Who are the next billion users and what do they want?
By Danny Crichton
Entrepreneurs and tech executives are widening their gazes outside of developed nations for their next source of growth. Ubiquitous cheap phones and increasingly affordable phone plans such as Jio in India are helping another billion users join the internet. What do those users want though, and how are they the same and different than existing internet users?
That’s the subject of a critical book by Payal Arora, entitled The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West. The compact thesis encompasses a range of argumentative vignettes on how Western tech founders and non-profit executives misinterpret the needs of the global poor — and what internet access really means to them.
“Let’s drop the morality and let’s start engaging with the reality,” Arora explained in an interview with TechCrunch. “Let’s celebrate the mundane over the grand.” That’s the summation of more than two decades working with the global poor and engagement with issues of technology, social media, and entrepreneurship.
Photo courtesy of WorldFish.