Doubtsourcing the misunderstandings of two worlds
Entrepreneur Sandeep Sood is the creator of the online comic strip – Doubtsourcing – inspired by the misunderstandings of two worlds. Of course, the ideas are his but the actual illustration work is outsourced to China. Set mostly in an office in India, Doubtsourcing aims to be to the outsourcing world what Dilbert has been to the U.S. cubicle set.
There are already numerous funny strips drawn and some of them have serious hilarious takes equally on both US Clients and Indian Developers. Sood says, “The rap on Indian workers is that they have a can-do attitude but tend to over-promise and balk at using their own judgment.” At the same time, he adds, “many U.S. companies treat them as dispensable cheap labor.”
Making fun of Indian workaholism in one cartoon, a job candidate receives an offer after boasting that he hasn’t “seen the sun for 7.5 months.”
In another, a U.S. manager criticizes the India team for being slow and uncreative. An Indian worker says the U.S. firm has changed its business model three times in three months, from online dating to insurance to pornography.
LA Times have a quote of an Indian fan who e-mailed Sood asking him to give American companies more knocks.
There are numerous instances when the outsourcing company would expect us to be illiterate idiots, whereas we managed to show them a thing or two. Other times, we were on time for a call at 4 a.m. while the outsourcing rep was busy changing nappies of his kid.
In December last year, Doubtsourcing was acquired by Fuse+Media Interactive, a company based in India and owned by venture firm Velocity Interactive Group. Keyur Patel plans to convert the ideas of Doubtsourcing into animated TV Shows, as well as Shorts aimed for mobile phones. It may be noted that Velocity already have a strong hold of some Indian TV Channels – IndiaTV and NDTV.
Keyur Patel believes that the content of Doubtsourcing will best cater to the Indian diaspora. One has to be on both sides of the divide, it will be difficult to enjoy the fun unless you know both India and the US. Sood is the creative and technical director of the new initiative and the animation work will be done in India.
I’m yet to hear news of any Animation Studio’s acquisitions by Velocity or its allied firms but I’m sure it would be done by one or more studios where Keyur would have taken hold of in form of stake or a buy-out. He won’t just outsourced to a third party firm. He know what to take stride of and nurture it.
While you’re at it, head over to LA Times and read the section on Sood’s entrepreneurial life story. It is punctuated with failures till he finally gets his break. I personally love reading such life stories where entrepreneurs are never shaken by their failures, which are in fact very hard for the common people to understand.
Alright, here is an excerpt of the part of Sood’s story;
Straddling it has always been part of Sood’s life. His father, a chemical engineer, moved to the U.S. from Uganda. His mother, a loan officer, came from north India. Although the family is Hindu, Sood attended the Christian South Hills Academy in West Covina through middle school. He recalls coming home crying that his family was going to burn in hell for eternity.
It was at UC Berkeley during the dot-com boom that Sood, an economics major, caught the entrepreneurial bug. After graduating in 1998, he worked at PeopleSoft Inc. and other technology firms before setting out on his own.
First he founded an online math education company called LearnTempo for kids from kindergarten to high school. It failed. In 2001, he started DeepSun, building websites for travel agents, massage therapists and construction companies for less than $500. He barely made the rent on his San Francisco studio apartment and nearly had to close the business when his laptop was stolen from his car while he was surfing.
In 2002, he sold the name DeepSun to Sun Microsystems Inc., which had complained that he was infringing its trademark. Sood declined to disclose the amount he got from Sun but said the money helped him keep the business afloat. The company became Monsoon Co. He has six full-time employees in the U.S. – he hopes to double that this year – and 90 workers in three cities in India: Pune, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
Sood, a cuff-link-wearing guy, has contracts with Wells Fargo & Co. and other big names, and with many small start-ups.