The truth about digital offshoring

BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the buzz word in business for good reason. In the good news for us small entrepreneurs is that access is no longer limited big players. The internet has made it possible to have a global work force from launch date, and the same cost advantages that multinationals have had since they started exporting labour to China and other parts of Asia since the 1960’s. Anyone can do it now.

Before you worry about the ethics of ‘off shoring’ there’s some stuff we should know. Exporting labour overseas is ethically sound. It is beneficial both to the recipients and the providers of such work (us). The average computer programmer earns around $1000 a month in India. In the USA and Australia it’s more like $7000 a month. Unethical? Not really. The $1000 a month versus the average in India of $85 gives new information workers in India and very high standard of living.

When we inject money into developing economies we are increasing the living standards not just for our employees, but for their economy in general. In addition we have the option to pay them above market rates to create strong loyalty. We have the option  treat our people well and create important cultural exchanges and relationships.

Other peoples time is what we must leverage for startup success. A simple business fact time immemorial. Only now we have both currency advantage and access. The issue of moving jobs overseas is a crock. We live in a global age, an internet economy. We all buy goods everyday from overseas. Geographical barriers simply wont exist shortly. So we should just get on board. Protectionist attitudes are outdated. No one is sending kids down mines with digital offshoring. If local people are getting put out of jobs, then they’ve been earning too much for what they’ve been doing anyway. Their outplacement is inevitable.

Startup Blog says:

• Outsourcing is available to everyone, not just powerful companies
• Off shoring improves living standards
• Off shoring is ethical and important culturally
• We must embrace it, or get left behind. There is no choice.


Irrational Complexity

I just got back from the gym, and tonight I saw what I see every time I go for a workout. A very out of shape person doing some kind of ridiculously complex exercise for a particular body part. Which any experienced trainer will know is clearly a waste of time.

The reality of weight training is that the entire body can be trained incredibly well with 5 simple exercises:

Bench press

Chin ups


Shoulder press


Everything else really is only for the hardcore and professional sports people. Problem is this truth doesn’t sell books, personal training sessions or gym memberships at locations which look like a NASA astronaut training facility. Success in gym programs is more about eating well and doing simple exercises which well executed with good frequency.

There is actually an important human psychology associated with such behaviour in the gym. We think there is some kind of secret formula. That success is associated with a complex algorithm which we must try and find, unlock and use. That success in the gym is rare because it is difficult to know how to do it.  That when we find these special trick techniques, our success will come much quicker. That we’ll be transformed overnight.

As humans in the 21st century we have a preference for irrational complexity. We know the truth, but we’d rather pretend it isn’t so. We’ve been so shaped by the media and a lack of hands on experience that we often believe success is hidden behind secret walls. And so we look for get fit quick schemes (Get rich quick scheme anyone?) rather than a get fit slow routine, which requires a consistent diet and a lot of sweat.

It’s pretty much the same in startup land. There aren’t great deal of tricks out there either. The formula is hard work, a lot of sweat, serving customers well and using the age old business maxims which were written about by Adam Smith over 200 years ago.