“We do not have the fantasy of competing with economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon, or the planets, or manned space-flight. But if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.
– Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Continue reading
Portuguese General and “Duke of Goa” Alfonso de Albuquerque could not have foreseen the annual madness that would seize a nation of starved farmers and nescient tourists, only to become a global rage, when his stray military set about cultivating a fleshy yellow fruit in the once-unpeopled coasts of Western India. Today, India produces 2 out of every 5 mangoes consumed the world over, experiments with and exports premium hybrids, and owns intellectual property rights to several of it’s subspecies. No country on Earth can lay claim to this exotic fruit as does India. Continue reading
In 2011, I was a founding employee at what is now the country’s largest e-commerce startup and B2B seller of adult fashion & accessories (the keyword here being adult). In India, the laws governing this “industry” are outdated and painfully convoluted. Depending on which lawyer you ask, it is a legal grey area at best and Crime Report headliner at worst.
But the position on offer was worth the risk. Not only was my job profoundly fascinating and multifaceted, but I knew from the onset that this was a company to watch, a rare breed of cutting edge innovation and the sales figures to back it. All my responsibilities were carved from – and indeed, the job was a stepping stone to – the work-profile of a CEO.
So Why Did It Go South?
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
– M. K. Gandhi.
In 2012, still in my first year of college, I submitted an almost brand new Xperia U smartphone to Sony for repairs. The screen was dead but still ringing for incoming calls. Sony took the phone and vowed to repair or replace it free of cost, under warranty, within 2 weeks.
Three weeks later with no update, I called Sony only to find out that repairs would cost ₹13,000. Roughly 80% of the price of my phone. Yikes.
In February, I came across an Uber cab going the wrong way on a major road in Pune. The enraged driver caused at least one accident, and brought traffic to a grinding halt for 2 miles on both sides, then ran over me. I captured most of it on a video uploaded to facebook:
My incident is not isolated, however, and this post is not personal. At this point, the proverbial coffin has no space for any more nails. Criminally underpaid drivers, bitter employees, institutionalised sexual harrassment, evasion of law enforcement agencies, a delusional hack for a founder – Uber is a case-study in start-up oncology. Continue reading