Recently I was in India for a month for some personal errands. What was different this time (than a year ago) was that affordable Reliance Jio 4G network has made it so that everyone, even in remote rural areas has access to the internet and thereby to a wealth of information.
Reminded me of the time when I had to climb up on the terrace of my parent’s house to catch 3G network in order to prepare for some competitive exams. Those days has taught me that the internet is precious. I am not even kidding.
In my previous life, while working with startups in India I have worked with developers/marketers from cities/towns/villages which are not the usual names considered as startup hubs in India. I was astounded by the talent that is in all these towns. These guys and girls had great ideas and drive at the same time. I enjoyed a lot to talk to them and learn from them the inner workings of the software they were building or the data they were analyzing.
In India, the average age of the workforce is young. They are tech-savvy, have the drive to learn and work hard. And many of them now have access to the internet thanks to mobile networks.
With some access to the internet, knowledge of a programming language, access to a Git repository and dreams in their heart: magic is possible.
India is a country of villages. It has been so since independence. 67% of the population in India is still said to be living in rural areas. I cannot even begin to grasp the talent that suddenly has the ability to work in tech from their homes as they now have access to the internet.
Startups in India are usually located in large or mid-tier cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune etc. The talent from rural areas might not always find it possible to move to these huge cities. And why should they? Maybe they like their homes, their towns.
This huge pool of talent can be tapped into with remote work and the access to the internet which has become a commonplace. Tech companies just by their nature have a unique advantage of being nimble in utilizing this workforce. Startups can utilize this huge workforce if they start a program that embraces remote work. Adhering to lean startup, I think it would be a great idea to start a pilot program maybe?
While this remote work program is being tested out, there would be many learnings. But I have trust in the millions of dreamers that it will be worth it.