Saturday, July 21, 2007

It Takes Human Actions To Create Buzz

Austin, Texas was recently named one of Fast Company Magazine's "30 Fastest Cities". Listed on a page of "Start-up Hubs" (along with Madison, Tucson and London), the article highlights the reasons that Austin is such a wonderful place to start a business.

Austin is great. I love living in this city and participating in the unique and diverse business community. But I worry about if the technology community is doing enough to ensure its continued success and to be a beacon to the business world.

During the "Internet/Tech Bubble" of the late 1990's, Austin was certainly amongst the cities that generated all the buzz for start-ups. Yet these days we tend to just be skating along. Everyone in the industry is soooo worried about what was "wrong" during the boom-boom times, that they seem scared to jump in with both feet and incubate the future. Out goes the baby with the bathwater.

I am not claiming that people need to behave like it is 1999, instead, they should look at 1996 - 1998 when the entrepreneurial spirit was thriving, just not nutty crazy yet (we all know that the dot-com craze jumped beyond reality). Austin also has some great technology roots in the 1980's when George Kozmetsky and his band of visionaries worked together to establish Austin as a hub of the techno world. We need to repeat these types of actions now to ensure our future successes.

While things are going well in the Austin Tech Community, there does not seem to be a visible spark of excitement. Without that thrill of entrepreneurship, we will just continue to limp along. Everyone appears to be waiting for the next guy to figure out what to do to ignite the passion again.

But some aggressive folks are doing things that are good and fresh in order to bring people together. It is through human interactions that opportunities arise, thus anytime technology inspired people can gather, germination of ideas can begin.

The Austin Tech Happy Hour has popped up on the scene (The next one is on August 2nd at Third Base) and the Austin Start-Up Blog has interesting posts almost daily with nuggets of information about local companies who are making a difference (both of these are the brainchild of Austin entrepreneur Bryan Menell).

Enthusiasm is needed to seed tomorrow's entrepreneurial spirit. More investors need to believe in start-ups and today's existing companies need to prosper to show the way.

I don't have the answers, but I am observing a lot of "blah" and too many standing on the sidelines. It takes human action to create the buzz that is needed in this community, people need to become engaged in helping it grow. My hope is that more real entrepreneurs will get over the fear of standing in the spotlight and expose the world again to the fun of technology.

Have A Great Day.


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