One of the most common questions we get asked is, “Why is Awaaz.De located in Ahmedabad?” The answer has changed over time. Originally, Awaaz.De was a research project done in collaboration with Development Support Centre, an organization based in Ahmedabad. When Awaaz.De formally became a company, it made sense to stay close to DSC and their project, as they were our first client. Besides DSC, Ahmedabad is also host to a number of top-class development organizations, several of which we began working with. Ahmedabad quickly became a hub for our professional and personal connections.
In recent time, Ahmedabad has developed a growing startup scene. There are several incubators around town, and the combination of high-quality academic institutions, an influx of venture capital, and the Gujarati entrepreneurial DNA give it the essential ingredients that made Silicon Valley a hotbed for innovation. It’s exciting to be a part of this new ecosystem.
Still, people ask why we aren’t based in a more established technology hub like Bangalore or Hyderabad. As a tech startup, we should be where “the action is”, where the latest and greatest technology is being developed. While it’s true that Ahmedabad isn’t at the top of the Indian IT pecking order, Awaaz.De is concerned with being close to another important community: our users.
Awaaz.De is a technology platform intended for the common Indian. And clearly the common Indian isn’t working at Wipro or Microsoft or TCS. She is more like Kapila, who runs a canteen and chai kitli behind our office. Or Narendra, the auto rickshaw driver who posts himself out front. Or the students at Gujarat University, which is down the street.
For all of its advances and amenities, Ahmedabad still has a population mostly without Internet access. Relatively few people have smart phones or use email. The regional language, Gujarati, is the common language. Facebook and What’s App are popular amongst the youth, but not beyond that. And yet Ahmedabadis are a highly social, highly engaged people with a culture placing community at the center.
It’s exactly the type of place where Awaaz.De is most relevant and useful. So for us, this is where the action is. Any startup is strongly influenced by its surrounding physical and social environment. And while staying up on new technology is an important part of what Awaaz.De does, as a company we want to be world experts in the needs of the people we are trying to serve, first and foremost.
The Wire is an American television show produced by HBO. It is widely recognized by critics as one of the best, if not *the* best, show in the history of American television. A program on crime, politics, and social strife in urban America, it combines a highly engaging plot and stories, sophisticated and intricate character development, memorable dialog, and aesthetically masterful shooting.
You would guess that such a compelling television program would have been produced in the heart of the television industry, amidst industry experts and a large talent pool. But The Wire wasn’t shot or produced in Hollywood; it was done 3,000 miles across the country in Baltimore, Maryland, where the show takes place.
What makes the show stand out is its grittiness, depth, and authenticity. It is hard to imagine that those qualities would have come out had the show been produced outside the setting it was portraying.
Awaaz.De wants to create great products that people benefit from and enjoy; the key to doing that is understanding the people we want to reach very well. Being in Ahmedabad helps us do that.