Why the reverse brain drain?

Via a retweet from Brad Feld, I saw this article.

This is confusing to me.  There is no hard data, but I’d like to explore why are people leaving the US to start companies back in the homeland.

Is it because of:

  1. visa issues
  2. the cost to build a company
  3. the economic opportunity in their home country

If it is the first one, I’m in favor of reform, though I think there are a number of ways to encourage founders to stay, and tying their visa to VC funding, like the startup visa does, doesn’t seem like an optimal strategy.

If it is the second, then we need a cost benefits analysis.  Making it easier to start companies is not an unalloyed good.  For example, I wouldn’t want it to be easier to start a company that made cancer causing products.  It’s harder to start a company in the US because we as a society have made choices that impose costs on companies.  Ask the Chinese how it is to have ineffective regulation.  On the other hand, as outlined in comments here, lowering risk for entrepeneurs (lack of health insurance!) could really lower costs for starting a company.

If it is the last, then, good luck to them.  Who can argue with the fact that Indian engineers are cheaper or that “there are no mature companies, like Google and Microsoft” in these countries?


On My Brief Experience with Wireframe Tools

I was looking for a tool to quickly and easily build wireframes.  Oh, it had to be free too.  Luckily, I found this useful list of wireframing tools.

The first one I picked was Simple Diagrams.  I like Adobe AIR apps, already have the runtime and it looked nice.  Even had some tutorials, even if they were third party generated.

But then, I’m actually using it, and I go to save the image and there’s no save!  You can export as PNG, but you can’t, using the free version, save a project, shut down your computer, turn it on again, and then open up your project to where you were.  Now, I’m no opponent of freemium business models, but if you can’t save a diagram and come back to it, the program is really crippled.  Call it a demo, but it’s not anywhere near a free functioning version.

I then tried Web Site Wireframe, but wanted something that would work offline.

Finally, I tried Pencil Prject.  It’s not the most polished (one of the tabs in the main screen is “My Stuffs”) but it worked–I could edit files offline, and save projects and re-open them later. It’s also kinda cool because it is built on top of the XUL and Firefox application frameworks (they have a plugin and a standalone app available).

Any wireframe tools you would recommend?



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