Indian Silicon Valley- A Distant Dream Though!

4 12 2009

Perhaps the only reason I am writing on this off-bit topic here at the end of the day is; I should be. As rightly said Silicon Valley is unique place and can’t be replicated elsewhere, by Om Malik, we people do appreciate the stand taken, but at the end every place is special in its own regard.

I never worked in Silicon Valley, neither I had a chance to work in Indian Silicon Valley i.e. City of Bangaluru. I started up my career in a small company as a hardware engineer working on Linux server installations and moved along my career. And today after spending few years in Indian Software & Telecom Industry I could say, yes we lack something very crucial here, which should have been integral part of our work life.

We often take our career seriously. The juggling art of work-life balance can’t be perfected in India, but when I look back at different phases of my career, starting from small company with meager pay package, where survival was tougher after 9/11, to big renowned brand, I often missed something or other during each phase. During initial phases of work life, where I had fortune or misfortune of being underpaid, I never considered myself lucky. Like everyone else, I had cherished dream of going to US and work in Silicon Valley. And everyday I felt I should have done it. Why? What place does India hold for me? Do I love my nation when it comes to work life or job satisfaction?

Certainly, there is glitch in answer. Till date I didn’t get to work on ideas (except very few occasions) and always followed something or other, every day. I often found replicating things a big obstruction, when you are a real creative person. I didn’t try something of my own, but then I found everyone around in the same state of affair. Needless to say, we all were sailing in same boat. We here often blamed something or other for our current misfortune (including the recession), and often try to distant ourselves from actual problem, of which we are a part. We never stood for anything. We hopped from one place to other chasing elusive dream of job satisfaction often full-filling other people’s goal, and at the end finding that every place has its own issues. And certainly like in Silicon Valley as mentioned, we never tried our mettle (certainly few of us did so) to dream big and think big, including me.

Why is it so? Partly blame goes to environment we belong to. Apart from my days in TIFR & Mithi, I never dream big. I never chased ideas. I didn’t get to. I am still the same. And now after moving from Pune to Mumbai and then to Delhi, nothing changed. It is all the same. No industry takes innovation seriously; neither do we care for it. We have our own home grown principles or values and at the end we don’t stand for them. It’s mere a matter of time that we will find ourselves pushed distant apart, till we realize it.

One upon a time while working for Mithi Software, CEO Tarun Malviya said to us, ‘Tell me a single software product we sell across globe, which has a stamp of ‘Made in India’. I was speechless. I didn’t have answer. We dream big at Mithi. We dream of building world class email solution product, competing directly with Microsoft & IBM on their home ground. I still cherish those days. At least we had dream to chase in day and spend sleepless nights at home,thinking about it. It was far better than target based industry. I cared for making difference and as said by Om, it’s how we look at things matters. People spent years on small ideas to make it a reality and still failed. Next day, they came up with something else, even bigger than their earlier dreams. They were never tired of trying out something new. They had dream and they always dream big. Perhaps that’s from where the term ‘Bigger picture’ originates. Playing safe was never a cliché in Silicon Valley, like we do. And neither have they run business only by looking at revenue or profit figures.

It makes difference. Very few of us may conceive it fully. But after trading myself in different industries I still find chasing dreams an uphill task. I still wake up very day to convince myself; someday I will understand that this is how we work here. Sometime back, I was going through the article of our former President of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, who rightly said that Indians are pretty good at solving other people’s problems than solving their own. We give little importance to contributing back to society. I tried it sometime back, but then struggling here in monotony is a challenge too. We do it and even don’t miss a chance to complain about it either. We failed to make little difference often, because we dream little and never looked beyond certain aspects of job security. Perhaps, most of us will agree with me. It’s not about Silicon Valley as a place, but about individuals who dream big and who weren’t afraid of trying it again and again, in spite of failures.