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印度人为什么这么厉害?微软、谷歌、推特CEO都是印裔

印度人为什么这么厉害?微软、谷歌、推特CEO都是印裔

Vivek Wadhwa 2021-12-08
印度移民在美国能如此成功,和美国的企业文化有关。

推特新任首席执行官帕拉格·阿格拉瓦尔,是提拔到美国科技公司顶级职位的新晋印度出生领导者。图片来源:推特

2014年2月,萨提亚·纳德拉接任科技巨头微软首席执行官时,面对的是令人感到非常不快的企业文化。微软创始人比尔·盖茨以痛斥员工闻名,其继任者史蒂夫·鲍尔默则延续了合伙人厌恶的强硬经营策略。当时,微软已经输掉了智能手机大战,而微软技术构建的技术平台“桌面”正让位于云计算。

正如我在本人著作《从逐步增长到指数级增长》中解释的那样,鲍尔默继任者纳德拉首先把重点放在改变微软文化上。作为在印度出生的佛教徒,纳德拉决心把公司“无所不知”的世界观转变为“无所不学”的求知欲;同时明确表示,过去那种咄咄逼人的行为不再受欢迎。纳德拉对高管会议上生气或叫喊零容忍,从来没有对员工或高管提高声音或表达明显的愤怒,从未写过怒气冲天的电子邮件,不断努力营造更加舒适的环境。

随着文化转变及其带来的战略改变,微软市值从纳德拉上任时的3000亿美元左右增长到如今的2.5万亿美元,成为了全球两大最有价值的公司之一。

桑达尔·皮查伊接手谷歌时,同样面临企业文化问题。谷歌以放任的职场文化著称,高管与员工之间发生性关系引发公司内部紧张局面。皮查伊掌舵期间,以温和而谦逊的印度方式,引导公司驶往平静水域。他取得了非凡的成就,可与其他科技公司印度首席执行官(Adobe的山塔努·纳拉延和Arista Networks的雅什利·乌拉尔)相媲美。技术行业以外,百事公司的卢英德和万事达的阿杰伊·班加等印度出生的首席执行官也大获成功。

但公司的高级职位怎么会考虑聘用印度人?印度人成为科技公司创始人的成功原因何在?

1980年,我来到美国,亲眼目睹了硅谷领导层的演变;在此期间,创立了两家科技公司,其中一家上市。后来,在美国杜克大学,我研究了像我这样的印度人拥有优势的原因。

根据美国加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校安纳李·萨克森尼安教授的一项研究,截至1999年,移民占硅谷科研和工程员工的三分之一,印度首席执行官负责经营硅谷7%的高科技公司。2006年,我的研究团队与萨克森尼安合作,以更新她之前的研究。结果显示,硅谷科技公司中,移民创建的初创公司占比已上升至52.4%,其中印度出生高管创建的占15.5%——尽管他们只占硅谷员工人数的6%。

我们发现,投身工程技术领域的移民创业者中,96%拥有学士学位,74%拥有硕士或博士学位。在这个群体内,印度创业者曾在不同的大学学习过,其中仅15%的创始人毕业于名校印度理工学院。

文化,跟教育背景一样,也是关键因素

毫无疑问,教育赋予了印度人优势。但这并不能解释为什么微软、谷歌、IBM和推特等公司董事会选择美国以外出生的技术专家,而不是具备同样资历的美国人。答案可能与文化价值、家庭熏陶和奋斗经历有关。

在印度这个超过10亿人口的国度上,大多数人被腐败猖獗、基础设施薄弱和有限的机会所阻碍,光是生存都要付出很多,更不用说出人头地。印度人学会了适应,克服重重障碍,充分利用手边的一切资源;面对不公正的国家和社会给自己带来的各种问题,也学会了变通解决之道。对印度人来说,企业家精神以及应对阻碍所需的创意与谋划,本来就是生活的一部分。

在缺乏社会保障制度的情况下,家庭价值观和支持最重要。家庭扮演着关键角色,家人为需要帮助的人提供了各种帮助与指导。

跟全世界的人一样,印度人有很多种族、人种、性别与种姓歧视。但为了取得成功,印度人学会了有必要时忽视或适应这些偏见。在印度,有六大宗教;印度宪法承认22种方言;每个区域都有自己的风俗和特色,人们接纳看法与信仰的不同,特别是在商业环境中。

另一个因素源自移居到新国家的谦卑。跟几乎任何一位移民交谈,不管他来自哪里,都会分享如何放弃在祖国的社会地位、如何在迁入地从底层一路往上爬的经历。这是个谦卑的过程;从零开始、努力走向成功的道路上,你会得到很多有价值的经验教训。

以上种种都是任何董事会认可的特质以及价值观,特别在其他候选人担任傲慢的公司创始人、认为自己有资格胜任工作时。正是以上特质使印度首席执行官有能力改变公司文化;在我看来,也赋予了印度首席执行官优势。

这也可能是推特董事会一致通过杰克·多西推荐印度出生的帕拉格·阿格拉瓦尔接替其工作的原因。或许此举恰恰能引发推特亟需的一场文化转变。

由于企业文化令人感到非常不快、对平台滥用反应迟钝,推特已经收到连珠炮似的合理批评。另外,杰克·多西只是兼职首席执行官,还负责管理支付公司Square并支持区块链和加密数字货币业务。有一次,我注意到推特大男子主义和全男性董事会有问题,与多西的前任迪克·科斯特罗起过争执。跟很多科技公司首席执行官的做法一样,科斯特罗的反应是公开抨击我,而不是听取意见。

任何一位我认识的印度首席执行官不会如此回应,这也是他们正在被选为美国领先科技公司管理者的原因。(财富中文网)

维韦克·瓦德瓦是《从逐步增长到指数级增长:大公司如何设想未来并重新思考创新》的合著者。这本新书探讨的是公司如何在这个迅速变化的时代蓬勃发展。

译者:夏晴

2014年2月,萨提亚·纳德拉接任科技巨头微软首席执行官时,面对的是令人感到非常不快的企业文化。微软创始人比尔·盖茨以痛斥员工闻名,其继任者史蒂夫·鲍尔默则延续了合伙人厌恶的强硬经营策略。当时,微软已经输掉了智能手机大战,而微软技术构建的技术平台“桌面”正让位于云计算。

正如我在本人著作《从逐步增长到指数级增长》中解释的那样,鲍尔默继任者纳德拉首先把重点放在改变微软文化上。作为在印度出生的佛教徒,纳德拉决心把公司“无所不知”的世界观转变为“无所不学”的求知欲;同时明确表示,过去那种咄咄逼人的行为不再受欢迎。纳德拉对高管会议上生气或叫喊零容忍,从来没有对员工或高管提高声音或表达明显的愤怒,从未写过怒气冲天的电子邮件,不断努力营造更加舒适的环境。

随着文化转变及其带来的战略改变,微软市值从纳德拉上任时的3000亿美元左右增长到如今的2.5万亿美元,成为了全球两大最有价值的公司之一。

桑达尔·皮查伊接手谷歌时,同样面临企业文化问题。谷歌以放任的职场文化著称,高管与员工之间发生性关系引发公司内部紧张局面。皮查伊掌舵期间,以温和而谦逊的印度方式,引导公司驶往平静水域。他取得了非凡的成就,可与其他科技公司印度首席执行官(Adobe的山塔努·纳拉延和Arista Networks的雅什利·乌拉尔)相媲美。技术行业以外,百事公司的卢英德和万事达的阿杰伊·班加等印度出生的首席执行官也大获成功。

但公司的高级职位怎么会考虑聘用印度人?印度人成为科技公司创始人的成功原因何在?

1980年,我来到美国,亲眼目睹了硅谷领导层的演变;在此期间,创立了两家科技公司,其中一家上市。后来,在美国杜克大学,我研究了像我这样的印度人拥有优势的原因。

根据美国加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校安纳李·萨克森尼安教授的一项研究,截至1999年,移民占硅谷科研和工程员工的三分之一,印度首席执行官负责经营硅谷7%的高科技公司。2006年,我的研究团队与萨克森尼安合作,以更新她之前的研究。结果显示,硅谷科技公司中,移民创建的初创公司占比已上升至52.4%,其中印度出生高管创建的占15.5%——尽管他们只占硅谷员工人数的6%。

我们发现,投身工程技术领域的移民创业者中,96%拥有学士学位,74%拥有硕士或博士学位。在这个群体内,印度创业者曾在不同的大学学习过,其中仅15%的创始人毕业于名校印度理工学院。

文化,跟教育背景一样,也是关键因素

毫无疑问,教育赋予了印度人优势。但这并不能解释为什么微软、谷歌、IBM和推特等公司董事会选择美国以外出生的技术专家,而不是具备同样资历的美国人。答案可能与文化价值、家庭熏陶和奋斗经历有关。

在印度这个超过10亿人口的国度上,大多数人被腐败猖獗、基础设施薄弱和有限的机会所阻碍,光是生存都要付出很多,更不用说出人头地。印度人学会了适应,克服重重障碍,充分利用手边的一切资源;面对不公正的国家和社会给自己带来的各种问题,也学会了变通解决之道。对印度人来说,企业家精神以及应对阻碍所需的创意与谋划,本来就是生活的一部分。

在缺乏社会保障制度的情况下,家庭价值观和支持最重要。家庭扮演着关键角色,家人为需要帮助的人提供了各种帮助与指导。

跟全世界的人一样,印度人有很多种族、人种、性别与种姓歧视。但为了取得成功,印度人学会了有必要时忽视或适应这些偏见。在印度,有六大宗教;印度宪法承认22种方言;每个区域都有自己的风俗和特色,人们接纳看法与信仰的不同,特别是在商业环境中。

另一个因素源自移居到新国家的谦卑。跟几乎任何一位移民交谈,不管他来自哪里,都会分享如何放弃在祖国的社会地位、如何在迁入地从底层一路往上爬的经历。这是个谦卑的过程;从零开始、努力走向成功的道路上,你会得到很多有价值的经验教训。

以上种种都是任何董事会认可的特质以及价值观,特别在其他候选人担任傲慢的公司创始人、认为自己有资格胜任工作时。正是以上特质使印度首席执行官有能力改变公司文化;在我看来,也赋予了印度首席执行官优势。

这也可能是推特董事会一致通过杰克·多西推荐印度出生的帕拉格·阿格拉瓦尔接替其工作的原因。或许此举恰恰能引发推特亟需的一场文化转变。

由于企业文化令人感到非常不快、对平台滥用反应迟钝,推特已经收到连珠炮似的合理批评。另外,杰克·多西只是兼职首席执行官,还负责管理支付公司Square并支持区块链和加密数字货币业务。有一次,我注意到推特大男子主义和全男性董事会有问题,与多西的前任迪克·科斯特罗起过争执。跟很多科技公司首席执行官的做法一样,科斯特罗的反应是公开抨击我,而不是听取意见。

任何一位我认识的印度首席执行官不会如此回应,这也是他们正在被选为美国领先科技公司管理者的原因。(财富中文网)

维韦克·瓦德瓦是《从逐步增长到指数级增长:大公司如何设想未来并重新思考创新》的合著者。这本新书探讨的是公司如何在这个迅速变化的时代蓬勃发展。

译者:夏晴

When Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, he inherited a toxic culture in a company considered a tech dinosaur. Bill Gates, its founder, had been known for berating employees, and Steve Ballmer, who succeeded Gates, continued the hardball business tactics that partners loathed. Microsoft had lost the battle for smartphones, and the technology platform its technologies were built for, the desktop, was giving way to the cloud.

As I explained in my book From Incremental to Exponential, Nadella chose to focus first on changing Microsoft’s culture. Indian by birth, and with Buddhist beliefs, he was determined to transform the company into one that embraced what he called “learn-it-all” curiosity, in contrast to its then “know-it-all” worldview. And he made clear that the old, aggressive behaviors were no longer welcome. Refusing to tolerate anger or yelling in executive meetings, never raising his own voice or showing overt anger toward employees or executives, never writing angry emails, he constantly worked to create a more comfortable environment.

As a result of the cultural shift and the strategy changes it enabled, Microsoft’s market capitalization increased from roughly $300 billion at Nadella’s ascension to $2.5 trillion today, making it one of the two most valuable companies in the world.

Sundar Pichai, too, inherited a company with cultural problems. Google was known for having a permissive workplace culture, where sexual relationships between top executives and employees generated internal tensions. In his gentle, humble Indian manner, Pichai navigated the company into calmer waters. He attained extraordinary success—as did Indian tech CEOs such as Shantanu Narayen of Adobe and Jayshree Ullal of Arista Networks. Beyond the tech sector, other Indian-born CEOs too have left their mark, including Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo and Ajay Banga at Mastercard.

But how do Indians come to be even considered for such senior positions? What accounts for their success as tech-company founders?

I came to the U.S. in 1980 and observed the evolution of the Valley's leadership firsthand while founding two technology companies and taking one of them public. Later, at Duke University, I researched what had given Indians like me such an advantage.

According to research by University of California at Berkeley professor AnnaLee Saxenian, as of 1999 immigrants accounted for one-third of the scientific and engineering workforce in Silicon Valley, and Indian CEOs were running 7% of its high-technology firms. In 2006, my research team collaborated with Saxenian to update her work and found that the percentage of immigrant-founded startups had increased to 52.4%, with Indian-born executives having founded 15.5% of Silicon Valley tech firms—though they constituted only 6% of the Valley’s working population.

We found that 96% of the immigrant entrepreneurs involved in engineering and technology had completed a bachelor's degree, and 74% held master's or Ph.D. degrees. Within that group, Indian founders had been educated in a diverse set of universities; the famed Indian Institutes of Technology, for example, accounted for only 15% of the company founders.

Culture, as much as education, is key

There is no doubt that education gave the Indians an advantage. But this does not explain why the boards of companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Twitter would choose foreign-born technologists over equally qualified Americans. The answer may lie in cultural values, upbringing, and struggles.

In a land of more than a billion people, most of whom are hampered by rampant corruption, weak infrastructure, and limited opportunities, it takes a lot to simply survive, let alone to get ahead. Indians learn to be resilient, battle endless obstacles, and make the most of what they have. In India, you learn to work around the problems that an unjust state and society create for you. Entrepreneurship, along with the creativity and resourcefulness required to deal with all the obstacles, is part of life.

In the absence of a social safety net, family values and support are everything, and the family takes on a very important role, family members providing all kinds of aid and guidance to those in need.

Indians have many ethnic, racial, gender, and caste biases—as do people all over the world. Yet in order to succeed, they learn to overlook or adapt these biases when necessary. There are six major religions in India, and the Indian constitution recognizes 22 regional languages. Every region in the country has its own customs and character, and people accept differences in attitudes and beliefs, especially in the context of business.

Then there is the humility that comes from moving to new lands. Talk to almost any immigrant, regardless of origin, and he or she will share stories about leaving social status behind in their home country and working their way up from the bottom of the ladder in the adopted land. It's a humbling process; you learn many valuable lessons when starting from scratch and working your way to success.

These are all traits that any board would recognize—and value—especially when the alternatives are arrogant company founders who believe they are entitled to their jobs. And it’s these traits that enable a CEO to transform company culture. This is what I believe has given the Indian CEOs the advantage.

This may be why Twitter’s board unanimously approved the recommendation of Jack Dorsey to appoint Indian-born Parag Agrawal as his replacement. And it is such a cultural transformation that Twitter may need above all else.

Twitter has received a barrage of justified criticism over a toxic work culture and insensitivity to abuses on its platform. Plus, Jack Dorsey was a part-time CEO, also running payments company Square and championing blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Dorsey’s predecessor, Dick Costolo, is someone I personally tangled with when I noted that there was a problem with the company’s chauvinistic culture and all-male board. As many tech CEOs do, his response was to publicly attack me, rather than listen to criticism.

It’s a response that none of the Indian CEOs that I know would make—and that is why they are being chosen to run America’s leading technology companies.

Vivek Wadhwa is the coauthor of From Incremental to Exponential: How Large Companies Can See the Future and Rethink Innovation, a new book on how companies can thrive in this era of rapid change.

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