Nandan Nilekani: Imagining India
I want to talk about Nandan Nilekani again because he has a new book out called “Imagining India” where he talks about how he built the company, Infosys. I’ve ordered the book and I am looking forward to reading it.
There is however, another reason why I wanted to bring up Nilekani and it is because, he represents a company that can provide a roadmap for people looking at building outsourcing centers in Kenya. I’ve said before that reading many of the Kenyan business blogs is a very frustrating endeavor for me, mainly because they all seem to be obsessed with banking and do not seem to understand the importance of “production” as the most important tool for a country’s economic growth.
Banks, do not really produce anything. They are an important medium for the transfer of money within borders and internationally, but they do not form the core of a country’s wealth creation. Why don’t the Kenyan business bloggers get this? They’ll spend hours writing about a banks assets, it’s PE dividends, it’s this or that, ….and almost no time focusing on the fact that Kenya, produces little of anything. And who knows whether those numbers are accurate or not? Maybe someone can explain to me what this obsession with banking in Kenya is all about?
Anyway, I was talking to a Kenyan who is headed for Mumbai to talk to their satellite office employee’s there and I asked them if they’d ever considered outsourcing to Kenya and the answer I got was this: The intellectual capital is just not there. She said the Indian employee’s who come and pitch their business to them are very, very, good, but because they are becoming so busy, they are begining to outsource some of their work to other companies in India that are not as good and whose employee’s are not as qualified. However, even with this “annoyance”, they are still going to stick with India and actually that’s why this person is headed for Mumbai: To tell the 1st tier Indian company to do all the work they are giving them or else, they’ll lose the contract.
So, let’s listen to Nandan because what he is talking about is what Kenya will eventually have to do, if it hopes to break it’s cycle of poverty.
When you make your money honestly, you acquire an enormous amount of knowledge, which you can then share by writing books and giving speeches, but when you steal, no knowledge is acquired and this is a problem I see in Kenya: The “wealth” is not being acquired through the acquisition of knowledge and without this knowledge, you will never produce anything because producing “stuff” requires a certain amount of thinking.
I’d much rather be posting video’s of Kenyan business “icon’s”, but they’re all in hiding and none of them want to talk.