Interesting take on “international office”

While not the central theme of this attached article, it does strike me as odd that they are promoting Terminal (a hybrid app development/engineering labor platform) as opening an “international office.”  Terminal focuses on providing lower cost skilled labor for select app developers and designers.  Essentially this is moving capital to markets with a greater surplus of labor, a staple of multinational business.  With NAFTA 2.0 on the horizon, is it possible we will see some of the “international offices” of large textile manufacturers returning to the South?

My point is what Terminal is promising is not nearly as cutting edge or even novel.  The premise is that new startups, often with little cash on hand, have difficulty paying the market rate for engineers based in Silicon Valley.  Instead, they can partner with Terminal which will not only provide the cheap foreign labor but the prestige of opening an “international office”.  This way the VCs, idea men, and exceptionally skilled programmers can continue to live in Silicon Valley while the actual labor force is paid cheaply abroad, a situation at least as old as the hunter gatherer model.

One novelty of the Terminal model is that Terminal has absorbed some of the higher capital costs, providing a workspace, workstations, and the logistics of an international office.  This way the Terminal client can focus on production and take advantage of this division of labor without an expensive outlay of capital.  It appears the app industry is trending toward its more mature cousins like the textile industry, where often the research, design and development is centralized and production localized where labor costs are cheaper.

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