How many nerds/geeks in India ?

WARNING: It is One of my Random Ramblings – which basically does not set out to prove any point ! Just pure ramintations.

Don’t flame me, You have been warned 🙂

Sometimes I wonder as to why is that only valley/US is the place where the ultra-cool/futurist stuff happen.( Am I one of those ape the west monkey – I think not). I have been to the US but not to the valley but thanks to the wonderful idea of blogs the experiences happening in the valley gets place shifted and I am able to feel them via my reader. For instance I just lost count of how many web 2.0 Point of View I would have seen(read). Why is such kind of activity not happening here ( can we not do foocamp here), to just expand that thought why is that technology foreground work not happening from India after all people world over admit that Indians have some circuitry in their brain which makes them terrific with software/computers.
( Huh ! I know we are a d e v e l o p i n g nation not a developed one but still !!)

Of all the great original thinkers how many Indians from India are there who are talked
about at the level of Larry Lessig, Dave Winerberg, Dave Sifry, Eric, RMS, Cory Doctrow,
Negroponte, Knuth, Reed, Isenberg. Or how many are there who can compared with the likes of Steven Levitt, Seth Godin, Paul Graham, Schiener, Bruce Sterling.  I would be even happy if there is an Indian Mitnick or a David  Smith atleast that would go out to prove that there are Indians who seriously geeks out 🙂

Ok I admit that Ankit Fadia the lad from Delhi has gained quite some fame ( heard recently he is a billionaire by now 🙂 ) & I am happy about but it is just one datapoint.
This leads me to think as to how many How many geeks/nerds/technologists/futurists are there in India

Is that total strength lesser or greater than that of US. What does it take to build a ecosystem that is conducive to bring the best thoughts/technology to the forefront. Extending that line of thinking I am also having these questions in mind.

– Is there an India specific /. (slashdot for those who did not get it)
– Why does a Wired for India does not exist. ( For heaven’s sake don’t say Digit or PCQuest is such a magazine they are absoluately not)
– What will it take to build a Silicon Valley in India. ( Please don’t say angalore is the silicon valley , it is clearly not – I am from bangalore so I know, I would love it to become the silicon valley & am trying to do whatever I can do build a valley 🙂 )
– We need a Palo Alto kind of center – How/when/where to setup & who are the kind of people who can do this.
– We need educational institutes which are going to play the role of MIT, Berkley, UCLA, Stanford to lay the foundation for Valley & Route 128. ( Heard today in the paper that academic rankingwise IIT’s have taken the 3rd position in the world – such a proud moment for us – but we still have a long way to go – need to grok serious innovation from here to have more impact and reach much more iconic status). I cherish the dream/vision shown to me by our director “We want our Alma Mater to be the Stanford for cyberabad” but I know it is a very long & winding road.
– We need an Om malik, a russell beattie, Robert Scoble, Andrew Odylzko, Paul Graham, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, Guy Kawasaki, Vinod Dham….
– We need DRDO to be like DARPA to have grants like the NSF.
.
.
.
.
It’s an endless list

Given that we are a nation with a population of 1 billion dollar are there enough geeks/nerds who can be all these kind of people which we dont have(yet) to build a great technology nation.
Well on a side note the argument applies not just science/technology but also to the sphere of arts. Since I am poorly informed/knowledged about the arts field I won’t be able give examples there.

Wish I had the answers !!

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2 thoughts on “How many nerds/geeks in India ?

  1. it would be quite difficult to find “geeks/nerds” in the strict sense of the word here..maybe in the years to come there will be more but there are a lot of NRI’s who would qualify for the title..
    Arun Netravali,Vyomesh joshi are two names that come to mind immediatly..

    Sam Pitroda was instrumental in causing the PCO revolution..a precursor to the mobile revolution and definetly an unheralded revolution..his experiences are very well captured in an article he wrote for HBR 4-5 years ago..dont know if its available online..
    Dr.Jhunjhunwala is another person who fits the bill..
    Dr.Prahalad who heads the DRDO now definetly fits the bill..how about Dr.Mashelkar?

    an article in business world a couple of months(years?) back said India would have(has?) the largest number of digital theaters in the world..if I remember correctly Mukta films was said to be the leader

    the common thread to all of these ppl is that they work/worked on things that were needed for the country..if they had worked on blue sky research it would probably get commercialised outside the country as good as they being NRI’s and us gloating in the satisfaction that they still held Indian passports

    I know these ppl are not as cool/suave as say a RMS or a Steve Jobs..but they do give simple soln to tough problems(made tougher by the fact that they are still in India)..isnt that what geeks are supposed to do?

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