Events & Regional Culture
Events are one of the things that help build the culture of a region.
A pretty smart tech guy once told me that part of the reason he moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, was because of the weekly tech meeting I helped start. He said something to the effect that he figured there must be a decent amount of tech stuff going on, or we wouldn’t have done a weekly tech meeting for years and wouldn’t have had a long term blog related to the tech meeting.
He had other reasons for moving to this area, too, but the tech meetings and tech blog did have an influence on his perception of the area.
Yesterday’s post raised the question of what the value of events are and whether people are using their time wisely by participating in events. Because events help build a region’s culture, having a variety of tech and entrepreneurial events appear to have value directly related to the following article I read today.
Digital Nomad Discretion On Where To Live
“The Case for Working in Silicon Valley and Living in the Rust Belt,” suggests that ultra-high housing costs in Silicon Valley (which can also be seen in other large cities with major tech hubs) may be causing an increasing number of tech workers to move to other areas with a high quality of life but much lower housing costs.
“A new wave of tech workers is house hunting in Middle America. When software engineer Eric Anderle and his wife, Rachel, decided they were tired of renting and wanted to buy, they quickly realized that any place in their neighborhood—San Francisco’s spiffy NoPa district—would be out of reach. Rather than look in surrounding towns or across the bay to Oakland, the 25-year-olds staged an escape. Last fall they moved into a four-bedroom house an hour south of Grand Rapids, Mich. The monthly mortgage payment on their 3,000-square-foot home there is about the same as the rent on the couple’s old 600-square-foot apartment. Best of all, Anderle didn’t have to give up his sweet Silicon Valley gig at Twilio. He persuaded the cloud communications company to let him not only work but also live remotely…”
Although America and the rest of the world are still in the very early stages of learning how to effectively work remotely or in distributed teams, this mode of work will be much more common twenty years from now. An increasingly large sector of the workforce will have the option to live hundreds or thousands of miles from their employer’s headquarters or legal address. Greater freedom to choose the location of a primary residence means other factors become more important than employer location, including
- Housing costs.
- Other cost-of-living factors.
- Quality of Life.
- Family / relatives.
- Regional culture.
If people in a region want to work to make their area more appealing to remote and distributed workers, especially ones with high-paying jobs, they can’t do much to change the climate or where relatives live. Probably the easiest thing to work on is making the culture of the area appealing to those highly mobile workers. Tech workers, especially digital nomads, will judge the culture of an area in many ways, but an important factor will be what type of presence technology and entrepreneurism have in the region.
Does Your Region Support Tech & Entrepreneurial Events?
It’s not that expensive or difficult to have a good variety of events for like-minded people in a region. A typical starting point is participant-driven informal events like those found through Meetup.com, with the cost for using the site’s name and services covered by meeting registration fees or an event sponsor.
There can be a wide variety of more organized events focused on building the culture of the region if:
- Someone is available and willing to organize and promote events.
- Regional or national companies and organizations support the events.
- Local media provide publicity and visibility for events and the community of like-minded people.
- Appropriate venues are available for groups events.
If you want a better tech culture in your area and you’re a civic leader, an executive or decision-maker at a local company or organizations, or a highly influential person in your region, do you feel tech events help improve the culture of your region?
If the answer is yes, what are YOU doing to support more or better tech events?