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Dear Snapdeal Founders : Is This 1999?

Snapdeal founders, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal recently talked about plans to open up an office in Silicon Valley to expand Snapdeal’s engineering talent.

The reason? Lack of engineering talent in India.

“If you think about the landscape in India, not too many product companies got built here,” said Rohit Bansal, co-founder and chief operating officer of Snapdeal. [source]

I think this is so 1999.

Snapdeal Raises $627mn from Softbank

India is producing great engineers (agreed that they are in short supply – but that’s the case everywhere with any high quality talent) and my quick note to Snapdeal founder is this :

Snapdeal is still not known for its technology prowess and is not yet a great hiring brand among the serious geeks.

From my general interaction with the geek world, I haven’t come across geeks even discussing Snapdeal tech or their backend over beer (that’s your litmus test). Not that there isnt great tech @Snapdeal, it’s just that there isn’t anything that has been marketed or even talked about (or even showcased).

Note that when I say tech, I am not refering to the tech needed to run a platform with millions of transactions every month – that’s minimalistic tech, that’s your survival 101.

Before hiring rock stars, you need to create a ‘geek’ brand which is known to be ready to play with technology. For e.g. Flipkart’s Billion Day sale was not just a company BHAG, but even tech BHAG*, so was their music service, Flyte or the payment gateway, Payzippy.

Flipkart has been known to push the tech and infrastructure envelope.

People respect when you have tried and failed. They respect more when you have tried massively (and failed massively).

When was the last time you heard Snapdeal trying out (and maybe, failing) at any of their BHAG attempt to scale (that involved massive tech scaling)?

The last tech implementation that I saw coming from Snapdeal was of site personalization – which I think was a little lame (it ain’t personalization if you are asking me what I like/browse).

Note to Snapdeal founders: You need to move beyond putting up ‘Snapdeal is Hiring’ posters outside Flipkart offices :). That doesn’t bring you a lot of respect among the serious geeks. That’s called hustling and ends with that.

There are great engineers in India – they want to work for companies with deep tech passion – the dil ki tech deal, you see! But if western media coverage is your goal (and raise noise/valuation/hiring awareness), you have it.

*: BHAG = Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.

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