MSP On Deck Podcast #14: Andy Slavitt, Minnesota Venture Capital Firms And Are Developer Jobs The Best Jobs


MSP On Deck Podcast, Minnesota Tech Podcast, Minneapolis Tech Podcast, Minnesota Startup Podcast, Minneapolis Startup Podcast

Here we go… MSP On Deck  Podcast #14

I learned a lot during this episode.

We started by talking about Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) who is new to me. For starters he has 189,000+ Twitter followers where his bio is:

Ran Medicare, Medicaid & ACA for President Obama. @usatoday, Columnist. Launching a health care initiative for the next decade in 2018.

It’s that last part which is why we were talking about him. Kathy wrote about it here (subscription)

High-profile Obamacare champion and Edina resident Andy Slavitt launching startup-investing firm

Casey drops a nugget, from back in the day, that the author of Android for Dummies was a dev from Minnesota. A second time in the episode I felt like I was horribly put of the loop.

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State Of Startup Recruiting


Startup Recruiting, Recruitng For Startups

The past months I have been talking with a number of Midwest startup CEO’s, CTO’s and non tech Co Founder’s about recruiting and what to expect in 2018.

The main point I left with all of them is that they as individuals need to spend more of their work and personal time on it. My experience is that Bay Area CEO’s will spend up to a third of their time recruiting. And in the Midwest… CEO’s generally spend much less time than that.

And yet, everyone knows that recruiting is very competitive and time consuming.

While I was having these conversations State of Startups 2017 was released by First Round Capital. In their third year of the survey it’s a great look into the operations of these groups. This year 869 startup founders took their survey.

I should note that 56.9% of the respondents were from the West Coast, 29.7% from the East Coast, 7.2% from the South and 6.1% from the Midwest. I say that because location of the respondents matter as each ecosystem and region is very unique. Generally I think it’s a good data set from which to refer to and have conversations about.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #13: Maria Ploessl, Executive Director Of MinneStar, TechStars Farm To Fork And Minnesota Tech Hiring

 
MSP On Deck, Minnesota Tech Podcast, Minnesota Startup Podcast, Minneapolis Tech Podcast, Minneapolis Startup Podcast

Here we are with MSP On Deck Podcast #13 and with this… I am caught up. That’s right, this is our latest podcast and going forward I will posting them here as soon as they are available.

This episode we are chatting with Maria Ploessl, Executive Director of Minnestar. Maria starts with what Minnestar does including Minnedemo and Minnebar. Over the years Minnestar has hosted 50 some events and had 22,000+ attendees and been run by a volunteer board. Maria is the first person in this role.

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Q&A With Minnesota Headhunter: An Intro To The Minnesota Startup And Tech Scene


Minnesota Headhunter, Minnesota Recruiter, Minnesota Startups, Minnesota IT Jobs

As 2017 was winding down I was getting a number of inquiries about the Minnesota startup and tech scene from people outside Minnesota. I think the recruiting trip to Chicago, the Fly in Program during Twin Cities Startup Week and my own sourcing and recruiting is the cause of this. Most inquiries are coming from a few regions:

  • San Francisco and Silicon Valley
  • Chicago, Detroit… Midwest
  • Seattle
  • Austin and Dallas

And I have not yet put together a list of resources or guide to send them.

So… I’ll do a webinar and have about 45 minutes of content to share and then do Q&A for another 30 minutes or until everyone has the info they are looking for.

I’m still coming up with an agenda… so far something like this:

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Minnesota Morning: Happy New Year And Winter 2018 Minnesota Tech And Startup Events


We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day

My favorite New Year’s Day quote:

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I don’t get nostalgic about the end of the year and I don’t do resolutions. I do like the idea of new beginnings and the optimism a new year brings. It feels fresh.

2017 for me was a full year personally and professionally with a lot of good change and some big steps taken. I kind of would like to have a “normal” year with not so much new stuff going on. If I were a house… a foundation has been poured, the walls are up, the roof is on and it’s time to pay attention to the finishing of things. I want to do that before thinking about an addition, deck or new project. That’s how I am feeling.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #12: A Review Of 2017 And Predictions For 2018

 
MSP On Deck, Minnesota Tech Podcast, Minnesota Startup Podcast, Minneapolis Tech Podcast, Minneapolis Startup Podcast

In the next to last episode of 2017 (recorded December 6th) we do a wrap up of 2017 and make some predictions for 2018. Why an episode early you may be asking… #12 we have a guest joining us, Maria Ploessl the new Executive Director of MinneStar.

We start with Kathy Grayson, Senior Reporter at Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal (click LinkedIn | @mspbjGrayson) going through the most read 2017 online tech and startup stories at the MSP Business Journal. Casey Allen (click EnterpriseRising | LinkedIn | @casey__allen) jumps in and we start to go through them a bit including Bright Health, Foodsby and my thought that it seemed like Minneapolis and St Paul had a good year with companies and funding.

We then do predictions… Casey has a number of Minnesota tech and startup groups who could be in line for an IPO or acquisition and how to find signs it may happen. I talk about what I think is going to happen with Minnesota IT Job creation and loss and give a few data points. Kathy predicts a mostly unknown or unexpected company will raise a large round of funding.

Some news items: WeWork announcing their new location in Uptown and why our podcast seems to always be talking about coworking spaces. From that a tangent about companies and tech founders that were here and moved somewhere else and the launch of Optum Ventures.

We close as we do with dares… I talk about self care and taking care of oneself, Casey mentions the iOS app Moment and for Android Quality Time to track time spent on all phone apps and Kathy dares us to gift to someone a news subscription for a year and see if they like it.

And yes… I do own the @Gophers account.

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Survey: Minneapolis #6 City For Tech Hiring In 2018

 

Minneapolis IT Jobs, Minnesota IT Jobs

A few weeks ago on the MSP on Deck Podcast 12 - The most popular tech news stories of 2017 + what big things are in the pipe for 2018? we made predictions for 2018 and one of mine is that Minneapolis and St Paul will see more IT job growth and a greater number of layoffs than 2017.

Yes… I am predicting both.

Let me start with the “bad news” first. As 2017 went on there were a number of unannounced layoffs at many large companies… usually in the 10’s, 20’s and 50’s range of jobs. It seemed like some large companies were doing this so not to have to file a notice with the State of Minnesota.

That’s speculation on my part and I stand by it. Add up all the numbers and they would have had to file a notice. These layoffs were generally part of restructuring staff, maybe over hired in a group, becoming more efficient, etc. And they were in all skill sets from marketing, sales, customer service and yes, IT.

Startups and small tech groups are a part of this too. A customer is lost, a MVP does not work, investors worry about the burn rate, etc. Layoffs are in the 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

And that’s my basis for more tech layoffs in 2018 than 2017… it will continue. It happens and it’s a normal thing in a growing economy. Many companies have hired hard and fast the past 18 months and some may have gone a bit too far.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #10: Rob Weber Of Great North Labs Venture Fund And Startup School

MSP On Deck, Minnesota Tech Podcast, Minneapolis Tech Podcast

Our guest for this episode is Rob Weber.

Rob starts with a quick overview of the evolution of Freeze, W3i and NativeX and their (his brothers Ryan and Aaron) angel investing through 32 Degrees over 10 years. Which gets them to their new ventures (with a brief 1 month vacation)… Great North Labs and Startup School.

We then get further into his time at NativeX and what they learned about building a team and how that experience sparked the Startup School idea.

I’ve been a fan of Rob’s for a long time and am really happy that they’re activities are staying focused on growing the Minnesota and the Midwest tech scene.

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Companies Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination In Facebook Job Ads


Let met start with a disclaimer (and one Teresa Thompson, my attorney at Fredrikson & Byron would want me to make)… I am not an attorney and while I may think I am an expert at some legal things after many years of watching  Law and Order reruns, I am not. Speaking of Teresa… she spoke about this topic at my Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp this summer.

ProPublica and The New York Times collaborated on a story posted yesterday with these headlines:

The short version is that they found ads posted by companies like Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Target, and yes…Facebook targeting certain age groups. And that Amazon, Northwestern Mutual and the New York City Department of Education are in the process of or recently changed their strategy.

Busted.

And to be clear… these are not the only groups who have been doing this. More on that in a moment.

One of the conversations Teresa and I have had is… can companies, tech specifically, who have an emphasis on inclusion and diversity in the workplace post jobs targeting women and people of color. But does that then discriminate too was one of my questions. From there I get further in the weeds so let’s get back to this post…

And this class action lawsuit that was also filed in the past day:

“Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and three workers filed a class action lawsuit against T-Mobile US, Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon), Cox Communications and Media Group (Cox), and hundreds of other large employers and employment agencies who allegedly engaged in the unlawful practice of excluding older workers from receiving job ads on Facebook for open positions at their companies. The lawsuit, which challenges how Facebook’s paid ad platform is allegedly being used to hide job ads and opportunities from older workers nationally, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.”

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MSP On Deck Podcast #9 And #10: Tesla, Techstars, MN Tech Companies You Don’t Know, Amazon HQ2 Substitutes And What A Google Would Do For Minnesota Hiring


MSP On Deck, Minneapolis Tech Podcast, Minnesota Tech Podcast

Another 2 for 1 podcast post and this one gets us all caught up on our episodes. And good timing as we recorded #11 yesterday and release it next week.

#9 begins with Casey Allen (click EnterpriseRising | LinkedIn | @casey__allen) breaking news on a new Techstars program coming to Minneapolis. Kathy Grayson, Senior Reporter at Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal (click LinkedIn | @mspbjGrayson) jumps in as we talk about which tech company we would like to see come to town assuming Amazon and HQ2 does not. And why that would be a good thing for our Minneapolis/St Paul tech scene. I then give a recap of Twin Cities Startup Week.

#10 has us jumping into where is it best for a Minnesota tech employer to be located. Is it Downtown Minneapolis, North Loop, Northeast, Eden Prairie or St Paul? This conversation was brought on by the announcement from Calabrio that they are growing their tech team and moving into a new building in the North Loop. I talk a bit about what the most difficult roles for a startup to fill are starting with tech recruiter then product manager, UX/UI and developers. We also talk about scaling a recruiting and HR team with a nod to a Patrick Meenan, Arthur Ventures VC, blog post. We then talk about Tesla acquiring a Minneapolis company and Casey finishes up by talking about tech companies doing interesting things that many have not heard of.

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