IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY
Why is this the case? Because over the past 10 years, due to the massive outsourcing of business process global best practices to India, we have witnessed the greatest legal transfer of knowledge and intellectual capital the world has ever seen. We now have an entire class of Indians who know what global best practices are in almost every single business process, from the mundane like call centres to the unimaginable like product liability litigation, creative brand design and convertible bond valuation. No other country in the world has such an asset.
All of this is the perfect recipe for an entrepreneurial revolution. India now has all the tantalising ingredients needed to shift up and away from our past role as a facilitator and supporter to that of a creator. And we are seeing the signs of this emerging phenomenon right beneath our feet.
My answer? They are coming. And you ain't seen nothing yet.
INDIAN CASE STUDY: YAUBA
Case in point. A few days ago, as part of my Real Life Smart Babes series of articles, I had profiled Janeena Basra, the first Indian Miss England finalist, a Ph.D. student in medicine, part time model, and vice president of an Indian search engine company called Yauba.
A few days after I wrote the profile, the company sent me a special preview password for the service which will be launching at the end of this month. And since that time, I have spent at least five hours playing around with it.
My verdict? It completely rocks.
I will be posting a more in depth review of the service after I have explored it some more. But all I will say for now is that I think this is the Next Big Thing. I know they has been a lot of hype and fluff around such vaporware search services like cuil and Powerset. But this is different.
I think this is the only company I have seen in the past 3 years which can take on--and beat--Google head to head. It is that good.
But what is most impressive about Yauba (and most relevant to this post) is that it has been built almost completely in India and by overseas Indians. If services like Yauba or Zoho are any indication, a true golden age of Indian startups is just beginning. And even if services like Yauba and Zoho ultimately end up not succeeding, many more will be coming our way. That is how entrepreneurial revolutions work ... as in Schumpeter's famous phrase, through "creative destruction."
Imagine if just 10% of all the top Indian engineers at Google and Microsoft and Facebook suddenly decided to build something in India, and you can imagine what is likely to happen. And with the slowdown in the US and European economies, such a prospect becomes more and more attractive every day. India will soon have an Internet population greater than all of Europe and US combined. And as US and Europe begin to tighten their regulations on immigration even more, the exodus will continue even more.
And in doing so, the centre of gravity for entrepreneurship will naturally shift to India. Just as America took over the dominant role in entrepreneurship in the 20th century, so too will India in the 21st.
EPILOGUE: What All This Means for Indian Entrepreneurs
All of this is good news for Indian entrepreneurs, but it also means that the entrepreneurial world in India will get much much more challenging due to greater competition.
When the best domestic search engine is a clunky, outdated service like Rediff, it really is not that hard to create something better. But when the best domestic search engine becomes something like Yauba, it will be a whole new ball game.
It will indeed become a brutally competitive, brave new world
But it is this very competition which will finally allow Indian companies and startups to create (and not just faciliate) world class companies and thereby lead the way in India's Silent Entrepreneurial Revolution.