Apparently Austin's Vibe is Reinforcing our Optimism

  • April 2, 2010
  • Scott

I’ve been wondering if my generally optimistic view of the economy recovering was being influenced by being in BPM, or by being in Austin, where the recession has been “less bad” than it has been elsewhere, though it is still hurting a lot of families.  The Austin Technology Incubator had an article the other day with more evidence that Austin is a bright spot in the US economy at the moment.  (Heck, we even got our Metro Rail trains running)

I think this optimism will be spreading this year, however slowly.  I’ve been impressed with Austin’s resilience the last 10 years, and how the local economy has evolved:

Austin provides a useful lesson in how to stay on top of the innovation game. Start with an educated population (43% of Austin residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher), mix in a robust venture-capital scene (one of the best outside Silicon Valley), add a supportive community of peers (groups like Bootstrap Austin band together hundreds of entrepreneurs) and wrap all that up with a state government unafraid to throw money at companies that need a little help getting off the ground.

What I really find interesting about it, however, is how the actions of just a small collection of people have had such a big impact on the Austin economy and job market.  Some of the fastest growing employers in Austin simply didn’t exist 10 years ago.  And the startup “communities” here like Bootstrap and Capital Factory (as well as events like SXSWi) were spearheaded again by a very small group of people.  But the impacts have been broad – because these new companies, and the new communities, have grown bigger than the cadre of people who started them.  Its pretty inspiring to see the ripple effects of what people can accomplish with effort and funding that regular human beings can aspire to – and maybe that, right now, is the secret sauce in Austin: believing you can make a difference even if you’re just a “regular person”.

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