René Seifert

Entrepreneur, Global Citizen, Flat World, Internet, Web 2.0, Innovation, Start-Up

Archive for June, 2010

Global India Business Meeting 2010 in Madrid

Horasis and its founder Frank-Jürgen Richter are really coming to ever new heights with its format of “Global X Business Meeting”. Take “X” as a placeholder for China, India, Russia and soon Arab, too. The concept is brilliant: Create a platform for political and economic leaders for a specific country, let them fly out of their cocoon for 2 days in a completely different continent and blend them with political and economic leaders from the host country. For the recent Global Russia Business Meeting that host country was Slovenia (in Ljubljana), last for last year’s Global India Business Meeting it was Germany (Munich) and for this year it was Spain in its magnificent capital of Madrid. (All pictures of the event here on this set.)

Global India Business Meeting 2010 in Madrid

This year’s top participants from India were the Union Minister of Commerce, Anand Sharma, who spoke about his country’s resilience to weather the storm of the global economic crisis, aspiring to a double digit GDP-growth and acknowledging the requirement build stronger ties to Europe. As a reference to his hosts Mr. Sharma mentioned in particular Spain whose trade volume with India ranks only 43.

Anand Sharma, India Minister of Commerce

From the Spanish side, the Crown Prince Felipe gave himself the honour to speak. As someone who has rather reservations to monarchy, I was honestly surprised not to see some smug royal retard, but a highly educated, soft-spoken and down-to-earth guy who is very well able to play his constitutional and social role in such a setting very well.

Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Spanish Crown Prince

I had the pleasure to moderate panel on a topic which is personally very dear to me: Innovation. In particular “Driving the Future: India’s Technology Pioneers – India’s IT and other technology firms are emerging as global players in their own right. What areas are they pioneering in and how do they compete in world markets?” The participants had a lot to share from their experience:

  • Dinesh Dhamija, former Founder and CEO of ebookers.com, now Founder and Chairman, Copper Beech Group, United Kingdom
  • Sachin Dev Duggal, Chairman, Nivio, India
  • Naeem Ghauri, Co-Founder, NetSol Technologies, Pakistan & United Kingdom
  • Clas Neumann, President, SAP Labs India, Germany
  • Jeff Heenan Jalil, Head – Wipro Technologies, Europe, Wipro, India
  • Glenn Proellochs, Chief Executive Officer, Travelpaper.com, Switzerland
  • Sudhir Sethi, Chairman, IDG Ventures India Advisors India
  • Sudhakar Shenoy, Chairman, IMC, USA

Global India Business Meeting 2010 in Madrid

This format of a so called “board room dialogue” in an intimate setting allows for a true conversation among the panellists where the “audience” blends seamlessly in. Three main conclusions on innovation that I’d to summarize here:

  • IT-Innovation in India has multiple dimensions. It’s not just about the classic Western understanding of filing a patent for some say cutting edge laser-thing. It’s often process innovation: Just think of the 1 million resumés (!) that Infosys is getting every year to fill 12,000 positions, you need to handle that somehow. Or business innovation with a particular focus on the price point, see for example the world-class rate of 0.5 US-Cent per minute on Indian mobile operators.

  • Bigger organisations like SAP or Wipro can only innovate of their culture embodies constant change whereby their organizational frameworks act like a stable meta-layer for innovation.

  • India is not good at everything, should and often does recognize both its strengths and weaknesses. For instance anything around User Interface can be done with a company in the Silicon Valley much better. The conclusion here: In times where you can assemble easily global sourcing chains, also from the Indian perspective applies: Do what you can do best and outsource the rest :-)

After all the inspiring discussions over the day, we headed off for a cocktail reception to the beautiful Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez where Mr. Peacock was greeting us with his evergreen mating-show.

Global India Business Meeting 2010 in Madrid

Last but not least, thanks a lot to Frank for once again putting such an awesome Horasis-event together.

Global India Business Meeting 2010 in Madrid

Vijay Mallya coming Home: Greeted like a God

Thursday evening in Bangalore, I was heading out to have some good Teppanyaki-dinner in Bangalore’s Shiro-restaurant. The place is actually located within “UB City”, the latest luxury shopping mall built by Beer Baron Vijay Mallya who happens to have his private residence in Bangalore just by the side of it. Practical, isn’t it.

Arriving at the mall, there was a big crown right in front of Mr. Mallya’s house, everything was prepared for some solemn welcome when a few minutes later the motorcade arrived. What followed was the loudest detonation of firecrackers starting from the leading Mercedes of Mr. Mallya directly to the entrance of his house – which at the other side leads to a fuel station (see my video):

When Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant billionaire who recently entered into Formula 1 with his Force India, stepped out of his limousine, he was greeted with flowers, a cap like a maharajah and several scarves. After waving graciously into the crowd around, he and his entourage disappeared into his private residence to continue the party surrounded by fire spitting into the air and fireworks this time cracking up into the air. This was by far the most over-the-top scene I have seen in my entire life. Mr. Mallya must be running a whole department in his company to organize his cult of personality.

The reason for the spectacle, as we found out, was that Mr. Mallya had been re-elected to parliament, to be more precise to the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House and the Council of States.

To the regular observer, this didn’t just look like a politician is celebrating his election, it rather seemed that a god had given himself the honour to step down to us mere mortals. Somehow I remembered my Latin lessons in school. A winning commander in Rome who had his triumphant march through the city was given company by a slave who went behind repeatedly saying: “Memento moriendum esse!” (=Remember you must die!)

I saw the commander, but I didn’t see the slave.