Bend as the next hotspot? Maybe.
Is Bend the next startup boomtown? Many think it is on the road to get there. Photo via Shutterstock BEND, Ore. — Venture capitalist Dino Vendetti is buzzi
I’ve wondered for years why places like Bend, Ketchum, or similar small lifestyle towns don’t do more to attract engineering talent. Lifestyle goodness is important; also note the rise in companies that allow and encourage fully remote development.
Perhaps the biggest problem is being part of a one-company town. Imagine you move to Bend and it just doesn’t work out. Your options are a) move with your family or b) figure out some other way of earning a living. That’s a big gamble especially for people with kids. 15 years ago Seattle felt like that; you could either work at Microsoft or move. Not much in between in tech. Now of course there are choices which brings in more talent which brings more choices… nice virtuous cycle.
So what should Bend and other small lifestyle cities and entrepreneurs do?
- Create and encourage options. Make sure there is a strong network of small businesses and encourage some amount of movement between them.
- Encourage remote development. Yes, that means someone could move elsewhere but once you get the kids in school, the spouse has a job, relocation is less likely. Then job motion can become natural.
- Make the entire package attractive for families. Some time back we considered relocating to Ketchum, ID. The primary blocker? No great school choices for our kids. Entrepreneurs should be working to remove these friction spots in the local communities to kickstart the migration.
- Check out what Boulder did. Close enough to Denver to poach talent and have a major airport, far enough into the mountains to be considered remote. Also there is a good university there.
Let me know if you need consulting, happy to help:-)