Saturday, April 16, 2011

This time it is personal

Yesterday, a friend forwarded this email (see below) to me.  It hit me at a time when I was vulnerable to the message.  I have been trying to figure out how I am going to find enough coders, and operations people to grow my company as fast as it seems to be ready to grow.  Plus, every early stage company CEO in Town seems to be running up against the same dilemma; there just isn't enough talent in town for all of the available jobs that we currently have.

(addressee deleted)
You were more prophetic than I gave you credit for. Don't know if you remember saying to the VC on the phone to give me money right away before you lose me to San Francisco. 

I dismissed it at the time.  Turns out you were right. This town has been amazingly receptive to both my business and my wife's. With our kids grown - and one already living here as of July, it made huge sense for us to move. So we did

Many thanks for bringing me into Project Skyway. I wish you huge success and I hope RT can come through with some real support.

When you are in San Francisco, please let me know. It would be great to connect - and if there is any way that Pipeline Manager (the name of his company) can help you or your startups with a properly managed market development process, let me know.


I am not mad that they chose to leave; I am pissed that we did nothing to try to stop them... and I am even more pissed that people think that there is a better reason to move across the country than there is to stay here and grow their companies.

Plus, I have tried to talk two other people from going out there, this week! 

I am serious when I say that I am going to start an all-out assault on this issue.  It is already too damn hard to get funded and to find talent here without all the good companies and awesome people going other places.  We are WAY too damn easy-going about this issue and I am going to personally put an end to it. 

I am going to plan a damn summit-meeting with all the folks who have told me recently that they might be leaving, to tell us why.

Then I am going to also invite investors, the people from JumpStart, the governor, the mayors, CEO’s, legislators, the folks from Light Bank, some folks from Madison, and anyone else I can get, to come to help us figure out how we are going to get them to stay.  This is going to kill us if we don’t act right now!

I am SICK OF THIS.  We need to move on this because it not only directly affects the viability of Project Skyway, but it sucks the entrepreneurial talent out of the Twin Cities.  It doesn’t even matter if they all go out there and fail.  We all know that they probably will fail at their first attempt… but after they have failed, and learned what it takes to succeed, they are no longer here to start a new, better, company …or to come to work for mine, yours or anyone else’s.  Instead, they are 1800 miles away helping some other company build jobs, wealth and an even better, more welcoming, place for our talent to land when they can’t get their company off the ground here.  You know that these folks are going to continue to recruit their friends from Minnesota and the Midwest once they have laid a foundation.

We are almost at the disaster point;  the point at which all of our resources, coders and entrepreneurs are getting driven out of town by the lack of risk capital and the lack of a concerted organized effort to stop it.

The “Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota are about to start kicking some ass and taking some names.

By the way…from now on, I am ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS NOBODY EVEN MENTIONING THAT PLACE AROUND ME.  I am going to snap the next time someone mentions any city, municipality or region even remotely close to the 101 corridor… DO NOT DOUBT ME!


  1. ahh man I was planning on going to 101 corridor this summer Darren, what php did you need written?

  2. Devin,

    In your case I'll make an exception...If you want to move out there, and stay there, please, go with my blessing...but only if you stay;>)


Darren Cox

Darren Cox
Founder and Chief Evangelist - CaSTT - Commerce and Search for Technology Transfer