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Don’t Get Left Behind in the Techpocalypse: An Entrepreneur’s Guide

  • Published on: June 24, 2024
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  • Updated on: June 25, 2024
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  • Reading Time: 4 mins
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The story of HCL (Hindustan Computers Limited) is a testament to the power of vision, innovation, and perseverance. In the mid-1970s, six ambitious colleagues from DCM saw the potential of microprocessors and decided to embark on a journey that would revolutionize the Indian technology landscape.

Drawing from over five decades of experience in the tech industry, Arjun Malhotra, one of HCL’s co-founders and currently the Chairman of Magic Software recently shared his insights on The Rich podcast about the evolving space of technology, education, and entrepreneurship. As a pioneer in India’s IT industry, Arjun Malhotra’s perspectives offer a unique blend of historical context and future outlook. Let’s take a look at some key pieces of advice and information Arjun shared in this conversation.

The Constant Evolution of Technology and Innovation

Reflecting on the historical context of technological advancements, Arjun’s journey from calculators to computers in the 1970s draws a clear parallel to the rapid pace at which technology has changed. Initially perceived as job threats, these technologies eventually created more opportunities by driving new industries and increasing efficiency across sectors. But, the critical role of R&D in creating differentiated products, is a lesson as relevant today as it was decades ago. Staying ahead in technology requires continuous innovation and a willingness to disrupt your own products before someone else does. The transition from 8-bit machines to advanced systems mirrors today’s shift from traditional computing to AI and quantum technologies.

 

Addressing Dropouts and Employability

The disconnect between engineering education and industry requirements is one of the most pressing issues in the current education system. Authentic training is so much more important than mere certification that doesn’t guarantee practical skills or knowledge to reduce dropout rates and the gap between theoretical education and employable skills. The concept of “finishing schools” to make graduates employable is a stopgap solution, but the real need is for a fundamental overhaul of the education system. Companies should be adopting colleges to ensure proper training is a trend to watch. This industry-academia partnership could be the key to solving the employability crisis.

 

The Job Market Skills Paradox

Arjun presents a stark reality – a projected surplus of 6 million engineers and MBAs in 5 years, alongside a shortage of 30 million skilled workers. This paradox is a clear example of why aligning education with market needs is important. The significant gap in skilled labor across various fields, including healthcare, electrical work, and mechanics is a sign that the future belongs to those who can adapt and acquire relevant skills. Continuous learning and upskilling are no longer optional but essential for career survival. Sharing anecdotes from his early recruitment experiences, individuals willing to embrace uncertainty for innovation were always more attractive, emphasizing the importance of risk-taking in career development.

 

Calculators to AI to the Future

While acknowledging concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, Arjun draws parallels to the early days of computers and the current development of AI. He sees AI as a tool for job creation rather than job loss. AI, much like its predecessors, is expected to enable extensive data analysis, automate routine tasks, and lead to the creation of entirely new job categories. His prediction of biotech and personalized medicine as the next big disruption offers a glimpse into potential career paths for the youth. Understanding AI and its applications across industries will be crucial for future-proofing careers from technological disruptions.

 

Good Leadership Makes Good Corporate Culture

Teamwork and effective decision-making are what make a great corporate culture. Arjun stressed the importance of humility and collaborative decision-making in leadership. He warned against letting egos hinder teamwork and advised leaders to set time limits for discussions to avoid unproductive meetings. He also recommended that leaders differentiate between giving advice and providing solutions, supporting their teams to make decisions while offering guidance. Effective leadership is about creating a culture of collaboration and clear communication, where every team member feels valued and heard.

 

Hardwork + Perseverance + Passion =  Success

Arjun’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to be willing to take calculated risks and pursue their passions, as these elements are crucial for long-term success. He stresses the importance of passion over mere profit-seeking, working hard, and focusing on creating impact. Success in entrepreneurship comes from solving real problems and making a difference, not just chasing financial gains. He encouraged entrepreneurs to view failures as learning opportunities and to remain resilient in the face of challenges.

 

Conclusion

Arjun’s insights offer a roadmap for navigating the complexities of today’s dynamic market. The importance of perseverance, adaptability, and passion serves as a guiding light for the next generation of leaders and innovators.

As we stand on the brink of transformative technologies like AI and biotech, Mr Malhotra’s wisdom reminds us that the fundamentals of success remain unchanged: hard work, adaptability, and a commitment to making a positive impact. In a world of rapid change, these timeless principles will continue to be the foundation of personal and professional success.

 

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