Re: The software factory (was "Don't believe the hype?")

Subject: Re: The software factory (was "Don't believe the hype?")
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 09:29:37 -0800

Sorry, but I'm not going to quote everything.... Tupperware vs thrown pottery, MS being brave enough to make a commodity out of software, the dominance of the industrial model...

There is still room in the market for artistic and atrisanial tableware. Vertical software may be analogous. I'll note that if you look in any computer magazine these days, you won't see much innovation in software. It's all yet another GHz in the chip, hand-held devices, or games. I think that says more about software-as-commodity than anything else. The technology is maturing, and as with all things evolutionary, the initial explosion has given way to a sifting out of the most general solutions. The unique solutions tend to die off. But I think vertical software will continue for some time to come. That's where the current innovations is, as far as I can see. And XML + real B2B is waiting in the wings. Oh, and you wouldn't catch me using Tupperware. I hate the stuff. It's not biodegradable.

Need I repeat that Windows is *not* the best operating system? It won, but not on the merits of its quality, capacity, support, robustness, ease-of-use, innovation... It is indeed a weed.
We're kidding ourselves if we ever think (or thought) we're not conforming to an industrial model. There are significant differences between this one and earlier ones, but the model is industrial nonetheless. A significant difference is the material that must be moved to support the industry. For the industrial revolution we needed trains to move coal and raw materials. For this industry, the *material* to move around was people. The industry capitalized enormously on that in two ways... First, it put the responsibility to move the people onto the people themselves - gotta have a car. Second, it offset the infrastructure onto the local gvmts - roads. Remember the traffic jams in Silly Valley just a few years ago? I'd wager that factor alone contributed most significantly to the high earnings expections put on software.

The emerging change is centered on the fact that you don't even need to move people. I'm surprised it took this long to occur to management that you can get the work done anywhere. If they had latched onto the idea sooner, there would be more Americans doing the work from home (for less), and fewer jobs would be going offshore. Again, it's not the best that always wins - there are too many other factors. Timing is a big one in this case. It remains to be seen how the industry shakes out. I'm not convinced that it's a good model to simply hand your development over to a turn-key office somewhere else. In the long run, you may as well hand your company over - what's to stop them from taking over sales and marketing? The sales and marketing backgrounds of most CEOs, and the desire to protect that sector of the industry? What's to stop companies from offshoring everything except the liquid capital, if not the protectionist instincts that will ultimately kick in when people high enough on the ladder see their positions going away?
So why not protect jobs now? I'm not sure... I think it's a good thing to even out the playing field, but I don't think it's good to exclude Americans who would work from home - just because they don't belong to a turn-key shop in another country. All things considered, I bet the cost/benefit could be rather similar. But management doesn't think that way. They chase fashion and public opinion just as much as Tom Cruise or Martha Stewart do. Yet again - the best does not always win. (Otherwise, we'd be driving steam-powered cars, and Tom Cruise would never have worked for Kubric.)


ROBOHELP IS THE INDUSTRY STANDARD IN HELP AUTHORING New RoboHelp X5 includes all new features such as, content management, multi-author support, distributed
workforce support, XML and PDF support, and much more!

Purchase new Macromedia RoboHelp X5 by March 31st and receive a $100 mail-in rebate.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Site ranking
Next by Author: Re: The software factory (was "Don't believe the hype?") (long)
Previous by Thread: RE: making pdf-files with bookmarks
Next by Thread: Offshoring brouhaha

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads