The Rise Of Micro-Multinational Companies

from the the-global-village-at-work dept

Hal Varian’s latest opinion piece for the NY Times starts out by discussing how technology helps to “level the playing field” by allowing small companies to act like big companies, but then gets more interesting towards the end. That basic premise of the “level playing field” has been covered to death — and really isn’t all that accurate. However, later in the article, he notes (anecdotally) about new companies that are “micro-multinationals.” That is, they’re basically startups or small businesses — but their employees are all over the world, enabled by all of the various free-to-cheap communications technologies we have today. He presents it as a very different take on the whole offshoring debate. By setting up a situation where a small company can be both tiny and global instantly, it’s making it possible to create companies and new jobs where none existed before.

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Comments on “The Rise Of Micro-Multinational Companies”

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Tom Gordon (profile) says:

The Rise Of Micro-Multinational Companies

We’re one of these ‘micro multinationals’, and have been since we launched in 2001. For example, during 2002-2003 we had a full time employee in the USA and a full time employee in Canada, both working on live satellite television in the UK alongside UK-based employees.
It’s a logical extension of online work, and a concept I’ve been speaking about ( and writing about (I contributed a chapter in the recent Massively Multiplayer Game Development 2 book specifically about providing customer support using online staff).
All my staff work remotely using the Internet, and frankly I don’t care where they live (except when it comes to working out tax 🙂 ). We even had one guy presenting a live TV show from his bedroom using a webcam. That version ran for 11 months, and the show itself is still broadcast daily almsot 3 years later (although they now produce it in a studio using proper cameras).

Chris Maresca (user link) says:

been going on for years....

Back in the early ’90’s, I had a company with 30 employees, only 10 of which were in the same country as I was. Faxes, phones and FidoNet made it all possible.

One recent example of this is WSO2, which has (had?) only five employees located in Sri Lanka, London, New York and San Francisco.


Vanessa Cross says:

Re: Meeting the Legal Needs of the Micro-Multinational

International business lawyers are responding to the growth of micro-multinationals by responding to the legal needs presented by this growth. The new role of the international business lawyer is not to simply respond to the needs of “big business,”, but offer the same quality legal services (including drafting concrete contracts) to micro-multinationals.

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