Musings about India

I just returned from a 2-week trip to India, my first trip back in almost 16 years and it was an amazing experience. With all this talk of outsourcing and India/China taking all of our jobs, it was nice to see what was really happening in person.

India is an amazing country with very warm, friendly, industrious and hard-working people. But there are so many barriers to them achieving the success that they are capable of. Here are some random thoughts on places, events that stuck with me.

  • The population growth is a major problem. Left unchecked, this is going to lead to major problems in the future. I don’t know how you can sustain 1.1 billion people on a landmass that is a 3rd of the size of the United States.
  • Poverty is rampant and people work so hard for so little.
  • The adoption of technology is really amazing. Since they don’t really have a lot of existing technology infrastructure investments, it is easy to adopt new technologies. It was amazing to see how many people had mobile phones. It seemed that almost every other person had a cell phone and that’s a lot of phones considering they have more than a billion people. Wish I hadn’t cashed in my NOKIA stock.
  • There is so much systemic corruption and it makes it so hard for anyone to succeed. I know we have corruption here in the states and EU as well – Please no flames! I know all about Enron, WorldCom, and Parmalat and how special interest groups pretty much own most of the senators and congressman here.
  • The power grid sucks outside of the big cities where power outages during the day are normal.

I think the whole outsourcing issue is really overblown. With Globalization, outsourcing is just a reality and our challenge is going to be figure out how and where we as developers add value and how we position ourselves to be attractive in the new marketplace. I was blogging about this very topic earlier. In fact, I re-read the updated book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas L. Friedman on the flight back. Really great book and helps explain this whole Globalization mess. 🙂