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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

We're not in Kansas anymore

When do you know, positively, clearly and down to your very bones, that the world you're living in isn't the world where you were born? When Italian mammas have to be incentivated with cash to have more kids? Or when the MIT, one of the world's foremost centers of education and research in science and technology , outsources to an Indian company the core of the software programming it took to "Open Source" its educational materials?

None of this will really be surprising to Bonobo readers, as Edward has been writing for longer than most about the demographic and economic currents driving these events. Yet it's a bit of a shock to realize that they aren't even very surprising to the public in general. Like the proverbial frog in the pan, we get used to trends long before we have fully grasped their implications.

The problem, of course, is that the water in the pan eventually boils...

Update: from Edward

Apart from the fact the post linked to about MIT is interesting in itself, the comments column is fascinating, and some good arguments are made all round, including this one:

We're slowly killing our talent pipeline - the best senior techies start out as programmers and junior technical staff and learn the business from the ground up. The same goes for analytical talent. If you're somewhere in the lower levels of management and came up through the technical ranks, you've got a decent career ahead of you. Half of your peers have probably changed careers - and there is no one coming up the ranks behind you to compete with you. I suspect we're going to see a real problem finding truly competant project managers and development team leaders in a couple of years once the recession is over. Due to the staff cuts and lack of talent nipping at my heels, I'm the top person in my field at my company at age 30. Yes, I really am that good - but I'd have a lot more competition if we hadn't laid of most of our junior analytical pipeline three years ago and dumped half of our senior staff in favor of cheap offshore folks. It's not a problem until you need someone to talk to the client or senior management - then you're screwed. You've then got the choice between charming airheads or incomprehensible technical folks.

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