Geeks on Gates, Gadgets and God

DQI Bureau
New Update

The average

Indian developer's aspirations are on the rise; he/she connects to the

Internet while traveling but is still far from being the gadget person. More

than anything else it is the belief in the existence of God that evokes the most

unanimous response from this diverse group of participants. The Dataquest

Lifestyle Survey conducted at the Intel Developer Forum in Bangalore throws

light on these, and some other interesting facets of the life of an average

software developer in the country.


Which international personality do you admire the most?

Bill Gates' popularity among the Indian developers continues unhindered.

He is the most admired of the international personalities with more than half

the developers who responded. This should not come as much of a surprise

considering how good Gates is with things! With only 18.42% of the respondents

voting for him, Linus Torvalds has a lot of catching up to do and a trick or two

to learn from his arch-rival, as far as building a strong image is concerned.

Being the second most admired person —leaving behind the likes of Steve Jobs,

Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy-may hold some consolation though. Scott

McNealy has gained some sheen, when compared to the results of the 2003 survey,

but the verdict is loud and clear-he needs a major image overhaul. And so does

Larry Ellison and, to some extent, Steve Jobs.

Which international personality do you hate the most?

Bill Gates is known to evoke extreme reactions. While that makes him the

most admired international personality to the Indian developer community, it

also makes him the most hated. Interestingly, the hatred quotient for Bill Gates

seems to be on the rise. As compared to around 37% of the respondents voting him

as the most hated personality, in a similar survey conducted in 2003, this year

a little less than half the respondents showed hatred towards Bill Gates. Even

though Linus Torvalds is the only other contestant with a rise in hatred

quotient, he is still a long way away from Bill Gates. Like Torvalds the trio of

Scott McNealy, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison failed to evince strong reactions

from the respondents.


Which Indian personalities do you admire the most?

The Indian developers do seem to be clearly impressed and inspired by the

man who put India's software prowess on the global map. Narayana Murthy is the

favorite for the most admired Indian personality with more than half of the

developers being surveyed. While this should hold no surprises, one question

that does is: What makes Ratan Tata the second most admired personality, more

popular than Azim Premji? What's more, the gap between the two has widened

vis-à-vis the 2003 survey, with the Wipro chief losing some sheen since then.

Premji, for sure, needs some serious re-working on his image among the

developers, and get the image overhaul machinery working overtime. Mukesh Ambani

and Sunil Bharti Mittal not doing well should also not come as a surprise

considering that Indian developers seem to prefer icons who are closer home to



What are the devices that you own/use?

Mobile phones are now a given, and laptops are fast moving towards that

status. Well, that should not raise any eyebrows. Now, sample this.

Surprisingly, a good 39% of the respondents own/use an MP3 player, quite close

to the laptop owners/users at 45.4% of the respondents. The aspirational value

of the average Indian developer seems to be on the rise. However, the average

developer's profile does not yet reflect a lifestyle or workstyle that

warrants mainstream adoption of mobile gadgets like PDAs and PDA cum mobile


Do you connect to the Internet when on the move?

The result may be predictable-a majority of the developers do not connect

to the Internet when on the move. But, the percentage that does connect is not

that insignificant anymore, at around 39%. The need to connect while on the move

may not be paramount for these developers but the urge is clearly emerging.


If yes, how do you connect?

Inspite of a less than satisfactory status on the availability of hotspots and
the growing security concerns, the Indian developer seems to be confident of

using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. A good 50% of the respondents use public hotspots

to connect, ahead of mobile phones and data cards as a means of connecting while

on the move. Overall, the respondents surveyed are open to using multiple means

of connection, depending on availability as well as their requirements.

Why do you surf the Internet?

E-mail is the most killer application for these developers. A whopping 85%

of the respondents surf the Internet for mails. Internet is also emerging as a

favored ground for job-hunting emerging as the next most popular application on

the Internet for the respondents. Looking for a suitable job may not be a very

prominent online activity vis-à-vis e-mailing for the average Indian developer,

but the enthusiasm should be an indication to online job portals to sharpen

their focus on the developer community. Interestingly, despite online

pornography being quite rampant only one developer, among our respondents,

claims of surfing Internet for watching porn.


Have you shopped for anything online this year?

More than half the respondents have not shopped online this year. One of the

possible reasons for this could be an inhibition that arises out of security

concerns. The results this year are no different from a similar kind of survey

that was conducted in 2003. Almost 59% of the respondents in the 2003 survey too

had not shopped online during the year.

Books are a popular choice when it comes to buying online. Is it because it

seems to be a safer bet, as they are not a very high value item? However, this

assumption/argument does not hold because of the fact that an almost equal

percentage of respondents have bought electronics/gadgets online this year. This

is a whopping jump from the mere 29% of the respondents in the 2003 survey that

bought electronics/gadgets online. Indicating an increasing confidence level in

buying more expensive stuff online. However, a big surprise is the drop in the

popularity of online shopping for music/videos. Saving on the hassle of standing

in line for a movie ticket seems to have caught the fancy of busy developers

with online movie tickets also making their way into the developers' pockets.


How much have you spent in 2005 on gadgets or personal consumer


They are moderate spenders on gadgets and consumer electronic items, despite

the fact that they are right in the middle of the technology action. A bulk of

the respondents, ie, more than three-fourths, has spent less than Rs 25,000 till

September 2005 on gadgets/consumer electronics. This does come across as a

surprise considering that they are part of a reasonably high paying industry. Or

is it because gadgets/personal consumer electronic items figure lower, in

comparison, in their spending priorities?


If you got Rs 5,000 in gift vouchers on your birthday, what would you buy?

They might not spend very lavishly on electronics/gadgets. However, when it

comes to using gift vouchers, gadgets/electronics are the second most popular

choice after books, that too by a very close margin. Treading on similar lines,

electronics and gadgets figure higher over music and videos in this category as

well. This is a surprise considering that the 2003 survey had 45% of the

respondents rooting for music and videos as compared to a mere 18% this year.

Even the reading bug is less intensified with around 43% going for books this

year as compared to a good 64% last year.

Do you believe in God?

They are hands-on with the latest technology. Their working is based on

logically explained theories. That does not necessarily make them atheists. So

our survey points out. A vast majority of the developers being surveyed believe

in God. A progressive and modern outlook to things does not co-relate with

belief in God. It is corroborated through these findings that may be taken as a

pointer towards the beliefs and values of the developer community in general.

Shipar Arora