Software products need hard check
Many of the start-up entrepreneurs at the Nasscom Product Conclave, may not know of the 1990s, when India’s IT industry was happy to supply cheap programming skills in exchange for precious dollars.business Updated: Nov 02, 2014 23:44 IST
It was a great experience in Bangalore last week, attending the Nasscom Product Conclave. Many of the start-up entrepreneurs at the NPC, as the event is called, may not know of the 1990s (when most of them were toddlers or schoolkids), when India’s IT industry was happy to supply cheap programming skills in exchange for precious dollars.
It was a different India in which one heard the crib about how products were the real stuff — because, like Microsoft or Oracle, they involved higher margins, brand value and national pride.
The ambitions have grown. You could feel the energy at the conclave. Entrepreneurs in casual clothes could be seen buzzing around sessions, making pitches around a huge banyan tree, crowding around mentors and hunting for partners, financiers and experts.
Nasscom expects India’s product and digital startups to grow to 11,500 by 2020, up from 3,100 at present. More than 800 startups are born every year in India, showing the optimism of the younger generation.
However, there is a need for some reality checks. Unlike the client-server or desktop era of computing, in the Internet era, even simple mobile apps can be passed off as products.
In contrast, some of the projects done by old service companies had much more value.
Great products result in great companies — that involve much more than writing some smart code.
So I would say Indian digital product entrepreneurs need to learn the art of institution-building with a long-term focus. That requires more evolution.