Leo Polovets @lpolovets General Partner @SusaVentures (seed investor in @RobinhoodApp & @Flexport). Before: @Caltech → 2nd non-founding engineer @LinkedIn → @Google → @Factual. Oct. 02, 2018 1 min read

1/ People often ask if it's worth it for companies to have an HQ in Silicon Valley. Real estate is crazy expensive here, salaries are astronomical as a result, there's heavy rush hour traffic, and so on. Why do companies put up with this??

One answer: an abundance of top talent.

2/ To take a data-driven approach, I used LinkedIn to count the number of people with different job titles in 4 metro areas: Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, and SF. Each of these has roughly 6 million people, so I would expect them to have similar amounts of tech talent.

3/ Caveat: a) this is not *super* scientific and b) these are searches from my LinkedIn account, so maybe the numbers will vary for different users. Regardless, I believe the numbers paint a strong picture.

DevOps = 270
VP of Engineering = 798
Customer Success = 294
iOS Developer = 71
Sr Data Scientist = 73

DevOps = 924
VP of Engineering = 657
Customer Success = 1232
iOS Developer = 214
Sr Data Scientist = 125

DevOps = 946
VP of Engineering = 515
Customer Success = 1094
iOS Developer = 386
Sr Data Scientist = 181

7/ SF
DevOps = 2959
VP of Engineering = 4194
Customer Success = 5229
iOS Developer = 1020
Sr Data Scientist = 1350

8/ What this data suggests to me is that SF has 5x-10x more tech talent per capita compared to other big metro areas. There's more competition for that talent, but the large supply is invaluable -- especially for unusual roles. E.g. SF has 29 video codec engineers; Houston has 0.

9/ As long as there is so much tech talent in this area, I think Silicon Valley will remain a great place for a startup's HQ. However, I also believe the advantage will diminish over time as more & more tech talent emerges in other areas -- or moves there because of living costs.

10/ Addendum: a few people asked me to throw NYC into the mix. Here we go:
DevOps = 1792
VP of Engineering = 2318
Customer Success = 3023
iOS Developer = 778
Sr Data Scientist = 670

So approximately 50-60% of Silicon Valley's counts, but 3x the population.

You can follow @lpolovets.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.