Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Call for "The Best in China" for SOFTWARE 2007, the world's premier C-level software industry event

David on IT Outsourcing in China
Wednesday, 20 December 2006
Dateline: Beijing, China

"China's Leaders in Outsourcing & Software Innovation"

In early May the Sand Hill Group will continue it's successful annual C-level industry conference series with SOFTWARE 2007.  The event will be held in the heart of Silicon Valley, with an expected attendance of 2,000 or so.  A PDF describing this event is available at the Yahoo Group for this blog/e-newsletter; you can also contact me directly to request a copy of the PDF, but please put "PDF" (without quotation marks) somewhere in the "Subject" line (although I much prefer that you access the PDF from the "Files" section at the Yahoo Group).

We're not necessarily looking for firms that are truly innovative themselves, but firms that can help American ISVs (independent software vendors) innovate.  If your firm has an innovative product (or product line), we'd like to hear from you:  We're not limiting "The Best in China" to outsourcing firms.  But outsourcing firms are rarely innovative.  There are exceptions:  In the early days of the graphical web, firms like Presence, Organic, Digital Planet, CKS.  And the various services arms of IBM still pioneer in many ways and across the spectrum.  Yet, there are plenty of firms with their primary development centers in China that help U.S. firms with their innovation-driven endeavors, such as Startech (in our case, for example, with the most advanced Linux-based telecommunications architecture, both hardware and software) or Augmentum (in their case, for some of their "SIGCHI"-ish developments ranging from kiosks to site development; BTW, Startech is making a major push in this space as well -- and taking it a few steps further, with a major focus on the entertainment industry given our L.A.-based technical support team lead by Caltech and Stanford CS grads ... and don't be fooled by our web site since we're somewhat operating in stealth mode until next month).  Bottom line:  If your IT outsourcing or engineering services outsourcing firm helps U.S. firms with their innovation-driven endeavors, then we'd like to hear from you.

Although the "China Pavilion" at SOFTWARE 2007 is still a work-in-progress, we're very confident that we will get the blessing of MOST, China's Ministry of Science and Technology.  Hey, it's all about guanxi in China.  However, we're reaching out to Torch members directly and also to selected software parks, i.e., those housing the best and brightest firms in China.  Think zPark, DLSP, SPSP, among others.

We're not sure if we're going to pick a "Top Ten" or a "Top Twelve"; this will be determined based upon the quality and quantity of the submissions that we receive.

We're also going to try to arrange for some FTF (face-to-face, in person) time with Steve Ballmer and Marc Benioff, both keynoters at SOFTWARE 2007.  Steve, of course, is CEO of Microsoft and Marc is CEO of, the leading SaaS player.  Marc is a first degree connection of mine on LinkedIn and Steve B. might remember me from my days at Microsoft.  (What happened wasn't a pretty picture, but it ultimately led to a lot of changes at a money-losing Microsoft division.)  At the very least, perhaps photo opportunities in front of our China pavilion; at the very best, 15-60 minutes to discuss the future of software and outsourcing in China with two industry stalwarts.  FTR, this is something that I'm going to attempt to arrange independently of support from the Sand Hill Group (they have too many other issues to deal with).  No promises regarding Steve B. or Marc B., but I'll do my best.

There is a nominal cost associated for participation in the "Pavilion."  Selected firms will have to pay between US$3,500 and US$4,000 (depending on whether we choose ten or twelve firms).  This is to cover expenses, nothing more.  Perhaps local software parks or municipal governments will help with partial funding as they have in the past, although this is out of our hands and we don't want to get involved with too much administrivia.

For mechanicals, we will have a 20' x 10' pavilion (really two adjacent 10' x 10' booths).  The "Best" will be highlighted on a banner and one representative from each selected firm will be allowed to "man" the pavilion.

If your firm is interested in giving this a shot, let me know ASAP.  Your firm will be required to demonstrate that they are helping American ISVs innovate -- or that your firm itself is truly innovative.  After having held two senior positions in the two largest U.S.-focused, China-based IT outsourcing firms, I know that some firms may be attempted to pile on BS.  However, this time I will not be so easily fooled, so it's important to make your best case.  And to make it real.

BTW, size does NOT matter.  Smaller firms are welcome, perhaps even preferred.  And although the focus in on enterprise applications, embedded-focused firms are definitely in play.  Innovation is the key.  If you're another one of the gazillion firms in China offering L10N/G18N or manual software testing, don't bother applying.  But if you have innovative products or can assist American ISVs in their innovation and R&D processes, then you're a prime candidate for this event.

Expect a lot of media coverage, too -- although we can't promise anything.  We will also try to arrange for site visits to Stanford, PARC (where the PC was essentially created), IBM Almaden (arguably the world's leading research center in nanotechnology), Google, perhaps some others.  (We're open to suggestions.  Possibilities include Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus, the headquarters for Oracle, HP, Yahoo, EBay, Sun, Intel, Cisco, Apple, AMD, EA, Adobe, Symantec, and dozens/hundreds of Web 2.0 leaders.  Let's face it, Silicon Valley is the center of the IT universe.)

To be considered for "The Best in China," please drop a message to me at:  thebestinchina <at> gmail <dot> com.  (Do NOT reply to this message.)  Send/provide as much supporting evidence as you can; prove that you are indeed one of "The Best in China."  The application deadline is 15 January, but the sooner, the better.  If great firms can be found before the 15 January deadline, we'll likely run with said firms.  Godspeed and good luck ...

David Scott Lewis
Senior Vice President
Startech Global Corporation (the outsourcing hub for Tsinghua University, China's MIT)
Beijing, China & Los Angeles, California

P.S.--Expect a fascinating main stage "debate" on the innovativeness of China versus India versus Israel (and perhaps versus the U.K. or Russia).  I will be debating the issue on behalf of China.  I have some ammo that will make Indians squirm in their chairs.  When it comes to R&D and engineering services outsourcing, China beats India.  No comparison.  And I have proof -- proof that I will share during the panel discussion. (access to blog content archives in China)
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