The Entrepreneurs of the Decade: 2000 to 2009

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Nandan Nilekani of Infosys Technologies

Few books this decade were as significant as Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, the title of which was inspired by the Indian billionaire Nandan Nilekani. Nilekani, who was then serving as CEO of Infosys Technologies, one of the world’s top outsourcing companies, told Friedman in an interview that technology and globalization allowed companies in places like India and China to “level the playing field” of international commerce. The phrase stuck in Friedman’s head and, with a little tweaking, became a full-blown mantra. But don’t think of Nilekani as merely a literary footnote: Through his work as head of India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, he is promulgating the virtues of entrepreneurship to a nation that is eager to get down to business.