Are You Really A Good Web Worker?

You have a great idea, you’re set for business and you’ve put up a website. So, you start scoping for work and you realize one important fact: You aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Competition is stiff – damned stiff. Why wouldn’t it be? You’re competing for work with millions of other people from all corners of the globe. The rates that you set don’t compare to the ones set by other workers. Some offer exactly what you do at a fraction of your cost.

It makes you pissy. You get upset when you hear about Indian workers or outsourcing to other countries. You mutter and grumble. You might become bitter and start to resent the competition in an international virtual world.

Maybe you’re not ready for web working.

The arTEESTe Attitude

Here’s one strategy that many people take: They adopt a superiority attitude. They’re aghast, they’re shocked and they’re outraged. How dare anyone offer the same for less? This is art – ART, people! – and it has magnificent value to the world!

Oh get real. This arrogant, snotty behavior makes me sick. arTEESTic behavior resembles my toddler’s immaturity – wait, I’m doing her a disservice. Even at three, she knows that everyone has value and that everyone needs to get along.

There’s another aspect that puts the arTEESTe at a serious disadvantage: damaging your own reputation. While you may get clients who enjoy working with a lofty, snotty, arrogant, condescending and self-centered egotistical web worker, most look elsewhere.

Grow up, that’s all I’ll say.

The Quality versus Price Debate

Some people snort. “You get what you pay for,” they say, putting their nose in the air. This is absolutely false. The price tag that someone sticks on an item is no reflection on its quality or true value. People purchase high-priced garbage and baubles every day, and they find faults, too.

I could walk outside and pick up a rock, stick a price tag for a million dollars on it and tell people that because my rock costs a fortune, it’s a damned good rock. Or, I could take a Pontiac Solstice and sell it for a dollar. Cost does not reflect quality when people can arbitrarily sell items and services at any price they choose.

Price also reflects local, regional and national economies and costs of living (plus a hundred or so other factors). What’s great pay for Iqualuit sucks in California. A fantastic salary in Texas might barely meet the poverty line in Holland.

“But how can I compete with such low prices?” We hear the outcry often. Want the answer? You have two options: target a different market or find a way to be competitive. Easy.

Born in the U.S.A.!

A popular argument is that anything that comes from a developing country (did you know the term “third-world” is pretty condescending?) is poor quality and built to sub-standards. Who came up with that idea? Since when do we offer up such sweeping, generalized assumptions? Are we so arrogant that we can claim that because a person is from Thailand, he is uneducated, unskilled and unable to do the job right?

I don’t think so. The saying, “Who died and made you god,” comes to mind.

Yes, yes, I know. Great Britain is tops. Canada rocks. And the U.S. is the almighty god we should bow to. Such bullshit, really. “Made in India” or “Manufactured in the Philippines” means nothing beyond that an item came from a region not your own.

And who says that the U.S. is best? I certainly don’t think so. I’m also sure that the guy in Switzerland may not think Canada’s so hot. I bet the guy in Israel thinks Switzerland isn’t too fantastic either.

We will always be patriotic creatures defending the home we love. By all means, show your national pride, but be respectful of the pride other people might have in their own countries, hm?

Say What?

“It’s a communication issue! There’s no way that someone who has English as a second language could fully understand the project.” I’ve heard that one too. Considering that I’m French-Canadian and that many would consider English my second language, I’m going to call that argument out as well.

In fact, most people who bother to take education and learn a different language end up with a much stronger ability to communicate than someone who never received training. They learn grammar, sentence structure, punctuation… I was often surprised to learn that my abilities writing French were much stronger than native Quebecers.

Certainly, some aren’t as well versed in English as you or I – but hey, you know what? You probably suck at their language completely. Ever try to speak Russian? Or Chinese? Since when has English become the universal language that all must bow to?

If you do find that the person you’re talking to isn’t fluent in your language, hire someone else. Don’t assume that one person reflects the language skills of a complete nation.

Time Is On Your Side

The world’s a funny place. You’re sleeping, they’re waking. It’s day here, it’s night there. 24 hours and it’s spread across countries so that no one knows what time it is where. Impossible to work with such differences in time zones?

Not at all. Those who bitch and complain that buyers should hire local because of time zone differences are the ones that are the least flexible and understanding that the world revolves around everyone – not just them.

We have clients in all four corners of the globe. How do we deal with that? We have clocks. It’s simple, really – and don’t people say we should all keep it simple, stupid? I know that Harry wakes three hours behind me, and I plan my schedule according to that. My client in Australia is in my tomorrow, so we communicate at times when we’re both around: early morning for him, evening for me.

Inconvenient? Not really. At most, I lose a few minutes of my evening. Big deal. The project takes a day or two longer while we work to match up communication hours. So what? Are we that focused on minutes that we can’t be flexible enough to provide good services in locations not our own?

The song “It’s a Small World After All” teaches us that we are a world of people all living together in one planet. Our neighbors are next door, in the next city and in three countries over. We must learn to get along and live with each other, all the while respecting our differences.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. (did you know the term “third-world” is pretty condescending?)

    Hmm,… And here I was thinking third world meant this planet. 🙂

    Seriously though. There are many dinosaurs trying to cling to the olden ways. The web is the next best thing to teleportation I feel.

    Larry Niven’s short story ‘Flash Crowd’ suggested way back in 1972 that the population problem will be history if we had teleportation. People would not have to live close to their place of work and cities will cease to be overloaded.

    The web solved that, don’t you think.

    As for Dinosaurs, there is another Larry Niven story called ‘Leviathan’. 🙂

    Vijayendra Mohanty’s last blog post..Why you should plan for good times

  2. Strong words, great rant and I can’t believe I’m first to comment. WOW! Unless of course I’m getting beat by Brett as I type this.

    I hear you James and I totally agree with your pointers. I think if people do nothing but winge, they could have the best possible situation to work and live in and still bitch.

    While they complain they make way for us to take the world by storm. 🙂

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Finding Work – Freelance Writing Guide

  3. I agree – and I think there is going to be a massive cultural ‘quake’ as increasingly people hire across national boundaries.

    I was impressed recently to find that the head teacher at my 12 year old’s school is thinking about this, and putting in place strategies to help the children develop a flexible learning style and approach to problem-solving – because in 10-20 years, these children will be doing jobs that haven’t been invented yet, in cross-cultural, international teams.

    It’s going to be interesting …

    Lucy’s last blog post..Are you blanking your customers?

  4. Thought-provoking, as always, James. My take on it, for what it’s worth:

    When it comes to quality versus price, remember that the rock with the million dollar price tag doesn’t have that value until someone pays it. The market assigns sustained value, not singular value. The mitigating factor for real property is the cost of transportation and tariffs; for labor, all bets are off. If someone can write an article for a penny a word and deliver it electronically, it impacts the market in a negative way. As developing countries, well, develop, those costs will rise (and so will the average quality). And, if the product is top-notch, the writer will begin to charge more because she can.

    What’s my point there? My point is that, while there’s not a one-for-one relationship between price and quality, anyone who produces quality work will, over time, raise their rates up to what the market can bear. Penny-a-word article writers only charge a penny a word until they figure out they can charge a nickel. Nickel-a-word writers only charge a nickel until the discover they can get two bits.

    Clear as mud, I’m sure, but it’s not 7 AM yet… Moving on.

    There’s nothing wrong with National pride, like you say. Believing that my country is the best place in the world to live doesn’t say as much about others as it does about me. It doesn’t mean Canada is too cold or liberal or Celine Dion-ish; it just means I like my country. Are there other implications when I say “Proud to be an American?” No. At least, not until I add a phrase like “Celine Dion-ish.” Then it becomes less than healthy.

    Now, take that a step further. Can I believe that American products are better than products made in other places without being racist or elitist? Sure. Am I better off, as a good American capitalist, trying to get the best value for the lowest price? Definitely. Now, if quality and price are roughly equal between an American-made and a Canadian-made product, though, I’m going with the American-made product. Not because of the Celine Dion factor, but because I like that my closest neighbors have jobs. It increases my property value. Selfish? maybe. Racist or elitist? Nah.

    As to the ESL question, I’ve found many ESL folks who can write better English than most Americans (or Canadians or Brits). I’ve also found many who have no business writing at this stage of their learning. I took 2 years of High School Spanish, but at 35 years old “el gato esta en el taco” is all I remember. I’ve got no business writing in Spanish. (I also have no business giving technical support on the telephone in Spanish, but that’s another discussion.)

    The other side of the ESL coin is that some languages have grammar and structure that make learning English easier. For example, Dutch folks tend to be at an advantage over Indians in this way. Doesn’t mean the Dutch are better people, but that you will find a higher percentage of Dutch writers who write better than Indian writers. There’s nothing wrong with taking that into consideration when outsourcing.

    Now, that’s more than I’ve written on my D&D blog in a week. Have fun deconstructing it, y’all 😉

    Bob Younce at the Writing Journey’s last blog post..The Helium Experiment is Complete

  5. @ Bob – I must reflect on much of what you say. As you mention, it’s not yet 7am and the coffee has not fueled my jets, yet.

    I want to say one thing. You wrote: “Penny-a-word article writers only charge a penny a word until they figure out they can charge a nickel.”

    Who says? I have figured out that I could probably charge X for Y work. But I don’t. I figured out loooong ago that I can charge X for Y. This isn’t new. Yet I charge Z for Y. And have, and continued, and who says that because I CAN means that I WILL?

  6. @ James – They you’re the exception. That’s the way a market economy works; you charge what the market will bear so that you can work less, have a more affluent life, or give more to the poor (whatever your schtick might be.)

    Bob Younce at the Writing Journey’s last blog post..The Helium Experiment is Complete

  7. @ Bob – I’m not so sure about that… Backup to your claim?

  8. I think you know how *I* feel about this whole topic James!

    Great post – and you say many of the things I’d have loved to say on FSw but just wasn’t quite brave enough to.

    Clearly you have bigger balls than me 😉

    Lea Woodward’s last blog post..How To Outsource If You’re A Control Freak (Like Me)

  9. Go and take a good long hard look at our site and stop moaning. The Baldchemist

  10. @ James – its basic economic theory. Read Ludwig Von Mises. Milton Friedman. Adam fracking Smith. It’s the nature of market economics that a product or service settles in around a value that customers are willing to pay.

    I don’t know that statistical data is available to prove (or disprove) it – I was a history major 🙂 I bet there’s some econ blogs out there we could toss the question out to.

    On a micro level, though, is there a different formula to use in a market economy? How does a person determine what they charge for goods or services? I raise my price until I start to lose business, then I drop back down one notch. That’s capitalism.

    Bob Younce at the Writing Journey’s last blog post..The Helium Experiment is Complete

  11. @ Bald Chemist – I have no idea what that comment is supposed to mean. Spam? A way to get clicks? Don’t do that on our blog, buddy.

    If you did have a point, then I apologize for my ire at the comment. Please clarify what your comment means, and we’ll discuss. Cheers.

  12. What an impressive rant, James, with so many good points that it’s hard to know where to start. Working in several different time zones can be challenging, but your solution is impressively simple. I have a Firefox extension called Fox Clocks. Whenever I have a client in a new time zone, I just add it to my preferred list. All I have to do is hover over the clock icon to see at a glance if it’s a good time to talk.

    Language – many people who learn a language as a second language learn how it works better. Even if they don’t know the latest slang, they have an impressive command of grammar and sentence structure. Of course, there are those who never get beyond the basics and who should not be in the game. I speak French and Spanish failry fluently, but I wouldn’t presume to take on a job that requires a native speaker.

    Third world – I live in a developing country. The country has a good education system (in which the government invest heavily and a 97% literacy rate. Even if the rate is exaggerated slightly that’s still pretty impressive. More evidence that not all developing country workers suck at writing English. You can’t lump them — or the people in them – all together.

    Finally, I have lived in several countries and I don’t think any of them is best. All countries have good points and bad points, so to dismiss everyone in a particular location as bad, shoddy and cheap is ridiculous.

    Sharon Hurley Hall’s last blog post..Making Freelancing Personal

  13. I think the whole “issue” with rates is personal in the end. So may factors play at how we set rates in this business.

    Depending where we live, what we eat for dinner, how many holidays we have each year, how many gadgets we care for, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the worth of our economy in comparison with the rest of the world and the way we FEEL about our rates all play into the decision.

    Also let’s not forget ability and experience. In the end we have to feel comfortable with what we ask for and it should sustain our business at the same time.

    A great indication of that “you” might be too expensive is when clients have been avoiding you for some time.

    When I started off in this business I started way low at the bottom. My rates were reflective of those from a developing country (which by the way isn’t intended to be racist at all). As a matter of fact I was selling myself way under my worth I guess but with good intentions.

    I had to get comfortable within the industry, test the waters, get my toes wet if you so will and I was ok with it – until someone posted about a specific amount of money that should be earned by every writer.

    Not only did that seriously p… me off, but it also made me reflect on what my own estimation of my value is. Does this make me less proficient than the guy who charges $150/hour? No way!

    I simply chose something I feel comfortable about. If a new client sees value in this, a connection is made and the job awarded – if he doesn’t, he will simply move on to the next person. Such is the life of a freelance writer.

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Finding Work – Freelance Writing Guide

  14. Brett Legree says:


    No, you beat me today 🙂 but when I first read this post, no one else had commented (ask James, it was on Twitter!) – today is garbage day so I had other things I had to attend to…


    Since I don’t have experience in this area (yet), I can only draw upon my own experiences as an engineer. It was particularly bad in school, but it translated into the workplace too. Many people where I work have this “thing” against engineers and scientists from other parts of the world.

    Well you know what, they are just as good as we are, if not better – if we can’t identify our market and adapt, then we will lose out, because the competition is stiff. But that is good, right?

    There is room for everyone – the market is huge. It is up to us to find our space and make our own way. We are one big community.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..why blogging for profit is like collecting underpants.

  15. Nice post – nice rant. I agree with you for the most part. Lord knows, I have my own issues with wages.

    I do have a couple of teeny tiny nits to pick – I do believe to a certain extent you get what you pay for – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone looking to hire $2 writers shouldn’t be surprised after receiving $2 work. This isn’t a good wage any where in the US – and employers shouldn’t expect a Ph.d to write a brilliant piece of work on $2.

    Also, as a former editor for an online information portal, I’ve seen a difference in language usage become a problem many times. Does this mean we should generalize, no, of course not, but I can understand why people might be reluctant to hire someone from Romania. Does that mean we need to piss and moan about overseasers getting gigs? No. All’s fair in love and war.

    I’m all for a positive reaction to a negative situation. If gigs are too low , search elsewhere. There are plenty of gigs for brand new writers paying a helluva lot more than $2. They may be more difficult to find but the time some writers waste going to blogs and forums to complain about wages would be better spent looking for better gigs.

    The beauty of the web is how there’s something here for everyone. Even the ar-teestes.

    Does that mean I’m a good web worker?

  16. I think we’re pretty much on the same page. I intensely dislike “patriotism” – we need to start thinking of the world as a whole. I *like* living in America but I’m not “patriotic”.

    Tony Lawrence’s last blog post..But I need windows! by Anthony Lawrence

  17. @ Bob

    You mentioned that value is assigned by the market. That’s key. But, I’ll take it one step further.

    I’ve always told my clients that the true value of my writing and service can’t be measured by me for them. Their true value can only be measured by what it brings to their project.

    For example, let’s say I write a 500-word article. I charge a client $20. That 20 bucks can ONLY reflect the value of that article (and the underlying service, which I’ll get to in a moment) to ME. And that doesn’t mean I’ve valued it properly or logically, given my needs, goals, etc.

    The value of that article (and the underlying service) to my client can be anything. $1. $100. It depends upon what they’re going to do with it and the results their actions yield FOR THEM.

    Some clients want to spam the engines. Others want to build a following for their sites, building authoritative links along the way. Completely different needs. Completely different formulas for assigning value to the writing they receive.

    True value is assigned by the client.

    I’ll give you another example…

    Eddie Van Halen was interviewed a long time ago. He told the interviewer (I’m paraphrasing here), “There are 15-year olds who are sitting in their living rooms and can kick my ass on the guitar. But, nobody except their family will ever know because they don’t have it on stage.”

    So, let’s say you’re an exec at a music label. Who has more value? The dude who can kick Eddie’s ass on guitar or Eddie, who has (or had) a presence on stage that could practically rip money out of people’s wallets (in album sales, etc.)?

    True value is assigned by the client. Not the creator of a good or service.

    @ Anyone who’ll listen

    The notion that “you get what you pay for” is patently false. I’m a reasonably-good writer. But, I’ve worked for $.01 a word. I did so partly from ignorance of market rates and partly to build a client base. In my case, my clients received a helluva lot more than they paid for.

    Re: service…

    A lot of writers I’ve spoken with seem to neglect the value of service. For my business, it’s part of the package. It’s as important as the writing. For my clients, it has value they’re willing to pay (and in many cases, wait) for.

    Low rates can be found.

    High-quality writing can be found.

    Reliability and clear communication can be found.

    But, finding all of those elements in the same package and knowing they’ll be there *for the long term* is near impossible. Something usually has to give.

    A Side Note re: Quality vs. Price

    The link between these 2 things isn’t as strong as many believe. Usually, price is driven by the *perception* of quality and the *perception* of (as yet) unrealized value. Both on the part of the writer (or designer) and the client.

  18. When I was working in the cube as a Business Communication Writer, I took a class in international communications. As a born in the USA American with strong immigrant roots, I was blown away by some of the short-sighted and shallow thinking that was going on in that room. As if they were actually shocked to hear that the rest of the world doesn’t a) play by our rules b)think the way we do and c)have any desire to conform to our way of doing things anytime soon.
    There were people in that room who actually expected the REST of the wold to “get over it” and come and play in our sandbox like nice kids.

    Now THAT was an eye-opener to me.

    This…? This is common sense.
    Good post

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Having Faith

  19. At the risk of sounding too naive, and having clients all over the world at different times, I suggest it is a matter of our own flexibility and resourcefulness.
    No one can take from us what is coming to us as a result of our own intentions.
    No one else is to blame if we don’t get the “contract”
    and no moment is final on the topic. There is a constant stream of abundance, and it’s not limited to any one project or contract.

    On the other side of the coin, having worked in many developing countries over the years in human relief and development, I am pleased that people who were so far “behind” and lacking the ability to compete on a global level in many industries, are finding their strengths and offering it to the world. If it rocks our boat, maybe we needed the waves?

    Harmony’s last blog post..That is MY Seat!

  20. @Bob – Capitalism actually tends to work against the principle you just described. As long as there are people willing to work for a lower wage, those who continue to set their prices higher and higher will be constantly undersold. Is it likely that the lower-wage people will figure it out and start charging higher prices? Sure. But the trouble you’re looking at is that the market is constantly indundated with people who do not know what the accepted industry standard is for a price, and so will undersell it by a significant margin.

    Your principle only works if everyone in the whole world wises up to the maximum they can charge at the same time. As long as there’s some guy in Czechoslovakia that never got the memo about price-raising, that guy’s going to undercut your business, and you have to determine whether it’s worth it for your lost revenue to get down to his level.

    Or insist that American-made and what-you-pay-for is better. Which actually works a surprising amount of the time. I’m going to contend a little with James here and say that elitism is often your friend. There’s a reason some people buy their candles at Pottery Barn instead of Target. They don’t want cheap candles.

    But they’re just candles.

    CHEAP candles.

    On another tip entirely – a lot of people still prefer to be able to meet with their potential hire face-to-face. That means we’ve all got a one-up on the guy in Nepal just by proximity. I can walk over to my client’s place of business and make him my friend. That’s good for me. I wouldn’t worry about all the business going elsewhere just yet.

    Tei’s last blog post..Finding Your Client’s Voice. Hint: It is Not In the Fridge.

  21. I love it, James! Great post from a flappy headed Canadian. 🙂

    I work in an industry dominated by sciency types…which means I’m a minority in my field being a white American female. I’ve found that race/ethnicity has nothing to do with the ability of a person to speak or write well. I know just as many Americans who can barely put together a sentance in their first language as I do foreigners who can write perfectly in English.

    I do try to support local businesses when I can – I like seeing my neighbors with jobs and I enjoy helping my local economy out. But if the best product comes from Timbuktu, I’m buying it from Timbuktu.

  22. @Bob – On that whole ESL thing, one of India’s national languages is English – they have a MUCH better chance of knowing English than a Dutch person, because they’ve been speaking it since they were small. While it may sound incorrect to us, the Indians actually speak a variety of English all their own. It’s the same as Southern English, AAVE, British English…just different varieties.

    Now, I’m not pointing this out to be an ass – I’m just trying to point out how little we actually know on an international level. To make judgment calls on the potential of one’s language is ridiculous – A Dutch person must be pretty fluent in his/her second (or third) language, in order to 1-up an Indian who is writing in his/her native tongue. Hell, that Dutch person should be hired over me, if that’s the case!

    So yes, it IS wrong to consider the ESL thing when outsourcing, because sometimes English is NOT the second language. You never know a person’s educational background….

    RLD: Taekwondo Happiness’s last blog post..Whoops!

  23. About the language thing, it’s true that immigrants can sometimes speak better English than natives! My boyfriend grew up in Vietnam. When he moved to the US at the age of 11, he didn’t speak a word of English. When I met him, 12 years later, I never would have known he didn’t grow up here, had he not told me. He speaks almost perfect English. Yeah, he mixes up his words or phrases every once in a while, but he has no accent at all, and in pretty much every way seems like your *average* American.

    I think it’s kind of funny how people think that foreigners or immigrants aren’t as *good* as us native North Americans. My boyfriend’s mother owns a nail salon. “How typical” you say, “an Asian woman owning a nail salon.” Yes, but how many of you (okay, so not *you* guys, but I mean North Americans in general) have your own business, making good profits? When you see how many immigrants are opening businesses here and providing jobs to people, it seems kind of contradictory to assume that foreigners can’t be as successful or provide the same quality as people who grew up here.

    Yeah, I know this is kind of off the topic of the rates of foreign writers and how people rant about that, but I think it’s kind of related…

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 7

  24. @ Tei – Capitalism is the perfect balance between quality and cost. Those who can afford quality shoes, for example, buy them. Those who can’t afford quality shoes can still buy cheap shoes, and work harder or smarter or whatever if they want quality shoes. That’s James’ point about added value: Offer a higher quality product and you get better rates. To use the candle example It’s why Partylite candles burn ten times as long as Target candles (We don’t have a Pottery Barn, so work with me here).

    @ RLD – Slow down, my friend. It’s perfectly acceptable, if you have a Chinese audience, to want to hire a native Chinese writer. Are there plenty non-native speaking folks who can write Chinese? Of course. Are some better than natives? Certainly. But it doesn’t mean you’re racist if you ask for a native speaker, or that it’s somehow morally wrong. It just means you’re playing a game of averages, which will sometimes bite you in the arse and sometimes not.

    As to dialect, Southern writers in the U.S. don’t write with a Southern twang, and they use grammatical structures in their writing that match up with the rest of the U.S. (and closely with Canada, Australia and the U.K.). same thing with Australian English. Dialects that have differences of grammatical structures create barriers – which is why the huge outcry in the U.S. about outsourced telephone tech support. Again, a difference in dialect doesn’t say anything good or bad about a people, only the utility of the final product for a given market.

    Bob Younce at the Writing Journey’s last blog post..The Helium Experiment is Complete

  25. @Bob – I see what you’re saying, but a variety of English goes far beyond phonological differences. For example, how many Americans substitute the pronoun “you” for the *technically* correct pronoun “one”, as in “one shouldn’t do that”? In America, it’s far more common to see “you shouldn’t do that”, though by English purist standards, it’s completely incorrect.

    English writing isn’t standardized among varieties. Linguistics CAN heavily impact one’s writing. When one is familiar with Standard American English (SAE), then one is likely to match the “conventional” style. However, not all Americans have grown up hearing SAE and will therefore be less proficient in matching that style. That’s why certain American schools have code-switching programs that teach speakers of AAVE or HE how to switch between their home variety of English and SAE.

    The grammatical construction of AAVE, for example is far different from SAE. There’s a huge linguistic difference between “He grumpy” and “he be grumpy”. The one means that “he” is grumpy right now, but the other means that he has a grumpy personality. A speaker of AAVE may not be familiar with SAE and could rightfully write “he be grumpy” – their variety of English says that this construction is correct. However, SAE demands that one writes “he is a consistently grumpy person”. The differences go far beyond the phonological.

    RLD: Taekwondo Happiness’s last blog post..Whoops!

  26. I find such obstacles as you mention in the beginning of your post as challenges I must overcome.

    I tell myself, “Ok, I can’t beat that company’s price,” or “My marketing budget is nothing compared to Yahoo.”

    These are challenges I must overcome and find creative ways to be successful. I enjoy those problems I must solve.

    Great post.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Good Business Decisions Should Become Second Nature

  27. Hmmmm, what to say, what to say.

    I will say that we’ve gotten slightly off track, discussing accents and speech versus working on the web, but that’s cool.

    I agree with Bob that preferring a native writer is okay. Racist? Meh. More small minded than anything, but not morally wrong and perfectly explainable as well. Perception is the problem or the reason, in this case. Many a buyer has been burned by hiring non native and dealing with cleaning up a mess. Many have had a perfect experience.

    This is where interviewing candidates properly and watching for quality services/products goes a long way. You can’t blame a nation because you were hasty and chose the wrong person for the job.

    And there are wrong people for the job in ANY country or nation.

    There is a TON of prejudice in life, in our cities, towns and on the web. Allison gave a good example. Where I live, there are many Asians who open corner stores. The locals bitch, because why don’t the locals have a store?

    Um, maybe because the Asians wanted it bad enough to work and get it? But that’s another story.

    RLD is correct – we know very little about other cultures and the world and we make some pretty big assumptions.

    For Tei – elitism is profitable. But the presumption that everyone wants more money as a first priority is incorrect. Many people don’t.

    To everyone else, thank you for your contributions and I had something to say to each of you. Unfortunately, what I had to say would probably warrant another post or four. I value that each of you took the time to write out your thoughts and views on the matter.

    And Lea? I have big balls, baby. I also trust my community not to burn me at the stake 😉

  28. @ John – You hit it perfectly. This is the world. You can whine and cry, or you can say, “Okay, how can I earn my income despite this competition? What can I do?”

  29. @James: How can they burn you when I have all the lighters and matches locked up in the gun safe?

  30. Brett Legree says:

    There are lots of ways to look at this. I remember commenting one time way back on a different topic, about folks I know complaining about “baby boomers taking all the good jobs, buying all the good property” and so forth.

    And my response, after some careful thought, was (and still is):

    Our job is to come up with a business plan and a business to fill a need for these wealthy and aging people, and then go out and make our fortunes (if that is what we want to do).

    We have to adapt, or we fall behind.

    @Harry – not only that, I still have my fireman suit

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..why blogging for profit is like collecting underpants.

  31. Suzanne James says:

    I laughed when I read your comment. I work in the book publishing world, and I’ve had better prose from more ESL writers. I like your attitude. It is the writer’s fault if they don’t get the job…period.

    Suzanne James’s last blog post..Happy Earth Day

  32. Michael Martine | Remarkablogger says:

    Wow, great stuff to chew on here. The spirit of being a good Web worker to me, is to try and see the Web for what it is, and to try to not superimpose our own projections onto it which are based on pre-Web rules and situations. Then you take advantage of how the Web works. I really dislike politically charged terms like outsourcing. Isn’t that really nothing more than hiring? The earth truly is flat, and the Web is a huge driving force behind that.

    In probably less than fifteen years, general artificial intelligence will begin to replace so-called white collar jobs (Tom Peters predicts up to 90% of ’em). The same thing that happened to manufacturing will happen to services. Who will we blame then? The formerly outsourced virtual assistants will find that their job title was a little premature, because truly virtual assistants will come along and will be paid for under the software as a service model.

    How is anybody else ever to blame? I am responsible for my life. I look at the lay of the land and I make decisions that I hope will lead to success. My decisions are never the fault of dudes in the Philippines who can design a gorgeous site at a fraction of the cost I would charge. What about outfits like Happy Cog? They are one of the most well-known and well-respected Web design companies around. You think they’re broke, hurt by outsourcing? Not a chance. And there are hundreds of companies like them, so the complaints against outsourcing are misplaced. A snobby attitude to boot will help ensure you get little to no work.

    As many of the smart commentors here have pointed out, the notions we’ve been taking for granted about work, price, and quality are all myths. The exceptions are all around us. So much so, the exceptions have become the rule. I think if we remember that and live that, we will thrive and succeed (whatever that means for each one of us).

    Value is in the eye of the beholder, our clients. We do what it takes to provide that value and client happily pays. What else is there?

    Michael Martine | Remarkablogger’s last blog post..What Picture Do Your Social Media Activities Paint about You?

  33. Value is in the eye of the beholder, our clients. We do what it takes to provide that value and client happily pays. What else is there?

    Michael Martine

    THAT needed to be quoted again. It just summmed up everything there is to say about service.


    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Having Faith

  34. @ Michael – I don’t think “outsourcing” is such a politically charged term. I have heard employees at large companies use the term referring to hiring contractors to do some of the work they formerly would have had salaried employees do. In my opinion, outsourcing refers to hiring contractors (whether they be local or foreign), NOT hiring foreign salaried employees.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 7

  35. Michael Martine | Remarkablogger says:

    @Allison – I guess if you’re Lou Dobbs from CNN, it is. For some folks it’s just another version of “immigrants stealing our jobs” except the now it’s even worse because the immigrants don’t even have to come here to do it. Which is ridiculous, of course, but that’s what some people really think. 🙂

    Michael Martine | Remarkablogger’s last blog post..What Picture Do Your Social Media Activities Paint about You?

  36. Aaargh! How come this never came to my inbox? If it weren’t for March Blog Madness I’d never have read it at all!

    (WRC does have a point about not being able to follow things chronologically here… I often wish you had those little previous post–next post thingys at the top of the page so I could click around or see if I missed anything… I know, Harry, a bit of clutter that doesn’t work with your ART, but also a convention that helps people get around on blogs…)


    I love it when you get cute and rant.

    I agree, I agree, and I despise the implied condescension, too. Teach your kids. True globalism gets closer with every passing year, and it is less scary for them than it was for us. These changes take time. How many readers didn’t hear their grandparents make racially insensitive remarks at one time or another (yeah, I loved mine, too). Yet most of our parents were beyond that, and we’d never dream of it.

    The same goes for the global economic worries. Ignorance breeds fear, so for a while as this easy exchange is new, we fear it and talk badly about it, but when outsourcing is a tired old term and we are all more used to “worldsourcing,” we’ll do awesome work and get paid awesomely, no matter where we’re from, and we’ll stop worrying about the other guy.

    Work from someplace else is NOT the same as your work, even if it’s only across town, because it doesn’t involve YOU. So make what YOU offer, what THEY need.

    Late to the party. Well, at least I’ll get the last dance. How about “Black Coffee in Bed” for this early hour?



    Kelly’s last blog post..Brand Propheteers: Part One – Golden Opportunities and “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

  37. @ Kelly – Well, we added the “recent posts” thing in the sidebar. At the end of each post is “related posts”, too… wouldn’t adding “next/previous” be overkill?

    Black coffee’s what I’m drinking. Bed is what I’ll be doing this afternoon. Late night partying at a show by in my town. Rockin’.

  38. Qué bonito!

    I’m listening to him in the background as I’m typing (never heard of him before, sorry). His voice is delish! I’m in love!!

    No, it would not be overkill. When Harry wakes up he will tell you No Way, but I think I’ve probably got a minute or two still.

    Okay, must go drool over this new find. Bye.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Stand and Deliver

  39. @ Kelly – Completely off topic here, but it’s my damned blog.

    Kevin Parent is a huge, HUGE Quebec music star and has spread across Canada into the English regions as well. His latest CD (the wolf one) is the best thing I’ve heard in ages for someone singing from the heart.

    Oh, and Jeff Smallwood (know him?) was the lead guitarist last night. In a kilt. With a sporran. And knee socks. Rock on, Jeff.

    As for delish and love, you should’ve seen the women last night. Hell, even I thought he was nice eye candy. There was a woman behind me who just kept saying, “Ohmigod, he’s so hot,” over and over, and the woman in front of me kept jumping up off her chair screaming, “KEVIIIN!” It was hilarious.

    His voice is one of the most easily recognizable and most distinct of Canadian singers, I’ve heard. Get his music. Pigeon d’Argile is also a very good CD – launched his career.

    He also has the most wild Quebecois accent I’ve ever heard. In English or in French. I’m told everyone in Gaspesie talks that way, which is funny.

    Right. Go drool. I’ll go try to work out the chords on my guitar 🙂

  40. James,

    So I stalked him at his website (read all about how clueless I am there), which was not enough. Found him on myspace, listened to everything there, and I am totally weak in the knees. Yeesh. *drool, drool*

    Get me that accent on the phone right now. OMG. I shall now go rent a venue to bring him to Philly and refuse to sell any tickets. I do not want any competition when I jump off my chair screaming.

    Wait, were you saying something?



    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Stand and Deliver

  41. @ Kelly – Oddly enough, I am feeling strangely smug and patriotic right now.

  42. @ Kelly – additional note: Kevin Parent doesn’t have a MySpace page. Some loser does, though… but the music’s the right stuff lol


    Not him? I didn’t click around, just left the music in the background so I could listen to him purr.

    I’m not sure “smug and patriotic” goes with the theme of this post, but I’m feeling like driving 8ish hours to wherever he’s gonna be next, so I guess you Quebeçois must have something. Maybe I’ll convert a bit of my Toronto-love to Gaspesie-love. That’s the outer edge of absolutely nowhere, isn’t it?

    They probably don’t wear Varvatos there. It appears they don’t shave often enough there, either.

    Maybe if he breaks they language barrier he’ll go all sophistiqué and abandon his core values. Hehehe.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Stand and Deliver

  44. James,

    Is he the guy that sings the song

    “Every Now and Then” ?

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Slow Cooking Frogs

  45. @ Wendi – That’s the man. Yuppers.

    @ Kelly – His music. He isn’t the owner of the page.

  46. My oldest son owns a music entertainment and production company here. He pointed him out to us last fall as one to watch and played that song for us off the internet. I really liked it and thought he was great. I remember thinking I wanted to get a CD but never got around to it.
    That’s interesting that you brought him up again now. Maybe I really should go get a CD or something.

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..Slow Cooking Frogs


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