This week in the Heartland Tech section, we have a great guest post about what it took for one tech worker to leave the Bay Area and take a job at a startup in his home state of Minnesota.

I know many economic development organizations and startup leaders are researching what it will take to get talent to “boomerang” back to the coasts, but I think one of the best ways to gain insight is to talk to people who’ve actually made that move.

Ahmed Siddiqui, now a product manager at Minneapolis SaaS startup Branch, explains why he decamped for the Bay Area in the first place:

I left Minnesota in 2010 after being frustrated in the lack of startup ecosystem or a tech scene. I would go to events to seek mentorship, yet nobody was interested in helping out. In contrast, I could cold email just about any startup founder or investor in the Bay Area and get a coffee meeting. I think this is because the Bay Area has a great “pay it forward” mentality.

However, every time I would come back to Minnesota to visit my parents, I would try to meet up with folks in the Minnesota startup ecosystem and found that things were slowly shifting in a positive direction.

One of the most important takeaways here is that convincing coastal tech workers to move back can be a long process. Basically, it takes more than just one visit home for the holidays to build a rapport with the local tech community.

This offers an important lesson for Heartland tech leaders: Use repeat visits home — especially for predictable events like the holidays — to reach out to prospective talent. Robert Hatta, a partner at Columbus venture capital firm Drive Capital, published a guest post for us last year with a sample itinerary for Bay Area transplants who want to check out their hometown tech community over the holidays. I think startup organizations could also use this template as inspiration to plan programming and recruiting events.

Thanks for reading, and as always, send me your thoughts and feedback via email. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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