Can India produce a Mark Zuckerberg?Your question is a bit tricky, you asked can India produce a Mark Zuckerberg, you can either mean a person capable to start the most sensational social network, or a person who can start a big thing as big as Facebook. Let's look at it bit by bit, a quick peek into Mark Zuckerberg's wikipedia tells us more about him than The Social Network.
Let's go back few years when facebook was launched, the social networks were poor in functionality, they were myspace and orkut, I have used orkut and it was horrible. There were scraps on orkut and you needed to open the page of the other person to read your scrap. about myspace I don't have much knowledge, but i presume it was equally inefficient.
Now when mark was a child, he went to such an education system that supports imagination, their education system is good, ours is the worst, let's not focus on who's is the best one, we'll see how he came up with FB that must explain everything in itself.
So he went to middle school and then was the time when he was introduced to computers. His father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s, and later hired software developer David Newman to tutor him privately. Can you imagine this? a software professional taught him programming in middle school and he said that mark is so talented that it is difficult for even him to keep up pace with him, so mark was a prodigy.
In high school he took graduate course from Mercy College, that was in high school, so when his brain was developing he was getting more and more insight into computer science. During Zuckerberg's high school years, under the company name Intelligent Media Group, he built a music player called the Synapse Media Player that used Artificial Intelligence to learn the user's listening habits, a high school guy writing a software. a high school guy!!
then AOL and Microsoft were in a race to buy the software he built, did he sell it? No.
Microsoft gave him a lucrative job offer, he turned that down and went to Harvard, at Harvard he was already a geek, then he worked on coursematch which enabled people to take courses based on their friend's courses, that gave him a broad view of the world and that according to me resulted directly as the FaceBook as we know it, the movie is a crap.
Be very clear, not many people know this, mark's major was psycology NOT computer science. so when CourseMatch was a success, mark made his ultimate pre FB creation the site to rank hotness of female undergrads, that site was a sensational hit. that gave him the idea that people want to know what their friends are upto, he is a psychology grad, and thus he made FB.
So this was the gist, so why hasn't India created a Mark Zuckerberg of it's own? I mentioned previously that in high school he did grad degree, is that possible in India? NO. will Indian parents tutor their sons for computer science from a professional? sadly NO they will prefer their sons (and daughters equally,) to get good grades in their academics than to let them do something innovative, why has this happened? I don't have a fking clue, that may be accounted for peer pressure.
For Indian parents standard 10 and standard 12 is way too important, and they are binary and sorry to say this, but short sighted in such matters. all they want is good grades in the current exam, they fail to take note of what life may bring on their kid in the future. For instance my dad always yelled at me during last two year's refraining me from reading novels, and insisted on studying for exams, now of course there is a generation gap and he doesn't see CS the way we people do, for him time spent on computer and internet == time wasted on a girlfriend :P
So technically speaking until and unless we give our children freedom to do what they feel good and they are comfortable at, i hardly think any mark will be produced from India.
This being said apart from short-sightedness the education system is also horrible, it destroys the intelligence and the drive for innovation from the mind of the student, the student is bogged down by stupid drive to gain marks which are essentially useless as of now.
So the question is not if India can create a Mark, it should be if India will ALLOW such a Mark to create his Facebook and will he get enough start-up capital and strong users base needed for every start-up and programmers willing to work for a start-up.
Anyway we see facebook as just another website, but thankfully, for geeks, it is a paragon of what what you can invent, those guys invented the notification system, the wall, and many many more things that, they in their hackathons invented the photo sharing app which is the heart of FaceBook now, so that was done why? because he had the intellect, he was a psychologist and he had that training, he had support from education system, many many more aspects on that.
suggestions are welcome.
Startups that have been successful in India did not aim to be the next Facebook, and rightly so. Successful Indian startups have always looked to solve a particular problem at hand. Successful Indian startups became successful because they tried to build infrastructure where there was none. Let me explain.
Case # 1: redBus
Infrastructure built: online bus ticketing
Using the SaaS model, they have brought scores of bus operators in India into online booking mold. Now, bus ticketing in the past vastly unorganized and hassle prone. readBus changed that. You can now book tickets online with scores of options, thanks to redBus. What benefits did redBus bring about? Here:
- Obviously, booking bus tickets became easier by a factor of a million!
- Because the ticketing became much easier, buses became a more (what's the word I am looking for!!!) accessible mode of transport for the internet-savvy public and travel agents alike. And because of this, the revenues started increasing for the bus operators (no kidding!). And all the Volvos and the Mercs you see on the highways these days -- they are all investments that are most probably encouraged by the redBus revolution. redBus is helping bus operators in increasing sales.
read: Redbus helps Goa's Kadamba Transport to increase its seat sales
This achievement took almost 6 or 7 years to achieve. Now, was it all worth it? Of course! Read: redBus.in being valued at $110 mn.
Further reading of redBus's amazing journey can be had here: Redbus Has The Hot Ticket
Also read: RedBus Continues To Dominate In India, But That's Not What Makes Them Special | TechCrunch
Case #2: Flipkart
Infrastructure built: cash on delivery, online shopping (though they are not the pioneers, Indians are much comfortable shopping online thanks largely to Flipkart)
Flipkart are the poster boys of the Indian startup story. The two Bansals quit Amazon (previous outings: IIM-A and IIT-D) to start an e-commerce company that focused heavily on customer satisfaction. So what do they offer?
- option to pay cash on delivery (CoD) if you donn't have credit cards or are uncomfortable using them online
- heavily discounted prices
- free delivery
- no-questions-asked returns.
Now, the Flipkart inside story is complicated. I'd like to believe that they are very successful. But many people are skeptical. Read more: Can Flipkart Deliver?
But it cannot be disputed that Flipkart brought about a revolution in the field of online shopping in India.
There are many such success stories in India! I have listed out just the 2 most abused examples of today. Read this excellent article by Pankaj Jain to get many obscure examples of Indian startup success stories: Facebook for India is a Waste of Time by 500Startups' Pankaj Jain
Going back to the question of whether India will ever produce a Mark Zuckerberg -- the answer to this is that India does not need a Zuck. Because Indian startups tend to become successful when they try to solve basic problems at home (by "problem" I mean like a math problem, not social problems like corruption etc.). It is the mundane solutions provider like redBus or Flipkart or Makemytrip that tend to succeed in India.
So in order to have a greater success rate, startups in India must look to find solutions back home rather than trying to come up with a product for the world. Cute little apps like Instagram or Flipboard won't have too many takers in India.
Can India produce a Mark Zuckerberg? I say it has, millions of them. They're holed up in lightly illuminated rooms in the cramped spaces of our urban shanties. They have accepted this as an irrefutable truth of human existence They've silenced their intellectual claustrophobia and traded it with a misguided sense of security. They breathe in the hegemony that has driven and guided our society for so long. After they are born, they are sent to places where they are convinced that their destinies are purely a capitalistic component driven by markets, scopes and sectors. They are told to trust the market rather than their own instincts. They are told that the road less traveled is fraught with thorns and chasms. That they'd be better off staying indoors in the sweet world of conformism. They are told that the worst mistake they can make is to lose sight of the shore. So by tenth grade they are busy analyzing job prospects, market shifts and economic opportunities while choosing their careers. Most end up locking themselves in for two years preparing for JEE. Experience, passion and intuition they are told are overrated.
Then they move to colleges. And then they are further chained by shackles of deadlines, assignments, practicals. In a world of hostel in-times and draconian disciplinary laws, they are further taught to embrace the chains. That they were gonna be a part of them. They are threatened by the prospect of a bleak future. They are told that the only thing that matters, the only thing that counts is their GPA. Integrity, honesty, love and again, passion were sins, things that could cost them that dream job. How could they not believe it? How could they not conform?
The reason the system works this way is that they don't need us to be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Zuckerberg. The Indian economy unlike it's American counterpart does not work on innovation, never has. The only innovation associated with Indian firms is price innovation. They don't need (as of now) people who are extraordinarily qualified or visionaries. They just need people who can follow orders and not ask them too many questions. Zuckerberg would be a misfit here. He'd probably be one of those rebel backbenchers, whose GPA is consistently in the bottom 10%. Who can hack entire servers, scrape data of highly guarded websites and create applications that were super fun to use. But his prowess would only ever be regarded as a rebellion. As a waste. As an abomination. And as enough people told him that, he'd believe it and try to rope in a low paying job, eventually slipping into depression.
SO, in conclusion after all that ranting, I'd say we have produced people of Zuckerberg's intellectual and creative capacity. It is a mathematical certainty. But we lost them when we made conformism the sole value of our educational institutions.
Ps. Also another way this can be put is :
Zuckerberg is the hero we all deserve but not the one we need right now.
Sorry, I just had to do that.
Mark Zuckerberg is a product of our times, and as much as he may have got right with Facebook, it is not a sign of any particular ability, enterprise or talent. The gold rush of the .com era produced many such enterprises, and many millionaires were produced on a daily basis in the Silicon Valley. Is India capable of producing enterprises and entrepreneurs like that? Sure! Except there won't be anyone sticking their necks out UNTIL that gold rush is upon them!
Sabeer Bhatia said they could have come up with Hotmail anywhere, most definitely in India, but the climate for such things does not exist in India, while the USA is brimming with incentives to innovate. India will produce young people with ideas, but the system will destroy their enthusiasm. They will be heckled for their smallest failures, and they will get sneered at if whatever they try that doesn't come off.
India has amazingly good enterprise and skills, but none at the world impacting level, because India doesn't influence pop culture. India doesn't produce thought leaders that can afford to think of the tomorrow for most of the world's population. Indian money doesn't run behind speculative ideas either. So, the chance of someone coming up with an idea that can also attract big funding at some nascent level is almost zero. In fact, for a long time during the .com boom, it was the wet dream of many so called "tech entrepreneurs" in India to be acquired by some US giant!!
We are a company exploring the possibilities in the education sector from last 1 year in the domain of 'teacher student interaction' and here is what we have made.
The Problems identified -
- Remember the times when you want to pass on that sudden information of classes getting cancelled today, reminders for bringing the notebooks, that so critical information during placements and that last minute notes you want to pass right before exam.
- That hassle of collecting phone numbers from each students and then compiling them into excel sheets to build the database of the institute, and then guess what, by the time you finish that, they are already changed.
- Using emails to pass on all these information (which gets ignored anyways) and promotional bulk messages which look like a spam and won't be delivered to even half of the students.
- That moment when you wished you could know what your class was thinking within seconds.
- The privacy which you have to compromise when you share your direct number with the students and their hesitation in doing the same thing back.
This is how we solve them -
- Read your students in single click/message with/without internet, no matter you are director with audience as big as the whole institute, head of the department, or a professor with audience as specific as a class.
- Students do a one time registration in their full time duration they spend with the institute, and that too by sending a message from their mobile.
- No need to collect any phone numbers and still they are always updated.
- We use ' high-priority transnational messages' to reach to your audience as it is a completely subscription based model. No more spams.
- Conduct polls and allow your audience to participate with one simple message. Get highly powerful reports on the responses you get.
- No compromise on privacy, phone numbers are not shared at all with any of the party.
A research says that 98% of the messages are read with in 15 minutes of the time they reach and thats why we use them.
No more circulars, only m-Circulars!
Home - FollowMe247
Not just India - no one can produce Mark Zuckerberg unless you use the same sperm and same ovum and keep it in the same conditions and raise it in exactly in the same manner he was raised and with things around him go same as went with Mark.
Humor apart, I believe Mark Zuckerberg or any person is just not the outcome of the country he lives in, college or school he goes to, but also how he had been raised, with what values he was raised, what were the conditions while he was brought up, matters a lot, and even if two persons are raised together in similar manner, the way they interact with the situations may be different and that leads them them to be different thinkers from each other. Intelligence is not the only thing that makes a person to get at such position. The way you think in a particular situation, the way you react to it matters. There have been many people who share the same school, college with Mark Zuckerberg and maybe they are more intelligent than him still they are not where he is.
There may be more facilities and exposure to the things which Mark Zuckerberg got but still there may not be another Mark Zuckerberg. If anything happens in life, I believe the things around you affect your decision a lot and lots of such decisions and their consequences lead you to a position you never dreamed of. You are not the only one to decide what you want to be or what you're going to get. Obviously,if you put your 100% efforts in the given situation you might get at your own pick but not a new Mark Zuckerberg.
Coming back to the question, in India there are less favorable conditions to become like Mark Zuckerberg in terms of an entrepreneur but to be such CSE graduate. The support, exposure they get while in Silicon Valley is lacking here so I believe if Mark Zuckerberg was born and raised in India with the same conditions the chances of getting into the position where he is today are lesser.