I recently came across a LinkedIn article about emerging technology hubs in the US that are luring startups to locations outside Silicon Valley. The article resonated with me as my company is located in its own micro-hub in a different part of the world.

The fantastic reality of modern software development is that those who are at the cutting edge – in the microservices and Node.js worlds, for example – are not necessarily based in trendy high-rise glass buildings in any city, anywhere in the world. nearForm is headquartered in Tramore, County Waterford, a stunningly beautiful seaside town on Ireland’s ancient east coastline. Not a high-rise building in sight!

 

Tramore

A view of the bay and coastline, Tramore, County Waterford

Tramore is the hub of the nearForm wheel, but the wider team is located everywhere from Argentina to South Africa.

Note that I say “headquartered”. Tramore is the hub of the nearForm wheel, but the wider team is located everywhere from Argentina to South Africa (we’re working on getting someone in Zambia to have the full A to Z!). What makes us unique is our ability to source the perfect talent and fuse it in global teams that are capable of solving complex client problems across language barriers and time zones.

Those who are at the cutting edge of modern software development are not necessarily based in trendy high-rise glass buildings in any city.

Those who are at the cutting edge of modern software development are not necessarily based in trendy high-rise glass buildings in any city.

They do all that while being able to work from home or attend parent-teacher meetings, as the need arises – or in my own case, sit at my home desk in Dungarvan at the other side of County Waterford, still getting the job done while nursing a broken ankle!

‘Agile’ is a great way to describe how modern tech companies can grow and evolve organizationally.

‘Agile’ is one of the software development expressions I’ve picked up since joining nearForm. It’s also a great way to describe how modern tech companies can grow and evolve organizationally. You do not need to be constrained by big city environments that stress your clients and your workforce with punishing commutes and high rents.

Get the best talent you can and engage with them where they choose to live. Then, by all means, spring for air fares and expenses occasionally to give off-site and on-site workers the opportunity to get together and engage face-to-face with clients and the wider tech community. Use hot desking facilities so that staff all over the world can move easily between locations, working in the cloud, on their laptops.

It’s not just the techies who benefit from this approach. Support functions like Finance and Marketing can likewise be anywhere and everywhere, as long as there are communication processes and workflows that allow information to flow freely between teams.

As long as there is sufficient incentive for telecoms companies to continue to expand their bandwidth offerings – in Ireland and everywhere else – there is no reason why the next tech hub we read about cannot be in Ireland, Zambia or anywhere else that people call home.

 

Talent + determination + laptop + cloud + good bandwidth = success


 

By: Fiona McKenna

Fiona is chief financial officer (CFO) at nearForm. A self-confessed 'startup junkie', Fiona is a financial heavyweight with an impressive record in taking growing companies to new heights. Over the course of a twenty-six-year international career, she has worn several hats: financial consultant, managing director, financial controller, and vice president of finance, among others.
  • RiggerTheGeek

    It’s refreshing to see this. As a freelance software engineer, it’s just boring how many people expect me to commute from my lovely Cotswold village to London/Birmingham/Manchester or any other place that’s not green and pleasant.

    Out of interest, how do you manage with team collaboration in different timezones?

    • Leanne Vaughey

      Hey RiggerTheGeek,

      As with all questions like this, it depends. Generally people are paired with projects that they can realistically work on (from a timezone point of view). We try match on a timezone basis. Other times the project itself may simply be managed asynchronously; in these cases timezones become less of an issue.

      We totally agree on commute and quality of surroundings. We maintain our head-office in a small costal town in Waterford, Ireland. Our advice is work from the place you feel happiest. For some that’s at home with their family. For others that is being at the office and living close by (in a nice quiet village). Either way we really think where you work is important enough to ensure we can support remote and on-site, as long as it is quality.

  • http://collaborare.net Monico Moreno

    Love this philosophy! I’ve done my fair share of working from home, and I’ve always been able to be more productive than when I go into an office–which, unfortunately is my situation right now. That being said, however, I also value occasional, face-to-face encounters with co-workers and bosses. Not only does it help keep us honest, it’s just invigorating to interact with a warm-blooded, human being! :-)

    Curious, does nearForm do this at all?

    • Leanne Vaughey

      Hi Monico, thank you for your comment, and yes its something we really encourage here at nearForm.