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We started working with the USA in 1997 and 1998. After a competitor brought out a Web indexing tool in April 1998, we decided not to compete. Also one of our students from USA took our Web indexing course material after 1998 and developed a competing online tutoring service for mainly US customers so we left that field too. We were too trusting and naive.
For a start in 1998, I ran a viable online Web indexing course with mainly US students from the American Society for Indexing and editing and authoring of articles on Web indexing in The Indexer (UK). This died after a year and I did not continue with US customers. In 1998, I visited Seattle for the American Society for Indexing Conference. This greatly increased my knowledge of USA but I sadly have not returned since. Around 2000, I also wrote a chapter in a book Beyond Book Indexing on online indexing published by the American Society for Indexing about Web indexing which I pioneered when Webmaster of the Australian Society of Indexers. The US students were very attentive but then the training died when I got back from USA. We had overstepped the mark and ended up losing most of our customers except for a Website job. Confidence in dealing with USA went through the floor and I gave up.
In September 2011, I decided to be Webmaster of Digital Publications Indexing SIG of American Society for Indexing (Web & Electronic Indexing SIG till 2017) which helped me reconnect with many past friends I met back in 1998 at the ASI Conference in Seattle. This was a field I helped to pioneer when I was Webmaster of Australian Society of Indexers. See Research. Web Indexing died in 2016 as it made no money after 20 years of effort and Web & Electronic Indexing SIG of ASI was transformed into Digital Publications Indexing SIG of ASI. In September 2017 I was kicked out as Webmaster of SIG as they did their own WordPress site.
IDPF was EPUB standards group which Digital Publications Indexing SIG of ASI followed re EPUB. In January 2017, IDPF and Publishing@W3C merged so choice to move SIG direction from Web indexing to digital publications indexing was a good one as ASI is member of W3C. IDPF works with Readium Foundation who write open source software for EPUB readers. IDPF and Readium work with EDRLab (Europen Digital Reading Lab) to hold EPUB Summit.
We pulled back from the lucrative though risky US market due to the constant grind of competitors and copy cats that undermined our business. The Internet can give and take. USA businesses can read your online notes but also copy them.
Training is a no-win situation with the USA as it is much bigger and stands to gain much more off your efforts than what you will win back through controls and efforts to resurrect a more cloistered business model. In fact, dealing with a large economy like the USA will make your enterprising efforts much more locked down. You will lose your freedoms dealing with the USA in order to stop going broke by their squandering your efforts in their favour.
In 2009, our potential customers still prefer Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software as it is less risky than custom developed software. USA has a much bigger market so they can support COTS software development. Here in Australia the market is too small so we always get left doing the custom software which loses money and is never much able to be used again.
It is very tempting, despite the credit crunch at the moment, to move to USA to develop for a bigger customer base than Australia with its risk-averse customer base who want the benefits of a bigger country but won't support local developers to get to that level by using them but rather go offshore to save money and have a wider choice. This never eventuated due to lack of capital to relocate.
It is very challenging competing with large countries like USA from a small country like Australia in technology so we have to be much more smart and nimble to survive.
We used to export to USA to let us grow. Selling to Australian companies is very risky as we hardly make any money out of it.
We have built our own project management system using open source tools and languages, was highly mobile in our tooling and skills to find and service customers, and was based in Orange NSW Australia 250 km west of Sydney where I used music as a second income to give us protection in this cut-throat industry on the Internet. In 2013 I moved to Brisbane where Caboolture is purely a base for the business now.
Since 2001, I have used MySQL which was bought by Oracle.
In 2005, we started outsourcing to a USA company to build an ecommerce Web portal for their Sydney branch. They had unreal expectations of costs and had no management plan in place for IT or information management which cost us dearly.
From 2010 onwards in Sydney we went to an Open Australia hackfest and several Sydney Python User Group meetings at Google Australia and Devops Downunder at Atlassian.
In 2011, a Facebook marketing company approached us to resell their services.
In 2013, I did AWSome training day for Amazon Web Services in Brisbane.
In 2013, I also went on Microsoft Ideate Training for Qld Premier's Open Data Awards and was more active as Microsoft Partner and became Microsoft Certified Professional for Office 365 administration.
USA is governed by pure capitalism. It does not support its workers' rights and conditions and wages and seeks to get things for free from workers by forcing them to be independent contractors carrying all liabilities and no benefits, e.g. subcontracting agreements of Uber and Appen. Wages are a pittance and all the huge profits are kept by corporations with all moral rights and benefits signed back to the company so the worker is impoverished for benefit of corporation.
These online outsourcing companies are pure internet sweat shops with low moral values and erosion of rights and standards of worker to enrichment of oligarchy who dream up tricky money making schemes that others are sucked into through marketing these flimsy low paid jobs or contracts to unemployed registered on Centrelink's Job Active search portal in Australia where unemployed register their resume and desire to get a decent job. Unemployed are the perfect pickings for these very low paid and dangerous jobs as there is nothing else as noone else will employ long-term unemployed so they drop all their rights to get a few dollars with all rights stripped away, a form of slavery. These corporatins prey on most vulnerable of people in society to make megabucks. It is unethical behaviour.
In September 2008, USA crashed and burned because of its greed but the US Government bailed out the big banks that caused the GFC so nothing was learned from the mistake of trusting big business to manage finance wisely. The workers had to pay for the rich to survive as the rich lost all their money overnight through mismanagement and speculation on subprime mortages.
Workers get limited unemployment benefits causing social dysfunction and punitive measures in law enforcement due to encroaching crime from underclass.
Big business in USA see workers as a liability and avoid supporting them at all costs to maximise profit leading to poverty of worker and destruction of society.
Big business lobbies Congress and controls vasts chunks of land leading to downgrade of wages and the environment in an unsustainable way.
The US Government does not believe in protecting the environment but protecting jobs at all expense in a very short-term mindset.
USA is much more entrepreneurial. See Silicon Valley, California, Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts. They allow for innovation. They do not bag local talent like in Australia. They give you business to grow your business rather than being aloof and waiting for you to close down - self-fulfilling prophecy.
Many Australian IT companies moved to Silicon Valley, California, to grow their business. Eg Mark Bathie and Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian).
Americans invest in you if they see a return. They will put you on and use your talent to get their money back. In Australia, they want all the talents upfront with no risk. Hence many jobs go unfilled in Australia because they want low risk and so pay highly for a person with 10 or more years experience and may be outsource to India instead of getting someone local with 5 years experience and letting them learn on the job. They will not invest in IT in Australia just real estate and mining.
I am able to use the American talent development model in Australia to my benefit. If I run my own business I can develop my own skill base rather than be scooped off by independent Australian companies who will not invest in me and further my career, just make a short term gain with no long term investment. Australian companies just hire me when I have spent my $10,000s on my own career so they don't have to pay for the research and development I did inhouse.
It is plain as day: if I take the risk I win, if I don't take the risk I lose. However with increasing competition since 2001, I even lose when I work for myself so I have to do jobs on the side or diversity into other industries like publishing, libraries and music tuition to survive.
Individualism seems to be the best route for hi-tech companies to develop and grow in Australia away from the nurturing American ideals but it requires backup income to survive long periods of low sales. I tried reselling hardware and broadband but even this leads nowhere as there is too much competition and very low margins so I catalogued books and setup libraries.
We must have collaboration too as individuals can only get so far on their own. The whole social media and social networking scene like Facebook and Twitter see how much further people can get if they work together rather than be islands of isolation.
In Australia it is all about being commercial, not about research - very small minded - so I have to do commercial work (either my own or for someone else) to provide money that I can use to develop my business - a very circuitous route to develop technology but the only viable way in Australia with its limited resources and lack of trust in small businesses to achieve anything worthwhile. It is all about propping oneself up and not relying on other people who will shaft you at the first hint of things going wrong.
If you stand out at all in Australia, you will be persecuted so be prepared to go it alone with many hard yards to achieve a goal.
In 2016 Austrade setup Landing Pads in Berlin, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Tel Aviv for Australian entrepreneurs to setup their hitech businesses in Silicon Valley and other hitech hubs worldwide. This was when Innovation was catchcry from Australian Government and startups were flavour of month, after a long period (over 10 years) of being ignored, in order to move Australia away from dependence on mining and agriculture for tax income when mining industry was in a bust period due to GFC impact on its trading partners in USA, EU and China. Wyatt Roy LNP MP for Longman, my electorate in Caboolture, was Innovation Minister and backed startups like River City Labs in Brisbane till he lost at 2016 election when he left and backed an incubator in Pakistan.
USA is an exciting place for innovation but also may overrun you so have a backup strategy or alternative income source in case they take your business idea and do not pay you.
They live for results. If you do not deliver, forget your payment. They will not come to the party unless you take legal action. There is no mateship in America, just rugged individualism.
They have a can-do attitude which was born out of the Civil War - the winner was the 'firstest with the mostest'. This is valuable to copy. It gives you an edge on lazy Australian competitors. USA get up and try again and gain till they get it right rather than give up half way through if the going gets tough like in Australia.
They also have a strong sense of self-worth so if people knock them they bounce back unlike in Australia where people are very sensitive and expect things to be the same old way and never change till it is too late or refuse to invest in case they lose their money. Planning in Australia is very short-term, non-existent or ad hoc which leads to heaps of disasters and cost overruns. Professionals are looked down on as out of touch and tradesmen are trusted more leading to narrow thinking on planning and technology. To break through this a fair bit of independent research and planning has to be done inhouse to get past go.
Things have tightened up considerably since September 11, 2001. Before that travel to USA was much easier. Now there are many more checks and measures. Also since the tech wreck, many IT companies have gone bust in USA putting tons of pressure on IT companies worldwide. The US economy tends to drive hi-tech industry worldwide. If they are suffering, the world suffers. If they are going well, the world goes well.
Do not rubbish the US flag. They fought for that against England. I honour that loyalty. We have none of that here. I am not like many English who disdain Americans as uncouth but honour their energy and forward-thinking spirit.
I have a US name: Dwight as in Dwight Eisenhower (president) or Dwight L. Moody (evangelist). I often get asked by Australians if I am an American so they can give me heaps of abuse. I say I was born here in New South Wales. They just keep irritating me to get back at the USA.
Our family was a missionary family. The same Pilgrim Fathers spirit was in my father, who pioneered Fitzroy Crossing, WA in the 1950s ("Westralian Gems for Christ's Crown" by SP Walker, 2001). I often say America is like a whole country of missionary like people with plenty of drive and spiritual fervour which we just do not have here in Australia due to our convict background.
Living in America is a very stressful experience - always striving to do more and do it better with no end in sight. Here in Australia we live within our means. Americans in Australia have unreal expectations because we are a small country and have never developed local talent or infrastructure to compete worldwide so if they come along they want things big and brash like in America but our poor little economy cannot keep up and the debt and overload resulting can be quite damaging to our people. They don't downsize to work with Australians. They want everything big like back in USA but don't realise they can't get it so often stuffup considerably and leave like with Pine Gap or any number of large US corporations who think we are big and rich like them and then realise the market soon disappears and they have to start selling to Asia to maintain their standard of living or turnover.
With the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and USA being heavily in favour of USA intellectual property control, we are at the mercy of USA. They can do what they like on our soil.
Past President George W. Bush is a Christian - he prays and used godly principals to do business rather than social engineering. This puts him at odds with socialists. The Iraq war will be his and other presidents' ultimate make or break decision. Americans are never any good at guerilla warfare like Vietnam against the Viet Cong or Iraq and Afghanistan against the militia and El-Quada terrorists.
History shows with the mind-boggling losses in Afghanistan and Iran that USA has failed foreign policy.
Since late 2008, USA has sunk into a worldwide recession created by overpricing real estate and people then not being able to pay for them causing toxic assets the US Government has paid $1T USD to liquidate.
This has caused a credit crunch and the increase of interest rates on credit cards which has hit us badly. Several merchant banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehmann Brothers either went bankrupt or were sold for 10% of their real value.
USA has major problems rebuilding confidence in their banking system and freewheeling business culture that lets businesses take the profits but the government (citizens) pay for the losses - typical capitalism!
The Tea Party movement has righted some of this bias by having Republicans favour Tea Party to get rid of Democrats. Tea Party is more grassroots and favours rebuilding USA rather than saving the rich who give very little back to the country.
When Australians bag USA, I say, "If it wasn't for the USA in the Battle of the Coral Sea (off Townsville) in 4-8 May 1942 in World War II, we would be under Japanese control now". Southerners (Melbourne and Sydney people) in Australia usually ignore the vital part the USA played in rescuing our butts from destruction.
Australians see the bad the US did in dominating the results from the World War II battle when General MacArthur took all the praise for the victory from Australian Commander in Chief Sir Thomas Blamey. See Kokoda Track campaign and Battle of Buna-Gona in 1942-43. There is MacArthur Museum Brisbane, the base for MacArthur in Brisbane in 1942 during WWII.
There was also the Battle of Brisbane in WWII in November 1942 that went on for 3 days in which US soldiers and Australian soldiers fought each other over the US soldiers' higher pay and taking Australian women away from the Australian men to get married.
I was in a bus near Parliament House on 16/11/11 at 5pm when there was a massive traffic jam when the President of the United States' motorcade passed. Vodafone was blocked! Barack Obama says USA is here to stay in Asia. Barack Obama addressed Australian Parliament re US involement in Asia.
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