What I’m Looking For: My Top Ten Criteria (Part #5 by Jimmy Jackson)
2 November 2023
Greetings to all you followers, friends, and fans out there! I’m happy to have you along on my adventure, #LookingForAEuropeanHQ.
As you no doubt read last week, I contacted my old mentor Abercrombie Jefferson to get some advice, since a few years ago he had also gone through the process of finding a location for a European office for his company, AJX Invisibility.
He gave me some very good tips. His first recommendation was to write down all the criteria that matter the most to me. Then you can compare how different host countries measure up to your list.
For the past few days, I’ve been working with Beauregard, my CFO, to put together a list of factors that really matter to Jackson Quantum Ventures (and me personally, of course).
So here are our Top Ten.
1. Lively business environment
Why on earth would anybody go all the way to Europe to set up a new office, if it would be located in some stodgy country that makes it hard for companies to conduct business, regulates the life out of them, has no support network for entrepreneurs, doesn’t welcome new things – a place where everything is beige, all the ice cream is vanilla, and their last big invention was the self-sharpening pencil in 1884? We want to locate in a country with a tradition of innovation and inventiveness, where business life is really humming, companies network and help each other, and the whole place is positively sizzling with energy… because we are going to tap into all of that!
2. Smart, hard-working folks
Operation Quantum Pancake alone will probably require a team of 35 really committed scientists and business professionals – maybe even a philosopher or two – and when we launch the next groundbreaking projects in our Quantum series, for example The Bathing Suit for the 22nd Century and the Digital Heli-Nose, we’ll need even more. The country we select has to be teeming with highly qualified, motivated graduates who will be eager to roll up their sleeves and work for a visionary boss (me), who will pay them fair and square for an honest day’s work.
3. No strikes
The flipside of item No. 2 on the list is that we don’t want to commit ourselves to getting established in a country where everything comes to a screeching halt five times a year because the labor force has a bunch of complaints. Maybe the complaints are justified, I don’t know. (Do I care? I do not.) All I know is, if the workforce goes on strike, we’ll be the ones getting hurt. So we will avoid this at all costs.
4. Low taxes
OK, I understand that taxes are necessary. And taxes pay for a lot of good stuff, like schools and bridges and hospitals and electric car subsidies, so it’s only fair to contribute. But I’m not going all the way to Europe to set up Jackson Quantum Ventures’ outfit over there just so it can be milked like a big juicy moo-cow. I want low taxes. Looooooow!
5. No bureaucracy
I know, I know: This is just a pipe dream. There’s bureaucracy in every country. But can’t we at least zero in on the countries where the red tape is minimal, instead of everywhere? After all, our company is a lean, mean fighting machine. I want us to spend our time (and my money) on producing, selling, growing – not feeding the monster.
6. English, por favor!
I’ll be hiring plenty of local people, and I don’t really mind what language they speak behind my back to each other. But we have to be able to communicate with each other, so they have to be able to speak English as goodly as I do. And what about all the other people we’ll have to deal with? Bankers, accountants, the tax man, bigwigs at the chamber of commerce, the mailman, the nice salesgirl at the bakery around the corner? Sure, eventually I’ll grasp their lingo… after all, it only took me three short years in high school to master Latin … but I just don’t want the struggle. I prefer that they know some English, and they struggle, trying to understand me!
7. Schools and doctors
I guess this is actually two things, but in my mind they’re related. You see, at any point in time, I’m pretty sure that Jackson Quantum Ventures is going to have at least a couple of our high-flying executives working over there. Take Beauregard, for example. He’s so loyal, I could send him to North Korea and he’d be packing his bags two minutes later. And who knows, Norma may even convince me to go spend a couple of years there ourselves – me, to oversee things at work and her, to soak up all that culture they have over there. Our ex-pat employees are going to want good schools for their kids, and top-notch healthcare for when the little tykes come down with the measles. This factor is really a must. It could be a deal breaker.
8. Non-stop flights from Indianapolis
OK, this requirement will not be a deal breaker. It sure would make life easy, though! So I’m putting it on the list.
9. Good access
And speaking of transportation, it won’t be long till we’ll be churning out those high-value Quantum products of ours, so it has to be easy, painless, and cheap to get them rolling out to every corner of Europe. Nice big highways! Railroad tracks hither and yon. Airports. All well maintained – no potholes, please! Maybe this means we should be thinking about a nice central location instead of, say, Lapland or the Azores.
10. Everything else
I also want all these other things: I want beautiful scenery, friendly people, fresh air, common sense, law and order, things to do, parks and recreation, quaint little shoppes and big shopping malls, opera and fossil hunting (Norma and I have somewhat different interests), nice restaurants and great food (No, Beauregard, you do not get a veto if the national dishes are “too spicy”: man up, for god’s sake!), and in general: culture – lots of it.
Am I being too demanding? Is all this too much to ask? I honestly don’t think so! What do you think?