My predictions for 2009 …

Every TV channel now has people predicting the future, so I can’t resist doing that myself !

Here are 5 things that I predict will happen in 2009.

#1. America will shut itself from inside – President Obama will re-institute an inward looking and closed to world politics American foreign policy … like it was before the two great wars. Unless they are needled and dragged into war with another Perl Harbor or 9/11 … one can expect US to go to the other extreme of their current global police role … to disconnecting with international politics and getting into a shell. This will have implications to arms manufacturers, Pakistan, Iraq, N.Korea, Russia etc. and open up a spot for Russia, China, India etc. to have a voice in international politics.

#2. Document Syncronisation to leverage online collaboration – Document syncronisation just like with email with gain acceptance. With documents being available online-and-offline, collaborating and anytime download will be the primary thrust of online document management apps – rather than creation and editing. Online document editing and creating will always be a Plan B. It’s like with Outlook/Exchange email. Google will either implement this for Star Office with Google Docs or Google Sites. Microsoft and Adobe have made a start and will push it too. As ever, break thru will be from a new startup we don’t know about.

#3.  Indian businesses to focus on customers and process – Indian businesses will make a real shift in mindsets due to recessionary times … to focus on current customer management and process management in it’s true spirit … as a way of life. The “We-are-like-this-only” style and seat of your pants expansion plans as “build-it-they-will-come” will give way to a more deliberate and thoughtful style of operations management. Thinking we will turn Japanese is expecting too much … but hoping for isn’t.

#4. Social Networking as a feature – Instead of just being a space of it’s own, Social Networking will become a feature of every major online consumer service/provider. Just like chat, blogs, video, photo upload and tags … started as independent and unique business of it’s own … and are now common place in every news site and consumer service fully integrated as a feature … the same will happen with Social Networking. Once upon a time a lot of people put up their web pages on Geocities … to finally shift to their own sites … having a presence in Facebook or LinkedIn or Orkut is similar in many ways to having pages in Geocities. If you think about it … Social Networking is basically collaborating as a community, having links to friends in a organised manner … every service can benefit from offering that to their users.

#5. Bypass the carrier – Once the operating system and the hand set get de-coupled for mobile phones … (Android is one of those things that signals the beginning of that process) … the next thing will be ways to bypass the carrier for services like SMS and short codes. De-coupling of Software, Harware and the Netware happened with computers … will happen for Mobiles as well. This process will begin in 2009.

Let me know what you think. What would you predict for 2009?

Views expressed are solely personal opinions of the author; and do not represent the views organizations/institutions he is associated in any form. The author has no responsibility for actions taken based on ideas expressed here.

(Sridhar Turaga’s Blog: An Indian Entrepreneur)


Here’s a tip …

I recently moved back to India after a few years in the US (this is the second and hopefully the last time !) … and needed to build our life ground up in Bangalore.

So we got a phone, a gas connection, furniture, a broad band connection, a TV, cable and so on.

A my mother taught me years ago … we always kept a ward of 10 Rs. notes at home (I think 1 Re. in those days !!) so we handle the “uncomfortable silence” in the end by giving tips to the people who come and do their job.

I have very distinct memories of my US returned uncles complaint about how Indians don’t do anything without being “tipped” with “baksheesh” or “chai pani” … only to be viewed as corruption … unlike in the US where everything is so process driven and just happens.

(Ofcourse, I realised after living in the US that not only is tipping very common but, there is a process for it there with the 15% rule 🙂)

Any ways, I got my phone and broad band set up by this guy who explained to me in not so great english how DSL unlike dial-up works even when the phone is being used. So, I promptly gave him 30 Rs. at the end of everything … becaues Chai-Pani in CoffeeDay costs that much now. He smiled back.

He said “No thank you. I don’t accept tips. Please let me know if you have any problems and I will take care of those for you. If you are happy with our service please refer your friends to our company“.

I then got my satellite TV connection. Set in my old ways, instructed my wife not to pay more than 30 Rs. when they come to set it up. Firstly it was a lady who came to set up the connection. Then she refused, saying it is “against company policy to accept tips from customers“.

I recollect now that the guy at an Indian airline (not Indian Airlines … not yet) which offers free baggage check-in service politely turned my 10 Rs. down.

In all instances I was first ashamed to “uncomfortable silence“, then was astounded and then I felt proud.

This the new India where focus on the customer (and the sales savvy of asking for a referral) is part of the “process” … without tips.


Views expressed are solely personal opinions of the author; and do not represent the views organizations/institutions he is associated in any form. The author has no responsibility for actions taken based on ideas expressed here. (Author: Sridhar Turaga)