Moving new media rural

That’s because you’re old enough and have enough work experience to have a life outside the office. They’re counting on Millenials and younger to be willing to settle for living in Nowheresville to have any paycheque with no work-life balance. However, pulling back on remote work entirely doesn’t exactly make them look like an exciting 21st century technology company for the tech savvy kids. At this point they might as well bring back the old suit-and-tie dress code.

This also brings up the issue of zoning. If a company is building a new campus or taking space in a new office park, local regulations usually make it very difficult to build residential nearby. The New Urbanist movement is trying to change this, and I suppose zoning might be looser in a more remote or rural area (then again, it might not in more hidebound places).

Except perhaps sell it to residential real estate developers who are looking to extract a healthy profit out of the well-paid (or 50% of SF but still relatively well-paid) new tech workers flocking to the area.

The better bet for revitalising these towns is small manufacturing and agricultural startups employing blue-collar workers who’ll earn more than they would at a part-time retail or service industry job but aren’t expecting anything close to a techie’s salary (which helps pay off those college loans).

Dallas was a cow town in the 19th century. It’s had more than a century to develop into an industry support hub for the regional boomtowns that surrounded it, many of which went bust. Meanwhile, all the law firms and accountants and retail outlets that serviced all those long-gone or long-acquired oil companies still survive. Your best chance for becoming rich in a gold rush is not by being a prospector but by selling goods and services to the prospectors.

The Dakotas are all-boomtown at this point (the hubs, meanwhile, remain in places like Dallas). They could easily end up going bust like the tar sands in Alberta have (for the moment). Boom-and-bust resource extraction economies are not what people should be using as models for sustainable rural revitalisation (but either way, don’t forget to hand out the tax breaks).

And speaking of the Dakotas with all that cheap land and high salaries

What Life Is Like In Williston, The North Dakota Oil Boomtown Where Tiny Apartments Top $2,000 A Month (article from 2014)

Ten years ago Williston, North Dakota was a quiet agricultural town with a population of around 12,000.

Now, oil prices and drilling advancements have turned Williston into one of America’s biggest oil boomtowns, pushing its population to over 30,000.

The influx of workers has caused apartment rents to skyrocket. According to Apartment Guide, it’s now the most expensive place in America to rent an entry-level apartment, with 700-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath apartments topping $2,000 a month. That’s more than a similar apartment would go for in New York or San Francisco

Simply put, there aren’t enough apartments to meet demand from workers arriving in town, many of whom are lured by six-figure salaries.


That is an on site requirement and I have no qualms about that as that job can’t be done otherwise. I was managing servers that were 2000+ miles away. Other than a “need” for my manager to see me everyday there was no reason I couldn’t do that job from Seattle instead of Dubuque. Seriously. Nobody at that site supported anything local. Other than nebulous tax breaks for putting their office there that work can be done anywhere. Why make your talent live somewhere they don’t want to live if there is no reason to?

Why would it make a difference for me to work in Seattle (hell I would be happy to go to their office here) vs. Dubuque as I am remote from the stuff I am supporting either way.


You could have started a zine about the awfulness.I read somewhere that’s the future of media.


Part of me hopes that the beauty contest for the second Amazon HQ will end with Bezos telling the city leaders offering lots of tax breaks in lieu of real amenities and desirability “don’t be such pathetically desperate sellouts of your own citizens.” A forlorn hope, I know, but if it happened it would be set a whole new tone.


That’s true today - it was true 10 years ago. People suck. That’s the reason we have micro-managers as a rule instead of as an outlier. It’s the reason we produce spreadsheets tracking all kinds of useless metrics to fill a dashboard for some executive so they can make up a meaningless stat about ‘customer satisfaction’.

The truth is for almost any knowledge related industry there is little reason to need to ‘see’ your employee.

Sure - I don’t think that the oil companies are a model to emulate - they do make the point however that if salaries are high enough you can get people to move anywhere.

Also proving your point - but a bit beyond what my point was - that in general a single company moving an office to cow-poke USA won’t disrupt things enough to cause this kind of inflation to the local economy. I don’t expect every company to uproot and move to the middle of the USA - I do think there are opportunities for companies and workers - there are lots of places in the country that are gorgeous, empty, and ready for opportunity with cheap land, rent, and taxes. My point was that there are many industries at the moment that are building and locating in very small areas when there isn’t any rational need to do so.

For the same reason you don’t really need someone to be in the office, you also don’t need the office to be located in New York city or San Fransisco.

How about media companies?

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I think my point was media companies don’t need to be in a city to do business - they are in a panic to find revenue to stay afloat - thus why not relocate to someplace cheap.

There is no reason a media company needs to be located in one of the most expensive places to do business - cut the costs and thus there is less need to try and wring every cent from your customer to meet rent - etc. It’s inter-related.

The rebuttal was - “thats where people are to hire” - my rebuttal was “you can get people to move to cheaper areas if you are willing to incentivize” the rebuttal was “show proof” my rebuttal was “look here is an industry that literally gets people to move to a shit area with shit conditions in a shit job because money” - look if you can get someone to work a dangerous shitty job for cash in cowtown USA - then sure as hell if you find a nicer place that is still depressed and thus cheap - you could really get people to buy into it when you are talking a nice office job.

No - as seen above not everyone would take the move - but enough would. I went through this entire post to point out why ‘media’ wasn’t important to the previous conversation - it really doesn’t make any new point.

I mean, I get it, different people enjoy different activities but if you think small town rural life is boring, I feel like that’s on you. There’s tons of stuff to do, but it’s rural outdoorsy stuff. People out there make their own fun.

I was recently at a friends house who retired to a semi-rural area and is hobby ranching. You could sit on the porch and be entertained for hours by the wildlife. There is so much drama in an (not really) empty field if you just watch.

I had a roommate in college who got a job right out of school in Idaho. Came back a year later complaining it was boring. I find that incomprehensible! I suspect it was because it wasn’t a hotspot for hip young bands or something like that. I think wherever you are it’s a matter of adapting to enjoy whatever an area has to offer.

There wasn’t much of that to do there either which as a boy who grew up in a proper urban environment not so much my thing but fun on occasion.
Mostly what no mystery triple feature horror movie marathon available? Also the not american food was well not awful but just all the standard amercianzied chinese/italian/mexican stuff. No sushi, no proper chinese food, no ukrainian, no afghani, etc.

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Side note: afghani is a monetary unit.

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@orenwolf you moved a few too many… and thanks/sorry.

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Ok, I think we’re good now.


I think that the comparison to the oil industry isn’t quite apt, if only because of who they hire. If I’m some cool journalism major or whatever then I have, you know, prospects in those big cities. If I’m in the oil industry I’m probably either an oil worker whose skillset limits me to places in the middle of nowhere, a geologist whose skill applicability (oil and only oil) limits me to places in the middle of nowhere, or someone with no real prospects in another field, which is why I’m switching fields, in which case the middle of nowhere may be tolerable.


Don’t forget the problem of having to move BACK to the major city when you get downsized.

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I think @tekk sums it up nicely. I wasn’t trying to add a new point with media, only stating that I thought you missed the point entirely, comparing media workers to oil workers. Oil workers simply go where the oil is. If you put a media company in the middle of nowhere, I’m sure you’ll find some people to work there, but it’s rather glib to think the workers will just follow.

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I think it’s glib to imagine a world where workers don’t move for better opportunities. The idea that workers will move … to the middle of nowhere for cash - is something proven throughout history time and time again.

Workers moving for cash. It’s oversimplified. Yes, some people move for cash. I’m not sure that’s how you get the best talent for a publication. One thing you have made clear, is you view it solely as a matter of money, which is why you somehow think the gold rush and oil companies are decent analogies here. They are not.

If you don’t believe me, I suggest sinking your money into a media company, in a small town in Nebraska. Show us all how it’s done. I’ll be looking forward to the results in 5 years or so. I also suggest keeping a notebook and writing down what you learn along the way, regarding what motivates people outside of money.

Ciao for now.

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