Sunday, December 31, 2006 Wins The 2006 Best Blog Awards

Further to my posting earlier during this month,I am glad to announce that the verdict is finally out!

The esteemed panel has summed it very well “ Joel Cheesman is not a recruiter but is deeply immersed in the industry with a heavy slant on SEO and how this can help recruiters and companies get more people hired. Joel’s blog is a great example of how blogs can be used and is an absolute must read for people involved in the recruiting business. “

The final results of the popular votes are given here.
I am glad to quip that my blogging guru Gautam Ghosh has logged in the second highest number of votes, while being the single largest (non US) blogger!! Am also glad that some of the readers of this blog have contributed to make this the TOP TEN recruitment blogs..the sixth to be precise for the year 2006:-)!

I thank you for the encouragement…and would love to hear how I could make this exchange more meaningful in 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Country Manager opening in India- KPO based in Delhi region

It is almost a couple of months since we first started looking at some exciting profiles for a 'returning Indian ' Country Manager opening for a KPO - the search is almost over!!

Well –now we are open to those candidates who are also based in India-and have a strong operational exposure. Some one who has managed large teams (above 150 professionals) and willing to work US work hours based in India. Ideally the person would have familiarity with the dynamics of an offshore/onsite relationship.

Professionals with process improvement (six sigma) skills –and those who can assure profitable service excellence are invited to reach me offline- so that I can fill them in with the necessary inputs.

We plan to finalise the selection process by mid January !!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Global Mindset-Indian roots!

Coming just a few days after my last post on the need for ‘returning Indian teachers’, I was fortunate to attend a function of an interesting business school-the Great Lakes Institute of Management at Chennai

One could not believe the event began with a cameo role by Indra Nooyi-a surprise guest speaker visiting town on a personal visit. Ms Nooyi commended the institute for having among its curriculum- a course in speaking Chinese Mandarin for students-as a right step in preparing to make a mark in the globalised economy. She also felt it was time for academia and research to come with more contemporary methods of ‘predicting future behaviour’ of consumers, by observation, and ethnography & dumping the traditional methods of qualitative research!

It was really heartening to note that the institute chose to put Ms Nooyi’s time and advice –more important than rituals-and it was only after she had left, that the event had the formal gestures of lighting the lamp –and the prayers ! And nothing was more Indian –that the Chairman of the school Prof Bala V Balachandran-calling his students ‘nephews and nieces’-and the latter reciprocating and addressing him as Uncle- as a tribute to the Indian business family format!

Prof Bala was advocating customer focus and strategic alliances to battle the inevitable competition!

The first international conference was an unique one for all the speakers- eminent names in the education in US-were all of Indian origin-and more so, as all of them have been spending lot of time and energy to handle as visiting faculty, often full courses for the institute-devoting a lot of their personal time and experience.

Almost as if on cue to Ms Nooyis speech, Dr Seenu Srinivasan expounded the technique of a using ‘conjoint analysis’ as a method to predict future behaviour. His case study of analyzing 12 different parameters in the choice of a digital camera ( for ef resolution, price, size, brand, shape, videochip, etc)- using log linear multiple regression –he showed the gathering how one could almost predict –upto 60.6% of the accuracy- of the final decision that could be taken!

Dr Rajen Guptas query on Indian software industry’s growth was impressively handled by Prof J Ramachandran hinting that companies had conquered ‘liability of origin’ by gaining legitimacy by linking to key institutions ( eg CMM SEI level certification by Carnegie Mellon that was embraced by the top IT services companies in a bid to transform the craft of software into a engineering domain) and improving reputation capital and not just depending on financial models ( listing on NASDAQ and NYSE gave India a good headstart! )

Prof Paul Prabhakar spoke about the DNA of a sustainable business enterprise –while there were interesting case studies/talks by Dr Suj Krishnaswamy, Dr Sridhar Moorthy, Dr Rama Shankar, Dr Siva Nathan, Dr Sudhakar Balachandran, Dr Ashok Vasudevan and Dr Neharika Vohra!

It was really enlightening to be part of a charged atmosphere- am sure the 20 odd presentations by other India based research scholars were also inspirational-and truly reflective of the theme of the conference.

The India story is just the beginning ...

Friday, December 22, 2006

MBA students-Preparing for tomorrow - Learning or Earning?

Should the premier institutes be preparing professionals-for MNCs to employ? The input is the cream of India- trained and conditioned by the best of research: shouldnt the output be spawning entrepreneurs?
Am intrigued with the media hype around campus is a very few who opt out of the placement exercise to pursue their own dreams… and make the difference!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a top ten MBA college –and a great learning for me.

The ICFAI Business School ( has recently moved to a sprawling 100 acres campus –about 35km away from Hyderabad. One could see a lot of buzz all around –and I was there, exploring if our firm could engage some students for their summer internship program (SIP).

It has all the trappings –smart youngsters strapping laptops, growing infrastructure, faculty-experienced and visiting , bandwidth connectivity..itsnt a surprise that its among the best in India.

Somehow I came back with an uneasy feeling -there is a distinct lack of imagination and ownership when it came to SIP! Over 800 of the brightest youth-from across the country-a good mix of experience and promise-they seem to have all their future plans well laid out..atleast in the rehearsed pitch at the interview!

The missing link- the vital piece SIP which wd give the students a 3 month insight into the practical world –how businesses actually work-the dynamics of interpersonal management, chance to experiment with some of the hypothesis they have nurtured…

While it is easy for me to generalize-having met only a handful of candidates- to me the fact that they were chosen among the 800..was a good enough sample size.

1. the students were all specialized in HR- as recruitment is a subset!

I would have thought a recruitment firm is as much as a business as any other. There are avenues for students to learn about business development, marketing, positioning, streamlining operations, improved automation of processes, financial analysis, corporate name it..even entrepreneurial development. There is as much need for strategy –as some smart tactics..and especially in a growing global economy- and when the vagaries are very much similar irrespective of size!

2. Despite there being close to a 100 in HR, guess most of them were looking for big brands

Surely that would help them decorate the resume –and help them in their final placement. Some of them were waiting for a great ‘preplacement’. Big brands mean better stipends. Wasn’t this a good opportunity to look at the content of the project- and try and learn the nuances of a growing business? After all how much would you be allowed to tinker around –with systems of well established MNCs with processes almost sacrosanct.

Who is to bell the cat..the academia? The industry? The alumni network? I invite comments from you!!

Gartner revises IT spending predictions down in 2007- India jobs galore?

The average predicted IT spending increase for organizations across the world in the coming year is lower than what analysts previously forecast, according to a report by Gartner Inc.
In general, the forecasts by industry reflect the overall penetration of IT in each industry, as well as the perception of how critical IT is -- whether it is viewed
1.strategic partner to the business or more of a commodity or
3.just a cost centre

I think it is time for Indian corporates to stand up and get counted!There is enough opportunities for all Indian companies-and not just get psyched by the possible lower spend!
While the biggies should go up the value chain..helping their clients changing business models and adding new products/services, the mid size companies would do well by helping their clients optimizing some of the day to day operations.
And for those professionals in the US/Europe wanting to relocate to India-here is a great opportunity to position yourself as the catalyst for this transformation.

Retail boom in India-Jobs offered before one joins BSchool!!

In a bid to woo best young talent, HR managers are competing hard and innovatively!!

Some of the tactics in vogue:

-arrangement with some of them to absorb 100% output
-reserving seats for employees wanting to upgrade –and giving sabbatical and promotion to encourage employees
-short term courses for self development

There is a strong need for doing things ever so this fast changing world!

One of our clients –the METRO group hired people for their Hyderabad distribution centre –about 4-6 months ahead of the launch-and sent them to Bangalore for on the job orientation. With people coming in from different industries and cultures, it was very imperative for them to ‘unlearn old habits and learn new practices and best practices”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Recruitment is passé- Talent Acquisition too??.

At the monthly meeting of ERA Hyderabad chapter , we had Mr Suresh Anubolu, the Director Talent Acquisition of Computer Associates, for Asia Pacific and Japan –speaking about “Global trends in Talent Acquisition” .

In an interesting session, he described how challenging it is hire great talent, and enumerated on some of the steps taken by them. Interesting takeaways were

-Recruitment is a transaction, we need to look at Talent acquisition.
-It is no longer about filling numbers, but ‘refilling’ with better hires.
-All employees aren’t equal- the talented employees are often 5-6 times more productive than mediocre performers-and it is imperative to treat them differently.
The session set me thinking- is there going to paradigm shift in hiring required in future?
I was taken back to my MBA classes in the eighties-and the classics of the guru of marketing management Philip Kotler. What I recall, marketing was all about understanding and and satisfying customer needs-and it went beyond sales ( which was just a transaction that involved exchange of services/goods). Marketing emphasised the need for market research, advertising, sales promotion –not just sales.
It gives interesting connotations.
If Sales =recruitment, then is Talent acquisition= marketing management?
Sales promotion = employee referrals?
Distribution= mgmt of recruitment partners
Channel management= management of jobsites/campus hires/walkins/alumni rehire

One is almost tempted to write a thesis..comparing media mix, pricing (compensation)….

Would the future recruitment team- which has in the recent past delinked itself from HR –and is also renamed staffing- growing into a ‘product management function’?? Shouldnt it be extended to branding, market segmentation, positioning….?
In this age..there cant be a better ambassador than a happy employee. Talent management seems more appropriate?

India needs 'returning Indian teachers' most urgently!

Atanu Deys note on Liberalize Indian Education questions the feel good factor of the “India shining’ myth.

"If there is any flow which can be termed as “brain-drain,” it is the one-way migration of those who form the cornerstone of a modern economy, namely, top-class highly educated researchers and teachers, and who not just make the university but are the university. Ultimately they are the ones who train the thousands of bright young men and women who go on to build society in all its aspects—social, commercial, political, and educational. "

I think he has hit the nail-Teachers have to be respected in India-and must be among the best paid professionals!!
Ironically today -compared to all other professionals-where the government salaries are a fraction of what the private sector offers, the teaching profession that finds itself in an unenviable situation where the private sector pays much lesser than the ‘UGC scale’!!

So its a situation where one exhausts all other options -before taking up a teaching profession-which at best again, is a stopgap arrangement -as one is constantly looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Most often -it is those unemployed alumni who come back as lecturers..

Even in the premier institutes, those graduating from campus placements probably earn more than their illustrious mentors/guides/professors whose qualifications, research and teaching experience- are hardly as commercially rewarding!

One is shocked to see the facilities (eg lab) of the innumerable capitation fee colleges that have been allowed to mushroom under the garb of liberalisation- most only have imposing buildings to boast of-nothing else graces the portals!It is not a surprise that with so many lakhs of engineers graduating, hardly 15% are employable-another bunch similar trainable!!

Very little interaction between the corporate world and the academia- again increasing the gulf between the desired level of exposure and those skills available!
Yes, there is a greater demand for a robust education system to help build the nation more than any of the MBAs and software engineers coming back to India!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

IIT-BTechs: On the way to millionaires at 22

Campus placements have begun at the IITs in India

Am sure while the media blitz causes a lot of heartburns across the readers, it helps if one reads between the lines:

1.These are typically for jobs by Management consultancies/Financial services majors for positions abroad!

2. As far as domestic jobs are concerned the the average package for the domestic positions now stand in the Rs 6-8 lakh range, slightly better than the previous year.

3.The average is slated to come down, as more of the lower-paying companies will participate in the ensuing phases of the placement drive. This year the higher a company’s salary –the earlier it is allowed to come on campus.Last year on, the institute included other parameters such as company's reputation, salary offered and job profile for the first slot.

Will these salaries pre-empt the brightest from pursuing higher studies abroad –or will stem the flow of of students wanting to join the IIMs??
Any idea of what these salaries at entry level -will impact on those at middle and senior management levels?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Global talent shortage- the era for evolving business paradigm

Pardon me for using the cliché- the geographical borders are disappearing! Personally- this fact is dawning on me more than ever as I have been blogging for a few months now-in a bid to reach out to the passive job seekers.

As a by product, I have been increasingly interacting with fellow headhunters, recruitment firms from across the globe !

“We are investigating whether one can trace professional Commodity Traders (mainly Oil, Gas, Chemicals) in India for our Clients in Europe. There is a shortage of talented traders in view of the rise of energy related trading by Utility Companies & Hedge Funds. Banks too are expanding their brokerage activities, more specifically in Carbon Certificates (often oil & gas related).”

“we are currently working on a VP role for an American firm here in Malaysia. The candidate will be based in either of the following locations: Japan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and of course Malaysia.The firm in question is a public listed company in the US (and also in Malaysia) who specializes in broadband communications.”

Dave Mendoza and Shally Steckerl offer their services for Speaking and Training engagements on Passive Sourcing for Talent and Social Relationship Networking for Talent on a national and international basis

A leading IT company in Kolkota – want some Italian Linguistic Specialists with Experience in Technical Translations / Interpretations –and willing to travel to Italy often!

Is this the way forward??

I am reminded of a presentation a few months ago at the Executive Recruiters Association. (ERA) conference.Dr Kandula Srinivas, the Director HR of SASKEN was open to hiring telecom professionals from Europe to be employed in Bangalore!

Some of us member firms of ERA – are coming together on a platform –eg RETAILBLITZ to help large & emerging retail players entering the Indian market- by offering a pan India reach –and offer offline screening services –and thereby leverage on the strength of a network of boutique recruitment firms in both tier I and tier II cities !

Vinay Talwar advocates an "Alliance of Firms" which operates under one brand globally but firm retains its independent identity too.

Are we gearing up adequately??

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nominated for the blogging awards!

It gives me great pleasure to share that two Indian blogs are in the running for the 2006 Best Blog awards. One is Gautam's blog (my personal blogging consultant) and the other one is this blog.

We need all the help we can get. So just click the survey and choose "Gautam Ghosh's Blog" and "JobOptions Blog" if you want to vote for us.

You can choose a total of 5 blogs to nominate for the awards. All the blogs listed there would be great reading for employers, jobseekers as well as executive search consultants.

I must confess that I haven't come across all of them earlier and therefore have some additional reading to do :-)

Thanks a lot !

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What would be a good salary for an expat -Country Manager for Indian operations?

Yesterday I had a brief and crisp phonecall from an senior executive out of the blue. It was an outstation call-and from possibly an expat. I was –almost stumped –when he went on to ask… ‘what would be a good salary for a person to head an Indian operations?’

Well, the easiest and most predictable response from any consultant would be –"it depends"!!

But then, since I wasn’t expecting the call- my basic instincts sought for more details. May I know about the company ? Whats the business you are in? how senior is the position? To whom does the person report to? Where?

The answers promptly attended to, I blurbed out- what kind of seniority do you need? And what are the numbers (US dollar equivalent) have you already been advised?

I went on to tell the gentleman that perhaps he really neednt pay so much !! The gentleman then proceeded to thank me-with a promise to revert back later this week.

Flashback over!

Now that I have had more time to ruminate on it, I thought its time for me to articulate my thoughts and invite comments from those in the know.

Personally my premise-

1/ the company seemed to be in the ITES space. Cost Arbitrage is critical.
2/ it depends on the size of the company-and the growth plan it has. Which stage of the lifecycle is it in India?
3/ different skills and abilities are required for start up or ramping up phase..and the consolidation stage. (And if all have to happen at the same time, time to call Superman!)
4/ while knowledge of the domain is taken for granted, it is man management –and ability to relate to the team most critical.

Pray, I don’t even know if an expat with 20 yrs experience elsewhere in the world is the right person!!

While salary is indeed a corporate policy-and most companies have a definite stand on what percentile of the market they ought to be-am I right in having advocated that one neednt pay more than 75% of the salaries prevailing in US for similar positions??

US MBA -a panacea for India's growing hunger for managers?

Steve Hamm of Business Week in an article earlier this week
India faces a slew of business challenges, including its infrastructure deficit, salary inflation in the IT sector, and high attrition rates in IT and BPO. But perhaps its biggest HR challenge is developing and deploying the next generation of middle managers. With the top Indian IT companies growing into sprawling global behemoths with 60,000 to 80,000 employees, large numbers of middle managers are needed to keep these huge organizations running efficiently. Right now, most of these managers are grown on the job. But, for the industry to continue to flourish, India will need to graduate far more high-quality MBAs than it does now. "
He prescribes
“ The US has a great higher education system. India has a fast-growing private sector hungry for young managers. It’s a true win-win—but only if the barriers come down and the American institutions make bold moves into the Indian market. “

Isnt this too a simplistic solution?

Me thinks an high quality MBA is great only for youngsters to have a very good insight into how a business works-and more importantly-to appreciate how different functions need to be integrated to leverage on the latent strengths of the organization-to be able to be proactive in a globally competitive world. (and,ofcourse, the alumni network helps in opening many doors right thru one's career and is perhaps the single most critical take away !! )

It is operational excellence and the performance on the job that’s more relevant. And especially in the Indian context-where even –where the core strategy/marketing/finance roles are still the bastion of the corporate office elsewhere- and it is only the R&D/operations/back office/ support /transactional chunks are being outsourced

There are a lot of unsung MBAs in non IT/non ITES industries-who are perhaps languishing in the lesser glamorous industries..who would be a greater fit for the ramping up/consolidation phase of most of the MNCs now present in India!

Till then, I suspect-most MNCs would look at the familiar is a great boost for returning Indians/ those aspiring of relocating to India!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Desperately Seeking India’s Google

Just came across a desipundit post by Atanu Dey thinking aloud of the factors which result in successful businesses and dwells on the possibility of the next major Information Technology company being of an Indian origin.

He feels "people with vision create universities in a conducive environment created by wise government; over time, the universities become centers of excellence; finally the universities give birth to Googles. Miss any of the elements in the sequence, and you will not find a Google, no matter how hard you search nor how devoutly you wish."

Ramki attributes society and culture - a society that accepts failures while doing new things and not term them as an outcast. How many of the great inventions have come from UK or the other places that has been mentioned? In India we live more with the fear of failure than anything else. That is one of the reasons for mediocrity and lack of hunger to create new things

There are more interesting comments being posted even as I write…the number of PhDs, student -tutor ratio at top institutes, is technology the only route?...

it’s becoming a great read!

Friday, December 08, 2006

FAB companies scouting abroad for managerial talent for India

Todays Economic Times has an article on this. Cant see an online link as yet!

The gist is as follows

  • chip manufacuting in India is in the nascent stage with only Semindia having started some work. Couple of more companies are waiting got the Govts semiconductor policy to come out before setting up shop here.
  • there is not much talent in wafer mfg space planned –and so recruiters are eyeing people from Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and even the US for hiring managers! It is estimated that 8000 openings are expected in 2007- of which about 2500 will be in managerial levels!
  • companies that have evinced interest are NRI Rajendra Singh led consortium India Electronics manufacturing company (IEMC), Korean led consortium lead by June Min in Hyderabad and NRI Deven Vermas consortium Hindustan Semiconductor Company.

I was fortunate to attend the meeting earlier this year, when TiE Hyderabad announced a special interest group when the India Semiconductor Association launched its Hyderabad office . Ms Poornima Shenoy President ISA –feels that the first level of managers will have to come from other countries..or Indians coming back from abroad!!

While there have been hiccups regarding Semindia's foray into Hyderabad since, I would like to believe its only a matter of time..before the scene HOTS up.

I shall be glad to connect with those desirous of knowing more.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

India 2.0?? Venture capitalists see a Silicon Valley in the making??

As I was just about to call it a day, I came across this article published earlier this week in the Silicon Valley's newspaper Mercury News -it is the first of the four articles written by Mercury News reporter John Boudreau.

While it does predict the ‘elephant has begun to dance’, and goes on to predict India's rise as a technological powerhouse, I am a little skeptical.

To me, the ecosystems just don’t seem to be right as yet..not at least for another few years to come! There is no single community willing to display deferred gratification!!

- the brightest of them all..the IIT and IIM alumni are still clamouring for campus placements. The media goes overboard in highlighting the dollar salaries of the handful of ‘chosen ones’-and that probably inspires many others to the lure! If these “CATs” aren’t backing their own instincts and thriving to create their own ventures, and destinies, pray, who will?
- there aren’t enough success stories of ‘succesful Indian entrepreneurs in India’ to evangelise the fact that the brightest elsewhere started their own firms!!
- The poster boys (and girls) of the Silicon valley successes have turned their eyes on India- as VCs and not as Angel investors /seed capital funding professionals. There is a predominant focus on chasing globally scaleable products in the technology space..while almost almost ignoring the growing Indian market space

- It is another matter that most foreign VCs are looking at Private Equity funding- as a safer medium- with an eye on the IPO route in a couple of years! One can almost count the instances of such portfolio companies receiving second and third round funding.

-Companies in the ‘product space’ are out numbered by those in the ‘services space’!

-there just aren’t enough ‘readymade talent’ graduating from academia –forcing companies to spend months of inhouse training. The large hiring stories one hears of..of MNCs/ Indian companies hiring thousands of engineers- are predominantly for the ‘services sector”. With too many ‘easy jobs chasing undergraduates’ companies are even lowering the bar!!

It would be interesting if one could gets ones hands on the actual percentage of graduates going on to do- post graduation- and doctorates in the recent years!! Can anyone give us any pointers?

I for one, would love to rate this post as a 'bloggers fatigue' -being the third post for the day :-)!!

Returning from the US....What salary can one expect in India??

Earlier today, I was pointed to a post on ‘how much money do you need in India for a good lifestyle’!!

It makes an interesting reading..comparing notes on the various aspects of costing a home!

As a recruiter I have always been asked if there is a formula to convert ones US salary and reckon how much to expect in India!

And my standard reply..has been –‘please do not convert a dollar as 45rupees-but more around Rs 9 ( going by the famous United Nations theory of Purchasing power parity!)

But a more indicative pointer is that one can expect abt 20-30 % of the US salary for junior and middle management positions. For EDA, chip design and higher end skills this could go to 40%. And in those one –off senior management positions –a la R&D or Engineering Head- the Country Manager positions –it could go in the range of 60-70% of the last drawn US salary.

This has also been in consonance with the concept of essentially it is driven by cost arbitrage, and most companies talk of a cost of operating in India as about one third of that in the US!!

But is a 100k salary in the east coast same as someone earning the same in the Silicon Valley??

The debate rages on…:-)!

India Inc finds talent shortage for senior management positions?

A report in the New York Times earlier this week laments about a talent shortage that is becoming acute at the high end.

For a moment, it all seemed very familiar to me. Did I blog about the similar topics about 6 weeks ago ?

Interesting to read as it does give quite a few quotes and examples, the gist is as follows:

- India Inc’s top executives are being wooed from all directions as its economy booms.
-Industries that find top talent in short supply - engineering, technology, drug and manufacturing companies , retailing, financial services.
-Compensation levels in India have risen strikingly in the last couple of years-faster than the annual general market increases of 16 to 17 percent.
-many search specialists report that only one in three vacant top-level slots can be filled. Even the time taken to fill senior positions has doubled to 120 days.

The solution?

- the net is being cast for more than just overseas executives of Indian origin — a category referred to as boomerang professionals
- Americans and Europeans with an Indian connection who want to come to India “because they feel this is where all the action is,”! In a sign of a maturing job market, companies in software, semiconductors, telecommunications, airlines and hospitality are looking at foreign talent.
-Many companies, meanwhile, are already betting on potential and are hiring rising talent.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Indian recruitment industry -A billion dollar industry and growing!!

A recent study done by ERA , heralds the ‘recruitment industry ‘ in India.

The Executive Recruiters Association ( represents the executive recruitment firms of India, and has amongst its members the top 100 firms handling selection, staffing and search business in India. With over 100, 000 employees and associates employed by the ERA members, across domains, the highlights have been

• Both Indian & MNC co’s members
• Members acquired by Transnational co’s
• Competition to Co-opetition - Knowledge sharing
• Conducting conferences of Mutual interest
• Representations on Public policy issues relating to the industry
• Ethics Chair for Dispute Resolution
• CEOs Sounding Board
• Sharing of common issues

The Way forward?

• Collaboration with similar associations worldwide(REC -UK; ASA; ITAA)
• Industry Academic collaboration
• ERA –Industry Association
• Corporate ERA long term relationships

As a proud member of the ERA, I shall be glad to give pointers to anyone who wishes to reach me offline!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gaming industry in India- all set to attain escape velocity??

Yesterday, the TiE Hyderabad had arranged a seminar on “Gaming trends “ . For my generation, whose exposure was primarily to the ‘real world ‘ games, the session was simply eye opening. Apart from an occasional solitaire and sudoku that I play on the computer, the challenges of the Xbox, the multiplayer online gaming opportunities, the backend programing of ‘non character players’ in the rendering of gaming content and creativity..was simply mindboggling!! So when it was predicted it would be a 350 million USD market in India by 2010, I was transported to a different world!!

Prady Kuna orchestrated a discussion around the gaming business and gave some insights into the future. Prasad of Kido software Prasad of Kidosoftware spoke about role of AI in the Games Development-Modern gaming consoles pack so much computing power that it is now practical to develop realistic characters that display and mimic their real world counter parts including humans. Rajiv of Green Gold spoke about the scope of creating original Indian animation content. He has developed recent animation hits on Cartoon Network such as Vikram-Betal and Krishna

Salient points that I could take away

1. 60% of games studios outsource today, with this figure projected to rise to 90% by 2008 this presents Indian developers a handful of opportunities.

2. Gamers around the world are looking for new and differentiate content, Indian companies can avail this opportunity and build video games for the global audience.
3. Among the entertainment media, today the top three avenues are Music, Movies and Gaming. With increasing usage of mobile phones, it is likely that mobile gaming would improve penetration, and is likely to play a more important share.

4. While there is an acute shortage of talent-both in the creativity and technology side, the general impression is that the present & future generation of programmers, who have played games as teenagers, would be more passionate and so the vertical is just waiting to take off!!

5. Expenditure on children –has increased three fold in the last 6yrs in India. An indicative trend is the ‘per capita chocolate consumption’ in India that has increased from 200grams to 600 grams from 2000 todate! Compared to the 6kg that the developed countries boast of, India is very much in the nascent stage!

6. And finally-as the economy of a nation improves, there is more to be more spending power in gaming ( a la growth of arts and culture during the reign of the great kings –as a function of the buoyant prosperity!)

I am informed NASSCOM is having a special session on Animation and Gaming segments. The TiE Hyderabad chapter is mulling a special interest group on gaming, and so please stay tuned for opportunities opening up in the sector!!