During my interview with the folks over at NMotion, the accelerator in Lincoln, I brought up the standard question about how do startups find talent in a place like Nebraska. In major startup centers finding talent is very difficult so it would seem that finding talent literally in the middle of Nebraska would be a nightmare. The general answer I received was a shrug of the shoulders and the simple statement that finding talent regardless of where you are is hard right now. With a population of a quarter of a million people, and a large base of enterprise companies the consensus was solidly behind the idea that if you have a good concept, solid plan, and a bit of funding you can find the skills you need to launch and grow here. (A current star of the startup scene has grown to 150 employees in about 6 years and is about to start hiring another 300 people.) A big differentiator they say is that you don’t have to worry so much about your employees being poached.
Both the people I spoke with at NMotion had lived and worked in San Francisco before coming to Lincoln and they emphasized the issue with poaching in major startup areas. If you find the perfect candidate, train them to do exactly what you need, they may literally end up getting an offer for 25% more and leaving before they’ve actually done much for you. Since the startup scene is relatively small in Lincoln you just don’t have this issue. Beyond the fact that you don’t have to worry about a company like Twitter stealing your best coder is that the mentality of employees is more stable here. This is a place people come to raise families and be part of the community. Although they may not take jobs for life the culture doesn’t praise constant job hoping.
This environment may not be a good fit for a startup that is a complete gamble, but for new tech endeavors that have a reasonable belief that they will grow and are looking to build a solid foundation without having to go through wage negotiations every other day Lincoln Nebraska may be a good fit. In the world of tech business attracting good talent can be easy compared to keeping and growing a good staff.