by Alphaville Herald on 20/03/11 at 6:18 pm
How Linden Lab can benefit by offshoring labor — and why they should.
by Kelvin R. Throop, concerned resident
A while back, I tried to teleport to my office in Second Life. However, for some reason, I couldn’t teleport there, and I landed in the sim next door. My office sim hadn’t crashed, and I could see buildings and trees across the sim border. But I couldn’t get to my office. So I sent my landlord an IM.
I told her that I couldn’t teleport or fly to my office and asked if she could file a support ticket with Linden Lab. She agreed, but also said had a lot of tickets filed without response. I really needed to get to my office so filed a ticket too – if two people file a ticket, it might get an answer. After submitting my ticket, the problem was fixed about two hours later.
I was lucky – but what about everyone else?
Too many SL landowners file support tickets but get no response for months. Not just a few tickets, but lots of tickets, like my landlady. This problem is not getting better. LL keeps laying off employees and is not hiring enough support workers to replace those that have been laid off.
What should LL do?
The average Linden Lab employee makes at least $50,000 a year. For what it would cost to hire one employee in the U.S. or U.K., the Lab can hire 5 to 10 employees in India or Botswana. This tells me that if LL were to lay off 20 of its employees in the U.S., it could hire 100 employees in India, or 200 in Botswana. Maybe the workers in India can work as concierge and programmers and those in Botswana could take on the support so there would be plenty of customer support workers.
How much of LL work force should be offshored to India, or elsewhere? I would say just about all concierge employees and at least 60% of the programmers. For each one that is laid off, ten or more can be hired elsewhere.
Second Life residents that own or rent land would have more workers to look into support tickets. Think of the abuse reports that can finally be investigated! But because LL has cut back on it’s work force there are fewer workers to look into each abuse report and griefers can keep on causing trouble in SL.
If Linden Lab can have more workers without the added cost, why not hire workers in other countries? Countries with lower wages, fewer regulations, and longer working hours. If LL were to hire workers under the age of 18 or even children, they could pay these workers still lower wages. Which means the Lab could hire many more workers.
Linden Lab needs to start acting like a business, and not like a bunch of leftist hippies. You don’t do that by keeping your HQ, and most of your employees in California. No, you do that by moving your HQ to Texas, and sending at least half your work force to third world countries. If Linden Lab would outsource more agressively, they could have more workers and save money at the same time.