As the Director of Strategic Partner Programs at CapeNet LLC, and a new CCTC Board Member, Bill Kelly has an insider’s view of tech-life on Cape Cod. And it looks good.
He says technology is more prevalent on the Cape than you’d think. “A lot of the new companies that we’re attracting are high technology,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people you see out there. There are people who come from all walks of life, from all over the country, living on the Cape and working tech jobs.”
Some people are living on the Cape and working remotely for national or international companies. Others provide local IT support for Cape Cod businesses.
Among local businesses, Bill says, mid-sized companies are hiring IT support, while the hospitality industry is discovering the importance of being connected.
“What we are seeing is that internet access is becoming a big problem for hotels, campgrounds, resort and conference centers as they try to attract events. Technology is an issue even for the small mom and pops, because the users – the young people who live [on the web], and the people who work in the technology field – have high expectations. I get the question everyday, ‘How do we get this faster, bigger, better, more reliable?’”
Meanwhile, the tech companies setting up shop here have their own struggles.
“When technology companies get to a certain size and need to compete on an international level, they have trouble attracting the people they need,” he said. While we may agree that the Cape is a great place to live, it’s too remote for some tech professionals. He says it’s hard to attract “the younger hardware engineers or software developers – the 30 and under crowd. Culturally, it’s not here for them.”
On the other hand, it’s a great place to start a tech business. “It is cheaper to set up shop here,” Bill said. “You don’t have to pay as much as if you were in Cambridge or Boston, and depending on the business you’re doing, it doesn’t matter where you are. It’s a rural setting, but close to cities. It can be very attractive.”
“The expectation that things are always going to work is there,” he noted. “With Open Cape, we’ve taken a huge technology leap to provide the Cape with something that pretty much only cities see.”