Why Are Tamil Internet Sites So Primitive?

Topic started by Bala Pillai (@ nas1ppp04.apic.net) on Mon Jul 9 22:10:47 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

----- Original Message -----
From: Bala Pillai
To: ;
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 10:52 AM
Subject: [tamil] Why The Tamil Internet Is Primitive (Was: Re: Tamildom
Information Ministry)

Anbulla eS, Thamil Innaiya Nanbargal, Thamil Innaiya Erumbugal,

From: Evolutionary Socialist

> There are a lot of things can be done, Bala. I have been roaming around
> Tamil related sites ... they are primitive man. At present we can
> stream live telecasts over the net; before long, I would say another 3
> to 4 years (unless tech stocks take futher hit, and get destroyed in
> the process) the net could become as good as any TV -- better, of
> course, because of the possibility of interactivity.

What you've got to understand is "why"?. Why are our sites primitive and why
are their sites superb?

Reasons: 1) Resources 2) Risk-taking mindset 3) A win-win business mindset
4) self-confidence levels


Collectively the US sites are resourced hundreds of thousand times more than
Tamil website. There is a deep venture capital market in the US that funds
risk-taking. There is not even a word called "venture capital" in the Tamil
language. How the hell are people going to understand what "venture capital"
is if there is not a word for it?

Risk-taking mindset:

The English-speaking world takes thousands of times more risk than the Tamil
world. At the risk of being politically incorrect but in the interests of
stabbing denial right in its heart, remember Tamil minds are mostly "kooli"
minds and this is understandable. Very few Tamils know in depth someone who
has made a great living by taking an innovative move. Most Tamil money goes
to riskless and less mind-productive endeavours: property, jewels. Every now
and then Tamil minds follow the herd on stocks that are going up. Typically
when we jump in, in herd fashion, as with others who do this, we don't
compare the odds of it going up versus the odds of having reached its
zenith. This requires reasoning power. The word "reasoning" is not commonly
used in Tamil discussions. So again how the hell are you going to see
"reasoning" if the concept is merely skirted?

The single biggest reason for our near-zero risk disposition is the effect
of the Industrial Revolution in Tamilnadu. While the Europeans innovated and
invented, they only needed "mechanical" minds from their Empire. So the
Tamils fought amongst themselves to get a license to manufacture a European
invention. They bribed. They did deals with politicians. Many became
traders - they buy a good for $X and sell it for $X + Y%. No innovation in
all these. Little risk-taking - nothing like the risk Thomas Edison took in
inventing the light bulb or power plants.

With a decline in risk-taking our fortunes went down and our language became
one of general doom and gloom. You will find that generally Tamils have much
more of a negative worldview than the Western world. A more suspicious,
skeptical, distrustful worldview. So it has become entrenched into the words
and sentences that we repeat. That in turn entrenches itself into our
thoughts and mindsets.

In short, our collective minds need introspection to shake off the
fatalistic, fear, doom and gloom that rooted itself during colonisation and
probably the escalating castist society before that. That continues to
besiege us.

A win-win business mindset

You will find that the Tamil worldview thinks this is not possible. Most
Tamils think that if somebody wins, somebody else *must* lose. They cannot
quite grasp how and why win-win deals work. And how to craft more of them.
And how it is quite okay if you don't win all the deals, so long as you win
more than lose.

I'll give you an example. I was Yahoo Chatting with Chennai Aravindan
recently. I was telling him that what we need to kickstart Thamil Innaiya
Erumbugal in Tamilnadu is a positive business person. And Aravindan said
"Bala - the business people here are not into helping the community - they
are into making money". I replied "what's the problem with that?. Is not
Bill Gates making money? And while he is making money is he not enabling
thousands of other systems integrators, dealers etc to make money? Is he not
one of the English language's guardians? Would not the usage of the English
language for communications be much lower if not for Windows, Microsoft
Word, Excel etc? Havn't people who use these softwares benefitted more than
suffered?". So what is the problem with business people or anybody making

Aaaah...we know where this binary mindset of make money = bad and help
people for free = good and there shall be no shades in between, came from.
If business people are mere rentiers and traders than this can be more true,
still not totally true. And we should know the hypocrisy of this. And how it
drives more into unhappy koolidom.

Bottom line is there are good non-profits, bad non-profits, in-between, good
for-profits, bad for-profits and in-betweens. It is not whether they are for
profit or not that matters. It is *how* they do it. If they provide a
service to their market or community and if it furthers the community,
whether the providor makes profit or not is *irrelevant* to a judgement on
whether the service is good or not. And if we insist that good services must
only be provided for non-profit and by history we know that this does not
happen, than we are responsible for the prevention of good services being

There is a lot of evangelising and explanation that needs to be done to
cleanse the deep-seated Tamil mindset of win-lose.


Tamil self-confidence levels are generally lower that Western or even
Malaysian/Singaporean self-confidence levels. This is fertile ground for
increased suspicion, skepticism and a mindset that is off-balance - skewed
too much to the negative side. This reduces risk-taking. Which in turn
reduces innovation. And as the world shifts from a real property world to a
brains and contacts world, this is fatal.

Ritualistic Religion

I add religion. What does religion do? With all the uncertainties and
inablity to piece out what causes what, there is lots of fear and confusion
in Tamil minds. And religion is a good elixir - it soothes the mind. It
provides a good escape. It reinforces the denial syndrome and passes over
the state to "fate".
Again, adding to the vicious circle of not trying to understand that
cause-effect have much more of a role than is quickly dismissed.

In Summary

So eS, the reason why Tamil sites are primitive has to be addressed at the
root level or addressed at the "herd" level. That is once the Western world
has clearly proven models of what works and what does not and how. When it
is no more an innovation but a trading proposition, than Tamil money will
move in.

To use farming parlance in business, Tamils will not plant a tree that does
not yield fruit within a month. They have no concept that in business, as in
farming, there are simple enterprises like bean-sprouts where you can
break-even fast but not make much of a dent on earth, or you can plant an
"aala" maram that will take decades to yield benefit but is very precious,
and there are in-betweens.

> So, this is good new for us, because Tamil folks are addicted to Tamil
> movies and the works. So, we can bring a lot more on board into the
> intelligent realm if could only merge the dumb, but interesting (and
> relaxing), stuff seamlessly with the real ones, and we would have
> created the Tamil cyber city (not the cyber jaya type, but a virtual
> city that you have been talking about).

Yes this is a plus point. So there is the need for it. But that is not

Reminds me of the story of the brown-sugared water inventor from Georgia,
USA in the early parts of last century. He had concocted this brown-sugared
water drink with some gas in it. He thought it was great. He would make cups
of it for his friends and they would love it. But what he got was less than
what he put out, that is he could make lots more money by doing something

This went on for years. Until one day he ran into a lawyer and explained the
invention to the lawyer. The lateral thinking lawyer thought for a while and
said "Yes! I know what we have to do". "But before I tell you, I want you to
sign a contract with me". "I want US$2 million worth of shares in the
company that I set up for you to promote your gassy brown-sugared water".
The inventor replied "what...you just took 2 minutes and you want US$ 2
million for it". The lawyer replied "Yes...but remember I get paid nothing
for my work, if it doesn't work". The lawyer added "and you will get tens of
millions of dollars if it works, so what is the problem?".

So the inventor signed this agreeement that the lawyer drafted up. And the
inventor asked so "tell me...tell me...".

The lawyer answered, "Bottle It".

The rest is economic history. History that you now know as Coca-Cola!

Of course, this was during a time when bottling hadn't taken off and the
lawyer knew of another struggling bottle inventor.

The moral of the story? A good product with a good market is not enough.
Take it as a given, that there are other elements to a non-profit or
for-profit. It is called cash-flow. How do you make sure that during the
planting, the gestation period, the cash-flows are managed? How do you
collect money? From whom? For what specifically?

> Bala, we are behind time ... big time. Let me spell it out. What would
> it take to create a Tamil Lycos? (Let's remember that it was started
> only in 1995 by just one guy.) If you ask me, that would be my
> overarching goal. To create as good a portal, which is comprehensive:
> intelligent, cute, alluring, colourful, simple, and fast. Tamil.net
> should start moving towards it.

I know of Lycos' economic history well. Lycos' early days was funded by
parallel processing pioneers Carnegie Mellon university to the tune of a few
millions. I know this because while I was at Reuters I scouted around for
powerful parallel processing architectures and Carnegie Mellon were leader
of the pack in 1988-92. Two years before the venture capital markets
hungered for portals, the recent ex-head of Lycos (Bob something) did a deal
with Carnegie Mellon to commercialize it. Carnegie Mellon got shares in the
resultant company and Bob put the deal together to bring in additional
capital. When the dot com market took off, the venture capital organisers
pumped in hundreds of millions into Lycos. And as a post-script, at the
right time, Bob sold off Lycos to Spain's largest telco for mostly script in
the telco.

Tamil Internet enterprises do not sit on this type of a foundation. We must
get Tamils to understand these layers. It is near impossible to do because
we do not have an appreciation for the language layers of innovation. And
because of our high-denial inclination think that what we don't know doesn't

> > Shape it into a project and put it into a "Projects Outstanding" and
> > "Resources/ People Needed - Job Responsibities/Specs/Pre-Requisites"
> > folder in our group folder. That way, we will have a smarter way of
> > enticing new working cooperative members.
> -----------
> Interesting. Do you anyone out there who are interested in these things
> for free (with the intent of getting larger returns in the future). I
> somehow feel that they wouldn't do anything unless they could be some
> 'kooli' of some sort.

Yes there is. Necessity is the mother of invention. And I invented.

That's exactly what is happening in Thamil Innaiya Erumbugal - leading the
world in attention economy organisation and ownership structure innovation.
How do you think we have 30 members of which 20 would be doers in less than
3 weeks? The role of presenters, packagers and communicators - and I would
love to coach -- while supplies last (yes I don't have infinite time) --
more people into the jobs of tomorrow.



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