Friday, June 8, 2007

Single and Loving it

When you are single, shy and as orkut calls it "mirror-shattering material", the social scene on weekends are mostly limited. In my case, in addition to my having a dull social life, most of my friends are also single and have pretty much nothing to do as well. The old adage about the birds flocking comes to mind. So, our choices for cool activities to do, are usually limited to either watching a movie, going to Spencers/any other local mall or generally chilling out at home (read: sleep like a log or get drunk and pass out) .
It usually happens that as the weekend rolls around, we always make plans to go where the "chicks" are, or where the "scenery" is interesting. And we do end up in these places, all dressed up, looking like the single-and-ready-to-mingle cool dudes that we are. The teetotalers munch on the free eats while the rest order the cheap beer. Post initial grubbing session, and sufficient loosening of the tongue by inebriation, everybody concentrates on checking out the crowd. Categories are decided, and nicknames get created. "Check out that pinktop, in the corner. She's hot da, and she keeps looking this side!" " Ya, I'd give her a 7. But look at what's attached to her arm. What does she see in him?"... and so on and so forth. Talk then moves onto the latest gossip about who's doing who where and who saw them together and what the heck is wrong with them for doing the previously mentioned who. In between, somebody, slightly less sober might attempt to revel everybody with topics, totally unrelated but usually another round of drinks would get that guy to shut up and let the gossip continue. The only topic that might actually evoke enough attention other than the current real-life soaps, is who's shifting to which company and how much more money they are going to make. This would lead to further discussions on how cruel the world is and how, some people are just too lucky/talk their way into getting what they want. Being the sort of guy who is sufficiently intoxicated before being able to actually tolerate these conversations, I tend to remember very little the next day.
Many weekends, the prospect of having those conversations itself was enough for us to ditch the idea of going out and just chilling at home. Unfortunately, chilling at home also tends to end up having these conversations anyway, the only difference being, the evening is a whole lot cheaper.
I dont regret any of these times, coz, without them, I'd probably be doing something totally productive and enriching like learning a musical instrument, helping the elderly or even god forbid, working out. But the soul enriching times I spend with my single friends, doing the "cool" single stuff, will surely last me with great memories for all the future life ahead when I wont be single and wishing I was! Maybe then, I'd think of taking up all those productive and enriching stuff which I mentioned before!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thought sourcing

I am not a major news reader. Yes, I like RSS feeds but its not largely to do with news. But on the odd occasion I check the world at large, I get the feeling America is obsessed with two things. Osama and Outsourcing. Osama's the general metaphor for terrorism and ever since 9/11, he's been around everywhere and his henchmen/lackeys/assorted heinous deputies have been troubling the world no end. Its daily news, usually very sad, and pretty repetitive, so I'd rather not discuss it right now.
On the other hand, outsourcing, that supposed manna of business re-engineering and cost control, has also evoked the interest of most Americans and you can be sure everybody's got an opinion on it. I think outsourcing is cool, not because I give a rodent's behind that America can finally figure out where Asia is on the map, but because it provides a huge potential to make money. Yet, despite this initial euphoria about the monetary gains from IT outsourcing, its quite obvious its not going to grow at such a tremendous rate for very long, and the cost arbitrage which everybody's been harping about, is probably going to disappear at some point in the future. People have gone to great lengths to assure everybody that right now, there's just so much to throw around, and so life's going to be good for a while at least. Yippee!!
So, everybody's happy now, and young people in India study, work hard and get a "campus placement" into a software company that recruits only the cream of the class. To do what?? Maintenance work on some 100 year old code that runs on obsolete hardware which cant be replaced, or sit on the metaphorical bench and wait for a moment to go "on site" and rake in the moolah.
In some recent articles by some of the supposed visionaries of the IT revolution, there has been talks of how the IT companies should move towards intellectual arbitrage, as the cost arbitrage advantage is not sustainable. IMHO, there is very little that separates one Indian IT company from the other. Catchy titles like Global Delivery Model, Offshore Development Center, Center of Excellence etc just give rise to cool acronyms like GDM, ODC and CoE, and are quoted ad nauseum, but is that enough for sustainable profit growth? And if so, for how long? Yes, alright, I concede that, considering the sheer volume of available work, it seems the party's going to last for a while longer.
Moving on from my rant (I work in one of these companies!), one of the positive points, I guess, of outsourcing, has been how entrepreneurs in certain countries (like India) have been able to capitalize on it. And in the process, create jobs which in turn leads to a growing economy, and so on and so forth. Most companies in developed countries, nowadays have an India strategy which, I guess, over the years will probably become an Asia/East Europe/Latin America strategy considering the Global Delivery Model (GDM) encompasses all low wage area as potential for an ODC. Even the markets respond positively to companies who outsource, as it seems to be the one of the popular strategies to cut costs in a "globalised", "highly competitive" and "constantly evolving" economy.
The media, too have had their fill of debating the positives and negatives of outsourcing, and reams of print have been wasted in efforts to either justify or condemn it. There have even been articles that have joked about outsourcing.

But recently, I came across one that sort of mocked the entire thought process behind outsourcing and how its not a strategy that can be blindly applied in any industry. In particular, the article talks of how its not possible to do outsourcing where the social context cannot be understood by the people who the work have been outsourced to, and thus it leads to a really hilarious situation. Although, it makes fun of the Indian parliament (of which I am not a big fan anyway), I still felt it was interesting enough to warrant a link. So here it is.