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Siliconeer: Merging Technology and Indian Culture in Silicon Valley

NCM Profile

NCM, Brahmani Houston Posted: Feb 17, 2004

Siliconeer is not your average Silicon Valley publication. When was the last time you looked to your monthly high tech business magazine for a curry recipe or a review of the latest Bollywood film?


Amardeep Gupta, owner and managing editor of Siliconeer

Located in Sunnyvale, Calif., Siliconeer’s comfortable office is nestled at the back of an Indian dress shop and next door to an Indian market. A popular Hindu temple nearby is one of the free monthly's distribution spots. This neighborhood of Indian shops and restaurants is one of the commercial centers of the estimated 200,000 Indian Americans in the Bay Area.

Siliconeer was founded at the height of the dot-com boom of 2000 to fill a niche left vacant by existing South Asian publications. Curiously for a community so closely attached to technology, no publication covered science and technology from a South Asian perspective.

In addition to science and technology, Siliconeer features articles that appeal to the wide range of interests of its steadily growing readership.

“Outsourcing and immigration are hot issues right now. Many people have gone back to India because of the economy and the job market,” says Amardeep Gupta, owner and managing editor.

Siliconeer has always had an open invitation to anyone who can write compelling articles for the Indian community. The result is a diverse freelance crew with a variety of perspectives and expertise.

For example, the poisoning of the Bengal Basin has gained the public's attention through the writings of Rahbihari Ghosh, founder of the Berkeley based International Institute of the Bengal Basin.

Immigration attorneys also write about immigration law, a topic of great interest to the Indian American community. Many writers contribute articles from India on subjects ranging from info-tech to Bollywood stars. Even Gupta’s wife, Seema, contributes her own favorite recipes every month. “She’s a very good vegetarian cook,” he says.

Siliconeer also publishes articles on finance because, Gupta explains, they want to help their readership expand their wealth. Another popular feature is the magazine's regular automobile column. “I love cars and Indian guys love cars,” Gupta says. “They want expensive stuff even if they can’t have it.”

While Silicon Valley has remained economically depressed since the dot-com crash, Siliconeer continues to thrive, serving a community that is particularly vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of the tech industry and the local economy.

“When we started it was the peak of the industry. A lot of dot-coms wanted to join us or leverage content or even buy us out. If we had been part of that bandwagon we would have had a flashy office, lots of expenses and we would have lost everything,” explains Gupta. Instead, Siliconeer chose to remain small and grow at it’s own pace. Its patience has paid off.

The magazine's circulation has grown from 6,000 to 20,000 in four years. It has also seen hits on its website, www.siliconeer.com, jump from several hundred a month to a whopping 95,000 a month. Its distribution has expanded to Indian shops, restaurants and temples in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and New Jersey.

As its numbers have grown, the quality of the magazine has improved. In 2000 Siliconeer was a 60-page black-and-white publication. Now it has up to 80 pages with a glossy cover and many inside color pages.

Gupta says the magazine has found its niche. “There is something [in the magazine] everyone can enjoy. It’s light reading, not very intense—and we want to keep it that way.”

Siliconeer’s easy style and variety make it accessible not only to the Indian American community, but to anyone interested in science or technology or just in search of a good curry recipe.

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