Why the future is with Rajiv in India
If only he understood my jokes a bit better
My third book
I’m getting close to finishing my book.
It’s my third book and I’m proud of it. I think it’s my best book yet. The Working title is “The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun and building a business that sustains you for years to come”
One thing’s very different from my first two books. To complete the book I’ve joined the globalisation movement and engaged with an illustrator and designer in India. Rajiv is creating all the drawings that will go in the book and he is carrying out the design and layout work to get it ready for the printers.
Fascinating process… I’ve never had so many of my jokes and double entendres fall flat on their face, but Rajiv’s work is excellent.
And let’s be quite clear about this. By engaging Rajiv, I’ve taken work away from an Australian designer and illustrator and I’ve done so because it’s cheaper… much cheaper.
Collectively, I think it’s clear that the world is going to go through a massive shift in the next few years. When the NBN finally gets connected to a significant portion of our homes and businesses or some other superspeed internet connection becomes the standard, the wave will become unstoppable. More and more of the work that can be outsourced to India, The Philippines, China or Tajikistan will be. Right now, there are still a lot of businesses who are resisting it, because it’s all too hard and the language problems and cultural differences etc etc.
Resistance is futile
But in the words of The Vogons: Resistance is futile.
I was talking to an architect recently about this issue and although he hasn’t gone the route of overseas outsourcing yet, it won’t be long before he will be forced to. Cost pressures will simply force it on him.
Do I think this is a good thing? Yes and no. Obviously if I was a young architect, or designer or web developer or computer programmer, I would be worried… very worried for the future. My career is probably not going to be there anymore in 10 or 15 years, maybe even sooner, because architects in the Philippines will be doing most of my work.
That’s not great for our society here in Australia or elsewhere in the Western World.
But you could just as easily argue that it is a positive development for the world as a whole. It seems to me that over time the rates we will be paying architects and software programmers in India will get closer and closer to rates we pay in Australia, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. There is clearly a great imbalance in wealth and cost of living between the West and the Third World. Maybe this kind of movement is going to redress some of that imbalance. I’m sure that is already happening. Rajiv advertises his hourly rate on his profile as $4.50 per hour, but I’ve actually engaged him for $8.50 per hour (yeah, I know, I’m being ripped off right!).
I was talking to an Indian friend of mine the other day and he reckons that working in India, the designer would be lucky if he could charge $2.50 per hour. So contracts like mine are causing wage inflation already (on a miniscule scale, but you see what I mean).
So what would I be doing if I was a young designer or programmer, bookkeeper or architect or any other profession that is outsource-able?
Keeping your fingers crossed certainly seems like a bad strategy. The old saying: If you can’t beat them, join them, strikes me as the approach to take. You see, I think there is an enormous opportunity for people to provide go-between services for people like me and Rajiv in India. What would perfect for me is if I could engage an actual designer here in Australia who manages the process of getting the work completed easily in India or wherever. The problems I and Rajiv have faced in this project so far have largely been about language, culture and some technical glitches.
I think If I was a young designer coming out of college, I’d make sure I learn Hindi or Tagalog or Chinese and establish a network of designers in one of the prime outsourcing countries. Then I’d develop a service for people like me and the contractors that facilitates the process, so that instructions I have for my contractor actually get understood the first time. Rajiv and I find ourselves going back and forth quite a lot, because I use words and sentences that mean something very different to Rajiv than they mean for me. Having someone in the middle who understands design and has design skills and speaks Indian would be invaluable.
Not to mention that I’d love my brilliant jokes translated into Hindi and hear the raucous laughter clear across the Indian Ocean.
The world will change completely in the next 10 years. There really is no point hoping it won’t.