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Why Silicon Valley executives are exiting Indian technology companies in droves? – “Expectation Mismatch”

Source | LinkedIn : By Vas Srinivasan

The exodus of Silicon Valley returnees from Indian technology companies seems to be increasing as every day passes. Indian start-ups, especially E-commerce companies started hiring high profile executives from bay area in a big way in the last five years. But the experience has not been great for both the executives and the companies. There are many reasons why this is happening but one of the main reasons I believe is due to “Expectation Mismatch”.

Executives come back to work for high profile Internet companies in India for the following reasons:

  • Indian growth story is still exciting and enticing
  • The opportunity to apply what they learned in the valley and prove it all over again
  • They would like to give back and contribute to the country where they were born and grew up till they went to US for higher studies and work

India companies hire these executives for the following reasons:

  • Even though India churns out thousands of engineers every year, there is “skills” shortage especially when it comes to cutting edge technology, products and management
  • It is assumed someone from US who has done it before can perform “Magic” and make things happen the moment he/she lands in a job
  • The company’s brand image will go up and can attract good talent from India and abroad

Everything seems to go well in the beginning and within few months you start to hear grumblings from both sides. Having lived and worked in the valley for many years and now living/working in Bangalore, I can empathize with both sides. The situation is unravelling clearly because of “Expectation Mismatch”.

Many executives who come back have unrealistic expectation both from the companies and the country in general. They complain about many problems including lack of professionalism, crowded roads, long work hours, lack of support from Founders of the company, people not being time-conscious (jokingly – follow the Indian Standard Time) etc. The returning executives assumed that they didn’t bargain for all these and expected everything to be as perfect as it is in Silicon Valley.

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