BOOK REVIEW: Silicon Valley Greats

Author: SS Kshatriy

Price: 180 INR

ISBN: 81-259-1459-5

When I visited Silicon Valley in the year 2002, I was amused to see so many Indians out there. Not only Indians are one of the major immigrant communities in the San Francisco bay area (which consist of counties like San Jose, Santa Clara, Fremont, Sunnyvale etc.) they are also one of the most successful group when it comes to Entrepreneurship. I remember reading one of the WSJ articles where as much as 30% successful Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are from Indian origin.

Thanks to Nehru’s socialistic democracy, bulk of highly educated (mainly from IITs) engineers migrated to the US and made fortunes there. Right from 1970s these folks built tons of high-tech organizations and generated abundance of wealth, which built a very strong brand for India. Two decades later when Indian opened up the economy in 1991, it was ‘homecoming’ experience for these wealthy entrepreneurs as they acted as a bridge between India and USA.

In his book ‘Silicon Valley Greats’, author Kshatriy met some of these ‘rags–to-riches’ Entrepreneurs, compiled their profiles in a good way. Starting with K.B.Chandrasekhar (co-founder of Exodus communications), the author presents the profiles of B.V. Jagdeesh (co-founder of Exodus), Kanwal Reiki (founder of TiE), Sabeer Bhatia (hotmail) and also domestic Entrepreneurs like Pradeep Kar (founder of Microland), Narayana Murthy (Infosys). All these people come from a middle-class background and migrated to USA with some hundred dollars in their pocket. From there these folks rose to one of the world’s successful tech-entrepreneurs.

At an outset the author compiled their profiles to answer questions like: What made them successful Entrepreneurs? How did they build their companies? How did they raise money for their venture? What drives them to contribute back to India? What sort of donations they have made to Indian universities? How do they lead their personal lives? What sort of ‘Indianness’ do they have inside them? How did they create a global brand for themselves? While compiling their profiles, author included some of the small but interesting incidents in their lives which had a profound impact later. For example, Sabeer Bhatia has always had ‘another method’ for solving mathematical problems during his school days. This lateral thinking helped him to think the web based e-mail, which lead to the birth of hotmail.

However at some of the chapters I found pretty lengthy as it was getting too much into their family and background information. It could have been more concise and brief. Also the shape of the book was bit odd and bulky. The publisher (Vikas publishing) could have taken more care while designing. Especially for bedroom readers (like me) it’s pretty hard to hold it and read.

In conclusion, I found this book is a good read technology professionals who are aspiring Entrepreneurs. I very much plants ‘positive’ and ‘progressive’ thought process in that direction.