Talented engineers are the lifeblood of software startups. Unfortunately for Silicon Valley, talented engineers are in short supply and the competition for their services is as fierce as ever. Given this market dynamic, many of our portfolio companies have made the decision to open engineering offices outside of the US. While initially skeptical, I have come to appreciate the competitive advantage of having access to the global talent pool. In order to help other startups that are thinking of hiring globally, I sat down with a handful of CEOs to learn more about their experiences. Below is a summary of benefits and best practices.
Selecting a Location - So where do you set up shop? As any good real estate agent can tell you, location is everything. Every CEO gave the exact same advice: choose a location where you already know someone that you absolutely trust. You can find talented engineers almost anywhere, but it is critical to have the first person on the ground be someone you trust and someone that can recruit the best talent in that location. Here are the top three location specific advantages cited by CEOs:
Closing the Distance - After hiring people you trust, the next most critical factor in determining your success with remote technical talent is how you implement work flows and processes to integrate your organization. CEOs point to a number of collaboration tools including Zoom, Yammer, Skype, Hall and Hipchat. One popular setup uses Slack as the platform which ties into a variety of systems like JIRA for project management, Github for code, Heroku for deployment and Zendesk for customer service. Slack can be set up to receive automated notifications from these development tools. Using Slack as the central information repository is a slick way to keep everyone informed and up to date across geographies and time zones.
Every successful startup has at least one unfair competitive advantage and leveraging the global nature of technical talent provides a few: scale faster than the competition, retain your talent and reap the benefits of global locations. With today’s modern collaboration tools, global talent is more accessible than ever and our startups are taking advantage.