I had a brief clip air on Global TV BC this evening, commenting on the news that Facebook is opening a temporary office in Vancouver. Here’s a link to the written article. Thanks to Greg for tracking down the Global TV News Hour clip (starts at 15:20).
I do think that the difficulty in getting a US Visa is a contributing factor to make Canada / Vancouver an attractive place to put an office. It was back in July 2007 that the Microsoft opening an office news broke. Looking back, the Microsoft office out in Richmond was basically a non-impact on the local community. So, where Facebook puts its office and how much it interacts with the local community will be the determining factor on the potential impact of having them here.
I’d like to talk about local Vancouver talent. My general feeling is that the developer and designer talent that Vancouver does have are treated like raw resources. Like our logs and other natural resources, we do very little “secondary processing”, and the best are shipped off elsewhere.
Igor Faletski, CEO & Co-founder of Mobify, did a great write up right after the news broke: What the new Facebook office means for the Vancouver tech scene
I agree with his summary, that this is a good thing - Facebook will bring talent from around the world to Vancouver (and some will stay), and that another strong link between here and the Valley is a good thing for the community.
The main downside is the hiring pressure. Mobify is a growing company, and in his last blog post covering what startups should focus on, Igor said “Companies - and people - that don’t master hiring can’t scale, so spend at least a quarter of your time on it.”
My observation on “talent in Vancouver” has always been three fold:
Also, with generally smaller companies and/or “branch office” locations (and so nowhere for people in the following disciplines to gain experience), Vancouver is in dire need of soft skills in marketing, business development, sales, product management, recruiting, etc. etc. etc.
Since these are the critical factors in scaling a company past a couple of co-founders, this is likely an even bigger issue than “I can’t find a Ruby programmer to hire”.
Also related to being underpaid, this has had an interesting side effect - since salaries are low/career opportunities are few, doing a startup feels less risky. However, since we also have very limited angel capital, the best startup teams again head south where there is more angel capital at higher valuations.
Is there lots of “great” talent in Vancouver already? I’d say that there are many talented juniors, but in general it’s hard to find people who are more senior / have lots of relevant experience. However, because of the generally low pay, hiring people away from existing companies (that likely also have less interesting career paths available) is going to be easy for new entrants like Facebook, Salesforce, and Amazon.
Comments on Twitter (see full collected responses on Storify) underline this:
Dan works at A Thinking Ape (aka ATA), which is a company that relocated to Vancouver from Silicon Valley. ATA has done a great job of running new grad focused job fairs across Canada. And that’s the point (again): hiring great people is hard, and we need to a) invest in getting good at it and b) great people are everywhere, and we have to go looking for them.
We need to invest in our talent to keep them here with both competitive salaries and great career opportunities. Or they will leave. Just like the raw logs that we export.
Always available Personal Data + Personal Algorithms = Programs that matter. Inspired by David Ascher's Personal computing in a decentralized world: a hopeful direction. What if you could keep all of your personal data and personal algorithms in two places so that you always had a backup?
And I don't see why this won't be possible in less than 10 years if not sooner.tags:
If you insist on using email as a file management system, archive system, CRM, database, contact system, knowledge management system , etc then learn how to backup your email and practise restoring your email because it will inevitably fail no matter how reliable your email server and client are. If you don't have time, then pay somebody or do the right thing and move stuff out of email to CRM, blogs, wikis, to-do systems, etc!tags:
For the 3 people who care :-)
Email is not an archival system, file system, knowledge management system or a to-do system. If you think it's anything but a dumb temporary message store, you are "doing it wrong" :-) as the kids say. Email is where knowledge goes to die as I blogged about (AFAIK Bill French coined this phrase back in 2003)
Anything valuable in email should be gardened immediately into a blog, wiki, etc. Don't expect to keep every email and don't try; it's futile and not worthy of your attention. Instead mine the knowledge in your email and keep that!tags:
There are countless geeky, nerdy, folks in late 2012 "whingeing" :-) about
This makes it convenient and quick like your cameraphone but gives you much better image quality that doesn't require filters of doom to make the photos "interesting"!tags:
Nikon V1 with kit zoom for $299 might as well be free (excellent deal for a mirrorless camera w/EVF, great auto-focus; only problem is the lens line up is not yet anywhere near complete). Points out how desperate the camera manufacturers are and how much camera oversupply there is.
I really think that one or more of Sony, Olympus, Ricoh, Pentax, or Samsung will exit the camera business in the next ten years (my prediction would be Olympus even though I love their cameras and Ricoh and perhaps Sony).