Lingering thought about Indian internet
One of the wonderful aspects about working in the Internet industry in India is that we have no clue about total numbers. There are varying estimates about the percentage of the population on the internet in India, who uses it and how much, but none of them are comprehensive (as it is with almost everywhere else on the planet) or even remotely accurate, at the best they can be called projections.
That said, most of the players do have a decent idea about their internal usage numbers. And from what I’ve seen in my 5 years worth of experience is that it is nowhere close to being earth shattering, be it the English-speaking or the vernacular crowd. Thus, we have, what Sramana would call an emerging market, where you are betting on the future than the present. How long would that market take to ripen is anyone’s guess. My wild guess is that it would take at least another five years before we start seeing the numbers we’d like to see in India.
But that’s a different story altogether. What I keep wondering about is the so-called market opportunity and if it actually exists today in India. In very simple terms this is how it can be put: You can develop the best product on the Internet in India, but you’d still not get traction beyond a point, because the market just does not exist for it.
It is a lousy situation to be in, which is why the first mover advantage is mostly a curse in India. You can develop, build and deploy a world-class application or a web framework and still not have too many people use it, not because it is not good, but because of the fact that there are not too many people around to use it. Then you sit around and wait, until the market matures, while others watch and learn everything that needed to be learnt from your mistakes and do it better.