Five reasons why Indians make great tech CEOs
Source | LinkedIn : By Baskar arjunan
Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen, Sanjay K Jha, Rajiv Suri and now Sundar Pichai all share one thing in common. They are of Indian descent and are CEO’s of some of the most influential technology companies in the world.
Nadella was made the CEO of Microsoft after heading its Cloud business for years in early 2014, succeeding Steve Ballmer. Narayen was made the CEO of Adobe, the company which is known to make professional software tools like Photoshop and Premier Pro back in 2007. Sanjay K Jha was the guy who was Motorola’s CEO, when the company was sold to Google in 2011. After Google, Jha is the CEO of Global Foundries one the largest semiconductor companies in the world. Jha previously was also Qualcomm’s Chief Operating Officer. After Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices business, Rajiv Suri was named CEO as he was heading NSN, which basically is the new Nokia.
And earlier in the day, Sundar Pichai was announced as Google’s new CEO succeeding co-founder and ex-CEO Larry Page as its third CEO. Though this came with a caveat, as Page wasn’t relinquishing control of the company he founded. Instead, he founded Alphabet, a parent company for a collection of companies which also now includes Google.
One thing is clear, Indians excel at tech companies. More so than their Chinese counterparts. But why does it happen? Here are five reasons.
#1 English, Vinglish
One has to hand it to the competitive education system and the fact that India was primarily ruled by the British in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, which has resulted in a situation where many schools in the country are English medium. This basically means that from an early age many Indians are well versed in English and speak it fluently and by the time they shift abroad they can combine their tech savvy with good communication skills. If you’d compare senior executives from China, South Korea and Taiwan, they aren’t as fluent, hence are unable to communicate properly. Their products may be as good, if not better, if the communication isn’t there, then it’s a futile cause.
Poverty in India has made Indians incredibly ambitious. Sundar Pichai is a good example. He went to IIT Kharagpur, then managed a scholarship to Stanford University and finally did an MBA from the school of Wharton in the University of Pennsylvania. If you look at Google’s Amit Singhal, who’s a Google Fellow, SVP and their “Search” engine master, he’s always talked about dreaming up the Star Trek computer. He has often said in interviews in the 70’s he used to watch the show in a black and white TV while he was growing up in Jhansi. Now, the guy from Jhansi is a celebrated computer scientist and is tasked with the search engine invented by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In the last 14 years at Google, he’s done a pretty good job, many would think!