Bridging the coasts and the rest of America

“Why did you switch into product?”

This question naturally comes up when I say I used to be a software engineer. The answer, quite simply, lies in an obsession with scale. Starting in middle school, I wanted to be a surgeon (much to the delight of my parents). After shadowing surgeons in college, I realized that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many patients that can fit into those hours. However, these surgeons used many software tools to enhance their work, and these tools touched the lives of countless patients. This was my first encounter with the idea of scale. Software scales. I immediately switched my focus from pre-med to engineering.

Allie Meng

Allie Meng, Co-Founder and Head of Product at BeyondHQ

Continuing this line of reasoning, I realized that figuring out what to build (PM function) scales even more than figuring out how to build (developer function).

I’ve worked with many remote teams as their interim product lead on behalf of a VC firm. This experience made something clear to me in no uncertain terms: that in-person communication is often taken for granted. Being in the physical presence of others, especially for the majority of your waking hours, enables the uptake of a vast amount of people data. Discoveries of goals, motivations, values are bound to take place, leading to greater empathy and understanding between co-workers. This is the significance of colocated work.

I recently moved from NYC to join the team at BeyondHQ in San Francisco and I’m beyond(!) excited because what I see here is an opportunity to scale deeper levels of human connection. At BeyondHQ, our mission is to create tech-enabled economic opportunity in the rest of America by helping to build connections with the coasts and other expensive markets.

Many growing companies — especially tech startups — struggle with hiring talent in Tier 1 tech cities.

Talent wars have led to incredible salary spikes. Tech employees earn more than 72% above average compensation per worker in the country. Silicon Valley and New York City are in a spiral of becoming more and more unaffordable as the influx of tech talent continues to drive up the cost of living. Where is this talent coming from? Many are moving from cities where they grew up or attended university — think cities like Des Moines, Omaha, Indianapolis, Houston, Boise, Atlanta, and Columbus, and many other smaller towns across the country. Many of these people would rather live and work in their hometowns, near their friends and families, than move to an unaffordable Tier 1 tech hub, but the volume and diversity of tech opportunities just isn’t there. Yet. Let us create opportunities that enable people to stay where they are from, instead of leaving in search of opportunity.

Helping tech startups and growing companies open offices outside of expensive Tier 1 markets in the country means that local talent will have the option to stay home for tech-enabled opportunities.

It means that talent from the coasts will also be brought to the rest of the country. It means that people from different geographies and different backgrounds will be brought together to collaborate and coexist, all while working on mutually beneficial professional and personal goals. Despite tech advancements driving collaboration, I believe that colocation is vital to building interpersonal relationships. What better place to facilitate this than at the workplace, where we spend most of our waking hours? Various emerging tech hubs across the country are incredible melting pots and serve as ideal environments for new remote offices. Building this is my effort towards scaling meaningful human connection. At BeyondHQ, we aspire to help every company scale with purpose.

Opening a remote office outside of traditional (and expensive) tech hubs may seem like a complex undertaking, but at BeyondHQ we are creating products to make this process easier and faster. If your company is scaling and you need help, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d love to answer any questions you have about office expansion and working with remote teams.