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Why Indian web companies build crappy products?

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Actually, the title of the post is misleading. Indian companies are very good at building good web products, but only when someone else is defining and managing the product. There are very few who can define and then iteratively build excellent products. Therefore, hold no grudge against the investors who invest in replicated ideas and US-returned expats.What are the reasons?

1) Most Indian web companies  “do not” consider their product as a key competitive advantage. In that sense, they are much more like media companies , always focused on more eyeballs leading to more advertisement moolah. Those that do have a non-ad revenue model, rely on their alliances or their sales teams.

2) Indian web companies focus much more on marketing than they ever do on the product. Most big web companies are just “online” extensions of their offline businesses. The culture of product innovation just isn’t there because all of them get their job done at the same outsourcing shops. There is no overarching product vision just feature additions.

3) Indian software engineers have not been exposed to the latest and the best, even though Indians are no.2 or 3 in Techcrunch readership. This is mostly because the managers and the VP’s have themselves never been software engineers. They hardly know their HTML5 from their XML.

4) Sadly, most software engineers are neither risk takers nor good coders nor do they enjoy their jobs. More importantly, very few have that attitude of curiosity which spurs innovation. Combined with 3) , it just becomes a chicken and egg problem.

What do you think?

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Comments (8):

  1. Ankur

    January 29, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I don't agree with what you say. Zoho, Network 18's web apps, and many more are doing a fab job. Yes this generation's Managers not coming from programming/engineering background may hamper web innovation. However I am optimistic about the future.

    Reply
    • Manpreet

      January 31, 2010 at 7:30 am

      Dude…. just check out the percentage of Engineers getting into top notch MBA colleges in comparison to other streams….How come you say managers are not coming from Engineering/background…

      Reply
  2. bipin

    January 29, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Ankur, thanks for stopping by. Yes, there are a few exceptions but few and far between. I think the best bet to get out of the rut is still startups.

    Reply
  3. rgupta29

    January 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    i agree with u, but thats only one side of the story. On one hand we have engineers who r more than happy to earn a decent monthly salary w/o getting into the fact that they actually not gaining anything intellectually. On the other hand there are those startup enthusiasts, young, energetic, and filled with ideas. I have been to many B-Plan competitions and have seen gr8 ideas and gr8 ppl.
    The fact still remains that we are not having decent number of genuine coders and VC/Investor ecosystem is yet very raw here! Let's hope that things get better in near future…

    Reply
  4. vidhunambiar

    January 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    It is a business decision. If better website means more money, companies will spend the extra money on hiring good product managers and business analysts to design a quality product.

    Reply
  5. bipin

    January 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Vidhu,

    Business decisions need to be demarcated into short-term and long-term. Sure, short term focus is on capturing maximum of the internet pie but what about growing the pie? If the pie does not grow fast enough, ultimately it will not benefit anyone.

    The online ecosystem pie cannot grow and mature until there are good products which in turn attract more eyeballs. ( Ofcourse, basic PC and broadband penetration also matter here). Only then can it become a self-fulfilling cycle.

    Reply
  6. Manpreet

    January 31, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Dude…. just check out the percentage of Engineers getting into top notch MBA colleges in comparison to other streams….How come you say managers are not coming from Engineering/background…

    Reply

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