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Recruiting software, American import or American export?

Corporate America has given us life and has given us death.

The global economic structure is evolving at a fantastic pace. So fast that I believe children growing up will not be able to identify their growing years as ‘do you remember when’, because the social, political and economic fabric will have changed five times before they are 25 years old.

I have always believed that the recruiting industry was an American innovation like the light bulb, but I have to admit that I never really researched it. I suppose a more astute historian can find the beginning of the profession going back to Roman times or further. I also believe that the genesis of the recruiting industry was fostered by the invention of the American corporation. Then along came ‘Bell’ with his telephone. Then came Alan Turing with his “Universal Turing Machine”. Here is an excerpt from the site of Andrew Hodges:

“… So who invented the computer?
There are many different views on which aspects of the modern computer are the most central or critical.
• Some people think that it's the idea of using electronics for calculating — in which case another American pioneer, Atanasoff, should be credited.
• Other people say it's getting a computer actually built and working. In that case it's either the tiny prototype at Manchester, (See this Scrapbook Page) or the EDSAC at Cambridge, England (1949), that deserves greatest attention.
But I would say that in 1945 Alan Turing alone grasped everything that was to change computing completely after that date: above all he understood the universality inherent in the stored-program computer. He knew there could be just one machine for all tasks. He did not do so as an isolated dreamer, but as someone who knew about the practicability of large-scale electronics, with hands-on experience. From experience in code breaking and mathematics he was also vividly aware of the scope of programs that could be run.
The idea of the universal machine was foreign to the world of 1945. Even ten years later, in 1956, the big chief of the electromagnetic relay calculator at Harvard, Howard Aiken, could write:
If it should turn out that the basic logics of a machine designed for the numerical solution of differential equations coincide with the logics of a machine intended to make bills for a department store, I would regard this as the most amazing coincidence that I have ever encountered.
But that is exactly how it has turned out. It is amazing, although we now have come to take it for granted. But it follows from the deep principle that Alan Turing saw in 1936: the Universal Turing Machine …”
Then came along Bill Gates and here we are today. I’m writing this article for the web to help promote our recruiting software product, “Gopher for recruiters”.

I cannot say that I am a die hard American patriot who lives and breathes each day pontificating on the great American ideals and principles of freedom. But I do love my country and I am loyal to the core.

But lately, in the autumn of my years, I am being haunted by recurring dreams and thoughts. Call it senility if you will. I feel like a Roman citizen, a Greek soldier or an Aztec engineer who suddenly is aware that all things come to an end and new things take their place, good or bad but forward they must go. My way of life as an American citizen is also in the autumn of its years.

To my great surprise it is not the Hitlers of the world that are bringing about our destruction. Lo and behold, we are clones of the Romans! We destroyed ourselves with the greed and corruption of the absolutely un-patriotic American invention - the “American Corporation”. The same vehicle that got us here has turned on its master and is devouring us.

An American corporation is a single minded entity whose only goal is profits. Oh you will hear the PR and read about their great humanitarian contributions, but if there are any contributions, it is only a strategy for higher profits.

The American corporation is a mindless animal that will drive itself and we Americans to extinction by exhausting its own food supply to the point where the food can’t be replenished. It will then evolve into something else, to the good or to the bad I do not know.

Finally, on to my point. I think almost everyone will agree that the wellspring of computer software was born in America and was fueled from the American corporations’ drive for profits. A tremendous stride forward for the world. People from all countries, some without a roof over their heads and not knowing where their next meal will come from but with a cell phone in their hands.

But now the American corporation has turned on its master. For profit alone, it exports the work that creates the new fabric of our world, computer software! A computer is nothing but a lump of plastic and metal with software to bring it to life. A cell phone is nothing more than a tin can tied to a string without the computer software burned into its memory chip.

The result of this exportation is not only the loss of American jobs but the decay of our educational system. We used to rank the highest in percentage of population having higher education. No more, now it’s third at best. Today we can’t even defend ourselves in a war without dependence on other countries to supply materials and computer software. We are in a downward spiral and the corporate monster has such a strangle hold on our American political system that I think America can see itself falling from a tall building but there is little to do but wait for the impact.

So what should I do with this vision of doom and gloom? Not much. A little defiance if you will for my own sanity and feeling of self worth. I often think of James Fenimore Cooper’s book “The Last of the Mohicans”. Who will be the American Hawkeye?

Our small privately held corporation will never export the labor to create our recruiting software products. Our customers will never make a support call and get routed to another country and speak to someone who barely understands English, who, like an android, is reading from a scripted diagnostic language. Complicated machinery like recruiting software must be supported by people who have a feeling for the software and what and why it is doing what it does. I think recruiting software has to be supported by an organization that has an extremely deep understanding of what the American recruiting industry is all about.

I know I cannot make a speck of a difference to the American path. But, at least I will go down fighting with the satisfaction that I did my best to prevent the selling of America. I am ashamed to have laughed at Ross Perot and his big “whoosh” of American technology and jobs. I do not buy products if I know the support will come from an offshore person who is no more than a robot speaking in poor English.

Corporate America has given us life and has given us death. I look into the
mirror and see the horror, for it is I!


About the Author: Kenneth Peck Graduated from the University of Toledo. Fifteen years in IT from programmer to VP of IT. Spent the next 15 years as a recruiter in Los Angeles and built the product ‘Gopher for Recruiters’. Last 10 years improving the product ‘Gopher for recruiters’ and building the Company ‘BlackDog’ located in Colorado.




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