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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bangalore As The Silicon Valley - NonSense

M.R.Rangaswami when asked recently is Bangalore the next Silicon Valley said that’s like asking, "Is Detroit still a car town?" His view is that there’s nowhere else in the world [other than Silicon Valley] where you can get an attorney and a VC together and fund a startup in 30 days & this won’t change unless the customers shift. That’s possible for some markets such as cell phones. Those markets may shift to Shanghai or Bangalore. But until that happens, people will come to where the customers are and that’s still the U.S.

P.V.Indiresan writes, "Indian IT industry builds glamorous offices but expands without giving sufficient thought for the burden it places on infrastructure. That carelessness is the bane of Indian culture: Indians (and Indian businesses) are personally clean but dirty the surroundings; they have little civic sense. The pioneers of the Silicon Valley were different; they were far sighted. They took care to construct their buildings 400 feet away from the main road. That simple precaution, one that cost comparatively little, made future expansion simple and (more important) feasible. In contrast, there is a seven-star hotel on the airport road in Bangalore that is built right up to the verge of the narrow road. That hotel's greed has made it impossible for the airport road to expand or carry more traffic". He adds insightfully that the semiconductor industry in the US did not locate itself close to San Francisco city but miles away in the Silicon Valley. Nearer the city, the explosive growth of the industry would have all but destroyed San Francisco. By moving away, the industry made San Francisco safe from unbridled expansion. In the US (and in Europe too) those who can afford to do so live in villages (that is what suburbs are); only the poor live in cities. In India, it is the other way around; the rich crowd into cities, the poor live in villages. That is at the root of the contrast between the way Bangalore has developed and Silicon Valley did. That difference is not accidental; it is the result of the way governments operate in the two countries. I agree with the view that while it's true that the barriers to innovation and development are dropping, it still takes more than a few tech businesses to become an innovation hub. I had always felt that Bangalore was overhyped. There is no scope for comparison - with unfolding developments, the cherished dreams of some optimists about Bangalore may never materialise.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"