| Billion-dollar T-shirt
Bangalore, April 13: Enrique Iglesias was singing Touch Me Baby at Palace Grounds, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was saying Vote me, Bangalore.
But the people here at Infosys city on the outskirts of Bangalore wouldn’t be anywhere else this evening, even for a billion dollars.
And not for the singing alone, though Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik were around. Or the food, elaborate as it was.
They were here because, as N. R. Narayana Murthy said: “We have shown that innovation is possible in this country and that we can benchmark on a global scale; that it is possible to do business and create wealth legally and ethically in India; that people with passion and will to learn can face any challenge and perform in a global environment.”
Talking about wealth alone would have been enough for the Infosys chairman on a day the company announced having touched $1 billion in revenues.
Across the world, 25,000-odd employees and families of Infosys, which has become something of an Indian corporate icon, partied today — “Infosys, a billion dollar company” emblazoned on their sky blue T-shirts.
The T-shirt was not the only thing the company gave them. It came paired with a commemorative wristwatch. And, oh, there was the sharing of the wealth, too — a “billion bonus” of $1,000 on an average for each employee with even trainees picking up $500 each. Salaries are going up by 17 per cent as against 7 per cent last year.
All wore the T-shirt, including founder-members Narayana Murthy, N. S. Raghavan, Nandan Nilekani (the CEO), K. Dinesh and Shibulal. Those who have joined Infosys in recent years were given a reminder that the target for them would be far stiffer.
Donn Liles, the president of Data Basics Corp, New York, the first Infosys customer, told them: “I am proud of you guys.” He egged Infoscions on to achieve revenues of two, five and 20 billion dollars.
Surabhi Chitre and her colleague Kirti Supe, both 22 and trainee programmers, said: “It’s not just the brand but the ethics, honesty and quality of work of Mr Narayana Murthy that has drawn us to Infosys. His entrepreneurship is remarkable.”
They weren’t far off the mark. “Our greatest contribution is that we have raised the confidence of young entrepreneurs in this country,” Narayana Murthy said.