When restaurant reservation service OpenTable recruited him from dating app EHarmony, Joseph Essas received assurances that he could keep living in Los Angeles.
Essas wasn’t sure how, but OpenTable’s then-Chief Executive Matt Roberts said, “Trust me, we're going to make this work.”
Essas, the chief technology officer, commuted weekly to OpenTable’s San Francisco headquarters for two months, leaving behind his wife and five children for days at a time. But after getting his bearings, he saw an easy way to persuade the company to cut his commute.
Hiring software developers in San Francisco is cumbersome and expensive. In Los Angeles, it’s easier — and Essas could pull from...