I just got a new mechanical keyboard—I've been thinking about taking the leap forever as I have fond memories of the tactile feedback of the IBM Model Ms I used to use at my dad's place of work in the '90s. I felt like typing at home to break it in a little.
Anyway, it's been 2018 for so long that we're nearing the halfway point. During this gap in posts, I've had one of those growth stages where you realize that in the Venn diagram of what you know and all of human knowledge there can only ever be a pretty small area of overlap. If I ever hoped to expand the circle of things I knew, it was always going to be good to do so by being a marketer in an industry that is widely in-demand.
Such was my experience transitioning from working at a highly technical, niche software modeling company to one that is also technical, but for something that is more mandatory for all businesses—at variable times dependant upon when your fiscal year starts and ends, or whether we're talking about tax or audit, but unavoidable nonetheless. The amount I've learned about the accounting industry has been great in the time since I changed industries. Growing pains are normal for individuals as well as for firms. Definitely click that link—it mentions the CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani's rule of three—that every time a company triples in size, everything breaks; how the company handles payroll, how managers schedule meetings, how teams communicate, how it budgets, and how its hierarchy is balanced. I love to continually improve my knowledge in unexpected ways—and I'm happy to share that that's something that happens often at work—what happens when triple your career knowledge and experience? Exciting thought.
Going beyond our walls, I often come across thoughts from area leaders on the subject of challenges that the local business community faces. I don't hear taxes come up that often as a complaint, per se (some say it's because my firm does great work), nor do I hear about trouble with infrastructure, commute times, catastrophic weather events, or the defunding of well-meaning organizations.
More than anything else, what I hear is that there is not enough talent to go around in the metro area—that the growth potential of Minnesota businesses often goes beyond the ability of the native population to fill those roles, partially in terms of sheer numbers, but also in terms of skills that the population possesses.
As of April 2018, the Twin Cities enjoyed both 2.7% unemployment and a high quality of life. People come over time, but as the Twin Cities are not in the Northeast corridor, the West Coast or the Texas triangle—our metro is most definitely distinct from other metros in terms of separation by distance—outsiders tend to come because they have a job in place that they are committed to over the long-term. And yes—there are also a lot of native Minnesotans, and they are a hard-working lot.
There is pretty obvious opportunity with our Minnesota university system. Having talent available locally that can contribute to growing industries in the Twin Cities like tech should be thought of as a function of the local university community's ability to attract talented young minds to study here.
There have been transitionary periods for different industries—one to automation in manufacturing over a long period of time, to a user interface being equally important, or even more important than hardware alone e.g. Nokia v. Apple, and the ability of A.I. to separate companies into the winners and losers columns based on their ability to pivot away from the commodity (if there's a set process, can you automate it?), and to embrace the creative and analytical (relatively hard to automate).
It's exciting to grow my own set of experiences and at the same time see the Twin Cities continue to evolve as an area with increasing density, public transit, and things to do. What are the equivalents of Mikitani's rule of three for a metro area? I hope that the universities continue to work with local industries to inform the programming they are offering so that companies can have one less thing to worry about in their plans for growth, as well.
As for me? I guess I have a growing pain right at this moment as I'm realizing that non-mechanical keyboards are going to really annoy me now. Logging off.
By the way, all views expressed on this site are merely my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.