Sunday, July 10, 2011

A different model for Autism/Aspergers friendly technology companies

Ian Ford, whom I have spoken about before, posted to the Wrong Planet forums about hiring ASD programmers and artists who would work from home on projects he secures. Whether he knows it or not I think he has suggested a new style of ASD friendly company to compliment the efforts of Aspiritech, Specialisterne, Autism Works UK, Uzmanlar [note: in Turkish; Google Chrome does a decent translation] and Kaien.

I see three drawbacks to the current crop of testing oriented companies like those mentioned above:

  1. Geographically bound - each one serves the local Autism/Aspergers community by establishing a traditional office space; if you are not close by or cannot commute you are out of luck
  2. Limited in scope - beyond testing and supporting testing there is little to offer in the way of ASD friendly/compatible work
  3. Crowded market place - five companies operating in the same niche is getting a bit crowded; thankfully they are spread out among various countries with Uzmanlar and Kaien enjoying a natural barrier based on language. Still Autism UK and Specialisterne will start to compete against each other in the UK and those two along with Aspiritech will start to run into each other in the English speaking market as a whole.

Ian's model of employing multiple disciplines (so far he has used artists and programmers and looking for more) while allowing people to work from home addresses all three of these issues. He is offering a service in the 'ASD Niche' not otherwise seen. True he has to compete with the general population of tailored technology consulting but that is something that can be said of the five testing companies for independent test verification as well.

Tomorrow, Monday, I am going to reach out to someone in Tucson who is also interested in starting an Autism/Aspergers friendly company. Her initial idea was to emulate the Specialisterne model but I will be suggesting a new one to her as well.

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