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Telecom <em>Is</em> the Place for Entrepreneurs
I can say I know how the guy feels (Take this Job & Shove It) or anyone else that has worked in telecom. His theory is for those without vast capital resources or the stomach to take on the man with institutional financing isn't worthwhile. There's also an old saying- "that love is blinding."
I can say I know how the guy feels (Take this Job & Shove It) or anyone else that has worked in telecom. His theory is for those without vast capital resources or the stomach to take on the man with institutional financing isn't worthwhile. There's also an old saying- "that love is blinding."While I agree on the funding, I don't agree that we need more telecom carriers. Since the mid 1970's, the business models that were used to attempt moving the US telecommunications infrastructure from a monopolistic model to a free enterprise model have cost American taxpayers and retirement investments billions of dollars, not to mention the pain, suffering and heartache associated with the whole mess. Then, add the taxes to the fold.
It would be nice to have just a few "great" telecom carriers that provide five nines reliability to include all the support necessary to move us into network computing and intelligent networking. There are too many empires built on too much gear sitting on customer premises wasting too many resources and costing too much in capital investment and then later to discover that opex costs are rising and it's time to replace the wares again.
Then, what struck me as convincingly awkward was his comment "whereas if I stayed in telecom, I'd be spending the next several years designing more bad IVR systems for banks and airlines."
The real thrust in telecom isn't just the capital, those VC wolves and the man with his endless supply of money. It's still a haven for the entrepreneur so long as he's not greedy. Make no mistake, under-capitalization is what kills many players and has left plenty of customers hanging. Instead of going after the big hits (greed) that too many executives tend to focus on, there are other opportunities along with the crumbs. It's telecom and because of its very nature- is still why I remain in telecommunications.
But why does it seem like such a challenge?
It's Broken- the process that customers face is broken along with the broken methods of dealing with people such as subjecting them to the "bad IVR systems." Broken processes aren't directional but bi-directional, meaning make better widgets and knock down barriers preventing customer satisfaction.
Surplus- over the past decade well over a million telecom positions were cut and not displaced back into the industry. I've harped on this fact numerous times. Some of this is due to efficiency and process. Better networks and less maintenance require fewer jobs. Every industry expands and contracts and for telecom to not do so would mean stagnation. Some of the cuts were due to fraud and greed. No industry is immune.
Commoditization - does more to cheapen products. With commoditization people don't get service, they aren't satisfied and they will remember while corporations continue to reap economies of scale. Globalization is a new model leveraging cheap labor and expensive fuel to transport goods worldwide.
Competitive Crowd- the margins are thin and the numbers never seem apples to apples. Ask customers- they wind up getting apples, aircraft and futures for oil contracts as bids for anything related to telecom.
Convergence- "The bit heads are taking over." Not really. Skill-sets must change and a higher degree of skill along with new skills is a fact of living. Nothing and no one can afford to remain complacent, else it or you end up in the bone pile. People don't live and act statically. Now, contrast this to the TDM and IP networks that are built to serve us.
Energy- telecommunications requires fuel and a lot of it. Energy prices are rising, supplies are not endless and the environment is suffering.
Maybe this adds fuel to the fiery list. The government can take the taxes from telecom and shove it and the elite few prospering from the theft of the many can shove it too. This is still where I want to be: Telecom. It still sounds and smells like opportunity to me but if you're looking to get rich or seeking some delusional guarantee of doing the same thing over and over until you retire, then get in a different line. My other alternative is an island immune from the rising waters.