Monday, September 05, 2005


Just finished reading 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman. The subtitle suggests it is the 'A brief History of the Globalized World in the 21st Century'.

Once again an attempt at creating a stereotype. This book is targetted at western audiences, who have probably read about outsourcing etc through the media, but have not had the chance to read it in the form of a story, something the three times Pulitzer awardee is very good at.

Mr. Friedman conjures up images of Indian IT companies as replacing the jobs in the US, but he forgets some parts of the story, viz, most of the Indian Tier 1 IT services providers have strong sales arms in the US, which have many an American employed.Outsourcing is not new at all. A famous acedemician recently commented that Americans outsourced their undergraduate education to India decades ago. That remark, made half in jest, alluded to the large number of Indian students who went to(and still go) US to after earning their basic engineering degrees in India. Many are now part of American society and Industry.

Hollywood movies have been around for a while. For the duration these were (or are ) seen across the world, Mr. Friedman and like minded individuals have absolutely no concerns. The moment two or three out-of-US movies get adopted by US mainstream audience, we would probably have Mr. Friedman believe that the world is flat, and entertainment is outsourced.

Mr Friedman completely forgets that there is a certain commodity called oil where the concept flat is a liitle in favour of US and hence, does not merit a discussion. (BTW, the American commentators have been blaming "Scaled up Chinese demand" for the USD 70 a barrel oil price, completely forgetting that US auto industry never paid any attention to fuel efficiency!!)

Some other issues. After reading this book, you may ask yourself, what is new in this book. The answer probably is that here's another well-packaged brand-managed item where the core is a little weak, but they still survive because they created the category. To that extent, we give full credit to Mr. Friedman and soon we might see many other books in this category. I call this category Outsourcing 101.

Some factual issues. Indian IT industry did not take birth because of Y2K. The major names in this business have been in the business for over a decade prior to Y2K. They merely leveraged the opportunity presented by Y2k to get close to American/Western customers. Likewise, they were not given free bandwidth due to dotcom overcapacity. They merely leveraged an available resource.Indian IT Industry is not Bangalore alone. Infact, most major names in Indian IT industry have very well spread out footprints, and have development centers in multiple locations in India, and indeed even in Eastern Europe and Latin America.


Anonymous said...

Well, Demo has all the rights to make comments about outsourcing. The reason indians are getting blasted for outsourcing mere 10 Billion USD worth of work, speaks more about India as a nation. We are not tough and take all the shit thrown at us. Its about time we started returning some.

Father said...

Who's the MAN