This is not a picture of me.

There is a lack of engineers everywhere, but finding talent is especially hard in the Bay Area.

I’m from Spain but 5 years ago I went three months to SF, to attend a couple of conferences and visited some friends.
At that time I was trying to start something, but I changed my mind and I started looking for jobs in the US instead.

Getting in contact

Every single company I visited was recruiting.

Tech companies provided pizza, beers and tons of famous, smart people to talk about smart things. All to attract talent.

I sent out many resumes, but 90% of the times I didn’t receive any response, and I couldn’t figure out what was missing.

I have a CS degree, five years of experience and lots of open source contributions in cutting edge technologies. My best guess was that US companies were not willing to sponsor me a `H-1B` visa.

I was close to giving up and going back to Spain when I received two calls from a couple of companies. One of them was Klout, the social media analytics company that sold for $200 million. The second call was from a company that was just starting up at the time, they wanted to disrupt the transportation industry.

The interviews

The first interviews are always done by telephone. They ask you about your background, some theoretical questions and some *puzzles*.


When they have decided that you’re smart enough to meet face to face, the real interview starts, and it’s not a normal meet and greet, it can last up to three hours.

You talk with people from different departments, answer more questions and solve more *puzzles* on whiteboards.

– Implement a function that calculates square roots
 — Sort and concat arrays in a optimal way
 — Guess the two missing numbers in a array with `n — 2` length containing `1..n` unsorted numbers
 — Calculate the number of digits for a given number
 — Implement a function to detect palindromes
 — …

Most of them were doable, but I think they were missing some amazing developers that may not know how to solve those problems,
but they are capable of solving real-life problems (fix this bug, port this library, refactor this code…).

Some of the theoretical questions I had (mostly javascript related):

– What is a closure and which disadvantages does it have:
 — What is hoisting.
 — How does `this` work.
 — How `float` works and which issues does it have.
 — How does the event loop work on the browser and how to delay a function to the next tick.
 — How to optimize CSS, and how does specificity work.

The offers

Both companies I interviewed for offered to sponsor me a H-1B visa and a good salary.


I ended up accepting one of the offers because they where more transparent with the stock options (which I later discovered not to be so great after all), and because they told me that I could work remotely until getting the visa.

I signed the contract, opened a bank account, left my job and came back to Spain.

The silence

Back in Spain I started to prepare myself for the new job — I was looking forward joining a new team. I learnt Python because I saw some people using it at that company’s offices.

I was super motivated and willing to start! I even sent some emails to the CTO to get some instructions on how to setup my development environment.

At my starting date I received the first email from the CTO saying that they were not able to get my visa and that they were thinking about the aspect of working remotely.

I answered them that it wasn’t a problem for me. I had been working remotely for a while and it had never been an issue.

What happened next? Nothing. Silence. I was completely ignored.

The problem

Getting a working visa in the US is not easy. If it was, most developers would be working there. It has gotten a lot better the last years, but companies should start to be more open minded about hiring remote workers.

There is a huge deficit of talent in the US, and a lot of wasted (and way cheaper) talent in other countries around the world. An average engineer in the Bay Area can cost around $100k+. In Spain, the same engineer costs significantly less.

Even though I’m happy I didn’t end up in the states, it would have been cool to be one of the first developers at Uber.

The solution

Ironically, while I was on holiday in San Francisco I was working for [Teambox](now Redbooth), a company with their development team based in Spain.

It was an amazing experience, the development was happening 24 hours a day. The git repository was constantly receiving commits, never sleeping.

It was a great time, that I now look back on as me and Jordi Romero are working on our new project Factorial.

Luckily there’s more and more great companies being built in Europe, and there’s no need to go to the US to land a fantastic job as a developer. Both Madrid (14th) and Barcelona (9th)are climbing on EDCI’s digital city index list every year, and more and more startups are getting funded.

A recent report by Atomico predicts even greater times for European tech in the years to come, so no need to apply for the green card lottery this year, just hold on to your European passport.


This memoir was written by the CTO of Factorial.

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E.

Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Tech Lovers

Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to. 

Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre
Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre

« Masters of Scale » 

with Reid Hoffman

The host: Reid Hoffman decides to turn to the corporate world instead of pursuing a university carrier. He worked for Apple, Fujitsu for then starting his own business: SocialNet and left it in 2000 to join Confinity. Confinity gives life to Paypal after fusionning. Finally, in 2003, Hoffman co-founds LinkedIn. He is Master of Scale’s host. 

About: The podcast welcomes some of the greatest entrepreneurs. You will discover throughout the talk how they managed to take their companies from 0 to a lot of zeros. You can listen to Masters of Scale’s special guests like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Selina Tobaccowalla (Evite), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Nancy Lublin (Crisis Text Line). Must-hear: one of the top tech podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube

The Team: Reid Hoffman, June Cohen, Deron Triff and Jai Punjabi

« Rocket » 

with Christina Warren, Simone de Rochefort and Brianna Wu

The hosts: Christina Warren started as a Freelance Writer. Then, she worked at Mashable as a Senior Tech Analyst and Tech Correspondent and ended the journey at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate. About Simone de Rochefort, she is  Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show. Brianna Wu founded her first startup at the age of 19, Giant Spacekat. She was Head of Development at the time. She is now running for US Congress. 

About: In this podcast, you will discover three passionate women and their “geek conversation” as they like to call it.  No guest speakers, but you will be able to listen to a panel of tech subjects from Apple to Comics, you will not be disappointed. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« This week in Startups »

with Jason Calacanis

The host: Jason Calacanis starts as an internet industry journalist in New-York. In 2003, he co-founded Weblogs, Inc and then a few years later he joined Sequoia Capital, launched the web directory Mahalo. He also founded ThisWeekIn.com. Furthermore, he created This Week in Startups podcast and a startup named Inside.com. Finally, he was part of the creation of the Sydney Launch Festival. 

About: Either you are looking to start your own company, or you are a successful entrepreneur, or you just love technology, this podcast will give you a peek to the entrepreneurship world. You will hear stories of all kinds! On his website, you will also find his events and some research on transportation, healthcare and more. This is one is part of the tech podcasts for entrepreneurs not to be missed.

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Youtube, SoundCloud and RSS Feed

You can also subscribe to their newsletter in order to receive episodes directly. 

The Team: Jason Calacanis, Jacqui Deegan, and Tony Agapiou

« Recode / Decode » 

with Kara Swisher

The host: Kara Swisher is an American journalist specialized in the technology industry. She first started to work for an alternative newspaper in Washington for then working for the Washington Post. She wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and wrote her own books. Finally, in 2014, she created Recode, a website dedicated to the latest technology news. In 2015, she initiates Recode Decode. 

About: The weekly podcast welcomes tech experts and great entrepreneurs. They review how they got there, what’s on their mind about the current industry and what they would improve or create. Her recent guests were Elon Musk (Tesla CEO), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn

« K Fund PodKast »

with Jaime Novoa

The host: Jaime Novoa’s background is quite diverse. He is a writer and an investor, but he also worked in data analysis and social media analysis. In 2014, he founded Novobrief, a newsletter for startups. Then, in 2016, he becomes an investor at K Fund and he founds, in 2019, Dealflow, a weekly tech newsletter. 

About: The podcast discusses startups, entrepreneurs and Venture Capital. You will discover enterprises and their story. From data science, unicorns or digital platforms, you sure will find more than one interesting podcast. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website and Soundcloud

« Clockwise »

with Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent

The hosts: Dan Moren is an active author and writer as well as podcaster. He was a Senior Editor at Macworld. Today, he hosts two podcast shows: Clockwise and The Rebound. As for Mikah Sargent, he started as a Website Designer and Developer for then switching as a Senior Editor at Newsy. He now hosts few podcasts such as Clockwise on Replay FM or on TWiT.tv. 

About: The weekly podcast discusses technology and welcomes each time 2 special guests. For 30 minutes, they address 4 topics where all four speakers get to elaborate on the matter, highlight the issues and expose their thoughts. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« Itnig Podcast»

with Bernat Farrero

The host: Bernat Farrero starts his career as a Developer. In 2009, he founded Itnig, a startup ecosystem that organizes entrepreneurship events. They also have a coworking for startups, a podcast and a fund for early-stage projects. Furthermore, he is a Founder of Factorial, Quipu and Camaloon. He is also a Board Member of Playfullbet, GymForLess and Parkimeter. Finally, he hosts Itnig’s weekly Podcast. 

About: The podcast welcomes every week a new guest. If you wish to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you are on the right platform. The discussions turn around Technology and its industry. You will come across guests like Carlos Pierre (Badi), Vincent Rosso (BlaBlaCar) or Oscar Pierre (Glovo).

Listen to the podcast: Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Ivoox, and Google Podcasts

You can subscribe to their newsletter if you want to receive the podcast’s link every Monday. 

Whether you are at an early stage of your project, an investor or you are just curious, these podcasts for entrepreneurs give you the opportunity to be updated on tech and business news. Also, you get to learn from successful international entrepreneurs, which can definitely be very useful for your business.