Geoff Flood, CEO of T4G Ltd., has 230 employees who develop enterprise software solutions for large organizations. Gordon Pitts of the Globe and Mail recently interviewed him.
Asked about why he has chosen to have development centers in Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax, he answers:
We have a strategy of locating where smart people want to live. All of these cities, Toronto included, fit that bill. There is a limit to the technology resource in the country, and we need to go where bright people want to live and can thrive.
For example, our largest customer is in Atlanta and the work is being done in Halifax. It is a good export business; it’s good for the talent in Halifax.
Isn’t that the opposite of the old Canadian model whereby people move to where the work is – whether Fort McMurray or any mining town?
We’re in a business where we can live anywhere and work anywhere, and we don’t really care where it happens. It’s 24/7, it’s fast-paced but if you can do it in your kitchen, we don’t have a problem. We provide communities that have a great living environment with the chance to add new workers.
In Vancouver’s case, haven’t you got some contracts, as well?
We don’t typically look for the customers in the local city. We think it is better to be in the export business and compete on a larger scale, but it’s really nice if you can work at home.
Shouldn’t you be in India, where you can slash costs?
Most people would think there is some sense to doing that. But at this point the pendulum is swinging back. I don’t think the cost advantage is there in the way it might have been 10 years ago. Even for low-cost commodity kinds of work, we’re on about par. And we want to do the hard stuff, the creative stuff, and you tend to find more of the resources to accomplish that in North America.
We have to be better and so do they. The global competition is wonderful, and it’s something we need to be able to work with. But in the area where we work, we have a competitive advantage.
Flood also mentions being interested in harnessing the talent of Saskatoon and Lethbridge. Seems that rather than going abroad, he’s finding pockets of talent in smaller centers.
Could this be a model for future economic and business development?