Working with offshore companies has always had an appeal to me. The US dollar, even at the low point, can buy so much more in India, it seems like a no-brainer to work with these companies. But those of you who have know that there is a real challenge to this.
First you have the language barrier. Don’t be fooled by the fact they say they speak English. Call up a Dell customer service line and see the level of English we’re talking about. It’s not their fault. I mean they have a lot more knowledge of our langauge then we do theirs, but it’s just not fluent enough English to communicate properly.
Second you have the time barrier. Again, don’t be fooled by the idea that they can just work your hours. Even when they say they will, that never quite seems to be the case. Again, not their fault. I’m sure no one reading this wants to drag their ass into work at 3am.
Then there is an issue that I feel is difficult to mention without sounding very offensive, but here it is. Don’t expect an offshore company to be as into their work as a US company. Now it’s wrong to speak in such broad context about the work ethic of other countries. We have plenty of horrible companies in the US, and I’m sure there are some exceptional companies in India and other countries who do work from the US. But I have to say that in my years of working with at least a dozen of these companies, I have never found a solid company to outsource to in India or Ukraine. The fact is I have just not seen the level of competency I would expect in an US company.
I was hoping to find something different in Brickwork India. They were mentioned in both The World is Flat, and The 4-Hour Work Week. Supposedly major companies use their services, and some people have written some wonderful things about them. But my experience with them has been nothing short of laughable. At lest most of the offshore companies I have dealt with are anxious to get going. Evidently Brickwork India is so flush with business, they don’t respond to email more than once per week (They must have read Tim Ferriss’s book!).
I tried to try their services out with a personal assistant, and all I got was a complete runaround. After 3 weeks of emails (mostly on my end), an uncomfortable Skype all, and begging for a response from them, I’m still at a loss for what the next step is in hiring them.
My initial email was from someone named Vivek Kulkarni. His email was short and professional. He referred me to someone named Satwik Joglekar. This is where things started to slow down. Email to Satwik went unanswered. The only time I could get a reply is when I copied other people at Brickworks India.
It’s a shame that I couldn’t hook this up with them. I had such renewed optimism for the outsource model after reading 4-Hour Work Week. I was thinking I could use them for a number of tasks. The bad part about this is now I question all outsourced models again. For example Corefino. I would really love to give those guys a try. But companies like Brickworks India, who supposedly are among the best in India let me down, how could I even think about handing over something as vital as accounting to an offshore company.
The fact is, you get what you pay for. The company we use at USWeb for outsourced development is a US based group of programers. They are not cheap, but damn are they good at what they do.
If anyone out there has some feedback or advice on this, I would love to hear from you. Until then I guess I’ll just keep looking for the Made in USA logo and leave offshore to Wal-Mart and Kathy Lee.