Peter Griffin
Peter Griffin
Always a student.

Forbes India’s annual 30 Under 30 list is one of our more popular properties, and one that the entire team has a lot of fun putting together. The drive, brilliance and enthusiasm of the young people we meet and chat with when we’re making the list is very energising.

Since we began the list, our research has been supplemented by submissions and nominations from exceptional professional and the people who mentor and support them or are simply their fans.

So, here we go. If you fit the bill, or know someone who does, please fill in one of the forms below. The last date on which we’re accepting submissions or nominations is the midnight of Thursday, 10th December 2015.

Mary Meeker

Mary Meeker

As we pointed out last year, Mary Meeker is an Internet oracle those in the business take seriously.

Her 2015 report is out. You can and should read it [PDF also available at that link]. It is, though, 197-slides-long, so in case you’re pressed for time, here are a few points from it that caught my attention.

Meeker starts by looking back over the last 20 years.

• 1995 saw global Internet penetration 35 million users, around 0.6% of the population. In 2015, 39% of us are online, around 2.8 billion.

On to today’s world:

• 51% of today’s Internet users are from Asia (with China at 23%), 19% from Europe, 10% from the USA, and 21% from the rest of the world.

• In 1995, 1% of the world (80 million people) used mobile phones. Today, 73% (5.2 billion) of us do. And 40% of that number use smartphones.

• Both Internet usage and smartphone subscriptions continue to grow, but the rate of growth has been slowing down. (India has been doing more than fine, with 33% more internet users and 55% more smartphone subscriptions in 2014.)

• Of the top 15 publicly listed global public internet companies of 1995, only one is still on the list in 2015: Apple, which was #2 then and is #1 now.

• Apple stays at the top of the chart of publicly listed global internet market leaders, with a market value (22 May 2015) of $764 billion and revenues of $199,800 million. Google is #2 ($373 b). China breaks in at #3: Alibaba is valued at $233 b. Facebook ($226 b) and Amazon ($199 b) round off the top five. The market, value of the top 20 companies is $2,1513 b.

• 11 of the top 20 are US companies. China has 6, Japan 2 and Korea 1. No Indian companies in the top 20.

• Print advertising in the USA is way over-indexed (18% of US ad spend, but only 4% of time spent in media. Radio and TV are about par spend vs time. Internet ad spend is 23%, but time spent is 24%. And mobile offers huge opportunity: just 8% of spend but 24% of time spent. Meeker sees this as a $25 billion opportunity. [Food for thought for us in India.]

• Things that both brands and consumers should be excited about: Ad formats and ‘buy’ buttons optimised for mobile. Notably, content spent on vertically-oriented screens as on mobiles, is now a healthy 29% of total time spent viewing screens of any kind.

• Rather than reimagining the enterprise, entrepreneurs are changing segments of business processes. For instance: communications (Slack), payments, both offline (Square) and online (Stripe), analytics, customer communication and service, HR processes, and so on.

• Messaging is seeing a lot of change, improvements and growth, with multiple platforms seeing rapid growth. Aside from the ones we in India experience — Whatsapp, Snapchat — apps that cater to single geographies, like WeChat (China), Line (Japan) and Kakao Talk (Korea), are not just pulling in large user bases, they’re also earning revenue in the high nine-figure range. These earnings come from the apps offering paid services, as well as being hubs for services like taxis and food delivery. Global mobile messaging leaders are following this example now, and if the trend holds, Meeker sees some of these leaders evolving into central communications hubs.

• The next chunk of new internet users are likely to be feature-phone users currently, and are likely to first get online via messaging platforms.

• Content is increasingly user-generated or user-curated. Pinterest, Snapchat, Facebook video, audio on Soundcloud, text on Wattpad, reviews, even content like streamed live gaming, are growing at double-digit rates.

• Users are increasingly the first source for news.

• With young Americans (12 – 24), the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ is declining dramatically. What’s growing? Visual-oriented networking via Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and the like. Millenials love their smartphones and 44% use the camera or video functions daily.

• Just-in-time services enabled by mobiles with sensors — driving directions, breaking news, emergency services, etc — are big drivers of mobile usage.

• The USA is seeing a lot of innovation in high-spend categories like housing, transport and food.

• Consumers are buying lots of drones! Some countries are opening up this market.

• Cyber attacks are growing in size, complexity, and risk.
Meeker’s section on the changing US work environment, with emphasis on the Millennials, and how they differ from Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers, studies a scenario significantly different from India’s reality, but do read those. Slides 91 to 148.

China and India

• China is the largest Internet market in the world, with 629 million users by the end of 2014, and ranked second in new user additions: 31 million in the same period.

• India, with 232 million users, is the third-largest market, and top in new user additions, with 63 million new users (up 37% YoY).

• Mobile accounts for 65% of India’s Internet traffic, a percentage only exceeded by Nigeria (76%). Mobile also accounts for 41% of our ecommerce, ahead of every other country.

• Digital innovation in China is rapid. Social commerce is building community and revenue.

• Lots of industry consolidation in China.

• China’s ‘Internet of Things’ is doing very well indeed.

• India is often #1 or #2 market for the Internet majors. We’re Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s second-largest market, WhatsApps’ largest, Twitter’s fastest-growing, and 7% of YouTube’s users are from India.

• Top Android apps for India in Jan-Mar 2015 were WhatsApp, Facebook, MX Player, Messenger (Facebook), and Truecaller. The first desi entrants on the list were Hike Messenger at #7 and Cricbuzz at #10. (This ranking excluded commonly pre-installed apps, including Google’s apps.)

• The slide that should have Indian Internet entrepreneurs salivating? This one, slide 165.
01 - India at inflection point

Which companies are going to be India’s catalyst companies? Will it be like China, with home-grown heroes like Flipkart taking on the mantle? Could a Hike Messenger ascend to this category? Are there other credible contenders? Or will global majors like Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook be able to use their weight to push India past the tipping point?

Here’s the full Internet Trends 2015 slide-show.

Correction: This post originally referred to one of Ms Meeker’s slides about mobile wallet usage in India, with Mobikwik’s market share being shown as below 10%. Mobikwik’s representative contacted us to point out that this was inaccurate, that the source of the data was Paytm, a mobile wallet provider itself, and that KPCB had been informed of this and KPCB had removed the slide from the online deck. We have removed that point from this post.

thirty_under_thirtyEarly this year, we released our first 30 under 30 list. We had a great time researching it, meeting and talking to wildly talented young people across various fields. And a lot of them came to us via a web call we put out on our blog; people who we might not have heard about otherwise.

So, for our 2014 list, which we will release in early 2015, we’re repeating that experiment, and inviting successful young Indians to nominate themselves, or for any of you to nominate young Indians you know of.

We urge you to take a look at the previous list, especially the methodology.

We’ll keep these forms open for submission until at least the 20th December 2014 (we may extend that deadline, but please don’t count on it.

Do please also pass this URL around to your friends and your social media audience. We’re looking forward to another round of meeting the brightest young minds in India!

This form is for successful young Indian entrepreneurs (or go here if the embedded form below does not load.

And this form is for young Indian achievers in various fields who haven’t started businesses or organisations (or go here if the embedded form below does not load).

Our article on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2014 looked briefly at India’s position. There’s a lot more, of course, and below, we have a few more details on how India fared against the rest of the word on the individual counts that the report covered.

The names of the best performing countries in each category are in green, and the worst performers are in red. India, unless best or worst itself, is in black text.

Economic Participation & Opportunity


Labour force participation F M F:M ratio Rank
Malawi 85 81 1.05 1
India 30 84 0.36 130
Syria 14 76 0.19 142


Wage equality Survey data F:M ratio Rank
Burundi 5.81 0.83 1
India 3.9 0.56 109
Angola 2.83 0.4 131


Estimated earned income F M F:M ratio Rank
Denmark 43,316 42,226 1.03 1
India 1,980 8,087 0.24 135
Algeria 3,669 22,127 0.17 139


Legislators, senior officials & managers F M F:M ratio Rank
Jamaica 59 41 1.46 1
Yemen 2 98 0.02 125


Professional & technical workers F M F:M ratio Rank
Belarus 73 27 2.66 1
Fiji 9 91 0.1 124


Educational Attainment


Literacy rate F M F:M ratio Rank
Lesotho 85 66 1.3 1
India 51 75 0.68 126
Guinea 12 37 0.33 141


Enrolment in primary education F M F:M ratio Rank
Guyana 76 67 1.13 1
India 84 87 0.97 117
Angola 74 97 0.77 137


Enrolment in secondary education F M F:M ratio Rank
Lesotho 41 26 1.57 1
India 0.79 116
Chad 5 16 0.33 125


Enrolment in tertiary education F M F:M ratio Rank
Qatar 37 5 6.76 1
India 20 26 0.78 111
Chad 1 4 0.24 138


Health & Survival


Sex ratio at birth Male Female Rank
Kazakhstan 0.94 1.06 1
India 1.12 0.89 139
Vietnam 1.12 0.89 139
Armenia 1.14 0.88 142


Healthy life expectancy F M F:M ratio Rank
Syria 65 55 1.18 1
India 58 56 1.04 95
Qatar 66 68 0.97 142


Political Empowerment


Women in parliament F M F:M ratio Rank
Rwanda 64 36 1.76 1
India 11 89 0.13 111
Yemen 0 100 0 136
Qatar 0 100 0 137


Women in ministerial positions F M F:M ratio Rank
Nicaragua 57 43 1.33 1
India 9 91 0.1 107
Brunei Darussalam 0 100 0 138
Lebanon 0 100 0 138
Pakistan 0 100 0 138
Saudi Arabia 0 100 0 138


Years with female head of state F M F:M ratio Rank
India *21 29 0.72 1
Ireland 21 29 0.71 2
Bangladesh 21 29 0.7 3
Only 49 other countries, of 144, have had a woman head of state in the last 50 years.
*WEF has included both Indira Gandhi’s years as Prime Minister and Pratibha Patil’s year’s as President to arrive at this figure. In reply to our email pointing out that head of state and head of government are separate entities in India, a WEF spokesperson replied:

The abbreviation “female head of state” is used to describe an elected female head of state or head of government as per the Report notes. While the head of state position may be ceremonial in function, based on an extensive literature review when developing the index methodology, we decided to count such roles when based on a democratic process, in order to take into account the “role model effect”. An example similar to India would be Ireland.


The full Global Gender Gap Report 2104 can be downloaded here.

The Symphony Orchestra of India in rehearsal [Prasad Gori for Forbes India]

The Symphony Orchestra of India in rehearsal [Prasad Gori for Forbes India]

Earlier this month, my colleague Kathakali Chanda and I were waiting to chat with Zane Dalal, the resident conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of India. While we waited, we had our pick of seats in the NCPA’s Jamshed Bhabha Auditorium, and got to listen, and watch, the SOI run through its first rehearsal of the season.

The orchestra is a sea of wild colour, very different from the sober black and white that one associates with its stage performances. Among the varicoloured slacks and T-shirts and bright tops and sports shoes and flip-flops, one pair of brightly-patterned Bermudas stands out. But even it fades in comparison to the bright pink sunburn on one of the cellists. Back to us, however, is one figure all in black.

Dalal is soft, polite in his instructions, but evidently in command. Every little while he reaches behind him for a towel to mop his profusely sweating face.

Several hours later, rehearsal done, he takes a small breather before joining me to chat. His face is drawn, his close-cropped thinning hair is plastered to his skull. He sits down, and admits to feeling faint. I’m concerned: does he need some water, some heavily-sugared coffee? I commandeer a bottle of water from a passing violinist, and he accepts it, swallows a few mouthfuls, rejects my offer to do the interview another day, and insists we talk right away. (Later, he says that he’s still a little jet-lagged, having flown in from Los Angeles two days ago, and, um, he hadn’t eaten anything since the previous night. This was at 3pm. Then we chatted for an hour. After which he patiently stood for a few portraits. Then, finally, he went off to get something to eat.)

During the course of a long conversation, we dwelt for a short awhile on the one thing that seems to come up with metronomic regularity in every conversation about symphonies in India: the audience clapping between movements.
Symphonies are longer pieces of music, with distinct ‘movements’ which explore aspects of the music and its moods. And the convention is that one does not clap between movements. Of course, to differentiate between the end of a piece and the silent space between movements, one would need to know the piece in the first place. Which is not necessarily the case for audiences in India. Then there’s the additional ‘handicap’ of our audiences being more attuned to the decorum of Indian classical music, where it is quite customary—indeed, it indicates that you’re a connoisseur—to express approval of a particularly skilled rendition of a passage immediately, not waiting for the end.

Western classical music’s staunchest aficionados tend to be a prickly lot, and audience members applauding at the wrong time could get some very stern looks from the purists. Some are irate enough to have told Dalal that he should do something about it. You know, get up there and tell people not to clap!

He is quite certain that that is something he will never do.

Zane Dalal, Conductor-In-Residence, Symphony Orchestra of India [Prasad Gori for Forbes India]

Zane Dalal, Conductor-In-Residence, Symphony Orchestra of India [Prasad Gori for Forbes India]

“They’ve paid money and come here. You don’t make them feel bad because they sitting next to some stuffy person saying They clapped between movements! How dare they!

“It’s an experience. They’ve given their money, they should enjoy it. Next time around, or the next time, or the next time, maybe at some dinner, someone will say, you know, I heard that you’re not supposed to clap. And then it’s done. I don’t have to sit there and tell them. Some people said, there should be a green light and a red light. I was like, that can’t be right, I’ve certainly never seen that in any professional set up internationally. Perhaps in the taping of a soap opera, but not in a concert hall!

“Sometimes people can be short-sighted about the process of bringing people in to our audiences and growing our audience base. They should look to the potential of why they’re there. Not the rules of the people who set up 20th century European concert etiquette. There was a good deal of interaction with the audience in the 19th and 18th century, especially in opera…and it served us well, with all its shouting, heckling and smelling salts.”

And it’s not that Dalal thinks there should be clapping between movements.

“We can talk about that, discuss it. You can say, Actually, I like that. When I’m sitting at an Indian music concert, the connection between me and the player, the Arrey Waah! is crucial to the interaction. Just like the when there’s jazz going on and there’s a riff with a fantastic saxophone player or there’s a great drum solo. When I’ve paid my money, why can’t I be connected to all these people? I’m just enjoying the music the way I’ve always enjoyed it and I’m Indian and this is what we do.

“And you have to explain, nahi bhai, there is a sacrosanct silence to the music.

“You can explain it in different ways. I’ve tried. It goes something like this.

What we do up there is very simple. You have the Mona Lisa; you know everything you need to know about it: it’s on wood, not canvas, all the dyes are hand-rubbed from plants, there’s this fantastic sense of perspective behind the shoulders, there’s that translucence of the dress she’s wearing, the folded hands, the enigmatic smile, no eyebrows… whatever you decide is in that picture.

Then, this is what we do. The masterwork is our book, the composition. What we do is we’re master painters.

There is the Mona Lisa, on the left-hand side of the stage, and in two hours, we will recreate it.

We will repaint the Mona Lisa. We will not make any mistakes, we will do it from start to finish, in a moment in time. And you will have understood that it was made on wood, with natural dyes, and we will try and get the translucence, and we’ll try and get all the things that the composer asks us to do, and we will go after this for two hours, all of us, in silence, just create that masterpiece again. We paint in sound. So your coughing or clapping is like throwing paint up on our canvas, while we’re trying to do it without any mistakes.

“Now if you explain that to someone, they’re going to sit on their hands. You have to explain that this is a sonic painting, and it has to take place in the terms that we’ve set up. So any sound, whether it’s unwarranted from the stage or the audience, is like someone taking a bright colour and throwing it on to the canvas while we’re trying to create our Mona Lisa, our sonic painting that starts in a moment and drifts into silence at the other end. Or as we like to say, is ‘brought down and then sent back up.’ Why should you have any human interaction to screw around with it?

“We paint in time, and if that’s not precious enough: we’re in this Swarovski crystal box, which you can look at but not touch… you have to explain that. It’s not that people can’t understand it.”

“I can understand all the reasons why they feel they can and should have this connection with the stage. And sometimes I think we are too stuffy. Maybe we should have a connection between stage and audience. There’s some pieces you can, some you can’t.

“But people shouldn’t expect me to go up there and tell them not to do this, that, the other… that’s not my style,.

“Having said that, if one does come out on stage and restrain the audience by telling them how many movements there are in a certain piece, one will get a clap free concert, but not a silent one…people are still coughing, clearing throats, looking for keys, doing their usual thing,… and, yes, sometimes chatting. They are restrained from clapping for the wrong reasons.

“Also, I’m sure people don’t know that there are times that it is permissible to clap between movements. For example if the orchestra has turned out a really virtuosic performance of the scherzo of Schumann Symphony No. 2, one should recognize the sheer prowess with applause, and people do so, the whole world over.”

On another note, Dalal was bemused by some reactions to the SOI’s recording of India’s national anthem.

“I had someone tell me that it was sacrilege that in [our recording of] the national anthem, the cellos didn’t stand up. Scandalous!

Arrey bhai, that’s how they play! You don’t stand! Every national anthem everywhere in the world, the cellos are sitting because you sit to play the instrument! You have to. It’s like saying play the national anthem on the sitar, and stand playing it; is that possible? But no, no, no! They had to tell me!”

TLD indicFor the absolute beginner, some background first. Please note that these are simplified, and in some cases, simplistic explanations, meant to give you an overview, not a deep technical understanding.

• Every computer connected to the Internet—in fact every device connected to the Internet, including your smartphone, or your smart refrigerator—has a unique address, an IP or Internet Protocol address. This is a number, something like this: 1234.5.67.890 Computers and smart devices are comfortable with dealing with and remembering long strings of numbers, but we human beings aren’t that good at it. So, over those numbers, there is a layer of URLs, Uniform Resource Locators, based on domain names, like, that humans find easier to remember. The last part of the address, the .com, is the top level domain (TLD).

• Databases of existing TLDs and the IP addresses that they point to them are stored at Domain Name System (DNS) root servers. When you type in a domain name, what you’re doing is asking the Internet to find a particular computer. Your ‘request’ is processed right to left: first the TLD, like .com, then the second level, like forbesindia, then the third, like www or any other dub-domain, and a web site pops up on your screen. On any decent internet connection, this happens almost instantly; on a slower connection, your browser’s status bar will show you where you are in this name resolving process.

(Irrelevant and possibly useless to know: A web site doesn’t have to be hosted on a commercial server farm. You can buy a domain name and point it to any IP number. Yes, your phone or your smart fridge included. But if you intend that your site be easily and reliably available to large numbers of people, it might be best to find solutions that are always on, and have fat pipes connecting to them to the Internet. Like commercial server farms.)

• In the early days of the Web, there were just a few TLDs meant for specific types of organisations, .com, .net and .org—COMmercial, NETwork infrastructures, and ORGanisations not falling within other TLDs—but they have since become unrestricted and are referred to as generic TLDs (gTLDs). There were others, like .gov (for government) .mil (military), .edu (educational institutions) which had and still have restrictions on who can apply for and own them.

• Another slice of TLDs are the two-letter ccTLDs, the country codes, like India’s .in. Every country in the world, plus some dominions and territories, have them: around 250 exist, from .ac (Ascension Island) to .zw (Zimbabwe). Some of these are tightly controlled by their countries; others which have fortuitous two-letter combinations have been exploited—sometimes even sub-contracted out to commercial registrars and sellers—with domain names available to anyone, like Colombia’s .co, attractive to corporations, Montenegro’s .me, Tonga’s .to and Tuvalu’s .tv. (India’s .in is partially restricted, and in this writer’s opinion, underexploited.)

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit that is the Internet’s primary governing body) introduced a few more internationalised (or available to any first bidder, within each category, anywhere) TLDs in 2004: .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name and .pro. The results were mixed.

• Of the 750 million to over a billion web sites online at the moment (depending on whom you ask), the biggest chunk of these (over half, according to this source) end in .com, and they continue to be the TLD most in demand.

• Fun fact: No one can tell you exactly how many web pages exist at any point in time. For one, much content is dynamically generated from databases, like in your web-based email, for instance. And then there’s the Deep Web.

• Other early gTLDs like .net and .org have sizeable shares of what’s left of the TLD pie. Russia’s .ru also plays in this league (in fact it has a share slightly higher than that of .org). .de, .uk, .jp, .br, .pl, .cn, .fr, .it and .in all hover between 1% and 4%. All the many other TLDs have even lower numbers, with a large number of them less than even 0.1%. Clearly, a .com site is still what most seem to want.

• But while the number of permutations possible with just Roman letters and numbers is astronomical, finding that one .com name that is unique, relevant to you and your needs, and memorable isn’t easy. If you’ve tried querying a whois service like the one run by Internic (or uwhois for ccTLDs), you’ll know that all the good names are taken. A huge number of existing domain names are speculative buys, people hoping to get rich by squatting on a domain someone wants or will want. Others are bought as protective measures, like similar names to that of a big brand, which redirect to a mother site.

• To get around both, the difficulties finding that perfect .com name and the fact that for much of the world, Roman letters are, well, Greek, there have been frequent demands and requests for more TLDs, including those in scripts other than Roman. By 2007, ICANN had a set of policies in place on how new TLDs could be brought in. These were further debated by the international community. In 2011, ICANN announced that it would be opening up applications for anyone wanting to sponsor new TLDs. The process was detailed, and involved no little expense from applicants. You can view the applicant guidebook here (PDF, 5.8 MB).

• Complex and demanding as it was, when ICANN opened up for applications for a few months in 2012, it got 1930 of them (and $357 million in revenue). Of these, 373 have already been introduced into the Internet, and another 1321 are in some stage of being processed.

The India link

• The National Internet eXchange of India (NIXI) controls the .in ccTLD, and has oversight over that TLD. The only exceptions are these reserved second-level domains, which are available only to Indian organisations in India that qualify: (academic), (research institutes), (colleges and universities) for which you have to go to ERNET’s registry, and the government-controlled and (for Indias armed forces) which are controlled exclusively by the National Informatics Centre’s (NIC) registry.

• You, I, or anyone or any organisation in the world with disposable income can buy domains ending in .in (or the second-level names,,,, and (for individuals)) from INRegistry’s accredited registrars. NIXI charges its registrars an annual fee of ₹350 for a domain and ₹250 for a third level domain, but leaves it to them to decide what price to offer them to the public.

• On 25th January, 2011, under ICANN’s fast-tracking system for new internationalised domain names NIXI’s proposal asking ICANN to delegate to it seven new TLDs representing India in various languages was approved. These are .भारत, .ভারত, .భారత్, .ભારત, .بھارت, .ਭਾਰਤ, and .இந்தியா, all variations of ‘bharat’ in Indic scripts.

• Why it’s taken three-and-a-half years to make them available to the public is something only NIXI can tell us.

Further reading and references
• The Internet Society’s pages on the basics of the Internet
• The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority’s (IANA) Root Zone Database (all the TLDs available, listed with their ‘sponsoring organisations’).
ICANN’s New gTLDs statistics, timeline, the status of all the applications and the Frequently-Asked Questions page.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., a world title holder in five boxing weight divisions, and undefeated as a professional, is the world's highest-paid sportsperson for the period 1 June 2013 – 1 June 2014. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Floyd Mayweather Jr., a world title holder in five boxing weight divisions, and undefeated as a professional, is the world’s highest-paid sportsperson for the period 1 June 2013 – 1 June 2014. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

The Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid sportspersons was released last month. Tiger Woods, last year’s top earner, had been dethroned, and the American boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, with USD 105 million in earnings had taken his place. (He became the second sports star, after Woods, to make more than a million in a year. Interestingly, all of that was in prize money; Mayweather has no endorsement deals.)

Following him were Cristiano Ronaldo (USD 80m), LeBron James (72.3m), Lionel Messi (64.7m), Kobe Bryant (61.5m), Tiger Woods (61.2m), Roger Federer (56.2m), Phil Mickelson (53.2m), Rafael Nadal (44.5m) and rounding off the top ten, Matt Ryan(43.8m). Messi, Nadal and Ryan are new entrants to the top 10, displacing Drew Breese, Aaron Rodgers, and the now-retired David Beckham.

India’s sole representative on the list was MS Dhoni, dropping from #16 last year to 22 this year, with roughly the same income, 30m. Sachin Tendulkar, who was on the list last year, drops out this year since he has now retired (but more about him below).

The highest-ranking woman was Maria Sharapova, but dropping from 22 last year to #34 this year. Overall, gender was as skewed as ever, with the same three women on the list, all tennis players: Sharapova, Li Na (#41), Serena Williams (#55).

On salary and prize money alone, the top 10 were: Mayweather (105m), Ronaldo (52m), Ryan (42m), Messi (41.7m), Manny Pacquiao (41m), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (36.4m), Radamel Falcao (32.4m), Matthew Stafford (31.5m), Bryant (30.5m), and Fernando Alonso (29m).

Lowest on that count, from the bottom, were Usain Bolt (0.2m), Sharapova (2.4m), Dhoni (4m), Federer (4.2m), Rory McIlroy (4.3m), Mickelson (5.2m), Li Na (5.6m), Woods (6.2m), Adam Scott (8.7m), and Brees (10m).

Some of those low earners wouldn’t be too upset, though. They wind up in the top 10 for endorsements: Woods (55m), James (53m), Federer (52m), Mickelson (48m), Bryant (31m), Nadal (30m), Ronaldo (28m), Dhoni (26m), Messi (23m), and Bolt (23m). (Sharapova comes in at 11, with 22m).

Mayweather’s earnings outside the ring couldn’t get lower. He made nothing from endorsements. Keeping him company, with not even a million dollars of off-field earnings between the lot of them: Branden Albert (.04m), Alfonso Soriano (.05m), Carlos Dunlap (.05m), Geno Atkins (.05m), Zack Greinke (.05m), Jairus Byrd (.1m), Barry Zito (.1m), Vernon Wells (.1m), and Joe Haden (.15m).

Predictably, the US dominated, with 62 US citizens on the list. Next was the UK, with five, Dominican Republic and Spain (four each), Germany and Venezuela (three each), Argentina (two) and, with one each, Australia, Brazil, China, Cote d’Ivoire, France, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Another ten non-US citizens from that list earn their living in the US, plus there are quite a few others who play sports highly popular in the US.

Baseball’s stars took 27 spots, basketball players 19, and American football players 18. Football the way most of the rest of the world plays has 14 on the list. Motor sports has six, three from Formula 1, and three from US-style racing. The rest: tennis (six), golf (five), boxing (four), and one spot each for athletics and cricket. No prizes for guessing that that means Usain Bolt and MS Dhoni.

Age-wise, footballer Neymar is the youngest, at 22; boxer Canelo Alvarez (23) and footballer Gareth Bale (24) are the two others under 25. 35 of the 100 are under 30.

Three are 40 and over: baseballer Derek Jeter (40), US auto racer Jeff Gordon (42) and golfer Mickelson (44).

Here’s the top 100 list.

Sachin Tendulkar may have dropped out of the list of active sports stars, but he, like David Beckham (who also retired from his sport), got instant entry onto another list: the best-paid retired athletes. They’re doing very well indeed, for gentlemen of leisure, with Beckham raking in 37m and Tendulkar 13m.

Most long-lived by one count would be Pele, who, despite having retired in 1977, still made 15m last year. Golfer Arnold Palmer, at 84, the oldest on the list, made 40m. Standing tall above them all, however, is basketball legend Michael Jordan, who 11 years after retiring, made 90m last year. I.e., more than any active sportsperson except for Mayweather.

Here’s the list.

Also on

Maria Sharapova, Sachin Tendulkar (Reuters)
Last week saw much indignation from Tendulkar ‘fans’ because Maria Sharapova, in an interview, admitted to not knowing who the cricket legend was. Sharapova’s Facebook page was attacked, and enough Tweets to sink an armada were launched. Who the #### was she? What had she achieved that could compare with Tendulkar’s sacred divinity? How could she not know who SRT was? Dammit, there he is in the Royal Box! Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

Take a breath. Pause. Sit down. Put down that smartphone.

Ask yourself, can you blame Sharapova? That young woman plays at the top, or near enough, of her sport, which, as anyone who has played any sport with any degree of perseverance knows, takes a lot of gruelling, concentrated effort and eats up a large slice of one’s time. So she, perhaps, isn’t the best-informed sports star around; everyone can’t be Rahul Dravid. And she’s not alone. You know Virendra Sehwag, right? Arguably the most explosive batsman Indian cricket has ever seen. Who’s got a few achievements under his belt that even SRT didn’t crack, like two Test triple-centuries, including the fastest ever, the highest ODI score, the fastest ODI century by an Indian. A friend on Facebook reminded me that that Sehwag, an Indian, a cricketer, an outstanding Indian cricketer, didn’t know who Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy were.

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

Anyway, if achievement in one’s own sport is what earns one the right to confess ignorance of another sportsperson, Sharapova isn’t a ‘Greatest Of All Time’ candidate mentioned in the same breath as Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King or Steffi Graf just yet, but she’s got some solid credentials. She’s been world Number One, and she’s got a career Grand Slam behind her, which is nothing to sneeze at. And she’s doing quite well on the earnings and world fame fronts, thank you very much. And yes, she has a few years left in the sport for sure, injuries permitting, so she can aspire to GOAT status.

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

Sachin Tendulkar certainly has a very special place in our cricket-loving hearts. And the debates about whether he or Donald Bradman was the GOAT will, no doubt, continue long and fervently. But, because the little big man played a sport only a handful of countries play with any degree of seriousness (and one practically unknown in the world’s biggest market for sports, the USA, and one that’s played in only a few of the countries that play the world’s most popular sport, football), as much as we idolise him, we cannot realistically expect him to be a household name outside the cricket-speaking world.

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

Look at the other side of the coin. We in India are as ignorant of many other sports as this Russian in America is about our world. Could the average Indian sports fan (or, hey, Tendulkar himself) pick Derek Jeter out of a line-up? Or Peyton Manning? How about Floyd Mayweather, a world title holder in five boxing weight divisions, and undefeated as a professional? Or Wladimir Klitschko, current world heavyweight boxing champion? He’s been champ for eight years now, and is the second-longest reigning heavyweight champ ever, behind only Joe Louis. Do we know a thing about gorodki? Or sambo?

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

Fine, fine, let’s leave all that out of it. Let us concede, for argument’s sake, that, never mind apples and oranges, Sharapova’s achievements in tennis are not in the same league as Tendulkar’s stupendous achievements in cricket and that her knowledge of the world isn’t what it should be.

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

There’s this, dear Tendulkar-bhakts.

Tendulkar has ascended to Himalayan heights in cricket. He played at the top level of his sport for a truly epic length of time, starting earlier than most and carrying on longer than most. Some of his records look like they’ll never be broken. His place in the sporting pantheon is secure. For all practical purposes he is unassailable.

Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

But when you say that if Sharapova does not know who he is, it is a grievous insult, then you’re saying one of two things (or, perhaps, both).

One, that your own life is sad and you have nothing else to bask in but the achievements of Sachin Tendulkar. Any slur on him, imagined or real, attacks your own self-worth.

Two, if all his legendary career counts for nothing without affirmation from this 27-year-old Russian tennis player, that must mean that you think that Sharapova is greater than Tendulkar.

Are you sure that’s what you want to say? Join me now: Saaachinnnn! Sach In!

It was loads of fun, and we all had a great time. Here are some of the social media comments we caught. If we’ve missed any Tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, anything else, let us know,

Peter Griffin
I handle the 'Life' section of Forbes India.
In previous lives, I was an advertising creative director, voice-over artist, RJ, TV host, web producer and content architect, freelance travel writer, columnist, and consultant to NGOs.
I've been blogging since 2003, and co-founded the South-East Asia Tsunami & Earthquake and Mumbai Help blogs (which, with other similar initiatives later became the WorldWideHelp group), and the writers’ community, Caferati. I'm a keen student of collaboration and online culture. I also co-curated the Literature section of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival from 2006 to 2012.
Aside from Twitter (link below), you could also follow me on Facebook or Google+.
Most Popular
Peter Griffin's Activity Feed
June 01, 2016 16:38 pm by Vasant
Thanks for this article. Hi I am Vasant and I work with Chowgule College Margao Goa. We as an autonomous college and are starting a Certificate Course in Book Publishing in association with a Cinnamonteal Book Publishing (Self Publishing Company ) who organize Publishing Next every year (http://publ...
December 07, 2015 22:39 pm by neha chopra
my date of birth is 12 july 1985. i am working for underprivileged kids . under banner name masti ki is at concept stage.
September 25, 2015 15:01 pm by readers press (publisher of acadmic books)
As a small time publisher of academic books ,i stand educated by this piece of intelligent information(as i would like to call it).for sure the coming of big giants in the system of book distribution has left a big gap between the publishers, the orthodox distributors, and majorly the booksellers w...
June 24, 2015 12:45 pm by K K Krishna Kumar
Very interesting and informative. Actually the existing book industry reaches out to a very small percentage of the indian population. There has to be a detailed study about this . May be with help of the emerging digital technologies viable "short cuts" should be worked out to overcome this hug...
June 19, 2015 14:09 pm by Rajarathinam Purushothaman
It is an interesting reading and more informative .Like any other Industry today Publishing is also in the transition period. We need to adopt technology for survival and growth. The challenge is how soon we adopt to the changing trends.For this we need Govt. support and the Publishing has to be ...
What I am Reading by Peter Griffin