Of KBC & The “Islandish” Problem With Indian IT Industry

A few days back NRN made a statement that IITs are producing poor quality of engineers and even the quality of students entering IITs has deteriorated over the years. While that resulted in a major debate, let me share this KBC episode where BigB asked a damn simple question to a participant.

KBC Qn: “Which of these options will you not find on the Google homepage”

Options: Orkut, Youtube, Facebook, Gmail

And the correct answer, as per a TCS employee turned out to be..Youtube (hop to 14m56).

Well, before you laugh at this, let me tell you that this is actually the biggest challenge with Indian IT industry – i.e. of being an island in itself. The Indian IT professional is living in an island – with literally no awareness of the world outside the ‘software world’. The so-called echo-chamber has been created by companies themselves and reinforced by the work culture that pertains to the industry.

If NRN believes that there is a problem with supply, let me ask if the industry really deserves great talent? The industry has shielded employees from all external innovation/information that might make them switch to a different orbit (For instance: The Day When Indian IT Employees Couldn’t Search For Steve Jobs’ Death News).

And now that we are talking about IT industry, let me share the story of my landlord (who works as QA Director at one of these big islandish companies). A few days back (~Aug 2011), he asked me to send a Gmail invite (he came to know that I do ‘something’ in Internet space):

I still do not have a Gmail id. I guess it’s high time I create a Google account. Possible for you to send me an invite?

Of course I did sent him a Gmail invite, though wondering why he never bothered to check Gmail.com and create an account directly. Maybe the last time he got to check Gmail was 2006 or so.

And all this hoopla about IT innovation when we are told that access to Pluggd.in is blocked by a lot of these big IT firms (maybe the CEOs fear that employees might quit and do their own gig); companies have archaic policies and importantly, information access is often used as a tool to exercise control (Big Brother, eh?).
What do you think? Isn’t it time Indian IT professional moves out of echo chamber and take a fresh look at the world?

And while I was writing this, the radio played

Hey you, standing on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.