Troy Wing is a fellow Kiwi who seems to be going great guns in the stateside IT industry – it’s nice to have such role models to aspire to.

In an excellent post today, Troy made some comparisons about a worker of yesterday/today and a Web2.0 empowered worker. What he says resonates completely for me, which is kind of ironic considering I just got off a flight from Auckland where I spent the day doing some consulting work which, in a 2.0 world, could have been done remotely. That said 2.0 is a journey that we’ve only just begun.

Some of the things Troy says are skewed towards the good side of the 2.0 spectrum and the bad end of the traditional spectrum – but I guess that’s just a little artistic licence!

Time Web 2.0 empowered Technology Worker Traditional “On Premise” Technology Worker
8am to 9am Skype with US East Coast team members, 10 minute meeting to discuss plan for the day and any urgent issues. Review any issues found by India Team. 1 Developer in NY is sick, but can continue working. Review Task/Issues List in SaaS Tracking Tool. Sitting on Route 80E waiting for vehicle breakdown to clear.
9:30am to 12pm Check out code from online Subversion and continue development, continuous IMing with other developers and project managers to assist in problem resolution. Add useful tips and hints to company wiki. Check emails, has a question to ask India team but can’t as they have gone home.Has to wait until tomorrow. Move onto next task. Status Meetings with entire US team. Delayed by 1 hour as Project Manager is stuck in traffic still. 1 team member calls in sick.
Half an hour after meeting starts, CTO walks in and wants a recap meeting, meeting starts again.
1pm to 5pm Continue Development, stuck on a problem, ask social network for help. Problem resolved. Have an idea of a blog post, draft it out and post it. Decide you need to do some online shopping for the holidays. Complete development tasks for the day and decide to start on tomorrow’s tasks
to stay ahead. Think of a great UI idea, you prototype it and publish it on Dev Web Server for all to review.
Server problem at work, development delayed by half an hour as cannot get source code from server. You begin development, stuck on a problem, send an email out to colleague. Out of office reply received back. You skip the problem and decide to surf for a little while.
6pm -7pm Dinner Stuck in Traffic
8pm IM or skype with India to handover tasks for overnight processing India reads email, can’t understand the requirements, sends an email in response. No Progress for another day.
Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • A facebook brain app says I am a right brained thinker, must be where the artistic bent to my writing comes from!!

  • …or not changing (yet) maybe?

    Anyway let’s assume it is. In my town we have a technology skill shortage. Does that mean that outsourcing offshore is the way to go and can that process be managed safely?

    Bear in mind that clients are risk averse and there are a lot of external threats like currency fluctuation, I.P. protection and trust issues to overcome.

    I’d love some feedback on this, by the way.

  • Hi Paul,

    what I was hoping to convey in my post are the efficiencies which can be introduced into a business via Web 2.0 services by comparing companies I have been involved with.
    Certainly as Ben says I have included some worst case scenarios for the traditional view, but they do happen.

    In the Web 2.0 worker example, we are talking about “employees” of a company being distributed and you may or may not choose to utilize offshoring also. I would say that with a Web 2.0 driven business, you might be less inclined to utilize offshoring as you will be more capable of retaining key employees. Maybe your best developer wants to move to Wellington from Christchurch, it doesn’t matter as they can work virtually.

    Offshoring of talent, that is a whole different kettle of fish.
    I am not taking a stance on whether you should offshore or not, I actually think certain positions with key knowledge and skills need to be valued employees not offshored.

    Offshoring in the US is rather common, not so sure about the numbers in NZ. The external threats you raise are recognized and handled in different ways.

    Currency Fluctuation affects the offshorer more than yourself if you deal in your local currency and restrict any price increases in the contract, along with strict IP protection clauses. You need to choose offshore company carefully, a reputable company is interested in placing people not building their own product so would not want to jeopardize their position in the market. I’ve dealt with the same offshore company for a number of years at different orgs and trust has built up over that time.

    But like I said, I wasn’t trying to advovate offshoring, its just an recognized part of business where I currently live and work and customers also tend to accept that.


  • Thanks for the feedback. I get your drift.

    We have become so resource constrained on the developer front in NZ that it is hard to see how we can avoid offshoring in the medium term.

    On the face of it Web 2.0 should be entirely conducive to operating a global virtual consultancy business, except for the organisational challenges that I already mentioned above.

    In fact I know people who have moved to NZ for lifestyle reasons and simply carried on writing code for their previous employer on contract.

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