Today in Tech: HCL Tech's Red Ocean Strategy; Startup Weekend in Bangalore; Steve Jobs on stealing ideas

NS Ramnath
Updated: Oct 1, 2012 01:21:04 AM UTC

I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email:

HCL Tech's Red Ocean Strategy A few years ago, Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies told Forbes India that his favorite book is 'Blue Ocean Strategy'. "When I read Blue Ocean Strategy in 2006, I realised that the thought of finding these uncontested markets fit very well into what I had already planned for my company. Till date, this has remained my most influential book," he said.

It's a superb book by two INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. In the book they argue that in overcrowded industries, taking on competition, fighting to win market share, will result only in a bloody “red ocean”. Instead, business leaders should create “blue oceans” or uncontested market.

Yet, if you look at HCL Tech over the last few years, they have shown remarkable ability to contest in a red ocean, and gain market share. (This of course came at the expense of margins, which has been pretty volatile for HCL Tech.) And, they have made no bones about it.

In an interview to my colleagues in 2009, Nayar told that the company in fact taking share away from competitors, but not as much from its Indian peers as it's from global players. "You must understand that we have a very large number of high quality Indian IT companies, Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Genpact, each one of them is focused on a particular business model, however all of us constitute a very small percentage of the total IT budget, it is true that we have gained in market share, but that is not by taking business away from them. We have gained — because our business model is focused more on global business IT services companies, and taking business away from global IT services companies. At a time when the total IT spending is coming down we are taking business away from the global players, and therefore we are growing our size and increasing our market share in that market," he said.

That has helped place HCLT among the faster growing IT Services companies. It looks as if the model has not run out of steam. Bloomberg reports, HCLT plans to cut prices to capture market share as contracts signed before 2008 come up for renewal. “Today the customer is very angry with the existing vendors and very unhappy with their level of service and support,” Nayar told the newswire.

That's a $15 billion opportunity.


Startup Weekend in Bangalore
Chidambar Kulkarni, an organiser with Startup Weekend wrote in to say that the third Bangalore edition of the weekend-long event will take place from Sept 14 and 16 at Microsoft, EGL. You will find more details here. (Update: Dates for Startup Weekend Delhi: Sept 21 to 23. More details: here)

For those who don't know, it's a global movement. Each event stretches over a weekend, from Friday till Sunday. Entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs come together, pitch their ideas, validate their models, learn from peers and mentors. The big idea: Launch a startup in 54 Hours.

Check out this video for more details.



For inspiration, turn to this interview with Google's Lalitesh Katragadda in today's Bangalore Mirror

Let’s say I am a non-techie and don’t know anything about R&D. What if I get a good idea and want to convert it into a successful product?

Firstly, you must be sure that the need the idea addresses lights them off. I can only recollect what Warren Buffet said when he accepted the honorary degree from Wharton. “Do what you are most passionate about and do nothing else.” A student asked how would he know what his passion was. Buffet answered, “If someone locks you in a room with bread and water and you still keep doing it, then it is your passion. So if the idea is around that, then commit to it and make it happen. There is no shortcut. Very rarely anyone has the skills to make the idea come completely true. If you are passionate about it, you will learn along the way. Some of the greatest inventors in history have done it in the same way.



Steve Jobs on stealing ideas
Economist piece on Apple Vs Samsung case points to an irony, and a quote that Samsung could well have used, if only it had the charisma of Steve Jobs.

Apple’s own early successes were founded on enhancing the best technologies that it saw, notably the graphical interface and mouse that were first invented at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre. “It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done—and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing,” said Jobs in a television documentary, “Triumph of the Nerds”, in 1996. “And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Here's the video



 Also of interest

  • Robot cars on public roads? California says yes: Arstechnica
  • Infosys Chief Downplays U.S. Visa Probe: WSJ
  • Samsung chairman 'calmed down and slightly closed his eyes' after Apple verdict briefing: Fortune
  • Walmart builds its own shopping search engine: Gigaom
  • Intel hopes to revolutionize the way you charge your mobile devices: ZDNet
  • Twitter ads to target interests: FT
  • Groupon's New App Hints At A Change In Course: Fast Company
Post Your Comment
Required, will not be published
All comments are moderated
Indian Users Face Security Risk on Facebook
Today in Tech: Campus Hiring; MIT's Camera Culture