This C|Net article about SeaCode just caught my attention. A cruise ship, off the coast of California, will host "600 world-class software engineers". As it will be outside of US coastal waters, the engineers won't fall under the jurisdiction of INS work visas, yet they will be in a US timezone. The engineers will even have the right to come on-shore under rules that apply to seamen, and although I think that going to a business meeting would be against the rules, it will still be fairly easy for US-based managers to visit with their development teams -- via a quick excursion boat, or perhaps via helicopter. This is real, by the way. Here's the SeaCode web site.
Just the next natural extension of globalization, I guess. But there is one thing that bothers me. The good part of globalization is supposed to be the fact that it lifts the economies of developing countries, turning them into growing markets. But the SeaCode web site says that it "offers the reduced costs of a distant-shore software" and yet "90% of revenue comes back to the U.S. instead of flowing out of the U.S. to distant-shore outsourcing locations ". So apparently just 10% of the benefit will go to the actual engineers to bring back to their home countries. I presume that will be because a significant part of the engineers' wages will have to go back to the ship's owners for room and board costs, and much of the rest is expected to be spent when the "seamen" go on leave in port. How then, I have to wonder, is that mere 10% going to benefit under-developed economies and create new market opportunities for the US?
This just sounds to me like the worst of US-based body shops, taking advantage of foreign engineers who are willing to accept take-home no greater than what they might get at home in return for gaining some experience on a US-based project, but with the added benefit to the company of avoiding having to put up with the inconvenience of having to fit within INS visa regulations.
1. Bob Balaban04/26/2005 07:50:19 AM
Imagine having to write code on the ship to pay off your bar bill....
"St. Peter don't ya call me cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store."
2. Marc DA04/29/2005 11:22:05 AM
All this talk of cheap labor driving prices down. In the NYC area prices haven't gone down one cent. Notice the huge bonuses being paid to the executives who come up with these jackass ideas... you'll understand why. Anyway to prevent these people from breeding?