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Ask HN: Team for Hire?
206 points by wilwade on Oct 7, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 102 comments
Is there anyone who wants to hire a whole team?

Due to a corporate decision, the OpenTable branch office in Chattanooga, TN is being closed down. Many of us are unwilling or unable due to family and homes to relocate to San Fransisco. (No, not everyone wants to live in SF, and we have faster internet here.) So we're looking for an "acquihire" without a company name.

About 8 Backend and 4 frontend engineers as well as a few product & design guys—all ready to hit the ground running. Most of us are startup veterans.

Interested parties can email me: wil@wilwade.com


Just the other day HN had an article on them. They are in Atlanta, so not far from you.

They are looking to hire 150 new employees within the next year.

>> "[MailChimp] now employs about 550 people, and by next year it will be close to 700"


Since OpenTable sends email confirmation for restaurant reservations, your team might bring interesting insight for MailChimp since it's possible you might be a current customer of them.


Interesting. I know there are Very good reasons for not relocating to either Los Angeles or San Francisco, but what were the specific reasons (aside from family/homes, if any) you and the team had for opting not to relocate?

Further to this:

2) Were team members offered raises as part of a relocation package?

3) Were team members offered the opportunity to work 100% remotely?

4) Has OpenTable approved this message?

5) Regardless of #4, are there certain conditions others would need to be aware of such as non-competes? I know NCAs are fairly (if not entirely) powerless in California, but I'm not aware of the laws impacting them in Tennessee.

Edit: per user @rfc's jogging of my brain, Stripe has a program for hiring full development teams. @wilwade, this might be worth applying to. I know I posted it in another comment, but it's worthy of top-order visibility: https://stripe.com/blog/bring-your-own-team

> Interesting. I know there are Very good reasons for not relocating to either Los Angeles or San Francisco, but what were the specific reasons (aside from family/homes, if any) you and the team had for opting not to relocate?

Do you need reasons other than family/homes?

1) Outside of family and homes, the cost of living is just crazy. Especially with a family. Also the area is more family friendly than SF (since I was there last). Commute is short and easy. Plus trees (different than SF). 2) Yes 3) No 4) As always comments are my own and may not reflect the opinions of my employer. (They have been quite kind in offering time and space to assist in job transition.) 5) These differ around the team, but shouldn't be an issue.

Will look into Stripe!

Heck yeah anywhere in TN vs. SAN Francisco. There's about a zero homeless epedemic(it's very sad to see/experience how many suffer on the streets there) in Nashville and elsewhere compared to the Mecca of that SAN Fran. Cost of living is great.. mountains.. fresh air.. no people shouting crazy stuff with a megaphone and more.

Note I live and am from the D.C. area and graduated from MTSU.. visited SAN Fran many times for meetings with Google who stomped on me, a reality tv show and others startup adventures. Not my cup of tea even growing up close to D.C. And Baltimore which the same suffering isn't occurring on the same scale... maybe it's the weather... hoping in the next ten or more years SAN Fran changes/helps those in need.

Homelessness is not just about pan handlers on the street and other visible forms of homelessness. A lot of the time you can't tell someone is homeless, or is experiencing intermittent homelessness.

A quick google seems to point to about 4000 people in Chattanooga experiencing homelessness per year. SF has concrete stats that are easy to find [1] and points to 7,539 experiencing homelessness per year. Based on total populations (173,366 people in Chattanooga, 837,442 in SF), the percentage is actually a lot higher in Chattanooga than in SF.

Liking a small city is totally fine of course, but it's not correct to assume SF is completely overrun by homelessness whereas Chattanooga doesn't have any.

[1] Warning, PDF: https://sfgov.org/lhcb/sites/default/files/2015%20San%20Fran...

You are comparing apples to oranges. The SF number is a "point in time count", so on that particular day there were 7500 homeless people. The Chattanooga # you are referencing is "how many people were homeless at any point in the year". Given how many people are temporarily homeless, I'm sure any point in time survey of Chattanooga would show a dramatically smaller number. I don't know if it's better or worse than SF, but comparing those two numbers is basically meaningless.

Yeah, you're right, a longer Google makes that obvious. I couldn't find a good source for PIT for Chattanooga, but it looks to be somewhere around 700 based on a few news articles. So it's about .4% vs .9%.

I think the conclusion still stands though, it's not correct to state Chattanooga has no problem with homelessness and SF is overrun. Homelessness isn't just people asking you for money on the street.

As someone who's lived in both places, Nashville has plenty of issues as well. Never seeing homeless people or people who don't look like you doesn't mean they aren't the or that there's not a problem, it just means it's less visible

> Never seeing homeless people or people who don't look like you doesn't mean they aren't the or that there's not a problem

In fact, many jurisdictions have practices which inflict harm on the homeless specifically to make them less visible (and/or to cause them to relocate and become someone else's problem.)

Yeah and they were bussed and dropped off in SAN Fran.. agencies in Reno were doing just that.

Yes less suffering in just about every US city then SAN Fran in this regards.

Thankfully it's not seen that/as much in Nashville and Baltimore. More in the latter then the former.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Or at least better quality of life :p

I come at this from all angles from less people suffering to personally having to feel bad about their situation vs my own.

Ok, indulge me for minute... it sounds like you're saying that choosing to live somewhere like Chattanooga will -- by itself -- result in less people suffering.

Umm yeah because your blue collar paycheck goes a longer way then in SAN Fran.

Like, as long as you can ignore it, it doesn't bother you, right? Homeless and crazy people make me, like, super sad and scared too. I totally get it. I'd live in Tennessee in a second if only there were no black people. It's so depressing having to see racism.

> doesn't see the suffering in Baltimore


Quality of life.

OT is offering good raises, so it's not really a money issue. For most of us, if we wanted to be in SF we'd already be in SF. Chattanooga is just a great place to live.

I wasn't very familiar with Chattanooga before reading this thread, but after learning more about it I can see why you want to stay. It's a beautiful city.

I recently moved from TX to CA (Bay Area).

I had a 3k s.f. house and an all-in monthly cost of ~$2k/mo (including mortgage, insurance, pest control, etc) for household expenses.

I recently had a soft offer (verbal discussion of salary ranges) of around ~$150k to move back to TX. To match that in CA dollars, it requires ~$200k/yr+ compensation.


Use the following two tax estimators:



...count ~$1500/mo => $20k/yr for housing in TX/Dallas, ~$3000/mo => $36k/yr for housing in Bay Area.

...count ~$12k/yr for living expenses in TX, $20k/yr for Bay Area ($1000/mo for restaurants, etc, in TX, $1500/mo in Bay Area... this accounts for increased food / restaurant / drink / entertainment / parking prices in California).

TX: $20k housing + $12k living => $36k mandatory expenses

CA: $36k housing + $20k living => $56k mandatory expenses

Include a mandatory savings rate of 50% of yearly housing costs (insulate against layoffs / economic downturns) and you're at: $46k/yr for TX and $74k/yr for CA.

An offer of $150k in TX gets you income after taxes of: ~$108k minus $46k living expenses for a savings rate of ~$62k/yr.

To get to a $62k/yr savings rate in CA, you need $62k+$74k after tax income which is $136k total. That requires an offer of ~$200k/yr in CA.

Obviously these numbers are very hand-wavy, but it is instructive to go through this exercise. Running these numbers at a more modest $100k salary in TX and keeping expenses the same (leading to a ~$12k/yr savings rate), you need ~$86k in after tax income which is a ~$130k CA salary, which is ~30% increase over a baseline $100k in TX for a transfer to make any kind of sense (plus relo expenses, one-time-costs, etc).

A $12k/yr savings rate in TX for 10 years will get you $120k and a house.

A $12k/yr savings rate in CA for 10 years will get you a down payment and nothing more (ie: you cannot live/retire where you work/earn).

Sounds about right to me, and I think your numbers are more accurate than most "cost of living" calculators because it doesn't sound like you got exactly the same house in CA that you had in TX. Most cost of living calculators assume if you have a 3k sf house in one place you'll do that again in the more expensive area, which is just not how people actually live. When you move somewhere more expensive you generally downsize a bit so the increase in spending is not as extreme. Finding only a 25% difference between CA & TX is pretty conservative.

I can't speak for OP, but Chattanooga is a pretty awesome place to be. I left Chattanooga for Boulder and it was the second stupidest thing I've ever done.

Ok, maybe third.

Curious: From your perspective, what are some reasons you prefer Chattanooga over Boulder?

The appeal of both places is that they have a wealth of outdoor activities really close by (especially rock climbing). This is subjective, but I think the rock climbing is better in Chattanooga. Also, people are friendlier and more down to earth in Chatty, its that southern hospitality after all. The Boulderites have a reputation for being snobs and yuppies. Also the cost of living is way cheaper in Chattanooga.

Funny, as a cyclist - Chatanooga was a really exciting prospect for a trip. There's beautiful mountains to ride on, great looking roads, etc... but the locals were awful to deal with when we went. I have had less altercations and negative experiences with people in Chicago than there. Boulder on the other hand was always great for that.

Chatanooga proper seems to have done it's best to be welcoming, but it's the mountains nearby that are the draw, and the folks up there, well.. let's just say I rode by some places with signs that made it very clear non-whites weren't welcome.

I'm not a cyclist but I've heard similar complaints from cyclists about the area. The downtown is getting more bike-friendly with dedicated lanes here and there, but - as you said - the mountains are the real appeal there.

It's something we need to work on.

Sorry you didn't have a great experience!

Hey Josh!

It's funny -- I was reading that in your voice even before I saw that it actually was you.

> let's just say I rode by some places with signs that made it very clear non-whites weren't welcome.

I'm extremely curious to know where you saw that. I live in Chattanooga, and I've never seen such a thing.

I am sorry you had such a bad experience with the cycling and can sympathize. I stopped riding on public streets here a couple years back. Not worth my life.

Very clear non-whites weren't welcome?

I'm going to have to ask for proof because it hasn't been 1961 for a very long time now. And Chatty is a very very long way from Vidor, Texas.

I'm specifically referencing confederate flags and signs that said "Trespassers will be shot, niggers will be shot twice", when riding up in the mountains, on rural but modern paved roads. I could probably dig up specific garmin files from the rides but it was more than one place.

This was 2014, not 1961.


When you live in the South and see yourself as a good person and surround yourself primarily with liberal types, I think it can be easy to miss how pervasive the behavior you associate with "the hicks and rednecks" really is.

Especially if you are a little bit redneck yourself. When you're white and haven't lived anywhere different it's hard to imagine how it would feel to live in the South under other circumstances.

It hurts a little if you love your friends and family and hometown. But the South is a racist place; so is the US, but there's a particular character to and acceptance of it in the South that I think one might accurately describe as "worse."

What's the difference between a yuppie, a hipster and a millenial? I get these buzzwords confused.

> What's the difference between a yuppie, a hipster and a millenial?

A "yuppie" is an term of 1980s vintage for "young urban professional", formed directly from the phrase.

A "hipster" is a term of more recent invention, for basically the same thing (a young urban professional).

Both carry some implications of both in-group trendiness and conspicuous consumption though, with the changing character of the times, the "yuppie" has stronger associations with conspicuous consumption and "hipster" with trendiness with less general conspicuous consumption (and perhaps an outward, though often skin deep, rejection of consumerism.)

A millennial is a member of a particular generational cohort, basically the group now between the mid-teens and mid-30s. Modern hipsters/yuppies are probably also millenials, but plenty of millenials are neither.

a yuppie has an expensive car and house, a hipster has a bike and roommates, and a millennial borrows their parent's car and lives at home

Age too: yuppies are generally older ("yuppie" was a popular term in the 80s), hipsters are probably in their early 30s, and millennials are in their 20s-early 30s.

They are stereotypes denoting different generational cultures (wikipedia calls it "demographic cohort"). If I made your list chronologically I would put "Generation X" between yuppie and hipster.

Every generation gets a name, huge swaths of commerce depend on it.

Well "yuppie" came from Young Urban Professional.


Does anybody remember the terms DINK or BoBo? Some fun nicknames for demographics that I haven't heard in a while.

DINK as in "dual income no kids"? That one is still in common usage as far as I know, I have heard at least a couple people say it in the past month.

Never heard of BoBo as far as I can recall.

It meant "bourgeois bohemian", and referred to the sort of yuppies who shop at Whole Foods and style themselves as hippies. I knew a bunch of people who thought it applied to themselves or their friends in the early 2000s. But I haven't heard it much in five or ten years now.

Boulder is a bit snobby and decidedly unfriendly (in a "I disapprove of your failure to believe precisely what everybody else thinks" sort of way).

And it's godawful expensive.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but motherfuck the snow. And Boulder rent.

What do you not like about Boulder? I was there for a summer and I loved that place.

Boulder is really nice, but they have crazy NIMBY politics there:


I think I speak for everyone when I say that we miss having you in Chattanooga.

I'm on the verge of coming back, brother.

The Bulleit would abound.

The ycombinator program is still open for submissions. A team like yours is exactly the fit they are looking for and going to the bay area is for a short time.

If you can't find a group that will hire you as a team, perhaps you should start a consulting / product firm. There's overhead / non-dev work to setting up shop and starting a business development pipeline to get revenue in the door of course, but if you want to stick together, build great things, and keep your culture that's a solid option if others fail.

How do you start a business development pipeline?

Well - this is a broad question and sales / pipeline building is an art all its own that is industry specific BUT assuming you want to build products for people for hire you might:

- Identify a number of potential network contacts working for companies that may need the help, reach out to them, tell them about what you're doing and ask to meet for coffee to talk about how you can help them

- Work your network to see who is looking for the kind of service you want to provide - find one client and start small and build on that work

- Find companies you'd like to support and contact the "right" person (maybe the CTO? Maybe CIO? Maybe head of purchasing?") and see if they need what you want to provide or at least give them something to think about for when they need it

- Look for companies putting RFPs on the street for software work (public sites or otherwise though this win rate is probably a lot lower)

- Ask larger businesses in the area and/or consulting companies from more established industries if they are interested in subcontracting for software development

- Ask your current employer if there's any interest in continuing the relationship as contractors for specific applications to give you some runway.

This is by no means a complete list but it's what I would do in order to get it started. Then you'll want to keep doing it all the time and if you get big enough hire a sales / BD person.

How do you contact a cto or cio?

Call them? E-mail them? Find them on Twitter and reply to an issue they're having? Dig in and do research about their market and the problems you often encounter in that market, say you can help, and ask for fifteen minutes or coffee depending on the culture of the company.

Sorry to hear that OpenTable's moving out of Chattanooga.

I was in Chattanooga from 2013-15 and have nothing but good things to say about their team. Most notably they ran a functional programming meetup that covered pretty advanced topics but was still inclusive to beginners. I'll remember the encouragement I got there for a long time.

If anybody who cares about the Chattanooga tech scene reads this: do your best to keep the OpenTable team intact. A lot of the programming community's enthusiasm is either directly coming from or being encouraged by them.

DISCLAIMER?: I was in Chattanooga a couple weeks ago and they gave me a bunch of useful, free advice on my current project. This isn't really a disclaimer though because IMO it just reflects even better on them.

As another Chattanooga dev, I hate to be a wet blanket, but I would be very surprised if any startup here has a need for or ability to employ a team that large. Especially since the larger employers here (TVA, Blue Cross, Unum, Covenant Transport, USX) are all .Net shops.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I believe you would be better served to either find individual jobs here, or be willing to relocate. (And just to be clear, I'm not pushing the relocation thing. I love this city and wouldn't want to move either.)

Yeah, 12 engineers is a lot, for anywhere.

Plus, how does hiring a team of 12 work any differently than interviewing 12 candidates and giving offers to the qualified ones?

Methinks "Developers for Hire in Chattanooga" would be more useful.

Have you all considered starting a worker owned cooperative?

How would it work?

Please know that this post does not represent the views of all of us at this office. While I appreciate the effort to place us as a team, I feel this effort in particular does not represent the professional nature in which we conduct ourselves, and was posted without the permission of all of us on the team.

I really, really want to second what eldavido said.

* This is not unprofessional

* It's fair if you'd prefer to opt out

* I don't believe this reflects poorly on OP at all.

Your employer is closing an office. Your team supposedly has a positive dynamic, which has value, value your employer is passing on. Why would it be unprofessional or unethical to advertise this when said employer is cutting the team loose?

I do not mean this to call out chattamatt; this comment is for those who come next who think about doing the same thing: no one is looking out for your best interests besides you. There is nothing wrong with putting an offer such as this out (except for those who may not want to participate, OP should've checked with his team for those who might have not wanted to be included)

EDIT: @chattamatt (HN commenting throttle has kicked in, I can't reply to your comment below)

I'm very sorry your team has to go through this. I hope this thread provides the necessary resources for everyone to make a successful leap to a new employment opportunity, regardless if its the entire team or individuals on their own. I can also appreciate how you feel about being represented without your consent, and my comment notes that isn't acceptable.

I completely agree that there's nothing wrong with shopping the team, and that it's not unprofessional. However, answering questions and posting this without the consent of the headcount represented, isn't great either.

There are terms to our severance packages... While this post in itself doesn't violate any of those terms, it's a difficult time, and many of us, including myself, are still gathering our thoughts and planning next steps. I'm simply sensitive about having anyone represent us without first having our permission.

Thank you for your feedback... My original comment should have said "this post..." instead of "this effort..." to make specifically what I was addressing more clear.

SF-based dev here.

This behavior (OP) doesn't come off as unprofessional at all. You have nothing to worry about.

I get that you might feel upset if this was posted without your consent, but tech is becoming hollywood and there are plenty of people who'd like to hire a proven team.

I'm really interested in the belief system that led you to post this message. Details?

It's a sensitive time... I wanted to post that response so it was understood that wilwade doesn't speak on our behalf entirely. He may not say anything negative, nor answer any questions poorly; however, it's simply worth noting that he posted this on his own.

The OP could have declined to mention OpenTable by name in order to save OpenTable the embarassment.

> in order to save OpenTable the embarrassment.

Don't do something embarrassing if you want to be saved embarrassment. If you're closing a branch office, but providing the option for people to move to SF, that's important information future candidates should know about how your business operates.

My comment wasn't intended to be normative, just giving one perspective through which the OP could be perceived as unprofessional.

Intent can be hard to interpret over an online discussion. My apologies.

Reading between the lines here, I suspect there might be language in a buyout/severance agreement some of the employees are party to that might have sensitive terms, like anti-disparagement or other stuff, and they don't want to lose it.

More broadly, it pays to know your rights as an employee.

toomuchtodo and I both spend too much time on HN and I've gotten to know him a bit from his posts; I ascertain he's probably pretty far left of me, politically. I'm more of a stereotypical tech guy, left/center-moderate, but even I agree, employees have rights, and it pays to know yours. Your employer cannot fire you for bargaining collectively. Period. IANAL, but my understanding is that the FLSA specifically protects what you're doing now, and you might even be able to file a wrongful termination suit if they act on it. It also means the language in whatever agreement you have might not be enforceable.

I grew up in Chicago and know union excesses well. But whatever your ideology, it pays to know a bit about the law, and what you can and can't do.

[1] https://www.dol.gov/Olms/regs/compliance/EmployeeRightsPoste...

I don't think that's an option. OpenTable is the only credential listed, otherwise they're just "mystery team."

Honestly, this comment seemed more unprofessional to me than the original. Just leave it at "This post does not represent the views of the entire team".

Some employers would view this as unprofessional. Anywhere you would enjoy working views this positively.

1) The only reason it could come across as unprofessional is because it goes against the typical power dynamic where the company holds all the cards and the employees get what they can. Screw that.

2) It has been shown over and over that functioning teams are greater than the sum of their parts. If this is indeed a well functioning team then an employer who understands the dynamics of things would absolutely rather hire as a group and pay a premium for it. Typically in this case you would still interview each team member individually, but the ones that got through your normal process would be regrouped after that. You could pay a bonus based on how many of the original team get hired.

3) It's a rare opportunity to actually grab a whole team like this. For a company that is trying to ramp up a project quickly this is a great find.

I find it kind of presumptuous when people on HN purport to know what kinds of places someone "wouldn't want to work at anyway". There's certainly a grain of truth to what you're saying, but often places that have otherwise decent work environments also have a particular flaw that doesn't rule them out as a good place to work.

Being able to truly take advantage of the job market requires that workers be:

1. Willing to relocate, the further you're willing to go the wider a net you can cast and the more leverage you have in negotiations.

2. Willing to hold out on many offers, waiting for the one you feel you deserve, even if it takes time to find it. This also gives you a lot of leverage at the negotiation table, and can't really be faked: you actually have to be fine with walking away.

Some developers want to stay near their family and existing social network. Some developers have big bills or debt and can't afford to wait for better offers. Some people live in cities where the tech community is super .NET based, or where salaries are way lower than the ones they hear about on HN, or where pretty much all the shops require a suit and tie and don't let you work from home. And some people just want to live a comfortable life focused around things other than work. And that's totally fine.

All of this isn't to say you shouldn't be on the lookout for better jobs and workplaces. If you're young, rootless and don't have much debt, you should totally drill the market for all it's worth, and there may be many people like that. And if you're truly miserable at your job, totally look for a new one, and consider whether you can accept temporary uncertainty in return for a better quality of life. However, these are complicated life decisions, and it feels kind of frivolous to unilaterally decide them based on one or a few pieces of criteria.

(Sorry for being harsh, this rant has been building steam for a while)

Are you willing to move down to Atlanta? If so, I know of some potential options here in town. Glad to make the intro.

Thanks. Currently we are trying to stay in Chattanooga.

Don't see the why an Atl co couldn't take them on regardless of relocation. It's an hour and a half, so monthly in person meetings would be easy

I spent a few minutes searching but couldn't find the link. IIRC, Airbnb was testing out hiring full teams. It was a pilot program and I'm not sure if it's still going on. If you know anyone there, I'd reach out to ask.

Are you sure it wasn't Stripe?


@wilwade, check the link. This might be your best shot aside from somebody reading this thread and offering directly.

It says "Any group of 2 to 5 people can apply as a team to Stripe". Maybe if they split...

Ah yes! Apologies. Stripe is the one. Thanks!

Stripe is also doing "Bring Your Own Team"[0] however it looks like they max out at 5 people.

[0]: https://stripe.com/blog/bring-your-own-team

Chattanooga is a beautiful town. I almost moved their in January. The city has a lot to offer and it could be one of the next great tech hubs.

I decided not to move because I didn't think the local economy offers a lot of choice for software engineering jobs. When I visited people remarked, we've got VaynerMedia, we've got OpenTable, we've got CarbonFive, etc. etc.

This news sucks because I really want to see Chattanooga grow into a techhub, but it also confirms the suspicions I originally had. :/

a bit OT. Since you are already a team, utilize spare time to make some awesome product. Someone will eventually hire you :)

I know people always say this but the job search and preparation is taxing. Going through everyday for listings then all the prep work involving reading about cs stuff, and practicing white board questions.

Comfort zone

I know of a tech startup in Chattanooga with the budget/funding that is willing to take on this team (cough: current employer) https://twitter.com/kenmcelrath/status/784418953141493760


Eventbrite is hiring engineers in Nashville.

When you say "backend," specifically what do you mean?

Have you talked to the folks over at Lamp Post Group?

have you tried elevator? goelevator.com/

Their ssl cert is showing up bad. I sent an email, but I'm not sure they are still a thing.

You'll find success faster if you split up and join the talent pool sooner rather than later.

If you're trying to get hired as a team, that sounds new, so employers might not have heard of such a thing.

It's the first time I've heard of something so preposterous. Maybe if it was a progressive state like Colorado, I could understand, but Tennessee? I can't stand the hot, humid summers myself. Then you have chiggers and scorpions to worry about. ;)

Getting hired as an individual is obviously easier than getting hired as a team, but they may have a bit more leverage as a team because it can solve many problems for a company very quickly and they have some demonstrated experience working together. The risk of a team dynamic and "fit" is reduced dramatically.

Getting hired as a team is hardly new. Acquihire is incredibly common, and this is essentially the same thing.

It's true it'd probably be easier individually. On the other hand, there have already been offers on the team. And none of us are really worried about not being able to find a job. We just work well as a team and like the idea of sticking together.

As to Colorado vs Tennessee: Maybe it's not for you. I personally prefer our city as a well kept secret.

Intel R&D office in Poland was opened in this way. There was a company that was shutting down (not relocating) and whole team was employed as new R&D office. Anyway, that was something like it.

My previous company also was relocating and we wanted to stay as a team. We sent few e-mails to companies that had similar profile. We thought about placing advertisement in national and financial newspaper, but because it was relocation and not lay-offs we were not sure if that would backfire. Few companies hired more than 3 persons each out of it and maybe one had small team afterwards.

You have to be lucky to pull this off.

Chattanooga is probably the most progressive place in Tennessee, a bit like Austin's relationship to the rest of Texas.

As for hiring a team, I have heard of companies poaching their competitors' employees before, not as a whole team at once, but one by one (they hire one guy, then he talks to his former co-workers and they switch to the new company too). I'm not sure why companies don't do more of this when they can; it'd be a great way of beating your competitors, since the employees are the ones who build the product and know everything about it. There's likely some non-compete issues in some places, but in California that shouldn't be a problem, as case law already bans enforcement of non-competes, and that lawsuit a few years ago with the big tech companies proved that non-poaching agreements are also illegal.

It's only preposterous if you aren't at the higher levels of the companies. 3 of the last 4 companies I worked for considered either selling out as a team or hiring a team. It's a thing, just not some thing that is talked about all that much because it's fairly sensitive.

I was part of a 12-ish person team that was hired by another company after a site closure. This was 10+ years ago, and I can imagine it's only more feasible/prevalent now.

Edit: The hiring company was in Alabama. The closing company was in the back woods of California (not SV).

It's preposterous other people want to live in different places?

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