Tag Archives: brasscom

Lunatics and bigots

A long time ago, when I wrote my first book, someone came up to me at a party and suggested that they could have written a better book. It may have been just a light-hearted joke, but I could see that he was serious and quite affronted that I had written a book that he felt he was better qualified to write.

I just said to him that he should do it – plenty of people believe they could have written a better book, or made a better film, or written a better piece of music, but how many of them actually go out and do it? If all the great books, symphonies, and films have already been created then why do people keep on creating new ones anyway? Nobody has a monopoly on the truth.

Because of these experiences I learned long ago to ignore those who are critical without offering alternatives or improvements, rather like an old boss of mine who always wanted his team to come to him with suggestions on how to fix a problem, rather than bleating about the problem itself.

But recently, I’ve been receiving critical comments from an individual on LinkedIn and Twitter. He has now called my magazine IT Decisions ‘bigoted’. Fortunately for him, he did not address his abuse to me personally because as most people know, making menacing threats or libel via electronic means is quite a serious offence in most jurisdictions.

I’m not personally all that bothered. Anyone who publishes an opinion of any form has to expect some ridiculous responses now and then. However, back in Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester could lock his wife away in the attic. Now the lunatics have Twitter and other social networks to publish their world view.

So what did IT Decisions publish that’s so terrible?

Here is a report, commenting on research from Nasscom lamenting how few Indian graduates are ready for employment. It’s not me making these claims directly, it’s the Indian trade association Nasscom. Got that? It’s an Indian trade association bemoaning their own education system – not me.

In my view, the Indian hi-tech industry has enough good graduates due to the sheer numbers coming through college, but if the universities were more attuned to what industry needs then things could be a lot better. And the point of the article was anyway to contrast the value of full-time and part-time education, with the view that a part-time education may be more valuable than most have given it credit for.

Then, this report on the views of the Brasscom president, Antonio Gil. That’s the Brazilian hi-tech trade asssociation – similar to Nasscom in India. Gil made some flippant remarks about Brazilian IT teams being more inquisitive than Chinese or Indians. I reported his remarks, within the context of them not being politically correct, though having more than a grain of truth because of the way IT companies work in these different locations.

IT Decisions reports on what is important to technology decision makers in Brazil, but my magazine doesn’t have a hidden agenda. It’s not there to bash India and China, or only ever blow a trumpet for Brazil. When the magazine extensively covered the recent IT worker strikes in São Paulo we were accused by some in Brazil of being too negative and not promoting the industry enough.

My response to those people in Brazil was that we are not here as flag-wavers for the local industry, we are reporting facts that are relevant for those buying IT systems.

And that’s the reality. You can’t please all the people all the time if you want to try reporting the truth. Reporting always has some favour, or slant, or agenda, but in general we are trying to provide good information and analysis, without adverts, without press releases, without vendor-sponsored content, and without spin.

For those reasons alone, IT Decisions is already a lot more honest than most newspapers who need to keep a proprietor happy, or advertisers on board, or to appeal to the prejudice of regular readers.

I have plenty of good friends in India who know exactly how much I have written positively about that country and how far their IT industry has come in the past couple of decades. I don’t need to defend myself here when I have personal notes of thanks from people in India, all the way up to Manmohan Singh himself. I wonder if Dr Singh would have taken the time to write a note of thanks to me if he considered me and my magazine to be bigoted India-bashers?

Jane Eyre

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Comment on Brazil

I went to Brazil as a guest of BRASSCOM recently, the Brazilian hi-tech trade association. Angelica Mari was the only other British journalist on the trip. Take a look at what we both produced in just a few days meeting people in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo:

Bikinis not Burqas

I’m at the Brasscom Global IT Forum 2010 in Rio de Janeiro.

I was talking a couple of days ago to a very senior figure in the Brazilian technology industry and he listed all the benefits of working with Brazil, including the deep domain knowledge, heritage of the IT industry, and the flexibility of the people. But then he said that often the reality is that an executive will end up with two or three possible locations where they can work and so it’s soft benefits that will help influence the decision. On that note, he waved his arm at the winter sunshine and pretty girls around us in a cafe and said, would you rather be visiting Brazil or Bangladesh?

It’s a serious point. I have heard rumours in the past of one company that invested in a back office in Sri Lanka just because the wife of the CEO wanted the ability to regularly visit the beaches there.

And in terms of lifestyle, Brazil has to be one of the most favourable locations in the world – particularly here in Rio de Janeiro. As I write this blog I am in a major hotel conference centre, yet I am also about 10 metres from the golden sand of Ipanema beach, with waves crashing onto the shore as the only noise disturbing the conference speaker.

It’s winter in Brazil at present, yet it’s still 20c. In northern Europe, that’s quite a nice warm day. To many Brazilians it’s chilly, though the joggers on the beach are in shorts and T-shirts. The whole city screams work-life balance because offices can be just metres from the beach – like my hotel.

I was enjoying a drink on the rooftop bar of the hotel last night and I mentioned the ‘Brazil or Bangladesh’ comment to another leading Brazilian tech player. He immediately said: “It’s all about our business plan B – are you interested in bikinis or burqas?”

It’s not culturally sensitive or politically correct, but both commentators are telling a real truth in a humourous way. If you are an executive and you are choosing a place to invest, once basic competencies and price are all compared and a short list is created, the soft factors are going to play a major role in helping you choose where you want to work.

And it’s very hard to beat Brazil as a nice place to do business.

The wifi issues in Brazil today

It turns out that there is wall-to-wall wifi at the Gartner conference in São Paulo today – so I apologise to anyone from Brasscom or Gartner who was upset by my earlier blog post… I found out that Angelica Mari from Computer Weekly had been told off by some of the conference organisers for complaining about the wifi on her Twitter feed.

I have to confess to everyone – I started it. I complained and moaned to Angelica, who also mentioned that it was not really acceptable in a modern-day conference… but she was making a fair business point and there was nothing unkind it what she – or I – said.

The situation was that our hosts had switched off the Internet access because a government minister was coming to speak at the event – so it was a “security” issue to have the wifi enabled during that time.

I did not find out this reason for the lack of Internet until hours later, after being told that I was just not allowed to use Internet in the conference hall. And furthermore, what a ridiculous reason anyway. Could the government minister in question email me and explain why we are not allowed to use the Internet in his presence please?

Thanks to Andrew Spender from Gartner in New York for helping to get to the bottom of the mystery – and he was just following our tweets from Brazil and able to coordinate better than some of the conference team on the ground. Interesting.

This is not a big issue though. I don’t have an axe to grind with anyone and especially not Brasscom or Gartner, but I thought I’d better follow up from the earlier blog because it seems some feathers were ruffled.

A note of reference for conference organisers everywhere, please just ensure the story is right. If you are switching off the net access temporarily, then why not let the audience know the reason?

It’s a whole lot better than someone giving out the wrong information “you are not allowed online in here…”


Pele and Hurst together

Why no Wifi?

I’m at the Gartner outsourcing summit in São Paulo, Brazil today. I walked into the keynote session a little earlier this morning only to find that there is no Internet availability in the conference area of the hotel.

I asked the conference organisers why I can’t get online. They said that people at the conference are not allowed to get online.

Umm, so how is anyone supposed to blog the conference or make comments about what the speakers are saying?

I did ask them earlier what the hashtag for the event is, only to be greeted by blank stares… Come on Gartner, what’s going on? You can do a lot better than this in Brazil. At NASSCOM in Mumbai, bloggers are allowed seats at the front of the conference hall – with power sockets – so they can get unobstructed video and photo content out onto the web immediately.

This time it feels like I’m an imposition, asking constant questions and getting no answers.
Gartner Outsourcing Summit Brazil 2010

Brazil and technology

I’m blogging next week from the Gartner Sourcing Summit in São Paulo, Brazil. And following that, I’ll be in Rio de Janeiro for a government led event focused on the tech industry in Brazil.

Take a look at the speakers at the Gartner summit by following the link above. If you want me to ask any questions about the tech industry in Brazil to any of these good people, or the government people, then just send me a message…

Hedkandi Brazil