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November 2007, Getting Started With Interim Office Space

I have received quite a bit of email with requests to document as much as I feel comfortable the progress made on opening the new search firm in November of 2007 and what I am doing between now and then. There is also interest on the recent office space search, phone set up, etc. and also when it happens again next year.

Well if readers find it interesting I can do that although I am not sure how exciting this is going to be. So I put my wealth of marketing and PR knowledge to work and came up with the subject line and category for the blog, November 2007. Can you tell I spent a lot of time on it?

Office space

There was only one stipulation I had when I started looking at office space, a 1-year lease. How else can I open the new firm and have space for it next year if I still have a lease somewhere else? I preferred a space in/near the Warehouse District or in/near the University of Minnesota.

I set off on three different paths.

The first scenario, a sub-lease or sharing office space.

That is what I had been doing before with a friend of a friend from college. They had a large space and had 350+ sq. ft. they were not using. The thing with sharing office space is you have to feel comfortable with the other people and that you and they feel secure in the literal sense. The situation I had before with office sharing was perfect and I was hoping for something similar this time. It also saves on costs like a fax machine, Internet connection, and general expenses.

I sent an email to friends and to the Warehouse District Business Association but did not find anything with right amount of space at the right time.

The second scenario, executive suite space.

Being able to write one check to one person had great appeal to me. Combing office space, phone, fax, parking, Internet and other amenities is a great idea when you are doing office space for one.

There are many such spaces available in the Warehouse District and near downtown. I settled on one option, Union Plaza OffiCenter located at 333 Washington Avenue North Suite 300. Sue Ribe is the contact person and she can be reached via email,

The only draw back is if you do not need all of the extra amenities. I am a Headhunter and so I need basic things like a phone with caller ID, high-speed Internet connection, infrequent access to a fax machine, and a refrigerator for caffeine and to store leftovers from lunch.

They have a great location, the staff is top notch, professional setting, 1-year lease, and space size that is good for what I need. The issue, it is more than I need. They just provide more services than I would use and of course with that come a bit of a higher cost. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly recommend this location for anyone who is looking for this type of service.

The third scenario, simple low cost space.

There were not many options in the Warehouse District so I took my search to the area around the University of Minnesota. The area is close enough to home and helps me save time to get to my volunteer activities on campus.

The area had quite a few options. The best situation and the one I decided upon is the University Technology Enterprise Center (UTEC) in Dinkytown. For those reading not familiar with Minneapolis or the U of M area, Dinkytown is the business area on the north side of campus.

The UTEC building is home to many start-up companies and non-profits. They have offer many support services like the executive suite programs like phone/fax, Internet, copying, etc but they offer it a la carte or you can take care of it on your own. I went for it on my own. UTEC is the former Marshall High School so the building is not a traditional office building but is very functional. Parking is convenient with 24-hour access. Doug Walker is the contact person at UTEC and can be reached via email,

After 60 days I still have many things in boxes. I decided that if I needed things I would find them. I figure after four months or so if I had not needed some of this stuff that I can start tossing it out and/or recycling.

IT Talent Hard To Find In The Twin Cities

Continuing with the theme from earlier posts, IT talent in the Twin Cities is becoming hard to find. Business Journal had a great article explaining how a few local companies are dealing with the situation.

Of interest is the lack of mid-level talent. Numbers of computer science majors at universities and colleges has been sliding the past years and they would now be that mid-level talent.

MN Biz Scene 10/10 - 11/26

Minnesota Still A Player In Biotech - October 7

Depending on your definition Minnesota is in the biotech game according to this Business Journal article. From the article:

Sure, state spending on biotech initiatives lags big states (and even small neighbors like Wisconsin). But local biotech advocates say Minnesota has plenty of biotech muscle outside the areas that most people consider "biotech" -- genetic research and biological pharmaceuticals.

Instead, the state's biggest biotech opportunities could come from strong existing industries such as agribusiness, energy and medical technology.

The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota is working on an assessment of the states capabilities in biotech. Also mentioned in the article is the new incubator, University Enterprise Laboratories.

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, Border Battle - October 15

For those around the country not familiar with the rivalry between the two states let me help you. A Vikings vs. Packers game for a few hours splits families and marriages. The sports rivalry between universities is high. Football and hockey games actually use the phrase “Border Battle”

So this article from the Pioneer Press, coincidentally the same day of the Gophers vs. Badgers football game, about each state and its business groups crossing the border and trying to recruit back to their state.

Bill Gates Attends Schulze School Gala - October 17

Bill Gates accepted an invitation form Richard Schulze, CEO of Best Buy, to the inauguration of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. This article from the Star Tribune has a good biography on Richard Schulze.

Bill Gates mentioned that he does not shy away from hiring someone who has run a failed business. He also spoke about how leadership and leaders are built during a crisis situation.

Richard Schulze and Bill Gates also did a Q&A moderated by Ann Winblad, CEO of Winblad Venture Capital. Ann is a St. Thomas grad.

Minneapolis, U of M, And Five Local Companies Rank High For Commuting - October 20

Best Work Places for Commuters, sponsored in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation, is a new public-private sector voluntary program advocating employer-provided commuter benefit has high marks for our area.

Minneapolis ranked with the number of and incentives for car pools, the number of bike racks and lockers, and one of the “…most comprehensive bicycle lane systems in the country.”

The University of Minnesota is cited for its many programs to reduce traffic. With some 80,000 people going to or through campus on any given day the area is the third largest traffic generator in the state.

The five local companies listed are Best Buy, CenterPoint Energy, Ecolab, Guidant, and Xerox.

Business Journal lists its 2005 Fastest Growing Private Companies - October 21

Business Journal is out with the 50 fastest growing privately held companies, based on revenue growth over the previous three years.

The Growth 50 list includes manufacturers, bankers, retailers, high-tech and med-tech companies, security professionals and restaurant management firms. Together, these 50 Twin Cities companies had more than $1.7 billion in revenue and averaged 141 percent growth.

Twin Cities Hits Venture Capital Low Water Mark - October 25, 2005

OK, so I just said in a previous post that venture capital, more like too much of it, is not a good thing. But not having enough also is a negative because good ideas cannot be developed and then brought to market.

The 3rd quarter MoneyTree Survey reports that the number of deals is the lowest since 1995 and dollars raised was the lowest in two years.

The survey as whole, all states, showed more deals and dollars than the same time year ago.

More Investment Dollars For Minnesota Health Care Start-Ups - October 28

The bad news is the dollar amount could and should be larger than it is. The good news is that the health care companies are gaining share of the dollars, particularly in Minnesota. For more information click on this press release from BioEnterprise.

The State Of Venture Capital In The Twin Cities - November 3

St. Paul Pioneer Press has a great article regarding venture capital investing in the Twin Cities. After the 3rd quarter MoneyTree Survey there was much concern regarding the state of investing in local companies. This also coincides with the 19th Annual Minnesota Venture Finance Conference that was held November 2 & 3.

Our area is fortunate to have quite a few seasoned VC firms. The issue is not mid to late stage funding but the seed stage. $50,000 is hard to come by in our area and this article does a good job talking about the issues.

Tekne Awards Announced - November 10

Star Tribune and Business Journal both had write-ups following the Tekne Awards, which are sponsored by the Minnesota High Tech Association and Minnesota Technology. More than 1,000 people attended the gala.

10 Minnesota Companies Make The 2005 DeloitteTechnology Fast 500 - November 10

Congratulations to the following companies for making the list: Mulitband, Alebra Technologies, MGI Pharma, MakeMusic!, Shavlik Technologies, Digital River, Enpath Medical, Convey Compliance Systems, Vascular Solutions, and Possis Medical.

Minnesota Companies Rank Among Most Charitable - November 14

There are many reasons to like doing business in Minnesota but this is my favorite one, corporate responsibility. Forbes reports on The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which conducts an annual survey of cash and product donations by U.S. companies.

Hats off to Target Corporation of Minneapolis for donating the most cash as a percentage of earnings. Other Minnesota companies to make the list are 3M, Best Buy, Honeywell, Supervalu, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.

Fortune’s 2005 Blue Ribbon Companies - November 14

Every year Fortune does seven or so lists of top companies with varying criteria. In order to achieve “Blue-Ribbon” status a company must appear on at least four. Minnesota is well represented. It’s worth noting that many of these companies also appear on the previously mentioned charitable list.

Those HQ’d here:

Best Buy, General Mills, 3M, Honeywell (well sort of HQ’d here), Medtronic, and Target.

Those with a significant presence in the state are:

Microsoft, Abbott Laboratories, IBM, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Hartford Financial Services, International Paper, McKesson, Northrop Grumman, Time Warner, and Wells Fargo. There are others with a presence here but I just went through the list fairly quickly.

NASA To Work With Four Local Companies - November 21

Business Journal reports that NASA has or will be signing contracts with NVE, T3 Scientific, SVT, and SIFT.

CIO Corner 10/10 - 11/26

CIO Job Market Continues To Improve - October 1, 2005 has more evidence of a stronger job market for CIO’s noting that more companies are hiring.

Job Search For CIO’s - October 7

A fantastic article on for CIO’s particularly, but anyone really, on how to find jobs not posted and how to make sure once an opportunity is found that it is the right opportunity for you.

CIO’s Sticking Around Longer - October 13

This story has statistics from Forrester and Gartner showing that CIO’s are sticking around longer at their jobs than they used to. Four years, plus or minus .5 year, is average. The article has cites many reasons for the longer stay.

Chief Information Security Officer, A New Trend - October 13

CIO Today with an article on the trend of some melding the CIO and CSO and others creating a hierarchy. 40% of respondents say they employ a CISO up from 31% in 2004.

The Evolving CIO - November 16

Seems like everything in IT is changing, including at the top. CIO’s seem to be evolving into many things. Wisconsin Technology Network has a posting on the “hybrid CIO”. There is very little I like about Wisconsin, there goes my Gopher bias again, but this site always seems to have new and thought provoking information.

Career & Salary Information 10/10 - 11/26

Networking Takes Work - October 12

Jason Jacobsohn writes for about networking. This article from him has four main points to be effective at networking. I would add two more to his list. One, when networking ask others how you can help them. What goes around comes around. Two, build the network during the good times so it is ready to be used during the bad times.

IT Salaries Should Increase In 2006 - October 13

A thorough article by CIO Update on IT jobs and salary expectations for 2006. Good news in terns of hiring and an increase in salaries which have been flat at best in most regions the last two years. A couple of sources are cited; and Robert Half Technology, and they both have done a good job over the years of predicting trends.

Middle Managers Not Satisfied - October 23

Here are some statistics from an Accenture study that made me pause. 15% of middle managers are dissatisfied with their employers, up from 8% in 2004. 33% described their companies as mismanaged.

While there is some good news the bad news is interesting as many of them will be looking for new employment.

Computerworlds 19th Annual IT Salary Survey Released - October 24

14,000+ workers took Computerworlds salary survey I took the salary survey for a test drive on the North Central Region and the numbers looked like I would have expected.

While salary increases are not that large, 3%, bonuses are increasing. I appreciate that they included other factors in job satisfaction besides salary like job security and stress. I like the responses that many feel well compensated.

It may not be the “good ‘ol days” but I like these days of job security, increasing employment, and minor salary increases. Let’s call them the “normal days”.

IT Auditors In Demand - November 1 with a report from Robert Half Technology showing the demand for IT Auditors is up and so are their salaries. SOX and HIPAA are two reasons for the demand.

Minnesota Pay Ranks 10th In U.S. - November 17

Business Journal with a report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development showing Minnesota has the 10th largest average pay and 11% higher than the national average.

IT In 2010 - November 11

Much has been written since Gartner released its study in September, “The IT Professional Outlook: Where Will We Go From Here?”, about what the coming years in IT will bring.

Tekrati has a posting from Gartner on its site in case you have not seen the highlights of the research.

Employment & Economic Statistics 10/10 - 11/26

Minnesota Unemployment Claims Growing - October 7

Minnesota Unemployment claims were up quite a bit compared to September of 2004. The Northwest Airlines strike does not help and job growth is not at the same pace as earlier this year.

More Money For The State Of Minnesota - October 10

Minnesota Department of Finance is reporting more cash in state coffers. $282 million is a nice chunk of cash.

Hurricanes Katrina And Rita Not As Large Of An Impact As Thought - October 10

BusinessWeek Online analyzes September payroll report. 20,000 of the 35,000 lost jobs can be put at the doorstep of the Boeing strike.

IT Hiring Back To 2001 Levels - October 12

I like articles that go back in the time machine to what people have said and what the reality is. WebProNews with an article on the current state of IT hiring. From the article,

It's too bad that none of these people took the time to notice that the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics survey in July showed the number of jobs in U.S. IT has rebounded to the highs of 2001.

I do not agree with all of the points in the article, as it is written from a pro-outsourcing opinion, but much of it is on point from what I see.

September Online Job Ads Decline - October 18

The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series™ reports a 4.4% decrease in the number of online job ads and all 9 regions showing a decline.

3rd Quarter See More Tech Job Cuts - October 18

Let me start by saying I highly respect Challenger, Gray & Christmas but I am not sure about their 3rd quarter report written about at ComputerWorld.

The report has an increase in job cuts from the previous quarter and 140,000+ jobs lost in 2005. The article quotes a statement saying that the rate of hiring has not kept up with the cuts. The statement also suggests that industry consolidation is part of the cause in the reduction.

I rarely question stats and figures from reliable sources but this one has me wondering. I am often accused if being a glass half-full kind of guy but what I see and hear does not correlate with their numbers.

Minnesota September Unemployment Rate Up .1% - October 19

September unemployment numbers were released. Minnesota lost 4,100 jobs and the unemployment rate went up .1% to 3.8%. There has been much written about the slow down of jobs created in the area. I for one think this is a temporary hiccup. If you count the Northwest Airlines mechanic strike, post hurricane, and some companies taking a pause this seems like a short-term issue versus a disturbing trend.

Twin Cities Online Job Ads Continue To Grow - October 20

Business Journal with an article on the September online job report from Monster Worldwide. Overall there was improvement since the May report.

US Economy Doing Better Than Expected - October 28

Here’s a view from across the pond at the BBC on the US economy. GDP grew faster than expected courtesy of government and consumer spending. At the time of this article many questioned the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Rita and oil prices moving forward.

Why Is The Economy Still Strong? - November 1

The Christian Science Monitor has some answers. It is amazing that after all that has gone on abroad and at home politically, with an unfortunate hurricane season, and the general ups and downs of the markets that the U.S. economy is still moving like it is.

Better Unemployment Picture In Minnesota - November 11

After three months of slower gains and one month of actual job losses the number of losses decreased by 4,000. Pioneer Press with some more stats.

Unemployment Down In October - November 15

As expected, more like hoped, the four-month trend of reduced job creation and losses seams to have broke. The state unemployment rate went back to 3.7% getting back it’s .1% it lost in September. Job creation is also 1.4% ahead of the same time period in 2004.

Outsourcing, Offshoring, H1-B 10/10 - 11/26

Outsourcing, Remember The Employees - October 19

IT Week is a UK site and they have written about outsourcing/offshoring quite a bit. While some of the intricacies of how such deals work are a little different the overarching principles are the same.

Particularly, what to do about the workers. The article includes a case study on a manager who was outsourced after doing the outsourcing and an employee who went from working for a bank to a technology firm.

Proposed H1-B Increases And Fee Increase Before Congress - October 21

Well this is interesting from In an attempt to increase revenue Congress has been talking about increasing fees on workers visas. Because the workers visas were being talked about industry executives and lobbyists asked for an increase in the number of visas.

Global Sourcing Helping The U.S. Economy? - October 31

With all of the articles in recent months I need to find an economist and one without an agenda that can give an honest opinion on offhsoring. Here is a study commissioned by The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) which in part says,

"…finds that worldwide sourcing of computer software and services continues to increase the number of U.S. jobs, improve real wages for American workers, and has many other economic benefits as a result of pushing the U.S. economy to perform at higher levels.”

General 10/10 - 11/26

Minnesota 7th Smartest State - October 13

So says Morgan Quitno’s annual reference book. Minnesota moved up from 12.

Lessons From Katrina - October 13

As a small business owner and as a headhunter who hears from IT staff about risk management and catastrophe plans there are many lessons to be learned from the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. has this article highlighting the experiences from companies in the Gulf Coast region.

Defense Contractor Lands Large Virginia Outsourcing Deal - November 16

And the big keep getting bigger. According to, Northrop Grumman won the $2 billion dollar State of Virginia deal. 900 state employees will become part of Northrop Grumman and 100 new jobs will be created. At least that’s some good news, jobs also being created.

The article also takes on the idea of local economic impact. I hope someone takes on the impact on the current workers who have been with a state agency and will now work for a publicly held company. Now that should be interesting.

Recruiting 10/10 - 11/26

Building A Strong Team - September 15

Back in September had a 5 page, web pages that is, spread on talent management. Instead of posting some quotes here I strongly urge you take the time to read the whole article. There seems to be a lot of disconnect between what they think is important to workers, what actually is, and what employers are doing about it.