I was on a panel the other day, talking to a number of large companies about tech trends for 2013. But before the panel started, the moderator was chatting with those of us seated at the table. He asked where I lived, to which I replied “just south of Nashville.”
“How did you get that job, living in Nashville?”
Which job? The writing job that I used to have, or the Business Development job that I now carry? “Both”, he replied.
My immediate answer was one of somewhat cocky confidence, because the tone of his voice though our entire interaction was condescending. “I’m exceptionally good at what I do.”
But the more I think about this interaction, the more it bothers me. You see, the person who asked me this question is a pretty big name in the world of blogging/new media. He’s done well for himself, created a quite profitable business and he’s worked hard.
So have I. I just don’t happen to live in New York or San Francisco. I’ve been asked to move to either of these, on numerous occasions. I’ve (sometimes not so) politely declined because I have a hard head about the benefits of not living “in the bubble”, so to speak.
Why is it that people who live in these areas tend to believe that those of us who don’t are somehow less capable? The entire TNW team works remotely, from wherever in the world we happen to be. We’ve built a wildly successful company by doing this, and yet people still seem to believe that we need a single office, in a single city, with us all sitting in a big, open room in order to accomplish what we’ve done.
So here’s what Nashville offers me that New York and San Francisco never could:
– My 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2,000 square foot house costs me less than renting a studio in San Francisco. I have a family. This is important.
– I can be on a plane in 30 minutes. In NYC in 2 hours, or in SF in 5. I could do this every two weeks and still spend less than the salary that I’d require if I moved to either of these cities.
– The average salary for my position in NYC is $115,000 per year. In SF it’s $113,000. TNW is a startup. I can afford to work for far less money because I live in Nashville.
The Internet allows me to have direct access to the smartest people in the world, with only a couple of clicks. I don’t need to be in NYC or SF to do that.
It’s far beyond time for us to break this mentality. The world is a very big place. Believing that success can only be achieved in one or two areas is painfully stupid at best.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.