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"Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people."

-Harry Emerson Fosdick

Just thinking how fortunate my children are to be born as Americans. My parents were both from India (as am I). My wife's parents are also immigrants. My children are the first to be born in the US. One in Washington, the other in California.

Of course we respect our heritage, but we are also in awe of this amazing and welcoming place called the United States of America.

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108 comments
 
India is the worlds largest democracy. 
Sha Man
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Well then Mr. Gundotra with all respect, stop acting like a censoring of free speech corporation/nation.
 
America has much to offer.  With all of its detractors, its nice to hear your thoughts.  And as your children have children, you will see the true strength of the multi cultural way of life.  Welcome to the club.  Freedom however, isn't free.  It takes sacrifices by many who protect our way of life.  Thanks for your support of the disabled veteran by the way.  A new announcement is coming soon.  You will be pleased as it relates to the use of G+ by Blind and Deaf American veterans.
 
Very nice sentiments, +Vic Gundotra. I think sometimes one can become a bit jaded and cynical if one has grown up in the states, and hearing your family's story can help to put things in perspective. 
Sha Man
 
Dear Sir, I have had a recent experience with a post by Guy Kawasaki, that somehow completely blocked me and stopped me from accessing G+, you will be able to see previous discussions on this very subject, I am not accusing personally of this, but you are in charge and I hold much respect for your tech pedigree. 
Sha Man
 
My experience does not take away from my great admiration of the greatest nation the world has ever seen, but we could still do much much better, just ask the rest of the world.
 
+Sol Shah an author of a post can block anyone they see fit for whatever reason. They can stop you from further commenting on their posts. This serves as a critical protection against harassment, bullying, and trolling. I'm happy we prioritized this feature early on in our development of Google+.
 
I whole heartily approve of that feature Vic.  Keeps the trolls off my back. 
 
Three cheers for the block feature.  I've had to use it a few times, myself.
 
+Sol Shah, I think it's ironic that you'd call out Google for censorship, when in fact very few other companies have done more to make free speech accessible on such a global scale. +Vic Gundotra
Sha Man
 
This does not explain why I was completely blocked from commenting anything on the public thread.
 
I wish all immigrants had such respect and gratitude! Kudos Vic.
 
Still, I love G+, which give me lots and lots of news, subject, informations, pov on STEM, society, future, &  co.
I feel sad that there is more and more american patriotism and fewer world dream. :/ (Maybe it's just your election...)
Sha Man
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Don Vikingisson Schupp
10:39 AM

actually that's an option anyone can take as far as I know but is commonly used by the more popular users.  The issue is that a regular user doesn't know they can't comment until they try which ends up being a waste of time and very irritating.  It's a G+ issue that's been discussed without resolution for a while.  My fix is to never comment on posts by the elite since they are also too busy to bother with anyway.

We are all immigrants!
 
+Nathan Charlton most immigrants I know are very grateful, you need to have lived through the alternative to appreciate how lucky we are
Sha Man
 
If I did not like G+ I would not be here either, just keep free speech what it is intended to be, free speech, that is all.
Sha Man
 
why is constructive criticism being attacked?
 
While I (obviously!) prefer to live in Denmark (Scandinavia), you live in a wild and varied country +Vic Gundotra - it is pretty messed up too, but there are so many wonderful aspects of the US.
It's all too easy to focus on all the things which are wrong.
So cheers for America. :)
 
Vic, try to make sure your company makes as much of its gear as it can over here, okay?
Sha Man
 
The world speaks its opinion, I LOVE IT.
 
+Sol Shah :
"why is constructive criticism being attacked?"
Perhaps because you're being off-topic?
Sha Man
 
My apologies if you think Im off topic, I was not exactly addressing you, I was engaging the VP of Social at google. Iam also proud to be an American immigrant, being proud of America is one thing violating our American first right is another.
 
+Sol Shah : You can't just hi-jack a post like that. It's called rude, trolling.
It's also called lack of courtesy.
All you get is a quick click on the block button.

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Highly ironic that you try to censor me from commenting on your comments - especially when your topic is censorship. :p
</edit>
 
+Vic Gundotra  Well.....being born as Americans is definitely an advantage in a way....they might have very less things to complain about in their daily life unlike we Indians....& moreover having a father like U would definitely make their life even more smooth & easy.....But ..... thats not all....On an individual basis it is not how comfortably u lived that matters at the end......how much did u get know life is what matters......India is a nation which has given the most precious spiritual knowledge to the world.....It has that spiritual seed in it......It taught the world how to keep our Ego under control which according to me is the highest knowledge a person can ever gain......Let not that prejudice dawn in them which would provoke their ego in turn......Ultimately that is what matters......
 
OK, I'll go out on a limb.... Interesting difference in perspective.  My family has been here since about 1640 and I believe that if we had the government and social structure then that we have now, we would have had a second revolution.  We have become apathetic in our complete lack of democracy.  What my ancestors fought for, what I served for, is supposed to mean so much more than what our money-driven political system currently gives us.
 
as a place to live in and prosper . America is the best place in the world , it's the land of opportunity still there is no real democracy in there there is the illusion of democracy .. the real rulers of America never change
 
+sailendranath vemulapati I love the country of my birth. But it is unlikely that I would have ever had the chance to work for Bill Gates, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin or worked with Steve Jobs had my father not risked it all and immigrated to the USA. The opportunities in the US are still amazing.
 
Democracy does provide extraordinary possibilities...however know that corruption is the price to pay for this democracy, there are no free lunches in America.
 
+Rino Mancini when we meet, remind me to tell you of the corruption I saw when I was visiting an unnamed country. We were not allowed to pass the railroad tracks because a train was coming. After 20 minutes of waiting we figured it out. Corruption from the highest levels all the way down to the bridge operator.
 
I call the US the land of many contrasts.
That's both awesome and terrible. :)
Sha Man
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Vic having been a protege for the whose who in tech I could understand where you are coming from, for most of us who have not had that great opportunity, our opinion is somewhat grounded with our reality. Albeit you get an education, pay off your student loans etc... where are the jobs? Does one have to be an MIT engineer to get that opportunity? I have lived here for thirty years and have witnessed first hand the decline in our body politic, religious, social as well as economic. No one wants to hear a troll speaking the truth, right?
 
Every 5 years people forget what they have learned in the past 5 years. That's democracy.
 
+Vic Gundotra I understood what ur Intention was...I have absolutely no doubts about it...I'm really happy that someone from my country has got to work with someone who changed the face of the world....But I only hope all these external qualities don't become a reason to tamper the internal qualities....At the end they matter the most...after all it was His spiritual quest that made Steve Jobs cone to India which was something which kept Him going....Jai Hind
Sha Man
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+ sailendranath vemulapati No one single society is greater than another, the human race have contributed much to the betterment of human race throughout the ages, do not discount Arabs or Chinese contribution to what India knows.
 
True but account for greed and BAM....special interests.
 
+Vic Gundotra speaking of corruption....I would say...there is definitely corruption in the Indian system...but American system is itself corrupt...its after all a nation which has used most of the world's natural resources...its no wonder that its a land of opportunities....every nation contributed to the development of USA & there is no doubt about it...India loses most of its IITians to USA...USA was only successful in attracting the best brains across the globe & the rest simply followed...If a person wants to satisfy his/her greed USA is the right place ... & if a person wants to satisfy his SELF India is the right place...Thats the difference....
 
+Sol Shah Absolutely not...I respect every nation equally...But since I know more about my Nation & since my Nation was mentioned here I wanted to make my point here.."Thank God am in this particular country" is itself an indication of our narrow mindedness...every nation & every individual on this planet is unique...Vasudaiva Kutumbakam...One world family !!!
 
But American companies doesn't spend 70% of their gross income on bribery, do they?
At least that was the reality in the north-eastern parts of an not-to-be-named-here country when I visited it in the mid 80's.
 
Oh, I forgot about the lawyers. :P
 
+Vic Gundotra the pleasure would be all mine to meet, I have great admiration for you and I fully grasp the point you touch on. Corruption is part of human nature fueled by greed regardless of political process, however and sadly, I rest firm on my statement. It will take brave men and women to bring actual change, which I hope to witness and be part of in my lifetime.
 
+Rino Mancini Very well said...Its lack of belongingness in ppl that leads to corruption...in fact it takes lot of courage to fight it back...coz while fighting against it we are actually fighting against one of our own qualities called Greed...corruption is a big head ache to almost every nation just that USA makes it too clever to be noticed....I seriously don't lime it when ppl speak of corruption in a particular nation while doing nothing against it...am a young entrepreneur from India who has been a victim of corruption quite a lot of times but never ever made that cheap attempt to pay bribe to any govt. official no matter what..I feel very proud of it...
Sha Man
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Corruption in other countries we call lobbying here, and yes done by mainly lawyers .
 
Welcoming? In the country with the highest homicide and hate crime rates?
 
The United States was founded as a Republic not a Democracy. The roman empire was a democracy
 
Yes!!...Let us all start with the man in the mirror....let us be positive...let us all have hope in a better tomorrow...let us all kindle that spiritual strength within us...Let us all spread the message of love & belongingness irrespective of nations,castes,religions etc....Corruption can be overtaken...
 
Hmmm....I think it is more important to think of who contributed than to see who is enjoying the fruits....
 
+sailendranath vemulapati Isn't the corruption in your country a result of a certain colonial power who figured that the only way to control a huge country like that was to let it oppress itself by means of a carefully orchestrated mix of bureaucracy and corruption?
That it still exist today is maybe because old habits die hard.
 
+Vic Gundotra While agreeing with you, hopefully someday parents around the world will have no reason to echo your sentiments... That is my dream. A world where everyone has equal opportunities to do well... regardless of the place, color, etc, etc of birth.... 
 
Folks seem to be confused.  The United States of America is a republic.

"We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments." -- Alexander Hamilton, 1787-06-26
 
It's also a democracy. :)
However:
"There are major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed democracies. These include greater power in the upper house of the legislature, a wider scope of power held by the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive, and the dominance of only two main parties. Third parties have less political influence in the United States than in other developed country democracies."
 
+Jacob Moen hmm thats true to an extent...but as of now being a responsible citizen I think of ways to curb it than thinking of the reasons behind it....there are many youth who are sincerely working on it...thats a positive sign...
Sha Man
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Mr G. sorry to have turned your sincere optimism into a political debate, not my intention. At the end of the day, God bless for all your efforts and will retain you in my tech circle until you completely disconnect my privilege, it is your property, hardware and software, I understand. I also encourage to go a little against the grain of political/corporate philosophy there at Google and see what happens! 
 
Since +Vic Gundotra 's post mentions democracy, I'm only going to comment on that and not on the cultures and heritages on any nation. When it comes to democracy, the major difference that I feel in India and the USA is that an American actually gets to experience Democracy whereas in India, Democracy is just a definition in the Civics textbook which is taught to the children in schools.

In the USA, when a citizen votes for a political group, he/she knows the agenda of that political group and is informed of the consequences if that group gets to lead the nation. But in India, there is no such guarantee. There are so many political parties in India and it almost always happens that a group of political parties form a coalition to form the government. This means that if I vote for a group which I believe in against another group whose policies are against the development of the country, it might happen eventually that both these groups can form a government together to lead the country to its doom.
 
+Faheem Mohammad Same here in Russia... Nowadays even so-called Democrats and so-called Communists (and Liberal party, and socialists) are virtually the same... They may differ in their agendas, but in action they "cooperate" towards corruption...
 
+Илья Найдов Exactly my point. Ultimately, this has become a struggle for power rather than struggle for development. Obviously, the opportunities would grow in a country where there is a scope for development and people care for innovation.
 
+Faheem Mohammad Exactly... As long as this country has enough deposits of oil and gas, there will be no "scope for development"... Then, as soon as oil and gas depletes and energy crisis arise, any development would be very hard if not impossible... Circulus vitiosus...
Sha Man
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Being proud of your country would also mean you hold it up to a higher standard, its only my opinion.
 
Thank you for being a proud American. There's a lot of people that take our freedom for granted. 
 
Interestingly, I think the same is true of education, without which democracy could be in trouble.
 
+Vic Gundotra I love when you engage in the comments!! Will you talk about why your family immigrated? Also, I love how humble and appreciative you are of America! Do you feel any obligation or want to create jobs in the U.S. over other nations (india,etc)? Thanks for engaging. 
 
So much for the canard that senior Google people don't engage on Google+. Thanks for the good example of what engagement actually means +Vic Gundotra Even to enagaging with off-topic comments!
 
Democracy only pre-dates the USA by about 2 milleniums and a half. But by all means let's propagate this narrative that allows for such a vibrant military industrial complex.
 
Thank you for your POV.My case is similar to yours in some points, I think my son and my daughter are lucky to be born in Paris, France- an amazing and welcoming country like USA. 
 
The difference here in the US is our politicians and lobbyists have taken corruption and ingrained it so deeply into our system that successful high level individuals like Vic either fail to see it, or don't want to see it -- the lowly bridge operator he mentioned would be arrested here, yet it's the politician with real power that's taking kick-backs from lobbyists and getting away with it free and clean.

It's not a debate to say that corruption is worse in other countries. That's a given. The point is to recognize our own problems and fix them, not to keep pretending we are somehow superior to the rest of the planet.
 
Wait a minute..
The US is not perfect, but that doesn't mean that one can't express gratefulness for living in it? :)
 
Democracy is just mob rule. That's why our founding fathers didn't make a democracy and why there isn't a single reference to it in the founding charters.
 
+Vic Gundotra This is called the ultimate social network. Going offbeat few times with discussions on Guns and American living :) I truly hope my children do not complain for not immigrating to US. Do you see a way immigrants can make sure their motherland values and culture can be passed on to the next generation? Wouldn't that be a great mix values+opportunities ?
 
Yes United States is a great country.It is a great honor to be citizen of this country.It is a great Indian tradition to show total allegiance to the country of adoption.Yes you need to be grateful to the country that has provided you a means of living.

I recently heard Sunita Williams making similar statement.

By doing this, you have made the Indians back home proud of India and its culture. We are eagerly waiting for the day when United States will have Indian origin president. +Vic Gundotra , keep the good working going

Shyam
 
One can argue that the US is a republic, however, you fail to grasp what +Vic Gundotra is attempting to convey. The word democracy carries a double meaning: A form of gov't vs a type of gov't. In this case, and I may be mistaken, focus should be set on the type. Nonetheless, I would venture to say that the US is a democratic republic.
 
I love the block feature, being it an individual option. It avoids conflicts. I wish there was this option in Orkut, but it's ignore function does not hide posts of the person you ignored on the communities , leading to conflicts between the participants.
 
I never cared for people referring to america as a democracy.
We are much more of a republic then we are a democracy.
 
As someone born in India, and who has been in the US for the last few years, I almost feel your exactly like you do +Vic Gundotra . Life's a lot better and the chance of success is lot better in the US.
 
+Vic Gundotra  and yet we dont have Google Maps Navigation available in India. Its got support for India built right into the application but has been restricted for India and some other countries.
 
Guess this goes a long way to explain why Google do so many US-only things, which is also the most likely reason why a lot of it's products don't achieve global traction and scale in the way it's competitors do, and why it's likely to have to live off Adwords revenue until it wakes up to the fact the US isn't the center of the world.
 
I agree with what +Vic Gundotra has to say about how welcoming America is and the opportunities that it provides to anyone. I also get the argument of how anyone would want the best for their family.

But sometimes I wonder, what people like you with your influence and power, people like Sundar Pichai, Nieksh Arora, Amit Singhal etc can do for the country of your birth. I am an Indian and I will be the first one to say that there's so much corruption here that it's understandable when a lot of talent leaves the country. There is also not as many opportunities.

But I sincerely hope that one day these talents do something absolutely wonderful for our country.

Maybe you can pioneer setting up of opportunities in India or other countries. Maybe 20 years down the line, someone's going to say, if Vic hadn't returned to his country, I would have never had the opportunity to work for him

I don't mean any disrespect in any way. I have complete respect for what you have achieved :)

Onwards!
 
+Vic Gundotra as a natural born citizen I have nothing but love for this country, however it has been my recent conversations with immigrants from all over (Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, etc) that has truly stoked the flames. I grew up here and had no idea how much I was able to take for granted. I am fascinated and inspired by the opportunity in the eyes of all of these people. They love their homeland but recognize there just aren't many other places like this they can go. I hear you many citizens do nothing but complain, sure we need some work but it is still better than most if not all alternatives. what a great land of opportunity we have here!!!
 
Here is a father expressing his gratitude that his children are to be born as Americans.
I find it amusing that you guys interpret the heck out of this. :p

And also that you argue the fact that the US is a democracy, because it is widely regarded as one, although it is different from other western democracies.

Wonderful as India is, the United States of America does open a whole new level of opportunities. ;)
 
I was born in India, used to live in US but moved to Canada, started family there. I feel like coming back to silicon valley, but i think about safety first - amid recent mass shootings and senseless gun culture in America.
 
Land of opportunities is bound to attract opportunistic people. :)
 
There cannot be perfect democracy, because if done so, its the end. There is always a bit of monarchism in the democracy too.
 
+Vic Gundotra The people you mentioned are not only great, they almost created the IT industry. Their being American is just incidental. They would have been  still great, if they were born in some other country.It is their deeds and not the country of origin that has made them great.

I have worked for Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.Niether me nor Dr. Kalam have ever worked for or in America.All the people you mentioned hold Dr. Kalam in high esteem specially Bill Gates.

I am very proud of being born,grown up, and worked in India, Otherwise I wouldn't have ever got a chance to work for the great man. Dr. Abdul Kalam

Conclusion. you don't need to be an American or be in America to work for great people.

Great people exist everywhere. U Thant,  the most successful UN Secretary General hailed from a very small country Burma (Now Myanmar)

+Vic Gundotra 
Thinking needs to change at your end please.

Shyam
 
I'll remain skeptical of this until citizens united is repealed. "Ordinary people" don't mean much in the world of special interest, super pacs and corporate meddling
 
Democracy is based on the assumption that the noise is not correlated.

-kb
 
+Vic Gundotra Vic,there may be very few country without flawed  systems,but i really wonder what made you call your children as unfortunates...in India there are number of  thousands of children who been called as unfortunates with democracy leaving 400lakh crore rupees in swiss accounts with shades of great culture and heritage...i amnot  blaming or criticising anyone as I being one among this nation,but I only worried....
 
All the talk about multi-culturalism is fine but please resist from the american jingoism. Last I checked America was the country responsible for a sorry state of affairs in the world today. Also all this talk about America's support for a better and equal world is hogwash (technical term: BULLSHIT). Here is a country which cries itself hoarse for the rights of Syrians but counts Saudi Arabia as one its allies :).  Even internally - right to bear arms ?  Hmm guess not every kid has been "fortunate" - surely not the ones who ended up being on the wrong end of the barrel .

There are certainly fortunate kids - fortunate just by virtue of being born in a country - but that country is not US. Switzerland maybe :)
 
"I love the country of my birth. But it is unlikely that I would have ever had the chance to work for Bill Gates, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin or worked with Steve Jobs" - You echoed my thoughts, +Vic Gundotra.

I live in India and am proud of it, but being a web geek I feel stagnated here. It would be a dream come true to meet you, Larry, Sergey and Eric! #sigh  

Hope we meet someday - perhaps over lunch in Googleplex. :-) 
 
You live in a country for quiet a number of years .. you are bound to like it. Thats my experience. I'm an Indian and off late my country hasn't given me any good reason to be happy about it except that I'm allowed to live here. As for a chance to work with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Larry Page -- I am sure that is not going to happen as long as I live in India. I would count on my stars if own a car in the future because you get paid less and there isn't any real chance that you may get recognized for you abilities in a crowd . It may be corrupt to the core, may be the filthiest place in the world when compared to the US. 

All that considered, you ask me where do you want to spend your last days? I would say... not just last days I would like to live a decade in India before I'm gone. 
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