- Tough Times, Tougher Cities
- Resilient Cities: Experts Meet in Pittsburgh to Boost Access to Capital and Region’s Tech ‘Brand’
- Tech Started in the Steel City
- The Midwest: Where Founders and Investors Meet
- ‘Back In the Game’: Hundreds of Tech Investors and Startups Hold Midwest Summit to Create More Innovation Jobs
These are difficult times for the tech sector. Big names like Amazon, Meta and Twitter are announcing layoffs in the tens of thousands as continued post-pandemic uncertainty hangs over the global economy. But in times like these, it’s worth remembering Sylvester Stallone’s iconic quote from Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
One America Works recently convened a series of in-person events in Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bringing together tech startups, venture capital investors, policymakers and other stakeholders in the innovation economy. This week, we’ll focus on our work in Columbus – anchored by the Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland conference – and share some other exciting news from Ohio’s innovation economy.
Within a few months, the State of California and New York City, representing the largest tech and innovation hubs in the world, will require new job postings to include detailed salary information up front. The data they produce will demonstrate yet again how expensive it has become to recruit and retain top talent in big cities on the East and West coasts.
Last weekend, a New York Times headline posed the following question: “Can Tech Ecosystems Now Grow Inland?” (Spoiler: They can, and they have been for many years now.) The Times story was based on an interview with AOL founder Steve Case, who observed: “I believe we’ve hit peak Silicon Valley. It’s not that the area won’t continue to attract innovators, but it won’t have the lead it has held for the last decade.”
Clean energy technologies – or cleantech for short – are making a comeback in the United States. Decades ago, solar panels, electric vehicles and other cleantech products were pioneered in our country, but just as we started using more of those products to power our daily lives, we outsourced the manufacturing to other countries. It’s an all too familiar story across so many industries.
For years, there’s been a lot of talk about securing a domestic supply chain for computer chips and other semiconductor technologies. But in the wake of the pandemic and the acute global chip shortage it triggered, that talk is turning into action. Chip manufacturers are announcing new plants and expansions worth hundreds of billions of dollars in states like Arizona, Texas and Ohio.
The geography of the tech sector is diversifying and Heartland cities are making major contributions, as executives and recruiters realize that the highly skilled professionals they have been looking for already exist in America’s small and mid-sized cities.
The Return to Office debate continues, with employers and workers pulling in different directions and no clear resolution in sight. That said, tech leaders should seriously consider diversifying their geographical footprint, by opening new offices that are closer to their people, so that traveling to the office isn’t the same ordeal it used to be before the pandemic.
It’s not too early to assess how “Return to Office” policies are going. While some companies offer flexibility around working remotely, a large number are requiring their employees to come into the office – at least part of the time. Now over halfway into 2022, it’s becoming apparent how it has been going…And safe to say, Not Well.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace continue to be an ongoing challenge within the tech industry, specifically as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community. Authentic inclusion plays an important role in supporting fast-growing tech hubs looking to maintain or enhance their tech economies and attract or retain talent.
Over the last few months, One America Works has kicked into gear with innovative events and activities directly supporting tech talent, tech companies, and growing tech hubs. As the decentralization of the tech sector and its workers continues, our team continues to find ways to help tech firms and professionals navigate a new world of work.
Back in the early 2000s, employers started to add degree requirements to job descriptions, which screened out potentially solid applicants. From here, the opportunity gap grew and upward mobility became more difficult. After the Great Recession and more recently, the pandemic, the pendulum has started to swing back. Employers need skilled talent to fill open positions, and many are willing to give skills-based hiring a try.
The conversation around remote, in-office, and hybrid work has been drawn out for months. There are benefits to being in a physical office space. There are benefits to remote work. Yet, trying to capture both by creating a hybrid environment can be a challenge. So how can companies win with more distributed teams and hybrid work models?
High-performing, high-growth companies are not just on the hunt for skilled talent, they are trying to hire employees for the long haul. So what can companies do to retain the talent they’ve brought in? In an age where workers have more power to make demands of their employer and their workspace, companies need to listen. Create opportunities to elicit employee feedback that gauges satisfaction and ideas for improvement.
If you had to name an American city at the forefront of innovation, which one would it be? It probably wouldn’t be a Midwestern City like Columbus, Ohio, but Columbus is now recognized as a leader in smart technology. The city brought together dozens of key stakeholders and leveraged the award from the Department of Transportation to attract millions of dollars in additional investments to showcase what a Smart City could be.
City leaders should start paying close attention to Tesla. The car manufacturer recently took on a valuation that made it worth more than 4X of Toyota and nearly 10X of Volkswagen. Yet, it makes roughly 1/10 the revenue of Volkswagen and produces 5M fewer cars. So why does this discrepancy exist? Because Tesla is seen as a model for the green future, and Volkswagen is seen as a legacy car company.
Austin’s growth and success can be viewed through the lens of SXSW. Over the years, the event has become essential for startups and innovators, tech leadership, politicians, and more. This steady advancement is a symbol of innovation, tech success, and the growth of a tech hub outside the coasts. Plus, it offers Austin a glimpse of what it’s like to play in the “big city” sandbox and test solutions for rapid growth.
If this is truly one of the most difficult times for companies to hire talent, how can smaller tech companies and startups compete with the likes of Meta, Google, or Amazon? Big companies offer big pay. But smaller companies can still win the talent war by employing new, creative tactics. Learn more about how startups can compete with major tech companies for talent in this edition of The Mid-Point.
Despite claims that the supply chain crisis is beginning to ease, in reality the issue is far from resolved. Prices of goods are rising and supply chains are constantly being disrupted. Offshoring and monopolistic profit-taking have driven inflation, but reshoring manufacturing and re-regulating the price-gougers can beat it back. We built this system, and we have the power to fix it.
Behind every high-tech smartphone, glamorous car, and sophisticated medical tool is a critical building block called a semiconductor. Most companies produce these chips offshore to cut costs and remain focused on their core mission. However, recent factors like the pandemic and a growing tech rivalry with China have created an urgency to move to manufacturing back onshore.
If you’ve ever considered a new career, there is no better time in the history of the US than now. Teams are shifting to fully distributed work, salaries are soaring, and companies are fighting for talent. This is a rare opportunity for employees. And even more noteworthy, this opportunity exists wherever you are, thanks to the rise of remote work.
In the last 6 months, well over 20 million people quit their jobs in what experts dubbed “The Great Resignation.” With soaring quit-rates and a higher demand for talent, a new work dynamic is forming; one where the employee holds the power. Companies need to ensure that they stay competitive in this new environment.
Over the past year, the next version of the American economy has started to come into focus. What started as a temporary response has permanently changed the landscape and now more people in more places are contributing to the innovation economy than ever. The impact of this change is just beginning.
Thinking about Nashville, most people envision Tennessee barbecue, live country music, or any number of cultural activities in the state’s capital city. The richness of talent that exists in Nashville goes beyond those with musical or culinary aptitudes. This year, Nashville was ranked number one for job growth in the tech sector over the past five years.
The redistribution of talent post-pandemic has created several new opportunities for cities to market themselves differently, with an eye on attracting workers. While the traditional economic development tactics have focused on business relocation, the strategy has shifted to instead compete for people and the workforce of tomorrow.
The startup scene in Pittsburgh is an intricate ecosystem with abundant resources available to enthusiastic entrepreneurs, small businesses, and scale-up companies. With the right mix of available talent, capital, and community networks, the city has been able to make a name for itself as one of the most innovative hubs for tech.
On the heels of the pandemic and as people continue to adapt to a new world, many are facing the decision of where they’d like to advance their personal and professional goals. A place to call home. This includes a popular group: millennial tech workers. So, where are they moving?
In 2019, the city was featured by MarketWatch as one of America’s Top 5 emerging tech hot spots. In 2020 and 2021 the Chiefs put help put Kansas City on the sporting world’s radar as they competed in back to back Super Bowls. And today, it has a growing reputation for being a place where women rule in tech.
What does connectivity truly mean in the context of a city? We believe it is social, technical, and structural networks. Cities ranking highly for connectivity will boast a collaborative tech community that works together, infrastructure that creates connections, and high accessibility to things like broadband that make economies work better.
There are dozens of American cities from coast to coast competing for the title of “The Next Big Tech Hub”. But what if competing to be the next Silicon Valley wasn’t the best, or only, strategy? What if growing tech hubs focused on specialization? What if cities strived to become the national hub for robotics, healthcare, or marketing technology?
Whether you are a business leader looking for the best place to open a new office or a tech worker looking to relocate to advance your career, location matters. But how do you choose the right one that meets your current and future needs? Here are some things to consider.
On the road to becoming America’s largest tech hub, Silicon Valley and the Bay Area experienced rapid growth. This came at a cost, however, as the area’s quality of life deteriorated and housing costs skyrocketed. The last ten years have looked a lot different than the early 2000s. Now, growing tech hubs like Austin can learn a lot from San Francisco.
What does connection mean to the fastest growing tech hubs in America? Sometimes it describes social networks that connect people to communities and businesses. Others may view it as the level of broadband access or availability of high-speed internet. Even more, it can used as a travel term: how do I physically connect to my location via transportation.
One of the unique things about Dallas is that it seemed to spring up in the middle of nowhere. Most major metropolitan areas are built around major ports, rivers, and other strategic location qualities. Not Dallas. However, its tech scene has been meticulously cultivated, now housing innovative companies, high-quality talent, and growing industries.
The competition for tech talent is on. Instead of recruiting companies to relocate, many cities are using a similar strategy to recruit talent by showcasing the benefits and perks they have to offer. Especially with remote work, some tech employees can live and work anywhere with an internet connection.
Startup ecosystems are thriving in growing tech hubs like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Nashville, drawing in new investments and fresh talent as they continue to advance. To continue these investments in growing tech hubs, OAW is partnering with Comeback Capital to provide pre-seed investments to over 80 companies across the country, and particularly in underserved regions of America.
Remote work is setting the stage for a redistribution of wealth away from the hands of a few select cities. Instead, it is going toward smaller towns and suburbs that were traditionally left out of the wealth produced in America’s greatest economies.
Demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion continues to be top of mind for many business leaders. And this includes various levels of diversity including racial, gender, class, and even geographic diversity that add value to companies’ economic, social, and environmental bottom lines.
Location bias has long been an issue for tech companies, and it’s stunted their ability to access qualified candidates from a larger, more diverse talent pool. Now facing the future of work, companies should consider building a diverse workforce in order to promote growth and innovation.
To make it easier for growing companies and talented individuals to research potential cities, and learn about up-and-coming tech hubs, we created the City Selector Tool. The tool has several metrics for determining quality of life in a way that works for you. Learn more about quality of life in this issue of The Mid-Point.
Part of a fast-growing company? It may be time to open a second office in a thriving tech hub. One America Works created a City Selector Tool to help businesses find the ideal location for expansion. The algorithm factors in four main categories: Talent, Connection, Quality of Life, and Affordability.
There is a lot that goes into choosing a location for company expansion. Businesses look at a number of factors including cost, talent availability, quality of life, and connectivity. To make it easier for growing companies to research potential cities and highlight up-and-coming tech hubs, we created the City Selector Tool.
When thinking about Nashville, most people envision the infamous country music destination or good Tennessee barbecue. Many do not immediately think of a growing hub of healthcare technologies or the home to several top universities developing next-level talent. But that is the Nashville we see.
When is the right time to expand into a new location? Whether you’re a company ramping up hiring or someone who is thinking about the next phase of their career, expanding to a new location is a strategic move and will come with opportunities and challenges. To minimize potential setbacks, there are some key things to consider in selecting the new location.
There has never been a more interesting time to start or grow a company. With all of the uncertainty and change that the last year brought, many companies had the opportunity to think strategically about their future. And it turns out, they are looking beyond the Valley for their growth.
Looking forward to a new calendar year, we have the opportunity to reflect on 2020 and bring insights with us into 2021. One of the biggest trends of 2020 for growing companies was a sudden transition to working from home. In this issue, you’ll find numerous examples of companies and cities that are embracing remote work and the geographic distribution of their talent.
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From Kylie (6/11/2021): Can we have an option at the top of the Mid-Point webpage to have folks subscribe? If it’s at the top of that page (in addition to bottom of the home page), that will make an easy option for linking in social to get new followers now and again.