Tech entrepreneurs, immigration lawyers from US share the center-stage.
By Prerna Rai and Aruna Krishnan
BENGALURU: More than a dozen tech entrepreneurs, CEOs and information technology executives from the United States and India spoke at the Second Annual American Bazaar IT Conclave held here at Vivanta by Taj on January 24. Among the nearly 200 delegates that attended the daylong event were young IT professionals and budding entrepreneurs from India’s Silicon Valley.
A range of topics related to the IT sector in the US, as well as India, were discussed, giving insight to the delegates as to how they could make the best out of current market conditions, while urging them to focus on innovation.
The keynote speech by Rey Ramsey, former CEO of One Economy Corporation and Tech Net, was one of the highlights of the day. Stating that no one is a self-made person, he pointed out the importance of asking people for help. He reminisced about his childhood when his mother taught him not to be afraid of asking people for help.
The world is divided between the information haves and the information have nots, Ramsey said. Stressing on the role of consumers, he said that the letter ‘C’ is the most important letter for an entrepreneur.
Ramsey mesmerized the crowd with his simple explanations of a series of complex topics.
Javad Hassan, Chairman of the US-based NeST group in USA, was another prominent speaker. Touting the term “Want-repreneurs,” he said that the fundamentals for being successful lie in loving what you do, choosing competent and trustworthy partners, while being patient and perseverant. “Master your environment,” he advised the delegates.
Citing an example of Michael Jordan, he said, while the other basketball players know where the ball is, MJ knows where the ball is going to be next and positions himself accordingly. Clairvoyance and farsightedness is a vital quality for an entrepreneur, he said.
“In India, businessmen are seen as crooks,” Hassan said. “But that is not the case with techies. They have learnt it the hard way. That’s why in the US, if you are Indian, you are seen as a CEO.”
Dr. Satyam Priyadarshy, Chief Data Scientist of Halliburton in Houston, explained Big Data to the audience, using the example of the story of an elephant from the famous Panchatantra. He underlined the importance of data and knowledge, together with the ability to look beyond what one has been trained to do.
Sheela Murthy, prominent immigration lawyer and the founder of Murthy Law Firm, based in Owings Mills, Maryland, and a team of lawyers from the firm conducted a workshop on the US immigration, especially on the H-1B and L1 visas, which are mostly used by Indian tech professionals.
Murthy Firm’s website, www.murthy.com, is one of the best sources of information on H-1B and L1 visas. The lawyer explained that it was her husband who advised her to provide legal aid on the web for free.
“It was in the 90’s and the internet wasn’t as big as it is today,” she said. “My husband, however sensed potential in that area and I knew he will tell me the things keeping my best interest in mind. So, I decided to give it a shot and today, I own one of the world’s best legal website.”
Earlier in her special address, Murthy, who went to study law at Harvard Law School in 1986 after graduating from Bangalore Law College, spoke about her own career path, detailing how she coped up with discrimination on the basis of sex in a male dominated career.
“I am however thankful for entering this field in a land that was relatively more liberal and progressive in its thinking in matters relating to women’s rights,” she said.
The Conclave also featured four panel discussions. The first one, “the US information technology market: trends and issues,” was moderated by Rajiv Raghunath, founder of Wellversed Media in Bangalore.
Encouraging entrepreneurs in India to widen their horizon by giving up the traditional blueprint, Atikem Haile-Mariam, Vice President, Marketing, at McLean, Virginia-based Opterna, said the cost of innovation has reduced and that an engineer today has to wear a number of different hats.
“America is a land of immigrants and it takes that perfect blend of failure and opportunities to nurture talents,” Haile-Mariam said. “India caters the brains to America’s brawn and as a result, these nations are mutually benefiting.”
Fellow panelist Pramod Singh, Director of Digital and Big Data Analysis, HP Global Analytics in Bengaluru, asked entrepreneurs to be flexible and be hungry. Work in the IT industry today is not limited to one area of expertise, he said.
Another panel, moderated by Mohammed Yaseen, a director at Capgemini in Bengaluru, and featuring Dr. Priyadarshy and Sachin Rajgire of UCTek LLC, discussed the US information technology job trends. “Certification does not matter, how you tackle the interview is more important”, pointed out Dr. Priyadarshy, speaking of recruitment trends.
Sanjay Mittal, CEO of eHealthObjects Inc, based in Richmond, Virginia, and Haile-Mariam discussed developments and opportunities in healthcare IT in the United States.
The last panel of the day was on IT educational opportunities in the United States. Moderated by SAP program director Abdul Hakeem, panelist Kirit Udeshi, partner and vice president of Innovative Networking Solutions, Sterling, Virginia, and Ashwin Saboo, a business development executive at ANGARAI in Greenbelt, Maryland.
A number of participants said they gathered immense knowledge from the Conclave.
“I sought a lot of take home value and hopefully, I will implement what I learned here today into my job,” said Varun, a delegate. Prashanth, another attendee, said it was “extremely intriguing and informative.”