Why There’s A Lack Of Talent In DFW: Sources Of Silicon Valley’s Talent

There are several things we hear regularly about the Dallas-Fort Worth startup community. The two most popular among founders are: “We need more investors willing to take risks,” and “it’s hard to find talent.”

Skipping right over the fact that there are about 20 billionaires in the area and they’re slowly getting used to having a community, let’s leave the investor discussion for another time.

Let’s talk about talent. What is talent? What does the term mean in the context of building a startup? It could be anything—the intern that helps with social media, or the anti-social, lives in the dark on Monster guzzling and pizza devouring sales or marketing co-founder… err, software engineer.

No matter the role, it’s difficult to build a company of size or value if there isn’t a great pool of people ready and willing to take the leap with you. This is talent. Where is the talent?!

While it’s no surprise to Silicon Valley that Texas is the second largest source of talent, it probably is to you. In a recent survey, Bloomberg found that Texas is the second largest source of talent for Silicon Valley. Only Mexico supplies more.

The action item here is obvious: reach out to your local college or university (here’s a list of 38, and a few more here) and engage them. Because when this class spends time in the local startup community, they’ll be less likely to flee to the valley.

Another answer is to engage “the talent” when they least expect it. In March of 2015, an event called HackDFW was held at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. There were approximately 1200 college aged students from all over the US, and a few from over seas. They hustled for 24 hours and built 125 products. That’s a high concentration of high quality, get-it-done talent. Next year the event is expected to have 2,000 attendees and will be held in Dallas’ The Cedars neighborhood.

No matter how you choose engage college students in your company, the sooner you do it the better. If you need help or introductions, please leave a comment. We’ll get you connected to the right people.

Inspired by Bloomberg.

Photo credit: HackDFW

  • Michael Sitarzewski is the Publisher of Launch DFW, co-founder and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of inboundgeo. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. After a seven years in the Boulder, Colorado startup community, Michael returned to Dallas, Texas, in 2013 where he’s focused on growing and increasing the visibility of the burgeoning Dallas startup community. He is the EIR at The DEC, a mentor in the RevTech accelerator, and leads several events in the Dallas area. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life’s work.

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