This book is an experiment in a number of ways for me. First, it is an entirely new form of writing to that I am used to. I had an idea that I could use a short story to illustrate some ideas around career change, migration, and outsourcing. I've written about this subject in my journalism and more academic books, especially `Global Services', but I always wondered how the debate could be stimulated - not necessarily with all the answers at hand,
but at least brought a little more mainstream. I wondered why should I write a long and detailed study when a short story about dogs may well be more effective? A detailed study may be considered more worthy within the confines of academia, but it will hardly encourage public debate.
I will have succeeded in my quest if the topics of offshoring, outsourcing, migration, and lifelong education requirements start to become more intertwined in public debate. They really need to be connected together as people consider the present and future impact of how services are globalising - and how that affects their job. Companies today are structured differently to the past and that affects all of us. The journalistic mirage of `jobs vanishing to India' still appears every time a major corporation locates a new team or entire office in Asia. Yet the debate is far more complex than the persistent popular newspaper views on cheap labour indicate. Mature and developed societies need to understand that this century really is going to be different. The endless increase in the global price of oil (and food) is one obvious consequence of rapid development in Asia, particularly China - but there will be more change to come in our lifetime.
This is a lot to convey using a short story about dogs on a farm in England, but I hope the story creates some debate that explores both the value and dangers of migration and offshoring, along with a pragmatic exploration of how better to prepare for a changing world.
The general adoption of the Internet in the 1990s has created a global information network that will change how people work forever. This really is a time of industrial revolution, for services of all kinds.
In my `Global Services' book I had highlighted lulu.com as a publisher of the future. A publisher that can offer books to the regular global book trade, but only printing them as
they are needed, even right down to printing a book only when it is sold. I thought I should try to use lulu.com rather than return to a traditional publisher with this book - I have written about the company, so I should try some of my own medicine. If you never see me publish with
lulu.com again in future then I guess you can assume the experiment did not work, but I am confident of using this new technology to reach a wide audience.
This book owes a debt of inspiration to two authors, both of whom I admire and I am humbly in their debt. Dr Spencer Johnson published his parable `Who Moved My Cheese' in 1998 and proved that even in these modern times you can still use allegory to make a point. Before Dr Johnson's success with this book I guess most people assumed that this form of writing had ceased with Aesop, or more recently, the New Testament. I've used a similar title as a nod of respect to what Dr Johnson has achieved with the form. If you have not read his book, then go and buy a copy now. The English writer George Orwell is my other source of inspiration. Orwell was a brilliant novelist -best known for `1984' - but he wrote several book-length non-fiction studies on a
range of subjects including working class poverty and the Spanish civil war. When he published `Animal Farm' in 1945 he demonstrated that a short story could satirise Soviet totalitarianism without literal condemnation. Again, do buy it if you have not read it and for a longer exploration of how Orwell viewed the troubles of a modern society, get a copy of his novel `Keep the Aspidistra Flying.'
I'm grateful to both these authors for providing the ideas and inspiration for this book. It really is an experiment for me and I entered this project with some trepidation, as
many of my friends could not see how this short story might be relevant to them. My answer is that regardless of the story these issues are desperately important and need to be openly discussed. If you have a job today or you are planning to seek a job tomorrow, in any country, then the topics raised by this story are important to you.
I'd like to thank a few colleagues, friends, and family for their help while I was producing this book. First, my entire family - I'm hoping that my nephews Luke and Ben can
read and understand the story already - Lewis might need a few more years. Matilda, my dog, helped me to relax and think clearly. Dr Richard Sykes was a great source of
ideas and debate, as always.
George Bell and Alan Hovell at London South Bank University allowed me to continue talking to their students. Kully Dhadda at Flame PR has kept me connected to the media people that matter. Bryan Glick at Computing and Steve
Ranger at silicon.com have both allowed me to continue writing regular journalism and blogs for their journals - as well as silicon.com deputy editor Andy McCue.
My friend John Uncle, and his wife Carol, is an obvious person I should thank profusely for all the canine-related knowledge I have developed since I met him. John has trained dogs all over the world and I'm working now to try capturing some of his memoirs related to dogs and also growing up in London immediately after the war.
The Chief Executive of BT Global Services, François Barrault, has allowed me to do some extensive work with his company this year, which has been extremely interesting. Thanks also to Mark Weeks, Rachael Bell, Caroline Phillips, Ellen Ferrara, Adelise Ashdown and Steve Daly at BT.
My friends Mahesh Ramachandran and Vijay Kumar at fxaWorld plc are showing the world how technology can be used to fight poverty and injustice and I'm proud to be associated with their work.
Martyn Hart, Nigel Roxburgh, and the National Outsourcing Association team along with the great people at Buffalo PR, led by Kerry Hallard, have given me a number of opportunities to explore outsourcing in more detail through their research and events.
I enjoy the good fortune to have a number of friends from all over the world and many of them contributed ideas when I was talking about this project. I'd particularly like to thank Mark Hodges, the founder of Equaterra, for sharing his vast experience with me, Emily Ma and Shiyuan Li for teaching me about China, Analine and Fran for teaching me about Brazil, and Shelley Wilkey for teaching me how Kiwis
drink all other nationalities under the table.
My old mates Sean Cook, Kevin Donaldson, and David Leiper deserve a shout. Twenty years ago we were all stacking apples in a Sandhurst supermarket. How times change!
I completed the final draft of this bookat a hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania. I'd like to thank my friend Karolina Ayan for recommending I visit such a beautiful city.
I hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to paws for thought!
London, September 2008
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.