Minnesota Morning… Exhale

Downtown Minneapolis, Capella Tower

I am on day five of doing nothing and it feels really weird. One part freeing and one part W T H… I should be working my (bleep) off. One good thing is I don’t wake up exhausted any more. And I seem to be doing some big picture thinking which I guess makes sense when you are not running off to the next meeting, conference call or candidate interview.

Since I wrote Taking A Step Back, Skate Where The Puck Will Be And What’s Next For Me almost a month ago to the day a bunch of things have gone including (not in order):

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Minnesota Morning: Taking A Step Back, Skate Where The Puck Will Be And What’s Next For Me

If we break the year up into thirds and I use a sports analogy which I commonly do, this time from hockey… today starts the 3rd period of 2016. And I am reminded of this quote:

Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been. - Wayne Gretzky

The past month or so I took a big step back from the Minnesota startup, tech and recruiter scene. For the previous 18 months or so I had been so head down recruiting and attending tech meetups that I lost some vision on what was going on and what was coming next. I had a sense of some things changing but did not have enough time to explore, confirm or deny them.

I did a lot of lurking on Twitter and LinkedIn. I was watching status updates… what people were talking about, what kind of mood they were in and what they were working on. Add in a bunch of phone calls and Hangouts. “Hey, do you have a minute for a quick question” was a common email or text from me and note… it was never a minute.

I then extended out from Minneapolis and spoke with some Midwest and Bay Area friends.

There are a number of trends in the Minneapolis, Midwest and Bay Area tech scene that will start, have started to change the tech hiring landscape. While most folks are skating where the puck was (reactive) and some are skating where it is (getting by) there are very few in Minneapolis and the Midwest going where the puck will be (proactive).

Memo to Recruiters, CEO’s and Investors: skate where the puck is going.

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Minnesota Morning: Twin Cities Startup Week, Teen Hackathon And MN CTO Job

Twin Cities Startup Week, Minnesota Tech, Minnesota IT Jobs

Twin Cities Startup Week is 32 days away, Sep 19-25 ‘16, and plans are coming together. Unfortunately I am going to be in Anaheim speaking at SourceCon, this is a good problem, and missing Wed-Sat. I have submitted a talk with Patrick Meenan (LinkedIn | Blog | @pmeenan1), Partner at Arthur Ventures, on networking, recruiting and scaling a team to be held Monday or Tuesday.

This is the 2nd year of the “Fly In” program where folks interested in the MN tech scene can “apply for a flight” and be reimbursed up to $300:

TCSW is proud to announce that we will be offering a fly-in program for this year's Startup week. If you are looking for potential employment with MN startups and if you are interested in attending Twin Cities Startup Week we want to hear from you.

I am one of the sponsors of this and also one of the “interviewers”. Click Twin Cities Startup Week Free Flights and fill out the form.

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Minnesota Morning… Amazon Hiring In Minneapolis, 3M Hiring Millennials and #LakeLife

I am involved in a fierce battle right now and it is similar to the one I had a year ago… holding on to summer and #LakeLife as hard as I can for as long as I can and the reality that there’s A LOT going on in the tech community right now. Add in Twin Cities Startup Week and SourceCon in September and Gopher football starting in 17 days… it’s kind of over.

I’m not handling it well. Being a grown up sucks sometimes.

Recruiter jobs… if you missed it last week I posted 10 new (click) from companies including UnitedHeath Group, Medtronic and Amazon.

Amazon Minneapolis Splash

Speaking of Amazon… last week they hosted a few hundred guests to talk about their expansion into Minneapolis. The crowd was a mix of tech pros, Amazon recruiters and staff and a bunch of folks from the business community wondering what does it mean for them.

I have been consistent with my thoughts on Amazon coming to town… good. Sure it creates more recruiting pressure for everyone. For many years I have been saying that most Minneapolis companies have a week recruiting game. Time to figure out who is going to play and who is going to sit on the sidelines and complain.

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Minnesota Morning… It’s Time

“It’s Time” is a phrase I used a few years ago (I don’t do New Year’s resolutions) as a reminder of what I needed to be thinking about. This year I went with “Change the game… and the rules”.

It’s time to do that.

The past few months with trips to Orlando and Dallas/Fort Worth and events likes SourceCon, Enterprise Rising, Midwest Capital Call, Midwest PHP, Dallas Startup Week, MinneBar and Hack the Gap… I’ve been a part of a couple hundred plus local, regional and national conversations on the topics of recruiting and retention from Startups to the Fortune 500.

I am going to be blunt about my main conclusion… at some point and I don’t know when many (most) people (particularly the “cool kids”, speakers and wannabe online experts) have gone bat shit crazy.

Maybe its because:

- the election cycle where everyone seems a bit nuts

- the social media hype machine many of us live/work in

- many are trying to “out do” the other person.

- the game many play with themselves about how many “likes” they can have on a photo, Tweet or post

- the pressure to produce

- the pressure to stay “cutting edge”

- their trying to make things look easy

- their trying to be “famous” or the next great keynote speaker

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Minnesota Morning: What Do You Really Want?

I saw a tech friend of mine at Beta.MN this week I had not seen in person in many months. Sure Twitter, Instagram and Facebook keep us informed… keep us in touch sort of, but not really. Not in an important way.

After the usual handshake and “man hug” I said:

I am going to skip “How are you doing” because I think through your posts I have an idea. What I want to know is, “How are you really doing, what’s the no BS answer”

My friend had a blank stare, one of those you know they are someplace else kind of looks. And for a long while they told me how they were really doing… there is a lot going on. After listening, giving a little advice and helping them get some perspective on things they flipped the question on me:

I am going to skip “What do you want” and ask you “What do you really want, what’s the no BS answer”

They could tell from the advice I was giving that there was a tone in some of my voice… that I had some things on my mind too. Things you don’t notice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook updates.

It didn’t take me 20 seconds to answer. I knew right away what the answer was. Their short and not so simple advice:

Sounds good. Go get it. It’s time.

The next day I took a drive to Alexandria where I am practicing work/life integration. I’ve never been good at “balance” but I am an All Star integrator. My integration agenda for these four days:

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Minnesota Morning… CoCo NE Open House, Blue Cross Blue Shield IT Layoffs And Gopher Football

With summer winding down (yes it hurts to type that) I have a lot of content and info that I need to get out of my brain so I can get working on some projects and one big event. I may be dropping a lot of random posts here the next week or two related to recruiting, technology, last moments of #LakeLife and because it starts soon… Gopher Football

CoCO Northeast Open House

Last week CoCo had an open house showing off their new space in Northeast Minneapolis. The space used to be the home of Sport Ngin who recently moved down the street into a much larger location.

All of the CoCo locations (Northeast, Downtown, Uptown and St Paul) have their own look and vibe to them. I already like Northeast because of how the space feels, the neighborhood with the arts, coffee shops and breweries and that from Downtown during rush hour I am driving against traffic.

There is also a small roof top patio that I have not used but know I will.

Here are some photos from a couple of weeks ago, days after the move in (not everything was moved in yet):

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Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Midwest Finalists, BushConnect And Minnesota Gopher Football

We had a warm sunny weekend in Minneapolis this weekend until late yesterday afternoon when a hail storm whipped through the downtown area.

It was loud and lasted too long. Here are some photos during, after and then sunset:

Downtown Minneapolis Storm Downtown Minneapolis After The Storm Downtown Minneapolis After Sunset

And a short video of the hail falling (no that is not my car):

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Minnesota Morning… Nerdery Layoff, Minneapolis Public School Layoff And March Madness

Depending on the weather person you listen to we are going to get “a little” to “a lot” of snow today. Good, we need the water. Hearing of “flash drought” potential and thinking about low lake levels has me quite OK with whatever happens today.

Last weekend it was 70F with ice melting on area lakes. The forecast has us above freezing… let it snow, it will melt in a couple of days. Spring is here. There I said it.

Nerdery Layoff

Friday afternoon The Nerdery announced it laid off 23 staff members including 15 in Minneapolis. The MSP Business Journal reports in Layoffs at The Nerdery cut workforce by 4 percent that those impacted were in accounting, development, facilities, quality assurance and project management.

While I have been critical of layoffs involving Minnesota companies the past year this one, while unfortunate, I can understand. The Nerdery is working in a fast pace, always changing world. It will not shock me that we see more of these micro staff reductions at companies.

Hopefully they and other groups will do what they can to retrain and keep the folks internally or help them have a soft landing with other groups in town.

NOTE: MinneBar 10 is on April 11th and I will once again be doing a career maintenance Q&A. Click Managing Your IT Career v7 - (Why do recruiters suck so bad?) for details.

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Minnesota Morning… Amazon And Facebook Recruiting In Minneapolis and SportsData Partners With NASCAR

The previous two winters in Minneapolis have not been kind to recruiting pros. Between snow days, wind chill days and school closures interviews were occasionally postponed causing havoc in interview cycles.

A couple of weeks ago I joked with a recruiter in Boston that karma was getting him… he poked fun at me last year about our weather. And now he is dealing with it.

And then karma swung back at me today with the perfectly timed (sarcasm) freezing rain/pellets/hail whatever the heck that was that postponed some interviews today.

I will sit quietly mumbling to myself now…

Amazon Recruiting In Minneapolis


This is the third time in the past 15 months that I am aware of with Amazon holding a “job fair” like event. There was this article a couple of months ago:

Amazon’s cloud-computing arm shops for Twin Cities talent

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