I was playing around with Google Trends, and I couldn’t resist typing in some tech-related words. Well, as quite easily predictable, it was quite hard for me to spot tech buzz’s not leading to an all-eastern top five in cities. India, China, Singapore, Indonesia. That’s it. Full stop.
I reported just some sample charts, but results are essentially the same for most of best known tech-related words. To see some of US or european cities pop out in the top five you’d have to type in quite young technologies or (better) emerging buzzwords. Examples? Look at web 2.0 trends (last chart on the right; here you can find a map of Web 2.0 startups), or type “Ruby on Rails” and look by yourself.
Ok, no big surprise. Yet it leads me to think about where the industry is going to go in the very next years.
I’m reading Federico Rampini‘s latest book, “L’impero di Cindia” (China’s and India’s empire), and its first chapter is entirely about India and technology, depicted as well-known by anybody who has got a good knowledge of the software industry.
It’s a hungry and dynamic set of open-minded people, eager to learn in west’s leading universities and even more to get back home and work for their own country. It’s an extremely young population, 70% below 35 years old (I believe Italy is quite close to the opposite situation: 35% of people below 70 years old ). It’s world’s most ancient democracy, and as Professor Soumitra Nandy (head of the Indian Institute of Technology) points out:
“To be creative in software there’s a need for thought openness, independent minds. [...] You have to be free to succeed in such a job. China has got a dictatorial regime; japanese people are not used to bring into question elderly people’s ideas. Our democracy and freedom tradition are strong points.”
Although these facts may seem well known and quite understood, I reckon they’re highly underrated (wow, is that an oxymoron!?) nowadays. The scenario might get clearer if we think India’s rise is very late if compared to the Chinese one.
“People ask me what about India vs. China, but I ask them what about India plus China?” (Bill Gates)
Software companies keep investing in research and development in India, and that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do. Anyway, if west – universities, companies and, of course, governments – does not start immediately to feel much more the competitive rush, I believe we are going to face tough times as engineers.
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.” (Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, 2005)
[Disclaimer: Google Trends is still in an early stage of development, results may be not accurate. I used them simply as a visual starting point for the discussion.]