Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Business going South, as business goes East…

As I mentioned I’m busy – but are we trousering any cash? We’re getting squeezed from all angles, all the time. Last week, we got a very unwelcome email from the Indian sub continent. One I have been dreading.

We design and build web sites amongst other general design stuff. We’re not cheap, or expensive – but we are creative. The spam from India is telling me that they can produce web sites for a fraction of what they cost in ‘the West’ – That’ll be us then. How can we compete? Answer, we can’t.

Sure, our stuff is much more creative, we can do anything, ‘flash’, ASP, PHP, database management….. But do companies want that any more? They all seem to be ruled by the Accountant’s pen and the bottom line nowadays. Cheap is good, Cheaper - better, Cheapest is best. This Global market place is relentless. Everything is being downgraded to a different cost infrastructure and a desperate workforce.

You can here the strain in their voices as some guy from Mumbai rings you just when you are about to start your tea.

"Hello, this is ‘Rob’ from ‘DataStuff’ in London, I just want to…"

"Really? Well Rob, what’s the weather like in London at the moment? What do you think about Chelsea’s latest big money signing? Did you see ‘Corry’ last night?"


"So what’s your real name? And what country are you calling from?

"Sanjay, and I’m calling from India"…….

After that, we get on famously – he’s no longer using his ‘alias’ name, or de facto, lying to me. I listen, he feels more confident because he isn’t trying to live in ‘Rob’s’ alter ego. I obviously don’t buy – but at least Sanjay feels better about it.

To use the modern vernacular, these people are run by Gang Masters in India, who in turn are run by Beemer driving Gang Masters in the West.

They appear to be paid on a results driven commission basis. I sort of get the impression that big bubbles are being inflated on booming Global economies. I’m just wondering where exactly in the World the flaccid skin of recession will start to kick in – and when.

A sad day

I’ve been a bit quiet since Friday. My friend, Joan died that night after a long battle against cancer. I’d known her for over 25 years, had a laugh and some great times at The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Martin Mere where we both used to work.

I will miss her terribly.

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