When Satya Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft, my first thought was – It is happening. In fact it is happening some time already . In 2012, of all the companies in the Silicon Valley which were founded by non-American by origin, 32,2% had Indians as CEO or CTO.
The hack4good series was established by Geeklist, the San Francisco social networking site for developers, to bring together a global community with a common purpose: to build and launch projects for social good. The second Geeklist’s Hack4good hackathon in New Delhi (you can read about the first one as well) which happened this weekend under the remarkable leadership of Samanyu Chopra the founder of Daphis Labs has given a sample, a simplified model which explains why Indian IT professionals seem to be industry’s most wanted. In fact there was no other place on Earth I would like to be during those hours than spending them inside the premise of 91Springboards, Delhi based startup center which not only hosted the second Hack4good hackathon in New Delhi but more than 40 local startups as well. Here is why…
Surrounded by dreams but without dreaming
Imagine if you would have been able to see Marc Zukerberg’s dormitory room or Sergey Brin’s garage when they first started their companies which were rather like projects at that time. You may not find them that special because what these guys have done and the inspiration they planted inside millions of hearts was not yet done before them.
However the feeling of indifference was not the feeling I got while walking around and seeing the co-working spaces and desks inside 91Springboards. Now during this era which Marc has given us I was feeling like experiencing a unique privilege of walking around dreams and dreamers. Every desk was more than just desk.
It was a dream which does not disappear after the dreamer opens his eyes. Because of the weekend, most desks were empty and that give me chance to contemplate on the sight, stop my breading for a moment while passing near small offices and desks, to have a look at the different motivational statement, of pictures and symbols of their heroes and everything else that drives them high in this crazy world. Some of them could grow and redefine India.
That day I was looking at their humble beginnings – the desk, the stickers and the tiny deities (do not forget, it is India we are talking about).
Young contenders who long for more
It started with 23 on the first night of Hack4good and it ended with around 15. Not bad if you ask me. The ones who stay are the tough ones, the ones with belief, those who have chosen themselves. This time we even had a lady contestant which again proved that when technology and people unite together to make the world a better place, barriers no longer exist.
Over 80% of them were just second year students already demonstrating remarkable technical know-how and ability to define a vision further translated inside their projects.
Bold and mature projects
It is not the projects which they have managed to do in the 48 hours available to them that have given me the most surprise. It is the fact that most of them are already living such profound stories despite the fact that they are just in their twenties.
I cannot but mention here the story of Anurag Kashyap, young and super charismatic programmer who lost his parents in car accident which had also made his brother handicapped. Anurag has transformed this tragic event into an inspiration which has re-defined him and decided to do something his brother and the community of warriors like he likes to call them and launch WoW – Warriors of Wheels – a web based platform aiming to reduce the inequalities persisting between those on wheels and those on legs through events and opportunities focused on modeling and art. Hack4good New Delhi was the initiative which has launched his initiative and made it shine under the first rays of sun.
Anurag, myself and Mobiloitte wish you success. We shall be proud ambassadors of your cause.
Representing Mobiloitte during this hackathon was a true privilege and the judging panel was further reinforced with a representative from the Italian high commission who has given his selfless opinion and consulting of every project individually on a huge degree of satisfaction for the young students who utilized the chance to ask questions on various technical topics.
Gurpreet Singh, myself, Mobiloitte and Hac4good remain indebted to you.
Despite all this, what we have done there is at the same time what unfortunately is not being done enough – Leadership and guidance. Things may go bright and shiny for Indians inside the Valley but that is not the case in India
I am a strong evangelist of the enormous potential that lies inside the young Indians and wannapreneurs. Yet, that potential cannot sustain itself forever unless groomed by the experienced business community and entrepreneurs who will teach those youngsters how to attach their ideas and skills to a specific market perspective or trend. It is my personal opinion that the business community in India during its aggressive pursuit for growth and profit is still not doing enough for the next generation.
I see no reason why such hackathons with similar agenda could not be formed and led locally in major metro cities like New Delhi.
At the same time I invite the respected community of leaders and business people to recognize their own negligence and to focus more on creating leaders who in turn will take India forward.
We invite you to share you thoughts on this as well. The next Hack4good hackathon is approaching fast. Stay tuned.