I've visited Seattle probably 15 or 20 times. I've always had a good time and found the people to be really friendly.  

I never knew until recently that my experience flies in the face of stereotype. 

I'm talking about the so-called Seattle Freeze, which, as one local resident put it in viral op-ed recently, describes a city where "humans ... go to extraordinary lengths to avoid connection," and a place that is both "geographically gorgeous," and "an emotional tundra."

Ouch. Now, there's a possible explanation, according to the same newspaper that published this angry op-ed, or perhaps it's more of an inconvenient data point for anyone who likes to generalize. 

Census data shows fully 70 percent of adults currently living in Seattle were born out of state.

I can imagine that's reassuring. But it's also quite possibly the same phenomenon I once heard about a heralded study showing that close to 50 percent of entrepreneurs were first-born; only to realize afterward that close to 50 percent of all people are first-born.

Because in 2019, we are nothing if not highly geographically mobile within the United States, and with specific destinations in mind. 

Those who want to start venture-backed startups, whether it should be this way or not, are well-advised to move to the Bay Area or Silicon Valley, or to a lesser extent to New York, Boston, Chicago, and yes-- Seattle and a few others.

It's simply a matter of where the money is.

Separately, there are a few cities in the U.S. that are gaining workers quickly: Austin, Denver, Nashville, Charlotte, and yes, Seattle according to LinkedIn data this month.

Main draws: jobs, housing costs, and quality of life.

So, where does it leave you as a business owner?

I'm sure you already know what the challenges are in recruiting good people to wherever you live -- either the difficulty in getting people to envision it, or if you're in a place where people are already flocking to, the competition with other employers.

It does also suggest that if you can make it work wherever you're located, you gain a bit more of an advantage with each passing day, as your company's institutional geographic knowledge and understanding grows.

And perhaps it's also a harbinger of hope, that even in these extremely divided times, the portion of the population that's willing to migrate might find they're looking for common ground.

Then again, maybe I'm overly optimistic. I'm the guy who thought Seattle was a super-friendly town, of course.

Heck, I'm not sure I even remember it ever rained.
 

Published on: Oct 25, 2019
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