressure – to settle early, to get married early and build your own home early; preferably by 30. If you are 25 and not earning money – you are treated as a failure and a social outcast. Many entrepreneurs cannot withstand this pressure and give up. What could have been then next Google just rusts inside the brains of these talented engineers as they continue their mundane coding jobs.
Can we build a society that can accept the failed entrepreneurs and treat them as heroes who have a wealth of experience of start-ups?  In India, where parents have a major say in their kid’s career path; can we teach them to allow their sons/daughters to take up entrepreneurship at least for 3 after they graduate? Can we motivate the budding entrepreneurs to actually give up campus recruitment or their current corporate jobs to follow their own ideas & dreams?
If yes, it won’t take us to build a silicon valley.

With inputs from Mrs Poonam & Mr. Rajesh Jain

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