U.S. versus Kenyan productivity measured objectively

Labor Day Week continued…

Before you jump on the globalization train… A friend works at a company that cleans up databases using Mechanical Turk-style human labor. They tested folks in their U.S. office on a straightforward task. It took them between 2 and 30 seconds, with the average being roughly 6 seconds. Their $8/hour workers in Kenya? An average of 1 minute, 16 seconds.



  1. lion

    September 8, 2017 @ 1:24 pm


    The outsourcing horrors of 2001 are completely forgotten by the current generation. It’s assumed that everything must be done in SOMA & location is critical. What started as paying money to build cabinets in maker spaces has become paying money to commute to Wework spaces to write mobile apps that could be written anywhere.

  2. Scott

    September 8, 2017 @ 2:50 pm


    This comprehensive analysis has convinced me, close off trade with the rest of the world.

  3. SuperMike

    September 8, 2017 @ 3:33 pm


    Wow, I have to imagine that $8 an hour goes pretty far in Kenya.

  4. Bill

    September 8, 2017 @ 4:36 pm


    In the 1990s I worked for a Fortune 500 company doing product design. We tried to globalize our software development. We farmed out work to shops in several countries around the world to save money and time. We tried to manage it like we did US developers. We used one manager for 25 or so coders and did one page specs per module and so forth. It was a disaster. The code would not even run or fit together and many times what we thought we ordered was not coded. We had to add pages and pages of specifications and daily conference call meetings between groups to get code that sorta worked. All this killed productivity and schedules and increased cost to almost US values. So it not cheap $$ wise. The bosses were not happy that we could not just create code for 10% to 30% of former costs.

  5. JW

    September 8, 2017 @ 9:10 pm


    Gregory Clark did the same comparison in Farewell To Alms with Indian vs British textile workers.

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