The untold story of how a band of dreamers made India the global IT leader
Praise for the book
“The Maverick Effect is a definitive and authoritative biography of NASSCOM as recounted by one who led the creation of NASSCOM in 1988 and has been nurturing it like his precious child even after 33 years to the day. Future historians will rely on this work when they do research on the role of NASSCOM in removing the bureaucratic hurdles during the initial years of the software services industry in India.”– N R Narayana Murthy, Co-founder, Infosys
“Three decades ago, NASSCOM had a vision for India’s fledgling tech industry. In bringing it to fruition, the lives of millions were improved and the destiny of our country was transformed. Today, we need to create a new vision for the coming decades. Should anyone today want to learn how such a feat can be achieved, they will find no shortage of inspiration in the pages of this book.”– N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons
– Deepak S. Parekh, Chairman, HDFC Ltd
“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.”
“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
About the Book
‘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
The 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 says: “The impact that NASSCOM and the Indian IT industry have had on India is unparalleled. I have often been asked about the inside story of how NASSCOM was started. I realised that I could not point anyone to a definitive source. And thus, I took upon myself to write a book, which is aptly titled, ‘The Maverick Effect’. The book talks about some of the fiercest of competitors collaborated, thereby creating an unstoppable flywheel that is India’s technology industry.
Sachin Sharma, Executive Editor, HarperCollins India, says: ‘The world today understands and respects the might of India’s IT industry but there’s an incredible backstory behind how this global leadership was achieved. The Maverick Effect presents a brilliant inside account of how some competitors got together, created an industry body called NASSCOM and transformed a nation. Here is a book that will inspire generations to come.
About the Author
Harish Mehta is the founder and executive chairperson of Onward Technologies Ltd. He is the founding member and the first elected chairman of NASSCOM, a not-for-profit representing India’s burgeoning IT industry and considered among the world’s most exemplary associations. As a prominent angel investor, he also spends time mentoring young entrepreneurs and start-ups.