May 17, 2011
Small Scale Globalization as a Practical Reality
The last two years, I have been teaching e-business at a college. When covering internationalization, I am talking about global supply chains and big outsourcing providers. We are probably all getting used to designs, components and finished products travelling across continents (to be fair very often produced in China based on a design from the US), before ending up in your lap(top). I had not really thought that much about how this links to my more down to earth business and software development projects.
The fact is, to me at least, doing business globally has become more practical and accessible to small firms. The Internet has changed how we work and collaborate and I will provide some facts about the work on a service we are launching in full scale soon, as a practical sample:
- I have been using an Indian firm, PixelCrayons, to implement the web page design - with excellent value for money and professional project management exceeding my expectations
- My partner in Romania, Exswap, has been doing excellent work as usual and collaboration from day-to-day is done a lot through Skype (acquired yesterday by a not unknown software giant from Redmond) and other online tools
- My excellent hosting provider is based in Germany
- The core issue tracking and development hub, at heart is Jira, is delivered by Aussie company Atlassian (at first via their brilliant start-up scheme which gives you the software for free and the little you pay goes to charity), we use open source tools developed using what a more buzzword-compliant post would call crowdsourcing, and we build our product on top of many of Google's tools and services that live in the cloud
- I both learn from and contribute to groups/email lists that are truly global in nature
- When we actually want to meet in person, the competition in the airline industry has made the prices reach a level where it is not a total showstopper, even for small firms. To me, this "democratization of air travel" is a part of the same picture.
- And, a bit on side, maybe -- even on this very low traffic blog I have received comments from all over the world (US midwest, California and eastern Europe) on email
All of this might be small things that we take a bit for granted from day to day, but added together it is in fact changing radically how we recruit, manage, purchase and work - in the broadest sense of the word work.
To a certain degree the vision about a rich toolset in the cloud, using a best of breed strategy, is already a reality. It makes trial and failure less expensive for new entrepreneurs, and I believe it fuels the speed of innovation. Exciting times.
 - As you can see, the final version of this post had a little time hanging around as well, since "yesterday" is "last week" when clicking "Publish" - but trust me, it is nothing compared to the time from rough bullets and the idea to the (semi-)finished post. :)
 - Caught up with the latest editions of Economist on the plane down to follow up with my partner and it seems the times, at least in and near Silicon Valley, is so exciting that even the more established analysts see it as a bubble (bubble warnings from the blogosphere have been here for a few years, from when Groupon was just a random small company)...