[ale] New website for H1B [Slightly OT]

John Marasco jemarasco at bellsouth.net
Wed May 28 16:35:15 EDT 2003


I think you are building an un scalable non-professional organization based on hidden costs, personal bias and assumption.  Which puts your initial comment in perspective and answers my questions.  When your business grows to the point that downtime means contract violations (with monetary damages) then the value of high priced programmers (that might "overthink" their projects) will be more obvious.  Businesses will hesitate signing a contract with an organization that measures costs in "my time".  Businesses make money.  When they ask for the cost, they want it in money or something tradable for food, shelter, other necessities of life and desirables.  If you don't value your time why would anyone else value your time?  To rephrase, if you don't value your time then it would be equivalent to complete a project in an hour or 10 years (0 * 1 = 0 * 365 * 10).  If I'm doing business with you and you miss my deadline and in exchange you offer your time, then you are offering nothing I can put a value on for my loss.  By the same token, you attach zero cost to shoddy code because your cost is time.  Therefore you're tolerance for shoddy code is very high.  You need to attach a value to your time for your answer to have any bearing on this discussion.  Are you a $20/hour programmer or a $100/hour programmer?  You also need to consider all the time put into a project.  With your time so integral to the process, you need to put a value on your time before you will have a baseline to compare costs.  Consider when you do this your own condition in 20 or 30 years.  Do you see yourself writing code for $20/hour in perpetuity or are you simply calculating your cast at $20/hour in anticipation of a $200/hour windfall at some future date?  Figure your cost using the most optimistic and pessimistic final valuations for "your time".

By the same token, you seem to have little value for the time of these "cheap" programmers.  That's a shame as some of them are probably supporting extended families with their efforts.  When you "tack on" extra work to a project or mandate certain things after the contract has been signed you are acting unethically and likely taking time away from a parent/child relationship.  Perhaps you'll be one of those "slash and burn" capitalists that worm their way through the marketplaces for the next 40 years supporting yourself.  More likely as your reputation spreads your "workers" will catch on to your tricks and your supply of "cheap" labor will get more expensive to compensate.  Maybe they'll just screw you right back, as your legal protection in these transactions is zero.  You have about as much ability to judge the true motivations (honesty, integrity) of your work force as a 12-year-old girl does the guy she is "chatting" with.  We have enough managers that make their businesses work by balancing poor planning and poor cost management by demanding the marginal time of their employees.  Certainly you give people jobs and that's good.  Given the bargain you already feel you are getting, any reason you can't negotiate for these "extra" services in good faith too?  I'm guessing, that going around the legal protections offered US workers is one reason you are finding "cost advantages" overseas.

Lack of talent is not a "people" problem in a country with 300 million people.  It's more likely a leadership problem.  Despite your self assumed leadership position you supply none.  This deficit is another reason (a long term one) you find "cost advantages" overseas.  You haven't got many programming skills yourself (at least by your admission) and as a result you can't mentor the available US workforce (yes there are intelligent people in the US willing to work for less than $20/hour).  Anyone in the US that has spent their own time learning the business doesn't need to accept the ad-hoc work conditions and ad-on requests you demand in exchange for business.  As a result you turn to others with less opportunity and instead of treating them fairly you seek to further your economic advantage.  I'm certain you feel all this is "fair" but I doubt you have any clue as to the real opinions of your "employee".  Don't take it personally; managers working in daily close contact with employees have trouble figuring this one out.

I truly canÂ’t say I wish you luck with this business model.  I wouldn't sign a contract with a company like yours for all the tea in China.  The trouble is, a lot of shortsighted people might and people like you take the money and run when the dominoes fall...

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