It was typical Atlanta mid-November morning in 2004 when I drove down 400 to my first real job at Vocalocity. I pulled into the parking filled with excitement and nerves over entering the unknown. I took the elevator up, walked through the doors, and jumped head-first into Atlanta's startup scene. It been almost exactly a decade and so much has changed. What follows are my observations from the last 10 years.
A code blogger once tweeted that learning a new framework is really just learning a new way of handling pagination. There is a very good pagination module for Angular JS and a very good pagination gem for Rails,but the two do not speak the same language. Instead of rolling my own solution that would not work as nicely, I decided to write a little bit of glue code to make the solutions compatible.
Atlanta lacks neither talent nor ideas. The cost of living is low, which has a similar effect on opportunity cost. So where are all the technical co-founders? One thesis, articulated by my friend Rob Kischuk postulates there are not enough interesting problems suitable for the engineering talent (Edit: not exactly correct). I think this idea is close, but off the mark.
Startups often have more needs beyond the skills available within the team. Just within engineering division, there are needs in engineering, infrastructure, design, and third party integrations. Some of these can be easily learned, but others, like infrastructure and design, often require special talent or extensive experience. Remote contractors are a great way to add these skills to your team. Rivalry would still be in development instead of out in production without these valuable people.
Last week I got back from a semi-long trip out to the San Francisco bay area. The reasons for the trip were entirely personal, but I still took the opportunity to meet up with a few old friends from Atlanta technology world and soak in the local culture. There were a few things that really struck me on this trip.