Remote work and distributed workplaces were technically possible for years before the Covid pandemic, but the pandemic supercharged the shift from remote work as a rare, treasured perk to the norm for millions of workers in knowledge professions. Naturally, as every digital nomad knows, you can work remotely equally well wherever there is a reliable internet connection, which has freed many workers to relocate wherever their hearts desire, and we at Grit Daily took the opportunity recently to ask people where they moved from, and to where, and what prompted their decision. What emerged is a list of familiar emerging tech cities and a few out-of-the-way places.
Cincinnati is definitely in the former category, as it is well-established as a rapidly growing tech city. Cincinnati was featured as one of the best cities for women in tech in 2022. Cincinnati is a magnet for tech talent and headquarters to tech companies, including Procter and Gamble, Belcan, and Paycor. It is a hub for tech giants Amazon, L3 Harris, and GE Aerospace.
Cincinnati’s thriving tech ecosystem is bolstered by community resources like CincyisIT and JobsOhio, the Cincinnati Innovation District, Cintrifuse, as well as BlackTechWeek, a premier conference for tech professionals of color. In addition to the robust tech opportunities, Cincinnati boasts a low cost of living. The cost of housing is 24% lower than the national average, and it flourishes with a vibrant fine arts, food, and culture scene.
Sarah Sanders, the co-founder of Native AI, an audience analytics and content intelligence tool for digital publishers, made the move to, or rather back to Cincinnati from New York. We asked her why she moved and how it has worked out for her.
Grit Daily: Where were you living before the city you are living in now?
Sarah Sanders: I was living in New York City.
Grit Daily: Why did you move from where you were living, and why did you choose where you are living now?
Sarah Sanders: I chose to move from NYC to Cincinnati for both personal and professional reasons. I grew up in Cincinnati and still have a good portion of my family and friends here in the city. From a professional perspective, there are a few reasons to highlight. First, Native’s core customers are consumer brands, CPG companies and agencies that serve those categories. Cincinnati is home to some of the largest companies in the consumer brand & CPG space – think P&G, Kroger, Kao, Givaudan – so it makes it the perfect market for me to be here. Second, the Midwest venture capital market has been a great fit for Native. We have several investors here locally and throughout the Midwest. Their investment and support make our world go round. Finally, unrelated to Native, I spend a lot of time in the business ecosystem in Cincinnati and Kentucky otherwise. I serve as the Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the VonAllmen Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Kentucky and frequent Lexington for meetings and student mentorship. I also serve as a board member to my family’s Cincinnati-based restaurant company, Tavern Restaurant Group & Pub Group Investments, as well as a venture partner at Connetic Ventures in Covington, Kentucky.
Grit Daily: How much of a factor was the cost of living, particularly housing?
Sarah Sanders: It was a significant factor. My money goes a lot further here and I’ve certainly been able to upgrade my home and lifestyle since returning. And it feels great.
Grit Daily: What do you miss from where you used to live?
Sarah Sanders: I miss the access to public transportation. But I think I’ve finally gotten used to having a car again. And I can’t forget to mention how much I miss some of my favorite NYC restaurants. I’m fortunate to be back in NYC every 6-8 weeks for work so I’m still able to visit them regularly. I do want to give a shout out to Cincinnati’s culinary and craft beverage scene. I continue to be impressed. NYC has a depth and scale like no other in the world – nothing personal, Cincinnati!
Grit Daily: What do you like about where you live now?
Sarah Sanders: I love the startup ecosystem in Cincinnati. Upon moving home, I immediately joined Cintrifuse and work from Union Hall on a regular basis with countless other entrepreneurs (technical & non-technical). The environment is more tight-knit, and I find networking introductions come more frequently, go further and make a higher impact. And from my personal perspective, I love what Cincinnati has become since leaving the city and living away for almost 11 years. The city has matured in ways that made it attractive for me to move back from a city like NYC and be happy. I live downtown and I’m able to walk to just about everything I do on a regular basis.