I — Argonaut; Across the Seven Seas once again!
18 years! 18 years is a long time. I left an India that had not even seen mobile phones yet. Even when I joined Google, back in 2007, mobile was barely contributing to Google’s revenue. I took a bet then, against the advice of many, I started building mobile ads for Google. Today mobile search ads is a true growth engine for Google contributing many many billions of dollars.
That is why I shocked many in my professional and personal circles when I decided to move halfway across the globe, with my wife and (not too thrilled) children in tow. But to me, I just could not walk away from the learning opportunity. I have been watching mobile query growth for a while. India was one of the first places where where mobile queries outpaced desktop. I’ve been amazed by the growth of mobile internet in India (65% of internet traffic in India is from mobile, source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report). Also, in the last few times that I visited India I’ve been truly amazed with the entrepreneurial energy, the confidence and the can-do attitude of a New India — an India that fully believes that, with the right focus, anything is possible. I am betting on mobile growth again, I am also betting on a great company, but above everything else I am betting on this New India.
My professor of Political Economy at MIT, Suzanne Berger, often referred to the New Argonauts. (The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy First Thus Edition by AnnaLee Saxenian). Epic stories of bands of heroes sailing out on massive adventures were very popular in Greek Mythology. The Argonauts were such a group of brave Greeks who had sailed out with Jason in his quest to find the Golden Fleece, without which their home city of Iolcus would never prosper. The Argonauts have changed, the Golden Fleece has changed but the journey remains much the same. I am a New Argonaut who has returned home with the hope that I can contribute a little to my home country’s prosperity. I have packed every little block of knowledge that I have gained over the years while working at some of the greatest companies and investing in many Silicon Valley startups as an Angel investor, in my suitcase and flown back to India. My intention, as I unpack, is to place every block carefully into the wonderful structure that Flipkart already is and help make it into a greater success! In the process, I hope to learn a ton too — from my colleagues, friends and from the entrepreneur community in India.