Sunday, February 8, 2009

Slow down : A Boon for India??

I just came back from a marriage in Delhi. No one really cared about slow down. But in Bangalore it is big. Whether its media or whether a chance meeting with an old pal (ex colleague), slow down is the topic. Everyone thinks its bad for Indian IT. Let me introduce you to few folks. They gave me a different perspective. They rather have slowdown every now and then (though not permanently).

I met Rohit a passionate co-founder of a technology company. He is big on IT products targeted at SMEs. Their service offering is both SAAS and the conventional ownership model. Rohit loves the slow down. He could hire six youngsters whom he thought were excellent. He had not got to interview a reasonable guy in the last 2 years of boom (since co-founding the company ).

I had a brief chat with them. All of them were freshers (2008 batch engg graduates). They were extremely happy. Each one had a campus offer from "large companies". In a regular boom year, their parents and peer pressure would have forced them to join these companies. They took advantage of uncertain market conditions to convince all around to join this start up. Today when they exchange notes with their seniors working in the "large companies", they can only pity them because of extremely poor work content of their seniors.

However the curious side of me asked Rohit why did he not choose to recruit laterals when so many of them are available. He said, most of the laterals at 2-4 years experience level were one trick ponies who just knew how to perform a single job well repetitively. They were wasted and were no use in an environment where they need to provide solution every day.

Any nation in world becomes rich when backed by inventions (intellectual properties or IPs) of its citizens. Most of the Indian IT is not creating IPs but just doing repetitive low end work. This model can work only if exchange rate favours the dollars. That can happen only if US keeps creating new things and India keeps supporting the old ones. That is as a nation we are condemned to being stooge of outsourcing nation.

Given the nature of business and its history, an offshore service provider can easily out compete an innovation driven but domestic market focused company (for talent). Slow down is ensuring talent availability for IP driven companies (typically small). They are the ones which will get India leadership. Outsourcing industry can survive only if India is a step behind.

My second take away (though on a very small sample set of 6 freshers) is that some of the bright freshers are not going to waste their life being with one of the top IT services company which have only flashy offices to show for.

Will soon writen on the other beneficiaries of slow down .....

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