Start Up Blog

Outsourcing – Visuals vs Backend

As webpreneurs we all now employ offshore coders to develop sites using super cool resources like Odesk and Elance. The process is a simple one. But just like all things good, there are some catches. Here’s some advice from someone whose done, does it and occasionally avoids it.

The main thing you need is patience and very considered briefs. When there is a language barrier, ideas and words can be taken very literally.

Our experience is that some (not all) offshore IT practioners are indifferent with ‘visual’ requirements. Maybe it’s a cultural implication. And there are many things we’ve had done much better offshore, like finding creative solutions to technical problems. We’ve worked with some great creative bootstrappers. But it’s clear that more developed markets put a much higher value on ‘aesthetics‘. So we get all our rentoid visuals done locally, while we outsource alot of our backend work. It’s akin to a convenience store you might see in India, there just not quite as pretty as those in Australia and the USA. See below.

Western Convenience Store

Convenience Store India

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5 Responses

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  1. Ross Hill said, on August 28, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Spot on!

  2. Sushrut said, on August 28, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Hi,

    oDesk etc are good tools. But there are better providers available through direct outsourcing. Its always better to work outside of freelancing sites, as most of the times best programmers work with companies that are not there on these sites.

    Cheers,
    Sushrut

  3. Marnie B said, on August 28, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Good article, but I still refuse to outsource work overseas. I’ve seen too many shonkily coded websites and applications come back to do it anymore. Besides, there are freelancers and small businesses here that need our money. Why not keep it in the country?

  4. Steve Sammartino said, on August 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Marnie B – Good piont to keep the money in your country of origin. But exporting It services to cheapers economies does a couple of cool things as well:

    1. It might be the difference between a startup happening or not happening. Becuase the new economics make it feasible for a micro business to start with a few hundred dollars
    2. It also injects money into developing economies and so improves their standard of living and skill base.

    Steve.

  5. dr.dre said, on August 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Marnie B,

    I am constantly stunned by peoples’ failure to understand the basic concept of “gains from trade”. There is nothing noble about maintaining the inefficient use of resources when there a better options.

    If Australia focussed more on the stuff it was good at (such as pulling stuff out the ground, growing stuff, entrepreneurship, education etc) and selling these things to the rest of the world then we would could buy more stuff that other countries are better at producing (like manufactured goods, and in this instance coding/website design and maintenance). Adam Smith worked this out over 2 centuries ago (well, sort of. David Ricardo really nailed it in the 1830s)

    Cheers,
    The Doc


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