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BlueWolf's Howl

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February 06, 2004

Fish heads and rice

2/6/2004 -- The China Post is reporting today that four Taiwanese citizens have been arrested for selling IT certification exams questions through the Internet and for taking exams for other individuals.

It's time to celebrate. It's a small victory in the short run, but its implications are enormous.

When they shut down cheet-sheets.com and TroyTech's testkiller sites, the US market for selling (and buying) braindumps dropped dramatically. At first, those who actually studied to pass the tests were overjoyed. No more "paper-MCSEs in a week" who would work for peanuts (because they didn't put much effort into attaining the credential). We thought that the market would have to bounce back because _all_ the people would demand to be compensated for their hard work.

But, the overseas paper mills took up the slack. The brain dumps simply went overseas. So did our jobs. Why hire an MCSE here when you can get one there for 1/10th the price? Ah...but, there's the rub. The one here is a person who actually studied and knows what they're doing. The one there is a person who probably used a brain dump or had someone take the test for them - at 1/10th the effort (or less). [Remember the post I made about the guy who didn't know if he took the Exchange 5.5 exam?] I know this doesn't apply to *all* of us here or there, but it's pretty prevalent. Not to mention, the people here who would buy a dump from overseas no longer have a supplier - which eliminates them too... I think I can see the sun rising over the horizon...yes, it's a brand new day.

There are people all over Taiwan right now who are closing up the piano and running for it. The braindumpers in other countries are also watching closely. I'm sure they're putting wheels on their computer carts to make the quick escape.

But, it doesn't stop there --

Think of all the times you heard people complain about spammers and wanting to shut them down... Didn't the argument go: "Well, you can legislate against us, but we'll just move overseas where we're protected.... You don't want to lose the whole business, do you? You won't solve the problem, just move it..." ?

Isn't this the same thing that happened with the brain dumps? Hmmm... The repercussions could be resounding. In real life, there are no shortcuts. We've been convinced (through marketing) that shortcuts exist. You can buy them. Here. It's a lie. The shortcuts are illegal. You might not get caught today, but you'll have to worry about it until you do. And you will get caught. Eventually.

Businesses were rejoicing...thinking that they could "cut costs" dramatically. You cut costs by being efficient, not by finding "the edge." The edge cuts - which is why they sometimes call it the bleeding edge... There are no shortcuts to a solid network infrastructure. You have to pay for the equipment and you have to pay professionals to install, configure and maintain that equipment. You have to pay professionals to teach your people to use the equipment - efficiently. Only then will you be on solid ground. If you can't afford the training, you can't afford the technology (and you will be left behind in the dust by your competitors). If you can't afford the professionals to install, configure and maintain the equipment, you can't really afford the equipment (and again, you will be left behind in the dust by your competitors). The half-measures will eat you alive -- eventually. The businesses that invest in technology and the human resources necessary to maintain and use it are the ones who will be on solid ground - and will last.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself - why is this happening? Why are IT jobs being outsourced offshore? If you think about it, I'm sure you could find a boatload of accountants in India who are willing to do payroll and fill all your accounting needs for much less. You could even get a person with an advanced accounting degree for less than the price of a new grad here. So why aren't they offshore outsourcing things like accounting???? I think the reason is because they actually understand accounting. They know the risks it would entail. They understand the value of having the best (and most trustworthy) accountants watching over and protecting their money.

What they don't understand is the technology. As long as the user interface is there and the price is less, it's a bargain. They don't know the risks of offshore outsourcing their technology. They don't understand the value of the technology. It's there. It's ubiquitous. And as long as it keeps running, they're happy that it's running for less. While their business information and trade secrets are copied right out the door... Dang, the competitors scooped us again. How did that happen? How did they beat us to the shelves for so much less? How did they get our ideas? And why doesn't this dang thing run right? Why can't I get someone to help me with this stupid computer?

I think *that's* when the moment of realization will dawn. When it stops working. When it doesn't work properly. Then they will realize the mistake. And they will look for someone who knows what they're doing to fix it. And there goes all those "savings" from outsourcing. Meanwhile - the company who hired a professional will be humming along without incident. For less.

As they say... "you can pay me now, or you can pay me later"

Posted by BlueWolf on February 6, 2004 08:13 PM