The chairman of the Iosco Technical Committee, Andrew Sheng, says: 'The results of our survey on outsourcing indicate that financial intermediaries are outsourcing significant aspects of their business activities to service providers.'
How the Indians (Indian Indians, not woo-woo Indians) must be laughing at that measured bureaucratic conclusion, given that they saw that opportunity coming a decade ago and labored mightily to make it happen.
I find the human drama of technical committees fascinating. I guess someone has to, it might as well be me. Back in college, we used to have these interdisciplinary teams that would work on research projects that aimed at solving a complex problem. English majors, the football playing sociology majors, and science geeks trying to solve the Dutch elm disease problem in the local park. I often think, in the course of my job, that as we see every member of Adam Smith's pin-factory production line incorporating themselves and putting their little link in the chain on the open market--this is what the consultants like to call "the value chain"--that the universities are just not turning out enough generalists nowadays. Somebody has to translate techspeak into MBA-speak if we are going to bridge that "business-IT" divide. And bridge it we must. Somebody has to take the holistic view of things, even as the pundits note the fragementation of our markets. C.P. Snow, where have you gone?
I was thinking about this after my lunch with a certain corpcommun bigwig the other day. It was quite important for me to show the flag, for various reasons, and trot out our new reporter as a sign that, yes, we are aware that we urgently need to serve that segment of our readership. She was great, by the way. The main skill you have to master is not to be visibly impressed by your subject. You just keep saying to yourself, nihil human me alienum puto--translation: we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
The delightful surprise was that the bigwig turned out to be a highly congenial gentleman with Andy Rooney eyebrows who gave me quite a pleasant conversation to compensate me for the diplomatic once-over I had to endure. Yes, everyone, the professionals are still in charge of the asylum, we're just waiting for the paperwork to go through.
Part of that conversation turned to the demise of the liberal arts, in fact, and we had quite an interesting chat about where the modern academic discipline of "communications" falls short of the venerable discipline of "rhetoric," which has become a term of abuse in these decadent times of ours and is never heard without the sneering "mere" prefixed. Common ground was discovered.
That kind of made my week, which was otherwise taken up with tracking incoming word blocks in an Excel spreadsheet to try to see whether I was going to spend my Friday night with the manufacturing boys breathing down my neck as me and the slot man and the art director tried to whip the thing into shape. We had an instance of "they're" where "their" was indicated in the last issue, which was embarassing. But you know, frick it, I've seen a hell of a lot worse in my time.
On that note, the blessing count for the day, despite the stresses thereof:
- Chateau le Grand Faurie, Bourdeaux, 1993, 50% off at the Love Liquors.
- Skype, which allows you to ring a cellphone with your wife attached to it on a beach in Chile and gab for $.024/minute
- Turner Movie Classics
- Microwave popcorn