Actionable Insights into the World of Indian Startups – Abinash Tripathy’s blog

Abinash Tripathy is credited with building the best web-2.0 team in India (for Zimbra which sold to Yahoo! for US$350million.)
Abinash Tripathy is credited with building the best web-2.0 team in India (for Zimbra which sold to Yahoo! for US$350million.)

Abinash Tripathy’s blog, “Insights into the World of Indian Startups,” is a must read for all Pune Technology professionals.

Abinash is a serial entrepreneur who is now on the loose in Pune. Most recently, he spent a few years building Zimbra from scratch in India, created one of the best web-2.0 teams in India, a team that build a product that was acquired by Yahoo! for US$350 million.  Abinash quit Yahoo! in February 2009, and is going down the path of entrepreneurship once again. He is an advisor for Enterux, the company whose English Seekho product was one of the highlights of Pune.

In his own words, Abinash represents:

the new generation of Global Indians who spent 10 years in the US in the High Tech Industry and decided to return to India to be close to family and to be a change agent who will help young Indians understand the power of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Having decided to spend the rest of my life in India, it is also in my interest to be a change agent (not just a voice) in the new, modern, developed India.

For the last few months, he has been writing a blog focused on the startup ecosystem in India. On the blog, he promises to be “highly opinionated (fair warning)  and a straight shooter who likes to base his theories on personal real world experience,” which should be very welcome insights for any entrepreneur.

Here are a few excerpts from his posts on the blog.

In “Building a Kickass Team Part II“, he writes:

4. Reward Performance  –  Anyone that has worked in tech and has a thorough understanding of this business knows that the output of one great engineer adds more value to the company than the output of one hundred average engineers.   Unlike the services industry which prides itself with the numbers of warm bodies it has on its rolls, the best tech startups pride themselves for being able to create huge value with the least number of people.   We all live in a capitalist society and the laws of capitalism are designed to reward the best.

In “What Ails the Startup Ecosystem in India,” among a host of other insightful things, he says:

If you are not a hacker, start today.   Stop wasting time on Drupal or other CMS platforms and start real programming.   ASP and .NET don’t count either. Learn real programming languages like Java, C, C++, PHP, Python, Ruby.   Start by contributing to open source projects to measure yourself against the best in the world.  We need lots of this breed for the startup ecosystem to grow and thrive.   We absolutely cannot rely on the government or our esteemed institutions like the IIT to produce hackers.   Hackers are mostly self taught creative geniuses who code for pleasure.

Tech startup founders need to be people with very deep technology backgrounds as well.  There is a reason our industry is called Hi-Tech.   If founders lack this key ingredient, then they are going to hire duds who cannot deliver.

Read the whole post, it is quite interesting.

You should subscribe to the blog, and also follow Abinash on twitter (and unless you’ve been living in a cave, you should know why you should be on twitter.)

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13 thoughts on “Actionable Insights into the World of Indian Startups – Abinash Tripathy’s blog

  1. This posts comes across as a promotion of a person more than his views/contributions or even his blog. Please be objective in future such promotions (a disclaimer, e.g. he is not paying or otherwise doing any favors to PuneTech to promote him, would also help). Peace.

    1. @Query1,

      • PuneTech does not accept any payments or favors (monetary or of any other kind) from any body for any reason. All content on PuneTech is there because we (the editors) feel that it needs to be there and is in keeping with the purpose and the spirit of the site.
      • Yes, this post is a promotion of Abinash as much as it is a promotion of his blog. We believe that on the internet, knowing the background of the person who is writing some content is as important as the content itself. That way, for opinions of the author, we can decide how much weight to assign to those opinions based on what we know about the author.
      • All the posts on PuneTech are promoting something or someone. When we write about a company, we are essentially promoting it, and implicitly saying that the company is good enough to feature on PuneTech. When we write about an upcoming event, we are promoting the event, and essentially saying that we feel this event will be good, and worth attending. Thus, when we interview a person, or otherwise write about him/her, we are promoting that person, and saying here is a person that you should know.
      • It is rare that we come across a Pune blog that is high quality enough for it to be featured on our front page, but when we do, we do not try to hide the fact that we like the blog and the blogger. We are pretty open about promoting them. For example, search the PuneTech website for our comments about Dhananjay Nene and SandyGautam.
      • PuneTech never has been, and never will be objective. We believe in evaluating the world around us and making our opinions known. We strongly believe that our opinions have value, and that our readers value our opinions. All PuneTech posts will always reflect the opinions of the authors (at least those opinions that we feel are worth publicizing to the rest of the world).
      • What we always are striving hard for, is to be free of vested interests. With precisely that in mind, right from the first day, we’ve always made it clear that PuneTech is not monetized in any way, and it does not provide any direct revenues, or indeed any monetary benefit to anybody associated with PuneTech. (For example, we don’t promote our own companies, and before promoting, or featuring our friends or their companies, we try very hard to ensure that we use the same criteria for judging them as we use for everybody else. And thankfully, our friends all respect this fact.)

      I hope this clears up any doubts you might have had. If not, please leave a follow-up comment so that we can continue the discussion. We like to be as open and clear about such issues as possible.

  2. @Query1,

    Navin has summarized all my thoughts as well.

    Would just like to reiterate the point regarding ‘Objective Coverage’. We will continue to strive to be free of vested interests, and will be as frank as possible in airing our opinions on specific issues that are being covered on PuneTech.

  3. I echo the thoughts of Navin. Good things in life always need to be appreciated. And I think Mr. Query1 is missing a very important point here – The Article is talking “with” the community highlighting issues that are important for them. It is not not so much “about” Abinash Tripathy. Remember your early English Language Lessons ” Reference-to-Context” 🙂

  4. Ignore such comments navin.
    In india, for every good work done, there are always some creepers. Leave them on their own. Don’t bother responding.

  5. I was very impressed reading about Abinash & got more interested to learn about him. But after reading more about him, I have a different take on this whole article & about his views.

    He says “if candidate has worked in {ibm|infosys|tcs|satyam|patni……….any services firm in India} then move to Trash”

    I work for a services firm & so I was really interested to know the type of work Abinash did in Zimbra. See from his own words on where his Indian engineers were working & where Abinash himself focused in Zimbra. He focused on migration which is not as cool as he claims. By building a team which focused on migration, deployment & support services for Zimbra, he has no right to criticize the other Indian engineers working in Infosys or TCS or Satyam. He can market that to his engineers but he has no right to criticize others who created this industry in India.

    From what I read, I agree that he built Zimbra India from scratch but you have also mentioned that his team has built the product which is not correct based on the below mention in the white paper. My understanding is that Zimbra India was formed after the product was built, matured & deployed. So the initial versions of the product were not built in India.

    Zimbra is actually not as innovative idea as Abinash claims. He compares it with Twitter, Facebook & Google but Zimbra is just a old wine in a new bottle. If the same is said for Hotmail in 1997, it was true. Bhatia really invented that. Web mail was one of the most innovative idea that time. But in Zimbra case, the team which worked in Openwave just moved to create another Mail platform. So it’s not as innovative as he claims.

    In my view, it’s Yahoo’s desperateness which made them pay $350 million for Zimbra which did way below $20 million in revenue ( Again Abinash only posted this figure in one of his blog ). I prefer to claim success if Yahoo make their ROI. So far Zimbra haven’t contributed for huge growth for Yahoo.

    Infosys has created more than 1,00,000 jobs in India & have made more millionaires than Zimbra. They also have a strong banking solution which is being deployed in many global banks. Without Infosys, TCS, Wipro, we wouldn’t have the IT industry in India & I am sure Zimbra would not have started its operation for migration & support services in India. It would have either kept it in some low cost location in US or moved to China or somewhere.

    I really appreciate your intention in motivating young start-ups with lot of success stories like this. But unfortunately after reading Abinash blogs, I was not convinced to take inspiration from him. Still my hero in Indian IT is N.R. Narayana Murthy.

    Here is the white paper link which mentions Abinash responsibility

    Abinash Tripathy, General Manager, India: 6 years in Openwave technical product management, 2 years at, 3 years at Oracle. Abinash has experience managing multi-million-user migrations, and has been building our India team for a variety of migration, deployment, customization, and support services.

    From the above blog post, it is clear that Zimbra made well below $20 million in revenue when Yahoo paid them $350 million.

  6. sorry for joining this party late but from what I gather from the posts so far it clearly is yet another case of insatiable/inexplicable fetish, intellectual aboriginality of these mom-and-pop blogshops that sprout around all over the internet and who-facing severe dearth of interesting, original comment-resort to singing stories about some sub-standard, probably borderline geek who probably got lucky working out from some garage/bedroom.

  7. I do not know Mr. Tripathy, so my comments are exclusively based on above article, and other data I have duly referenced.

    About: Abinash Tripathy is credited with building the best web-2.0 team in India (for Zimbra which sold to Yahoo! for US$350million.)

    This is a weird case self appreciation. From the blog post it is clear that Zoho built a good team and developed young college grads from not-so-famous colleges into star programmers by providing them training and opportunity. All this guy was to dole out cash and lure that team. Anyway, Zimbra is such a third class and loss making business that now Y! is trying to desperately sell it for a huge loss:

    He says “if candidate has worked in {ibm|infosys|tcs|satyam|patni……….any services firm in India} then move to Trash” and is very demeaning of IIT grads.

    Clearly the hangover of not clearing JEE long long ago is still hurting. Who knows even the bitterness of not clearing the infosys interview is also playing into this. Silicon Valley has so many small exciting company, still this guy worked for the biggest company – Oracle where job is stable and life is good. Wait, did he failed the selection process of start-ups?

    He also does not like Google India exclusively hiring IITians. So in his opinion Google India must be stupid. Oh yeah, all Google folks were despo to hire his coders.

    In all seriousness, as a person who has used both gmail and Zimbra will not use Zimbra.

    A humble request to PuneTech: Please do some deep analysis on people and ideas that you promote here and apply some filters when they claim they build THE BEST whatever wherever.

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