Here’s a frustrating headline from Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal:
Why aren’t they looking in Minnesota? Here’s the news…
Target Corp. has opened an office in San Francisco, where it plans to scout for tech talent to build its e-commerce and mobile technology efforts.
Reuters reports that Target had hired David Newman to run its Technology Innovation Center, which will seek out other tech companies that can help Target’s tech ventures, like speeding up its website or improve the shopping experience for smartphone-wielding customers already in its stores.
A good friend and definite tech talent moved to San Francisco a couple of years ago. So I know why. He’s had more opportunities there – with established and startup companies. He moved there because he knew he’d learn more, earn more and have greater opportunities. (I’m not sure he realized that earning more might be offset by such a rising cost of living!) At the end of the day, he is a tech talent from Minnesota and he was drawn West. And his migration is part of why it makes sense that a company wanting to tap into such talent would look West. It’s where the talent goes.
I guess what I’m asking is how Minnesota can build the talent – and perhaps more importantly the reputation as a place to go for tech talent? I think programs like Thomson Reuters working with youth on programming skills helps. I think communities, such as Fergus Falls have done a good job marketing themselves as a great place to telework – but it seems like a concerted statewide effort to bolster efforts to improve and promote our local tech skills would help keep Minnesota companies from going to San Francisco to find tech talent.
Your question is at the heart of strategic economic development, Ann. For individuals seeking careers, the Bay Area has a strong pull because of the existing job base. For entrepreneurs, the Bay Area has a strong pull because of the ease of recruiting talent. To build our own e-commerce/mobile/social media app economy, we do need to create more talent through efforts of individual companies and colleges. Then we need to keep the people here so that they can emerge as employees and entrepreneurs. Finally, local companies have to hire the employees and entrepreneurs to do the work! Without that final step, we are just creating more great talent that heads off elsewhere.
Sounds like a great topic for MHTA!