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Don't Shoot the Messenger

Some three years ago, I caused a real fuss at the Irish Software Industry's annual conference when I made a speech that pointed-out to the distinguished audience - including a Government Minister - some of the facts behinds the country's 'Celtic Tiger Economy' image.

Ireland had been described as a 'Software sweatshop on the edge of Europe' by one large vendor but I rather suggested that the real figures had been massaged to suggest that Ireland was a thriving software development economy on a par with Israel and India when the facts suggested otherwise.

Anyway, I see today that the Register publishes some sad news about heavy job losses at the Dell factory in a rather critical editorial:

"Dell opened its assembly operations in Raheen, Limerick, in 1991. They have lasted just 17 years before the Irish tiger was shown to be just another costly overfed western European tabby cat which could be replaced by a skinnier Polish moggy. It's probably only because Dell needs to be as responsive as it can be to European customers, building to order their phoned-in and web orders, that it needs a European manufacturing base at all."

Rather ironically and at the same time as my presentation, I did have access to the internal European marketing assessment for one of the world's largest software vendors. Being under NDA I couldn't share it with my Irish audience but suffice to say that at the time it did rather reflect what I read in The Register today.

All this didn't help me much though. I was lucky to escape Dublin intact and today, Gordon Brown is in danger of the same self-delusionary approach when he talks about 100,000 new jobs for the UK's 'Dead Parrot' software economy.


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