Is Bangalore really the silicon valley of India?

With a lot of pride lost in Intel Whitefield fiasco, Apple mishap and Powergen switch-off, I was contemplating yesterday night about the future of Bangalore and IT in India as a whole.

I fully go by Paul Graham’s definition of Silicon Valley and by his reasoning on why startups condense in the US.

[Take your time to enjoy and digest PG’s articles :)]

The two main factors to create a great technology hub are: nerds and rich-men.

This relies on a great university system, socio-economic conditions, government policies (reservation?) and entrepreneurship attitude among individuals.

Some questions to think on:

1. How many nerds does Bangalore have?
2. How many startups do you know in Bangalore?
3. How many Venture Capital firms across the globe bet on Bangalore?
4. Is the fast economic growth of India (9.3% last quarter), a negative factor?
5. Is the whole load of technology work that is done is Bangalore – the so-called “software services” just mundane work and not leading edge technology?
6. Is the Indian IT workforce/companies too greedy, thereby making outsourcing less cost-effective?

I’m a great believer in India and bullish about its projected growth story. But, how many of the above questions are really valid and raise concerns?

I think we have great Indian brains, but how many of those Indian brains stay put in India? Will the US Govt.’s proposed SKIL program worsen India’s condition?

What say you?

7 Comments so far

  1. Masoud (unregistered) on June 20th, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

    Nice post, should generate some interesting comments.

  2. shek (unregistered) on June 20th, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

    i dont know when these bangaloreans will accept the fact that bangalore err…bengaluru is just like any other Indian is unique in no way compared to the other cities.

    expletives welcome!

  3. Suyog (unregistered) on June 21st, 2006 @ 9:41 am

    I think Bangalore has a fair chance in emerging as an innovation hub. The universities are decent and talent is in abundance. Also, let us not forget that the city is very mature in IT and technology practices while the rest of the country is still catching up in setting up software development parks.

    About Paul Graham, I really see no need to why we should depend on some existing definitions given by some external entities. Is it not possible for us to chart a path on our own? Indians should have that self belief. Let us not try to ape Silicon Valley and end up nowhere. Already we are stuck with the Bollywood tag when I think we should have positioned our film industry uniquely.

    Lastly, Mr.Shek, you are not getting any expletives from me – just a suggestion – carry your tamil jingoism to some other place. This is not the place for you.

  4. Kanth (unregistered) on June 21st, 2006 @ 12:20 pm


    I feel that every city is unique in its own way. Let us not digress, but talk about the potential for Bangalore to be a technology innovation hub.


    I fully adore your idea of we being the trend-setters and industry leaders!

    Could please share some ideas on how exactly we should get there?


    Innovation and start-ups have been the essence of silicon valley. I guess we would lose the meaning if we ought to re-define what “Silicon valley” really stands for.

    About IT parks, I quote again from PG:

    “If you go to see Silicon Valley, what you’ll see are buildings. But it’s the people that make it Silicon Valley, not the buildings. I read occasionally about attempts to set up “technology parks” in other places, as if the active ingredient of Silicon Valley were the office space. An article about Sophia Antipolis bragged that companies there included Cisco, Compaq, IBM, NCR, and Nortel. Don’t the French realize these aren’t startups?”

  5. Ravi (unregistered) on June 21st, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

    @Shek: I see you’ve resurfaced after a loooong time only to be asked to go back. Does being booted out repeatedly give you that much of pleasure?

  6. Suyog (unregistered) on June 21st, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

    @Kanth – I agree with you. My only concern is that Indians have a tendency to ape the west blindly and look for ideas there rather than looking inwards. My statements were only to highlight that aspect. I am all for listening and understanding thoughts and views irrespective of their nationality.

    About my ideas – India being a developing country, it is difficult to innovate due to the revenue considerations. But being an underdeveloped country also means that the scope for innovation is even more since you got to do a lot more for a lot less. If you see the trend, most MNCs are realizing that. My company (Philips) as an example has got out a crank radio which does not require electricity and only needs cranking to get it up and running. This came up after months of understanding the rural market. This wave of innovation should transcend both the urban and rural markets.

    Coming specifically to Bangalore – being already at its peak of IT and software development, it needs to take the next step. Competing with Kolkatta and Chennai for IT parks may not yield much. The wave of expansion now lies in these cities and the Tier 2 cities. So we need to now consolidate and move up the value chain.

    The Government as a first step should increase the tax breaks for startups and even provide funding in case the startup is working in the area of public interest. At the same time, MNCs and local IT companies should spin off or fund startups involved in innovation (and not just another BPO or services firm). Global innovation is already happening here and will bring in the revenues but for Bangalore to continue with that innovation for India will be the key. If we can target that and move towards it, you will see Bangalore riding the next innovation wave for another few decades.

  7. shek (unregistered) on June 21st, 2006 @ 10:25 pm

    do u think i wud really go back on being told so by some person whom i dont know?this site is public and i’ll continue to come.and if u try any tactics like blocking my name or id,i only shows u’re timid to accept criticism.

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