I “borrowed” the title of this post from this op-ed from SDTimes by Edward Yourdon. Ed latest book OUTSOURCE : Competing in the Global Productivity Race was just released and I guess he’s writing op-eds to promote it.
I’ve planned to blog about outsourcing for a while, but haven’t gotten to it because of the immediate negative reactions many developers have whenever the word is mentioned. I knew I’d have to explain my points flawlessly or end up with lots of developers hating me! But now I don’t have to, because Yourdon’s op-ed said almost exactly what I wanted to say, and he’s got the credentials to back it up!
Like Yourdon said, we can all be mad at outsourcing and decry that US politicians should do something about it! We claim our standard of living will decline, and the US will loose its competitiveness. Horrible thing, really.
But the reality is we might be able to slow the trend, but we can’t stop it. Anything we do to slow the trend will hurt our competitiveness long term, so why not go ahead and tackle it head on? After all, wasn’t it in elementary school we learned the ostrich sticks its head in the sand to hide? And haven’t you, like me, always been amused by how the ostrich can be so stupid?
Your solution is conceptually simple. As Yourdon states, ensure your “economic value” is greater on a doller-for-dollar basis than your outsource competition (see my prior blog titled “Pricing, and the Economics of Value Creation“ for a somewhat related discussion I wrote as a precursor to this subject.)
Clearly it is much harder to ensure your economic value than just saying that it shall be. But if you are a developer in the USA, that is what your livelyhood is going to require.
You might as well go ahead and start figuring out how.
P.S. This subject of ensuring a developer’s economic value is one I’ve been considering a lot lately, and I have a lot of thoughts on the subject I plan to share. Expect to see me blog on the subject numerous times over the next year.