The best aren’t everywhere in South Africa

Posted on January 1, 2012

I’ve just finished reading Rework, a brilliant book I think every coder should read by 37Signals. The book is just generally badass, but one thing struck me in particular. The chapter is entitled “The Best Are Everywhere”

Basically its a page and a half case study on why they hire staff on skill and aptitude and not on location. They’ve created an awesome company comprised of staff literally scattered around the world. But in todays online world, its really not that big a deal, between online repo’s and build servers, VM’s, IM’s, email, phone and video chat they somehow make do.

Scott Hanselman has written several posts about his experiences as a remote employee. He’s actually got an entire section of his blog dedicated to remote work and how he gets around some of the issues he faces. It makes for interesting reading, but it also highlights the fact that he manages just fine.

Now if remote employees work fine for small companies like 37Signals and it also works fine for big companies like microsoft, what the hell is stopping the average company in south africa from following? I don’t get it at all.

It cuts out a commute, means I can work flexi time, in comfort and at home. At the end of the day it saves me money. Work doesn’t need a giant office, parking space etc etc etc. It saves work money.Surely its a win win?

But every time you go to career junction or get an email from a recruiter or see a job ad in the paper they need you to come in and fill a chair. Its things like this that make me convinced that some south african IT companies just don’t get the concept of moving forward.

You don’t build a kickass tech company by taking new tech and bogging it down with old school management techniques and bureaucracy. You don’t get really inventive, creative and fresh ideas by forcing people to wear a suit and tie and come in from 9-5 to sit in a box. And you don’t find the best people by limiting your field of vision to what you see outside your window.


Categories: General

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