By Nancy Clark
The internet business is by its nature international, so it just made sense for Unleaded Software Inc. (www.unleadedsoftware.com) to expand from its Denver, Colorado-based headquarters to Ahmedabad, India when growing the team. The 32-person Colorado team is bursting at the seams at its present location and in order to expand services to remain at the lead of web development and hosting, Unleaded has opened two satellite offices, one in Seville, Spain and most recently opening Unleaded Software Solutions Private Limited in Ahmedabad.
Pallavi Shah, founder of the international travel firm Our Personal Guest, is used to making business travel arrangements for international businessmen and women, along with planning luxury leisure tours of her native country. Born in Gujarat (Ahmedabad’s location), Shah maintains offices in New York City, Paris and India attending to air travel, hotel and private car service—essential to doing business in India’s congested cities.
Driver Manu of Garha Tours & Travels met Clark when he arrived at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, India's eighth busiest airport. The point in having Manu scheduled 24/7 wasn’t just to transfer from the airport to the Taj, but to expedite Clark’s getting around the city during his 10-day stay. Manu’s 2007 Toyota Innova was cleaned daily and each time Manu pulled into the portico of Taj Gateway Hotel, valets would roll a mirrored platform under the chassis of the vehicle to check for bombs and then opened the trunk. Since the 2008 bombing at the Mumbai Taj, security checks are all in a day’s business at any of the Taj hotels across India.
Unleaded President Jarod Clark chronicled his rides on the roads of Ahmedabad while in India in 2012 to formally open the newest Unleaded production office. The photos, taken by Clark with his iPhone from the back seat while Manu maneuvered through the most congested traffic Clark has ever seen, tell it all.
Lesson #1: Drive on the left-hand side. Yes, India’s traffic operates like the United Kingdom, just one of the Crown’s influences on this country.
Lesson #2: Cows have the right of way. The beasts own this vegan country. It’s not unusual to see a cow napping in the middle of an urban roadway. Traffic detours accordingly. And because it’s considered good luck to feed a cow in India, the cows randomly feast all day long resting intermittently between courses.
Lesson #3: There’s an elephant in the room, er, on the road. Even Barnum + Bailey isn’t awarded this kind of leeway stateside. In India, elephants, like cows, own the right of way. Witnessing his first elephant in the center lane, Clark confirmed that having Manu at the wheel is consoling.
Lesson #4: The family that scoots together stays together. It was rare, Clark says, to see a single rider on a motor scooter. More often than not Clark saw couples, friends, and even a family of four piled on a single scooter to get from Point A to Point B.
Lesson #5: Americans take for granted having a car or two or three at their disposal. In India, owning an automobile is a display of success. A 2012 Toyota Innova runs about $22k, beyond the reach of the average Indian with a per capita income of only $1218 annually. The majority of vehicles in India are owned by IT professionals, the fastest growing employment segment with the highest levels of earnings, i.e. a web professional in India with fewer than 5 years’ experience earns an average of 299,850 IND ($5572.38 U.S.).
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