Quora has an interesting discussion going on about a presumed shortage of designers in Silicon Valley. Design talent is valued more now, engineers build faster yada yada yada. Mike Davidson's opinion though brings a breath of fresh air into the discussion (below).
This is not a supply problem. It's a demand problem. There are more talented designers in the world right now than there have ever been; more than enough to supply all of the startup ideas that are actually good ideas.
The problem is that there are also more stupid ideas in the world right now than there have ever been, and those stupid ideas are demanding designers. If your idea is great, try pitching the best designers you can find on the value of the idea instead of seeing how much design you can get for how little salary/equity. If you're just looking to rent some design talent for a few months, than yeah, get in line behind all the bad ideas, and pay the market rate. But if you value design enough to make it one of your founding principles, then go get yourself a founding designer. If they aren't interested in your equity, that means they don't believe in your company enough at that equity level. At that point, you can either raise your offer, find another designer who believes more strongly in your idea, or take a long hard look at your idea and fix what isn't attractive about it.
The supply of talent is out there. The supply of good ideas is not.Mike Davidson
Yep. He nailed it.