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Community > Samir Karande
Samir Karande

Samir Karande

Entrepreneur

Stealth Mode

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The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here & The Turning Points
I started my career long ago in 1995 after completing my engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication. I moved to US for my Masters in Computer Science at Boston University and at the same time started working in a start up company, OpenMarket where we built the first ever B2B eCommerce transaction server. Then I moved to Lernout & Hauspie, a world leader in speech and natural language processing in those days. We built the first online machine translator product similar to what we see Google Translator today, but the only difference is that we built it 12 years ago.

After Lernout & Hauspie, I joined Comverse. At Comverse, we were working with all major Tier-1 carriers in the world, core team members of various standards bodies. My team co-authored VoiceXML specifications in early 2000-01 which is now de-facto standard for IVR applications.

Working with very successful and large product companies with market leader position gave a distinct advantage, and I should say I was lucky to get very good opportunities early on in my career. Innovation and staying ahead of the curve was focus for all these companies I had pleasure of working with, this inculcated the innovative product mindset and working with the best brains, best domain experts in the industry enhanced it even further.

Decisions That Mattered
The most significant career decision was to move back to India in 2004. The way Indian telecommunication, mobile industry has scaled up in last 6-8 years, it proved to be the most important career decision.
What I learnt Along the Way
We are all working in cutting edge technology; the only constant thing is the change. Everyone is required to adapt to changes in technology, nature of business and sense the upcoming trends. One has to stay hungry and go on absorbing good qualities from people around you in both professional as well as personal life.
Work and Role: Then and Now
The telecom/mobile paradigm shift, generation change is happening every 3-4 years. It is a fast pace technology paradigm and new things are constantly replacing older ways of doing business. For example, hardware has evolved for 1GHz + processors for smart phones at an affordable price, mobile platforms have moved from Nokia/BlackBerry to Apple/Android as dominant platforms, social networks has re-defined how people find each other and interact over newer channels, cloud technology has made life so much simpler for both start ups as well as established companies.
Trends to Watch Out For
Mobile technology provides the biggest opportunity in technology space man-kind has ever witnessed. It has touched lives of 5 billion people worldwide and 900 million people in India. This opportunity is multitude higher for Indian market compared with DOT.COM, Web2.0 opportunities in past.

Other supporting technologies, regulatory systems have started getting in place in last couple of years such as 3G, increased mobile internet penetration, RBI regulating mobile commerce.

I am very excited to be part of Indian mobile industry at this time. This is lifetime opportunity that one cannot afford to miss.

Must Focus Areas for the Future
Mobile domain is constantly evolving and the trends are changing at rapid pace. Android and iOS has taken a huge lead and are expected to maintain the market position for atleast next couple of years. m-commerce, m-payment are the most promising trends in Indian industry. We have seen a handful of players already announcing products/platforms in this space in last few quarters, I would expect a lot more companies to build business using these platforms in next year or two.

The services have to be designed differently for Indian market because one would get mobile-only users on their service/platform those have no access to computers/broadband internet. Services such consumer/customer require a different methodology and processes.

Last But Not Least
If you are in mobile domain or would like to venture into this opportunity space, there has never been a better time. Mobile technology is unique, unparallel in many ways. Mobile devices are the most personal computing/communication devices. Has reached 900 million users and continue to grow, hardware computing power is better than what a PC decade ago had and it is always with you whether you are traveling, working or even sleeping.

The opportunity comes with its own share of nuances such as lack of payment collection mechanisms, lower mobile internet penetration (~15% today) and language barriers.

But, this is the biggest opportunity in technology space ever; Go for it.

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