'The customs officer told me that I needed to leave samples of what I was exporting with him. I was forced to leave the floppy disk of the software with him. The diligent officer immediately planted a stapler pin through the floppy disk and attached it to the form, thereby destroying the media and rendering it unreadable. For the longest time, everybody's understanding of software differed immensely. This confusion continued into the 1980s, and it was getting challenging to grow the business. The more I met young software entrepreneurs, the more I realized that my frustration was not unique. Something had to be done.'
In the mid-1970s, a young, twenty-something man living an American dream threw away a lucrative job as a database manager and came back to India. At that time, India had no IT industry to speak of; computers were a novelty, and the nation was trapped in socio-economic backwardness and a labyrinthine License Raj.
As young Harish Mehta struggled to find his stride, he realized that India's nascent and fragmented IT industry acutely needed a unified voice that could speak to the government, change laws and harness the country's potential. In an unlikely alliance of headstrong and competing young professionals, he united other IT entrepreneurs to envision a world-beating association that would revolutionize Indian IT: NASSCOM.
The Maverick Effect is the extraordinary story of this band of dreamers who joined hands to transform a nation while also changing the lens through which the world looked at India. Valued at a staggering $200 billion today, the Indian
IT industry directly employs more than four million people. It is the largest forex earner and has helped millions of Indians beat poverty and rise to the middle-income group. Honest, open and inspiring, Harish Mehta's journey proves that no vision is impossible if unrelenting, kindred spirits unite.
Harish Mehta, in this exceptionally written book, provides his unique insights on the tireless efforts it took to set up NASSCOM, which played a pivotal role in enhancing the IT sector's global brand image and in helping create the great Indian middle class. I particularly liked how he quotes 'nothing is possible without men, but nothing lasts without institutions' and uses it as an allegory to talk about NASSCOM.
DEEPAK S. PAREKH, CHAIRMAN, HDFC LTD
In this engrossing book, Harish Mehta deftly interleaves his personal memoirs with the rise of India's software industry. Most importantly, he presents the untold tale of NASSCOM, where fierce competitors worked collaboratively together to shape the future of an industry that created millions of jobs, solved the foreign exchange crisis and put Indian enterprise and technology on the world stage.
NANDAN NILEKANI, CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER, INFOSYS
Harish brings together the incredible contribution of this industry to not only Indian economic growth but also to refurbishing India's global image. The book is a must-read for those who wish to make their industry organizations worthy of policymakers' trust, by making individual firm profit maximization subservient to national interests.
RAJIV KUMAR,VICE CHAIRMAN, NITI AAYOG
Engaging, informative and inspiring. As the start-up ecosystem transitions to scaling up, we need to learn from the extraordinary journey of the Indian IT services industry.
RAJAN ANANDAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SEQUOIA CAPITAL
The NASSCOM story is a shining example of what an industry association can do for itself, the country and the whole world. This book is a must-read for analysts, policymakers, regulators and nation builders.
RAAMDEO AGRAWAL, CHAIRMAN, MOTILAL OSWAL GROUP