Be the best place to work. Dude.

When the tide pulled out and the investment surfers fled, Silicon Beach became a desert.

Look, there goes a tumbleweed. And some weed. And some surfers. And some homeless. And some runaways. And some gangs. And some hippies. And some nut-job politicians with too many hoops.

Entrepreneurialism and startup innovation was alive and well all over the greater Bay Area including Santa Cruz, CA, at least until the dot.com trust-bubble burst of 2001 (great ideas, poor leadership, bad business models, and the hiring of underdeveloped talent with no more than a pulse). After that Santa Cruz became more of a beautiful place to live if you could afford it, rather than a best place to work.

Or so it seems.

I attended Freelance Camp Santa Cruz on Saturday, an “unconference” of sorts where attendees can discuss and explore the different approaches to running a successful (freelance) business / service company.

One of the sessions I attended yesterday was all about “making Santa Cruz the place to be for innovative startups and business.”

A tall order considering how damaged the SC brand is to the outside world and inside the city, a reciprocal distrust of out-of-control “kids” on the blue California coast. The mystery spot of Surf City, USA (second to Huntington Beach – argh), liberal politics, decriminalized marijuana usage, big homeless and runaway populations, gang violence and old hippies who decry anything pro-business.

Yes, we all love to keep our Santa Cruz eclectic and strange compared to moderate corporate America. However, Santa Cruz’s homeless population continues to grow while job growth is non-existent and services decline. The greater SC county’s unemployment rate currently hovers at 11% (the state of California is over 12%).

There are too many talented people out of work here — from tech to construction to manufacturing and beyond.

The good news is that regardless of where you stand on doing business anywhere in California, much less Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz’s story can be about being a best place to work, and it’s progressive organizations like NextSpace and others in the city that are help making it that way. In an increasingly disconnected world, NextSpace creates a collaborative community that is revolutionizing the nature of work.

By helping restore the most essential element to any endeavor in the world: Trust.

According to our latest white paper titled Creating a Best Place to Work: Is it Really Worth the Effort?, of which you can download today:

By building superior levels of trust, managers get the very best efforts from their people—bolder ideas and creativity, better quality, increased productivity, and greater dedication to the team.

They also attract and retain the very best talent the market has to offer. Trust breeds pride and enthusiasm among employees. When that happens, they’re eager to give you their all.

Trust also breeds collaborative advantage and collaborative entrepreneurialism that is critical to the quality economic development and the quality of life where you live.

And work.

In fact, trust, superior performance and dedication, pride and enthusiasm, and all the above characteristics are shared by the best places to work. And once they begin to permeate an organization (and a city), they can generate:

  • Greater profitability
  • Improved performance
  • Higher customer and employee satisfaction

Creating a best place to work: Is it really worth the effort?

Absolutely. These folks aren’t asking for permission. They’re the business leaders making it all happen.

Right on. Dude.

Be better and brighter Santa Cruz (and everywhere else).


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