It was a wide canvas that Ajit Balakrishnan, Founder, Chairman and CEO Rediff chose to cover while speaking at the launch of the CMO League – from 19th century Champaran, where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came to hear the grievances of ‘some’ farmers and going on to becoming Father of the Nation within seven months of that, to preparing for the information age.
Diving deep into the mechanics of the textile revolution in India and abroad through technological advancement, Balakrishnan said that mechanical learning is the spinning jenny for the modern era. He cited an example of how raw material was exported to give birth to a revolution of chemicals in Germany, which led to the formation of institutions such as Boyce, BISF and AGEA, among others, and then completing the full circle of coming back and being sold at 10 times the price of the raw material. Technology is the catalyst for the same, Balakrishnan noted.
He further said that during the industrial revolution, the stalwarts of different schools of thought were unaware of the legacy that they were creating to leave behind. The then revolutionary minds, who became leaders and institutions later, were unaware of the fact that the time was moving into a modern era because of their thought process and the movement that they were creating. For them, the situation was such that they thought they were doing a social service and tackling the problems of the society at that point of time. Hence, he related the industrial revolution to the idea of involuntary action leading to something bigger, coming back to the textile revolution in India.
Balakrishnan also reiterated the example of how today the middle class is being disenchanted and college students are being affected by the advancements in technology, since the middle class management jobs are disappearing due to the empowerment brought about by digital, social and technological changes and advancements in a fast paced environment. He also claimed that 7 per cent of the Indian population have started using the internet.
Balakrishnan later moderated a Q&A session of Don Tapscott, a leading authority on innovation, media and the economic and social impact of technology. Ideas pertaining to new age political parties, monetisation of ideas, naked corporations with integrity, engagement though the cloud platform and equity in the sector of sustainability were discussed at the session. The conclusion being that integrity should be in the DNA of the marketers and people need to be on the digital platform for the exchange of ideas, engagement and better knowledge.