Narrowing down the choices (Part #6 by Jimmy Jackson)
13 November 2023
As I reflect on my criteria for selecting a location for Jackson Quantum Ventures’ European headquarters, I realize that I must focus on the three things that are truly “make-or-break” for this decision.
Hello dear fans,
Well, as you will have seen from my last LinkedIn post from Germany, I recently buzzed across the pond to make a rousing speech at a conference in Hamburg on empowering employees, a subject I know well. As the two-time winner of the coveted “Empowo” – known by us CEOs as the Oscar for Motivation in a Leadership Role – I was a clear choice to speak on my favorite subject, leading through skilled micromanaging. Believe me, I’ve got that down to an art form!
Anyway, this quick trip gave me an opportunity to reflect more on my criteria for choosing a location for the European HQ of Jackson Quantum Ventures. I wrote about my “Top Ten” list last week. I realize now that I need to focus on the three things that are truly “make or break” for this decision. They are, first, the business environment in our new European home. Second, the ease to find and hire highly qualified and talented employees. And third, quality of living. These three issues are really what it’s all about!
What will be quicker and easier, I wonder: recognizing the countries that offer a really positive environment to set up and grow in… or the countries that offer a negative environment, and then strike them off the list?
There are lots of stats I could look at. Just to give you one example, a country that loses a lot of days every year to strikes and labor unrest falls into the second category, wouldn’t you agree? That’s the way it strikes me, anyway – no pun intended. Don’t want that!
On the other hand, what do I want? Solid infrastructure, for sure. A country that’s run by pro-business politicians would also be nice, as opposed to bloodthirsty pirates keen to tax away every piaster I earn. An easy-to-navigate bureaucracy. A country that not only has regulations and institutions in place that foster innovation, but one where the population truly likes new stuff – because making new stuff is what we do. A country that applauds start-ups and is already chock full of entrepreneurs – that would be a good sign, too, eh?
Are these things measurable? Some of them are, and they get amalgamated into rankings like international competitiveness reports. So in general, I’ll be looking for a country that scores high on these lists. For example, in the famous report from IMD Denmark and Switzerland have both been in the Top Three each of the past five years. Hard to beat that kind of record!
As you would surely agree, I will have no problem keeping my team motivated. I’m practically famous for that! It’s finding the folks who will join the team in the first place: that’s the issue. Here in the US of A, my employees are graduates of excellent universities, mostly with technical or business degrees (or both), and when they join the company, they hit the ground running. Some of us will head over to Europe to get things going over there, but JQV is not simply going to be a team of Americans transplanted to foreign soil, no sir! We will be looking for locally grown talent, probably even from before Day 1. Will we find it?
I was mightily impressed to discover last week that Switzerland scored at the very top of the chart in terms of talent competitiveness. And not just in one ranking, but in two separate ones! How the heck did they manage that?? I guess 200 years of watchmaking turns your country into a hotbed of hard work, precision, and innovation. That’s my theory anyway.
Quality of living
What’s the point of successfully building up the company over in Europe, if living there is just one damn struggle after another? If you’re unhappy when I let you leave the office at 9 pm? If you can’t get a decent cheeseburger or find a good barber? If walking down the street, you fear for your life – or at least your wallet? If you choke on the polluted air or mistrust the healthcare system? I don’t want to have to fly back to America every time I need to get my appendix removed! Know what I mean?
This index is useful. All the top countries scored by liveability are in Europe. Except Oman, that’s a surprise. I’m sure they’re all very nice places – but I can’t help noticing that some of them probably sport some pretty cold climates if I’m being honest. Norma’s a bit of a sun worshiper. I don’t know how well it would sit with her if I announced we were moving to Lapland… Needs some thought.
I’m making great progress narrowing the choice down now, quite a lot! I may even be in a position to share my decision with you next week. This is exciting! Stay tuned!
Osta la vista, baby!