One of the early Indians to lead a global company, Shantanu Narayen led Adobe’s shift from desktop to cloud and its expansion into the digital experiences category. In an interview, he talks about why India matters and how people are the biggest assets. Excerpts:
Q/ What big points did you discuss in the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
A/ Among the key topics that we talked about was continued investment in innovation. He certainly believes that technology is the way to help move things forward. Specifically, we talked about artificial intelligence and what might happen with artificial intelligence.
We talked about creativity, the importance of creativity and the ever-changing nature of media. We talked about online and the importance of startups, and in addition to that, we talked about how companies like Adobe can do more in India.
Q/ Do you think the National Education Policy will complement Adobe’s investment plan in India?
A/ Education is the basis of everything. We are in the intellectual property business at Adobe. For us, our biggest asset is our people. So, anything that happens with respect to encouraging education and having digital literacy, I think it only helps Adobe. We always go where the talent is and so we are very supportive of more emphasis and interest in education.
Q/ There has been massive investment in India. How has your experience been so far with respect to your investment in India?
A/ It has been outstanding. It is actually our secret weapon. We started in India well before it was ‘fashionable’ to have an Indian facility. But we also said right from the beginning that we want that best. We want to file more patents and actually do fundamental innovation. We have multiple centres in India. We have it in Noida, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, in addition to our sales offices all around the country. It has been a home run.
Q/ India is home to a lot of startups and unicorns. A conducive environment for startups is there. How do you look at the ecosystem?
A/ It is awesome! The people in India have always been the biggest assets and access to capital is now available. I think what is really inspiring is that these Indian startups actually have grown across the entire world so their aspirations are not restricted to India and they are actually thinking about how they are going to conquer the world.
As an Indian American, what could be more inspiring or a matter of pride than seeing what the prime minister is doing to really encourage startups and investments in India.
Q/ What is primarily your outlook as far as investment in India is concerned?
A/ India is a big area of investment for us. Adobe has three growth initiatives—everything around creativity, document productivity and empowering digital businesses, and artificial intelligence is going to change how all those three solutions deliver. So, we intend to continue investing heavily in India.