“Why don’t you work for a Nashville company?”
Here’s a question that I get pretty often, so I figured that I’d finally address it in a blog post instead of having to rehash the answer in emails and chat messages time and again.
For those who don’t know, I live just south of Nashville. About 25 minutes south if traffic is good. 60 plus minutes south if I happen to be commuting during rush hour. Nashville’s infrastructure is terrible for commuters. Interstates 65, 24 and 40 are jam packed parking lots every morning and evening. If you commute, you’re stuck in it.
That’s reason #1. Of the companies that have talked to me, since I started working in tech almost 5 years ago, every single one of them has required that I would work from their office. Every one of them, without fail, has required a Monday through Friday, minimum 9-5, with zero flexibility and every day in the office. For me, in the day and age in which we live, that’s an absolute non-starter. If I wanted that life I’d go back to the corporate world.
Reason #2 is purely monetary. Nashville has the 2nd fastest growing technology market, according to Dice. But what it hasn’t managed to do is figure out what it should be paying its tech workers.
By way of example, I was offered a position with a Nashville company shortly before I was set to leave The Next Web. The company was offering slightly less than what I was making at TNW, for roughly the same job that I’m doing now for FullContact. I would have been heading up their marketing, PR and corporate communications, essentially filling 3 roles for less money than what I was making before.
Since coming to FullContact, I’ve gotten more than a few people dropping me hints, and a couple outright headhunts from Nashville companies. Sadly, none of them have given me competitive offers. Not that I’m looking to leave FullContact, mind you, but I use the offers and contacts as a barometer of the Nashville tech community, because I have a vested interest in its continued success.
The final reason is a bit less concrete, but perhaps more important than the rest - I’ve yet to find a company that’s doing something that excites me enough to look into it. Sure, there are great companies doing really amazing things, but they’re not amazing things that I’m interested in, so it’s a moot point. I got out of the healthcare industry because I couldn’t stand the healthcare industry. I left the music industry because I couldn’t stand the music industry. To have those two be the dominant topographies of Nashville’s map lowers the chances of me ever working for a company here.
The technology of today allows people to work from anywhere, for anywhere. While this is great in some regards, it’s causing issues for those companies who choose not to keep up. It opens the market for workers and that’s a very good thing. But an open market for workers means that companies have to try harder to win the talent that we want. This is a problem that’s certainly not unique to Nashville, but it’s definitely a problem for which Nashville needs to find a solution.