5 phrases I heard and overheard at NPC12 and what they mean. I’m open to a thrash-out on this.
1. “Initially I was skeptical about coming to NPC. Now I want to come here every year.”
– First time at NPC + US based speaker with 100% audience feedback.
Achievers in America are looking towards India. There’s a reason.
The PULSE that ignited so many industries in the 90s with the sudden wave of IT based services has had no follow up. Companies were able to generate value from the cost arbitrage. Labour was (is) cheap and American companies found (find) Indians to be extremely high ROI.
The ITES model has not been able to add the same value as earlier. The pipes are drying out. Software demand has moved away from custom services to problem-solving-price-effective-free-support software.
Almost no one wants to pay for software that doesn’t save lives or makes money.
The ITES ecosystem is attracting the lowest ranks of talent. The good and smart ones that remain are breaking out and building products. Or at least in deep contemplation. Much expected – as a nation of the smartest chimps on earth – we’ve been solving the world’s software problems for over 2 decades now. It’s time we build products. And that’s what we are doing. And these speakers now want to come here every year because its helping them.
Watch this space as I share a video about MR asking Ram Shriram a few questions – one of which is a very interesting angle on why bandwidth is a problem solver.
2. “They (Indian s/w products) are looking inwards to solve the problem. India’s HUGE as a market”
– American born and based speaker.
The Indian SMB industry is upwards of $40Bn worth. But adoption is where the challenges are. If I get your payroll problem solved for INR 1.00 per employee per day – would you still worry about hooking yourself up to this system? At its least – you’ll give my system a shot won’t you?
The cost arbitrage that existed earlier through the service model is now visible through the product model. Companies are not just building the problem solution pairs. But they are creating disruption and then asking for very little money in exchange for it.
And they can do it cause they’re based in India. It costs virtually nothing to setup and build a product from India. Selling it globally may seem lucrative – but not everyone intends to go global immediately. Don’t need to.
3. “Failing is no longer a social taboo” – everyone.
As a social fabric – we Indians have had this problem for a long time. The class topper is celebrated. She gets the biggest chocolate – both in school and at home. The second in class gets a smaller chocolate.
The one who was failing in Math all along but passed this year without any cheating – is considered a failure.
Not anymore. Finding your own battles and winning them is more important than winning battles others have set for you.
Its the pursuit to excellence that’s taken precedence now. Companies and founders are realizing their shortcomings. And are working to address them quickly. And that signifies a major shift in thinking.
Accepting the possibility of failure makes it easier to accept risk. And risk precedes rewards. So as the Indian smartie moves away from the cushy air conditioned cabins to the street side hustle – the ecosystem around him will prevent him from being ridiculed for his failures.
Every little success is being celebrated here.
4. “Indian products still don’t understand their TG perfectly” – Entrepreneur with thorough experience with software products in the valley.
This one is a serious flaw. Not understanding the target group (TG) is a recipe for disaster. And of all the entrepreneurs I met – finding the TG was in many ways the biggest challenge.
This is because what works and what doesn’t needs a qualitative feedback. This means you tell someone what you think they’re doing wrong. And then superimpose that opinion with what can be done right. Perspective is what the NPC community now offers through the Open source model.
See this video to wrap your head around this ‘open-source’ model. Sharad’s articulate mind encapsulates the theory. If you were at NPC – you would have seen it in action. You’re reading this on ProductNation ! 🙂
5. “Stop wasting time on the Blogosphere” – Ex Facebook, ex AOL, investor who speaks harsh truths.
Though in many ways this is important – it also signifies the importance of content and content marketing. I missed cornering Naren Gupta on why he feels marketing talent is low in India and how we can improve it. But to cut a long story short – the noise on the blogosphere is preventing the Indian product owner from creating, marketing, measuring the effectiveness of content and marketing. Independently and as a whole.
Investors, angels, and startups all seem to agree that products with initial traction need to increase the effectiveness of content and its marketing. Reading techcrunch is great to sound smart – but its got no relevance to the Indian ecosystem and how technology products can be built and grown here.
Conferences like the Nasscom Product Conclave are by design meant to share and exchange ideas. It takes a little time for a new comer to get acquainted. But my first time experience volunteering with this community taught me so much. The software product ecosystem is brimming with energy and confidence.
Yes on many fronts we Indians are at rock bottom. But from here, the only place you can go is up.
If you’re on the boat – grab an oar and start paddling. We gotta take this ship to the other side. Wish you all a very happy good-wins-over-evil festival of lights – Diwali.