Start Ups need to appreciate the power of cultural context

The Snapchat CEO comment is reflective of two strands: He does not understand India enough and in turn Snap does not prioritise India as a strategic end market. On that point, he is justified in business logic. But, the Digital is not bereft of sentiments. The nationalistic outburst, was obvious in the hyper amplification of digital, where even a weak noise is enough for a twitter hashtagged trend. These flash in the pans are PR disasters, though far less severe than United. The neo nationalisms of the Asian Century discourse, collide with neoliberal shared economy cash, where demographics ultimately win. The power centers in the digital era are Delhi and Dalian, rather than Dallas. India has many issues to sort out, but the assertive Hindu nationalist (read keyboard warrior) middle classes will not take such indignation lying down.

India and China are decolonising by colonising the Digital space by the sheer gravity of numbers, and the marketplace is destiny in commerce. Big digital firms better coach their CEOs in the lingo of Peking and South Block, if they are to navigate the legal labyrinth of archaic laws and regulatory swamps that enmesh the conjoined worlds of technology, politics and society.


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