On a nippy November evening when the weekend tempted with strobe lights and Starbucks, Bangalore's IT crowd instead trooped into Marriott Hotel Whitefield, celebrating the spirit of creativity and innovation at the first-ever Express IT Awards event, presented by the Indian Express Group.
The setting of November 30, 2013 could not have been more apt. Whitefield is a century-old suburb, now home to several hundred software services exporters and a showpiece of Bangalore's cosmopolitan culture, where the vibrant lifestyle of a youthful workforce meets old world charm.
Among the early birds were Happiest Minds Technologies chairman Ashok Soota and Mindtree chairman Subroto Bagchi, soon to be followed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani and Karnataka home minister KJ George, the chief guest on the occasion.
The Express IT Awards kicked off with an address by the Express Group's editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, after an introduction to the awards by FE's managing editor Sunil Jain.
“To call this the IT industry seems a little quaint these days, given how much the industry is a part of our lives and touches so many aspects of it. That’s why we decided to institute these awards and we also thought that we will do it exactly the way our other awards are done. Awards instituted by the Express Group are now seen as the gold standard in every respective industry,” said Gupta.
“IT has flourished and will always flourish because it is one industry where the power of the individual can trump that of the organisation, where an idea gets money even before it is tested.”
At the event, as many as 18 awards were presented to an assortment of companies — big, small, and start-ups — cutting across a wide variety of sectors, besides two prestigious individual awards.
Standing head and shoulders above all was NR Narayana Murthy, the doyen of the digital industry, who showed once again why he is the role model he is.
Murthy made a quick dash to the venue straight from the airport, 50 km away, after a hectic work week.
His words, as he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 to a standing ovation, reflected that outlook: “Such motivation, created by people like you will help me to continue to work hard and, hopefully, smart in the remaining active years of my life.”
N Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer and managing director of Tata