Sunday Reads #179: The Indian century begins.
The world's new largest country is going places.
Shorter Sunday Reads this week, as I'm on the road.
In case you missed last week's newsletter (the "Apple Test" to identify the best chatbot), you can find it here: One chatbot to rule them all. It's surprising how easy it is to trip up state-of-the-art AI tools.
This week, let's talk about the bull case for India.
1. The Indian century has begun!
I read Noah Smith's article Here...comes...INDIA!!! a few days ago. Inspired by it, I made my own list of amazing stats, about India's emergence as a world power.
(Next time you meet someone pessimistic about India's future, send them this article 😁).
Listing some of my favorite stats:
India has lifted 415 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years. 415 million!!
From the Economic Times:
In a "historical change" for India, 415 million people exited multidimensional poverty in the country in 15 years between 2005-06 and 2019-21, the United Nations (UN) said on Monday.
The incidence of poverty in the country dropped from 55.1% in 2005-06 to 16.4% in 2019-21, as per the latest Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) compiled jointly by the UNDP and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
Of the nearly 415 million people who exited poverty in India in the 15 years before the Covid-19 pandemic, roughly 275 million did so between 2005-06 and 2015-16 and another 140 million did so between 2015-16 and 2019-21, the report said.
Brain Drain → Brain Retain.
Remember the time folks in India used to talk about "brain drain"? Well, it doesn't exist anymore!
Less than 200 of the ~10K students from the IITs took up jobs abroad last year.
From the Times of India:
“Compared to 20 years ago, a very small percentage of students go abroad today. This is contrary to the general perception ,” says IIT-Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao. “Twenty years ago, 80% of the BTech class used to go abroad. Now these numbers are insignificant.”
Not even 200 of the approximate 10,000 students from the Indian Institutes of Technology took up positions outside India last year. Fifty students, who make up the largest contingent, will be leaving from IIT-Bombay, followed by 40 from Delhi, 25 from Kharagpur, 19 from Kanpur, 13 from Madras, 17 from Roorkee and five from Guwahati. In 2012, 84 IIT-B candidates had accepted international job offers.
Now, I'm sure this data is at least a tad sensationalized, and it may be only directionally accurate. But still, what a direction!
Apple planning to move 40%-45% of its iPhone production to India.
From the Wall Street Journal in Dec 2022:
In recent weeks, Apple Inc. has accelerated plans to shift some of its production outside China, long the dominant country in the supply chain that built the world’s most valuable company, say people involved in the discussions. It is telling suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, they say, and looking to reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn Technology Group.
Apple’s longer-term goal is to ship 40% to 45% of iPhones from India, compared with a single-digit percentage currently, according to Ming-chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities who follows the supply chain. Suppliers say Vietnam is expected to shoulder more of the manufacturing for other Apple products such as AirPods, smartwatches and laptops.
Will this be the fillip that Indian manufacturing needs?
India is now as rich (GDP per capita) as China was in 2006.
I remember 2006! It wasn't that long ago!
More than 300M people have gotten access to the Internet in the last 5 years.
Call it the "Jio Effect".
India has the demographic dividend in its favor.
Hundreds of millions of people, entering the most productive phase of their lives.
Infrastructure is a key gap today, and India is committing to bridging it.
India has quintupled the % of its GDP that it spends on infrastructure, in the last decade.
Now, I know there's a LOT still to be done, to make this the Indian century.
Lift more people out of poverty, build more infrastructure, create more security.
But let's pause a moment and celebrate how far India has come!
PS. What are your favorite stats about India's coming of age on the world stage? Will add this to a running list here.
Before we continue, a quick note:
Did a friend forward you this email?
Hi, I’m Jitha. Every Sunday I share ONE key learning from my work in business development and with startups; and ONE (or more) golden nuggets. Subscribe (if you haven’t) and join nearly 1,500 others who read my newsletter every week (its free!) 👇
2. ChatGPT replaces... McKinsey?
Saw this tweet from Ethan Mollick regarding the ChatGPT Code Interpreter plugin, and I was astounded.
Won't paste all the screenshots from the tweet, but he was able to get ChatGPT to run detailed analyses on his data. Visualizations, summaries, even scenario analyses!
A few days of consulting work, in a few minutes.
I thought this was the future, not something we can do already!
[Yes I'm aware that excel analysis is not all that consultants do. I'm allowed a little hyperbole 😀. But also see this from Ted Chiang in The New Yorker: Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey?]
3. Golden Nugget of the week.
Love this anecdote from Khadim Batti, the Co-founder and CEO of Whatfix (via Sajith Pai).
Frame your offer right and sell to the right person, and you can price up 10x. Just like that.
Reminds me of Peter Reinhardt's story, of how the founders of Segment discovered that the ceiling for their pricing was... MUCH MUCH higher than they thought.
4. This left me scratching my head.
Umm... what should we call this? "Conspicuous non-consumption"?
5. As all my friends know…
I'm the Muhammad Ali of Email replies 🤣.
That’s it for this week. Hope you enjoyed it.
As always, stay safe, healthy and sane, wherever you are.
I’ll see you next week.
[A quick request - if you liked today’s newsletter, I’d appreciate it very much if you could forward it to one other person who might find it useful 🙏].