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Current Topic: Tech Industry US tech companies look to ways to replace options
Topic: Tech Industry 1:01 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2004

] Some companies plan to cut back on compensation
] altogether.
] Dell said last year that it would decrease stock options
] and instead use cash as an incentive. But founder Michael
] Dell also said then that the personal computer maker did
] not need to replace options altogether because of the
] changing competitiveness of the job market.
] Stock options are less important given the weakness in
] the job market and the shift away from options, said John
] Rutledge, portfolio manager of the Evergreen Technology
] Fund.
] "Even as the job market does pick up a little bit,
] recognize that all companies are in the same boat and
] cutting back the amount of options that they are
] issuing," Rutledge said.
] "Technology is maturing as an industry. Its growth rate
] is not going to be what it has been in the past -- all
] the more reason for companies to adjust and adapt to the
] new world," he said.

This touches a lot of threads.

The people who advocate expensing options talk on about executive compensation, but they do not have an answer for how this effects regular employees at innovative companies and what to do about it. They just don't have an answer for that, and they steer way around the subject when they write about this. They seem to be completely ignorant of this as a factor.

"Technology is maturing as an industry" means we're not doing innovative work in this space anymore. Its not as if there isn't innovative work left to do. Its just that we're not doing it.

From the perspective of potential engineering students this is another nail in the coffin. Not only are we exporting your job to India, but we're not doing anything exciting and there is no opportunity here for wealth creation. The wealth that we do create here will only be shared with top executives. This cuts across all fields. This will damper the nano and bio tech fields just as much.

The best and brightest should be running at full speed at this point. The question is into what?

America already has a tremendous cultural bias against math/science. We already stimatize those fields as anti-social, prefering instead more political professions that involve less hard work and hard thinking, and where the winners are the one who are best at manipulating people, usually in a dishonest way.

The only exception is the medical profession. People need doctors even when they are young, so they are harder to stigmatize. You don't talk to the people who design your car.

The reality is that technological leadership has been the bedrock of American success for the entire post-war era. We're now engaged in the social process of cutting that down as fast as possible. We're eliminating and everything that generates hope and ambition in the technology field, often in ignorance. We're cutting away at our own muscle. We're gunna bleed for it.

"Someone is writing down your mistakes..." US tech companies look to ways to replace options

Foaming rant in support of Stock Options expensing
Topic: Tech Industry 10:42 am EDT, Apr  7, 2004

] Excessive grants of stock options, whose cost is
] unreported to shareholders, encourage executives to
] pursue short-term profit maximization strategies that in
] several cases have led to criminal activity.

If this is the arguement for options expensing I feel quite confident opposing the idea. There are some good points here, in terms of inapproppriate executive behavior, as well as the idea that financial policy shouldn't be made by politicians. On the other hand, by making options appear to cost more then they really do we're essentailly punishing the guilty execs by putting an embargo on the food shipped to their countries. The execs aren't going to pay. The people that work for them will. This essay doesn't acknowledge that fact.

Foaming rant in support of Stock Options expensing

The Other Side of the Outsourcing Debate (
Topic: Tech Industry 9:56 am EDT, Apr  6, 2004

] IEEEUSA: I don't think, like the industry reps and their study
] surrogates have said, it is just low level work that will
] move offshore.
] Without good data, it is hard to advise people on what
] to do, what to retrain in and what to study and whether
] they are at risk. I don't put too much stock in the UC
] Berkeley study that says 14 million jobs are at risk.
] Some work will still need to be done in the US.
] I also don't think that Chairman Greenspan's comments
] that it is just low level work moving offshore is a very
] accurate picture of what is going on.
] Bottom line is that I don't have good advice for
] folks.

This is a really excellent interview. The speaker is very down to earth, acknowledges problems that most people are unwilling to discuss, and attacks the political hyperbole on both sides.

The Other Side of the Outsourcing Debate (

Realities Make 'Offshoring' Hard to Swallow (
Topic: Tech Industry 9:54 am EDT, Apr  6, 2004

] If you peel back the arguments in favor of offshoring,
] what you finally end up with is an article of faith --
] faith that history will repeat itself and the U.S.
] economy will quickly generate enough new jobs in
] higher-paying industries to compensate for the ones lost
] to trade. What I've yet to see, however, is even a
] educated guess as to what those jobs might be.

Realities Make 'Offshoring' Hard to Swallow (

[Politech] ITAA on impact of offshore IT outsourcing on U.S. economy
Topic: Tech Industry 1:07 pm EST, Mar 31, 2004

The IT industry's spin machine presents its take on IT outsourcing's impact on jobs. They certain try to divert you from paying attention to the problems, which makes them hard to read out of this summary without paying for the full study. Its also hard to say if they are factoring in increasing in outsourcing in other industries. It doesn't seem like they are, and if not that would cast a very different light on their take on overall job growth.

On the whole, they are predicting that the US Publishing, Software, and Communications industry will loose 50,000 jobs in 2008, up from 20,000 in 2003, but they are claiming that between 2003 and 2008 the total number of jobs in the Software & Services industry will increase by 182,015. This seems fishy. If net job growth is increasingly negative year over year then where are those 182 thousand jobs coming from? By contrast, the Education and Health Services industry (why are these two things clumped together?) is going to gain 1.7 million jobs in the same timeframe.

[Politech] ITAA on impact of offshore IT outsourcing on U.S. economy

Most Siemens Software Jobs Moving East
Topic: Tech Industry 9:22 am EST, Feb 17, 2004

Siemens will move most of the 15,000 software programming jobs from its offices in the United States and Western Europe to India, China and Eastern Europe.

Most Siemens Software Jobs Moving East

Rural Cambodia, Though Far Off the Grid, Is Finding Its Way Online
Topic: Tech Industry 5:27 pm EST, Jan 31, 2004

] Since the system went into place last September at the
] new elementary school here in Cambodia's remote northeast
] corner, solar panels have been powering three computers.
] Once a day, an Internet "Motoman" rides a cherry red
] Honda motorcycle slowly past the school. On the passenger
] seat is a gray metal box with a short fat antenna. The
] box holds a wireless Wi-Fi chip set that allows the
] exchange of e-mail between the box and computers.
] Briefly, this schoolyard of tree stumps and a
] hand-cranked water well becomes an Internet hot spot.
] It is a digital pony express: five Motomen ride their
] routes five days a week, downloading and uploading
] e-mail. The system, developed by a Boston company, First
] Mile Solutions, uses a receiver box powered by the
] motorcycle's battery. The driver need only roll slowly
] past the school to download all the village's outgoing
] e-mail and deliver incoming e-mail. The school's computer
] system and antenna are powered by solar panels. Newly
] collected data is stored for the day in a computer
] strapped to the back of the motorcycle. At dusk, the
] motorcycles converge on the provincial capital, Ban Lung,
] where an advanced school is equipped with a satellite
] dish, allowing a bulk e-mail exchange with the outside
] world.

Rural Cambodia, Though Far Off the Grid, Is Finding Its Way Online

ACM Queue - Culture Surprises in Remote Software Development Teams - You can't hide from culture, yours or anyone else's.
Topic: Tech Industry 1:18 pm EST, Jan 29, 2004

] Although solving the problems of space and time is
] difficult, these are not the only issues. Work that takes
] place over long distances means that communication will
] often involve different cultures. Participants may be
] surprised by such interactions because they have not
] considered various cultural differences and how they
] impact the daily work of long-distance teams.

Best Slashdot link in quite some time. The impact that various cultural differences have on how international teams approach problems. If you work with people overseas, or you think you might, this is a must read.

ACM Queue - Culture Surprises in Remote Software Development Teams - You can't hide from culture, yours or anyone else's.

Geek's Lament (from IP)
Topic: Tech Industry 9:46 pm EST, Jan 28, 2004

Once we built a network
Made it from
Your tax dollars and mine
Once we built a network
Now it's theirs
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once we built a Highway
Called the Net
Gigabytes down the line
Now it just runs one way -
Outta here
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

MSNBC - A Serious Jobs Crisis
Topic: Tech Industry 9:13 pm EST, Jan 21, 2004

] We lost 437,000 information-services jobs between January
] 2001 and December 2003. That is 80 percent of the number
] we actually added between January 1998 and December 2000.

In other words, the economy has added 109,250 IT jobs since 1998, and 546,250 people to compete for them. This interview is with someone from the AFL-CIO... I don't like her tact on solving the problem, which is essentially violent from a libertarian perspective (use force to take money from rich people, use force to coerce organizations to employ us). However, her understanding of the problem is solid regardless of your political leanings.

MSNBC - A Serious Jobs Crisis

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