The City that has everything is still missing one thing: technical talent.
New York is flush with investors, incubators, and mentorship programs. But the lack of technical talent is preventing the City from truly rivaling Silicon Valley as THE centre of the technology world. Every single NYC startup is searching for developers right now, but the talent pool is small. That’s a problem we need to solve.
Some notable efforts are already underway: hackNY (led by Columbia’s Chris Wiggins, NYU’s Evan Korth, and Bit.ly’s Hilary Mason) is steering graduating tech talent from NYC Universities into startups and away from finance. And programs like Girl Develop It and Ruby Nuby are helping create more technical talent.
But it’s about time we start looking outside of NYC. As Matt Mireles says, it’s time to bus in the hackers. We need to “ease the chokepoint around technical talent and to sell elite hackers on the idea that: a) NYC actually has a startup scene (believe it or not, not everyone knows this), b) NYC is awesome, and c) they’d actually know some people if they re-located to the Big Apple.”
The tech scene here overwhelms many out-of-towners. They don’t know the right events, meetups, startups, people, and coworking spaces. They don’t know where to start, where to go, and where to stay. I’ve been fielding inquires for several months now from people who have heard great things about startups in NYC. But they have questions and hesitations about moving here or even coming to visit. After all, becoming part of the tech community is hard if you don’t have an “in.”
With this in mind, we recently launched Adopt A Hacker. The idea is simple: give visitors a chance to experience the NYC tech scene. It’s our opportunity to welcome techies from around the world and show them what an amazing place New York City is for technology. NYC has everything they need to succeed. With our resources and their talent, they could get in on the ground floor of the next Big Thing while enjoying life in the greatest city in the world—who needs Mountain View when you can have an Empire State view?!
Adopt A Hacker gives these techies a helping hand and a starting point. We make it easy to visit NYC by pairing them with welcoming members of the New York startup scene that could extend a place to crash — or at least a cup of coffee! Once they see New York through the eyes of a New Yorker, they’ll surely fall in love too!
The project was created by Ben Fisher and me with the indispensable help of our team at a recent startup weekend. The reaction to the launch was nothing short of awesome—on our first day alone, over 25 hackers from around the world requested to be ‘adopted.’ Since then, over a hundred more have signed up.
New York City is a great place for tech startups. Let’s make sure everyone else knows it and can be a part of it! Spread the word!
(New York techies interested in being an NYC Ambassador and offering ‘a place to crash’ or ‘a cup of joe’ should sign up here.)