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BW Businessworld

Can Narayana Murthy Come On Board Please?

‘Everybody’ has an opportunity to act like the pigeon that shut its eyes when the cat appears. Is that disowning reality or accepting bliss! Only ‘Nobody’ knows unless ‘Anybody’ does!

Photo Credit :

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This is another story of somebody, anybody, nobody, everybody who are the only ones all over the place. Meanwhile, more important than the enigma of Blockchain is believing that it is on its way. 

‘Everybody’ has an opportunity to act like the pigeon that shut its eyes when the cat appears. Is that disowning reality or accepting bliss! Only ‘Nobody’ knows unless ‘Anybody’ does! Meanwhile in, 1885 AD. Victor Hugo, The French poet and novelist said, "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

In 2000 AD. Malclom Gladwell a Canadian journalist, published “The Tipping Point” and defined it as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold and the boiling point” alluding to how a tipping point is achieved. He boiled it down to three rules of the Tipping Point: The Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, the Power of Context. 

In the year 2003, ‘Somebody’ was driving in Dubai. There were a few kids on the block who were then creating a database of all the businesses on the street, ostensibly to replace the ‘Yellow Pages’. It had sounded funny even crazy or awkward, only the Yellow pages were soon lost on the asphalt of the roads replaced by the latitude / longitude of their Geo-location.

With the few that were on the threshold of that database, the rest were those that wanted to be there because the Joneses were! The process thereafter became organic. For once the world was being mapped. Somebody was doodling the world and recovering every square inch everywhere. Anybody could have thought of it. Only Nobody did. That Somebody later confessed to his act while the idea to map the world was taking shape in 1998 at Menlo Park.

‘Somebody’ at this precise moment is again driving the shape of things to come a day later. Its time that ‘Everybody’ learnt of the gravity mindset that does not allow us enough opportunity to go beyond our noses! So much for Moses!

Literally an arc is being built and Noah is at work defining the smart ramp that shall welcome ‘Everybody’ with or without feet, feather, skin, sight, sound, taste, hearing, or touch. The hull of the arc does not need any reinforcement, since the global warming will take care of the icebergs en-route!

Imagination has a limitation. Anybody can only imagine what one has seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched. Thus, a bird inspired Somebody to fly. That process of imagination has now been pole vaulted across the Geo-political boundaries by internet, AI and IOT. ‘Everybody’ should soon tune in too!

Nature is perfect, truthful and honest. It has times and seasons and springs and autumns all perfectly coded, so much that even the time of sunset and sunrise is coded down to a microsecond at any Latitude/Longitude. It is just as deliberate as it appears random. ‘Everybody’ does not understand it. If they don't understand it, they will miraculously still walk ito it.

The confusion and chaos on the road lately caused by ‘Nobody’ in particular is too much to manage for the old man and marshall in the sky. So, he presents to us the Blockchain.

Blockchain is the beginning of the end of an era, businesses will need to adopt it, and adapt themselves to it quickly because that is the penultimatum issued by nature no less!

Immutable, unchangeable, original, more importantly accountable without the need for any twice a year audit, Blockchain is the new code of integrity. It is literally like the chain of God particles and the lowest common denominators of all activity, animate and inanimate. It seeks to establish each possibility and not just asset, tangible or intangible.

Meanwhile ‘Somebody’ is still driving and if you are with her or him, do consider ‘Blockchain’ an impossible asssertion. Because everything that was once considered impossible is here today. That includes yourself foremost!

President Rutherford B. Hayes was shown the telephone for the first time by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and he remarked: “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?”. Whilst that may be, Bell, when struggling with his business had even offered to sell the patent of his telephone to Western Union for 100,000 USD. A committee was appointed to verify the credentials of the offer. It eventually filed a report that is both audacious and vision-less in today’s context.   

“We do not see that this device will be ever capable of sending recognizable speech over a distance of several miles. Messer Hubbard and Bell want to install one of their ‘telephone devices’ in every city. The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States? Mr. G.G. Hubbard’s fanciful predictions, while they sound rosy, are based on wild-eyed imagination and lack of understanding of the technical and economic facts of the situation, and a posture of ignoring the obvious limitations of his device, which is hardly more than a toy. This device is inherently of no use to us. We do not recommend its purchase.”

If imagination of laid-back CEO’s, governments and committees hasn't been able to disappoint an idea whose time has come, there’s only more! Patents and IPR’s is a problem area. Can we think of creating a blockchain framework where collaborating on prototyping and proof-of-concept become easy to decipher? Can we timestamp the quality of a product along with a guarantee on its patent and IPR? Can we have every product with a digital 'passport' that proves its authenticity? It is workable, if only Narayana Murthy of Infosys is on board. Its time we moved the platfrom full of cybercoolies and services to products and IP. 

India has only exported ‘services and ‘manpower’ and failed to create products here. If our coolies built Microsoft. IBM, Google and Facebook, its about time that we shone up to the sun. It does rise in the East and its time to reclaim it from the West. Lets productise our talent and IP is key!

The process of patents takes years to be granted because each application calls for a search that goes into the labyrinthine alleys, some dark, some lit even as intellect of an applicant remains locked in those pages, even as many are rendered comatose. Whereas China made 1,542,002 patent applications in 2018, 432,147 were granted. India’s count was 50,055 applied and 13,908 granted. With Blockchain it will be a matter of minutes that AI assisted process of grantig patents will be completed. At this point there are the equivalent of a 100 Googles that are birthing and Noah’s arc is being built to sail us all into a new dawn. 

DeFi or Decentralized Finance applications, are growing fast, built as smart contracts on a blockchain like Ethereum. Derivatives and financial services are evolving, shifting their allegiance to smart contracts. Uniswap, is a DEX (decentralized exchange), that manages a series of smart contracts on Ethereum. It can’t be shut down. Period! Each smart contract is a patent in itself that can’t be replicated or misused. Is the patent office listening!

That might sound strange or too imaginative, but so did the automobile that Ford invented. He said all that ‘Everybody’ wanted was a faster horse carriage! Only the impossibility wasn't begging even as it stole its way in, riding a car that Ford produced! Prudency dictates that we must be ready. While Anand Mahindra will build a Transport, it is up to Narayana Moorthy to imagine whether he wants to ship a coolie or a cool product that captures the imagi’Nation of the world. There are no passport controls to that nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Dr S S Mantha

Former Chairman of AICTE, Dr. Mantha is an eminent academician. At present he is Chancellor KL University and Adjunct Professor, NIAS, Bangalore.

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Yogesh Kochhar

The author is Corporate maven and a happiness evangelist

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