|HOME | NEWS | INFOTECH|
|May 9, 2000|
Stars line-up at TiE's Digital Mahotsov
They came by cars, by planes, by trains from Fremont, San Francisco, Los Altos, Boston, Washington DC, Luxemburg, London, Bombay and Chandigarh. They were engineers, lawyers, bankers, VCs, teachers, writers and entrepreneurs. They came for the excitement, to get VC funding, to network, to showcase their companies and products, and some came just to be a part of it.
Many came with the trademark laptop slung across their shoulders. Inside the laptop nestled their business plan or a prototype of their new Internet application which they hope will make them the next Sabeer Bhatia.
About two thousand people were here at the digital Mecca: San Jose to attend the annual mahotsav organized by The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE). This was the 7th annual conference organized by them and was appropriately titled "Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century."
The overwhelming response to the seminar has prompted the organizers to look for a bigger place for their annual event next year. Seminar participants and attendees overran the entire lobby and first floor of the plush Fairmont Hotel.
Many who were unable to attend the conference listened to the speeches standing outside or watched on their PCs since the conference was webcast for the first time. As Mohan Trikha, the chair of the Webcast Committee commented: "We wanted the Internet to work for us."
The two-day event was packed with sessions, company showcases and networking opportunities for the attendees. They listened to the pronouncements of Jim Clark, Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, Prof Amar Bhide, Kanwal Rekhi, C K Prahalad, Rajat Gupta and many others.
If the attendees were not at one of the many sessions, they sat huddled around tables talking to Saif Quereshi, Kanwal Rekhi or BV Jagdeesh, earnestly discussing their business plans.
Bapsi Sidhwa, the novelist, was the featured speaker at the banquet and she read extensively from one of her novels, The Croweaters. Prior to that, the talk in many of the tables was the menu that had a French twist called "La Cuisine Indienne" featuring authentic Indian dishes with some rather interesting descriptions.
Like this description for the samosa - a 'flakey tetrahedron pastry filled with young spicey potatoes and petite peas," that quickly prompted one of my collegues to examine the samosa. Then there was an entrée with an IT twist -Hyderabadi Chicken Korma - described as a cashew nut based chicken curry flavored with nutmeg and cooked in the traditional style of the most IT enabled state in India. I suspect by the same token the Mulligatawny Soup from Tamil Nadu should have had some kind of digital qualifications added to it too!
For the first time, there was a special showcase of young start-ups. They were about 50 of them like Homeland Networks (TV of India, Radio of India), Andale, and Impresse among others.
Sumant Bhatia, the BBC business correspondent who flew in from London, was absolutely stunned by the nature of the seminar and summed it up very nicely: "This is sheer naked capitalism with a smiling, caring face." Perhaps, the brand of capitalism practiced by these entrepreneurs is different, since many of them believe in giving back to the society.
Many of these successful entrepreneurs generously donate their time and money to their homeland. For instance, Quereshi who heads the Los Angeles chapter of TiE has devoted his time, energy and money in educating children in Pakistan. Others like Rekhi, Jagadeesh and Clark have donated millions to their alma mater.
Deshpande is the latest to join the list and will be donating $100 million to his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
As Rekhi rightly observed, "The sun, moon and the stars have lined for the Indians," in Silicon Valley. The number of sponsors for the event reflected the success of the Indians here. While the group has successfully pulled off a digital coup in this country, the question is: can this be duplicated in India?
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK