|Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister|
gregor42++ I hadn't meant to talk about the offshoring aspect of this request (fearing to get off topic too much), but your eloquence here made me change my mind (still hoping we won't eventually get too far off topic).
This particular situation is a great example of how offshoring works to the benefit of all involved (and believe me, I've experienced it when it doesn't work). I work for a big telecom company, and I use perl a lot. One of the little tools I put together to help my co-workers and I solve field problems became pretty popular over time - to the point where the customers were asking to use it (and willing to pay for it).
However my big, huge, lumbering company couldn't be bothered with productizing something so small and insignificant. So in 2000, we on-shore-outsourced this work to a company in Washington State that we were investing in at the time. Their solution was to de-perlify my stuff and re-implement it with their platform. Over 5 years it was a moderate success for them, but nothing near what it should have been (IMHO).
Meanwhile, my internal version of the tool gets better and better. Customers now want that version instead of the old outsourced one that wasn't kept up-to-date properly. My company at this point is somewhat smaller, and the potential revenue isn't so small and insignificant anymore, so they go ahead and back it as an actual product. The first sale covers my salary, and the additional potential sales rely on additional features that I alone don't have bandwidth to accomplish and management cannot staff anyone else locally to help out since we're already stretched as thin as can be. However, in China we have colleagues available to help out in this effort. All that is needed is some training to get up-to-speed, then focusing on completing the new features to get the additional new sales, and then everyone will benefit!
Not only that, but I get to deal with new, interesting people from a completely different culture (maybe see a bit of China if I get the chance), and possibly even learn how to eat with chopsticks :-)
This is one situation where if we couldn't offshore some of this work, it just wouldn't get done and those potential benefits would be lost.