Keeping Talent In Cincinnati

Expect a lot of posts in the next few days. There's a lot on my mind.

So I just discovered that CincyTech has videos of the Roy Gilbert talk with excellent sound and visual quality (sorry, Andy). There is a part of the talk that hit home that I'll discuss in a later post. But the only thing missing from the video is the Q&A portion.

Fortunately, Andy Erickson did capture the Q&A portion in his audio recording. I ask the very last question (around the 1:09 mark) about keeping talent in towns like Cincinnati. With great difficulty, I've transcribed the entire question and Roy's answer (with paraphrasing) here.


So you mentioned in an earlier question that companies like Google will open offices in areas of talent and in areas that encourage talent, but in Cincinnati a lot of times talent leaves. So I believe there is talent here. It starts here and comes through here and a lot of times it ends up leaving for whatever reason. A lot of people think, "Oh I have to live in New York City. I have to live in Manhattan." Or "I have to live in Silicon Valley." So it's kind of a catch-22 because you're saying that companies like Google will go to an area with talent, but talent wants to live in areas where companies like Google already are. So how do cities in the Midwest keep their talent?
So, we opened an office in Ann Arbor, MI. It's a great town with a great university. We really looked hard at it, and we knew that a lot of people were leaving Ann Arbor. Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan came to Google and said, "People are leaving our state. They are smart people, and they are following Larry Page and going to Silicon Valley or going to New York. Help us bring them back." So companies are interested in doing this because companies are interested in expanding their operations and finding new talent. So I wouldn't worry about companies. They'll come to you.

My advice to you, especially if you're coming out of college, and you're thinking about leaving the Midwest, is this. There are are incredible opportunities everywhere. And I think it is often easier to get traction in terms of new ventures in your home city. One, because you know the lay of the land and kind of how things work there. So it's incredibly easy to make an impact and acquire talent without having to compete with every single startup and the likes of people who have left Ann Arbor and Cincinnati. So I think there area a lot of advantages for people who are really savvy about it.

I'll tell you, I talked to an entrepreneur today who is hosting a lot of his business online using Amazon hosting services, and hosted applications. Using storage not in Cincinnati. Using Google Apps to run his email system. It's easier to start an entire business. It's actually very minimal. So you can start a business and focus on building great talent. This is a lot different from a year ago or a few years ago. The infrastructure is a lot bigger. There are a lot of great companies that do this and can help you out. Whether you're in technology or shipping logistics or whatever. So I think the tide is turning and it will take some courageous people that turn around and come back.
Or you can just listen to the audio of the question and answer, shamelessly cut from Andy's podcast. It's 3:04 minutes long.

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