cowboy me, 2.0: jose nazario beauty and the street


you are obsolete

http://monkey.org/~jose/figs/IMG_3512.jpg

first of all, this sort of thing has grown to upset me more and more, Third World Research, Development & Innovation (Slashdot, October 11, 2004). what bothers me is how closed minded and uneducated it is to look at india (and much of the rest of the non-european, non-American world) as only being dirt poor, backwards, and illiterate. because of this, i imagine lots of people think that all of those outsourcing firms their jobs are headed to are powered by hordes of people on bicycles or, if they're lucky, gas powered generators.

news flash to the uneducated masses, in some ways many of those masses are better off than we are here in the states. they're better educated on average, have access to more technology, and can offer a product at a better rate than you will. that's partly why you're being outsourced. no matter who you vote for, be it kerry, bush or nader, you're just as likely to be outsourced whether you like it or not. the reasons are straight forward, and they have as much to do with corporate greed in relation with your salary as they do with our competency, both as human resources and infrastructure resources. that does, however, tie directly to corporate greed (failure to ensure that future generations are educated and have the resources needed to make use of that education).

outsourcing is going to happen, get used to it. you can sit and whine or you can do something about it. if you're one of the great unwashed masses that think slashdot is the epitome of tech news, get yourself educated in business skills quickly. consider reverse migration, people who do so enjoy it and find its a boon to their personal lives. or wind up on the street with a sign that may read, "will code in java beans for food".

the american creative class (people who create and innovate, not just the hip and with it) is a paltry 11th per capita when examined in the world (according to the harvard business review this month). this simply means that we use what others make for us, we're a consumer nation. we're at the mercy of other nations for technology being built, often created, and even stuff like oil (and hence we go to war over it). sad, but true. we'll continue to suffer as a nation until we come to grips with this as adapt to the evolving world economy and find our niche in it (outside of consuming).

i used to joke that some of the world's worst VB script comes from india. it's not that they're any better or less trained than we are, incompetent programmers are still a dime a dozen the world over. it's a fallout of the growing need for them. instead, much closer to the real problem is the failure of software engineering to be a true engineering profession. the failure to articulate requirements and testable deliverables is what leads to project failure. you want to ensure your distributed team, which may include application builders overseas, is productive, on time and budget, and delivers something that works? develop sound project and business processes, measure, treat it more like engineering with concrete, clear requirements and specifications and less like art. no bridge builder would begin to work unless they knew what they had to span, how far it was, and what materials would get the job done. why should your team? companies, people, and projects that do this will succeed. too many wont, and we'll be in a lousy place with respect to software in the next ten years. those that can produce engineering quality will succeed easily. be on that side. it takes work, and it means you have to get off your ass and learn more than a new programming language. the rewards will be large, however, to those that can do it.

i'm old enough to remember the crunch that automation put on manufacturing jobs in the early 1980s. everyone feared for their jobs, and many did lose their jobs both as automation set in, making workforces more efficient, and as jobs moved overseas. we adjusted, and we'll have to adjust again. the hype and hysteria is similar, and this time it's easier to put a face to it and make it look different than you. but the key is to know that you have to adapt and to see how you have to adapt.

more thoughts on this in an essay pointed out by grey, The Reality Behind Job Outsourcing which appeared in Znet. more thoughts here, Creative brain drain hits US, which appeared in The India Times recently. And Innovation envy, a Red Herring blog entry from earlier this month.

on the topic of matrixdump, i've added some features and fixed some bugs (with patches coming in from other people). if you're using it, make sure you have the latest tarball installed. still not versioning it, since i don't plan to maintain it much longer.


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Last modified: Saturday, Oct 16, 2004 @ 06:19pm
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