Outsourcing: Small scale is in; complex and creative is in

Posted on February 18, 2012  /  0 Comments

This NYT story describes a phase transition. Small players are beginning to outsource; the tasks are more complex and creative. This is huge for small countries and small service export firms.

The production values may be a little amateurish by MTV standards, but for $2,000 it cost a small fraction of the typical budget for a professional film. And Mr. Smith has attracted some of music’s most important currency: attention. Since being posted to YouTube on Feb. 2 “Smoke and Mirrors” has been watched more than 179,000 times, and a recent post about it by Mr. Smith’s brother became one of the top articles on Reddit, the social link aggregator.

The video is one example of the breadth of outsourcing, which has come to include the kind of highly specialized skills — like microchip design, which I.B.M. contracted to an Indian company in 2005 — that were once considered unexportable. Companies in the West often claim that while they outsource factory jobs, the creative and innovative work is still done at home.

“You hear so much about big corporations outsourcing,” Mr. Smith said by phone on a break from his day job teaching English to immigrants in Hamilton, Ontario. “I was just trying to think of a unique way to release the album and promote it.”

While outsourcing was once viewed strictly as a cost-cutting privilege of giant corporations, it is increasingly available to smaller companies and even individuals.

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