Linkedin: The Middle East’s Google for IT?

I’ve used Linkedin for a long time running, and one of the features that I enjoy most is the ability to join professional or recreational “groups.” I am part of quite a few groups involving Microsoft Excel, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Access, etc. The groups give me an opportunity to ask questions and answer questions asked by others, which fosters great discussion and learning.

What about the title? How does it apply at all to what you’re getting at?

Well, one trend that I’ve noticed in my perusal of these group pages is that the majority of questions being askedĀ seemĀ to come from the middle east. Now, please understand that I am in no way profiling or attempting to slander a people group or anything like that. I am basing my assumption on the language barrier and names realizing that many could be here in the USA. However, it did make me wonder at the situation, assuming it’s true: we outsource a good amount of IT work to India and other countries. If they are using Linkedin to ask questions, many of which seem to be answered by folks in the United States, are we paying them to ask questions of professionals in the USA who could probably do that same work quicker (being that they already know the answers to these questions)?

This is just a question meant to foster discussion, not a rule or anything like that. Also, I know nothing about browsing restrictions in middle eastern countries that would limit their ability to search out the information on their own time.



I Heart Technology

It’s true… I won’t deny it! The catalyst to this post’s creation is nothing more than a circumstance that made me realize just how amazing technology is compared to even a handful of years in the past.

Story Time

Ok kids, gather ’round! I was driving home from work the other day and had planned to stop at a local gas station where the prices are usually slightly below the other area stations. My low gas indicator had been blinking furiously away and I figured that it would be worth a quick fill up to appease it. I glanced over at the sign; “3.61, not a bad price… definitely made the right choice,” I said to myself. Too bad I had already missed the exit and was looking at the sign from the highway.

A few minutes of disbelief in my own stupidity paved the way to a realization: I could just fill up at another gas station! Genius… some guys have it, some guys don’t. The only issue was that I didn’t want to get raked over the coals paying 3.80-something at another station. My Droid X stared quietly at me from its car dock, waiting patiently for me to recognize its potential. I popped open its browser and used Google’s voice search to search for “Valero gas sale Binghamton New York.” I know that the local Valero stations each have a gas sale on a different day. The fist hit was their site with a chart showing the station and the day. I checked the address for Tuesday and then brought up the Droid’s built in turn-by-turn. I spoke in the destination and, after waiting a few minutes for the device to be found by a GPS satellite, was off to the gas station. In a few minutes I was not only able to figure out which gas station had a sale (we also have shopper discount points at Valero so I definitely wanted to go with them) but was also given the shortest route from my current location. Wouldn’t you know, I took another wrong turn on my way… recalculating! GPS got me there in the same 6 minutes as the original quote… and then I found ten dollars. (Jkz! Rofllolz.)

Yeah awesome story, you filled up your gas tank.

I realize that it’s not particularly heart-pounding, but I thought it was incredible that I could do all of that from my phone, most of which was hands free and voice activated. Years ago, even when GPS devices were still an option, I wouldn’t have been able to figure out which gas stations of those propinquant to my current location had a gas sale that day.

Have a similar story? One that’s more exciting than mine? Let’s hear it in the comments!