BENGALURU: “WhatsApp was such a success because they saw the importance of messaging in a world moving from voice to data, from desktop to mobile, from feature phone to smartphone and from Value Added Services to Over the Top applications. The opportunity was seized not by a telecom or an internet giant but by a start-up,” said acclaimed entrepreneur, philanthropist and author Nandan Nilekani, to the graduating students of IIM Bangalore on Thursday.
Encouraging the management graduates to seize opportunities that arise from a rapidly shifting environment in today’s business world, Nilekani, the chief architect of Aadhaar and the co-founder of Infosys, who was the chief guest at IIMB’s 41st annual convocation, shared with them a few of his life experiences and career choices.
While emphasizing the need for today’s leaders to have a deep understanding of technological trends and their implications, he said: “This is irrespective of whether you are entering finance, retail, manufacturing or any other sector.” Urging students to “think platforms, not pipes” Nilekani quoted Sangeet Paul Choudary, an IIMB alumnus, who describes how platform business models are disrupting traditional ‘pipe’ business models which have a linear flow of value in his book ‘Platform Scale’.
“The nature of large businesses are changing from large employee-based conglomerates to a model where large businesses are aggregating smaller businesses on their platforms.”
“This means millions of even smaller businesses will flourish due to entrepreneurship, but will become part of many large business platforms (like small hotels becoming part of Airbnb). This collaborative model of building large companies by partnering with thousands of smaller companies is not how traditionally large businesses were built,” Nilekani explained.
Listing essential attributes for leaders in the age of great disruption, he urged the students to develop the ability to embrace change, get the first-mover advantage and imagine business at scale.
Around 597 students graduated from the institute this year; the convocation took place in the presence of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson, Board of Governors, IIMB and Sushil Vachani, Director, IIMB, along with members of the faculty.