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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Forget Bangalore, try Beaverton

If you dial a call center in India and the person answering says his name is Bob, pretty soon he might not be lying.

Comments (8)

Was just reading how America is now becoming the preferred source of cheap labor - over even China! -


Well, at least I might be able to understand the person!

The future is not America. America will be the poor India of the latter 21st century; we're in the birth pangs of that now, but the "great nation" just can't understand what's going on. Listen carefully, readers: America will be the largest third world country of the late 21st and 22nd century.

Floating exchange rates are ever so useful. Same phenomenon blocked the feared takeover of the US economony by Japan a couple of decades back, with many Japanese companies establishing manufacturing operations in the US. Expect the same (the sooner the better) from China down the road.

The karma of globalization: devotion to the bottom line.

I used to work for one said company in Beaverton. "Too expensive" so much of the work was sent to less expensive locals, like Silver City, New Mexico and Kalispell, Montana. (I was actually sent to Kalispell as a trainer.)

Not cheap enough, so the work got sent to Canada. And then overseas to India and elsewhere.

In 2002 during that recession I was laid off...and if you think finding a job in Portland is bad, just try northwestern Montana. Great if you're a government worker, sucks if you aren't.

And what happened to that old company? Those two sites in Kalispell (in an old shopping mall) and Silver City (in an old WalMart) were shut down. The Beaverton site is still open, although the pay is about a good $1-2 lower (in straight, non-inflation adjusted dollars) than it was back in 1996 when I started. I always got a laugh when I was promoted in Kalispell and was offered a "promotion" to a wage that was 58 cents per hour LESS than what I started at with the company. (Fortunately, I was kept on the (at the time) higher Oregon pay scale.)

Netflix (NFLX)'s call center, otoh, seems always to have been in Beaverton. The company has prospered and prevailed over the former DVD rental chains.

The company has prospered and prevailed over the former DVD rental chains.

Actually, no; Netflix is losing customers, ans has been the past three years as competition increases (from Amazon and Blockbuster and Hulu, for example). To keep the bottom line up, they're transitioning to streaming video as quickly as possible. Those little red envelopes will be gone in the next 3-5 years. Most video companies are losing out to the Internet.

And that call center you mentioned? Big deal. Like most call centers, it has a turnstile at the door and pays subsistence wages.

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