Friday, January 14, 2011

Why Americans Love Technology and Indians Hate It

As I walk down the street that I live in, in the US, I'm amazed by the sheer number of cars I see. I'm amazed too by the number of different manufacturers that I see and the number of different models. And I am amazed by the number of iterations of each model that I see. You can pick a popular car model and find all of it's generations, often going back to the 70s or 80s.

The first ATMs were installed in the US during the 70s. But various prototype cash dispensing machines were tried out even back in the 60s. I saw my first ATM machine in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' during the mid 90s and it wasn't until the 2000s that I saw a real one.

Ebooks readers have really taken off in the US during the past 3 years or so. There are two popular brands, backed by mega book sellers and innumerable smaller ones. We have already seen three generations of the kindle. The market is competitive. Ebook sales have already crossed hardcover sales this year. Yet, not many people in India have yet heard about an ebook reader. My nook really got stared at during my India trip this November.

Technology doesn't ever iterate in India. It just appears, magically and fully formed. As a result it always has that slightly alien feel to it. We don't know who made it and how. Instead of the local lad we knew as a toddler with a runny nose, we get a suave foreigner who we can't quite get around to trusting fully.

This is why Americans love technology and Indians not quite as much. (Okay, we don't really hate it, do we? That title is just a link-bait.)

(One possible exception is cell phones. Cell phone market in India rocks.)

1 comment:

  1. It's true that Indians aren't as technologically aware as Americans are. Even rich people with pockets full of money will keep ignoring all the things that could make their lives infinitely better. People found it odd when I told them that I used GPRS on my phone even though it was cheaper than sending a text... People with phones exactly like mine had no idea what to do with it than just make voice calls...

    The reasons could be cultural too. People in India tend to stick more to tried-and-tested traditional ways of doing things. It's possible that the industrial revolution never happened in India in spite of having rich kingdoms spread over a vast areas because of this kind of thinking. Experimentation is not in the culture in general. In US people even experiment with each other :P

    Then all this could simply be because people have had less exposure to technology over their lifetime and are therefore more uncomfortable in trying new things.