Om has a great post on Silicon Valley and the Talent Crunch. With angel funding booming and companies like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga growing like bad good talent and real estate are growing scarce again in the Valley. Yes, we cycle through boom and bust — but what I don’t understand is why we don’t learn from it.
If space and talent constraints are your biggest growth challenge, shouldn’t you look at distributed teams as a strategy?
- Socialtext is an extreme example. Over half of our team is distributed and working from home around the world. You can find management and the marketing function in Palo Alto, and sales offices in NY & London. Here’s a post from two years in, before we had and office. Of course, it helps that we make collaboration software.
- Before eBay, Skype was incorporated in Luxembourg, had management and marketing in Stockholm but swiftly moved it to London and 80% of its team in Estonia. SlideShare and others use a similar structure.
- Seat 1A strategy. Om’s post mentions Flickr as a shinning example of talent. But they were based in Vancouver before Yahoo acquired them. Stuart Butterfield flew down here for the smallest reason and hit the conference circuit hard. It took me a while to realize that frequent flyers like Stuart & Caterina (and Dick Costolo during Feedburner) weren’t locals.
This post isn’t to say that distributed collaboration is easy, even with the great tools available. And I do believe you are best HQd here. But through boom and bust, distributed is a core strategy for a business made of people.