I remember the first time that it happened to me. I was visiting a company that I was writing a manual for. The office of the company was reached through a hole knocked in the wall of an empty factory. I asked my contact if I could see the device (it was a medical device). He explained to me that all the manufacturing is done by subcontractors and I would have to visit the subcontractor who does the final assembly to see the device. OK, no problem. I next asked to speak to the programmer who designed the interface. He gave me a phone number and told me to set up a meeting with him at his home because he too is a contractor. It turned out that the entire company consisted of a guy sitting in an office who had an idea and used subcontractors to develop, manufacture and market his product. I subsequently heard that his company was bought by a larger company for a nice sum. I later worked for a client who had the same sort of setup,except that he didn’t even have an office. I met him in a cafe, and when we all had to get together we used a conference room in his lawyer’s office.
In Israel, at least, this seems to be fairly widespread phenomena, and if you think about it, it makes sense.
Carried to the extreme the situation could end up something like this:
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