[conspire] HP Melt Down

Luke S. Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Wed Aug 31 15:55:08 PDT 2011

On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 02:37:45PM -0700, Ross Bernheim wrote:
> The article recites many of the reasons I don't outsource overseas. 
> I prefer to buy good and services as locally as I can for the products we produce where I work. As the purchasing manager I have some say in the issue. My boss and I both agree that supporting local businesses in technology and manufacturing helps to keep the capabilities available for our use as well as helping to keep us up with what the technologies are capable of.

> It has been amusing to see what happens to many of the companies that were so hot on outsourcing overseas where it would be less expensive to produce products. 

But what is local anymore?   I mean, I've had people work from me from as 
far away as Vietnam;  and really, that didn't seem any more weird than
having a guy in Louisiana.   (I knew both people in person before hand,
so the cultural/communications issues were kept to a minimum.)  I mean,
right now, nick and I are working (working.  hah.  screwing off, more like.
I'm writing this email, and I hear barely suppressed giggles coming from his 
side of the office, like he's reading something funny.) from an office in 
Sunnyvale, but for how my business operates, this distinction between
the USA and not in the USA seems arbitrary at best.

We're starting to see more compitition in the VPS market, so this is less
true now than it was two or three years ago, but I have a lot of foreigin
customers, too.   

I mean, the distinction between what you want to do in house and what you
want to outsource to another company is a very important one, but I'm 
not so sure that commerse lines up on national boarders as much as it 
once did. 

It's possible this is temporary;  directly hiring foreigin nationals who 
are not on US soil is almost completely unregulated.   This could change.  
international commerce that doesn't involve physical goods is also almost
completely unregulated.     These things could change fairly easily;
if you put international trade back into the realm of people with lawyers,
well, for people like me, it would start to look like a us-only world again.

As for the 'Outsource' vs 'do it yourself' distinction, 
For me, I try very hard to buy only commodity products or services that can 
be sourced from multiple vendors.  If it's something weird and custom,
I try to do it in-house.    Of course, there are some things where that
is unavoidable;  I can't afford a full-time accountant, so I have a
contractor. She's actually moving me more towards using industry standard
tools for that, too, which would make her more replacable.

But, for example, I don't buy pre-assembled computers, I buy components.  
even if I didn't save money off the top (and I do, especially for the high
ram configurations I need)  assembling the computers is less expensive
than maintaining the 'vendor relationships' required to get good prices
and good service out of any of the server building shops.   And usually 
parts come with a longer warranty than whole servers, and my experience
has been that a support contract makes it harder, not easier, to get
a 'kinda broken' computer fixed.  Parts vendors pretty much say 'okay'
and send you a new one if you ask for a RMA.   unless you are on the
'costs twice as much as the hardware itself'  gold-pressed-latnum
support plan, it's hard to get the support people to acknolwedge that a
problem that happens once a month is actually a problem.  

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