We have all heard about IoT, Artificial Intelligence and various operating systems getting smaller in size in the past few years. In India, there is not a dearth of young people but there is a lack of skill and knowledge which unfortunately our education system cannot do anything about. The problem is not the facilities provided or the teachers, but a lack of interest among students.
According to Nikhil Bhaskaran, CEO and Co-founder of IotIot.in, students need to be taught in low pressure environments and the syllabus needs to be flexible. He shares his experience of running a company that deals with students all year round in this interview. The company focuses on teaching students about the next big revolution in computer technology such as AI and IoT. He and his team teaches students for free and the only criteria for selection in the course is that you need to be eager to learn. Here are the excerpts of the interview with the man himself who has worked hard to gain knowledge and realize his dream:
So, tell us bit about yourself
I was born to a simple lower middle class Keralite non-business family. I studied engineering in Mumbai and started doing business right in T.E (third year engineering) doing odd stuff but was determined to never work for others, as retaining freedom to do my own thing was a very important feeling for me.
How did it all start for you in this field?
This is not my first venture . Entry into this field wasn’t a planned one but out of habit to follow my feelings and doing things I loved eventually got me here .
My previous ventures were about
6m computer – survival , capital accumulation by doing things I was skilled at .
An Shi da – Growth , attaining financial freedom by doing global business
Iotiot.in + 6m linux : This one is about my ambition to be among globally leading companies by doing good to others on the way.
IoT was purely logical extension and best choice based on my past knowledge of computer and mobile phone architecture and my deep connections with hardware industry in China.
You teach students about IOT and artificial intelligence and then give them option on whether they want to work with you or wish to pursue their career somewhere else.
So what product are you and your team working on at present?
Each of the past 2 revolutions (computers and smartphones) had an o/s as driving force for them .
The team is working on building an O/s for IoT from India – Shunya OS which will try to lead the space through open source.
Once through the OS, both a core engineering product and leadership position is established after which a lot of products in IoT can be made by this team over next 10 years.
The students who get trained in core engineering can go on to build many of those products bringing IoT market share towards India by being creators instead of low end support providers.
You stayed in China for a long time. What is the major difference between India and China in entrepreneurship and work culture?
China is probably the best place today to be an entrepreneur. The govt and society both encourage entrepreneurship which is not the case in India.
A Chinese entrepreneur is truly free from many compliances and other worries that Indian cos have to follow add to this Indian entrepreneur’s problems of already swimming against the tide in society which prefers a safe and secure job.
Work culture : On this one China scores very high. I see deep sense of work ethics even in low level labourers who do their job without the need to be monitored. In India in most cases you need to monitor and get the job done despite paying for it. People here mostly work for money and not guided by a sense of purpose.
Chinese are very disciplined in work. In my 7 years of stay in China not even a single employee ever took an unscheduled holiday.
This is not a speciality but is a norm across China. People prioritize work commitments over personal commitments but to be fair, work is also very disciplined in China unlike India where most are forced to over work.
What do you feel about the potential of the youngsters you have met and taught so far?
I don’t know how successful my startup will be. Time will tell; but for sure I am enjoying every moment I spend with youngsters. They are full of energy and we have a highly ethical and low workload environment in which we all build products very happily. I think given a positive environment and empowered with next generation skills, our youngsters can be a force in the world.
What is the future in the field of technology?
There is going to be a bigger revolution than IT.
Revolution 1: Large sized computers primarily focussed on communication and data exchange
Revolution 2: Small sized computers(smartphones) focused on people and connectivity
Revolution 3: IoT – computers getting smarter (AI ), smaller and getting into every possible ‘Thing’ on earth, creating a new world of smart things which seamlessly interact with people and environment around it.
Do you believe that India can one day make it at the world level as a technology leader?
With the current mindset surely, no. We have no investments on latest technology. Most startups from India cannot compete globally and to be a leader you must be able to compete globally. To be a leader you must be a creator of technology that others adopt. We can’t expect to be leaders by being mere implementors of google AI cloud or any other western service.
If we can create innovative products/services then we can expect to be leaders and when you see that happening a lot around you, you know India has a chance.
You could visit their website and get to know more about their future workshops at www.iotiot.in
Students can directly contact him on [email protected] via mail
It is because of people like Nikhil and their dreams, that we know our country’s future is in good hands.