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Indian firms must create own models to avoid massive layoffs: Zoho's Sridhar Vembu

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | November 14, 2022 10:33 AM

NEW DELHI:As Meta, Twitter and the rest of the Big Tech companies sack thousands of employees which has hit India too, Sridhar Vembu who is CEO and Co-founder of Zoho Corporation said on Monday that we need to create our own value system which is not imported or borrowed from the Silicon Valley in the US.

According to Vembu, who has built a billion-dollar product company in India, told IANS that Silicon Valley has always faced big booms and huge busts in the past and this is the first time it has hit employees in India to such a large extent.

"We are bruised badly this time because we imported a value system from the Silicon Valley model where this boom and bust cycle has always been there. It is the first time it arrived in India at a massive scale, so that's why it feels hard for us but this was the norm there. And again, we accepted without question whether all of those Big Tech models work here," Vembu told IANS.

A prudent CEO or CFO would have anticipated this current economic slowdown and tightened the belt long back, because historical record is very clear this happened earlier, in the dot-com bust of 2000 or the great global financial crisis in 2008.

"The historical awareness would have led us to foresee with reasonable accuracy that a downturn will come, even a year ago. I have always said that we should learn from Silicon Valley but cannot apply all of those lessons here. We have to build companies differently," said the Zoho CEO.

For example, companies like Meta (earlier Facebook) hire the best talent from anywhere in the world and grow as fast as they can. If there is a problem, it's okay to fire them as the next company will hire those people.

"That is a Silicon Valley model; go as fast as you can before you get crushed and sack employees. They can find the next big company. But that model only works where it works. It works there in the US. In India, we do not have all the deep capabilities to build that next company which can hire back," explained Vembu.

He thinks the current layoff season is a necessary correction, a painful one, that will yield wisdom among the founders and the CEOs, especially the startups which have sacked nearly 15,000 employees in India to date.

"I always say that we have to build companies that are suited to our conditions. For example, most of our rural youth have to be skilled and brought into the mainstream, brought into the technology spectrum," Vembu told IANS.

Zoho built one product, a modest product and got some modest profit.

"We invested in building more capabilities steadily. Even our own people would not have believed years ago that we could build all this. That is the journey of building steadily," according to Vembu.

According to him, we are at a very critical juncture in technology.

"Headlines are pretty grim but I would call it a new era of humility for technology. Technology is vital. Everything around us is technology but at the same time, we have to acknowledge the limits," Vembu stressed.

 
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