A Sense of Place

Why we're in Holland, Michigan

https://www.flickr.com/photos/msprague/25032548/

We’re both a local and a virtual company. We started virtual, but in the same city, so we (skeptically) opened an office. Turns out it was a great move. We still work remote, from home, or while traveling, but our office is a common space for many of us.

So why Holland, Michigan? Well, we were named the best small city to launch a startup so there is that (and I’ll vouch for it being pretty good). To be honest, we started here less intentionally, but we continue to stay here for many reasons.

Holland has a great quality of life and low cost of living, making it an ideal place to live. We have Lake Michigan, a vibrant downtown, and are a short drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city.

There is also a vibrant software community here. Holland was the birthplace of Slashdot and we have multiple software companies here today. Within the greater Grand Rapids area, we have a ton of great companies and a lot of active meetups and user groups. Although our companies aren’t great at self-promotion, we have a lot of amazing software development happening here in West Michigan.

We chose Downtown Holland for our office because we want to be where our team wants to be. Downtown has great walkability with lots of restaurants, shops, a vibrant Farmers’ Market and more. We can watch the Tulip Time parades from our front windows, or bike to the lake.

Local involvement is important to us, so we help sponsor local events and groups. We work to make Holland a better city, most recently with pushing for a city-owned fiber optic network. Earlier this year we also partnered with Hope College to host a free screening of the documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap.

There are some things we’d like to see: a commuter train from Grand Rapids, more apartments in walking distance, and of course better internet. But those are small nitpicks and at least two are slowly happening.

So why stay in Holland?

I travel all over the USA (and the world) for Collective Idea. There are many cities I love, but none of them make me want to drop everything and move. The reason is that I don’t have to. I don’t need to pay San Francisco rent to work for Silicon Valley companies. I don’t need to endure a terrible commute, I can bike to work. Not everyone needs to move to Holland, but more people should find a good place with a high quality of life.

Wherever you are, come over to Holland, Michigan and give us a visit.


Holland State Park 06 by Michael Sprague is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo of Daniel Morrison

Daniel founded Collective Idea in 2005 to put a name to his growing and already full-time freelance work. He works hard writing code, teaching, and mentoring.

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