Software the way of the textile industry?

Chuck Murcko chuck@topsail.org
Wed, 16 Jan 2002 12:34:01 -0500


I'd say this thread is about to fork, my comments interspersed:

On Wednesday, January 16, 2002, at 08:52 AM, Owen Byrne wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 15, 2002 at 08:54:40PM -0800, Adam L. Beberg wrote:
>> On Tue, 15 Jan 2002, Owen Byrne wrote:
>>
>>> On Tue, Jan 15, 2002 at 07:56:28PM -0600, Jeff Bone wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Owen Byrne wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> So I would say that the phenomenon is happening, just not overnight.
>>>>
>>>> No question.  The question, really, is why it's not happening even 
>>>> faster.
>>>
>>> Because decision makers are willing to pay a premium for "face time", 
>>> in
>>> order to enhance their feelings of self-control and inflate their own
>>> importance?
>>
>> Probably because managing remote people is something noone teaches you 
>> how
>> to do and doing it well involves alot more work, not to mention the 
>> cultural
>> issues, then managing local people. But noone really 'gets' that 
>> becasue so
>> few even try... And most geeks can't even work well with the person in 
>> the
>> next cube.
>>

India, Ireland, and Israel are all big offshore suppliers of technology 
now. Why? Because 10-20 years ago they were all low price/high quality 
suppliers.

Ireland and Israel are now considered (at least in the workshops I've 
attended) to be high price/high  quality suppliers, and in some ways are 
less desirable, some ways more.

India is approaching the high price/high quality point but isn't there 
yet. So they are continuing their stunning world growth rate in high 
tech.

Why does this happen? Because people and companies in free market 
economies eventually realize once they've paid their dues and have a 
track record of success, they can get more money for their work. Same 
thing happened in the US, only earlier.

Other places I've seen analyzed:

Phillipines: low price/low quality
Indonesia: low price/low quality
China: low price/increasingly high quality

China would in an ideal political world be the current/next big offshore 
supplier of software services. How free market their economy becomes 
will likely determine whether or not they follow the three I's into the 
high price/high quality regime.

If the Phillipines and Indonesia can start getting the quality of output 
up, they will become powerhouses too.

One thing I've not heard much about for several years: Saudi Arabia, in 
preparing for the post-petrochemical economy there, was actively trying 
to become a big player in software by refocusing education, training, 
and investment.

>>> At least that was the conclusion I came to concerning why 
>>> telecommuting
>>> didn't catch on, which seems similar.
>>
>> No, that failed because 95% of people didn't do any work from home. 
>> Which if
>> you think about it is only _half_ as productive as having 90% who dont 
>> do
>> anything AT work. This was a boom thing just like bringing your dog to 
>> work
>> and the foozball table. Next they will figure out people spend all 
>> their
>> time online at work if they can get online from work...
>>
>> - Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
>>   http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/
>>   beberg@mithral.com
>>
>
> From my personal experience, and from some research I have done in the 
> past, I don't
> think this is true. People who are properly motivated, and equipped get 
> more work done
> at home.
> The perception by managers is that they don't. Its like your last 
> paragraph - I'll
> quibble with the numbers, but bosses forget the whole second half of 
> the equation.
>

My simple opinion: telecommuters who succeed are the ones who can solve 
the problem of stopping work at the end of the day. If they can't, they 
burn out eventually. The other failures are the ones who can't solve the 
problem of getting started. Not everyone is suited to this work 
situation, but with enlightened management those who are sufficiently 
motivated can really rock. So there's a band in the middle, between 
can't get started and can't stop, where the success lies.

Chuck