Saturday, March 12, 2005

Outsourcing Innovation

The story this blog entry's title's hyperlink is, I believe, the effect of the Internet as a great equalizer. The summary of the article is ably given by one of the last sentences of the article (The print version of the article has greater pictorial content that illustrates that 70% of PDA designs are outsourced, but the design outsourcing of networking equipment is only starting):

"What is clear is that an army of in-house engineers no longer means a company can control its fate. Instead, the winners will be those most adept at marshaling the creativity and skills of workers around the world."

What all of this means is that equality of opportunity, and commensurate (re)distribution of wealth, is taking place across the globe. The purpose of many of the economic systems of the present and past is, in a sense, exactly that: How to produce a society where prosperity is somehow "equally" distributed? But, now, the desirable transformation is taking place, slowly.

Vive l'Internet!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Globalization & Equalization of Culture

When the Internet hit the marketplace in a big way in the 1990s, it was lauded with many different adjectives. John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems said, as PCWorld reported in 1999, that the Net will be a great equalizer, an "equalizer between people, companies, and countries."

Today in the San Jose Mercury News, there is a story of an engineer who moved his family to Bangalore, India for a couple of years. (You need a subscription that is free, to access the article on the web). What is interesting about this is that the engineer is an American who chose to live in Bangalore for a couple of years just so that the offshored work would get done effectively. In the process, his entire family moved with him as well, and their presence in Bangalore is a great equalizer of culture.

I recall, before I came to the United States from Bangalore years ago, that my folks in Bangalore were very apprehensive of how I would fare in far away America, who would keep an eye on me, etc. This engineer's presence in Bangalore would be but a step in removing such apprehensions.

There have been any number of stories written up on the loss of American jobs, and something definitely has to be done about that. But the cultural aspect of this story is what is valuable. It is this sort of cross migration that will firmly establish the vedic saying वसुदैव कुटुम्बकम - The whole world is one family - in this world where no day goes by without some sort of violence, terrorism, etc.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Pleasure of an Alumni Meet

The pleasure in getting together with your past alumni friends is unbelieveable! I had such an experience today at the IISc Alumni Silicon Valley meet in Milpitas, California. (The group operates a Yahoo group web site).
  1. A highly nostalgic account of some life as an IISc student was recalled by Prof. A. K. Rao. (He was on the IISc faculty subsequent to his graduation).
  2. Dr. N. Balakrishnan of Supercomputer Education and Research Centre (SERC) joined us on the telephone even though it was about 2:15 AM for him! This 20- to 30-minute interaction brought emotional tears in me. You see, unless you think in terms of monetizing any powerful idea, you lost the ability to promote even greater amount of monetizable ideas.
  3. A rather eye-opening account of volunteering by Dinesh Thirumurthy and his wife immediately after the Tsunami disaster hit the communities in the Indian Ocean in December 2004 was presented. His account was useful in that it made it a little clearer that nearly anyone can provide help of that sort.
  4. After lunch, we had a nice presentation of the Tabla by a local maestro Ravi Gutala. (Not that it matters, he is not an alumnus of IISc. He is a close friend and teacher of Murthy Gudipati, a prime mover in the alumni association).
Moral: Don't miss an alumni meet if you can afford to attend it.