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Re: Tech articles in last week's paper

Michael Guterl Mar 18, 2012 10:26 AM
Posted in group: Cincinnati.rb
I'll bite. Replies inline.

On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM, Troy Davis <> wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> I've worked with 3 startups over the last 5 years, and I've hired developers on many occasions for these startups. My experience has been that most developers here in Cincinnati are enthusiastic about the idea of working with a startup, it has a certain romance to it, I suppose. But most of these developers are too risk averse to make the jump. It's sort of like kids wanting to be pirates, they dream of being Jack Sparrow, with sword fights on the deck of the Flying Dutchman. But of course the reality of life as a Somali pirate riding in cheap fishing boats and capturing tankers with the threat of homemade molotov cocktails isn't quite as romantic...
It appears to me that startups on the coasts go the extra mile to
attract talent, something I haven't seen many local companies do.  I
could be completely wrong here, but what is portrayed is far from
cheap fishing boats.

Here are some bullet points from the most recent posting (an
early-stage startup in San Fran) in my RSS:

* Home-cooked meals daily by our gracious, Cordon Bleu trained chef.
Also, weekly dinners serve plenty of wine and pasta and metaphysical
* Competitive compensation, full benefits, and relocation assistance.
* We will build your ultimate engineer setup! Your setup will include
dual monitors (including a 30") and whatever desktop or laptop you so

This sounds more like Jack Sparrow than Somali pirates to me, but I
could be completely wrong.

> I also know a decent number of people in the local startup community, and I usually get one or two requests per week where somebody is looking for developers for a new startup. The demand really exists, and they're looking locally first in most cases. It's a pretty serious problem from what I can tell, especially for CTO positions.
> Going to the coasts to find developers is the nuclear option. It's just too expensive for most of the folks in our area, and too risky. Only as a final act of desperation. Some try outsourcing instead, but the failure rate might be even higher, so that's not a desirable scenario either.
> In terms of this being a chicken and egg problem that developers typically love to solve, I'm not so sure. Yes, there are some startups with silly concepts out there. But I rarely see developers suggesting better concepts or improvements to the ideas. Meanwhile, there are plenty of well-thought-out business plans that can't get off the ground because of the inability to attract a few decent developers.
I'm shocked that you rarely see developers suggesting better concepts
or improvements to ideas.  I've met very few developers who don't have
an opinion on how to make things better.  In fact, developers are some
of the most opinionated individuals I know.

> I'd love to discuss this in more depth, I have a feeling that there might be something that could be done to improve this situation. But email isn't a very good substitute for a group of people discussing it in person.  Anyone interested enough to attend a meetup focused on this topic?
Those are just some of my thoughts on why local companies are
struggling to attract talent.  I have some more controversial things
to say about the situation, but I'll save that for a time when the
discussion takes place in person.

I think it's important for startup founders to realize that it is a
two-way street.  As a developer we're taking a risk to come work for
you, just as you're taking a risk by employing any of us.

Michael Guterl