A few weeks ago the WSJ published an article about Toronto’s growing tech talent pool, arguing that its base now rivals the top US cities, but that it may not be an entirely good thing for the city’s ecosystem. I wrote about it here.
This morning venture capitalist Fred Wilson published a post on his blog talking about the necessity of scaling tech companies in lower cost locations. It’s a good follow-up to the above article/post.
Here’s an excerpt from Fred:
Last week I heard some shocking numbers about salary levels for certain kinds of engineers in the bay area. I checked them out with a few of our bay area portfolio companies and they were more or less corroborated.
The tight technical labor markets in the bay area, NYC, and a number of other regions in the US are making it hard to scale software businesses without burning massive amounts of cash.
He goes on to argue that (startup) companies now need to think about scaling in other/remote locations sooner than they ever have before — basically as soon as the company hits about 50 engineers (or 100-200 employees).
Many companies are now working with a distributed workforce. Supposedly 2/3 of the global workforce now spends at least one day of the week working remotely. I almost never work from home, but I do get how this is possible.
So what is happening is that engineering talent is spilling over into secondary markets out of necessity. There’s an economic imperative to colonize. But I would imagine that, at least initially, most of the economic benefits accrue to the colonizer.