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Ola founder extolls virtues of 70-hour work week • The Register

Ola founder extolls virtues of 70-hour work week • The Register
Ola founder extolls virtues of 70-hour work week • The Register

Indian tech entrepreneur Bhavish Aggarwal – founder of Ola Cabs, Ole Electric and AI unicorn Ola Krutrim – doubled down on support for 70-hour work weeks during an interview posted last Sunday.

Aggarwal told [VIDEO] India outlet ANI News that he works 20 hours a day, seven days a week – toil he has also previously boasted about on ex-Twitter.

“If you have honesty of purpose and if you have clarity of purpose, then you can have the resolve to take it in your stride,” he reasoned.

The ethos has previously been promoted by other Indian billionaires including Infosys co-founder (and Rishi Sunak’s father-in-law) Narayana Murthy.

Aggarwal xeeted back in October last year that he was in agreement with Murthy – an action he recalled saw him trolled on social media. On Sunday he asserted he didn’t mind the backlash as he has “a very strong belief that a generation will have to do penance.”

“The younger generation today wants a little bit off – I don’t agree with this work life balance concept,” argued Aggarwal, who described clocking off to enjoy life as “an outcome of Western thought process of the post-industrial era” – an era which he sees now as being replaced by an AI “techno future.”

Nobody appears to have asked Aggarwal if he’d be happy to ride with a driver working 70-hour weeks.

The CEO appeared at the interview wearing a traditional kurta and looking surprisingly awake and willing to spend two hours spouting “thought leadership” instead of working.

Aggarwal is known for expressing controversial statements both on social media and in person. In May 2024, he made headlines by referring to the use of gender-neutral pronouns as a “Western illness” on both LinkedIn and his Twitter account. Those claims ignited a backlash on social media, with many users labelling his remarks as homophobic and transphobic – charges he rejects.

On Sunday the Ola founder referred to pronouns as a “political philosophy” that doesn’t translate to Indian culture. He also recounted the story of LinkedIn deleting his post for violating community guidelines – an action which led him to move Ola’s entire workload to his own platform, Krutrim.

Launched in 2023, Krutrim and sister org Krutrim AI provide more than just cloud infrastructure. The pair are also working on a full AI computing stack and advanced silicon for datacenters – technologies India has previously had to rely on Western tech giants to provide. In his interview, Aggarwal described that situation as “techno colonialism.”

“Today we produce 20 percent of the world’s digital data. It’s not stored in India – only one tenth of that is stored in India. Ninety percent is exported into two global datacenters largely owned by Big Tech. It is processed into AI and brought back into India and sold to us in dollars. It is exactly what happened 200 years ago with the East India Company,” lamented Aggarwal.

Ditching Microsoft Azure was just the beginning for Ola. It announced last week it was also dropping Google Maps – opting instead for an open source leveraged solution available on Krutrim Cloud.

“After Azure exit last month, we’ve now fully exited Google Maps. We used to spend ₹100 crore [about $12 million] a year but we’ve made that 0 this month by moving completely to our in house Ola maps!” Aggarwal exclaimed last Friday. ®

Ola founder extolls virtues of 70-hour work week • The Register

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