Rod has an interesting post about striving for more as an industry.
I fully agree with what he says. I firmly believe that we as developers in New Zealand are some of the best in the world. Because our fish pond is so small, as a developer we can't afford to specialise too much. We need to be able to design, develop, test and profile. We need to be customer facing. We need to know T-SQL and OO and SOA and Agile and Webservices and all the other buzzwords. Above all else we deliver solutions for the sort of budgets that wouldn't buy lunch in other parts of the world. We are intelligent, problem solvers. Our salary expectation is low. (too low IMHO)
Why then, aren't we a world power in IT services and products?
That is a hard question to answer. A think a lot of it is the fact we are so isolated. Our strength is also our weakness. While we are famous for thinking outside the square, we also think too small. The isolation also means it is very hard to get the product to market. Perhaps the answer is to piggyback on the contacts and drive of people like Rod and his peers? Maybe the answer is to setup companies in the States and Europe to push our products and ideas to the world. Rod thinks the answer is capital investment in software companies. I think this is partially correct, but the companies also need people driving their products to the world, and contacts in business around the world. That is the hard part in my opinion.
I do a bit of work for a local company. The have big dreams and a great product. I think they are the sort of company that would go ahead in leaps and bounds with a little capital investment. It's a big call though, going from a small company doing pretty well, to taking on more staff and hoping the clients will come. I think a lot of companies around NZ face the same problem. It's a bloody big call to get out of your comfort zone and risk it all. It takes a lot of confidence in yourself and your product. I think maybe a lot of companies are happy with their lot, and that could be a major factor as to why we aren't bigger players on a world scale. It's taking that first step into the unknown that is the hardest.
What is the old saying? How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.