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June 18, 2014

Leaving Microsoft and Finding Software Outsourcing in Nepal

Many westerners view third-world countries like Nepal as poor, backward and in desperate need of help. The idea of outsourcing your web and mobile app development to Nepal is probably not at the top of the list of anticipated smartest business decisions for most CEO’s. But it should be!

Look at the progress countries like India and China have made over the last several decades. American companies don’t hesitate to outsource software development there. Nepal is showing similar signs of progress. Why?

Nepal is finally benefitting from years of foreign aid used to improve education. The country holds a special place in the hearts of westerners because of the natural beauty, friendly people and spiritual nature of the Nepal’s long history. Kathmandu is still a popular destination for seekers of spiritual enlightenment even before Hippies flocked there in the 1960s (Cat Stevens sang about Kathmandu in his 1970 album Mona Bone Jakon). And many visitors just want to trek around the Himalayas to get away from it all.

That is exactly what led John Wood to Nepal. His book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World captures the positive life-changing nature of Nepal. He discovered his passion, greatest success and his life's work in Nepal on a soul-searching trip to the Himalayas. Stressed from the demands of his job -- leading Microsoft's entry into Asia in the 1990s-- he took a vacation trekking in Nepal. While visiting a remote Nepalese school, Wood learned that the students had zero useful books in their library.  Wood returned to that school with thousands of donated books on the back of a yak. The impact of those books helped Wood make the decision to walk away from Microsoft and create Room to Read, an organization that has donated more than 1.2 million books, established more than 2,600 libraries and 200 schools, mostly in Nepal but also Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Most of our charitable accomplishments will pale in comparison. For example, in the 1990s, after one of my startups went public, my wife and I were asked to make a donation to the Catholic school in Sunnyvale where our kids attended. We liked the school and felt honored to be asked. It was a way for us to give back to our community and the plaque with our names on it outside the new science classroom made us feel good too!

A few years later I was surprised when David, a coworker and beneficiary from that same startup IPO told me he and his wife donated money to build a school in Nepal. They were about to leave on a trip to visit the newly constructed school and students. I know he had more stock than I did which I assumed is why he paid for an entire school while we funded just a science classroom. But now after reading Leaving Microsoft, I realize David got a better deal! About $10,000 pays for an entire new school in Nepal.

Now I have returned from my own trip to Nepal. We have a new Accelerance Certified Expert (ACE) software outsourcing partner in Kathmandu. I learned about Leaving Microsoft from the executives at our new ACE partner. And I learned several other things about Nepal during our assessment and certification trip.

  • Low Cost – like new school construction, a dollar goes a long way in Nepal and developing your web and mobile apps there is also inexpensive.

  • Smart People – those new schools are paying off. The literacy rate is improving in Nepal and new universities are also producing great programmers

  • Western Exposure – English is widely spoken in Nepal and well-practiced by Nepalis as they interact with the many western aid workers, tourists and trekkers constantly visiting Nepal.

Our new ACE partner in Nepal is an excellent fit for marketing and digital agency clients. They have a proven track record of serving agencies that need a dedicated outsourced back office or white label technology team that can grow and shrink as necessary to meet end-client demands. They are also proven to provide excellent execution of fixed-bid projects for agency clients who typically create detailed specifications to satisfy the needs of their end clients.

Software development resources in Nepal have high value but lower cost since Nepal is an underutilized market where good programmers have few other employment opportunities. And Nepal is a terrific country for you to visit and experience the beauty, cultural and spiritual features of this ancient land. Nepal has come a long way and software outsourcing to Nepal is a smart choice. It might just change your life!


Andy Hilliard

As CEO, Andy leads and advocates for the globalization and collaboration of great software teams with companies in search of talent, innovation and a globally-distributed extension of their engineering function and culture. Andy founded the ground-breaking nearshore software development services company, Isthmus Costa...

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