It seems like every day a new city is christened “the next Silicon Valley.” Boulder, Colorado. Detroit, Michigan. The list goes on and on.

So what makes a city “Silicon Valley worthy?”

Richard Florida, who wrote “The Rise of the Creative Class,” says the magic recipe behind a city becoming a technological hub is attributed to three important factors: “talented people and a high quality of life that keeps them around, technological expertise, and an open-mindedness about new ways of doing things.”

Places like Boulder, Colorado embody Mr. Florida’s trifecta for technological success. Often thought of as a community of rock climbers and hippies whose main concern is legalizing marijuana, this picturesque place has become a magnet for ambitious entrepreneurs. With a population of 100,000 people, it has the most entrepreneurs per capita than any other city in the country. Imagine working out a proposal with talented colleagues over Yerba Mate Tea and then taking a lunch break to hike the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Plus, you don’t have to dump half your pay check into your landlord’s palm to do so. This place reeks of entrepreneurial spirit.

However, when I think of Detroit, Michigan, I think about smokestacks, Ford Motors, and Eminem’s first movie performance in 8 mile. This is not a place I would associate with innovation and growing opportunity, but surprisingly, it’s quickly becoming the core of technology in the Midwest.

After two years of unsuccessful attempts at launching a business in Silicon Valley, the founders of Stik, an online business referral platform, packed their bags and transplanted their idea to Detroit. Reinvigorated by a new pool of talent and funded by the hardworking network of investors at Detroit Venture Partners, Stik has grown into a million dollar company.

And Stik isn’t alone. Quikly, a startup that helps users take advantage of daily deals, moved from Philadelphia to Detroit in 2012. SocioCast also joined the Detroit scene, helping companies optimize their advertising campaigns across web and mobile platforms.

People are excited about Detroit and the thriving startup culture that has taken hold there.

Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and a Detroit native, sees this city as a palette for technological greatness. “If you want to really get in at the ground floor of something very special, you want to come to Detroit because you’re going to find things — it’s not only very exciting but less expensive. You’re going to find great, motivated people. Your people are the most important thing you have in these kinds of businesses,” Gilbert says.

What about places that seem to have the secret recipe and just aren’t making the cut, like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for example?

Philadelphia is home to some of the top colleges on the east coast, like University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The cost of living is half of what you’ll find in New York City and with community events like Philly Tech Week and Philly Tech Meetup, the city is trying to nurture an environment for entrepreneurs where they can get their dreams off the ground. Yet, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the “City of Brotherly Love” ranks dead last among the 15 biggest metropolitan cities in terms of startup activity.

So is it really the culture and the people that make a city worthy of the “next Silicon Valley” title or is it just the interest of investors with deep pockets and big dreams?

What do you think?

By Jacqueline Monti 


Job seekers will come up with all sorts of creative ways to have their resumes stand out amongst the crowd – from special paper and personal videos to even arts and crafts. One resourceful job prospect outlined his credentials on the back of a baby shampoo bottle when applying for a position as Johnson & Johnson. But now, how we apply for jobs and how we hire the best talent is one more aspect of life that social media is influencing.

Many technology and marketing companies are challenging the traditional job application process by replacing resumes and conventional in-person interviews with Twitterveiws. That’s right, organizations are now hiring based on 140-character responses on Twitter.

“The Web is your resume. Social networks are your mass references,” says Vala Afshar, Chief Marketing Officer at the tech firm Enterasys Networks who is currently hiring for a six-figure, senior social media strategist position solely through Twitter responses.

While a CEO or a college professor won’t get hired based on this practice, click here to see how tweets are quickly becoming the hiring model for companies that are seeking tech savvy and marketing employees.

“Brogrammer” is the sarcastic term recently used to describe the new breed of Silicon Valley computing professionals. A mash-up of “programmer” and “bro,” the stereotypical fraternity house salute, this term insinuates a testosterone-driven industry that favors youth over experience and men over women. Although the technology industry has always been male-dominated, companies that recruit with this “brogrammer” mentality will be sure to lose in the war for exceptional talent – especially when it comes to recruiting women. Click here to read more about how companies that build an inclusive, welcoming work environment will end up hiring the best people.

Whenever cell phone makers introduce a new product, the only way to catch potential malfunctions is to load the software onto the phone and follow a lengthy script of at least 200 instructions, punching keys over and over again. The average person would get bored and take shortcuts, which leaves room for error and makes the task essentially worthless. This task involves obsessive attention to detail, intense focus and careful execution, which are skills innate to an adult with high-functioning autism.

When Thorkil Sonne’s son was diagnosed with autism, he and his wife saw a bleak future where they would be dependent upon forever. But it wasn’t until Sonne looked past his son’s disability and saw that he possessed some unusually fascinating skills – traits that he often looked for in his own employees at TDC, Denmark’s largest telecommunications company.

He realized that many companies struggle to find people who can perform specific tedious tasks like data entry or software testing and that given the right environment, an adult with autism could be the best person for these jobs.  So he started a company called Specialisterne which helps to identify marketable strengths in those who have difficulty communicating it themselves.

After a successful decade employing 35 workers with autism in Denmark, they are opening a United States headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware where they plan to recruit and train autistic adults to be software testers. They are even having conversations with Microsoft about setting up a pilot program in Fargo, North Dakota where their largest software-development operations are located. Click here to learn more about Specialisterne, how it is benefiting adults with autism, and helping major companies fill their hiring needs.

What do companies like Unilever, General Mills and Wyndham Exchange & Rentals have in common with the likes of Google and Facebook?

They are all competing for the same talent when it comes to controlling their growing amount of data. Whether it is leading a data science team to manage Unilever’s skin product line or directing General Mills’ Global Consumer Insight team in designing the company’s entire data system, these household names are battling each other to recruit from a small pool of qualified talent.

The variety of businesses that require data scientists and their different needs within the organization adds another layer to this recruiting conundrum. Finding a data scientist doesn’t necessarily mean they will automatically understand what they’ve been hired to do. Click here to read more about this constant struggle for talent.

Corporate America is eager to use social media for everything from campus recruitment and consumer marketing strategies to connecting their global workforce. Social media has created a shift in how businesses are operating, and although companies realize this, they lack the knowledge and talent to use social media platforms effectively – which confirms why there’s been an 87% increase in job opportunities that require Social Media skills.


However, colleges and universities are falling short in providing their students with the social skills and tools they need to be qualified for these positions.

Dr. William Ward at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications realizes that students with social communications skills are in high demand and wants to give his students the advantage. He teaches two classes, one being “COM 400 Social Media U Need 2,” which breaks down social communication into hard science, emphasizing the practical business applications of it. Click here to read more about how other elite universities, such as NYU and Harvard Business School, are beginning to follow this educational trend.

New Leads from LinkedIn

LinkedIn is launching new and improved products, tools and upgrades to measure brand power and to help build better connections. Over the next few months, LinkedIn users will begin to see their profile has a different look and feel. This new experience makes it easier for you to share your own professional story, see insights, and engage with people and companies in and outside of your network. They have also released a talent brand index which provides companies with a percentage score, based on data analysis, of how many people view and are interested in your page. This tool measures how many people are aware of your workplace and how attracted they might be at the opportunity of working there. Click here to learn about additional ways LinkedIn is evolving their platform and current tools to help you recruit.

Facebook Pages Go Global

Facebook has created a new Page for global brands. Global Pages allows your brand to provide a localized experience while still allowing the user to remain a part of the global community. For instance, if you log on to Walt Disney Studios in Ireland, you will see a localized cover photo, profile photo, important dates, Apps and “about” information, but if you log in from the USA, you will be directed to a US-based page. Plus, it’s all under one URL, so for social media campaigns you would only need to provide one destination. Facebook plans to later include country-level fan counts so brands will be able to track each market’s visibility, allowing them to benchmark themselves against other brands who are doing this well. Click here to see how this new Facebook page can help your brand identity in a global capacity.

Authenticity Wins Fans

Consumers crave honest brands – and social media provides the most transparent outlet for brands to show who they are and what they stand for. Brands are built on the business’ values, so creating content that truthfully portrays those moral standards is a great way to build brand advocacy and win loyal fans. In this era of instant communication and content sharing, honesty is the best policy. Footwear company, Timberland, is a good example. They used their social platforms to own up to their failure of meeting greenhouse gas-reduction goals as well as their corporate dedication to improve their factory conditions. Click here to read more about why honesty will get you ahead with your fans and to see what other companies, like Ben and Jerry’s, are doing to show their transparency.