Facebook Internet.org, Android One & India with Newley Purnell

Facebook Internet.org, Android One & India with Newley Purnell
With Newley Purnell from WSJ, we discussed the controversy of Facebook's Internet.org, Android One & startup talent shortage in India.

In this episode, Newley Purnell, journalist from Wall Street Journal joined us to discuss the recent controversy of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative in India and the implications of the initiative with reference to net neutrality, privacy and security among the different stakeholders. We discussed the relaunch efforts of Google’s Android One, and understand how US technology companies are figuring out how to expand their reach in emerging markets such as India. Last but not least, we discussed the talent shortage issue in India’s nascent startup ecosystem and whether it has the propensity to grow its own home grown Internet giants like China’s BAT with the external competition from US to China and an open market system.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with timestamps included):

  • Newley Purnell, Journalist at Wall Street Journal (@newley, LinkedIn, personal website)
    • How did you get started in journalism and eventually focused on technology reporting? [0:58]
    • As you have covered Southeast Asia from Bloomberg, ABC to Wall Street Journal, what are the interesting lessons you have learned in your career? [2:52]
    • What is your current areas of coverage for Wall Street Journal in Asia?  [4:11] 
  • Facebook Internet.org Initiative in Asia [5:31]
    • Quick introduction to Facebook and its footprint in Asia. [5:41]
    • What is the purpose of Internet.org for Facebook? How does the Internet.org initiative works? [6:08]
    • Why is there a backlash on Internet.org in India and Indonesia, which are Facebook’s fastest growing markets? [8:24]
    • How does Internet.org conflict with net neutrality? Does it create a walled garden such that only services sanctioned by Facebook can work and depletes users of choice? (Reference: Net Neutrality: the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites) [10:26]
    • Does Internet.org conflicts with privacy and security of the users based on differing perspectives [12:15]
      • Facebook,
      • Government Regulatory bodies such as Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,
      • Consumers in emerging markets,
      • Private sector such as telcos and other websites users.  
    • Is Internet.org a non-profit organisation or within the corporation as part of the International growth team? (Ref: Mahesh Murthy) [16:20]
    • How is Internet.org’s influence in other markets such as Africa and Middle East? [17:32]
  • Rebooting Android One for Alphabet [19:20]
    • A brief discussion on Android One and how it failed the first time when it launched 2 years ago. [19:42]
    • Why is it not taking off in India? Whose fault is it: Google or the OEM makers in India, for example, Lava, Micromax? [24:20]
    • How is Apple influencing this equation as it’s growing in India at the same time? [25:50]
  • Startup Ecosystem in India and Talent Shortage [28:50]
    • With the recent emergence of unicorn Indian startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal, what are the challenges they face in recruiting talent? [28:54]
    • Does the competition of technology talent create problems for outsourcing companies such as Wipro or Infosys? Are the US companies going to move their outsourcing elsewhere? [31:09]
    • Oftentimes, China is credited with having a vibrant startup ecosystem that rivalled Silicon Valley with Zhongguancun and Shenzhen, but this is only a recent phenomenon in India, can India maintain the pace in creating the startup ecosystem given open competition from US and Chinese companies (Amazon, Xiaomi, Google and Facebook) and an open and less protected economy? [36:31]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.