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September 22, 2003

IT in permanent decline, execs worry

IT in permanent decline, execs worry

Taking advantage of better talent outside the U.S. poses a challenge to smaller technology companies because they may not have the money for multiple facilities and international travel, according to Estrin, who has founded several startups. There's no real substitute for face-to-face collaboration in solving some kinds of problems, Estrin said.

"I think the smaller companies can't afford to be as distributed, so you could maybe have development in two places. It's hard to be all over the place, and the small and medium companies won't do that as much," Estrin said.

In response to a question from the audience, some panelists praised Europe as a site for innovation. Gelsinger said Eastern Europe has been the source of many new ideas since the fall of the Iron Curtain. But Sun's Papadopoulos bemoaned some employment laws there that he said prevent a smooth flow of workers among companies.

"It's a real risk to hire people in a lot of parts of Europe, just from the burden that you put onto the company in doing so," Papadopoulos said.

Globalization creates some new criteria for those setting up business locations. One audience member, an American currently working for a small company in Switzerland, told the panel it's a great place to work because he has easy access to partners: Asia and North America each are only about a 12-hour flight away. The issue rang true for Papadopoulos.

"The physics of time zones, in fact, is hard ... we should all move to the North Pole or something," Papadopoulos said.

September 22, 2003 in Economics of IT | Permalink


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