Around September last year, two brothers from Patna got a lot of media coverage for their venture, Jumpbook.in. It's a social networking website pretty much on the lines of Facebook. They were experimenting with sharing songs, a marketplace and a few other things but it was essentially, at its skeleton, pretty much the same as Facebook.
It is difficult to imagine any other social networking website enjoying the kind of popularity that Facebook does. Just as no image sharing application can replicate the success of Instagram, and no cross-platform IM service the ubiquity of WhatsApp. For true global success, one needs genuine innovation, applications which taps into the root of human psyche as much as the aforementioned giants did.
Although rare, business innovation of such scale has been seen in India.
Before speaking about India as a platform for such business and techno-social innovation, let us look at but a few impressive advancements that have recently transpired in the techspace in India. Freshdesk is a Chennai based Helpdesk software which is rewriting the rules of the industry globally. Having garnered the support of almost everyone who's tried it, Freshdesk has had its fair share of squabbles.
Iris, the insanely popular Android counterpart of Siri, is not as advertised but definitely shows the dynamics of the android developer community. Amazingly, the alpha version was reportedly developed in 8 hours by Dexetra, a Bangalore based IT firm.
Fusion Charts is another Bangalore based venture gradually becoming a world leader in the sphere of Data Visualization. The flagship product of FusionCharts, FusionCharts Suite XT is used by over 80% of Fortune 500 companies. Probably the most popular Online Office Suite (*alternatively Office 2.0*) after Google Docs, Zoho has its origins in Chennai.
There definitely are instances of innovation (or at least the promise of it) in terms of platforms as well as SaaS (Software as a Service) in the subcontinent. Then why don't we see something of the scale of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, et al coming out of India? We have ideas. We have talent. We have more than enough manpower. What is it that's lacking then?
Answer: The eco-system. As the wise Shashi Tharoor states in The Great Indian Novel, India is not a developing or an under-developed country. It is an over-developed one. Success-models from elsewhere fail dismally here. The ecosystem is extremely difficult to comprehend, leave alone define and analyse. Our ecosystem, though always adapting and producing gems, is one which is still in the process of moulding itself to the techno-spiritual revolution already taking over developed economies.
We need to evolve as an eco-system. Build a more adhesive community
The author is co-founder of Construkt Festival"
Credit:Sasi Kiran Rao