Lifestyle + Tech Talent
Why Deke expanded from Colorado to Collingwood
For Dave Maney, the decision to trade Colorado for Collingwood was a highly calculated and successful one. He is a Stanford GSB graduate, business journalist and former economic commentator at Forbes, the Denver Post and FOX News. Maney originally founded Deke in response to what he saw as a change from word-of-mouth referrals to digital marketing in the financial services arena. Deke works with financial, healthcare and other industry leaders to create and place expert commentary for its customers with major media outlets. Both client and media relationships are based mainly in New York, Los Angeles, Colorado and San Francisco—hardly a hop, skip or jump from Collingwood, a town of 22,000 residents in Ontario, Canada.
But Collingwood provided good access to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and has allowed Maney and his wife to be close to family in Cobourg. It also gives the Maneys the outdoor lifestyle that they enjoy and great schools for children from seven years old to university age and beyond.
On a professional level, Collingwood made sense. “We spent 6 months researching the decision prior to moving here,” says Maney. “It had to be a place where knowledge workers would want to come and that I could attract people to.” From a numbers point of view, Maney estimated that the move would generate minimum Capex savings of 25% by developing tech talent in Ontario rather than Colorado. So far, savings are exceeding that rate.
Maney says his proof of concept began when he added Andy Polzl, Deke’s Chief Product Architect to his team, or as Maney calls him, “the visionary czar of the technology side”. Polzl had already lived in Collingwood for several years before the two met at their children’s school. Soon after, Deke also attracted Dr. Mohamed Hefny, its Chief Data Scientist, an individual “with just an extraordinary set of credentials,” notes Maney, from Toronto. Most recently, the company recruited and added a Senior Python Developer from Markham.
As Founder of Deke and a former newsman, Maney works to drive forward his company’s offerings to clients and by extension to a broader readership. His goal is to ensure that the viewpoints and expertise of his subject matter experts get in front of those seeking commentary and data from newsrooms—which are often starved of resources, through no fault of their own.
Deke provides viewers with a greater depth and breadth of knowledge through highly experienced insight and commentary. This content is placed on the digital properties of leading media outlets like Business Insider, MarketWatch, Forbes and others. Content syndication is a matter of technology, which Deke is constantly refining; they are now in the process of developing advanced analytics software prototypes.
“You could call our work ‘niche tech’,” explains Maney. “We’re not running a developer farm, but we do need some advanced skillsets. As far as attracting specialized people goes, we have a lot to offer here, including the chance to move to a great place to live, work and play. Collingwood has worked out extremely well for us.”
Maney believes that while remote work is possible in some industries, the creative, collaborative and technical nature of Deke’s business makes a work-from-home arrangement less than ideal. This has become a non-issue for the company, now based in Collingwood, where its employees benefit from the exceptional lifestyle that the area offers.
“Collingwood is a low-friction place to exist,” notes Maney. “Its physical amenities make it a highly attractive place to live and support the large amounts of energy needed to propel our company forward in a growing, changing and dynamic industry. All this would be hard to muster in a large city or commerce hub.”
Maney goes on to say that while the coronavirus pandemic has made remote work arrangements more common, he foresees a reversal of the traditional split between cottage weekends and a city work week. Until now, successful professionals were content to live their best life at the cottage on weekends, but Maney sees a trend toward combining work with country leisure and commuting to the city on an as-needed basis.
“I’ve asked myself, ‘what is the New York Harbor of the 21st Century?’ I think the answer is, a place that is highly attractive to live in, has physical amenities to offer and that gives you the ability to live your life in a way that is not high friction. People want an easier way of life, and the small-town American equivalents of Collingwood have also begun to thrive for that reason.”