Wave Rider: A Chronicle of the Information Age
Ajit Balakrishnan is quietly experimenting with the new and fascinating technologies of the Internet in 1995 when the dot-com fever grips the world. Venture capitalists, investment bankers and lawyers pound at the doors of his tiny office in a low-rent area of Mumbai, urging him to take his company public on New York’s NASDAQ stock market. Balakrishnan sets out on this enterprise, a path that takes him through the world’s financial centres of London, Hamburg, New York, Boston and San Francisco. This story recounts how he battles adversaries many times his size; fends off avaricious lawyers who try to extort money through class action suits in the tough courts of lower Manhattan; rebuffs investment bankers who try to engineer the sale of his company; and tries to make sense of a world where technology and business models change every few months. He steers his company through the financial crashes of 2000 and 2008; watches in awe as terrorists bring down New York’s World Trade Centre towers; puzzles over the decline of once famous names such as AOL and Netscape and the rise of new behemoths like Facebook and Google; wrestles with India’s legal system; and pushes to bring Rediff into the new world of the Internet. Gradually, he realizes that the battles he is part of are not just business battles – they signal the dawn of the Information Age.