August 29, 2007

Some thoughts on outsourcing

A friend in a high tech company I do consulting work for shared this story:
Both he and his wife work in high tech. They have 3 kids.
He has a confession to make - they've come to terms with their decision to "outsource childcare."
Outsourcing? As in sending out your manufacturing to Flextronics? As in offshoring your call center to India?
His explanation:
The nanny (metapelet) stays with the baby at their place, and at 1 PM picks up the older kids (ages 5 and 7) from kindergarden/school. Feeds them. Helps with homework. Takes them to their extra-curricular activities.
By the time mom and dad arrive, they're done with most of the activities of the day. But, he's fast to add, if there are any emergencies (older son forgot to sign approval form for his karate club? Younger kid wants to have a playmate over?) either parent can get there in 15 minutes or less.
Costs them a fortune, but doesn't sound too bad. It certainly beats our arrangement of leaving my kids until 4 pm at their respective kindergardens, and having a teenage babysitter several times a week (confirm availability an hour earlier) to pick them up and walk home (rail, sleet or scorching sun), who then feeds them hopefully-colorant-free-but-sugar-loaded shlukis (hey - whatever keeps the kids happy) and makes a mess out of my livig room in good days, watches 2 hours of TV in bad days.
Or maybe not.
My friend's confession is not that they have a brilliant Mary Poppins every day. It's that they've "come to terms" with outsourcing childcare.
No way. I refuse to accept that I'm outsourcing childcare or child rearing. Outsourcing is something you do with
a) things so specialized you're better sending them to an expert,
b) a task so common or simple that it's cheaper for someone else to do it (or by economies of scale as my mentor Ben Gilad would say)

Could motherhood not be a core competency of mine?
(okay, save your comments)
Is money all that is at stake here?

I don't care how many other "parenthood helpers" we hire to get on top of our regular workload - I'm not outsourcing this bit. I'm insourcing help. Creating new jobs. Bringing diversity into my children's day.

Is it only a question of semantics? It all comes down to what the I balance book will say in the end - did our kids show a profit from our activities as parents? Did we?

August 23, 2007

Naming your kids Web 2.0 times?

It suddenly dawned on me.
While looking at possibilities for naming certain elements of my new venture, I realized that naming your kids had just gotten much more complicated.
People currently search the web to browse popular names, learn more about meanings, maybe even Google a name or two to get a feel for spellings, variations, and current bearers (hopefully famous).

I'm guessing some are now using zillions of Facebook polls and Yahoo Answers questions to help make the decision. But will these folks alsocheck the domain name for availability as a main criterion ( As in )

Hmm. It gets worse.

  • Will worth more than dot net or dot info? Skip the dashes and underscores, of course.
  • Startup! Special suffixes for those under 18 who are yet to claim their domain? Obvious candidate: dot kid.
  • Will there be a new generation of kids named Tylr or