Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from Sakthi Prasad:

The brave new world of Ideas

Rostow Ravanan of MindtreeThe world was built on ideas and in the absence of innovation, mankind would have continued to live in stone age.

Of course, Rostow Ravanan, chief financial officer of Mindtree, would subscribe to the view that new ideas are absolutely necessary to promote business growth. Well, who wouldn’t? While talking to journalists at Reuters India Investment Summit, he vigorously defended his company’s foray into designing smart phones saying it is a new idea, which may as well pay off.

Ravanan, in a philosophical manner, said the world is “spermicidal” and is designed to kill new ideas -- but that will not deter a company like Mindtree in pursuing business opportunities. Just because the smart phone market is perceived as crowded, it is not a good enough reason for Mindtree not entering the market.

 When he was pushed by Reuters journalists to provide some color and details regarding the company’s smart phone project, he evaded the volley of questions in an innovative manner: He said he is paid not to reveal the details before the official launch.

from Sakthi Prasad:

New Contracts are like honeymoon

L.Ravichandran of Tech MahindraAs the old adage goes, it is easy to build a new house as compared to remodeling an old one. If one would like to extend this adage to the new-age IT industry, then we could use what L. Ravichandran, president, IT Services of Tech Mahindra, told the Journalists at Reuters India Investment Summit in Bangalore: it is easy to negotiate new contracts with the clients rather than renegotiating old ones. He likened the new contracts to that of a honeymoon -- both the customer and the service provider are happy. But, of course, he did not extend his metaphor to old contracts by likening it to a marriage gone vinegary.

Ravichandran also pondered over the fate of fixed lines telephones. According to him, the fixed line phone will not be done away with altogether. Instead, it will be increasingly used to deliver other digital services like broadband internet, IPTV etc.  So in a perverse way, landlines may continue to be used, but not much to make phone calls though.

from Sakthi Prasad:

India Investment Summit comes to Bangalore

After completing the Mumbai leg, the 2010 India Investment Summit is set to arrive in the garden city of Bangalore on Wednesday. Long known as the pensioner’s paradise, Bangalore is fast morphing into a global, multicultural city. The city is also emerging as a favourite destination among young Indian professionals aspiring for a blue-chip career in the information technology business. But despite Bangalore’s success in the IT industry -- the showpiece of a rising India -- the city’s infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with its phenomenal growth over the last decade or so. Frequent power cuts, traffic-choked roads and lax urban planning often leave city dwellers and foreign investors in mute frustration. However, despite these issues, multinational companies have kept their faith in the city.

Executives of real estate, technology and pharmaceutical firms will be exclusively talking to Reuters journalists about their companies’ growth plans, challenges they face and business opportunities that are available within the wider context of India investment story.

Stay tuned.

The Reuters India Summit comes to Bangalore

On Wednesday, the Reuters India Investment Summit comes to the information technology hub of Bangalore.

The city has become synonymous in the West with outsourcing and “cheap labor” but is rapidly emerging as a hot spot for research and development. Bangalore is also marching ahead in the information technology value chain. Some companies like Wipro actually outsource work from India to Egypt.

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