The Landscape Of Threat

Gordon Guthrie
May 3 · 2 min read

Glasgow faces a major threat, and a smaller potential threat to its future as a tech city.

The smaller threat appears to be abeyance for the moment. A Trumpian America where, as TikTok shows, a US-based company’s future is a plaything of the klepto-state. However given the 4 year US election cycle and the time it would take a Glasgow-based firm taking the FanDuel road to global dominance, this threat remains substantial and real if not immediately quantifiable. Trump failing in his attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn the election is a good development; somewhat undermined by him summoning the leader of the Proud Boy paramilitaries over to the White House in response. Insurrectionism remains rooted in one the main parties of the republic.

The big immediate threat is of course Brexit — which existentially threatens the Skyscanner road. Before Brexit Edinburgh recruited talent on a continental scale simply by being the finest city in the world. (I maybe somewhat biased here, but I am sure my many Glaswegian friends will forgive me.)

At first all will seem to be well. Skyscanner is big enough to put needed European employees through a visa/residency pipeline. But the trap snaps shut on recycling Skyscanner alumni into new start-ups. Scottish citizens can freely leave Skyscanner to try their hand at a new startup, but their Slovenian colleagues face deportation if, as often happens in startups, money is tight. Their wages need to be above a magic number for residency.

Codebase is a Tower Of Babel, not on the same scale as bet365, but not the Scotland of yore. Skyscanner likewise is bedecked with the flags of nations with its high-wage, international workforce. (Both, of course, contain plenty of Scots who previously would have emigrated for work.)

COSS companies take neither of these routes and are subject to neither of these threats. The internal working language of the global tech sector is English. COSS companies are remote-working and go global immediately.

Brexit prevents foreign nationals from moving to Scotland to work, but does nothing to stop them working remotely for Scottish companies:

Brexit Quarantine

Digital Glasgow

Building Scotland’s 2nd Tech Powerhouse

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