Exit133 is about Tacoma
Hey Tech Companies: Move to Tacoma ...
The City of Tacoma's Economic Development Department gets some attention from Geekwire this week for an ad running in the San Jose Mercury News this week. The idea behind the ad is to attract Bay Area tech firms looking for a satellite location in the Pacific Northwest.
Will it work?
It’s not yet clear whether the marketing campaign will pay off. Ricardo Noguera, the economic development director for the City of Tacoma, said in an email to GeekWire that the ads “just came out this week.”
We were originally tipped off to the Geekwire article by a friend who is a Tacoma resident and daily commuter to a certain city north of Tacoma. Some of his insights resonate with us...
At the risk of stepping on some toes... I don't think this will work.
You can't lead your recruiting messaging with "We're cheap." If you could, Alabama would be a tech hot bed right now. Objectively, Tacoma lacks Seattle's cluster of other tech companies and its highly educated workforce. That's not a slam on Tacoma at all - our economic makeup is just different - but the reality is that's one of the big draws of being in Seattle right now.
Transportation is a big challenge too. Bellevue now has concrete plans for rail between its core and Seattle, and our funding for rail is still being debated in the legislature. Ultimately we are asking these companies to consider being isolated from Seattle and its benefits, with no easy connection between the two cities, and without the infrastructure and support they're looking for. I'd love for this to happen of course, but maybe we should start smaller and work our way up.
... I think we DO have the foundation for a legitimate tech sector here, albeit one that's going to be very small. UWT is doing some awesome stuff, and there's only room to grow there. We could become an amazing incubator for tiny companies, especially when paired with our educational institutions.
Talk of cheap rent makes us sound... well, cheap. And companies bargain-hunting for satellite office space seem likely to pull up stakes for the next cheapest offer that comes along. Why not attract companies using the assets we have, and give them a reason to put down roots - a reason that has more staying power than bargain basement per-square-foot office space?
We like the idea of attracting more companies to Tacoma - almost as much as we like the idea of new companies growing from the ground up right here. Our bullet points might look something more like this:
- Million dollar views
- Top-tier universities
- A growing entrepreneurial community
- Room to grow
- An amazing hyperlocal blog
Do you like the idea of advertising Tacoma and its many assets in other cities? If you were going to write the ad, what would you say?
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