Hecho en Austin

  • June 28, 2017
  • Scott
  • 0 Comments

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to register for Driven 2017!   Our customer conference is August 16th and 17th this year.  Mor sessions are being added every week! ]

I’ve written about choosing Austin before.  This is another post along those lines.  Back in March, there were a couple of articles on the the future of Austin that I really enjoyed reading, because they resonated with how I feel about Austin.

The first, by Paul O’Brien, “The Vision for Austin” begins with a bang:

That photo, taken by Ralph Arvesen, characterizes Austin more than the famous skyline photos we frequently see, which paint for everyone an images of what Austin is. This photo, with the convergence of music, video, and graphic design, in a photograph, behind which the thriving downtown is seen overshadowing cranes erecting future, while Samsung GALAXY, the smartphone (though calling to mind Samsung NEXT), adorns the banner, and trees backdrop the concert, this photo is a multilayered glimpse of Austin.

Which photo?  This one:

Austin as seen during a music festival. Credit: Ralph Arverson – Lorde, ACL Music Festival Overview (from 2014 – there are a few new buildings in the skyline now!)

Paul’s take:

I’m going to throw a curve ball at you and I don’t want you to take it personally if your heart is set on this narrative: Austin is not the live music capital of the world. Austin is the hub of innovation in media. All of it.

If you can figure out how to add food to that vision, I’m on board.  I’ve really enjoyed the intersection of food, arts, culture, and tech in Austin over the last 20+ years. The growth presents major challenges to the balance-  but also creates the opportunities to support our artistic endeavors and give them a chance to thrive.  Is it more expensive to live here? It is. But are we also a better market for your craft – be it cooking, painting, music, digital media, or coding?  Yes we are.

Meanwhile, Inc. published “Austin Has Some Advice for Cities Trying to Become the Next Silicon Valley“:

While Austin may never measure up to those bigger ecosystems that are flush with more funding, it’s a city that’s increasingly comfortable just being itself. And that’s something local entrepreneurs say startup hubs around the country can learn.

The article goes on to point out that Austin may be better suited to mission-driven companies and companies that take longer to build up.  There’s room for companies that aren’t trying to be the next Unicorn at whatever the cost.

Increasingly, I think this shoe fits:

“Most of these other cities around the world are realizing they are never going to be Silicon Valley,” Baer says. “But they look at Austin and say, ‘If we try really hard and make some smart choices, in 20 years, we could be Austin,’ and that is achievable and that is realistic.”

 Trying to be Silicon Valley is unattainable. But Austin is a work-in-progress, and you can still pick apart how and why it works, and try to find lessons you can apply to your own community.  In fact, I could point to another small town that proves you can have all the ingredients at a much smaller size: Columbia, Missouri.  It has a music festival, a movie festival (True|False), a strong University and health care industry presence, and a rejuvenated downtown area.  All the ingredients for a renaissance that starts with culture, rather than starting with Tech.

I know every day, I’m thankful that BP3 was made in Austin. There’s no place we’d rather be. We think it offers great living and culture for our team, and we love sharing Austin with our customers at the Driven conference– our annual conference for customers and practitioners of digital operations initiatives. We have an exciting line up of speakers!

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to register for Driven 2017!   Our customer conference is August 16th and 17th this year.  Mor sessions are being added every week! ]

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