Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meeting Dumaguete's IT underground

In an inspired move, Jong Fortunato of DTI gathered together the ICT freelancers in the city for a short pow-wow. These fellows fall under the radar of government agencies and many local businesses because they usually work from home. At the same time, it can't be denied that they carry some expertise enough to get them some paying work. With the availability of broadband Internet in the city, they don't even have to rely on the weak local market anymore. So, voila! the Dumaguete IT underground.

I was quite pleased with the group I met. They were young, they were hip, they were tech-savvy, and they were willing to try to make things work in Dumaguete. One guy, for example, used to work for Chow King in Makati before returning here to set up an IT company with his friends. Another guy was doing missionary work for a youth group here. Still others were fresh grads or just about to finish school.

The profile that I got from these guys:

  • They can be classified primarily as web site developers. They're willing to do almost anything, but though they won't admit, I could tell web development was their comfort zone.
  • Following the first point, not too many of them were developing traditional applications. Only one guy came forward to say he was doing C++. All others were building PHP apps.
  • For this group, the bulk of their business came from local accounts. That's a bit of a reversal from the Dumaguete-based web development shop we've encountered in the past, which was led by a guy in Los Angeles. But it's not surprising considering that these guys are mostly new.
  • Almost all their local accounts consisted of hotels and resorts.
  • I doubt they'll stay local for long, though. They're exhibiting networking savvy and are hooking up with people who can get them business from abroad.
  • AdSense: majority are coming to rely on AdSense as revenue generators. One group is creating an AdSense farm while waiting for business to come in.

  • And speaking of Adsense, I learned that one freelance developer (not in the meeting) was earning $50 per day through her site. Incredible? Indeed! I've visited the sites -- they're not blogs -- and now I have to say I'm not surprised. I have to commend that developer for carving out a lucrative niche in the web space.

    So what did DTI have to bring to the table? I suppose there's a feeling of inherent danger that this initiative would be used for registration and tax purposes. That was an issue that we had to address. And the tentative resolution was to leave things be lest we scare off these guys from any participation at all. Rather, the approach I recommended came from the perspective of scale, that once they experienced the limits of being a small operation they should approach DTI for assistance in scaling up.

    As an added carrot, I also proposed a meeting between Dumaguete's hotel and resort owners with these young developers. This group of customers already understand the need for a web site, and at the same time, the developers have already exhibited some understanding of their requirements. It only seemed logical.

    I suppose in three weeks' time they'll set up that meeting, and it'll be something along the lines of a mini-marketing expo for the web services. Metrics for this activity will also be easy, corresponding to the number of new Dumaguete travel-oriented web sites.

    From then on, we'll see what happens.


    1. Good to hear developments like this. I also considered myself belonged to "Dgte IT Underground" before and to some extent until now. Keep us posted for new developments. I wish I can attend one of those future meetings.

    2. dumaguete - asp.net 3 job vacancies

      hi i am setting up a .net based software company in dumaguete and would love to meet the dumaguete underground so i can fill some job vacancies


      thank u