Information sharing between competitors helps build our Colorado tech community
Just as selling technical services is, in large part, about educating the prospect, creating a healthy tech sector starts with education and sharing ideas. ViaWest is continually involved in the regional education communities in which they operate, with technical employees serving on advisory boards, making classroom visits and regularly checking in with key school employees, like career counselors, professors and internship coordinators. They also donate technical gear and provide mock interview assistance for students pursuing a technical career.
Creating workplaces that foster continual technical education is another way businesses can create and maintain a healthy tech sector. ViaWest incorporates technical education in their internal employee development program, taking advantage of their employees’ passion for tech and developing it into skills that solve real client technical issues.
Additionally, ViaWest’s product development practices support innovation. They supply staff with large labs of equipment within their data centers. If employees hear about a new technology or want to try a different application of an existing technology, they have the resources to do so. They also internally host “Innovation Day,” a contest for staff to develop something as simple as a new process or as complex as creating an entirely new application, or anything in between. The emphasis is placed on the principle of “new,” as the point is to encourage innovative thinking and nurture the creativity of the many talented staff members at ViaWest beyond the development team.
ViaWest also encourages employees to form relationships with their competitors and their technology partners, not only to understand their latest and greatest technologies, but also to learn about the technology trends they are seeing from their vantage point.
This practice of information-sharing between competitors, some of whom are startups in the tech industry, is a prominent feature of Colorado’s burgeoning tech community. Established tech companies can help to grow a healthy tech sector by supporting business incubators, like Galvanize in Denver and Techstars in Boulder. They also can lend support to the entrepreneurial events that give these startups great exposure and a forum for idea exchange, like Startup Week.