Take Aways from ABJ Tech Titans

Scott Francis
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One more post from the Tech Titans event write-up in the ABJ, just on my personal takeaways.

First, there’s a great bench of talent in Austin.  There are many great technologists who weren’t nominated and are deserving of recognition, more so than I am. And there were great technologists on the list as well.

Second, while it is popular to complain about Austin holding back startups in Austin due to either lack of early stage capital (5-10 years ago) or growth capital (current complaint), a fellow tech titan Kenny Tomlin responded this way:

What if anything, is holding back tech advances or tech entrepreneurs in Austin?  Nothing. 

And this is someone who has founded Rockfish and YouEarnedIt in Austin, among several other startups he’s founded or been involved in over the years.  Depending on the kind of business you’re starting, Austin may be just the kind of place you need – that is certainly how I feel about BP3.  His advice to startups is fairly timeless:

What advice do you have for Entrepreneurs seeking capital right now? Assume capital is not available.  Structure your business to exist without investors.  Build.  Serve customers.  Avoid casual conversations with VCs. When you’re ready to raise capital have a clear strategy and meet with as may VCs as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Then get back to running your business.

Well, that pretty well sums up how we’ve run BP3, and how many companies in Austin have been run over the last decade.  Learning the lessons of the past and realizing that making money is a habit that you have to form, as a company.  It doesn’t just magically happen when you decide to make money.  That profit is the fuel for investing and growing your business.  And if you’re not creating enough economic value to earn a profit, then you’re doing something wrong… time to revisit the business model.

Third, cognitive computing made its first appearance in the list, in the form of the founder of SparkCognition.  We’ve been hearing a lot about cognitive computing in the IBM ecosystem, and according to Amir, Austin is the epicenter for cognitive computing know-how.