Ravi Mohan's Blog

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Indians are cheap, not free!

When you are an independent consultant, you see a lot of crazy people. The most dreaded monster in this bestiary is that of the Non-Resident-Indian-Trying-To-"Develop Products"-In-Bangalore.

The game generally goes like this.

Some desperate Indian working in the USA on a regular job (note that he is NOT a venture capitalist, businessman etc) gets what he thinks is an "Awesome" idea. The he discuses this with some equally clueless friends and they hammer out some technology choices (j2ee , .net whatver). After a few weeks/months of this they decide they want the software done "cheap". Even companies which charge very little money per developer hour (say TCS) wouldn't give these folks the time of the day so they ask their friends in Bangalore to reccomend "top grade" independent developers.These poor innocents recomend people they know to be good developers and have left the corprorate rat race to work independently.

Now the fun begins. The Independent Consultant (IC from now) gets a call from the USA saying "MR X who you worked with in Company ... reccomended you as a top notch developer. We have this awesome idea that we need you to develop in "asp /.net" within 3 months. We also are looking for junior developers, testers and maybe a Project Manager. Do you think you can help us"? The consultant, if he has been independent for a while, has seen this dance many tims before and immediately asks "Do you guys have any money or is all this wishful thinking?"

There are a few different answers to this. Sometimes it is "yeah we can pay 5$ per hour for the first 24 weeks " ( I am NOT joking!!!). Or alternatively , "you see we are just starting out blah blah so we don't have much ready cash but we have all these highflying VCs lined up and if you can work free for the first 6 months then you have millions of dollars in equity".

Duh . Yeah Right.

Some of the more ... emmm .. subtle folks wants the IC to work for them without knowing what the "cool idea " is. After all a "cool idea" is very valuable right? We once encountered an "idea man" who offered to join our company as a "Project Manager" ("since it has been a long time since I coded anything") while looking for funding and in the meanwhile he would let us pay him an "industry standard" salary.

Stupidity is the one thing which REALLY has no limts.


Abey Mullassery said...

Some of these NRIs, even travel all the way to India to personally communicate the greatness of their ideas and get "free experts who don't have their own ideas to implement".

We have met a few in Bangalore.
What a waste of time! Learnt it the hard way.

Sometimes I feel that I should tie-up these guys with some "experts/architects" who would also just talk and not write a single line of code. They would make a good pair. But I just did not want to do anything evil.

Thankfully I met a few non-NRIs who know that funding is required for the initial development. Otherwise I would have thought that all these small "investors" are the same.

Anand Vishwanath said...

5$ an hour.. Hmmm... I think they feel it is good enuf to cover food , electricity and water bills ;-) !

Ravi said...

". I think they feel it is good enuf to cover food , electricity and water bills ;-) !"

In Bangalore? That "coverage" would be very minimal :-)

Nate said...

So, what... you'd have intermittent power? That would be strange indeed in Bangalore. ;)

I'm curious how they come up with these numbers. They're probably the numbers that are needed to make their pipe dream look green. It would be interesting (though probably a waste of time) to spend a little time interrogating them to see if they understood how foolish they were talking.

Anonymous said...

Next time they call, Send them to HCL (Hindustan Coomaalees Limited). They'll be happy to do it for $5 an hour.

+ If they take 5 "Brogrammers", they'll get an "Argidect" free.