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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"If the Internet was reborn as a country, it would be Estonia" -Part II

Forbes recently wrote about Estonia that totally floored me. What Estonia seems to have done is way beyond what can be even imagined to come out of a country which acheived independence just 13 years back. In Part I of this series, we saw the widepread adoption of technology and how the estonian mind is technologically inclined. In this concluding part,we shall see what Estonians want to do in future and some related thoughts on India and Singapore. Excerpts with edits and my comments added:

"We're obviously not going to compete with India on projects that require hundreds of developers, nor are we necessarily going to do exactly what we're told to do," says, Linnar Viik, considered one of the founding fathers of this little e-republic on the Baltic. The feisty subversive streak surfaced flamboyantly in the peer-to-peer networks Kazaa and Skype.Kazaa has driven the record industry crazy by letting pc users around the world join forces to share one another's recorded music, free. Skype offers free telephone calls over the Internet.

Under the hood of both products are peer-to-peer engines built in a three-man Estonian garage called Bluemoon, headed by 32-year-old Jaan Tallinn. The trick for Skype was developing a system that allowed each computer to index a wider network of computers than Kazaa does. A technology called Global Index did this, allowing Skype to handle traffic that passed 1.3 million simultaneous users last month. "These guys are the best software developers I have ever seen in my life," says Niklas Zennström, founder of Kazaa. "They're very skillful at problem-solving." Oskando, a company marketing s a GPS tracking system for car security, plans to develop a simple, cheap unit for use in, say, a child's lunch box. The trick is getting the price below $100, which Oskando thinks it can do!!. "We did some innovative stuff with solar cells," says Martinson, founder of Martinson Trigon Venture Partners. "Estonians are great at finding interesting shortcuts."

While commenting on Cyberport and Hongkong's future, I wrote," In emerging high-tech areas, it is entrepreneurism, innovation and unconventional way of working often helps enteprises/industry to hit the sucess mark. Asian countries are mostly driven by government vision and what one government does, the neighbouring country tries to imitate killing viability - the winner is always one with efficiency in execution and one showing true business friendliness. Currently China , and earlier Japan, Taiwan and Korea could plan bigger and show some sucess. The much talked about India has no such ambition and happy with its creeked roads, choked airports, poor infrastructure that could get more worse when monsoon comes everytime - The net result is the same - Govt funded/conceived/run initiatives in emerging areas fail over time - some may show early success - but thats it".

Two things crossed my mind as I write this:

A. The wannabe IT Superpower –India should be coming with stories like this. Atleast IT focused cities like Bangalore and Chennai must definitely get this leading edge mindset built in and displayed regularly.

B. Singapore,(my current place of residence)is wanting to have such initiatives and daringness shown by its citizens – part of theRemaking Singapore Campaign.
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"