An open letter to Nest Labs: please don’t outsource your support

Dear Nest,

Yesterday, you launched your new Protect smoke detector product. Pretty much my entire social feed is filled with people lusting over the device, especially those — like me — who already have enjoyed the Learning Thermostat and want the amazing experience that comes with a Nest product.

You have another experience beyond your products that also receives massive accolades, and rightly so: your product support. From what I understand, you’re about to do it a terrible disservice.

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The Failure of Offshoring

A couple of years ago, I engaged in my first offshore experience, when we hooked up with a small company out of Argentina to develop and deliver some additions to a website, including the addition of a simple CMS. It had been a first crack at what would end up becoming a significant change in my career.

At the time, the experience had left a rather bad taste in my mouth, like realising that the glass of milk you’re drinking is a little off. It wasn’t that the experience was horrible, just that it could have been a lot better.  

My experiences continued with other groups, mostly in Central and South America, and also included an arm of one of our regular vendors, who shifted operations from the United States to India. And I think it might have been the point at which I decided that if the opportunity arose, I really needed to find out what offshoring was like, first-hand.

Funny how life works, eh?

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My evolving job

When it was first proposed that I would come to Costa Rica and start up a new office, there were a lot of questions about how all this would be done. Starting a new office means running without the infrastructure that you’re used to, without any of the existing foundations that you need, with a whack of unknowns that get in your way, and without the hands-on help you’d normally get.  

In other words, it’s all one big massive challenge. In the big picture, challenge is good. It’s when challenge bleeds strongly into the details that things go from being interesting to difficult to … well, to past being frustrating to the point where you really want to do nothing more than scream at the top of your lungs for a while.  

Anyhoo, all of this leads me to evolution. Namely, the evolution of my job.  

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