FryUp: Thrilla in Manila

Sending jobs offshore and Vodafone's billing u-turn

TED ain’t dead

Lux Interior of The Cramps has become Wighat Zombie Overlord from Hell fulltime, but Technology, Entertainment, Design or TED2009 is still going strong. I’d kill to go to TED. This year, Bill Gates dropped the geeky stuff, and released a jar of mosquitoes into the conference hall. Luckily for the attendees, they weren’t malarial. I think billg got his point about malaria in poor countries across rather well there. Another point made: the man who didn’t actually invent the Internet, Al Gore, showed this clip of a burning methane lake in Alaska: It’s getting hotter in here TED 2009

Outsourcing Thrilla in Manila

Big corporates are amorphous creatures, moving in several directions at the same time. On the one hand, they seek to do the right thing for their shareholders, which is to eke out every possible ounce of profit from their business. The desire in corporate chief executives to hack and slash at every possible cost is surgically implanted into them at management school, so it’s no surprise to see the likes of Telecom casting a lusting eye on low-wage markets like the Philippines. Manila offers an educated workforce that speaks English but doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as New Zealand-based labour, apparently. So it makes sense for Telecom to move 250 hell-desk jobs there, boosting the numbers in Manila to 700. Or does it? Telecom will save millions on wages, which is important enough. However, those savings come at a cost: even though Telecom tried to play up the fact that they’re only outsourcing some jobs to Manila, in the current economic climate, that’s a slap in the face for the New Zealand public. No amount of spin can hide the fact that Telecom is cutting hundreds of Kiwi jobs and appears like a callous, cost-cutting corporation whose profit imperative overrides civic concerns. Telecom’s eroded public image has been slowly recovering under the new leadership, so it’s surprising to see this kind of behaviour resurface. Telecom exports 250 jobs to the Philippines

Well, that didn’t work, did it?

Vodafone was hoist on its own cost-cutting petard this week, as it had to backtrack on charging people to continue to receive paper bills. At the time, I was staggered at the corporate arrogance that had Vodafone assume it could tell people that from now on, it would cost $1.50 if they wanted to have paper bills as in the past, instead of just online ones. That move will no doubt enter customer relations manual as an example of what absolutely not ever to do, unless you really really want to piss people off. Why didn’t Vodafone just offer people who can forego paper statements a $1.50 discount instead? Vodafone customers hated, hated, hated the notion of being charged money for paper bills, so the Telco Giant had to back off and eat crow. Except that too backfired, due to the use of humour by A Spokesman Well-Known To Computerworld Readers. Ouch. Simon Hendery: The customer is always right, even if they don’t care about trees

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