Getting lucky in the tech game: Starring- High school grads with online degrees managing bottom of the pyramid eager beavers

Luck in every sphere of life is some thing that can grab your existence and thrust you into success; commercial, personal, business and then some. What luck doesn’t bring to people, more times than not, is class. Like luck, class is some thing that one cannot develop, just like luck, you either have class or you are class-less. If you happen to be lucky, one would hope that you have some class to share the spoils of your luck.

I’ve worked at Fortune 10, to ‘side of the road great idea type of startups’ in 4 distinct countries on 3 continents. There is some thing to be said about the shift I’ve seen from the time India was booming and outsourcing was king, the offshoring managers in the US who didn’t have a clue were the lucky ones, armed with high school diplomas the jackals of the trade who had nothing else to gain in the West, went in epic proportions to conquer India and all that she had to offer.

These offshoring managers were picked typically to manage less than acceptable teams in India who were supposedly stealing jobs away from them. Incidentally these guys were the, under 50k$ a year state side managers who hadn’t been out of Iowa let alone go to Indore. But they went, they didn’t have a choice, they has a passport; to their surprise, due to the Anglo-Saxon worship mind set that has scarred the subcontinent, these otherwise less than useful managers were the boots on the ground and some figured out that they were Kings and King makers if they leveraged this strategic stroke of luck correctly.

Long story short, the worst of the lot ended up managing some of the smartest minds in tech and engineering in India. What a travesty, for which we are our selves to blame. It paid off handsomely to the select offshore companies, their principles and titans of Indian tech industry, the average Information worker, not as much. Granted they had more options and better paychecks but from a long term perspective they would serve as sprockets in some one else’s well oiled machines.

This reverse migration of managing talent remotely is a fairly new phenomenon in Pakistan, about 10 years or so old. Pakistanis possess an other trait clearly missing in the rest of the subcontinent, we are the quintessential western worshipers, for while the Hindus have gods of every kind, and we make our own masters in this context. Given our general disadvantage, any opportunity to earn brownie points with the on-shore masters is perceived and rewarded by the said masters by creating an entire workforce that feeds off this negative energy. A class and sub class of corporate informants and thugs has developed.

In most cases the level of talent reporting back to the West is far superior, but given the balance of power most people interact with the onshore masters, just as such, in a submissive master slave relationship. In the last three years for sure and some prior to that, whilst I had been busy building offshoring centers of excellence at a decent speed and proportion, I feel I have the right to an opinion on the subject. My journey was one of scale and one of wanting to generate employment and social equality (1 person employed supports on average 4.5 Family Members in Pakistan), in my own mind the journey was left partially achieved because it had far greater potential than what the basic University of Phoenix online grad could comprehend.

But I feel that I was un-able to drive to the employee-masses that onshore doesn’t control destiny, its controlled in the clouds (not the amazon type either). Clearly there is some thing wrong with our genetic makeup we want to be shepherded even in times where we clearly should be the shepherds.

I feel very strongly about not working with or for people whose IQ and EQ are close to my pet chicken. I am on a mission to ensure that I save my self and others from over valuing the power hierarchy in startups and post startups, between investors and management, between offshore and onshore. I want to figure out a way to teach our young tech professionals and smart minds to develop anti bullshit radars to see past the shallowness of the high school grads, just because they are on shore and speak English or French or German better than the guys on the ground . It’s a need driven relationship that should be kept as such, they need offshore and offshore needs them it has nothing to do with skill(s), only to do with better economic empowerment, access to capital and the least, luck. With all others things being constant trust me, we would get equally lucky:). So its time we turn lady luck in our favor by turning the economic equation on its head and investing locally within our own.

Beyond that, being more loyal than the king is what gets our kids in to trouble. They go down the path of brown nosing and find them selves in a pile of deep sh*t, as at the end of that stream, the only thing onshore investors/startups etc value is a warm body on the other side of the phone that can solve their problems cheaper than what it costs to maintain a swimming pool each month in a good part of Colorado. Moral of the story is, we are selling our selves short, we are selling out and we need to be smarter than that. We need to promote our own eco system, we need to support our own companies, we need invest locally and take advantage of our labor arbitrage, so someone in the boonies on the other side of the planet doesn’t.

Its best to be in a class of your own, rather than expecting classy behavior from the types I’ve described above. Some one in the middle of Bum fuc* Colorado whose idea of International travel is Canada who thinks Pakistan being in Asia should be similar to Hong Kong clearly will not exude the class we expect them to, its time to turn the tables and invest locally then regionally and then globally as opposed to going globally looking for investments, trust me, you will get the capital but you will not be so lucky as to get the class of investor or partner you deserve.

“Don’t shrink your standards, link yourself with those who think and ink like you.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson

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