Discover Birmingham Tech Companies (& departments)

This came out of a line @rythie said in another post:

Many Birmingham Tech Companies (I’d say tech departments within non tech companies as well) are hidden, whilst are few of them are known many are not, so people don’t know to approach them.

So the Project idea is…

  1. Can we prove that this is a statement is true; are there really lots of ‘hidden’ tech companies?
  2. Assuming there are, what would be the best way to highlight these?

Some senarios are:
Company A, well known to have an office in Brum, has all there IT in London.
Company B, well known to have an office in Brum, has all there IT done by contractors, and they work remotely.
Company C, well known to have an office in Brum, also has all there IT in Birmingham.
Company D, has a IT department in Birmingham, and perhaps not much / nothing else, which is one reason they are “hidden”.

So, how can we know the Companies that match those?

( anybody? :smiley: )

The other question you need to ask is whether they want to be found.

If the result of revealing themselves is a constant stream of unwanted CVs and calls from agents and printer cartridge companies, they may wish to stay hidden. I see finding their burrows as a key part of the jobs/CVs site idea but I would expect there to be strict controls and privacy on the route to companies and individuals who handed over their data.

We already know that agents regard their relationship with a company as a valuable resource, so while they might be willing to find jobs for our candidates, they will expect the candidates not to share that information with their competitors. To be trusted, we must not break confidences.

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I can understand why they might not want to be found, but if I was the mayor, I’d want them to be found, because having lots of tech firms close together talking to each other, or swapping staff, lets them collectively learn more rapidly.

That’s part of why cities do well economically:

Some firms want to hide because they think their people will get tempted away. In the long run this hurts them. Imagine if we all had one dev job for life and we couldn’t talk to anyone outside our company about it. We’d probably still all be using COBOL, or SourceSafe.

Some firms never really set out to hide, but they are IT departments in non-tech firms. They’re seen as cost-centres, by managers who don’t really understand or care about tech. So time spent at meet-ups or conferences is never encouraged. We’d be doing them a big service by dragging them into the community.

I think the best approach would be to get local government to back things like Silicon Canal or TechBrum though, the council has the credibility to push companies like Lloyds Bank et al to integrate their IT teams into the local tech scene.


@D4nt Or have we broken that economic model with The Internet and this site?

Communities at scale have more interconnections. That’s why cities worked but why do we have to be in one physical location?

I don’t live in Birmingham but I’ve been attracted by a business and social culture and that is reflected in this site. Is this site a virtual, digital Brum or a generic set of tools that could be franchised out to any city? If we dragged people into our ‘space’, would they corrupt it? Would political involvement make us stronger or slow us down?

I’m doing that thing where I find out what I think by trying to write it down, so:

On the other hand:
“Imagine what could be achieved if no one had to take the credit”.
What could this community do if we didn’t need to an earn an income, and would we? Do we need market forces?

I’ve already responded to ‘Red Labour’ (I don’t consider myself to be either but they’re discussing interesting ideas) on Facebook that Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas for greater distributed democracy don’t have to happen in town halls. Democracy could be a network instead of a hierarchy.

I’d be delighted to be part of this and connect people with other colleagues at the City Council and elsewhere who would like to be involved in making this happen - wouldn’t it helps make Birmingham smarter?

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