The 2019 TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) conference in Santa Clara Convention Center was abuzz with activity and excitement last week as about 5,000 people, including top-notch tech tycoons and wannabe entrepreneurs, attended packed programs for two days that looked at the current and future scenarios of technology.
“Technology is the ever-changing dynamics of the Silicon Valley and we tried to keep up with the times, looking at the larger corporations and the legacy systems etc. but we have to keep the balance between the two and the conference looked into the future of technology in all aspects,” Mateen Syed, a Strategic Advisor in the Silicon Valley Ecosystem and operations chair of TiE Silicon Valley, told this correspondent.
The May 10 and May 11 conference, headlined among others by Jayshree Ullal, chief executive officer of Arista Networks, Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications andChirag Patel, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, aimed at helping entrepreneurs take off and connect them with the network of established business heads and venture capitalists.
The TiE which has 62 chapters in 14 countries supports start-ups through networking and the raising of capital for new and experienced entrepreneurs.
“As in the past, one of the most important feature at this conference was the networking opportunities for all participants as we always try to create the ecosystem for them to facilitate their skill and talent,” Syed said.
“Besides the fact that the conference saw stirring addresses by the likes of Ullal and others, I would say the focus on frontier tech was something very new for us as we were looking way ahead into the future from really good stakeholders,” Syed said.
Billionaire businesswoman Ullal, who kicked off the event May 10 with a grand keynote talked about the importance of fostering teamwork and building something with enduring value and not just looking for “cashing out through a quick exit.”
Ullal, who was a senior vice president at Cisco, overseeing the ten-billion-dollar Data Center and Switching department, before starting Arista Networks, told Syed during a chat that indeed it is a big challenge to keep the spirit of innovation alive when companies grow big and bureaucratic tendencies develop.
“It is very important that one makes sure that “spirit of innovation does not get stifled or die due to humongous growth of a company. Innovation needs always to be kept on the front burner,” Ullal said in response to a question.
The conference focused on a number of topics in 14 tracks, including on innovation, cloud revolution, machine-learning and artificial intelligence as well as health informatics and the trend towards self-care and security challenges in gig economy. A big attraction this year was a program called Mentor Connect that took place over lunch on the two days of the conference.
The attendees had the opportunity to seek a mentor and to chat and seek advice from the mentors m in a small setting. The mentors included, among others Kanwal Rekhi, MD Inventus Capital, Dilip Saraf, LinkedIn top career coach and author, Radhika Iyengar-Emens, founding partner of StarChain Ventures that is focused on foundational blockchain technology and RP Singh, CEO and Advisor to many software startups in the Mobile and SaaS areas.
Tharoor, who recalled about India’s history since independence, talked about how the country has fared and what the future looks like. “He also mentioned in his keynote at the conference how the young people in India try to manage within their means some fabulous innovations,” Syed said quoting him.
In an interview with India West newspaper before the conference, Tharoor criticized the ‘Ineptitude of Modi Government’ of such colossal proportions that it has affected the daily lives and the future prospects of the vast majority of Indians.
Tharoor told the newspaper, “Indian companies are able to hold their own with American companies around the world. And that's for us a matter of some pride. The Chinese did it by artificially banning American companies from their markets. Google, Amazon, Facebook, and WhatsApp were all kept out of China … but from our point of view, we don't believe in doing that.”
Tharoor said, “We're a democracy. We believe that we can actually benefit from these American firms while at the same time, encouraging the growth of our own.”
Tharoor tweeted a day after the event calling his exchanges at the convention terrific. “Addressed the annual @TiEcon 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif., on "Innovation in India". My half an hour talk, which was exceedingly well-received, was followed by a spontaneous &unscheduled half-hour Q&A session. Terrific exchange.”