Another Take on the Talent Shortage

  • December 22, 2011
  • Scott

According to Naval, we’ve got the problem all wrong:

“There isn’t a shortage of developers and designers. There’s a surplus of founders.”

He makes a compelling argument as to the “why” :

The cost of starting a company has collapsed. It’s now just (minimal) salaries. For entrepreneurs, desks are free, hosting is free, marketing is online, and company setup is cheap.

Raising the first $25K for product development is easy – join an incubator. Raising the next $100K is easy – investors are following the incubators with automatic notes. Building a product and launching a product are easy – develop on Open Source Stacks, host on Amazon, launch on Facebook, Android or iOS, get your early traction.*

Getting real traction is hard. Raising millions of dollars is hard. Building a sustainable, long-term company is hard.

Basically, he makes the point that if you’re pre-traction, you have to expect to give up a lot more equity to grow your company than if you’ve already got traction.  In the microcosm of the overall market that I see, in professional services, you could easily argue the surplus of founders argument. If you consider all the individual contractors as “founders” that haven’t gotten traction yet.

We’ve always felt that it was important to hire people who valued being part of a team, and building something bigger than themselves.  Being part of a team enables us all to execute at a higher level for ourselves and our customers. It makes it easier to take a vacation and still sleep well at night.  It makes it easier to get health insurance.  It is a long list of benefits to being part of a firm.  Including, building value that is sustainable even after the point when you’re ready to move on to another phase in your life. For builders, this is an attractive proposition.

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