Talent Crunch

Emerging Talent Pool for New York Start-Ups: Freshly-Failed Entrepreneurs

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On his blog Sneakerhead VC, First Round Capital’s Phineas Barnes bemoans the plight of a friend who, after being forced to shutter his start-up, reverted back to his corporate ways. With a heavy heart, Mr. Barnes reports that the former founder will be, “joining a big company as some kind of VP of something.” He beseeches his readers not to let this kind of tragedy happen again:

“Having to give up on your company sucks for a month or two and it hurts forever, but it is not failure – if these teams are absorbed back into the world of cubicles and are allowed to return to the jobs they walked away from in the first place, that will be failure, and failure at the community level. When you meet the founder of  a failed business, reach out your hand, pick them up and do everything you can to keep them involved in our community… because our community depends on it.”

Mr. Barnes’s plea reminded us of a reoccurring theme we’d heard while reporting on New York’s geek gap. In “Raiders of the Last Nerd,” this week’s feature on tech recruiting, Kinda Sorta Media’s Rex Sorgatz offered Betabeat an ominous-sounding take on the struggle to hire local talent, “If you want a CTO, you have to go to, like, Tel Aviv.” But we didn’t have the space in the paper to really delve into why.

In his experience, Mr. Sorgatz said it wasn’t so much that New York was short on rockstar coders. Rather, it’s a side effect of the entrepreneurial bug gone viral. “People now run four-person companies where they may have otherwise led a five-person tech team in a twenty-person company.” (Is this a good time to say we told ya so? No? Okay, just checking.) Read More