The Talent War: 490 B.C.

In the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. the Greeks used a double-envelopment flanking maneuver to beat the Persians. Coming at the problem from two directions is often a formidable strategy in warfare and I will argue that it can be effective in the war for talent.

Fred Wilson in a post yesterday titled, “The War for Talent” suggests that hiring talent in the Bay Area is becoming more and more difficult. These days I spend at least half of my time in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Menlo Park. The more time I spend there, the more I am aware of a ‘not invented’ here sort of mentality when it comes to companies not based in the Valley. Lots of folks give us heat for starting ShopSavvy in Dallas, but I think that attitude might be shortsighted as having a second flank can be an asset.

We (ShopSavvy) recently hired a couple of executives in San Francisco and plan to do a lot more hiring there over the coming months, but we don’t plan to shut our development and telemarketing efforts here in Dallas. Why? Because there is a great deal of eager talent here in North Texas ready, willing and able to join a successful startup.

I think ShopSavvy is the perfect example of a double-envelopment flanking maneuver when it comes to hiring. With offices in Dallas and San Francisco we can hire the best person for the job – not necessarily the best person we could find in either market. In the startup world getting started NOW, not two months from now is sometimes the difference between winning and losing. For example, by keeping our Dallas office open we can quickly recruit .NET developers – developers that might take a few months to find in the Valley.






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  • Rob Holmes March 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Great post Alex! Glad you’re blogging more.