Wednesday, May 04, 2005

All Geeks On Deck

Two US entrepreneurs are developing an IT services business plan promising sharply lower IT prices with access to software and engineering outsourcing developers just a short boat ride away. The "Code Boat" is a plan by California businessmen David Cook and Roger Green. Their "SeaCode" venture would staff a cruise ship several kilometres off the southern California coast with customer IT specialists and then making the ship available to IT headquarters staffers through a short water taxi ride. "We're getting a good reception," said Green, a veteran software developer and executive. "Our plan is resonating mostly with companies that are already outsourcing." The founders said they had secured financing for their venture and were trying to line up a cruise ship and IT customers for SeaCode. "Our goal is to be in the water by the end of the year," Cook said. Their idea has drawn some criticism from critics who are labelling IT a "slave ship" and a "sweatshop", prompting some to doubt SeaCode will ever get launched. But Cook and Green said IT would definitely happen and they planned to pay engineers and software developers well. They believed they could skirt US H-1B visa regulations by categorising their specialists as "seamen" who would be able to visIT the US mainland on shore passes. They also said they would do a "significant" amount of hiring outside the US to sign up top experts. Green said SeaCode would seek back office and SAP experts in India, network engineers in China, and embedded developers in Russia. Non-US employees would probably be paid less than their counterparts on the mainland. Green said SeaCode planned to hire plenty of Americans, noting that about half the job applicants so far were from Americans. SeaCode's engineers would work 8 to 10-hour shifts around the clock to finish projects fast. The ship would sail to Encinada in Baja Mexico for holiday and leisure time. CIO staffers from the mainland would be housed in comfortable cruise ship cabins when they visited to check on the progress of their outsourced work. Green and Cook said they expected to free IT managers from long and fatiguing trips to outsourcing centres such as India. Cook is the maritime expert in the venture. He studied at the California Maritime Academy and spent 16 years at sea as a ship Captain before entering the IT field.
Nerd Of The Sea?

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