Can Lone Coders reverse outsourcing trend?

Ever since I wrote this essay, Cult of the Lone Coders, one thought which has constantly nagged me: can the lone coders reverse the outsourcing trend? Clearly, the availability of broadband in lower cost areas in rural America and rise of new devices/platforms has made the option more financially viable. Nevertheless, I posed this question to one of the leading “lone coders” Brent Simmons of Ranchero Software. Those who don’t know him, well he is the man behind the fabulous desktop client, Net News Wire which is a combo RSS Reader and Editor for the Apple OS-X platform.

bq. I haven’t really thought about outsourcing much — except to say that every developer without a job is someone who could, if they wanted, start creating something. There are so many good ideas for software, so many great opportunities, that I just about go nuts whenever I hear through the grapevine of Joe Unemployed Programmer not starting his own business. But for all the people who want to do it, I’m not sure how many actually can. Me, I was lucky, I had some savings to get me through, and I have the temperament for this. Both of these factors in combination may be sufficiently rare that this trend will never get that large. Perhaps there will always be many more people who want to do it than will do it. I don’t know. (And I suspect that the determining factor is more temperament than money.)

Brent pointed me to a news group he started for Mac Developers, and it has 300+plus members. To him, clearly it is a sign, that many are taking the plunge and developing software on their own.

bq. That sure looks like a trend to me. (Remember, this is just Mac developers.) Now, my guess is that many of these people are still working for a larger company — they’re either considering or are in the process of striking out on their own. They’re not all there yet. But it looks to me as if lots of programmers seriously want to do this.

I would love to get your thoughts on this. So post away.


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