The setting was familiar. I had been to the Godrej CII, could recognise Sramana and Praneetha from an earlier Cisco Telepresence Sramana Mitra roundtable, -and D Murali of BusinessLine. Half way thru the discussions, a couple more faces I have followed online for about a couple of years also joined- Pradeep Gupta & AtanuDey! The others on the table were from Indian Express, Financial Chronicle, India Today, Financial Express, Vaartha, and representatives of the ecosystem (Microsoft, The Smart Manager, Yourstory, Nasscom, ..)
Sramana had mailed in her latest article in Forbes -to set the tone for the agenda. India presently knows of role models of only two kind of celebrities- the cricketers and Bollywood. There wasn’t any first generation young entrepreneur in India-who could inspire the youth-or worthy of emulation. Her call to the media was to explore and engage how the same could be done
In hindsight, I hadn’t given it much thought when I received the invite from Sramana earlier this week. I thought I had a lot to offer and share-thanks to my being a three-in-one -an entrepreneur, a recruiter who was very much in the thick of things with the respective stakeholders (corporates, job seekers and fellow consultants)-and as a fairly periodic blogger in the social media space!!
As many expressed opinions about the set mindset in India, and were skeptical of an overnight change-the general theme was to popularize some of the lesser known success stories..
I offered the following impressions.
1. "Media should stop glamourising the news of day zero campus placements of IITs and IIMs. It is the obscene salaries that prevent freshers from entering the world of entrepreneurs."
I could immediately see Pradeep Gupta shaking his head disapprovingly "you can't stop companies paying high salaries. One must allow market forces to operate"
Undeterred, I went on to make the next observation.
2. "Look at the best professionals. Doctors, Lawyers, Chartered accounts- the best don't join the corporate! They practice. Why do the engineers and MBA's rush to corporate careers-it's the sheer comfort of a huge salary"
Now, now..fortunately there were only three screens that could be seen-and so I can see more disturbed faces! I realise I am running out of time-and so play a copybook frontfoot defensive stroke as I complete my hypothesis!!
3 " Mr Naik of L&T has publicly deplored that an entire generation of engineers -civil, mechanical, electrical, from 1995 to 2005 -were lured into the IT world -away from the core engineering functions".
I could see no one wanted to acknowledge me :-)!
As I drove and got back home at 11 in the night- I reflected -had I blown the plot ?
Reflecting on what had been said-I realised I had been talking from my heart-as usual.
May be I had an identity crisis?!
Truly, as a recruiter-I ought to be the last guy to complain about high salaries, right :-)!? As a blogger, I always had this feeling that media could change the way people thought., and not just be restricted to reflecting their thinking!!
Had the entrepreneur in me blurted out? Flashback of the attempts to hire for my team in Options across the 17yrs of existence.
-How could any startup ever match the salaries that "corporates" offered? Every year, the salary aspirations of even the local tier3 and tier4 MBA colleges grew faster than the inflation rate!!
-Almost all the innovative methods of attracting good talent-freelance, part-time, interns- worked till the 'big brother" then just poached away the 'readymade fully trained resource" paying 'market level salaries"!
I often wonder -why is the Indian IT services industry losing its cost arbitrage? Does it have anything to do with salaries?? Seriously, was there a need to hire engineers to write code in Java or Microsoft technologies, and promote them every couple of years, giving designation prematurely instead of one earning the same?
So I went off to bed, sharing my impressions with the world of twitters.
"Back home after Sramana Mitra press meet courtesy Cisco Telepresence across 6 cities. Interesting exchange! Think I stirred the hornets nest"
"My logic? Media hype on campus placements a huge factor in students choosing career options based on salary! No takers for entrepreneurship"
Within a few minutes, I got this response: from a wannabe entrepreneur??
"summehta: @achyutmenon enterepenuership spirit is not fostered on campus... actully companies try avoiding peopel vid enterprenurial bend of mind"
"summehta: @achyutmenon co's try n avoid independent thinkin people at entry level.. they jus need well educated labours"
"Entrepreneurship is a mindset-that needs to be encouraged & mentored"
summehta: @achyutmenon guys wid business acumen in dem.still need a few years of corporate experience..hw cn dey get it if dey r honest in interviews
When I woke up this morning, I knew I had touched a chord somewhere!!
"summehta .am sorry 4 being so blunt, dis is a small entrepreneur inside me speaking.. dont mind pls."
My day is made. I rest my case.
Or is it? I can see Sramana's blog post on the meeting.
Well, I need to rush for the Hyderabad Startup Saturday meet- I believe there are more than 100 registrations-in an ecosystem where entrepreneurs thrive. I am quite relieved I would be just another person off the spotlight. I can just be ME :-)!